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25209 No. 25209
Ah, hell, there’s so much I have to tell them, that I don’t even really know where I should start. But I guess I should really go with the part I’m most interested in. That would be…

“I told you about that death message this morning, right?” I ask Yuuka.

“Mm,” she says, nodding while daintily raising her flower-patterned teacup to her lips, taking a quick drink and setting it down before continuing to speak. “If I remember correctly, you said it predicted the time and cause of your death, is that right?”

“Yeah,” I nod in affirmation. “And…”

“And a youkai seriously appeared at that time,” Elly pipes up, though when I look at her, she’s still staring at the TV screen, not budging her eyes off of it at all, while lying down on her side atop the black, cushy leather couch.

“Right, so we know this isn’t just a joke or anything,” I affirm for what’s hopefully the last time, to both Yuuka and to myself. It’s still jarring to think that an e-mail from someone I don’t know at all really ended up telling the future.

“Isn’t it possible that the youkai that attacked you was the sender?” Yuuka asks in response, calmly crossing her arms together with a soft sigh.

“Can’t be,” I say, shaking my head. “Because the guy sent me another message after that.”

“And what did it say?”

“Uh… it congratulated me on surviving, I think, and then it said something about if I would save someone else in danger,” I reply, furrowing my brow and trying to remember the gist of the message. “Oh, and there was another one of those predictions.”

“Oh? So when do you die next?” she asks with a small smirk.

“It’s not me,” I shake my head. “It’s some guy named Kurosawa. He’s going to be choked to death on the 9th of November.”

“The 9th?” Yuuka raises an eyebrow. “So that would be…”

“Three days from now, yeah.”

“Oh, is that so?” she says, suddenly disinterested. Her eyes gaze at the surface of the table for just an instant before darting back to me. “Do you know him?”

“No, I don’t think so.”

“Then it has nothing to do with us,” she says simply.

…That’s so cold.

“Y-yeah, but wouldn’t it be nice if we could save him?” I make a useless plea that I know will be refused, frowning hard.

“No,” she says. She turns her head and gestures toward the window. “Take a look outside.”

“Huh?”

“Go on. Take a look.”

I grudgingly stand from my chair and make my way over to the window, looking outside. I see the countless lights from the windows of endless buildings staring back at me. Not far below from my vantage point, I can see the headlights of cars flashing as they speed past the road next to my home.

“What about it?” I say, shrugging as I turn back to her.

“It’s a big out there, isn’t it?” Yuuka says. “Do you really think you’ll be able to find a single person in that sprawling mess you people call a city?”

“I’ll… I can look him up or something… in the phone book or—“

“And that’s assuming he even lives in this city,” she continues, cutting me off. “Forget about it and mind your own business. Or if you’re going to insist on meddling, do it by yourself.”

Well, now no one can tell me I didn’t try to convince her.

“…But don’t you think these messages are linked to why you guys are around?” I say as I walk back to the table, taking a seat on the wooden chair once more and pulling myself closer to the edge of the table, leaning my forearms against its surface. “I mean, you guys are all youkai too, right?”

“Ah, I’m a human,” Kotohime says suddenly, raising her hand.

“Are you sure? You’re the last one I’d expect to be human,” I say to her.

“Eh?” she says, blinking. “Really? Does it seem that way?”

I shake my head, not answering her question. While Kotohime looks around with a confused look on her face, Yuuka begins to speak again.

“It might be,” she says, nodding. “And you don’t know who the sender is?”

“No. It’s always signed as just S.”

“Ah, hey!” Elly suddenly yelps, sitting upright. “I just remembered something!”

“What is it?” Yuuka inquires, turning to look at her.

“That thing that showed up,” she says. “It said, uh… ‘Kill the forsaken!’ or something like that.”

“The ‘forsaken’?” Yuuka raises an eyebrow. “So it definitely had some sort of a target in mind, then.”

“A target…?”

“That’s right. A target. The attacks aren’t just happening at random. Those youkai are after the ‘forsaken,’ whatever that may refer to,” she says smartly, and points at me. “And it seems you’re one of them.”

“Wait, wait, you mean I’m seriously being targeted by the monsters?” I say, feeling slightly panicked again. “It’s not just bad luck or anything like that?”

“I wouldn’t think so.”

Damn it! What did I do to deserve to be killed by monsters!? Wait, if what she’s saying is true, then is S really trying to kill me? But why? I don’t even know the guy! And why would he send a warning to everyone he’s targeting, or try to get others who receive the messages to save each other? This doesn’t make sense…

Yuuka seems to be thinking in silence as well, nibbling on the nail of her thumb. “If the attacks are coordinated and controlled,” she mumbles to herself, “…it might be worth investigating after all.”

[ ] Try to push her to save the next victim.
[ ] Move on.

>> No. 25211
[x] Try to push her to save the next victim.
[x] Do mention A before things get much further along.
>> No. 25215
[x] Try to push her to save the next victim.
[x] Do mention A before things get much further along; one of them might recognize her.
>> No. 25216
[x] Try to push her to save the next victim.
>> No. 25222
[x] Try to push her to save the next victim.
-[x] C'mon, it'll be fun! Like a detective story or something.
>> No. 25224
[x] Try to push her to save the next victim.
[x] Do mention that there will probably be lots of strong enemies.
>> No. 25227
[x] Try to push her to save the next victim.
-[x] "There'll probably be a lot of strong enemies to fight..."
[x] Do mention A before things get much further along; one of them might recognize her.
>> No. 25231
[x] Try to push her to save the next victim.
>> No. 25232
[魚]>>25227
>> No. 25233
As the author of >>25211 , I like the idea of mentioning potential strong enemies to get Yuuka hooked, but this guy doesn't even know that, does he?
>> No. 25234
>>25233
There will almost certainly be more of those things from earlier, perhaps even 'S' him/herself.
>> No. 25272
[x] Try to push her to save the next victim.
-[x] "There'll probably be a lot of strong enemies to fight..."
[x] Do mention A before things get much further along; one of them might recognize her.
>> No. 25364
“You know, there will probably be lots of strong enemies to fight,” I say, thinking back on her past actions. She spared that samurai woman because it would be more fun to leave her alive, and she seems like she enjoys fighting, so maybe I could play to that angle? “Come on, it might be fun for you, right?”

She drums her finger on the surface of the table, unable to hide her excitement of the idea. Still, she manages to remain calm and composed as she speaks with a disinterested tone of voice, “I suppose that’s possible.”

I open my mouth to drive the point further home, but a sharp glance from her quickly shuts me up again. I don’t really think she wants to hear about it anymore.

“Fine,” she says after a moment of thought, crossing her arms together with a huff. “It wouldn’t be a bad idea to make a sport of this. However, finding the target is up to you, do you understand?” she turns her head away haughtily. “I won’t be assisting you with that.”

“…Yeah, sure, I get it,” I say in a slightly bitter tone. So, it’s up to me to find him, huh? Even though I said those things before, I really don’t know how I’m going to track down the guy. Like Yuuka said, there’s really not much I can do if he lives in some faraway city. Hell, there’s even the possibility of the guy being in another country. The outlook I’ve got now isn’t exactly the brightest, that’s for sure…

“Anyway,” I start again, clearing my throat with a cough. “Apparently, I’m not the only one receiving those messages.”

“Oh?” Yuuka turns around, interested again.

“Yeah,” I nod. “See, when we were attacked today…”



“…and apparently that samurai woman’s associate’s been receiving the same messages from that S guy as well.”

“You didn’t tell me you were saved by a human,” Yuuka says, directing her gaze to Elly (by this point, she’s joined the conversation at the table), who shrinks a little and appears to be a bit ashamed to meet her eyes. “...And that associate of hers wants to save the targets of the messages as well?”

“Yeah, and he wanted me to ask you guys for your help as well,” I say, nodding to clarify what she wants me to confirm.

“So, it could be like a contest, then,” Yuuka says with a smug smirk, leaning back in her chair. “Whoever finds and kills the youkai targeting that human first is the winner.”

…I’m not sure if I really like the way she’s making a game out of this. I mean, if a human life is on the line here, you ought to be taking it a little more seriously, right? But then again, she’s not human like I am. Does she really place such little value in human life? Is taking or saving them nothing but an amusement to her? I… definitely don’t like that, but if that’s the only way to get her to help, then…

“By the way, do you know who they are?” I ask out of curiosity. “They’re both from your world, aren’t they?”

“Haven’t got a clue,” she replies, waving her hand dismissively up-and-down as if shooing away an invisible fly before her. “The one who came after me was probably some youkai exterminator who thinks she’s a big shot.”

“She seemed to recognize you.”

“That’s because Yuuka’s a real big name in Gensokyo,” Elly cuts in quickly and eagerly, leaning forward.

You mean she’s some kind of a youkai celebrity, or what?

“What good would it do you if you knew them, anyway?” asks Yuuka.

“Uh… nothing, I guess,” I say with a shrug. That’s right, it wouldn’t really do me much good to know who they are, would it? I mean, it’s not like I’d recognize them or anything, seeing as they’re from a different world from mine. It was just out of curiosity. “I just thought I’d ask…”

“So, anything else?” Yuuka inquires, her arms folded once more.

“Oh, um… there’s also that weird thing that happened, right before we were attacked. When all those people disappeared. I asked the hacker about it, and… he said it was some kind of large area spell, or something like that. A dimensional spell that moves us into… a replica world, I think that’s what he called it.”

I turn to Ellen, who’s been patiently sitting at the table, taking the conversation in silently with an innocently puzzled look on her face while occasionally stroking her cat the whole time; I couldn’t tell if she was really listening to us talk or not. “Hey, Ellen, don’t you know anything about it?”

“Fueh?” Ellen blinks, slowly turning her head to me. “Um… a dimensional spell?”

“Yeah, I think how it works is it moves us into some kind of alternate dimension. Is that possible to do with a spell?”

“Um, well,” she frowns, falling silent. “It’s possible,” she finally says uneasily. “But there’s a part of that that shouldn’t be.”

“Huh?”

“You said the spell transports us to a replica of this world, didn’t you? A mass teleportation spell isn’t unfeasible, but…” she pauses, her expression becoming more and more puzzled with eaching passing second “But that would mean for that to be possible, that replica world would have to be created first. Um… magic can do a lot of things, but to create a whole world, even if it’s only as big as this city, is almost impossible.”

“It’s not entirely impossible, though,” Yuuka says, closing one eye shut. “But it would certainly require someone, or someones of incredible magical ability.”

“You mean there might be more than one person behind it?” I ask, astonished.

“It’s likely,” she replies. “There may be several people behind the creation of the replica world, someone responsible for the mass transportation spell, and someone else holding up the time stop spell in this world.”

Ugh, so a whole team of monsters might be cooperating together? Just what are they after?

“Why would they go through trouble of all that?” I ask out aloud, gritting my teeth in frustration

“Isn’t it because you’re being targeted?” Yuuka says as if it’s obvious. “Someone’s trying to kill you, so they drop you off in an empty world and sic a youkai on you to carve you up without alerting the rest of the world to the existence of youkai.”

“Um,” Kotohime interrupts, raising her hand again. “But if they wanted to do that, why are we transported too? If they really just wanted to kill him, wouldn’t they just transport him alone instead of with everyone else? That way, no one can help him.”

Everyone stops what they’re doing to stare at her in shock, an awkward silence overtaking the dinner table. She shrinks back from the gazes, looking a little bit embarrassed. Did… did she just point out the flaw in someone else’s logic? And it was sensible, too! Maybe there’s hope for her yet…

“That… makes sense,” Yuuka says, looking as though she’s just swallowed something really sour. “…So then, what’s their motive for doing something like this?”

Agggh, this is getting too complicated.

“…I’m going to my room. Let’s discuss this again later,” I say in an exhausted voice as I lift myself up from the chair. My body still feels sore from all the running I had to do today, and I just want to relax before I go to bed again. I leave the girls to their continued and prolonged silence as I stumble to the hallway leading to the rooms.



A few minutes later, I’m lying down on top of the bed in my room with the lights on, just staring at the ceiling. I don’t even feel like getting on the computer right now. The last few days have been full of so much that I don’t understand, and it’s really taking a toll on my head. I rub my temples as I sit up. I might as well have drink before I go to bed. Clear my thoughts.

The door to my room creaks open just as I’m about to get up from the bed, and in walks the last person I’d expect to visit me in my room: Elly. She steps inside, holding a can of beer in each hand. Aha, so she’s the one who’s been filching from my fridge! I’ve caught you red-handed now, you… wait, what is she even doing here?

“What do you want?” I ask.

“Thought you could use a drink,” she says casually, tossing one of the cans to me.

…That’s awfully friendly of her.

As I fumble in the air for the can, she walks over and sits down at the end of the bed, not far from me. Is she up to something, or what? I don’t think she has bad intentions, but still…

“I thought we were still enemies,” I say, voicing my suspicion.

“It’s a truce during the evening,” she says shamelessly. “Just because I want someone to drink with, that’s all.”

“You can’t drink with someone else?”

“Are you kidding me?” she says, snorting. “I can’t ask Yuukarin to drink with me, I don’t think it’s good to offer alcohol to minors, I can’t stand talking to that cloud-headed redhead, and I don’t think your maid likes me very much.”

I shrug. Oh well. I was just about to go out to retrieve a can anyway. I bring the can up and flick the tab open… only to be greeted by an eruption of foam from the can, hitting me right in the face. Ugh… what the hell!? I wipe the beer out of my face, holding the can at arm’s length to keep the foam from dripping onto the bed.

“Ahahaha!” Elly shrieks with laughter, pointing at me. “What the hell was that!?” she says as she goes to flick open her own can… “Kyah!?”… and immediately she receives the same fate as I did just now, and it’s my turn to chuckle as she wipes her face with her sleeves.

These must be the cans that got shaken up the night I was attacked.

Shaking my head as I take a sip from the can, I look straight ahead, and she does the same. It’s a bit awkward to be drinking in silence together like this, but it’s not unbearable. It’s at least a sign that she doesn’t quite hate me as much as she used to since the first day we met. I suppose saving each others’ necks contributed to that.

“Hey,” Elly finally speaks up after a few minutes of this. “Why were you so dead set on getting Yuuka to save that guy, anyway?”

“Huh?”

“You don’t even know him, right?” she continues, gazing at me in slight wonder. “Why do you care whether he lives or not if he’s just a stranger to you? Even if he died, it wouldn’t affect you, so… why?”

…That’s a good question. Why did I speak out for him? I shake the can in my hand, listening to its contents slosh around inside. Why does she want to know, anyway? Can she… not understand why one person would want to help another? Maybe… she doesn’t know what camaraderie is. Is it because she’s a youkai…? Is she trying to understand us humans? What should I tell her, then?

[ ] It was out of obligation.
[ ] It was because you wanted to help.
>> No. 25367
[x] It was because you wanted to help.

There's also various other reasons, but this would do for now.
>> No. 25372
[ ] It was because you wanted to help.

No logic needed.
>> No. 25373
[ø] It was out of obligation.
>> No. 25375
[x] It was because somebody else having to suffer the same shit you did that didn't have a bunch of immensely powerful women nearby to save his sorry ass seemed like a pretty shitty situation to be in. Besides, while you're no shining paragon of humanitarian virtue, you don't really think it's too cool just to let people die when you know you can do something about it.

Probably way too introspective. Feel free to trim down, modify, or ignore.
>> No. 25377
[x] It was because you wanted to help.

There is the possibility of learning more about the situation by helping keep this person alive.
>> No. 25383
[x] It was because you wanted to help.
>> No. 25385
[x] It was because you wanted to help.
>> No. 25390
[x] It was because you wanted to help.
>> No. 25391
[x] It was because you wanted to help.
>> No. 25397
[x] It was because you wanted to help.
>> No. 25401
[x] To advance the plot.
>> No. 25432
[x] It was because you wanted to help.
>> No. 25466
“…Because I wanted to help, that’s all," I say as I raise the can to my parted lips, knocking a quick swig back before continuing to speak. I mean, it’s not that I’m claiming to be a saint or anything, but I’ve got my duties as at least a halfway decent human being, you know? “I can’t stand by doing nothing if there’s something I can do to keep that guy from dying.”

Elly regards these words with silence, narrowing her eyes. For a moment, she sits absolutely still, making no movement. Then, stiffly, she takes a drink from the can before making a disgusted face at me. “Liar,” she spits out. “That can’t be it.”

“…Huh?”

“Or maybe you’re just stupid,” she adds, looking away. “Why would you do something like that? You don’t even know the guy, and you’re going to take the trouble of finding him and saving him, just because you want to help? Yeah right,” she huffs, her voice slightly slurred. “Who would want to stick their own neck into something like that? You realize if something like what appeared today also came to kill that next person, it might come after you too, right? Or did you not think of that?”

“…Of course I’ve given that some thought,” I respond with a frown. “That’s why I asked Yuuka for help, isn’t it? I mean, there’s nothing I can do by myself.”

“That!” she suddenly exclaims, pointing at me. “That’s it! You’re powerless! You can’t do anything! So why’re you trying to do stuff a weakling like you should stay out of? You can’t even help the guy out on your own, no, you have the nerve to get someone stronger than you to protect another weakling!”

...Um. What is she talking about?

She rises up from the bed, stumbling a little as she walks up to me and jabs her finger into my chest, shoving me back with each successive poke, getting more and more red-faced by the second as she speaks. “You’re nothing,” she snarls, her movements a bit unsteady. “You’re… you’re nothing, you hear? So don’t… don’t spout pretentious crap like ‘Oh, it’s my duty as a person to save someone in need!’, because I’m definitely not bailing your ass out of trouble like I did today, you got that!?”

She turns away with a haughty ‘hmph!’, walking toward the door with the still half-full can of beer in her hand. Feeling a bit annoyed, I decide to push my luck and call after her.

“Hey!” I say, with a bit of anger in my tone. “I saved you from trouble too, you know!”

She stops dead still for a few seconds. However, she makes no attempt at a retort, or even an acknowledgement of what I just said as she walks out of the room, slamming the door shut as she leaves. Damn, what’s wrong with her? She just comes into my room, demands that we have a drink together even though she can’t even hold her drink, and then she goes and gets angry by herself and storms out. Just what is going on in her mind? And just when I thought we might be able to get on good terms, too…

I drain the last of the beer from the can before carelessly tossing it aside, lying back down on the bed while letting out a frustrated sigh. Maybe humans just aren’t meant to be able to understand youkai.

------

Not long after, I’m lying down on the bed with my sheets pulled up and the lights switched off. I’m still tired from the harrowing ordeal of the day, and the nap I did take afterwards wasn’t nearly enough to keep me up late at night for too long. A few hours’ sleep just does not do well for a man who’s gone through the kinds of stuff I have in the afternoon. Letting out a content breath, I slowly close my eyes and ready myself to drift off into sleep…

“Hey master,” Kana’s voice comes from the side.

My eyes fly open, and my head turns towards the wall next to me, where I heard her. I see her head there, and only her head, poking out of the solid wall with that trademark mischievous grin. The sight almost makes me jump; it’s not every day that you see someone’s head just jutting out of a wall like that.

“Kana…?” I say sleepily, rubbing my eyes. “What do you want? I want to go to sleep…”

“Keeping you up at night, of course,” she says without hesitation. “That’s what a poltergeist doesn, isn’t it?” Her gloved hand reaches out from inside the wall, pointed at the light switch across the room from me. She wiggles her index finger up and down, and in sync with its movements, the switch flicks on and off, on and off. “Ooooh, scary, isn’t it?” she asks me with a smile.

“Absolutely terrifying,” I say in a dry voice before turning my head away. “And now I’m going back to sleep.”

“Wait, wait, wait,” she says hurriedly. “Can’t you stay up just a bit longer, master? It’s not good to sleep so soon after a meal. You’ll get the runs. And I’d like to show you something.”

[ ] …Just a little longer, then.
[ ] Sleep!
>> No. 25468
[X] …Just a little longer, then.
>> No. 25469
[X] …Just a little longer, then.
>> No. 25470
{X} …Just a little longer, then.
>> No. 25471
Elly is getting more and more tsundere, isn't she?

[X] …Just a little longer, then.

Kana~
>> No. 25472
[tilde] …Just a little longer, then.

Kana~~
>> No. 25473
[X] …Just a little longer, then.
>> No. 25474
Damnit Elly. A Thank You would just have been enough.

[x] …Just a little longer, then.
>> No. 25476
[ø] …Just a little longer, then.
>> No. 25477
[~] Just a little longer, then~
>> No. 25478
[X] …Just a little longer, then.
>> No. 25479
[x] …Just a little longer, then.
Elly... Kana...
>> No. 25481
[x] …Just a little longer, then.
>> No. 25485
[x] …Just a little longer, then.
[x] But only if you sleep with me.
[x] Wait, not like that!
[x] ...Probably not like that.
[x] Uh.
[x] So, yeah.
[x] You were going to show me something?
>> No. 25613
[x] Resume Daily Updates.
>> No. 25615
[x] …Just a little longer, then.
>> No. 25617
Rubbing my eyes, I take a moment to yawn before pushing myself up from the bed, turning to the wall to speak to her. “…Just for a little bit, then,” I say a little grudgingly, pushing aside my desire to sleep for the time being, however tired I might be right now.

A happy smile lights up Kana’s features as she claps her hands together in joy. “Wonderful, master,” she says, grinning widely. “Then, excuse me for a second.” With that said, she retreats her head back into the wall, disappearing from my sight completely.

“Um… master, could you stand up for a bit?” her voice suddenly echoes throughout the room after a short pause, making me jump and look around. Where is she? I can’t tell where her voice is coming from.

I kick away the blanket on top of me, getting up from the bed. I stifle a yawn as I stretch out my legs, before looking up at the ceiling and speaking in a loud, clear voice, “Okay, I’m up.”

“Ah, could you move a little to the side, master?”

Still looking around, I oblige by taking a step to the left. “Like this?”

“No, no, no, more to the right.”

I take two steps to the right. “Here?”

“Now move a little to the left, stick your foot out, and say ‘hooray’!”

“…You’re just messing with me now, aren’t you?”

“Yahaha~!” she giggles delightedly. “But really, master. Would you mind holding your arms out for me now?”

“How?” I ask, looking down at my hands.

“Just stick them out with the undersides facing up.”

I comply, although somewhat reluctantly. What is she planning to do here? She’s not going to do anything like chop off my arms or anything, is she? Nah, even for her, that’d be going way too far. She probably just wants to make me catch something, like…

I look up toward the ceiling just in time to see Kana falling through its solid surface, dropping into my arms. My knees buckle slightly under her weight, but she’s actually surprisingly light; much lighter than a normal person ought to be, I think. Is it because she’s a ghost? Probably.

As soon as she’s in my arms, she wraps her own gloved pair around my neck with a flirtatious grin on her face. “Notice anything different about me, master?” she asks.

I blink for a moment before I realize what’s she’s talking about. I look down at her body. She’s not wearing her usual maid uniform right now; she’s wearing that pure white dress I bought for her when Yuuka, Ellen, Elly and I went out to shop for clothes. Noticing my gaze, she floats out of my arms, hovering not far above me. Gracefully, she spins herself around, the hem of her dress lifting up to just her knees..

“Well, does it suit me?” she asks with a curtsy, taking a moment to readjust the hat on her head.

“It’s wonderful,” I say with a smile.

“It is, isn’t it?” she states with a content smile. She floats on over to me, and I step back, nearly falling onto the bed. I sit down on its soft and cushy surface, and she turns herself around… and takes a seat on top of my lap. I feel my heart skip a beat as she leans back, relaxing comfortably as if I’m a chair. She turns her head to look at my embarrassed face, and with the tips of her index fingers joined together coyly, says, “…I’m also not wearing anything underneath, you know.”

I feel my already blushing face grown even warmer as she watches me with great enjoyment. I can’t help but look down at her body, at her bare shoulders and legs. I’ve never realized just how much skin that maid costume covers until now. Her skin looks very smooth—and very pale as well, and that dress, as pure as snow, only makes her skin tone seem even lighter than it really is.

“Just kidding, master,” she says at last, giggling. “…or I might not be.” She adds, cocking her head to the side. She continues to giggle as she shifts herself around, grinding against my body, until she suddenly gives a sharp yelp. She looks to me, and giggles again.

“…Master, that’s sexual harassment,” she says in a mock-scolding tone, wagging her finger at me.

“Stop moving so much, then,” I grumble, still red-faced.

She replies only with a giggle, but doesn’t move from her spot. Instead, she settles down, leaning back with her body against mine as she lets out a small sigh of contentment. “…You sure do get into a lot of troubles, master,” she finally says. “You’re like a trouble magnet.”

“It would be nice if that wasn’t the case.”

“You think so, master?” she says with a laugh. She lowers her head, and tips the front brim of her hat, covering her eyes. “…Then, wouldn’t it be nice if all these unwelcome distractions were gone?” she asks in a hollow voice, sending a chill down my spine.

“…Unwelcome distractions?” I ask apprehensively. What is she talking about?

“Nothing, master,” she says with a smile, tipping her hat back up again. “Just talking to myself, that’s all.”

…I have a feeling it’s not “nothing.”

[ ] Don’t mind.
[ ] Press.
>> No. 25618
[x] Press.

Don't mind to press.
>> No. 25619
[x] Press.

As much as we might not want to deal with most of the bunch at the house, we do need their help in this case. After this whole thing in resolved then they can go back and leave Kana here for us.
>> No. 25621
[x] Don’t mind.
>> No. 25622
[x] Press.
>> No. 25623
[X] Whisper into her ear
[X] "There's a lock on the door for that."
[X] "no really, unwanted distractions?"
>> No. 25624
[x] Press.
>> No. 25625
[x] Press.
>> No. 25626
[x] Press.

What could possibly go wrong.
>> No. 25629
[] Don't mind to press.
>> No. 25630
[x] Press.
Oh you
>> No. 25637
[x] Press.

Okay, so... no more taking strange Touhoes home. She's a little jealous, it seems.
>> No. 25638
>>25637
I think she's also jealous of the folks that hired her. With so much jealously, it'd be a small miracle that Parsee doesn't show up.
>> No. 25639
[X]Press

It seems Kana wants her master alllll to herself~

On another note, am I the only one who wants to break Elly's 'Bitch Armor' to see if there's anything under there?
>> No. 25666
I'd press Kana.
>> No. 25693
“No, really, what do you mean by that? What do you mean, unwanted distractions?” I ask again. I’m a bit hesitant to press my luck, but what she said right now… if it matches my thinking, then it’s definitely something that I can’t leave alone.

She maintains that smile of hers as she floats back up into the air, away from me. She turns around as she drifts away, her hands folded together behind her. “I was just saying,” she begins in a disconcertingly cheery voice, “…that maybe it might be nice if it was only the two of us here. Then you wouldn’t have any problems, would you, master?”

“I don’t know,” I say, shrugging. On one hand, the other housemates are all pretty troublesome in their own way, but I have a feeling that not all of my problems would be solved just by getting rid of all of them. On the contrary, I might not even be able to survive without their help, or figure out what those e-mails are all about…

“…Shall I make them all disappear for you?”

I freeze up, staring at her with widened eyes. She’s not serious about that, is she? That’s crazy. She’s crazy…! Dumbstruck, I try to open my mouth to feel something, but my throat suddenly feels dry and I can’t even let out a rasp, much less anything that resembles any sort of human speech.

“Just kidding,” she says after savoring my look of shocking, breaking into a fit of giggles. “Yahahaha, of course I wouldn’t do such a thing, master,” she says, touching a finger to her lips as she speaks. “Because I’m a very nice girl, after all.”

I relax a little. “I can’t tell when you’re kidding or not,” I admit with a bitter voice. For a moment, it sounded it she was seriously considering it, but she was kidding after all. Or was she? I don’t even know. I can’t even predict the though process of normal people, much less a ghost like her. I get the feeling that she’s really strange, too, even among other ghosts, if they exist.

“Well, I wouldn’t mess with Miss Yuuka for anything in the world,” she says, her smile faltering for a moment. “She’s a very scary person.”

“I’ll say,” I agree with a sigh. For even a ghost like Kana and another youkai like Elly to fear her like that, Yuuka must really be something.

Kana readjusts her hat again, fixing it tightly on her head as she descends to the floor. Gracefully and slowly, she walks toward the one window in the room, and makes a waving gesture with her hand toward it. The glass slides open, letting in cold air. I give a shiver and reach for my blanket, wrapping it around my body.

“…Hey master,” she calls to me as she approaches the open window, placing one hand on the windowsill. “Do you remember the story I told you last time?”

“Huh?”

“You know, with Miss Ana,” she says, turning around. “Do you remember?”

“Oh,” I say. “Yeah, I remember.”

“She was a pitiful girl, wouldn’t you say?” she says in an eerily serene voice, walking back toward you. “So beautiful and bright, but cursed with a frail and sickly body.”

I shrug my shoulders. “I guess so,” I say.

She cups her hands together in front of her chest, dreamily closing her eyes as she folds her fingers between one another. “Yes, like a bird with clipped wings,” she mutters as she opens her eyes again, raising her hands into the air. As she unfolds her hands, a white figure emerges from between them, shaped like a small bird. It flutters its wings as it flies around the room, lighting up the room with its glowing, translucent body.

Kana watches the bird with a faint smile on her face as it glides out of the window, becoming only a speck in the distance as it soars into the night sky. “I’m sure she must have been envious,” she continues in that calm voice. “…watching the birds flying freely outside the window by her bed.”

She pauses, as if recollecting memory of an event long past. Her smile slowly fades away from her face, and she makes another sweeping gesture with her arm, the window sliding shut again. Letting out a small sigh, she turns back to me with a cheery grin.

“What are you giving me that kind of look for, master?” she asks, folding her hands together on top of her dress

“…Well, it’s just,” I begin with a frown. “I didn’t expect that from you, that’s all.”

“Yahaha, silly master~! You know, I may be a ghost and a maid,” she begins, wagging her finger at me and shaking her head while giving me a hopeless look. “…but I still have the heart of a young and vulnerable maiden. I’m allowed to have an emotional spiel every now and then.”

“Haha, right,” I say, nodding along.

“You don’t believe me, master?” she asks, crossing her arms together and letting out a small ‘hmph!’ in mock pouting. “You have a lot to learn about a woman’s heart.”

“Why don’t you teach me, then?”

“Oh?” she raises an eyebrow, touching a finger to her lips as she slowly walks over to me. “You’re asking me for lessons?” she asks, leaning her face in close; so close that our noses are almost touching. In surprise, I nearly jump back, though I manage to stand—or rather, sit—my ground.

“Will you?” I ask, a slight edge of hope showing in my voice.

“Maybe,” she says teasingly with a rather seductive tone of voice, giving me a wink. “I’m a bit shy, though, so could you please close your eyes, master?”

For a moment, I forget myself and comply with her words, eagerly shutting my eyes. It’s not until a few seconds pass by with nothing happening that I start to feel like a damn fool. Slowly, and with much less enthusiasm than when I closed them, I open my eyes, and see only air where Kana was just a couple of seconds ago.

“Yahahaha~” I hear her giggle echoing throughout the room. “Not tonight, master~!”

Damn it.

Grumbling, I slip back underneath my blanket, giving my pillow a good pat down before resting my head on it. I close my eyes, still feeling a bit disappointed, though I really should have seen that coming…

Ah.

Slim, gloved fingers sweep my hair out of my face, laying my forehead bear. A moment later, I feel cool, moist lips pressing themselves against my exposed forehead, lingering for an instant before parting from me with a satisfying ‘chu~’ sound.

“…Good night,” I hear Kana’s hushed voice whispering into my ear.

…I feel a bit woozy now.

------

November 7, Saturday



For the first time in what seems like ages, I wake up feeling well-rested. My limbs still feel sore, but my head isn’t splitting apart with a headache while begging for more sleep and my eyes aren’t stinging from exposure to the air. It’s pretty surprising considering how the cosmos seemed to be trying its damned hardest to keep me from my nap yesterday, what with that laughing gas incident in the kitchen and having to go out to get a drink for myself before I was allowed to finally crash and get some Z’s.

…November 9th, that’s the date that was in the latest e-mail from S. According to it, some poor sap by the name of Kurosawa will be strangled to death, probably by a youkai like the one that showed up yesterday and two days before that. Somehow, between now and then, I have to figure out a way to track the guy down and save him.

I take a look at my wrist. I hadn’t taken off my watch the entire day. It’s 10 AM already, so that means everyone else must be done eating breakfast…

Now, how to start the day?

[ ] Check the computer. See if there are any new messages from S or A.
[ ] You’re filthy. Take a shower.
[ ] Start the search.
-[ ] Search outside.
-[ ] Try a phone/address book?
-[ ] Internet?
[ ] Go eat some leftover breakfast first.
[ ] Other (specify).
>> No. 25694
Oh gods, I love Kana. So much.

[X] Check the computer. See if there are any new messages from S or A.
>> No. 25697
[X] Check the computer. See if there are any new messages from S or A.
>> No. 25699
[X] You’re filthy. Take a shower.
[X] Check the computer. See if there are any new messages from S or A.
[X] Start the search.
-[X] Try a phone/address book?
>> No. 25700
[x] Check the computer. See if there are any new messages from S or A.
[x] You’re filthy. Take a shower.
[x] Start the search.
-[x] Internet

In that order. Check New Messages, shower and search.
>> No. 25702
[x] Check the computer. See if there are any new messages from S or A.
[x] You’re filthy. Take a shower.
[x] Start the search.
-[x] Internet
>> No. 25714
[x] Check the computer. See if there are any new messages from S or A.
[x] You’re filthy. Take a shower.
[x] Leftover food.
[x] Start the search.
-[x] Internet
>> No. 25715
Woah, I just realized that "Ana" in the story that Kana told us, is probably herself before she became a poltergeist.
>> No. 25719
[x] Check the computer. See if there are any new messages from S or A.
[x] You’re filthy. Take a shower.
[x] Leftover food.
[x] Start the search.
-[x] Internet

>>25715
Kana Anaberal, so yeah.
>> No. 25735
[X] You’re filthy. Take a shower.
[x] Go eat some leftover breakfast first.
[X] Check the computer. See if there are any new messages from S or A.
[x] Start the search.
-[x] Internet
>> No. 25744
[X] You’re filthy. Take a shower.
[x] Go eat some leftover breakfast first.
[X] Check the computer. See if there are any new messages from S or A.
[x] Start the search.
-[x] Internet

Kana is trying to drag us into the undead realm.
>> No. 25746
>>25744
Fine by me.

[X] You’re filthy. Take a shower.
[x] Go eat some leftover breakfast first.
[X] Check the computer. See if there are any new messages from S or A.
[x] Start the search.
-[x] Internet
>> No. 25751
>>25744
That's an entirely acceptable fate as long as we get to spend forever with her. Because Kana is love.

[X] You’re filthy. Take a shower.
[x] Go eat some leftover breakfast first.
[X] Check the computer. See if there are any new messages from S or A.
[x] Start the search.
-[x] Internet
>> No. 25771
[x] Check the computer. See if there are any new messages from S or A.
[x] You’re filthy. Take a shower.
[x] Leftover food.
[x] Start the search.
-[x] Phone book
-[x] Internet

Yes.

Yes, Kana will do quite nicely.
>> No. 25872
…Right, let’s get the biggest concern out of the way first. Kicking the blanket away from me, I sit up from my bed, shivering a little from the morning air. Brrr, I think there’s a bit of a draft in here. Turning to the window, I reach out and tug on the handle firmly, shutting it tight. Kana didn’t close it all the way. Is she trying to make me catch a cold?

Stretching my arms as I get up from the bed, I drag my relaxed limbs over to my desk, sinking down in my chair. Turning on the computer monitor, I take a good look at the screen as I take a hold of my mouse. I don’t see that command prompt window, so A. hasn’t sent me any messages… or maybe he did, and just sent it by e-mail? Well, I need to check if S sent any new messages anyway, so…

I open up the web browser, quickly navigating to my e-mail inbox. I drum my finger on the surface of the desk as I wait for the browser to load up the page, letting out a yawn as I do so. Nope. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. You get the point, right? There’s absolutely nothing new in there, not even spam. I’d like to say that wasn’t a waste of time, but it was. That’s a few minutes right there that I’m never going to get back. Oh well, better safe than sorry, right?

Sliding out from the desk and standing up from the chair, I make my way toward the door to the room, turning the knob and tugging it open. I need to take a shower or something. I sweated quite a bit yesterday, running from that dog-headed freak, and I was too tired to even think of taking a bath yesterday. Funny, before I would go on for days without a shower or a bath, but now that I’m living with other people, I don’t want to show them that I have a poor hygiene. I still have my dignity as a person, after all, as small and trivial as it may be.

Thankfully, I’m able to have my shower in peace. The water doesn’t suddenly turn into blood, I don’t hear any wails coming from the changing room, and the lights don’t suddenly start to freak out or anything. I guess even Kana can respect the privacy of other people occasionally. The other times, though…

Emerging from the bathroom all squeaky clean, and hopefully much more presentable, I start toward the kitchen, for the next item on my agenda. I hope there’s still some breakfast left. Actually, it’s odd that no one came to wake me up. Maybe they thought to be considerate after the events of yesterday and allowed me to sleep in? Pfahahaha. Nah. They probably just didn’t want to bother.

As I walk into the living room, I see Elly sprawled out on the sofa, staring mindlessly at the television. Watching Saturday morning shows, huh? And why do you look so engrossed in a show targeted at kids under the age of ten, Miss Terrifying Youkai?

“G’morning,” I mumble toward her, and she acknowledges me with a brief glance before turning her gaze back to the TV. Phoenix Ranger 20X? Man, I remember watching the original series when I was a kid. Now I have no idea what’s going on in the newer seasons. Oh well, never had too much interest in the genre. Kids still love it, though. Which reminds me. “…Hey, aren’t you supposed to start work today?”

“…Ah,” Elly exclaims in a dull tone, sluggishly getting up from the sofa. Her form is slightly hunched and lacking in enthusiasm as she walks over to me with an expression of dread. “Do I really have to go?” she asks in a grim tone, to which I reply with a nod. She lets out a deep sigh, before heading off elsewhere while muttering curses under her breath.

“Hey, wait,” I say, stopping her. “Is there anything left to eat? I’m a little famished.”

“The maid left some food for you in the kitchen,” she says, pointing in its direction before moving on, looking as though she were heading for a funeral rather than her first day of employment. Well, hang in there. It builds character you know. Not that I would really know.

Following what she was kind enough to tell me, I step into the kitchen, flicking on the light switch as I enter. On the counter, I see the meal that Kana was gracious enough to leave for me. I turn to reach out for it, but something else catches my attention. Huh. I usually leave the broom closet door ajar. Did someone take something out of it? In my curiosity, I decide to take a look inside. I reach out for the knob, twisting it and pulling the door open…

And I immediately jump back as a person falls out from the closet, landing face-first on the ground. Holy crap, that scared me! Steadying my suddenly excited heart, I look down at the fallen figure for a better look.

Oh.

It’s just Kotohime.

And still asleep, by the look of it. Does she have a tendency to sleep in all places but the appropriate one?

[ ] Wake her up. She shouldn’t sleep on the floor like that.
[ ] Leave her be.
>> No. 25873
[X] She probably shouldn't sleep on the floor like that, huh...
[X] Put her back in the closet.
>> No. 25877
[X] She probably shouldn't sleep on the floor like that, huh...
[X] Put her back in the closet.

I approve of this course of action.
>> No. 25878
[X] She probably shouldn't sleep on the floor like that, huh...
[X] Put her back in the closet.
[X] Add a pillow.
>> No. 25879
[X] She probably shouldn't sleep on the floor like that, huh...
[X] Put her into your bed.
>> No. 25880
[x] >>25878

Loopy bitch is loopy.
>> No. 25881
[X] She probably shouldn't sleep on the floor like that, huh...
[X] Put her back in the closet.
[X] Add a pillow.
>> No. 25882
[X] She probably shouldn't sleep on the floor like that, huh...
[X] Put her back in the closet.
[X] Add a pillow.
>> No. 25886
[X] She probably shouldn't sleep on the floor like that, huh...
[X] Put her back in the closet.
[X] Add a pillow.
>> No. 25887
[X] She probably shouldn't sleep on the floor like that, huh...
[X] Put her back in the closet.
[X] Add a pillow.
>> No. 25890
[X] She probably shouldn't sleep on the floor like that, huh...
[X] Put her back in the closet.
[X] Add a pillow.

If she wants to sleep in the closet, who are we to stop her? Still she should have a pillow.
>> No. 25891
[X] She probably shouldn't sleep on the floor like that, huh...
[X] Put her back in the closet.
[X] Add a pillow.
True true.
>> No. 25901
[X] She probably shouldn't sleep on the floor like that, huh...
[X] Put her back in the closet.
[X] Add a pillow.
>> No. 25965
…What’s amazing is that she fell out of the closet when I opened it, which means that she somehow fell asleep standing while leaning against the door. How long has she been in there, anyway? Was she in there all night or did she stumble inside during a bout of sleepwalking? Well, I guess it doesn’t really matter either way, but whatever.

Huh, well now this is a curious dilemma: I don’t want to leave her sleeping on the floor like this, but I also don’t want to wake her up and have to deal with her so early in the day. I look back at the open closet, and I feel my lips curling into a sly grin, a rather fun idea making its presence known in my head. So she likes to sleep in closets? Well, she’s fully welcome to.

Leaving her there for now, I walk back into my room to retrieve a spare pillow. I give it a few whacks to soften it up a little before returning to where I left the girl. Temporarily setting the pillow down off to the side as I crouch down by her form, I slip a hand under her stomach while placing my other hand on one of her shoulders, turning her over to her back. She fidgets her hands slightly, her nose twitching and her eyelids almost fluttering open, but she remains sound asleep.

Resisting the urge to cop a feel once again, I slide my hands underneath her, and grunting with effort, I lift her up in my arms. The tired muscles in my arms break out in a protest against me, but I ignore their outraged cries as I stumble my way into the closet while holding the girl in my arms. Kotohime lets out a soft, sleepy moan as I carry her, making herself comfortable by burying her head against my chest, her hands moving to clutch the front of my shirt, hanging on tight.

Well, this isn’t too bad of a feeling, I think. If she wasn’t so out of it all the time she would be pretty cute, but I guess I could say that for… pretty much everyone else here, really. I should really be thrilled that I’m surrounded by a beautiful group of women, but somehow I’m less than enthused about it. Maybe if it wasn’t for the whole “Your life is in danger!” thing that happens all the time now, I could take this more acceptingly.

Crouching down with a grunt, I gently lower her to the floor of the closet, still careful not to wake her as I let her lean against the wall. I begin to move back to retrieve the pillow, but… she’s still clutching onto my shirt. As I try to pull away, she instead tugs harder, and her lips mumble something inaudibly. Damn, she’s got like a death grip on my shirt, and I’m afraid that if I try to pull away, it might rip. Let go of me already, I’m not a stuffed bear for you to cling to when you’re asleep.

Carefully, I pry her fingers from my shirt, tugging it out of her grasp. I return after picking up the pillow off of the floor, crouching down in front of her again. Her head sags forward, drooping back and forth as she continues to doze. I place the pillow behind her head, tipping it back so that she’s resting against it. She should at least be a little more comfortable now.

Dusting off my hands, I sit there and watch her for a bit. A small trickle of drool leaks out the corner of her mouth. She’s like a little kid. She acts like even more of a kid than Ellen at times, actually, now that I think about it. How old is she, anyway? I’d guess her to be around mid-to-late teens, but she really doesn’t act her age. Oh well. I get the feeling that if I asked, she’d reply with something like “It’s a secret!”

Standing up, I close the closet door as quietly as I can before grabbing the plates prepared for me on the kitchen counter and retreating back into my room. In the hallway, I can see that the door to Yuuka’s room is still closed, which probably means she’s still inside, sleeping. She seems to do a lot of that, doesn’t she? Why does she need to sleep so much when she does nothing for most of the day? And she has the gall to call me lazy.

Well, not that I’d ever confront her about that.

As for Ellen, I don’t see her or her accursed cat accomplice anywhere, so I’m guessing she went outside or something. She had better not be planning on trying to make potions in the kitchen again. Death by laughter is not the way I want to go out, if I absolutely had to. More importantly, she’d be using my money to acquire the ingredients.

…Right, time to start the search. I’m not going to get anywhere just by wandering outside, so let’s try the biggest information network of the modern age first.



Kurozawa, Takeshi. Kurosawa, Takashi. Kurosawa, Takahashi. Kurosawa, Takeshita.

Goddamn it, why is it that I can’t find a Kurosawa, Takeshi at all? …Well, I suppose I shouldn’t have really placed too much faith on the internet, I suppose, but I’m still feeling the bitter sting of disappointment wounding me. Why have you failed me so? Anyway, guess this Takeshi guy must be a pretty obscure man, but that just makes my job harder. Yuuka was right: just how am I supposed to find a single individual like that? And with a pretty common name like that, how would I know which one will be the one who’ll be attacked? It’d look pretty stupid of me if I tracked the wrong guy and the real target ended up being killed because of it.

I lean back, sweeping back my hair while letting out a deep, resigned sigh. This is impossible. I give up, there’s no way I can do this. There’s a limit to how far I’m going to go to save a stranger. Rather than trying to figure out how to save a single person, shouldn’t I, and that hacker A, be concentrating on how to end these attacks instead? ...No, I suppose we can’t do that. We’re lacking information, and the only source from which we got the little we do have is linked to those attacks.

Damn it, why did I have to get involved in all of this? This isn’t something a normal person would be able to handle. Not at all.

I rub my eyes, leaning back comfortably in my chair. I’ll take a break before I continue the search again.

Pipipipipi.

I look around the room, scratching the back of my head. Something’s ringing. It sounds vaguely familiar, but what is it?

Pipipipipi.

Oh, right! It’s the handheld phone set I have on my desk. I don’t get a lot of calls very often, so for a moment I almost didn’t recognize it. Wheeling my chair toward it, I grab the handset, pushing the button to turn it on before putting it to my ear.

“Hello?”

“Yo, hey, long time no talk!” a male voice energetically answers.

“…Who is this?” I inquire in a puzzled tone of voice.

“…That’s cold, man,” the man on the other end says sourly. “It’s me, remember? We went to so-and-so high together.”

“Senpai?”

“Yeah, that’s right.”

…Oh, it’s that guy. That guy who I used to hang out with starting my sophomore year in high school. He was a year above me, and he insisted that he call me ‘senpai’ all the time, even when he flunked and was held back a year for his senior year, and we ended up in the same grade, because, supposedly, he was still my senior in heart and soul. The truth is, he was known to be kind of a delinquent, and he carried around a concealed butterfly knife all the time, so I never really fought him about it.

“Anyway, I called you on Thursday, but someone else picked up. Hey, you shacking up with a girl?” he asks, in a tone somewhere half-way between incredulity and derisiveness.

Damn it, Kotohime.

“…No, you sure you didn’t call the wrong number?”

“I guess I might have,” he says carelessly. “Anyway, it’s really been a while, hasn’t it?”

“It’s been some years, yeah.”

“I called your folks a while back, you know. About a year ago, I think, and they said you moved out and gave me your contact information. I was going to give you a call to tell you I’m still alive and not in jail or anything, but I didn’t get around to it.”

“So why now?”

“Oh, I have to come down over there for work, and figured I’d call you up while I was in the area,” he explains. “So how ‘bout it? I never got to go on that field trip to Tokyo, and I feel like taking a look-see. You wanna come with and get smashed or something?”

[ ] “Sure.”
[ ] “Sorry, I’m busy right now.”
>> No. 25966
[x] “Sure.”

Why not? A break wouldn't be bad, and this trip might find that guy, if it isn't him. (Not likely but ya never know)
>> No. 25967
[x] “Sure.”
>> No. 25968
[x] “Sorry, I’m busy right now.”
>> No. 25975
[x] “Sure.”

Sure, spend some time with Kurosawa Senpai.
>> No. 25979
>>25975
Can't be.
[x] “Sure.”
A bit time off wouldn't hurt.
>> No. 25983
>>25975
Heh I wish.

[x] “Sure.”
plothook.png
>> No. 25984
>>25975
Awfully convenient if it were.

[X] “Sure.”
>> No. 25997
[x] “Sorry, I’m busy right now.”
[x] "But hey, give me your number so I can call you some time."
>> No. 26022
Hell, I could use a break, I guess, and I guess I do still count this guy among the… distressingly small list of friends I still keep contact with. It means I’ll have to go outside again, but I’m oddly used to that by now.

“…Sure,” I reply after a moment’s pause, shrugging my shoulders. “Where should we meet up?”



After hanging up the phone, I lazily get up from the chair, stretching my limbs again as I walk over to the closet of my room, flinging the door open carelessly. Reaching inside, I produce my usual pair of jeans, which I change into, as well as a dark-colored jacket, which I wrap around myself to put on. It’s a bit too big for me, and the breeze sometimes slips in through the loose sleeves to give me a chill, but it’s better than nothing.

As I step outside of my room, I run into Yuuka, still in her pink pajamas and nightcap, as she emerges from her room, her sleepy eyes drooping and still unfocused. She stifles a yawn with her hand before she notices me, but slow to react, she doesn’t seem to acknowledge my presence with anything until a few seconds of silent blank staring later.

“Oh,” she finally says, blinking her eyes repeatedly. She stifles another yawn, her eyes moistening up. She brushes the water away as she inquires, “You’re going out somewhere?”

“Yeah, just going out to meet a friend of mine,” I say, stuffing my hands into the pocket of my jacket, idly tapping the floor with my sock-covered feet. “Try not to burn the house down while I’m gone.”

“…You have friends?” she asks in an incredulous tone of voice, though her expression remains deadpan.

I clear my throat, deciding not to pursue the subject any further. I suppose I deserved that little snark there. Not knowing if I should say anything else, I linger for a moment until she walks away with an air of disinterest, heading straight for the living room. Bunch of television addicts, I swear. Shrugging, I make my way to the front door, putting on my shoes and stepping out into the world once more.

Step, step, step, step, step, I climb down the metal staircase leading down to the asphalt underneath. And now I’m walking in the streets with my hands jammed deep in the warm pockets of my jacket, playing around with a piece of lint in one of ‘em while watching my breath fog up as the morning’s cold air makes my face sting. It’s pretty cloudy out today. Maybe it’ll start snowing soo—

The world becomes silent.

I immediately stop in my tracks; my heart feels like it’s sunk right down into my stomach. I take a gander around. It’s happening again. The people are gone from the streets. The sounds of dozens of footsteps, engines, chatter, life… it’s all gone.

“Don’t move,” an echoing voice comes from close behind, causing me to jump. I resist the urge to turn around when I feel something pressed against my back, jabbing into my flesh. “No sudden movements, hmm?” the voice drawls in a smug, arrogant tone of voice.

…Who is this? I can’t make out the voice too clearly, but it sounds very androgynous, like the pitch of either a very high-pitched man’s or a low-pitched woman’s.

“Good, it seems we understand each other, then, dear irregular,” the voice says after surveying me for a few seconds and seeing that I wasn’t about to move anytime soon, letting out a creepy and effeminate giggle. “You’re probably wondering who I am.”

“Not really,” I say bitterly. This guy, or girl, whatever the fuck he/she is, he/she’s the one whose ass I wanted to give a good kick to. “You’re S, aren’t you? The one sending us the e-mails.”

“Ahahahaha, correct~!” S says in a flighty voice, sounding overjoyed. “…I am the one who will usher the Sons and Daughters of Man to a new era,” he/she says, and I feel the pressure being lifted from my back as he/she continues to speak. “An ally of justice. Mankind’s ‘Savior’, if you would be so kind as to call me by such a title.”

“I don’t get it.”

“I don’t expect you to,” he/she says, again with that smug and arrogant tone. “You all are to me as to what sheep are to a shepherd. A shepherd need not inform his herd of anything; he must only guide them. But every flock has its black sheep,” he/she adds thoughtfully at the end.

“And I’m a black sheep?” I ask with grit teeth, clenching my fists. Who is he/she to treat people like cattle?

“Mmhmm,” he/she affirms, giggling madly again. Again, I feel something being jabbed into my back. “Rejoice, my black sheep, for my most exalted self will grant you the answers to your questions. And not just one, but three. Aren’t I generous? You should be praising me for this. Now, you had best pick wisely~!”

Only three? You’re kidding…

[ ] “What do you mean by black sheep?”
[ ] “What’s the purpose behind those messages of yours?”
[ ] “Are you the one sending those monsters after people?”
[ ] “What new era are you talking about?”
[ ] “What’s with this dimension spell or whatever you call this… this thing?”
[ ] “…are you a guy or a chick?”
[ ] (Write-in)
>> No. 26025
[x] “What do you mean by black sheep?”
[x] “What’s the purpose behind those messages of yours?”
[x] “…are you a guy or a chick?”
>> No. 26026
[x] “What do you mean by black sheep?”
[x] “What’s the purpose behind those messages of yours?”
[x] “…are you a guy or a chick?”
>> No. 26028
[x] “What do you mean by black sheep?”
[x] “What’s the purpose behind those messages of yours?”
[x] "What's your full name?"

a full name would possibly allow us to identify this mysterious person, or atleast allow one of the others to identify him/her.
>> No. 26029
[x] “What’s the purpose behind those messages of yours?”
[x] "What's your full name?"
[x] "Where is the "Kurosawa Takeshi" from the e-mail?

Worth a shot.
>> No. 26031
[X] “What’s your full name?”
[X] “Are you the one sending those monsters after people?”
[X] “What new era are you talking about?”

We have three questions. I would rather not waste one of them on a joke.

Also, I think it's fair to assume that we're a "black sheep" because we managed to avoid the fate listed out in the predictive e-mail, so that isn't as worthwhile a question as some of the others. Likewise, I have a niggling feeling that the purpose of the e-mails is to weed out people like us.

Getting information on the whole dimension spell is tempting, but I'm not sure what we would do with it. Even if we could break the spell, that we just dump the monsters and us straight into a heavily populated area, so that might not be in our best interests.
>> No. 26032
[x] “What’s the purpose behind those messages of yours?”
[x] “Are you the one sending those monsters after people?”
[x] “What new era are you talking about?”
>> No. 26035
[X] “What do you mean by black sheep?”
[X] “What new era are you talking about?”
[X] “What’s with this dimension spell or whatever you call this… this thing?”

>[x] “…are you a guy or a chick?”
C'mon people.
>> No. 26038
[x] "What's your full name?"
[x] “What do you mean by black sheep?”
[x] “What new era are you talking about?”

What the purpose behind those messages is clear and i doubt that she would show all her cards with telling the secret of the dimension spell.
>> No. 26040
[x] “Are you the one sending those monsters after people?”
[x] “What new era are you talking about?”
[x] “What’s with this dimension spell or whatever you call this… this thing?”

I think we might be a black sheep due to all the various PC-98 Gensokyo folks living with us.

But the mails seem to be something of a test. For what? Maybe the new era question.
>> No. 26046
{“Are you the one sending those monsters after people?”}
{“What new era are you talking about?”}
{"Where is the 'Kurosawa Takeshi' from the e-mail?"}
>> No. 26047
[X] “Are you the one sending those monsters after people?”
[X] “What new era are you talking about?”
[X] “Where is the 'Kurosawa Takeshi' from the e-mail?”
>> No. 26051
[x] “Are you the one sending those monsters after people?”
[x] “What new era are you talking about?”
[x] "Where is the 'Kurosawa Takeshi' from the e-mail?"

So loli Alice and S. both know about this dimension era whatsit thing. Interesting.

Also, did nobody else notice Windows Alice in the church?

>>26040
Do you even know what "black sheep" means?
>> No. 26104
File 126829076098.jpg - (383.79KB , 881x1043 , it should have been pretty obvious by now anyway.jpg ) [iqdb]
26104
“What are you talking about?” I ask in a rough, frustrated tone. Why can’t these people ever speak in a way that you can understand? It’s always new world this, dimension spell that. Can’t they ever understand that a normal person might not comprehend even a fraction of what they’re saying? Cut it with all the cryptic crap already, you hermaphrodite. “What new era? The hell do you mean by that?”

“...Soon, the world will see a new era of absolute peace and prosperity,” the androgynous voice says, touching off by giggling in that creepy way again. “The path that Man follows now will only end in disaster. As of now, catastrophe is Man’s only future, for I have seen it. But I will lead Man astray from that path, to one guided by the hand of my wonderful God.”

Are you a Christian?

“Sounds like a load of clichéd bull,” I blurt out without thinking, instantly regretting it. I bite down on my tongue, cringing as I prepare myself for the imminent retaliation for my words.

“Hehehe…” he/she giggles, and I feel whatever’s poking my back jab harder into the flesh, nearly shoving me forward. “Trite or not, that is the current situation that befalls Mankind, and I have taken it upon myself to become Man’s salvation.”

You might want to see a shrink about that messianic complex you have there.

“And are you going to do that by killing people?” I say in an accusatory tone, twisting my neck around to look back as far as I can without actually turning around. “Are you the one sending those monsters after people!?”

“My, my, so you think that’s my doing?” he/she laughs, amused. “Fine. Let’s suppose that I am the one causing the deaths predicted in my own messages. And what, exactly, do you suppose I would stand to gain by warning my victims?”

“That’s…” I fumble over my words. “That’s, that’s for you to answer, obviously!”

“Then I will tell you: absolutely nothing,” he/she answers calmly. “Does that answer your earlier question?”

Geh. So he/she’s not the one responsible, then? Or… could it be that he/she is just lying? Why should I trust any of his/her answers?

“And, and why am I a black sheep? What’s so special about me?”

“Besides being the only survivor of the messages, you mean?” he/she asks to verify in that ever-present smug tone of his/hers. The tone of his/her echoing words slowly change from smug to solemn as he continues to speak, “…You are an irregularity, one of many. The coming new world has already deemed you unfit for presence there. You have no place in the era to come.

“So it is you sending those messages then!” I burst out angrily, abandoning all pretense of caution as I whirl around. “You, you’ve been trying to eliminate me, isn’t that it!?”

Finally, I get a good look at the figure speaking to me, S. He/she’s tall, almost as tall as I am, with a slim, feminine waist build, yet also possessing broad and masculine shoulders. His/her white face is almost flawlessly beautiful, yet it also holds certain handsome qualities to it as well; a real life bishounen, if I’ve ever seen one. Long, pale blue hair descends from the top of his/her head to his/her waist, and he/she’s wearing a simple blue dress—or should I call it a robe?—with long white sleeves. In his/her hand is a strangely shaped metallic stick, bent all curvy and weird at the tip.

Well, his/her appearance certainly doesn’t really help in determining his/her gender.

“You still insist on saying that?” he/she asks, raising an eyebrow as he/she crosses his/her arms together, laughing. “Foolish irregular. If I had wanted to eliminate you, it would be all too easy of a task,” he/she says, pointing that strange stick in his/her hand at a building nearby.

“Bang,” he/she says with a smirk.

And in the next instant, an impossibly bright light erupts from the end of that instrument in S’s hand, and when I next open my eyes after covering them from the blinding flash with my arms, I let out a gasp of shock as I realize that that building is no longer in one piece; it’s been sliced through cleanly in two, from top-to-bottom, like a freaking cake!

“Do you see? If I had wanted to kill you, you could not stop me; no one could. The other irregulars occupying your living space could not interfere, as this Closed Boundary is mine to control, and only I decide who leaves or enters.”

God… goddamn! That’s some ridiculous…

“Just what are you after…?” I ask weakly, feeling the strength leaving my knees as I continue to gaze at the neatly parted building, following along the burnt scorching marks running up the jagged edges where the wall was torn apart with my eyes.

“Ah, ah, ah,” S grins, wagging his/her finger. “Your three questions are up. In fact, you asked four. Asking for anything more would be beyond even my grace.”

Tch.

“…I’ll be watching you closely, irregular,” he/she says, and his body slowly floats up into the air, as three pairs of angelic wings sprout from his back, showering me with molting, white feathers as they spread out; his/her wingspan is much wider than he/she is tall. “Struggle. Struggle as best as you may against the tides of change.”

With those words, S disappears, and gradually, the usual sound of the busy streets soon returns. I redirect my gaze to the building standing next to men, the one that had been all but destroyed by that angel only seconds ago; the building—the one in the normal dimension, right?—is completely unmarked.

------

…Now, where is Senpai? He said he’d be waiting out here, but I don’t think I see him anywhere…

Suddenly, I feel someone clapping me hard on the back, nearly shoving me forward with the force of their hand. I turn around sluggishly without much enthusiasm. “…Hey there, long time no see, senpai.”

“Hey man, you could be a bit more happy about this,” Senpai says with a frown.

…It’s weird. I’m so accustomed to seeing this guy with his badly bleached hair that I can’t adjust to seeing him with his natural, dark hair color now. He’s missing the earrings he always had back in school, too. But, well, with his hard, cold facial structure and his uncharacteristically goofy, dumb-looking grin, it definitely is Senpai, alright.

“Oh, heh,” Senpai runs a hand through his hair when he notices the object of my gawking. “Yeah, I’m working at a company now, so I had to lose the dye.”

Company? You’re a company man now? No way, you were even dumber than I was! …But looking at his well-tailored suit and shined boots, it seems he’s seriously telling the truth. Almost makes me want to strangle him. “…oh? Where do you work?”

“I’m working with the Cactus group,” he says in a suave tone of voice, slipping his hands into the pockets of his jacket. “You heard of ‘em?”

“Oh, yeah,” I nod. They develop weapons or something, I think. No way, I can’t believe this guy managed to join such a highly known corporation, and by the looks of it he seems pretty high up on the ladder. Argh, this is just making me boil inside. Did he show up here just to brag about his success?

He checks his watch; digital, I’m glad to see. At least my watch is more expensive than his watch. Well, he was never really one for frivolities other than things that made him look “hard” as he called it, so I guess he wouldn’t really care for classy things like overpriced watches when digitals are more convenient and cheap.

“It’s ‘bout time for lunch, so I’ll treat you,” he says with a grin. “You know a place around where they serve good food?”

Actually, I kinda already ate before heading out. It was a small meal, and mostly cold leftover, but I’m certainly not starving at the moment.

“Or do you just want to go to a café or something?” he says, looking away. “…Actually, there’s a place down a Akiba I always wanted to visit, so that’s fine too.”

A café in Akiba? You can’t be serious, senpai. You actually want to go to… one of those places?

[ ] Make him treat you.
[ ] Hail a cab to Akihabara.
>> No. 26105
So it was Sariel, after all.

[X] Hail a cab to Akihabara.
>> No. 26106
[x] Hail a cab to Akihabara.

Sounds fun.
>> No. 26107
[X] "Sorry to disappoint, but I already have the only maid I could ever want."
[X] Make him treat you.

Maid café? It could never compare.

As long as we find a decent place to eat, I'm sure Kurosawa-senpai is going to be happy enough. We have a lot to talk about without him getting distracted by maid costumes as it is.
>> No. 26108
[X] "Sorry to disappoint, but I already have the only maid I could ever want."
[X] Make him treat you.

I must go with this, normal teenage girls and young women in maid outfits pale before an unaging ghost maid.
>> No. 26109
[x] "Sorry to disappoint, but I already have the only maid I could ever want."
[x] Make him treat you.

Jealous? What? No! Never!

A little.
>> No. 26113
[x] "Sorry to disappoint, but I already have the only maid I could ever want."
[x] Make him treat you.
>> No. 26114
[X] "Sorry to disappoint, but I already have the only maid I could ever want."
[X] Make him treat you.
>> No. 26116
[x] "Sorry to disappoint, but I already have the only maid I could ever want."
[x] Make him treat you.
Good call.
>> No. 26122
>>26109
Way to rub it in, Sempai. But hey does he have a bunch of lovely yet nutty women living with him? I think not.
>> No. 26125
Cripe, I hope he doesn't visit us.
>> No. 26126
>>26125
For his sake really, since Elly and/or Yuuka would horribly kill him over one wrong word.
>> No. 26127
[X]"Sorry to dissapoint, but I already have the only maid I could ever want."
[X]Make him treat you.

Geeze, Sariel is an ass. The way s/he speaks and his/her motives kind of reminds me of Phantasy Star Zero's Mother Trinity minus the world ruining and tri-racial genocide.
>> No. 26215
“I’ll pass on that,” I say, shrugging my shoulders. To tell the truth, I really would not like to be seen walking into a maid café. I still have some spot of dignity.

This guy, though, well, he always did have a somewhat bizarre and unexpected fondness for girls in frilly costumes. It was actually pretty hilarious to find out, actually. Here’s a guy with piercings and bleached hair, picking fights with anyone he can over the smallest of things, and he has a maid fetish. Not that I’ve ever openly laughed about it in his face, mind.

And besides…

“Sorry to disappoint, but I already have the only maid I could ever want,” I say with a smug tone of voice, my hands resting inside my pockets. No typical teenager part-timing at a café could ever compare to her, after all, despite the sometimes odd and disturbing things she says and does.

“The hell you talking about?” Senpai asks with a raised eyebrow, looking confused. “…So you are shacking up with a girl?”

Urk.

“N-no,” I say, waving a hand in distress. “It’s nothing. I was just talking to myself, that’s all.”

He eyes me suspiciously, before shrugging the topic off. “Alright then, I guess I can go later at my own time,” he says nonchalantly. “Anyway, as I was saying, you know a good food place around in this area?”

“Yeah, sure,” I reply. Well, if he’s going to extend the generosity of a free meal to me, I’m certainly not going to refuse it, and since I never really cook for myself, I know a few places out here. Since he seems to have made it pretty big, I can get him to treat me at somewhere expensive, too. Maybe a sushi bar, or… Oh!

“There’s a restaurant nearby that serves Chinese. Not the cheap fast food ones but, you know, real Chinese food.”

“Chinese?” He raises an eyebrow. “I didn’t know you liked Chinese food.”

“It’s not like either of us really had any pocket money to go out eating back then,” I say with a shrug of the shoulders.

“Hah, you’re right,” he laughs good-naturedly as he reminisces on those times. “I still think your old man should really have given you more money. See, then we wouldn’t have resorted to desperate measure like taking the school-trip money and going bowling with it!”

“Hey, that was all your idea,” I say, grinning despite myself. “I was completely innocent in that.”

“Hah!” he barks out a laugh. “Don’t kid yourself. You were guilty by association. …Oh well, the trip would have been an ass anyway.”

Laughing at those memories of being a pair of idiots, we begin to walk down the street with me in the lead.



“Oi,” Senpai grabs my attention by elbowing me lightly on the side, pointing somewhere else. “What the hell is that?”

I turn to look at what he’s pointing at and see a bizarre sight. He’s pointing at a passing bystander, but whoever it is, they’re far from normal. Someone’s… dressed in a very thick, dirty, and ragged-looking coat, short in stature and their face covered up by a hood pulled low over their eyes. They walk with slow and deliberate movements, hindered by what seems to be hunched and deformed back.

“Just ignore it,” I whisper to him, but he seems fascinated by the mysterious stranger. So much that I have to physically drag him away from the unusual sight. It’s rude to stare, anyway; and doubly so when the object of the attention has a physical deformity like that guy there.



Huang yi!

An unremarkable-looking girl in a formal waitress uniform—a buttoned-up black vest worn over a dress shirt and black trousers—greets us with a polite bow as we enter the restaurant through brightly-decorated wooden doors. She leads us to a small table by the windows on one side of the building, and we pull up the chairs, Senpai stopping to take off his coat jacket and draping it over the backrest of his.

“Ooh, this looks like a pretty fancy place,” he says with a smile as he takes a look around, though I suspect he’s not admiring the interior design.

One of the waitresses comes to us, carrying a plate in her hand and a pair of menus in the other. A redheaded girl, her long hair tied with a ribbon just over one of her shoulders. She has this really bored look on her face, moving almost mechanically. As she hands out the menus to us and places the plate down on the table, I get a glimpse of the nametag worn on her breast.

紅橙子 .

Wordlessly, she moves away from us. It seems she’s tending to another table nearby as well—a table filled with red-faced and middle-aged salesmen, it seems.

“Daidaiko is a pretty strange name, isn’t it?” Senpai says suddenly, and I look back to him.

“Senpai, I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to be read as Touko,” I say, snorting a little.

“Oh, right,” he says a little dumbly, turning his attention to the plate the waitress brought us. On the plate are two moist rolls of cloth. “And what’re these things for?”

“To wash your hands with,” I say, reaching out and grabbing one of the rolls. It feels warm to the touch, and smells faintly of lemon.

Unfolding it, I wash my hands thoroughly with it, and Senpai nods and does the same. We both dump the used cloth back on the plate before picking up our menus to take a look through them.

“…How ‘bout some fried rice?” Senpai asks, looking up from the menu.

“Senpai, that’s like going to an Indian restaurant to order curry. While you’re here, you might as well try some of the more exotic stuff, right?”

“Huh,” he shrugs his shoulders before perusing the menu again. “…Duck feet? Seriously? They serve duck feet? How do you even eat that?”

“Why don’t you order it and see?”

“Mmm… nah, sounds too weird,” he says dismissively.



In the end, we decided on fried rice and some other typical Chinese dishes. I raise my hand, signaling the waitress to come over to us. We give her our order, and she picks up the menus and the plates, briskly walking away.

…but just as she passes by that other table, she trips and stumbles onto her knees, sending the things in her arms to the floor. The drunken men at the table laugh at her as she scrambles to her feet with a reddened face, silently picking them up.

What a bunch of scum. I saw it. One of them stuck out his foot to trip her as she walked by. I’m sure she must realize that too. She’s holds a stern expression as she walks away, like she’s trying her best to contain her anger. Unfortunately, there’s really not much she can do. For a restaurant, business is their main concern, and employees are expected to be able to handle a certain amount of harassment for its sake.

Looking back at Senpai, I see a big red warning sign: he’s got an ugly scowl on his face, glaring at that rowdy group nearby. He unbuttons his sleeves and rolls them up, maintaining that expression as he slowly drags his chair back and stands up menacingly.

Hold on a minute, you’re not planning to start something here, are you Senpai!? We’ll get kicked out! And what’s more, even though they’re middle-aged, they outnumber you three-to-one. He’s ignoring my silent pleas to stand down, and it looks like he’s beginning his stride over to the table. Damn it, man, you know you can’t expect me to back you in a fight; whenever I was involved in one of your brawls, I was only there so “they have someone else to punch" other than you!

[ ] Try to stop him.
[ ] Do nothing.
[ ] Go with him.
>> No. 26217
>紅橙子
Orange, I presume?

[X] Go with him.

Three middle-aged drunks versus two one strapping young lad and a shut-in with a smoking habit? We can take 'em.
>> No. 26219
[x] Try to stop him.

I woudln't want him to throw away what he has going. Where's Yuuka when you need her?
>> No. 26225
[X] Go with him.
>> No. 26235
[x] Try to stop him.
>> No. 26236
[x] Go with him.
>> No. 26237
[X] Try to stop him.
>> No. 26239
[x] Go with him.
>> No. 26240
[X] Go with him.
>> No. 26242
[x] Go with him.
>> No. 26244
[x] Go with him.
Suddenly, Orange.
>> No. 26245
[ø] Go with him.
>> No. 26250
[x] Go with him.
Yes, he may be a dick. He certainly looks like one. But there's no way to know for sure until you've taken a beating with him. That's how men create bonds.
>> No. 26260
[x] Go with him.

Bro science should be offered as a major at universities.
>> No. 26268
[x] Go with him.

>紅橙子
>Hong Cheng
That is indeed Orange. Or Kurenai Touko, if you prefer.

Thank you, Lio~
I saw this coming the moment I saw mention of Chinese food, but I was delighted all the same.

>> No. 26281
File 126866149286.jpg - (369.57KB , 800x1024 , Kana(Coloured).jpg ) [iqdb]
26281
Some freetime got me into this.
>> No. 26300
Something else I noticed:
>Someone’s… dressed in a very thick, dirty, and ragged-looking coat, short in stature and their face covered up by a hood pulled low over their eyes. They walk with slow and deliberate movements, hindered by what seems to be hunched and deformed back.

>hunched, deformed back
>big thick coat with hood pulled low in the middle of the day
>(obviously meant to be made a note of)
My money's on Kurumi.
>> No. 26317
>>26281
Lovely.

>>26268
I-it's not like I did it for you or anything.

------

Damn it, he’s always like this. Always going around picking fights with people no matter what the odds are over the slightest of things! I was hoping that maybe he’d have mellowed out as he really entered the world of adulthood, but I guess even as a corporate man, he still can’t keep his head on straight. I grit my teeth, shaking my head in resignation as he begins to stroll on over to the other table.

Silently, I debate with myself on what to do next. Should I try to stop him? No, he’s never really listened to me on these things in the past; it would just be a waste of effort. Maybe… maybe I could try ignoring this. No, wait, if a fight really does break out, I’ll be hauled out of this place along with him, and there’s no point in staying here by myself in the first place. Besides, as a friend of his, I can’t leave him like that, even if the best I can do is meatshield for him…

Shit, that just leaves one option, doesn’t it?

I curse under my breath as I watch Senpai casually tap the man who tripped that waitress on the shoulder, and slap my forehead with one hand in exasperation as he delivers a clean punch to the man’s face as he turns around, sending the red-faced man stumbling to the floor.

A few of the waitresses who witness it scream and gasp in fright, and the other two men sitting at the table, once they get over the initial shock of a young man just walking up and punching out one of their own, get up from their chairs and walk toward Senpai threateningly, one of them taking off his coat jacket and necktie and throwing them to the floor.

Reluctantly, I get up from my seat, walking over to and standing next to Senpai, putting on the best hard expression that I can muster up. I’m pretty scrawny, but so long as I scowl next to this guy, I must look at least slightly more frightening than usual, right? Anyway, I’m hoping that the old geezers here get cold feet and leave without trouble. But it looks like I might as well joss that hope. Alcohol tends to empower people with false courage.

The bigger of the two men stares down Senpai, who, not to be beaten, glares back. Boy, I can just see the sparks fly. And then I see fists fly. Not for long, though, because the other one comes at me with surprising speed for a drunk old guy. Panicking as he weaves in, throwing a punch at me, I grab whatever’s nearby at the moment and shove it in his face.

“Aagh!” the man screams, reeling back with one hand covering his face.

That ‘whatever’ turned out to be a still-quite-hot bowl of soup, which makes a dull clink as it lands on the floor, dumping its contents on the expensive-looking mug.

The man wipes at his face with his sleeves, his breath coming out in short, seething gasps through his teeth. I can’t tell if it’s red from liquor, embarrassment, or the scalding now. Maybe all three. He gets ready to come at me again, but is promptly knocked down when his fellow stumbles back into him, sending them both to the floor in a tangled mess.

“Fuckin’ scumbags,” Senpai says as he looks down on the two, one of them knocked out cold while the other’s lying underneath him, trying to get him off. He walks over to the two of them, giving the one still conscious a good kick in the side, cutting short his attempt to stand back up. “Think you can get away with anything just ‘cuz you’re wearing a suit,” he says acerbically, spitting on the rug.

…Senpai, I’m on your side, but I think what you just said might apply to you as well. Do the words “assault charges” mean anything to you, by chance? Speaking of which, we should really get away from here before the cops get here or something.

Finally, Senpai takes a look around, and sees all of the horrified pairs of eyes staring at him, employees and other customers alike. “Uh, sorry about that,” he says apologetically with a sheepish look on his face, before reaching into his pocket and drawing his wallet. He slips out a ten-thousand yen bill from it, and places it on the table nearby. “Here, uh, go ahead and just take it. We’ll be leaving now anyway.”

Sure must feel nice to throw away money like that.

I let out a sigh as he wordlessly walks back to our table to fetch his jacket, loosely draping it over his shoulder. He looks back at me, presumably to tell me to get ready to leave, when his eyes widen in alarm. “Hey, look out!” he cries, beginning to rush toward me.

Before I can even turn around, I feel a hard wooden surface being bashed over my head. At first, the pain lasts for only an instant as I sink to my knees, my mind completely blank. It’s only after a moment that I feel the full force of the blow follow, nearly overwhelming my consciousness with a shocking, swerving sensation. It’s a miracle that I didn’t faint on the spot, though now I wish I had; then I wouldn’t have to deal with this head-splitting ache.

The next few scenes seem like a blur. I turn around and see a man: the one Senpai punched out when he started the fight, holding one of the chairs in his hands. The next moment, I hear Senpai swear loudly, and I see that man tumbling back down to the floor, clocked out himself by a chair that came flying from behind me. I hear a rush of footsteps, and see Senpai rushing past me, picking up one of the fallen chairs and raising it over his head, ready to bring it down on the man now lying on the ground.

But…

“Stop!”

He can’t, because someone’s run up behind him and grabbed him around his shoulders, dragging him back. My vision goes blurry for a moment, and I shake my head to clear it. Red hair. It’s that waitress. Senpai loses his expression of contorted rage, and allows himself to be pulled away, lowering his arms and tossing the chair to the floor.

The waitress lets go of him, and though he’s still obviously angry, he ignores the men in favor of walking over to me and extending a hand concernedly while the redheaded waitress shouts what seems to be instructions to the other workers still gawking around.

“Hey, you okay?” Senpai asks.

“…No, not really,” I say as I take his hand, his strong grip pulling me up. I let go of his hand, trying to walk on my own, but it seems I’m still not quite all there yet, as I nearly fall back down, though Senpai catches me before I do and wraps my arm around his shoulder, supporting me.

“Come on, let’s get out of here,” he mutters, glaring at the men now being helped up to their feet by the other waiters and waitresses of the restaurant.

“I’ll escort you outside, sirs,” the redheaded waitress says, hurrying over to us and taking my other arm, helping Senpai support me as they begin to drag me toward the entrance. Senpai gives her a grin in gratitude, and I would mutter words of “Thank you” as well, but right now, I feel like I might throw up if I tried to open my mouth.

The owner of the place is kind enough to give us words of farewell as we live. He points at Senpai, his face lividly red. “日本鬼子! 白痴!” he screams, narrowing his eyes. “I call the police! You!” He next points at me, continuing in that broken dialect. “No come back again!”

He hurries off to the center of the restaurant. Senpai glares at him, pausing for a moment to flip him off before continuing to drag me.

“What were you thinking!?” the waitress hisses at us in a hurried whisper as we pass by the reception area, her red eyes narrowed into a harsh expression. “What, did you think that I’d thank you for it!? There wasn’t any reason to turn this into something big like that!”

Senpai looks completely flustered for a moment, at a loss for words. I have to agree with her; what we did was pretty fucking dumb, and I got a chair to the head and a ban from this restaurant for it.

“Sorry about that, Miss Daidaiko,” he finally says apologetically, lowering his head in shame.

“…Touko,” I manage to raise my voice to correct him.

Chengzi, actually,” she corrects us both, reaching out with one arm to open the door as we all step outside.

Oh. Oooohhhh.

She lets go of my arm, dusting off her clothes with a harassed look on her face. “Hope I don’t get fired for this,” she mutters to herself, shuddering. “Anyway, you two probably shouldn’t show your faces around here for a while. He didn’t really call the police, but you don’t want to give him any more reasons to do that.”

“Right, right,” Senpai nods, and I follow suit, although rather feebly.

“And…you should probably take it easy for a while,” Miss Chengzi says to me, looking slightly concerned. She reaches up and pats the top of her own head. “That looked like it really hurt.”

Oh believe me, it did.

“Well, um,” she steps away, her hands folded primly on top of her legs as she bows low. “过 好天! May you have a nice day!”

So polite, even after all what’s happened.



A few minutes of strolling later, and I’m ready to stand and walk under my own power. Still, this nasty headache is like a nagging grandmother, pulling at my ears and trying to get me to listen to one of her rants, except slightly more bearable.

“We didn’t even get to eat anything,” Senpai says with a sigh, his hands jammed into his pockets.

And whose fault was that?

“Anyway, you sure you’re alright?”

“Huh?” I ask dazedly, shaking my head. So annoying, this headache.

“You look like you’re pretty out of it,” he says, frowning. “You know, if you want I can call a cab and take you home. You don’t have to accompany me if you’re not feeling too hot. Oh, and I’d like to check out your place, if you don’t mind.”

What. No way. That’s definitely out of the question.

[ ] Go home. Alone.
[ ] You can stay out a little longer.
>> No. 26322
Anybody have some convincing arguments for one course of action or the other?
>> No. 26328
[X] Go home. Alone.

Nursing a head wound is best done in a dark, quiet room with a bed and an icepack. And a lovely maid to laugh at us tend to us.
>> No. 26330
[x] Go home. Alone.
-[x] "Sorry, I think I need some alone time with my concussion. Brings backs memories though...heh You can invite me out later. "
Well, I thought he was going to be... well more of a jerk. He just seems to be a kinda dull and prideful -yet still good hearted- guy. Our MC could use a male friend anyway
>> No. 26331
[ ] You can stay out a little longer.
>> No. 26335
[x] Go home. Alone.
-[x] "Sorry, I think I need some alone time with my concussion. Brings backs memories though...heh You can invite me out later. "
>> No. 26338
>>26281
>Lovely.
Thanks Lion.

[X] You can stay out a little longer.
>> No. 26339
[x] You can stay out a little longer.
>> No. 26348
[x] You can stay out a little longer.

Let's try to salvage the trip; and it'll allow us to BS things when we get back.

>>26330
Sempai is a pretty cool, if absurdly reckless guy.
>> No. 26349
[X] You can stay out a little longer.

I hope we don't get put on their list.
At least they can't name names.
>> No. 26350
[x] You can stay out a little longer.
>> No. 26382
[x] You can stay out a little longer.
>> No. 26400
“Nah, that’s alright,” I reply to him in a drowsy voice, shaking my head again to clear my mind. It’s not really all that serious, and I’m dreading having to return to my search anyway, so I might as well make the most of my time here outside, as ironic as that seems to me. “I’ll be just fine in a little bit. It’s only a minor concussion, probably.”

Only a minor concussion?” he says in wonder a moment before breaking out into a fit of snickering, clapping me on the back. “Pfahahaha, well, alright then. Just don’t suddenly start bleeding from the nose and pass out on me or anything, got it?”

“Yeah, I got it,” I reply, nodding carelessly. “…So where are we going next?”

“…Weeell,” he says in a slippery tone of voice, looking away. “Since we didn’t get a chance to eat anything, we should still grab lunch elsewhere, right?”

Oh no, I see where he’s going with this.

“Senpai, you aren’t still serious about that, are you?” I ask with a resigned sigh.

“Hey, c’mon, you like that kind of thing too, don’t you?” he says defensively, looking slightly embarrassed, though he’s by no means willing to back down out of shame, either. “It’s the only place in the world where you can enjoy the company of things that no longer exist.”

Well, not for me, though I’ll never admit that to him.

“…Don’t use a weird excuse to justify your fetish, senpai,” I say, looking away and placing a short distance between us. I’d rather not be associated with this guy right now, not when he’s declaring something as embarrassing as that in a crowded street full of passersby. “Alright, since you seem so dead-set on going, I guess we can.”

“Alright!” he says, childishly pumping his fist to the sky.

I place some more distance between us. Seriously, am I supposed to believe that this guy’s made it to the corporate life? Well, maybe he’s different at work than when he’s on free-time, but damn, that’s gotta be a pretty big fucking change. This might sound a little harsh, but when we were together in school, I didn’t really expect him to become anything more than… well, a criminal or just a guy working a dead-end job.

“Hey, by the way, you hear from Sakurazaki lately?” he asks suddenly, catching me off-guard.

“H-huh?” I say, bewildered.

His face immediately freezes up, like he’s realized he’s just brought up something that shouldn’t have been, though it doesn’t take long for him to recover. He frowns, looking away, glancing back every now and then at a few seconds’ interval and seeming like he wants to say something, though the words don’t quite seem to want to leave his mouth.

“Never mi—She got married,” he suddenly blurts out. “A few months ago. She told me over the phone.”

“Oh, did she?” I say in a disinterested tone of voice, fumbling in my pocket for a cigarette.

“Didn’t she try to contact you or anything?” he asks seriously as I light the end of my cigarette.

“Maybe,” I say, shrugging as I take a drag on my cig.

Finally getting the point, he falls into silence, dropping the subject.

---

“Welcome~!”

...I have to say, this is really more embarrassing than I thought it would be. Everywhere I look, I see tables of otaku about five times more hardcore than I could ever hope to be, with plastic bags full of anime merchandise at their sides, figurines standing on top of their tables where they are given a little too much attention by their owners. Generally, a scene that a normal person would never want to find themselves taking part of.

Senpai seems completely oblivious, however. Maybe he has some kind of special ability that allows him to filter out all the guys and see only the girls in their maid uniforms. Well, they are rather nice, but as I expected, none of them come close to matching my own, personal maid. Maybe it was a mistake coming here after all.

Anyway, he’s got this really stupid look on his face as we sit down at one of the unoccupied tables, gawking at the employees. I really wish he’d at least make the staring a little less obvious.

“Here you go, masters,” one of the uniformed girls comes up to us, handing us the menu.

Senpai mumbles a “thanks” under his breath as he takes the menu, his attention divided as he is still busy looking around the café. Wordlessly, I open up my own, and take a look at the list of things to eat. Ugh, I don’t think there’s much here that I’m going to really want to eat. Seems like about the only thing they have in this place are sweets, and I’m not exactly too fond of that.

“What the hell is a ‘kasekuchen’?” Senpai asks as he glances at the menu, pronouncing the word totally wrong.

Käsekuchen,” I respond, setting the menu down. “It’s German cheesecake.”

“Eh, I’ll give it a try,” he says.

He looks about, searching for a waitress to call over. He suddenly freezes, his eyes locking onto one. They linger there for a few seconds, and eventually, I get so tired of waiting for an explanation I decide to take a look at who he’s looking at.

It’s, of course, one of the employees here, dressed in a maid outfit like all the other waitresses. She looks a bit older than the typical part-timing teenagers here, however, and if I’m right in estimating her age, I’d say she’s around 20 or so. Her medium-length hair is a light shade of blonde, the tips just barely reaching down to her shoulders, and she moves with demure, almost shy movements.

“H-hey,” Senpai looks back at me, giving me a light jab on the shoulder, his face red. “Call her over, yeah?”

“…Me? Do it yourself.”

“No, no, no, no, no,” he says in a hushed voice. “Look, just do it for me.”

Is he infatuated?

[ ] Not your problem.
[ ] Do as he says.
>> No. 26404
[x] Do as he says.

Better her than jailbait. I'm curious who this person is. And it'll help deflect suspicions about what we have at our place (nutty yet attractive women, including a very lovely, soft yet confounding in an attractive way ghost maid)
>> No. 26405
[x] Not your problem.

Man up, senpai.

In before missed plot hook.
>> No. 26407
[X] Do as he says.
-[X] ... But if he wants anything from her, he's going to have to ask for it himself.
--[X] ... And if he doesn't have it in him to say anything, you're just going to have to expressly apologize to the young lady for your friend being too infatuated with her to say anything. In a manner as embarrassing as possible for him.

Hell, I'm tempted to call her over and just tell her straight out that Senpai thinks she's cute.
>> No. 26409
[X] Do as he says.
- [X] if he's too busy staring, order those german cheesecakes for both of you.
-- [X] Remember to mention that she's the first thing you've seen that can silence him so effectively.

A white lie i suppose, but i'm sure it'll be worth it.
>> No. 26410
[X] Do as he says.
- [X] if he's too busy staring, order those german cheesecakes for both of you.
-- [X] Remember to mention that she's the first thing you've seen that can silence him so effectively.
>> No. 26411
[X] Do as he says.
- [X] if he's too busy staring, order those german cheesecakes for both of you.
-- [X] Remember to mention that she's the first thing you've seen that can silence him so effectively.
heh.
>> No. 26413
[x] Not your problem.
>> No. 26414
[x] Do as he says.
>> No. 26416
[X] Do as he says.
- [X] if he's too busy staring, order those german cheesecakes for both of you.
-- [X] Remember to mention that she's the first thing you've seen that can silence him so effectively.
>> No. 26419
[X] Do as he says.
- [X] if he's too busy staring, order those german cheesecakes for both of you.
-- [X] Remember to mention that she's the first thing you've seen that can silence him so effectively.

>20 or so. Her medium-length hair is a light shade of blonde, the tips just barely reaching down to her shoulders, and she moves with demure, almost shy movements.
We got two days to guess the Touhou. Any suggestions?
>> No. 26422
[X] Do as he says.
- [X] if he's too busy staring, order those german cheesecakes for both of you.
-- [X] Remember to mention that she's the first thing you've seen that can silence him so effectively.

>>26419
Luize or Mugetsu. I first thought Yumeko, but her hair is longer than shoulder-length.
>> No. 26475
I think it's Mugetsu.
>> No. 26490
[X] Do as he says.
- [X] if he's too busy staring, order those german cheesecakes for both of you.
-- [X] Remember to mention that she's the first thing you've seen that can silence him so effectively.
>> No. 26502
File 12691516963.jpg - (307.40KB , 685x653 , another maid appears.jpg ) [iqdb]
26502
…I guess it’s no big deal to comply. It’s rare for Senpai to have such an interest in one specific girl anyway, so I’ll help him with this if that’s possible. Still, it’s a bit irritating to have to play wingman while he tries to make a pass at her. Inwardly sighing, I turn my seat toward the object of his focused attention, lifting up a hand.

“Excuse me,” I call out to the waitress, waving her toward us.

She turns her head slowly, and stares at me uncomfortably. For a few seconds, I almost regret calling to her; her gaze is cold and unwelcoming, and under it I feel myself squirm a little. The feeling soon passes, however, when a much warmer and more presentable smile graces her lips as she walks over to us. She gives us each a look before bowing her head properly with her hands folded on top of her apron.

“Yes, how may I help you, masters?” she asks in a prim, soft-spoken voice as she raises her head.

Up close, I see that she is quite pretty, though it’s not to the extent that I’d fall in love with her at a single glance. Senpai, on the other hand, seems to be having trouble speaking his mind, as he’s constantly tugging and loosening his collar as he tries to sound out his words. I’ve never seen him so flustered before. I mean, he’s the kind of guy who doesn’t think twice before insulting teachers, or a gang of tough looking kids even when he’s clearly outnumbered.

“Two käsekuchens, please,” I say, shaking my head as I had the menus to the girl. “Oh, and some coffee, if you wouldn’t mind. One black and one with a little milk.”

She takes the menus into her delicate hands, and as she raises them, I notice something rather conspicuous about her; she’s wearing a pair of very thick, heavy looking bracelets around her wrists. Huh. They aren’t exactly like fashion accessories, either. They look more like super thick metal rings. Are things like that trendy nowadays?

“Understood,” she says, giving us a curtsy. “I’ll be back soon, masters.”

She walks away toward the counter. As soon as she’s out of earshot, Senpai lets out a bated breath, slumping over onto the surface of the table with his hands covering his face. Good grief, he’s acting like a teenage girl with a crush. This is almost painful to watch, actually, but it’s also a little satisfying, in a way.

“Hey, Senpai,” I call to him, snickering. “What’s wrong? Cat got your tongue, or was it a maid?”

“Shut up,” he says caustically, straightening back up as he rubs his face, sighing. “…I’ll ask her to join us. I’ll give her my coffee; I don’t like that crap anyway.”

A few minutes later, the maid girl returns with a tray in her hands. Gently, with graceful movements, she sets the tray down on the table, and passes about the cakes and the cups of coffee. I look at the cake set down in front of me with a grimace. Ugh, even just by looking at it, I can feel the sweet taste overloading my senses.

“A little touch of milk makes everything better,” she says with a smile and a wink as she pours a milk packet into one of the cups of coffee. “Will that be all, masters?”

I shoot a glance at Senpai, who’s almost completely red-faced.

“Well then, enjoy your time at Café-”

“W-wait,” he finally manages to spit it out. He clears his throat, trying to steady his voice and regain his confidence. “Hey, why don’t you uh… have a seat with us? You know, just have a little talk and all.”

“Oh,” she says with a troubled expression, touching the tips of her fingers together as she looks away. “…I’m sorry, but we employees here aren’t supposed to do that,” she says apologetically, looking very sorry indeed.

I can almost see Senpai’s willpower wither away.

“But,” she says upon seeing Senpai’s dismal reaction. “…I can go on a break for a little while, I suppose, and play the role of a customer for a bit, if you would be so kind as to treat me.”

“Huh?” Senpai lights back up. “Uh, s-sure, sure, anything you want here…”

“Ahaha,” she laughs airily, pulling up one of the chairs and taking a seat in it. “Thank you so much.”

…That girl just tricked him into buying her a meal without much effort, didn’t she? Damn, that’s pretty scary. Senpai doesn’t seem to really care much, though. He’s either too thick to figure that out, or he just doesn’t give a damn. That’s one of the joys of being loaded with money, I suppose.

The more I think about that, the more I get irritated.

“…and that’s my junior,” Senpai says, introducing himself and me with some difficulty in speaking.

“I see,” the maid nods. “I’m Mugetsu. I’m a part-time worker here.”

The brief conversation comes to a stop there, and Senpai looks to me for help. Hey, stop that. It's not like I can really help you much on something like this.

[ ] Suggest a conversation topic:
--- [ ] Ask Mugetsu about herself.
--- [ ] Senpai.
--- [ ] The food.
[ ] Stay quiet.
>> No. 26503
[x] Suggest a conversation topic:
--- [x] Ask Mugetsu about herself.
--- [x] Senpai.
>--- [ ] Are you a Touhou?
>> No. 26504
[x] Suggest a conversation topic:
--- [x] Ask Mugetsu about herself.
>> No. 26505
[x] Suggest a conversation topic:
--- [x] Ask Mugetsu about herself.
--- [x] Senpai.
>> No. 26512
[x] Suggest a conversation topic:
--- [x] Ask Mugetsu about herself.
--- [x] Senpai.
>> No. 26513
[x] Suggest a conversation topic:
--- [x] Ask Mugetsu about herself.
--- [x] Senpai.
>> No. 26514
{Suggest a conversation topic
- {Ask Mugetsu about herself.}
- {Senpai.}}
>> No. 26520
[x] Suggest a conversation topic:
--- [x] Ask Mugetsu about herself. - Classic
--- [x] Senpai. - Let's hope he doesn't go overboard with his achievements.
>> No. 26531
[x] Suggest a conversation topic:
--- [x] Ask Mugetsu about herself.
--- [x] Senpai.

Name-dodging again. Is it because he's Kurosawa, or because he gets anonymity too? Usually that's just for the main character.

And doesn't "Mugetsu" strike the narrator as being an awfully peculiar name, especially in a place where cuteness and perkiness are quite literally the order of the day?
>> No. 26534
[X] Suggest a conversation topic:
--- [X] Ask Mugetsu about herself.
--- [X] Senpai.

>>26531
"Mugetsu" as a name actually seems pretty natural in this context, in that it seems like the kind of fake name a part-time worker at a maid cafe might use to avoid telling her real name to creepy otaku.

And having Senpai turn out to be Kurosawa, while certainly possible, would be a pretty contrived plot twist.
>> No. 26544
[ø] Suggest a conversation topic:
--- [ø] Ask Mugetsu about herself.
--- [ø] Senpai.
>>26531
>>26534

>implying that Mugetsu isn't an actual Touhou.
>> No. 26550
File 126932453653.png - (135.75KB , 324x262 , icemilk.png ) [iqdb]
26550
“Er… um,” I awkwardly stutter, not used to being relied on to start small talk. To be really honest, I’m really not too keen on playing wingman to the guy right now, but I guess I owe him that much from our years together in high school. Let’s see, the best thing right now would probably be to ask about her, right? “Say, uh, do you like working here?”

“Mmhmm,” she replies, nodding enthusiastically. “I really love the maid costume here. I think it’s so pretty, and this is really the only place where you can get away with wearing one. What do you think of it?”

“Huh?” I say, dumbfounded. I wasn’t expecting her to turn a question back on me. “Uh, it’s alright, I guess.” Wait a minute, this is a chance! I turn my head toward Senpai, addressing him. “Hey, what do you think of the costume here?”

“I LIKE MAID OUTFITS TOO,” he says out loud in a painfully robotic voice, drawing strange looks from the customers and employees around, as well as eliciting an amused giggle from the waitress joining us at our table. I’ve never been more embarrassed to be around this guy in my life.

“You are a strange person,” she says, laughing, which causes him to bury his face into his hands. Goddamn it Senpai, if I wasn’t afraid of you hitting me back, I’d punch you on the nose right about now. “…But I’m glad you seem to like it. I think playing the role of a maid is pretty fun.”

Coughing into my hand, I pick up a fork to my right and begin digging into the cheesecake in front of me, taking a very small piece of the icing into my mouth. As expected, the slightest touch brings an overwhelming taste of sweetness to my mouth. Ugh, this thing is loaded down with sugar, isn’t it?

“Hey Senpai, why don’t you tell her about your job, too?” I ask, prodding the direction of the conversation a bit.

“Huh? O-oh, right, right,” he says, gulping and tightening the loose necktie around his collar. He clears his throat and smoothes out the creases of his dress shirt with his hands, doing his best to look impressive. “Well, uh, I work at—at… you know, that company. Cactus. Uh… very important job. You hear of the group?”

“Oh, of course,” she says, her eyes widening slightly in surprise. “That’s the name of the weapons manufacturer group, isn’t it? But isn’t it based in Germany?”

“Well yeah,” he says, his voice growing along with his confidence, speaking more easily now. “But they’re really big, you know, and they… uh, they opened up a branch operation here a few years back, so I was—I was all, ‘hey, why don’t I go ahead and get a job there?’ And, you know, the next thing I know, I’m wearing an expensive suit and dress shoes, you get what I mean?”

He makes it sound so easy. I grumble a little as I continue to wolf down the cake, driven in my endeavor almost by spite.

“You sound like you’ve really made it,” ‘Mugetsu’ says while adding several packs of milk to her newly delivered coffee. A little too much, ain’t that? She sighs as she brings the cup to her lips, taking a sip from it before muttering something under her breath. “I wish my sister would be half as lucky as you are.”

“Huh?”

I didn’t quite catch that part either.

“Nothing, just a little self-musing,” she says, dismissing the subject with a wave of her hand. “And what do you do?” she asks offhandedly.

“Uh, me?” I say, taken back. W-why is she steering this to me? “…Nothing, really.”

“Oh,” she says, giving me an apologetic look for bringing it up.

Well, that doesn’t bother me. What does bother me, though, is the look of betrayal written all over Senpai’s face as he stares at me in disbelief. I do my best to try to ignore it, scratching at my plate with my fork.

---

After that, the conversation never really recovered, with neither side really being forthcoming about themselves. Well, I wouldn’t call it a failure for Senpai, but I wouldn’t count it as a success, either. For what little they talked about, they seemed to agree on most things, and she never really looked uncomfortable around us, so… he’s still in the running, then.

Eventually, though, she stood up from our table and politely informed us that she would have to get back to work now. And then slapped us with a bill for the meal. Which Senpai paid for in full without looking at me. Saying our goodbyes to ‘Mugetsu,’ we walk out of the café in silence. Boy, he’s just piling on the guilt by not saying anything, isn’t he?

We walk aimlessly down the street for a while, until Senpai slaps me on the back, finally grinning again.

“Let’s go drink,” he says.

I shrug my shoulders and lead him to a nearby bar.

---

“…Man, what happened to you?” Senpai asks me as he knocks back a shot, slamming the small cup on the table carelessly. It makes a dull ringing sound as it hits the surface, and for a moment I fear that he may break it by accident. “You were the one who pushed me to get through school when I flunked.”

“I dunno,” I reply thoughtlessly, taking a sip of my own drink.

“Look at me, man,” he says in a dead-serious tone, pointing to himself. “Look. A dumbass like me made it up here. Don’t tell me you can’t fuckin’ achieve anything, you were brilliant. Didn’t you tell me you wanted to get into robotics and shit?”

“It’s a dead field anyway.”

“Don’t—don’t make excuses like that,” he says, pointing an accusatory finger at me. “If it’s a dead field, then resurrect it, for godssakes.”

“It’s not like I can do anything alone,” I shrug my shoulders.

He sighs in response, shaking his head. Damn him, he shouldn’t be the one to lecture me like that. I shouldn’t be hearing this from a guy like him. I never thought I would either, but somewhere along the years in college, my dreams died. Feels bad, man.

“…Anyway,” he speaks up again, reaching into his breast pocket. He retrieves what seems to be a business card, and slides it over the table to me. “Here, I’ll be around for a couple of days. If you need anything, or you just wanna hang out like today, just call. I’ll make some time if I can.”

I take the business card and slip it into my pocket, too ashamed to look at his face right now.

“Can you get home fine?” he asks, a little red-faced from the alcohol in his system. “You ain’t too drunk to walk home, are you?”

“Nah, I’m fine,” I say.

My vision feels a little blurry, but it’s not as if I can’t walk straight. Getting up from my stool, I wrap my jacket around myself, and together with Senpai, we exit the bar. At the entrance, I wave goodbye to Senpai, feeling shittier about myself than usual. He’s a good guy, but, well, his visit just ended up dredging out some painful realizations about myself. Can I really keep going on like the way I am now?

Oh well. I sigh as I look up at the evening sky, now lit by the moon and the stars. Looks like we’ve been out for quite a while. My only thought now is the hope that my home hasn’t been demolished while I’ve been out or—wait, scratch that. That damned cheesecake doesn’t seem to be in agreement with my stomach. I duck into an alley nearby, and let loose the foul contents of my stomach. Ugh, yech.

Wiping my mouth, I’m about to head back out into the street when I hear a rustling nearby. Huh, was that a cat or something? Curiosity aroused, I take a look around. Nothing really stands out—except for that ripped and torn-looking coat lying around next to that trash can there. Have I seen that before? Looks familiar to me.

Ah.

There was definitely another rustle. Coming from inside the trash can, it sounds like. Now, normally, I’d leave it alone and just mind my own business, but maybe it’s the alcohol speaking, or I’ve become dumber these last few days, in any case, I decide instead to examine the damn thing. Carefully approaching it, I slowly, cautiously, lift the lid of the trash can and peer inside.

What the-!?

Inside the almost empty trash can sits a girl with a dirty face and clothes, huddled up inside the unsanitary makeshift home. She dozes peacefully with her eyes closed and stirs slightly in her sleep when I look inside. There’s something… leathery wrapped around her—wait, goddamn it, are those giant bat wings?

“…Mmmnnn?” the girl slowly wakes, one eye drifting open. She rubs one eye with the back of her hand, looking up at me with unfocused pupils. “…has the sun set yet?” she asks in a drowsy, sleepy voice.

[ ] Close the lid and walk away.
[ ] “Uh, yeah.”
>> No. 26551
>>26544
Not at all. I just meant that from the perspective of our protagonist, who doesn't have our innate knowledge of Touhoes, 'Mugetsu' is a hokey combination of kanji that looks and sounds like an alias.

[X] “Uh, yeah.”

>Inside the almost empty trash can
>wait, goddamn it, are those giant bat wings?
What with Fell's portrayal of her, the first thing that came to mind when I read this was "Kurumi the Grouch".
>> No. 26553
[x] "Almost."

No sense in having her jump us.

>>26551
>"Kurumi the Grouch"
I fucking laughed.
>> No. 26555
[X] “Uh, yeah.”

Oh shi-
>> No. 26557
[X] “Uh, yeah.”
>> No. 26558
File 12693319976.jpg - (44.04KB , 1280x720 , grab24963.jpg ) [iqdb]
26558
[x] "Almost."
[x] “I just recently set up a shelter for girls from Gensokyo. Among them is a green haired flower lover, a blonde girl who would love to slice me up, a crazy magician, a ghost and a wacky princess. I am sure we have place for a...... vampire too.”

>Inside the almost empty trash can sits a girl with a dirty face and clothes, huddled up inside the unsanitary makeshift home.
Goddamn. We can't have that. Take her home right now.
>That’s the name of the weapons manufacturer group
That can't be a coincidence.
>> No. 26559
[X] “Uh, yeah.”
>> No. 26560
[X] “Uh, yeah.”
>> No. 26561
[x] “Uh, yeah.”
>> No. 26562
[x] Close the lid and walk away.

Insert Dave Chappelle Sesame Street joke here.
>> No. 26563
>>26558
>That can't be a coincidence.

It isn't. The Cactus company is the company that invented Saboten Energy in Seihou.

[X] "Just about."
[X] "You wouldn't happen to be another one of the women from another world, would you?"

This is either Kurumi or Elis. If it's Kurumi we whould probably bring her - Yuuka and Elly were worried about her. If it's Elis, we should probably bring her back - she deserves better than living in a trash can.
>> No. 26566
[ø] "Just about."
[ø] "You wouldn't happen to be from that other world as well, would you?
>> No. 26570
[X] "Don't drink blood, 's bad for your health"
>> No. 26571
[X] "Just about."
[X] "You wouldn't happen to be another one of the women from another world, would you?"
>> No. 26572
[X] "Just about."
[X] "You wouldn't happen to be another one of the women from another world, would you?"

It's a risk, but with how we might smell, she might think twice. Also Sempai didn't realize that we're a weirdness magnet. Interesting commentary on our lead's life with signs of something greater.
>> No. 26573
>>26558
Sure we can have that.

>>26554
FFFFFFFFFF
>> No. 26584
>>26573
Did you by chance FFFFFF about the possibility that the lead might end up being ZUN?
>> No. 26601
>>26558
http://www.cactusweapons.com/
Looks like our Senpai here got game.
>> No. 26623
File 126949298318.jpg - (116.58KB , 760x1000 , 8152371.jpg ) [iqdb]
26623
“J-just about, I guess,” I reply in a shaky voice, nervously stepping back. There’s no way she’s a normal person, and judging from the wings on her back, and the question she just asked me… she’s one of those things, isn’t she? This, this is just getting more and more ridiculous.

“…Are you from that other world too?” I venture to ask, swallowing hard. I can still feel some slight effects of the alcohol running through my body, but I seemed to have mostly sobered up. Too scared to be drunk, I guess.

She doesn’t answer, covering her mouth as she lets out a huge yawn, her eyes watering up. Wiping the tears away, she blinks dazedly a couple of times before taking a look-see around, glancing at various directions seemingly at random. Finally, her unfocused gaze locks onto me, and she takes a hold of the edge of the trash can, apparently trying to climb out. She leans over a little too much, however, and the can topples down, falling onto its side and unceremoniously and forcefully ejecting the girl.

As the now empty trash can rolls away, the girl lies there on the concrete, her face planted on the ground. Slowly, I approach her prone, limp body, though I come to an abrupt stop when I see her give a little twitch. She lifts her face from the ground with a low groan, supporting her head on her chin. It’s… really a pitiful sight, actually.

Frowning, I walk on over to her, crouching down in front of her. Reluctantly, I offer her my hand. “Need help?” I ask her.

Sluggishly, she turns her head to me, the pupils of her eyes fixed on me. Weakly, she reaches for my hand with her arms. Taking the gesture as a yes, I take one of her small hands into my own, and standing up, I pull her up to her feet with some difficulty. She stumbles forward, not quite having found her balance as she leans on me. Illuminated by the moonlight slipping into the alleyway, I’m finally able to really make out her features.

The girl with the bat-wings is short, just barely coming up to chest-level with me. She has a slim, petite body, over which she wears a loose-fitting dress shirt (decorated with a huge red ribbon on the front) caked with dirt and stains, as well as a black skirt held up by a pair of suspenders. There’s another white bow stuck in her long blonde hair, but it looks like it hasn’t been well-tended to and is kind of about to just slip off.

“Hey, you feeling alright?” I ask as she staggers about, grabbing onto the front of your shirt and using you to steady herself and keep on her feet.

She makes no reply, her head drunkenly swaying from side to side, her golden eyes yet lacking a focus. Whoa, she looks really messed up somehow, and it’s not just the filth covering her. I’m not sure if it’s normal or not, but her skin is pale—really pale, so pale that it looks ashen white. That… can’t be a good sign, can it?

She manages to lift her chin, staring up at me with eyes that seem like they’re looking past me. She shifts her hands to my shoulders, tightly grabbing on, and leans on the front of her feet, standing on her very tippy toes.

Hungry,” she says simply before hissing like a cat and baring her teeth at me, sharp prominent fangs glinting in the moonlight, looking deadly enough to steal away life in a single bite.

As she leans in to chomp at my neck, I roughly shove her away, my heart beating fast. She falls back like a drunkard, swaying here and there before hitting the brick wall nearby and collapsing to the ground again. Well, can’t say I didn’t see that coming, though the shock was nevertheless damn near heart-stopping. So, she really is a vampire after all…

She lies there on her back, struggling against gravity. She lets out a soft whimper as she tries to get back up to her feet, though it seems at the moment she can’t even lift a single finger. Finally, she seems to just resign herself to immobility, the strength leaving her as she lies there with her eyes open and gazing emptily at the sky above.

Even though she just tried to attack me, I find it pretty hard to blame her when she’s almost completely helpless like this. But still, what should I do now? Just leave her here and wait for the sunlight to do its job when morning comes?

…That seems a little cruel.

I guess I could carry her back, but what’s going to keep her from attacking me when she has the chance? And it’s not as if I can let her really feed on blood—which it seems like she really needs to do so right now. Not mine or anyone else’s.

This is a pretty big dilemma I’ve gotten myself into…

Sighing, I walk over to the discarded coat, and place it over the vampire girl like a blanket, before crossing my arms together and considering my options.

[ ] …in any case, you should bring her back for now.
[ ] Maybe you should consult the others on what to do? You won’t be gone from here for too long.
[ ] It’s best not to get involved.
>> No. 26624
[x] …in any case, you should bring her back for now.

It's a risk but I think going home first might cause a delay.
>> No. 26625
[x] …in any case, you should bring her back for now.
>> No. 26627
[x] …in any case, you should bring her back for now.

Sure, why not.
>> No. 26632
[x] Maybe you should consult the others on what to do? You won’t be gone from here for too long.
- [x] Call home and ask for Elly. If nobody answers, tell one of them to pick up when your answering machine gets it.

Revoted in an attempt to bring some sense into the voting.

If you guys want Kurumi (which is a terrible goddamn idea, but whatever), at least have the presence of mind to ask for the help of the one person who seemed concerned about her.

Dragging home a blood-drinker on your own, unannounced, is not going to go down well with your housemates. Besides, it's a dangerous enough task on its own. Be smart and consult somebody who (apparently) knows her. And can you really see this protagonist just thinking "Gosh, I should bring home a vampire without saying anything; this is a GREAT idea!"? That's stretching suspension of disbelief way, way past the breaking point.
>> No. 26633
[x] Maybe you should consult the others on what to do? You won’t be gone from here for too long.
- [x] Call home and ask for Elly. If nobody answers, tell one of them to pick up when your answering machine gets it.
>> No. 26635
{X} Maybe you should consult the others on what to do? You won’t be gone from here for too long.
- {X} Call home and ask for Elly. If nobody answers, tell one of them to pick up when your answering machine gets it.
>> No. 26636
[x] …in any case, you should bring her back for now.
>> No. 26639
>>26632
>Sense
>Living with Yuuka of all people.

Oil and Water anyone?
>> No. 26642
[x] Maybe you should consult the others on what to do? You won’t be gone from here for too long.
- [x] Call home and ask for Elly. If nobody answers, tell one of them to pick up when your answering machine gets it.
>> No. 26643
Why don't we just GATTAI? Make the call, try to get someone on the line, and get their help. If no one picks up, even after answering machine bit, we'll just have to drag Kurumi home on our own.

That way everybody wins.
>> No. 26648
[x] …in any case, you should bring her back for now.

Touhous
Gotta catch 'em all.
>Call home and ask for Elly
Yeah, let's call home and ask Elly, someone who forced your way into your home, if it is a good idea to bring someone in your house.
>> No. 26653
[x] Maybe you should consult the others on what to do? You won’t be gone from here for too long.
- [x] Call home and ask for Elly. If nobody answers, tell one of them to pick up when your answering machine gets it.

Reasoning.
>> No. 26655
>>26648

She actually expressed genuine worry for Kurumi a while back.
>> No. 26656
[]Let her bite you

Gain Dracula power.
>> No. 26657
>>26655
in a post in thread one, >>22975 to be exact.
>> No. 26669
[x]Let her bite you
>> No. 26670
[X] Maybe you should consult the others on what to do?
-[X] Call home and ask for Elly. If nobody answers, tell one of them to pick up when your answering machine gets it.
--[X] If still no one picks up, then you should just try and bring her home for now.

Compromising games.

Do want Kurumi no matter what, so I won't leave her alone, but calling home first might get us some help with hauling her back.
>> No. 26677
I only now looked at the picture in the OP at full size, and holy shit, that must have been a pain to make.
>> No. 26678
>>26677
If i could do this, i would sit down days to make it.
>> No. 26696
…I guess it’d be best to consult with the others before I do anything rash, like try to drag her home by myself. Besides, she might really attack me if I try to carry her back. Squatting down next to her, I try my best to sound soothing, though my voice is still a bit high-pitched and rather obviously shaky, as I speak to her.

“Uh… j-just stay here for a bit, I’ll get some help.”

It’s only after I’ve said it that it occurs to me just how strange it is to be saying something like that to a vampire who just tried to bite me. Well, I’ll live with it, I guess. Anyway, it would take too long to walk back home and bring everyone here. Someone might see her or something. I suppose I’ll have to call home and hope someone picks up. I don’t have a cell phone, so I’d better start looking for a pay phone booth.

Fortunately, I think there’s one not too far from this very alley. With hurried steps, I hastily rush out from between the buildings, making my way to the nearest phone booth. Jamming my hand in my pocket, I fish out a few coins—the only change I’m carrying at the moment—and almost forcibly insert them into the phone, taking the receiver into my hand as I dial my home number.

Ring… ring… ring…

Oh come on, come on! Someone pick up the phone! Don’t make me have to call again… I don’t have any coins left! Oh wait shit, I told them all not to pick up the phone under any circumstances, didn’t I!? Ugh, damn it, I can’t believe sensibility is coming back to bite me in the ass at a time like this.

“I’m not here right now, please leave a message,” my own voice issues out from the receiver into my ear. Damn, so the answering machine got it. Tapping my foot impatiently, I wait for the sharp beep to sound before I rush to speak into the mouthpiece.

“Hello? Elly, Yuuka, are you guys there? Look, I know I told you guys not to pick up the phone, but it’s really important this time, so hurry up and pick it up!” I half-yell into the phone, my voice rising in pitch and becoming near-hysterical.

There’s a moment of silence that leaves me in dread for all of a few seconds before I hear several clicks from the receiver. In the background, I can hear the voice of two women talking to each other.


“…how do I talk on this thing…?”

“Just hold it up to your ear and speak into it.”

“H-hello? Is this thing working?” an uncertain voice finally speaks out from the phone, and I recognize it almost immediately as Elly’s, despite the slight distortion. “That’s you on the other end, right?” she asks, unsure.

“Yeah, it’s me,” I hurriedly affirm, swallowing hard. “Listen, I need you guys to come over here, as fast as you can.”

“What? What happened?” she asks, curious. “You’re not getting attacked again, are you?”

“No. Well, sorta. Kinda, but not really,” I say, switching back and forth. Huh, what should I say in a situation like this? Ah, but wait, that wasn’t the point. “I ran into someone else from your world, I think, and I was wondering if you two would know what to do with her.”

“What the… what’re you asking us for!?” Elly yells on the phone, sounding annoyed. “Just bring her or leave her, it’s not like you’ve asked us before!”

“Well yeah, but well, I thought maybe you might know her or something,” I say, hesitant. Well, it’s probably not very likely that they just happen to know each other, but, well, can’t know if you don’t ask, right? “She’s a vampire, I think.”

“Now why on earth would I know some-” Elly speaks over my voice loudly until she comes to a stop with a sudden gasp. “Wait, what? A vampire!?” In the background, I hear Elly muttering in a hushed whisper to someone before she returns. “Okay, okay, what does that girl look like?”

I give her a description of the girl. After a small period of silence, Elly speaks out again. “Okay, where are you?” she asks in a much softer tone of voice than usual.

Wait, shit. How am I going to tell them where I am?



After ten agonizing minutes of fumbling around with directions and a map of the city that Kana happened to find lying around the house, I finally hang up the phone, sighing. Just barely managed to make it within the call’s time limit. I rub my sore throat. At one point it nearly turned into a shouting match between Elly and I, but I think by the end, she had a pretty good idea of where we were.

Walking out of the phone booth, I walk back to the alleyway, where I thankfully find that the girl hasn’t moved from her spot. She’s curled up on the floor, looking like she’s slumbering peacefully while clutching the dirty overcoat blanketing her body, her wings folded in and wrapped around her body. Her eyes immediately flutter open at my arrival, however, and they narrow, fixatedly glaring at me as I approach.

“Hey there,” I greet her with a friendly wave. “Your friends will be here soon. I’m sure they’ll know what to do with you.”

She doesn’t seem to be listening, or if she is, is completely ignoring me. She makes feeble attempts to stand herself up, but she falls back down each time, and finally gives up on trying again, content to rest her eyes.

Standing back up, I lean against the wall as I wait for Elly and Yuuka to arrive, reaching into my pocket for my pack of cigarettes and slipping out a stick. It takes about another ten minutes to pass before Elly and Yuuka finally arrive on the scene, with the former taking the lead, clutching a crumpled, beer-stained map in her hands, and the latter following her with that never-changing expression of calm, collected coolness.

“Kurumi!” Elly calls out to the girl lying on the ground, dropping the map and rushing over to her side, kneeling down next to her. “Oh, it is you!”

“Well, well, so she’s still alive, then,” Yuuka muses, her arms crossed together as she looks down on the other girls. “…But not for long, if she doesn’t feed soon,” she says as she walks around behind me. “Elly, hold her down.”
“Got it,” Elly nods, and strips the vampire girl of her coat, carelessly throwing it to the side. She leans over the girl’s body, and grabs her wrists, pinning her arms to the ground.

“Hey, wait, what are you-!” I say in protest when suddenly Yuuka grabs me from behind, grabbing me around by the armpits. W-what the hell is she doing? Why is she shoving me toward her?

Wait a minute, wait a minute…

“No! You’re not going to let her feed off me, are you!?” I cry out in panic, struggling against Yuuka’s grip. Shit, it’s fucking useless! She’s got like the strength of ten bears or something!

“That’s exactly what I’m doing,” Yuuka replies sweetly, giving me a light kick to the back of the knee to force me genuflect next to the vampire girl.

She lets go of my body, only to grab me by one arm, forcing me to kneel down completely. I try to pull away, but it’s no good. My arm would sooner be ripped out of its socket than for her to let go of my hand. With a deranged grin, Yuuka holds up one finger, and with a metallic chink, it transforms into a single, deadly sharp claw.

She’s finally going to kill me.

I close my eyes and wait for the end.

“Ow!” I cry out in pain as I feel Yuuka’s claw raking across flesh. More specifically, the flesh on the palm of the hand she’s forced me to outstretch.

Opening one eye, I see blood dripping from the open wound and into the vampire girl’s open mouth. I wince as Yuuka squeezes my hand, applying more pressure to draw out more blood from the cut. Some of the blood splatters around the girl’s mouth, spilling down her chin. She eagerly licks the blood around her mouth with her tongue, lapping up as much as she can with that small, pink flesh.

She suddenly gives a violent shudder, and thrusts her head toward my hand. Yuuka quickly pulls it away, and the girl attempts to get up, hissing and thrashing around like a wild animal, though Elly calmly manages to hold her down. Eventually, fit of violence seems to die down, and the vampire girl slowly lowers her head back down to the ground, her chest heaving up and down as her breathing steadies. Carefully, Elly lets go of her arms, standing up and taking a step away, and Yuuka lets go of mine as well.

The vampire girl sleepily sits up, taking a dazed look around. Dreamily, she looks to each of us present at the alley, rubbing her eye with the back of one hand. Sniffing the air, she notices the drops of blood still dripping down her mouth, and wipes that away with her hand too, before looking back up to the person nearest to her.

“…Elly?” she croaks groggily. Though lacking a bit of strength in her legs, she manages to stand up on her feet, using the wall nearby as support. “…Elly!” she cries out joyfully, leaping at her with surprising energy for someone who was nigh-immobile just under a minute ago.

“Kurumi!” Elly receives her in an embrace, though it looks awkward and uncomfortable for the former, since she has to accommodate for the latter’s huge wings. Affectionately, she ruffles up the top of the vampire girl’s head, and when they part, it’s with some reluctance.

“And Yuuka!” Kurumi calls out again in that same delighted voice, this time, leaping at her.

…But instead of receiving her hug, Yuuka nimbly steps to the side, and the vampire girl flies through empty air and crashes headfirst into the solid brick wall in front of her. She drops to the ground like a sack of potatoes, rolling around on her front while clutching her head. Ouch, that looked like it really hurt.

“Ow, that hurt, Yuuka! That really hurt!” she whines, standing up shakily, her eyes welling up with tears of pain.

“Good,” Yuuka says coolly. “Then that means you’re well-enough.”

With trembling legs, I get up from my position on the ground, backing up into the wall. As I do so, Kurumi looks my way, and her eyes at once fly to my wounded hand, focusing on the blood dripping from my fingertips.

“Who’s he?” she ask as if seeing me for the first time, turning her head to Elly. “Is he human? Can I eat him?”

“He’s the human we’ve been staying with for a while,” Elly answers, shrugging her shoulders. “…And no, you’re not allowed to eat him,” she adds sternly.

“Boooooo,” Kurumi says dejectedly, childishly kicking at the ground.

Well, it’s great that they’re reunited and all, but…

“…Yuuka, if you were going to do this,” I say, holding up my bleeding hand. “You could have at least warned me before! I mean, I’m bleeding to death here!”

“Oh man up, it’s only a scratch,” Yuuka says irritably, stepping toward me. She reaches into the pocket of her plaid skirt, and withdraws a delicate handkerchief. She takes a hold of my hand, and wraps the cloth around the cut and ties the ends of it together, staining it with the red color of blood and turning it into a makeshift bandage. “There, now stop complaining.”

I try my best to ignore the look of death that Elly’s giving me at the moment.

“Is that enough blood, though?” I wonder out aloud, staring at the blood still seeping into the cloth.

“It’ll hold her for a week or so,” Yuuka replies. “Vampires are pretty tenacious little things. They actually require very little amounts of blood intake to survive. You don’t want her to bite you as she is now, though,” she adds thoughtfully, grinning in a creepy manner. “She’d suck you completely dry.”

“I’ll… keep that in mind,” I say with a grimace. “So is she a friend of yours, then?”

“More like a pet, really,” Yuuka says with a shrug.

…That’s messed up. The so called “pet” doesn’t seem to mind, though, although that might be because she’s busy chatting away with her other acquaintance.

“How long have you been looking for us, Kurumi?”

“Forever!” Kurumi replies, sighing wearily. “I’ve been going from city to city just looking for you two. You have no idea how much trouble I had just getting around! And I haven’t even been able to feed for a month or so, and…”

“Wait, what?” Elly cuts in. “A month? Did you just say a month?”

“…Huh?” Kurumi says with a perplexed expression. “Yeah, a month. That’s about how long it’s been since everyone was thrown over here, isn’t it?”

Elly bites her lip, unsure of what to say next. Yuuka steps forward, thoughtfully stroking her chin.

“…For us, it’s been a little over two weeks,” she says.

“H-huh!?” Kurumi blinks, her mouth agape in surprise. “I’m not lying!” she says defensively, pumping her arms up and down in front of her. “It’s really been a month for me!”

Elly and Yuuka exchange looks together, and the vampire girl shrinks back a little, confused.

“…There’s definitely something really weird going on, isn’t there?” Elly says, frowning.

…Something weird, huh? Tell me about it, ever since Yuuka’s taken up residence in my home, it’s been full of nothing but something weird, with those cloud-headed girls back at home and the youkai here threatening me into everything, and those e-mail messages and—

Oh, crap! I almost forgot! That bastard S showed him/herself to me earlier today, didn’t he/she!? With all that talk about a new era and me being a black sheep or whatever. Should I tell these girls about him/her? Or wait, should I wait until I’m back home with them to talk about it? Oh, and I’d have to share the information with that hacker as well. Ugh, this is all making my head hurt again.

[ ] Discuss it out here.
[ ] Wait until you’re back home.
>> No. 26698
[x] Wait until you’re back home.

It'd be suspicious to have a large group out here like this.
>> No. 26704
[ø] Wait until you’re back home.
>> No. 26706
[x] Discuss it on the way home.
>> No. 26709
[X] Discuss it on the way home.
>> No. 26715
Hooray, my idea worked~
I swore he had a cell phone, though.

[x] Wait until you’re back home.
[x] But mention that you need to talk about it now.
>> No. 26727
[x] Discuss it out here.
Might as well do it here.
>> No. 26732
[x] Discuss it out here.
>> No. 26735
[x] Wait until you’re back home.
[x] But mention that you need to talk about it now.
>> No. 26756
[x] Discuss it on the way home.
>> No. 26766
[x] Wait until you’re back home.
>> No. 26783
[x] Wait until you’re back home.
>> No. 26840
I’d better save it until we get back home, though. Now probably isn’t the best time to be standing around here, especially when one of us has such conspicuous features as, you know, giant bat wings. Wouldn’t want people to think we’re strange or anything funny like that. No sir, not at all; nothing at all weird about a bunch of people standing around in an alleyway.

“Let’s get back before too many people notice us out here,” I suggest, jamming my hands into my pockets.

Yuuka nods, and turns to Kurumi. “Would you be so kind,” she begins with a delicate and warm tone of voice, “…as to morph into that other form of yours?”

“Huh?” the vampire girl replies quizzically, blinking obliviously for a few seconds. Finally, she appears to understand what was asked of her. “Oh! Right, right, that. Well okay, I don’t really like it, but since you’re the one asking me…”

With a loud, popping crack, a small puff of smoke envelops the slim, winged girl, obscuring her figure from view and startling the hell out of me. When the little cloud of smog clears, dissipating into the evening air above us, the girl is gone; no, not gone, but transformed. In her place is a small, fuzzy little bat, flapping its wings to hover in the air.

She is a vampire, after all. I really shouldn’t be surprised by this.

Yuuka daintily holds out her hand, and the small bat flutters on over and perches itself like a bird on a single one of her fingers. Bringing the creature closer, the youkai girl smiles gently as she pets the bat’s tiny little head, stroking its fur with the greatest kindness and affection I’ve ever seen from her thus far.

And then she forcibly stuffs the bat into the pocket of her skirt.

Poor Kurumi freaks out inside the folds of the fabric, struggling to get out. But it’s all in vain, as shortly after, Yuuka pats her pocket down using her hand with wince-inducing force, quickly suppressing the bat’s attempts at escape and rendering her docile and still. That…that really has to count as animal cruelty.

“This way, she won’t be seen,” Yuuka says coolly with a smile, turning to me. It might just be my imagination, or even a result of my prejudices, but I think I can see a rather disturbingly sadistic nature to that smile of hers at the moment.

“R-right,” I say, having no choice but to say just that.

Well, it’s not as if it’d change anything for me to voice any discontent. Besides, she probably treats those two lackeys of hers that way all the time and they still seem fond of her. Almost too fond, actually. I wonder if there was some kind of brainwashing involved? Or maybe there’s some story behind it. I don’t know. I don’t think I’ll ever find out, either. It’s just another thing that I’m going to have to get used to, really.

…Get used to? I keep using that phrase, and it makes me feel I’ve become resigned to the idea that the situation that I’m in right now is going to be long-term, or even permanent. I’m not sure how I feel about that, actually. Thinking about it is kind of depressing, though, so I’ll put an end to that here.

I lead the other two girls (plus one portable bat) back home, making sure to stay apart from them so people passing by won’t associate us together. Well, huh. Let’s see, do we even have any more room back at home? Let’s see, there’s my room. There’s the room that Elly and Ellen are sharing. Yuuka has her own room. Kana’s a ghost and doesn’t really seem to need one at all. Wait, where the hell does Kotohime sleep, then? There aren’t any more vacant rooms, so… I guess she just sleeps where she feels like it. As for the new addition, I guess she can… um, room with Yuuka or something.

Not long after that, we finally reach our home. Yuuka takes a quick glance about, affirming that there aren’t any unwanted pairs of eyes watching us before reaching into her pocket and withdrawing the small, fuzzy bat. The bat lifts its head up, her body giving a bit of a twitch as she spreads out her wings, taking flight. That smoke trick she pulled earlier makes a return, and when it clears, Kurumi stands there in her humanoid form, her hair tossed and turned about messily on top of her head.

“That was mean,” she voices her dissatisfaction, frowning.

Yuuka, of course, ignores her completely as she walks up the staircase leading to the front door of our humble abode. The vampire girl lets out a sigh before shrugging it off. Elly gives her a look of sympathy before climbing up after her master. Kurumi takes a step up the staircase as well, but as I make to climb up after her, she turns around to face me.

“Hey,” she says, her hands folded together behind you. “We didn’t introduce ourselves properly, did we?”

“Huh?” I say, taken aback. “Oh, yeah, I guess not.”

She giggles playfully. “I’m Kurumi,” she says, reaching forward with one hand, extending it to me for a handshake. “Gatekeeper of the lake of blood. Although, I guess it’s former gatekeeper now.”

I take her hand, giving it a loose shake as I give my own introduction to her.

“That’s a weird name,” she says with a laugh, letting go of my hand.

As she does so, I notice that the hand I shook hers with was the one that Yuuka had cut open to feed the vampire girl my blood, and the handkerchief that’s stemming the bleeding has rubbed off a bit of the soaked blood onto the girl’s palm. She holds her bloodied palm to her mouth and licks off all the blood, like a cat cleaning its paw.

“Delicious,” she says, grinning. “What’s your blood-type? Is it Type B? Tastes like a Type B.”

“…Type A, actually.”

“Oh. Well, Type A kind of tastes like Type B,” she says shamelessly, shrugging again. “Anyway, pleased to meet you. I’ll be in your care for a little while, is that alright?”

“Y-yeah, I guess so.”

Clapping her hands together with a smile, she turns back around and energetically makes her way up the stairs, skipping on over to the metal door leading into my home. She cautiously, hesitantly, reaches for the handle of the door, as if she’s actually reaching for something that might potentially administer an electric shock. She tugs the door open with no problem, however, and letting out a sigh of relief, happily skips inside; or attempts to, anyway, as she nearly falls down when the frames of her wings get caught in the doorway. Yelping, she retreats back a step, folding her wings in a little more before slipping inside.

…What was that all about? Oh well, at least she seems politer than Elly was initially, well, minus the whole biting thing, but that was because she was out of her senses with hunger, right? Letting out a sigh myself, I walk over to the still open door, preventing it from swinging shut and opening it just enough to slip inside.

The very first things that grace my sight upon my entrance are Elly and Kurumi.

“No, wait, I can take it off myse—Ow, you’re hurting my wings!”

More specifically, it’s Elly forcibly stripping the vampire girl of her top while jostling her toward the bathroom. I stand there, mouth agape, as the former continues to shove her down the hallway while unbuttoning the latter’s shirt. They… they don’t even seem to realize I’m there, or if they do, they’re completely ignoring me.

They continue to struggle against each other even as they enter the bathroom, and I can hear their muffled voices inside as I follow after them, followed shortly after by a click of the door lock. I… I guess they’re going to take a bath together.

…You know, I thought that that vampire chick kind of looked like a kid because of her short stature, but she actually has some pretty big—

“Welcome back, master,”

I jump at Kana’s voice, and quickly turn to her. She stands next to me, smiling—a forced smile, with frigid, almost glacial eyes that quickly travel to the handkerchief soaked with my own blood wrapped around my hand.

“…You really do attract a lot of trouble, master,” she says as her eyes return to me, half-bemused, half-annoyed.

…I don’t think she’s very happy with me right now.

“If you’ll be having dinner, it’ll be ready soon,” she says curtly after that, giving me a half-hearted bow before fading from view, presumably to reappear in the kitchen, leaving me standing alone in the hallway.

She’s definitely not happy with me.

…Right, well, now that I’m home, what should I do now?

[ ] Call for a discussion about the strange events.
--- [ ] Wait until everyone is present.
[ ] Go tell A. about what you learned today.
[ ] Ah hell, that all can wait until later. Let’s…
--- [ ] (write-in)
>> No. 26841
[x] Go tell A. about what you learned today.

Sounds important. Besides, with all the distractions, if we don't do it now, we might never get to it.
>> No. 26844
[x] Go tell A. about what you learned today.
[x] Call for a discussion about the strange events.
--- [x] Wait until everyone is present.
>> No. 26845
[X] Call for a discussion about the strange events.
[X] Wait until everyone is present.

I think this is a better thing to do.
>> No. 26846
[x] Call for a discussion about the strange events.
--- [x] Wait until everyone is present.
could have just spent time with Kana or Yuuka but that is good too.
>> No. 26848
[x] Call for a discussion about the strange events.
--- [x] Wait until everyone is present.
>> No. 26851
[x] Go tell A. about what you learned today.
[x] Call for a discussion about the strange events.
--- [x] Wait until everyone is present.
>> No. 26856
File 127007604388.jpg - (15.96KB , 479x361 , everyone.jpg ) [iqdb]
26856
{Call for a discussion about the strange events.
- {Wait until everyone is present.}}
>> No. 26858
[X] Call for a discussion about the strange events.
--- [X] Wait until everyone is present.

sounds good
>> No. 26864
>“…Type A, actually.”

This will be critical in avoiding a bad end toward the end. Calling it now.
>> No. 26868
I think we should take some time to reassure Kana that no overdeveloped vampire is going to steal us from her.
>> No. 26920
I guess I can’t just ignore what’s been happening. I mean, what with all the monsters roaming around the city and that false world appearing out of nowhere and demons trying to kill me and other irregularities or forsaken or something and that angel preaching about the coming of a new era or whatever-the-fuck and oh god this is kind of too much for me to go over all at once.

…but I guess I should wait until Elly and Kurumi are out of the bath first. Everyone should be present when we’re discussing something as important as this. I don’t know how long they’re going to take in there, though, so I might as well go check out what the others have been doing while I was out with an old friend.

Sighing, I bring a hand up to my face, massaging the bridge of my nose. My vision is slightly blurry and it feels a little difficult to move without swaying too much, but I’m not completely out of it. That damnable headache from earlier this afternoon seems to have returned, though, causing me to feel slightly irritated and annoyed as I step toward the living room.

Huh. Is it just me, or are there a lot more flowers decorating the room than there should be? I remember there was a vase holding a single flower on the table, but…

I don’t think I remember ordering the living room to be turned into an indoor garden.

My mouth hangs open dully as I stare about the living room, now a lot more colorful than it used to be. What the… Who? How? Why? Wreathes of flowers hang on the walls, vases line up the counters of the kitchen, and there’s even a small sapling growing in the corner!

Wait, flowers?

…isn’t Yuuka a flower lover?

“You like what I did with the place?” Yuuka asks me with a smug grin, tossing back her hair as she walks out of the kitchen. “It was just so dull before, you know. Now it’s just full of life, wouldn’t you say?”

She laughs at her own pun before buggering off toward the hallway, presumably intending on returning to her room. For a second, I stand there in my shock, though I manage to recover from that quickly enough to stop her with a “Wait!”

She turns around, her arms crossed and her eyes stern as she waits for me to speak.

“How’d you—how’d you even get all these?” I say, more in wonder than outraged. “Don’t tell me you spent money buying all these!”

“Not at all,” she says with a harsh laugh. “I assure you, I didn’t spend a single yen to acquire these flowers and plants.”

“And the vases?”

“I found them.”

“You’re kidding.”

“Not this time.”

“I don’t believe you,” I say with a scowl. There’s no way. “How’d—where’d you get the flowers, then?”

“That’s a good question,” she says, bringing a hand up and playing with a lock of hair, pinched between her thumb and forefinger. “Tell me, what do you think the greatest power is?” she asks suddenly, catching me by surprise.

“Huh?” I utter dumbly, rubbing the back of my neck. “Uh… I guess… the power to destroy the universe or something?”

She snorts disdainfully at my answer. “Even a brat can destroy something,” she says with a smirk, letting go of her hair and holding one hand out in front of her. “But it takes more than a mere child to create.”

As she says this, she gives a quick flick of the wrist, and a single rose appears in her grip with a brilliant flash.

“Think about that for a while, why don’t you?” she says, turning away with the rose held out behind her.

She tosses it at me, and I catch it in my hand. I wince as the thorns on the stem bite into my flesh. She… she just made this thing appear out of nowhere? So she just made this? But wait, this has to be a fake, right? There’s no way it’s real. If it is, then does that mean…

The power to create, huh?

Well, whatever. If all these plants and flowers are from her, then I’m not responsible for their care. She shouldn’t expect me to water them or trim them or anything. She’d better not, anyway. I hate taking care of plants.

There’s probably still some time before Kurumi and Elly are out of the bath. I should find a way to kill time until they are.

[ ] Go back to your room.
[ ] Spend time with…
--- [ ] Ellen and Sokrates
--- [ ] Kana
--- [ ] Kotohime
>> No. 26921
--[x]Spend time with
---[x]Kana

I don't get it, why is there only one option this update?
>> No. 26923
[x] Spend time with…
--- [x] Yuuka
That was certainly an interesting conversation that asks for more. We should continue it.
>> No. 26924
--[x]Spend time with
---[x]Kana

She doesn't seem too happy with more people coming to our place...
>> No. 26926
--[x]Spend time with
---[x]Kana
>> No. 26930
[x]Spend time with Kana
>> No. 26933
--[x]Spend time with
---[x]Kana

Anyone else worried about that headache?
Especially as it's been pointedly mentioned again and again?
>> No. 26934
[X] Spend time with
---[X] Kana
---[X] Give her the rose.

Sure, it's a little cheesy, and sort of cheap, considering that it's not like we had this planned out or anything, but I still think it's a step in the right direction.
>> No. 26935
[X] Spend time with
---[X] Kana
---[X] Give her the rose.
>> No. 26937
[X] Spend time with
---[X] Kana
---[X] Give her the rose.

That's a very cute option.
>> No. 26940
[X] Spend time with
---[X] Kana
---[X] Give her the rose.

d'awwww
>> No. 26941
{X} Spend time with
---{X} Kana
---{X} Give her the rose.
>> No. 26943
[ ] Spend time with…
--- [ ] Sokrates
>> No. 26944
[X] Spend time with
---[X] Kana
---[X] Give her the rose.
>> No. 26950
[X] Spend time with
---[X] Kana
---[X] Give her the rose.

>>26924
I think she's a bit annoyed at possibly paying attention to Elly, but more concerned about the overdeveloped vampire, but hey, chances are he'd rather lose years being scared by Kana than his blood being sucked.
>> No. 26951
[X] Spend time with
---[X] Kana
---[X] Give her the rose.
I love thee, good anon
>> No. 26952
{Spend time with Kana,
- {Give her the rose.}}
>> No. 26962
[X] Spend time with
---[X] Kana
---[X] Give her the rose.
>> No. 26985
[X] Spend time with
---[X] Sokrates
---[X] Give him the rose.
>> No. 26986
>>26985

http://www.touhou-project.com/others/res/26979.html