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25766 No. 25766
Continuing from >>20846

Wow, it's pretty amazing that this story is only on its third thread, given how long it's been running.

>>25731

I wouldn't have actually written it if I didn't know I could use it to further the plot.

---
"Well, none really about the concussion. First of all, I was wondering who brought you here."

"Your dear neighbor Letty Whiterock." Eirin flashes you a sly smile. "It was really quite cute how frantic and scared she was for your safety. I guessed that either she's just an extremely nice person by nature, or she likes you." It makes you slightly embarassed for her to say that so bluntly. Well, it's probably more likely to be the super-nice-person guess.

"I-I see." Your feelings are probably painfully visible on your face. "Well, other than that, I was wondering if I could possibly come to another one of your moon viewing parties. The next full moon is only a few days away, after all." Say yes, come on. Say yes.

"Sure, why not? It's always more fun when there's more people, after all. If you want, bring Reimu as well, and any other friends you want. Ah, but don't turn it into a festival." Oh man, this is pretty good. You can probably bring Mystia as well, which would help quite a bit.
...That is, if her parents let her. You're not so sure about that. You'll have to ask her about it.

"Many thanks for the invitation. One more thing, though, before I go." Let's see if you can word this without sounding accusing. "A friend of mine, Fujiwara no Mokou, disappeared a couple months ago. I was wondering if you'd heard anything about her, or anything like that."

"I haven't." Her brief answer seems like an attempt to avoid the subject. Her neutral, yet commanding expression only reinforces the idea. You can't really press further, though, without sounding accusing, so you stop.

"Ah. Unfortunate. No one seems to know what happened to her. Oh well. I'll see you tomorrow, then?"

She gives you a friendly smile. "Sure thing. Don't worry dear Miss Whiterock anymore, though, alright?" She smirks.

"I wasn't trying to in the first place, you know. I will try not to get in any more accidents, though. Later, Eirin."

She waves you off as you leave the small office.

Following the signs on the ceiling, you make your way to the visitor lobby, where you find Letty and a sick-looking Cirno waiting for you.

"Oh, John! Is everything alright?" She gets up and walks up to you as soon as she sees you across the room, with a concerned expression.

"Yeah, just got knocked out, nothing major."

She breathes out a sigh of relief, stress visibly leaving her body.

"That's good. I was so worried." She smiles. Letty smiles are pretty warm for someone who likes the cold so much.
"Oh, do you think you'll be able to make it back home on your own."

"Probably. Why?"

"Well, I decided to ask Eirin to give Cirno a check-up." Cirno, who is now asleep in the chair. "But if you don't mind waiting, we can go home at the same time."

[ ] You'll leave by yourself.
[ ] You'll wait for Letty and Cirno.

>> No. 25768
[x] You'll wait for Letty and Cirno.

Company always makes things better.
>> No. 25789
[x] You'll wait for Letty and Cirno.
>> No. 25790
[X] You'll wait for Letty and Cirno.
>> No. 25796
[x] You'll wait for Letty and Cirno.
>> No. 25801
[x] You'll wait for Letty and Cirno.

Returning the favor.
>> No. 25823
"I don't mind, no. Go ahead. I'll just watch TV or something."

"Alright."

The two of you wait patiently for Reisen to come out and call for Cirno. When she does, Letty waves to you as she carries the still-asleep child into the doctor's office.

Alright, then. It's television time.

Sitting down on the couch opposite the big-screen TV installed in the lobby, you find the remote and turn it on. After flipping through the channels, you decide that the most interesting thing on is the late-afternoon news. Setting the remote back down on the table you found it on, you relax in the couch.

"-still pouring out from the factory. It's still unclear exactly what the red mist is, but scientists are warning that it could potentially cause severe harm to the environment. A large group of fairies have started a protest in opposition to the pollution, and top executives from Enpen, Inc. are putting money into finding a way to remove the mist from the atmosphere. Government intervention is still impossible since no known environmental protection laws or treaties are being violated.

In other news, the public transit system for Gensokyo City is nearing completion with the train and subway lines set to be completed within the month. There has been no word on the exact day, but I'm sure everyone will be waiting warmly for the day to come. Enpen, Inc, the company building and operating the rail lines, has also been contracted to erect the barrier wall to prevent unregistered entry into the city. Though originally controvercial, both those outside of Gensokyo and inside have come to an understanding that it would be mutually beneficial and would greatly improve Gensokyo City's ability to keep its matters mostly separate and private from the rest of the country.

Now it's time for the daily weather update with our weekend meteorologist, Ichirin Kumoi."

The camera switches to one with a map of Japan.

"As Hiroshi said, the haze over the Gensokyo City valley is continuing to build. Weather is otherwise calm. Unfortunately, this means that for the forseeable future there won't be any storms to clear the mist out. Temperatures are going to continue to fall, even moreso as the red mist continues to build up. It is unclear what the chances of an inversion are, but if one occurs it is advised to stay indoors and avoid breathing any of the mist in until scientists can confirm exactly what it is. In other news, meteorologists back at Enpen, Inc. are still trying to figure out what the cause of the bizarre weather a few months ago was. Theories are ranging from an unforseen effect of pollution to a leak of weather control technology currently being developed by the Celestial Enterprises corporation. Back to Hiroshi at the main desk."

The camera once again switches to a man sitting behind a desk.

"Police are still investigating the disappearance of two men from a nearby town. No leads have been found, but evidence at both of the men's residences have pointed to them having inside information on the Scarlet Corporation.

On a lighter note, fairies from the children's home at..."

The news continues on with mundane stories about the city. Nothing particularly interesting, but you continue watching until Letty and Cirno emerge from the doorway connecting the lobby with the hallway with examination rooms. Cirno still looks pretty sick, and definitely exhausted. It seems like her fever is pretty bad, considering how badly she seems to be sweating.

"Eirin said it was just a minor cold," Letty explains. You're not sure you believe that, though. "She wrote a prescription that should take care of the cold overnight. Really, Eirin's pharmacy is amazing." Man, overnight? Some of the companies nowadays are coming up with insane technological advances.
"By the way," She adds, "is there any place you want to visit on the way home?"

[ ] Yes. (specify)
[ ] No, let's just go home.
>> No. 25826
[x] No, let's just go home.

I don't think they'd want to be dragged to a library or something.

But the news report did shed some light on things such as how closely the scarlet corporation keeps its secrets. And that a wall is being built.
>> No. 25834
[x] No, let's just go home.
>> No. 25836
[x] No, let's just go home.
>> No. 25846
[x] No, let's just go home.

Curiouser and curiouser.
>> No. 25855
"Nah," you respond, "let's just go home." You could potentially still visit the library, but you're not sure they'd want to tag along.

"Alright, let's go then."

...

Once again, your alarm clock wakes you up. You momentarily wonder to yourself why the hell you set it if you've got no real deadlines, but then you remember that you were supposed to help Mystia with her lamprey stand yesterday. That never actually happened due to the circumstances. You should probably help her with that today, after you've attended your apointment with Eirin.

After dragging your arm to the alarm clock, you press the button that makes the annoying sound stop reverberating throughout the room, and then turn the mode selection dial from "Buzzer" to "Off". After a couple minutes lying in bed, you drag yoursef to your feet and go about the usual morning business. There's nothing in your fridge to eat, so you'll have to get something on the go. You can still have a morning cup of coffee to wake yourself up.

You feel really drowsy. Letty recruited you to help her with Cirno, since the medicine she was perscribed had a nasty side effect of making the cold really, really bad for about an hour. The two of you had to keep her cool, which was pretty easy considering the room, and dry. Letty did most of the drying and taking care of the girl, while you did miscelaneous things like refilling the various icepacks when they'd melted. It took until about one o'clock in the morning for Cirno's monsterous fevor to finally break, and her symptoms nearly instantly went away. It's amazing, some of the things that modern companies have become able to do. It's almost like magic. Perhaps the cultists have something going for them afterall.

That said, you've got a few options when it comes to what to do next. You could go out and get breakfast, check up on Cirno to make sure everything's alright, or head straight to your apointment with Eirin.

[ ] Go out and get something to eat.
-[ ] Cafe
-[ ] Lamprey stand
[ ] Make sure Cirno's fine.
[ ] Apointments are for attending.
>> No. 25857
[x] Apointments are for attending.

Then we can head over to the stand and eat before starting to help her.
>> No. 25893
[x] Appointments are for attending.
>> No. 25895
[x] Appointments are for attending.
>> No. 25904
[x] Make sure Cirno's fine.

Freezing against the tide
>> No. 25911
[x] Make sure Cirno's fine.

We can spare a a few minutes.
>> No. 25912
Appointments are for keeping. Especially when they involve your brain.

Your head still kinda hurts from that. Not as in a headache, but your head its self. There's probably a huge bump there.
So, yeah. Visit the doctor, THEN worry about eating. You could probably get some food from Mystia before you help her with her food stand.

After locking your door, you head off to the office.

...

The world outside of artificial lighting has taken on a particularly creepy tone. The crimson mist in the sky causes just about everything to look like a shade of red. If it weren't for everyone carrying on with their lives normally, you'd think you got sucked into some alternate dimension. But no, you didn't; that happened a few months ago when you moved here. Anyone who hasn't been living here, though, would probably be pretty scared by now, with all the people dressed weirdly and seemingly not at all spooked by the sky being red. Fortunately, the mist isn't really blocking out the sunlight, or at night the moon or stars, instead just changing the color. For now.

When you enter the clinic, you find it to be pretty empty. The only person besides you wouldn't really look out of place in either Gensokyo City or outside of Gensokyo City, and she seems to be minding her own business, so you leave her alone. Eventually a small rabbit girl comes up to you with a clipboard.

"Hi, what is it that you're here for?"

"Check up. I had a minor concussion yesterday, and Eirin wanted me to come back so she could make sure I'm doing fine."

"Oh, so you're John?"

"Yeah."

"She told me to just take you straight to her. She isn't busy at the moment, so come with me."

The rabbit guides you back to Eirin's office.

"Here she is. Have a nice visit~" she leaves back the direction the two of you came from.

You knock on the door.

"Come in."

You oblige her.

"Oh, John. Wonderful, I was hoping to get your check-up done as soon as possible. By the way, did Cirno's condition show improvement?"

"Well, she got a whole lot worse, and then she got a whole lot better. When we finally called it a night, her fever had broken, and all her symptoms seemed to have disappeared, other than the ones caused by dehydration."

"Good, good. Now, let's start on the checkup."

It starts with a regular checkup, testing your breathing and reflexes and such. Then you move on to things more directly related to the brain, with certain tests for your motor skills and balance. It finishes up with a MRI of your head. It seems a bit overkill for a minor concussion that doesn't seem to have had any ill effects, but since it's your brain, and you're not paying for any of this, you can't complain too much.

"Everything's clear, John. No apparent damage to your brain, and the MRI shows no swelling. Everything's fine, so you don't need to be any more careful than normal. Then again, maybe your 'normal' isn't enough if you fall out of second-floor windows..."

"Yeah, yeah, that was a stupid mistake. I know." You don't even know why the thought to do that came over you.
But another thought comes over you. Thankfully, this time it isn't quite so self-destructive.
"So there's no problem with drinking alcohol, right?"

"Ah, are you talking about the party? No, there shouldn't be any problems. Oh, it's scheduled for tomorrow night, by the way."

"Alright, then. Well, unless you have something else, I'll see you then."

"Later, John."

You wave goodbye as you close the hospital door.

Now, what to do next?

[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 25913
[x] Depending on what's closer, either check on Cirno or go to the Stand.

I'm sure she's fine but it wouldn't hurt to double check if we're near by.
>> No. 25914
[x] Depending on what's closer, either check on Cirno or go to the Stand.

I don't think we'll find ourselves repeating something like that any time soon anyways.
>> No. 25963
[x] Depending on what's cooler, either check on Cirno or go to the Stand.

I was going to say "discover your Stand," but this is fine.
>> No. 26006
Two ideas come to you: head straight to work, or check on Cirno. Which do you choose? Of course, the closer one, since walking further than you need to saves on effort.

As it turns out, the closer option is heading straight to work.

When you finish the lengthy walk from the hospital to Mystia's foodstand, you find that she's, of course, already set up shop. Today, the only customer currently there is some girl picking up a carry-out order. She's wearing what looks like some kind of armor-dress hybrid. Not the strangest thing you've seen, but it's gotta be at least a bit annoying to lug that stuff around. At least it prolly keeps her a bit warm in the current colder temperatures, what with constant muscle strain. You just ignore her, since she leaves pretty quickly after picking up her order.

"Oh, John~ Do you want your usual~?"
"Actually, I'm here to help, like I was supposed to be yesterday. But, well, I didn't eat breakfast, so I guess I'll eat before starting work."

"Alright~ Your usual, coming up~"

She begins grilling your usual order. As if there really is any different kind of order. The main variety you get is in what sauces and beverages you can get with it, or methods of pre-grill seasoning. Yours is the normal blend of herbs and spices that she uses, which is by far the most popular. You've never actually tried the other blends, but that's for another day. Right now, you're too hungry to argue with her grilling up your usual.

"You know, I completely forgot you were supposed to help me yesterday~" She starts a converstion while preparing your food.

"Yeah, me too. I might have remembered after I got home, if I didn't... Well, Mystia, story time! Don't ever jump out of a second story window, it hurts like a son of a bitch afterwards. I don't even know why I did; I wasn't feeling suicidal or anything. I just had some strange urge. I dunno, maybe I'm finally cracking from the pressure of this place."

"Eh? Are you alright?" She suddenly freezes, putting her sing-song voice temporarily on pause as you summarize the events leading to your hospital visit last night.

"Yeah, only suffered a very minor concussion. I just came from the check-up on it, actually; Eirin said that I'm pretty much in perfect health. Though, the bump on my head still smarts."

"Ah~ What a relief~" It's good to know that there's people that care. Though, you imagine if you tell Reimu the story of things like this within two weeks of them happening she'd just smack you with her gohei and call you an idiot for jumping out your window.

After just a couple minutes more, which pass in relative silence, your food is finished.

"Enjoy~" she sings as she places your plate in front of you, and you're able to enjoy it. Though, passing a meal in silence doesn't sound very fun.

[ ] Write-in.
-[ ] Invite Mystia to the moon-viewing party.
>> No. 26008
[x] Who was that person just then? Just curious.
-[x] Ask her take on the Scarlet Mist and if anyone from the Scarlet Corp drops by.
-[x] Invite Mystia to the moon-viewing party.

Maybe she might be able to shed some light on this.
>> No. 26024
[x] Who was that person just then? Just curious.
-[x] Ask her take on the Scarlet Mist and if anyone from the Scarlet Corp drops by.
-[x] Invite Mystia to the moon-viewing party.

sounds good.
>> No. 26027
[x] Who was that person just then? Just curious.
-[x] Ask her take on the Scarlet Mist and if anyone from the Scarlet Corp drops by.
-[x] Invite Mystia to the moon-viewing party.
>> No. 26042
[x] Who was that person just then? Just curious.
-[x] Ask her take on the Scarlet Mist and if anyone from the Scarlet Corp drops by.
-[x] Invite Mystia to the moon-viewing party.
>> No. 26043
"Say, Mystia, who was that person who left just before I got here?"

"Hmm~? Oh, that was a new customer~ I love getting new customers~ She said her name was Rose~"

"Oh, I see. I was just thinking, it's probably a bit troublesome to wear that armor everywhere."

"Mhmm~"

"So, what's your take on that red mist in the sky? It sure does make everything look a bit creepy, with the red tinting it causes."

"Yeah~ It's kinda worrying me, since people might stop in less in the evenings~" She responds as she begins to wash some dishes. "Business is already slowing down, you know~" Hmm. Given that it's getting colder and colder, that makes sense. People don't want to wait in line outside and eat at an open-air bar while it's snowing. Well, that's still a couple months away. Hopefully.

"So, does anyone from the Scarlet Corporation frequent here?"

"Hmm~ I probably wouldn't know about it even if they did~ Ah, but the owner's maid stops by every once in a while to pick up dinner~"

"I see. I was hoping I might be able to get some information for Reimu, since I'm helping her in return for getting her help with Mokou. OH! Right. Eirin invited me to one of Eientei's moon-viewing parties, and I was wondering if you wanted to come with me. It'd be a good opportunity to-"

"Eh? Really?" She cuts you off, an excited look in her eyes.

"Yeah. It's-" You're cut off as she grabs you in a brief, tight hug.

"You're awesome~!" She sure seems excited about it.
"It's tomorrow night." You continue with what you were trying to say. "Your parent's won't mind, right?" Being asked on what may be mistaken for a date by an older man might make a thirteen-year-old girl's parents start asking some big questions.

"Nope~ My parents let me do whatever I want~" She half-brags, smiling even more energetically than she already was. Geez, you wish you had it that easy when you were her age.

You pretty much spend the rest of your eating time coming up with possible ways to sneak away from the group to snoop around. When it comes to it, though, you'll probably be too drunk to remember any of them, so you'll probably be improvizing them. You're not sure about Mystia. She shouldn't be drinking at her age, but you're not sure she's actually going to follow that rule.

After eating, you begin your work on repairing the food stand its self. While it looks fine enough at a first glance, some of the wood is starting to crack from the weather, and you also had to check the piping for leaks and such. While everything is as squeaky-clean as it should be, many of the tools she uses are in disrepair, so you sharpened some of them and threw out some that you couldn't do anything with. You also end up taking a look at a broken stool she inconspicuously hid behind the counter. The problem turned out to just be some loose screws, so it's back into service in no time. You also end up carrying an empty propane tank to a nearby fuel station to get it refilled.

In the end, the job of getting the food stand back into perfect condition took about four hours.

"Here~" Mystia hands you a small envelope full of bills. You take them out and count them.

Ten crisp 10,000 yen bills.
...
What.

"Mystia, this is far too much." Seriously, unless she mixed up your pay for someone else's, this you just made 25,000 yen per hour.

"Nonsense~ You deserve it~ You worked really hard~" She pushes the envelope back to you.

"But-"

"Take it~ I insist~ If you don't take it willingly, I'll have Letty sneak it into your wallet while you're sleeping~"

...While the thought of Letty sneaking into your house while you're asleep isn't really that bad, you'd probably prefer not to force her to do something like that.

"...Alright, then. Thank you a ton, Mystia."

"Mhmm~" She smiles as she waves you off.

Well, you feel satisfied. You helped a close friend, and made 100,000 yen from it, though you really don't think you deserve this much. The question is, what now?

[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 26048
[x] Check on Cirno

We've put if off for long enough. Wow, Mystia pays good for a 13-year old.
>> No. 26052
>Wow, Mystia pays good for a 13-year old.
There's an unpleasant joke involving the term "patronage" here.
>> No. 26058
[x] Check on Cirno

>>26052
So many jokes indeed.
>> No. 26072
[x] Check on Cirno
>> No. 26088
Hmm. It might be a good idea to head home. Checking on Cirno might be a good idea as well. Her fever was remarkable, given how long it took to break even in their apartment's freezing cold temperatures. On top of that, you don't really trust miracle pills that cure diseases so quickly. For all you know, it mutated her into a giant frog, or something.

...Haha, no, but a cultist might believe you if you told them the story of the girl who turned into a frog because she took strange pills. You file it away into your memory for future use if you need to get someone off of drugs.

...

The walk home was uneventful. You didn't really run into too many people, since it's a weekend and everyone's relaxing at home, but you did pass a few by. You left them alone, and they left you alone, so it's no big deal.

As you reach the bottom of the steps you run into Yuuka, who appears to be carrying some large box. As she's about to start up the stairs, you stop her.

"Need any help?" That box looks pretty heavy. You're unsure you want to just let her carry it herself.

"Huh? Oh, it's John. No, I'm fine. Ah, but..." She sets down the box, opens it up, and produces another, smaller box from inside.
"For Nemo. With this red stuff in the sky, he's probably not getting all the sunlight he needs~!" She hands you the box. It's a little bit heavy.

"What's this?" You ask her, curious as to what she just gave you.

"A sunlamp~ It's not nearly as good as real sunlight, but it's better than nothing at all." She picks up the box once again, then lifts it...up over her head? Wow, she's pretty strong. You'd probably have a little difficulty doing that yourself.
"See you later, John." And she begins climbing the stairs, like they're nothing. Damn, some of the people in this city are on just a completely different level.

You make your own way up the stairs, stopping in front of Letty's door. After knocking three times and waiting a bit, the door opens.

"John? Good afternoon! What brings you around here?" She smiles warmly at you.

"I was just wondering how Cirno's doing. She was in pretty bad shape before he fever broke."

"Ah! Well, she's perfectly fine now. No sniffles or anything! Though, I think she's still got some sinus pressure." The cold air from inside the apartment is starting to chill your skin a bit.

"Ah, that's good. Just call me if you need anything, okay?"

"Of course. You're the most reliable person I know." She smiles warmly as she compliments you. Feels good, man.
"Oh, John. Have you eaten lunch yet?"

Now that you think about it, you didn't. You could have gotten something from Mystia, but you'd been smelling grilled lamprey all day long, and you had it for breakfast, so you weren't really in the mood.

"I guess I haven't."

"I see! Would you like to join us, then?"

[ ] Answer.
>> No. 26089
[x] "Sure."
>> No. 26091
[X] "Sure."

Be the sociable neighbor.
>> No. 26094
[x] "Sure."

Cold cuts?
>> No. 26100
[x] "Sure."
>> No. 26110
[x] "Sure."

Let us have lunch with our Pretty Neighbor.
>> No. 26120
[x] "Sure."
>> No. 26121
>>26110
>Pretty Neighbor

I get the joke.
>> No. 26130
"Yeah, sure." You wouldn't even think of turning down lunch with Letty. She's a pretty good cook, and definitely good company.

"Great! Come on in and sit down, I'll have it ready in just a couple minutes." She opens the door wide to let you in.

"Alright." Inside, it's as cold as ever. Well, you've gotten used to it for the most part by now.

She leaves into the kitchen. While you're waiting, you decide to check up on the news with your cellphone-wonderdevice-thingy. Maybe there's something useful regarding that red mist.

Opening up the web page for Gensokyo City's biggest news agency, you take a look at the articles.

The main article on the red mist takes up most of the page, even including a largeish picture of the factory its self.

Scarlet Mist Lingers, Still Nothing Done About It

Below that, there's a set of links to more articles, labeled "Top Stories", as well as a link to the full list of today's articles. Each of the articles has a small icon indicating what it's about. Articles on the red mist apparently have gotten their own icon, since a small picture of the factory spewing out the red mist appears in front of articles related.

Attempted Break-in at Factory
Snow Incident Still Unresolved, Celestial Enterprises Denies Involvement
Flower Shop Owner Kazami Yuuka to File Suit Against the Scarlet Corporation

After browsing through the main article and finding nothing new, you decide to look through the other three that are on the front page.

Attempted Break-in at Factory
"Earlier today, police were called during an attempted break-in at the Scarlet Corporation's factory. Police are investigating possible relation to the Violle Library book thief, and are also investigating possible leads related to environmental activists. It is currently unknown who was involved or if anything was damaged or stolen, since the Scarlet Corporation refused to allow an investigation into the factory its self."

Interesting. It seems like someone has started to act before you and Reimu could. You have no idea what to think of this, though. It really could just be some thief trying to steal something valuable.

You decide to skip past the next article, since you have a pretty good idea of what exactly was causing the strange snow. It had SOMETHING to do with whatever Reimu ended up doing after you left. You're still not certain what that was all about.

Anyway, on to the third article.

Flower SHop Owner Kazami Yuuka to File Suit Against the Scarlet Corporation

This article is obviously quite intriguing, since it involves a person who lives two doors down to you.

"The owner of a local flower shop has decided to file suit against the Scarlet Corporation for the red skies. "The lack of sunlight is killing my plants," she explained. "It's hurting my business." When interviewed, she seemed fairly confident in her ability to win the court case, even though her business is so small. It is rumored, however, that she has-"

Your reading is interrupted by Letty leaving the kitchen with a large plate covered in undoubtably delicious sandwiches.

"Cirno," she calls out, "Lunch is ready!" She sets the large plate down in the center of the table. After a couple of seconds, Cirno rushes into the room, eagerly taking her place at the table. Yeah, she definitely looks to be in a lot better condition than last night.

"Help yourselves!" She tells you, while grabing a sandwich off of the plate for herself. Cirno also grabs a sandwich and quickly starts munching on it. You grab a sandwich for yourself. Turkey. It's quite good.

Lunch passes pleasantly, with conversation about various topics, ranging from the weird red mist to the sunlamp Yuuka gave you just before you came in. It ended with Cirno bugging you to play with her, which you ended up complying with. The two of you ended up playing some sort of fighting game you'd never played before. Cirno won the first round, but lost the next three, making her more and more sullen each time.

"I'm the strongest! There's no way you could have beaten me! You must be cheating!" she complained, causing you to chuckle. You respond by ruffling her hair affectionately, which didn't really seem to do much to make her less of a sore loser. Oh well, it was worth a try.

When you end up saying goodbye to the two of them, it's about 3:00 in the afternoon.

Just as you're about to open your door, your phone buzzes.

"New Message: Enpen Inc."

You select "Read Message", and it pops up on your screen.
"Hello, John. This message is to notify you that you are to show up at a meeting tomorrow morning at 11:00 A.M. I apologize for the short notice, but something suddenly came up. See you there~"

Looks like you've got a somewhat busy day tomorrow.

Oh well. Time to decide what to do next.

[ ] Relax in your room for the rest of the night.
[ ] Visit that library.
[ ] Visit the shrine.
>> No. 26131
[x] Visit that library.
>> No. 26133
[x] Visit that library.
>> No. 26136
[x] Visit that library.
>> No. 26139
[ℤℯ] Visit that library.

Ruffle was ineffective?

What kind of mad hellhole is this place?!
>> No. 26155
Gah. No updates tonight. I'm done being creative after completing an essay for my history class, and on top of that I feel that I'm starting to come down with something.

In return, for all of tomorrow, whenever this story gets 3 votes for an option, or 5 different votes for a .>input selection, I will write immediately.
>> No. 26182
That library you've been wanting to visit since yesterday. Yeah, you still want to go there. Finding a good book to read would be nice.

You open your now definitely obsolete map and find the library. Once you know where it is in general, you begin walking.

When you arrive at the library, you find that it's...huge. It's really, really big. You've never seen a library this big before. From outside, it looks like a museum. From inside, it looks even bigger. There are just rows and rows of bookshelves, and it's set up in quite a mazelike pattern. You'd probably need a map to navigate the place.

Luckily, you find just that. One of the computers near where you are has a stack of pamphlets, one of which happens to be a library map.

The computer its self can be used to look up books.

[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 26185
[x] Try to look up books on the Scarlet Corp. On the computer.
-[x] As well as some books on the history of the area.

Why not try to understand the area better?
>> No. 26188
[x] Try to look up books on the Scarlet Corp. On the computer.
-[x] As well as some books on the history of the area.
>> No. 26191
[x] Try to look up books on the Scarlet Corp. On the computer.
-[x] As well as some books on the history of the area.
>> No. 26192
Hmm. Well, come to think of it, it'd be good to start off with some research into the Scarlet Corporation. Maybe you can get some useful information from some of these books?

...

..And it's useless. Nothing came up at all, no matter what you searched for. Information on the internet was severely limited too, with pretty much the only information on them being that they own the factory spewing red mist.

"Damn, I was hoping to find something." You mutter to yourself.

"What were you looking for?" A female voice asks. When you look to see who it is, you find an unfamilliar girl with purple hair and purple eyes. She seems more normally dressed than most...If it were the morning. Why someone would be waring pajamas in a library is beyond you.

"Oh, uh, I was looking for information on the Scarlet Corporation."

"...You should avoid looking into such matters. You probably won't find anything anyway, though." She calmly states in a near-monotone.

"Is that so? Well, maybe I'll just look into the history of the area, then."

"Oh, I know of a book that meets those specifications. Follow me." She begins walking into the massive shelves. Does she have the whole place memorized? She didn't even look it up on the computer or anything, and there's nothing on the shelves to indicate a Dewey Decimal System in place. The books don't even seem to be in alphabetical order, either.
...This is a pretty strange library.

Eventually she stops in front of a bookshelf that looks just as identical to the rest of the library as any other shelf, and pulls out a book, handing it to you.

"This book has detailed information on the fauna, flora, geography, and weather patterns of the area. The book is older than the city, though, so most of the information is obsolete. It is not likely that there will be an update until the bulk of the construction in the city has been finished." She explains, then begins to walk away.

Hey, wait.
You may need her help in the future, and you don't even know who to ask for. She does seem pretty knowledgable about the place. A librarian, perhaps?

"Thanks. So, uh..." You're about to ask her name, but stop yourself. This is Japan. In Japan, one gives their name first. Unless even that rule has been corrupted here.
"I'm John. It's nice to meet you."

"I am Patchouli Knowledge, head librarian of the Violle Library. It is always a pleasure to make new acq-" Her sentence is interrupted by a mild coughing fit.
"uaint- *cough* an-" By now, it's worse than a normal coughing fit. It sounds loud enough that you're scared she'll break a blood vessel in her throat or something.
She's also doubled over, holding her throat. Her face has gone red.

...Shit this isn't something to just watch.

[ ] Call out for help.
[ ] No time for that, call in the emergency NOW.
[ ] There's nothing wrong here.
>> No. 26193
[X] Call out for help.
-[X] Try to take her back to the front desk, or at least a nearby chair.
>> No. 26194
[x] Call out for help.
>> No. 26199
[x] Try to look up something about the Scarlet Corporation on the computer.
-[x] Look up any books relating to the history of this area.

Reworded for awkwardness removal.

>Corp.
You are a big kid now. It's okay to use whole words, really.
>> No. 26201
>>26199

Why hello there slowpoke.
>> No. 26202
[X] Call out for help.
-[X] Try to take her back to the front desk, or at least a nearby chair.
>> No. 26205
[X] Call out for help.
-[X] Try to take her back to the front desk, or at least a nearby chair.
>> No. 26206
You need to get help.

"HEY!" you shout. "I NEED SOME HELP HERE! THE LIBRARIAN IS COUGHING TO DEATH!"
Man, you could have found a much better way to word that, but you just said the first words that came to mind.

After about 30 seconds of waiting, you shout out again.

Shortly after, a red-headed girl with what looks like succubus ears attached to the side of her head.

"Move!" She commands, so you get out of her way. She rushes over and starts checking on the librarian.

"Have you called 119 yet?"

"No, but-"

"Do it!" She screams at you, while hurriedly standing up. She then runs off.

You comply, doing what you probably should have done in the first place.

"Emergency Services, what is your emergency?"

"I'm at the Viole Library. The head librarian suddenly started coughing really hard, and I don't think she can breathe."

"Okay. The Eientei clinic has been notified, and an ambulance should arrive shortly. Are you currently attempting to treat the patient?"

The girl from before suddenly rushes past you, practically slamming a box of some sort of equipment down on the floor.

"Someone else is, yeah. I'm not sure what they're doing."

"Alright. Sir, were there any sort of special circumstances that started the coughing fit? Did she breathe something in, or get hit in the chest or throat area by something?"

"No, she was talking to me, and suddenly started coughing mid-sentence. Sir, I would like you to stay on the line until the ambulance gets there."

It takes a couple minutes, but eventually you hear the sirens. The girl you were with runs off in the direction they're coming from, probably to guide them here. Patchouli continues coughing, and at the same time gasping for breath.

Shortly, the paramedic team arrives. You recognize one of the faces: Reisen.

She pays you no heed and immediately gets to work on Patchouli. After quickly examining her, she calls for a scalpel anda plastic bag thing. After cutting a small hole in Patchouli's throat, she pushes the open tip of the bag into the hole, and starts using the bag part to pump air into Patchouli's lungs.

"John, do you mind helping me lift her onto the stretcher? The rabbits aren't that strong." She asks, still completely focued on the patient, hooking up things such as that machine that monitors her pulse. She also jabs some sort of needle into Patchouli's neck.

"Alright."

"You take her legs, I'll take this side."

The two of you hoist Patchouli onto the stretcher. Her coughing fit seems to be subsiding. The other rabits begin pushing her out to the ambulance.

"You two. Are you coming with her on the ambulance?"

"I'm going." The other girl responds immediately. Reisen looks to you.

[ ] Go with her.
[ ] Don't go with her.
>> No. 26207
[ ] Go with her.
>> No. 26208
[x] Go with her.
>> No. 26209
[x] Go with her.

Useless rabbits, only good for their sex appeal.
>> No. 26211
"Yeah, I'll come."

"Alright, hurry. We need to leave pretty quickly."

The two of you rush out to the ambulance and get in.

...

Well, you're sitting in the hospital waiting room. Being in an emergency room too many times in a short period isn't a good thing. At least you're not the one that was hurt this time.

It's...very quiet. And boring. Nothing happening. Of course, since you have no relationship with Patchouli, and in fact didn't even know her until just a few minutes before this happened, you're stuck out in the waiting room.

Just like last time you waited in this room, it's mostly empty.

[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 26218
[X] Look through the magazines for anything interesting.
-[X] If you find nothing, check your PDA for news that's occuring outside the city.

John needs to distract himself from this crazy place.
>> No. 26220
[X] Look through the magazines for anything interesting.
-[X] If you find nothing, check your PDA for news that's occurring outside the city.
>> No. 26221
[x] Look through the magazines for anything interesting.
-[x] If you find nothing, check your PDA for news that's occuring outside the city.
>> No. 26222
Magazines. There's always magazines in waiting rooms like this.

Of course there are. You're glad you found them, because otherwise you'd be bored out of your mind.

Ah, but there's a catch. Most of them are magazines you'd be thoroughly uninterested in- women's magazines, magazines on gardening, magazines on cooking. There's a couple magazines on sports too, but you've never really cared enough about sports ot read magazines on them. What remains is a well-known news magazine, and what looks like a tabloid. The tabloid's name is Bunbunmaru.

...The tabloid immediately becomes your first choice, since tabloids can be amusing to read at times.

Let's see. This is a somewhat old newspaper, from a few months back. Actually, it's from about when you first came here.
The headline on the first page... "Man and Woman Assault Priestess!"

...Hey, wait. That's a picture of YOU. In the middle of the fight with that shrine at the top of the mountain.

You decide to set the tabloid aside, perhaps to read later. You're not sure you want to read any further after that.

Let's see, the news magazine.

...Nope, nothing interesting inside. Just the usual news. It's not from Gensokyo City, so the only local news in it is an article on the red mist, with the requisite quotes from Enpen, inc. scientists.

That leaves your PDA. You could play games or something, but you're still on a mission. That means no playing around if there's an opportunity to research.

Pulling out your PDA, you fire up the web browser. First, you check the local news site. Nothing new since earlier today. Alright, that means that the next course of action is to start googling.

First you google for "Scarlet Corporation". Since the first five pages are nothing but posts on news sites and blogs about the red mist, you decide to type "Scarlet Corporation" -mist instead. What you're left with is 3 sites. One, a post on a news site that somehow managed to avoid using the word mist. Two, a post on an Enpen, inc site that somehow managed to get around the filter you put in place- it certainly does use the word "mist" in the body of the page.
The final result is the Scarlet Corporation's web page. When you visit, you find... The page is mostly empty. All that's there are two blank text boxes, labeled "Username" and "Password". The entire page is made up of shades of red. Other than the text boxes, all that's on the page is the Scarlet Corporation logo.

...This search proved fritless.

Well, might as well go find non-local news. You're tempted to go back to that news magazine, but you'd rather just look it up on your PDA.

...

After spending some time reading the news, you set your PDA back to standby. There wasn't anything particularly special in world or country news, but you read up on stuff anyway. You remember an article about a guy who married his dakimakura. You're not sure what to think about that.

Thinking about it, it's been quite some time now. You're not sure you want to stick around. It's not like you really know the person who you came here with, after all.

[ ] Ask about Patchouli's condition.
[ ] Stay and wait.
[ ] Just leave.
>> No. 26224
[x] Ask about Patchouli's condition.
>> No. 26230
[x] Ask about Patchouli's condition.
>> No. 26251
[x] Ask about Patchouli's condition.
>> No. 26254
Well, might as well find out how she's doing before leaving, anyhow.

"Sir, how can I help you?" The girl behind the desk asks. Just like everyone else, aside from Eirin of course, she's wearing bunny ears. Perhaps it's part of the uniform?

"I was curious as to what Patchouli Knowledge's condition is."

"And you are?"

"The person that called in the emergency."

"Alright, hold on." She presses a few keys on her keyboard, and then makes a momentary pause.

"Since you're not family, I can't tell you anything other than that she's no longer in critical condition."

"Ah. That's good. Thank you." Hmm, no reason to stick around, then. It's getting somewhat late. Looking at your PDA, it lists the time as 5:04.

As you're about to head out the door, it opens for you. Odd, you don't remember them being auto-Oh, someone just opened it from the outside. Specifically, a girl wearing a maid uniform. She's holding it open for a much younger-looking girl wearing a pink dress and cap, as well as a pair of oversized bat wings. They actually look like if they were fully extended, tehy'd be wider than the girl is tall.

"Ah, sorry. Please go through." You step to the side so she can enter, and then leave. It's almost night time already outside. The reddish tint everything has taken really does look quite bizarre.

[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 26255
Damn... did we miss a chance at talking with them?
>> No. 26256
>>26255
I don't see any votes in this post
>> No. 26261
[X] Grab some dinner and go home.

Better get ready for tomorrow's meeting.
>> No. 26262
[x] Grab some dinner and go home.

Better get ready for tomorrow's date.
>> No. 26264
[X] Grab some dinner and go home.

Not much to do at this point than to call it a day.
>> No. 26266
[X] Grab some dinner and go home.
>> No. 26267
[x] Grab something from home and go to dinner.
>> No. 26287
[x] Grab some dinner and go home.
>> No. 26324
No update tonight. If it helps any, tomorrow's update should be fairly lengthy.
>> No. 26351
>>26324

"Fairly lengthy" being an understatement; I've barely scratched the surface and it's already 8kb. Since it's this long, expect a couple more hours before the finished update is posted.
>> No. 26363
I'm surprised I managed to write this much, considering that I've had a mild fever the entire time.

Also CHRIST it took me HOURS to write this.

---
Well, it's probably about time to go home. But first, dinner. The best place you can think of is Mystia's lamprey stand. Even if you had it for breakfast, it'll still be delicious for dinner. Just not two meals directly in a row, you know?
After walking a bit, you find yourself in front of the familliar stand, with a familliar girl standing behind the grill.

"Oh, John~ Are you here to eat~?" She asks with her usual carefree attitude. You have to wonder how much of that is genuine and how much is forced, after Mokou's disappearance.

"Yeah, give me my usual."

"Roger~ Coming right up~" she quickly begins cooking your food, the always delicious aroma filling the area.

"So, Mystia. You're sure you can come tomorrow night, right? I don't want your parents getting angry at you."

"It's fine, it's fine~ I really can do what I want, you know~" Whenever she says that, you feel slightly jealous.

"Good, good. So, you're ready for it? There's nothing you need to pick up first, right?"

"Nope~" She giggles. "I always keep my sneaky spy gear handy~" You can't tell whether she's being serious or not, but either way, that's fine.

"Good. Speaking of sneaky spying, should we go back over the plan? I think we should know what we're going to do before we go there, if we're to gather much information."

"Mhmm~ I like the plan where you use drunkenness as an excuse to wander through the halls~"

"Yeah, that's one of the better ones. I think it'll work out better if you also keep the main group distracted while I'm doing that. Think you could grill up some lamprey? I'm sure they'll have a grill of some sort."

"Ah, that's a good idea~ I'll see if I can package some up~"

"So, how's your day been since I punched out?"

The two of you spend some time talking. During the talking, Mystia tells you that she doesn't get off school until around 2:00 PM. She said she'll probably skip club activities to get ready sooner, so you can probably expect her at...3:00 PM maybe?

Eventually, quite a while after you've actually finished your food, you have to excuse yourself. It's already about 7:00, so if you're to get home, watch the news, and make sure you're all ready for tomorrow, and at the same time go to sleep at a decent hour, you should probably start on it now.

"Later, Mystia. Just stop by my place when you're ready, alright?"

"Okay~" She waves you off as you leave.

It's a little bit darker than it was when you walked to the shrine. The effect is quite powerful. Everything is a dull shade of red. It's even more surreal-feeling than it ever has been before. It really does seem like something's going to jump out at you.
When you look up at the sky, you find that the red mist has begun to get thicker and thicker. It seems like it's getting released at an even faster rate than when it was originally being released, perhaps in response to the fact that nothing can be done about it. At least, not legally. You're not sure what means Reimu is going to use, but so far they've not been legal. In fact, they've been quite illegal: breaking into people's homes and beating them with a stick. If this weren't Gensokyo, she'd probably have been arrested already.
That aside, there's very few people out on the street, and those that are seem to be cautiously looking around, some of them going as far as peeking their head around corners before turning. When you think about it, you realize that you've automatically gripped the knuckes in your pocket. Man, you don't even realize you carry them anymore. They've just become an undeniable part of who you are. You've managed to avoid a few fights with delinquent teenagers that thought it might be fun to pick on someone twice their size just by pulling them out. You've only been a couple real fights with them, specifically the ones Reimu dragged you into. That's probably for the better, since you can imagine that it hurts really, really badly to be hit by someone of your stature wearing these.

Eventually, you make it to your house. Just in time, too. You could swear you felt someone following you since halfway, but every time you looked back, there was no one. The red coloring on everything simply started to get to you. You saw several other people seem to do the same as you walked past them.

...

Alright, so, now that you're home and comfortable, time to go over a quick checklist. Nice enough clothing for a moon viewing party at Eientei?

You check through your drawers and find that, indeed, your nice clothes are clean.

-"Check." You're not sure why you say it out loud, but you do.

PDA phone device thing on charger?

Well, it is now.

"Check."

The news?

You turn on your television and sit down to watch.

"-no news on the break-in earlier today at the Scarlet Corporation's factory. Many people have posted on our message board proclaiming the person's attempt as heroic, stating that if someone can break in and shut down whatever machines are creating the red mist. And now, what you've all undoubtedly been waiting for, our new segment! Joining us from the computer lab is Himekaidou Hatate with our new section on popular images from the internet!"

The scene changes to in front of a pretty advanced computer. A girl, dressed in surprisingly normal clothes given that she's apparently from Youkai Mountain, judging by that hat of hers, starts by introducing Pixiv and various other image websites, then starts on actual examples of popular images. You can't help but notice that she keeps looking at an odd yellow cellphone that seems like it's always in her hands.

You mostly tune out the segment. You're not interested in stuff like that. Instead, you take the time to try once again to find information on the Scarlet Corporation on your PDA device.

...Nope, nothing. You place it back on its charger and return to the television.

"-and that concludes our segment on popular pictures from the internet! Back to the main desk."

"More outcry against the red mist seeping from Gensokyo City leads to environmental activists pushing the creation of a bill to specifically target the red mist. However, since it's unknown what the mist actually is, it's unlikely to go much further than that until chemical analysis can be completed."

The television goes on and on about the mist. Not once do you hear a bit of information on the Scarlet Corporation. It really feels like every other overblown news story (well, this is probably one of the cases where it actually ISN'T overblown) in that it's all the news really talks about, and they keep saying the same stuff in different ways, and have lots of guests come up with different ways to say the same stuff, over and over. When it starts getting tiring, you switch the channel to watch something else. You don't really pay much attention to the channel you put it to, though. It's only going to serve as background noise while you just relax to wind down from the day.
It's something about gardening. You don't really pay much attention, but you realize that you've yet to install your sunlamp so that Nemo can get the nutrition he acquires.

"It's okay now, Nemo, I've got food for you again." You're not sure why you're talking to Nemo like that. He's a plant, so... Are you that lonely? You shouldn't be, since you spend time with people all day.

"Good evening, fellow plant enthusiasts," you're sure you know the reason now, though. "Remember: plants need sunlight, even if there's none around! If you haven't already, go out and buy a sunlamp to temporarily feed your plants until the red mist blows away!"

Jesus christ, that's Yuuka on television.

"This is Kazami Yuuka here with our daily short segment on plant health! As you all know, I run the flower shop downtown. The plants always get sad when it's cloudy for too long, so imagine how depressed the red mist has made them! Today, I'll talk about sunlamps. When looking for a sunlamp, keep these key things in mind-"

This just seems completely different from the Yuuka you know. She's so outward and social, whereas she usually seems introverted and antisocial when you've met her. Maybe it's just a hard day at work, though. The segment only lasted a couple minutes, but it completely changed your view on the girl.

After relaxing for a bit, it occurs to you to get ready for bed. You decide to take a shower tonight, and then another one tomorrow morning. After that, you climb into bed. It's only 10:00, so it's pretty early, but that's fine. Sleep comes fairly easily, since you've been through a lot today.

...

You're awake.

Judging by how your room is still dark, and therefore implying that the sun hasn't risen very high yet, it must be pretty early.

A quick glance at your clock confirms this. It's 5:47 in the morning. Your alarm clock isn't set to wake you up until 9. Why did you wake up this early? You still feel tired, and you don't need to use the restroom or anything.

You suddenly hear talking outside your door.

"This is the apartment she said he lived at, Lady Remilia."

"Ah, good. Please knock on the door."

"It's quite early, though. Aren't you worried about waking him up?"

HA, you beat the habit of being woken up early in the morning by knocking on your front door! But the method you used to beat it isn't that great.

"It's fine, it's fine. If he's still tired, we'll apologize and invite him later. Please knock already."

"Yes, mistress." You hear the knocking you've been waiting for.

Not wanting to be rude, you drag yourself out of bed to greet the unfamilliar people.

As soon, as you open your door...

"Ah, good morning, John. I'm Remilia Scarlet."

...Wait, shit. Really?
These are the two that you stepped out of the way for when you left the clinic last night.

"I'm here to sincerely thank you for saving my dear friend, Patchouli, from a surely very painful and tragic death. In return, would you like to have tea at my mansion sometime?" This girl looks to be just a bit older than Cirno, but she's using speech more refined than most adults would use. In any case, if she's the same Remilia Scarlet who owns the Scarlet Corporation, this is too good of an opportunity to pass up.

"Yeah, sure."

"Great! Hurry up and get ready, then; my driver doesn't like waiting very long!"

...Wait, right now? Shit.

You hurry and take a quick shower, then throw on your clothes. A few minutes later, you're in the parking area of the apartment complex, in awe at the vehicle in front of you. Mainly because of how conspicuous it is.

It's...A red limosine. Not a bright red, it's more like the color the skies turn at arund...Well, the time you were walking home last night. Still, a pretty odd color for a limosine to have.

"Hurry up and get in! The sooner we leave, the sooner we'll get there!"

Of course, you comply.

The drive... Well, it's weird. Seing a girl that looks to be about Cirno's age sipping champagne without any noticable effects, and without anyone else in the car seeming to car, kinda throws you for a loop. You've seen strange things here, but not quite that bad.

"What's wrong, John? Earlier than you're used to seing people drinking?" She smiles as she asks this.

"Yeah, by about, oh, 8 years by the looks of things."

She frowns momentarily, then reverts back to her usual smile.

"Oh, you don't know. Sorry, I almost got angry with you, John. I may look like I'm a child, but I'm actually... Well, a woman doesn't go around telling people her age, but I'm certainly old enough to drink. I just never grew much, is all~" She seems cheery while explaining this, almost as if she's bragging.

"I...See. Still seems weird, though." Even if she's old enough to drink, with someone with a body her size, you'd expect that glass of champagne to be enough to get her plenty drunk.

She just waves that off, though.

You spend most of the rest of the drive conversing. She seems pretty interested in your daily life. She immediately took interest when you told her your reason for having moved her. It seems like she lit up the second she heard "Enpen, inc.", but you were probably imagining that.

After about ten minutes of driving, the limosine finally stops, stopped in front of a large gate. A woman dressed very chinese, and therefore starkly contrasting with the rest of the scene before you, is asleep leaning against the gate.

"Please honk the horn." Remilia instructs the driver. He presses the horn, and the girl slightly stirs.

"Do it again, but hold it until she wakes up."

It takes a couple seconds, but the girl eventually wakes up. As soon as she realizes what's going on, she makes a terrified dash to a small terminal and presses some buttons, before the gate begins to open. As soon as the limosine passes the gate, it begins to close again. The limosine drives up to the entrance of the place, and then stops. The maid girl, who kept silent the whole time, gets out and opens both Remilia's and your doors.
The three of you continue to the large front doors to the mansion, and Sakuya pushes them open for you. Those look pretty heavy. She must not be your ordinary maid.

"We'll be heading to the sitting room, Sakuya. Please have one of the maids begin preparation of some tea."

"Yes, Mistress."

She steps off for a minute as Remilia leads you through the mansion. There's an ongoing theme of everything being shades of red, and there being very little external light sources. The maid catches up just in time to open the door to the sitting room for you.

"Please, have a seat." She motions to a small table on one end of the room, designed to only fit about four people at maxium. You do what she tells you to, and sit down.
"The tea will be ready in just a moment. For now, please make yourself comfortable."

The maid leaves the room. It seems like it's almost instantaneously that she walks back in with a tray carrying a teapot and two empty teacups, which she fills after setting in front of you.

"Is there anything else you need, Mistress?" She asks the small girl who brought here.

"No, that should be fine."

"I see. I'll stand by for further instructions, then."

"So, John." Remilia begins a conversation. "I saw you in a copy of that crow's tabloid while waiting in the hospital waiting room last night."

"Well, uh, some stuff happened, and it probably got overplayed."

"Yes, I rather disbelieved the part where you cut the short girl's hat clean in half with your flaming broadsword." With your what?

"Yeah, it was more of a normal fistfight. And, er, Marisa used a broom too."

"That makes sense. So, are you friendly with Miss Hakurei?"

"I guess you could say that."

"How lucky, to be friendly with such a celebrity. Even someone of my wealth and class pales in comparison to the girl who keeps this place in order."

You hold yourself back from commenting on the now international news stories about the red mist her factories are pumping out.

"Ehh, it's not that big of a deal. We just came to understand each other pretty well, both of us being of the rare breed that doesn't believe what most of the people in this city believe."

"Oh, I see. So the two of you aren't members of the cult either. Good, good."

"Either? So you aren't a member yourself?" It's kinda difficult to believe, with those wings and the eccentricly red everything.

"No, no, I just put on this appearance to fit in. Of course I don't believe in a silly thing like magic."

"Ah. That's good to know." It really is, when you consider that so far you've eliminated three of the country's biggest companies from your list of possible cultists. Well, sorta. You're not certain about Enpen, but you never got any feeling that it particularly was, either.

"Mhm."

The two of you continue to talk about stuff again. For example, you bring up Mokou. It's always worth a shot, right? She doesn't recognize the name, though, so no dice. Better luck next time, hopefully. Considering that you'll be going into the possible enemy's base tonight.

"So, what are your plans for the day, John? I'm sure someone as interesting as you has something planned." Well, she chose a good day to invite you to a tea party, because usually you've got zilch.

"Well, my boss called me in for a meeting at 11:00. After that, I'll probably relax for a few hours, and then I've got to pick up a girl that I'm taking on a moon viewing party." Oh, that came out wrong. She's going to misinterpret.

"Oho? A moon viewing party? What an interesting thing to take a date to. It surely sounds magnificent, though, especially with how things are shaping up nowadays." Well, the moon will look a bit different with all the red in the sky, but...
Mystia's not really a date.

"It's not really a date. When Eirin invited me back to see another party, she told me to bring a friend, and Mystia was the first friend I ran into."

"However you want to justify it, a date is a date~" She comments in a playful tone. "But, Mystia... Isn't that the foodstand girl? Aiming quite young, aren't you?"

"Like I said, it's not like that."

"Whatever you say~ But, aren't you quite the popular one? You're an important piece in Enpen, inc.'s presence here, you're close friend with the shrinemaiden, and you're close enough with Eientei to be invited to their private parties. And now you're sitting here enjoying tea with me."

"I guess I'm just lucky." You don't really have a better way to explain it than that.

"Oh, look at the time!" Remilia suddenly looks up at a grandfather clock sitting behind you. "It's almost ten thirty! Come on, we musn't have you late for your meeting!" She abruptly stands up. Really, have you been here that long? Damn.
"Sakuya, please have the driver prepare the car."

"Yes, Mistress." The maid leaves the room in a flash, without losing any elegance by her swiftness.

"I'm *yawn* going to go to bed now. Usually I'm in bed asleep by six in the morning, so I'm quite tired. I'll see you again sometime, John." She stands up to leave the room, just as the maid comes back.

"Welcomed guest, please follow me out to the car." You stand up and follow her. The somewhat lengthy walk through the halls passes in silence. The girl leading you seems to be acting exactly the way a perfect maid would.

When you find yourself at the entrance, she pushes the door open for you and leads you to the car, where she opens the door on that too.

"Please have a safe trip." She smiles at you as she closes the door. Hmm, you hadn't seen any facial expressions from her before that. You'll have to remember it.

After a bit of driving, you find yourself in front of Enpen, inc.'s office. You thank the driver before getting out of the car, and step inside.

The office is quite empty, as Enpen hasn't actually started its employee movement program yet. Since you're kinda one of the few members of the test run, you're lucky enough to get here when there's no one else really here.

The ony person in the lobby or surrounding is a young girl. She's wearing nekomimi, with two cat tails. She's pretending to be a nekomata, obviously. She's sitting there, swinging her legs while messing around with a phone identical to yours. After a moment, she looks up.

"Ah! It's John! Ran-sama told me to take you to Yukari's office. So, follow me!"
You oblige her, and follow her into an elevator. She presses a button, and you start moving upward.
No elevator music.
After a few seconds, you hear a ding, and the doors slide open. The cat girl begins leading you through the halls again.

"We're almost there! Just one more turn, and... TADA! Yukari's private office, for official use only~"

"Thank you, uh..."

"Chen! I'm Chen. Pleased to meet you!" She grabs your hand and shakes it. "I'll see you later~" She then rushes off.

Well, it's time for the meeting.

After knocking, you hear a "come in" from the other side, so you do so.

Sitting at a desk, wearing a very businesslike set of clothing, the CEO of Enpen, inc. looks up at you.

"Oh, John! It's good to know that you're still as punctual as always!" Odd, you didnt' even know her until she gave you a ride home from that neighboring city. "Please, sit down!" You oblige her.

"Well, let's get to business. I'm sure you've got a busy day ahead of you, right? There's two things I want to talk to you about. First, you're being promoted."

"Huh? Why?"

"Because you've gotten yourself into a very important position with the big players of the city. Your job will be to keep Enpen, inc. good in the eyes of the important people of the city. This will affect your pay, too; instead of getting paid by the hour, you'll now be given a 4 million yen per year salary. Furthermore, you'll now answer directly to me and my main assistant, Ran."

"I... Uh.. What?" 4 million yen per year is pretty good.

"The salary will take effect at the start of next year. Your last paycheck of the year will be your usual pay, plus the difference between your yearly salary and what you've made so far this year. Rent will continue to be paid for by Enpen, inc. as well." This is...what is this, why do you deserve this?

"That being said, your job is going to be a little different. For the most part, you'll be doing the same thing you've been doing since moving to the city, but occasionally you'll be asked to run certain errands, or do certain odd jobs for the company. Is all of this understood?"

"Uh, well, not really, but I'm sure I'll catch up soon enough."

She smiles at you.

"Alright. Now, moving on to our second item of business today. I'm going to ask you to perform one of those odd jobs for me soon, involving the red mist incident current occuring. I need a sample. As you may or may not know, helicopter and airplane flight at the specific altitude where the mist is settling at has been prohibited until the exact content of the mist is known. The only place that we can obtain a sample is the summit of Youkai Mountain. Since you're the most convenient person to ask, I'm asking you instead of one of our scientists, who will undoubtedly complain about being sent to a city with people who believe in something as unscientific as magic. A package should arrive within the next few days containing the equipment you'll need to safely obtain a sample. I don't mind if you share the sample with someone else, as long as in the end it comes to me."

"Alright." If it means getting paid this well, you'll gladly do something as simple as this.

"Well, that's all I had to say. But really, you're pretty lucky. Maybe I should strengthen the relationship between Enpen and Yagokoro Pharmaceuticals? I'd surely enjoy going to one of those moon viewing parties." How does she know about that?

...Nevermind, you don't really want to know.

"Well, you should probably go off to do whatever you need to do to prepare for the party. I'll see you later, John."

"Alright. Later, Miss Yakumo."

"Ugh, call me Yukari. We'll be working pretty closely from now on, after all."

"Okay. Later, Yukari."

...

...Alright. You're now outside of the Enpen, inc. offices. Looking at the time on your PDA thing, it's getting to be just around the time you were supposed to arrive. You've still got three hours until Mystia gets off school. You're going to need something to kill time in the meantime.

[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 26364
[x] See if Reimu would mind some company.
-[x] Share the slight bits of information that you've recieved and see if Reimu knows anything.

That is unless the humble Shrine Maiden is in school as well.
>> No. 26365
[x] See if Reimu wouldn't mind some company.
-[x] Share the slight bits of information that you've recieved and see if Reimu knows anything.

Should be wouldn't, not would. If you mind having company, that means you take issue to it.
>> No. 26366
>>26365
Either way works. It's like two supplementary angles. If you know one, you can easily find the other.
>> No. 26375
[x] See if Reimu wouldn't mind some company.
-[x] Share the slight bits of information that you've recieved and see if Reimu knows anything.
>> No. 26379
[x] See if Reimu wouldn't mind some company.
-[x] Share the slight bits of information that you've recieved and see if Reimu knows anything.

Yukari as the boss was totally unexpected for me.
>> No. 26380
[x] See if Reimu wouldn't mind some company.
-[x] Share the slight bits of information that you've received and see if Reimu knows anything, or what her take on the whole situation is.

Goddamn, a Jerlwall. This is a strange sight to behold.
>> No. 26381
[X] See if Reimu would mind some company.
-[X] Share the slight bits of information that you've recieved and see if Reimu knows anything.

>>26379
Really? Because I saw it coming when it was mentioned that Enpen Inc. was building the wall. It's not pen as in the writing instrument, but an enclosure to keep the occupants from running off.
>> No. 26383
>>26381
Crap, copied the wrong set of lines. Should be "wouldn't".
>> No. 26384
>>26381
I figured it was her because it's Yukari, and she always runs the damn show. But the wall thing confirmed it.

Your pen theory is probably on the money, too.
>> No. 26385
I thought that it was actually mentioned more explicitly before, but at the very least that doesn't seem to be the case with a simple keyword search.

I blame the drugs they put in the tap water.
>> No. 26391
The best option you can think of to pass the time is visiting Reimu's shrine. She might have some info that you don't, and you might have some she doesn't.

Walking time once again.

...

Those stairs...Goddamn. They make you want to join a gym. Or, well, climb them more often, since they're a pain to climb up. You've reached the top, though, so you take a moment to rest your tired legs, and then walk to the donation box and drop your usual donation. As usual, you're the first person to have donated.

You knock on the door.

"Yeah? Who is it?" Her voice comes from a bit deeper in the shrine than usual.

"John."

"Oh, come in. I'll be out in just a minute."

Sliding the door open, you step inside and take your usual spot at the kotatsu. After about a minute of waiting, Reimu comes into the sitting room from one of the adjacent rooms that you remember being her bedroom.

"You're not here to steal my lunch again, are you?" She asks in a playful tone. "Like I said, I can't afford to feed you every day." She sits down across from you at the kotatsu.

"Nah, I just came to hang out. I've got some time to kill, so I thought I'd spend it with my favorite miko."

"Really? You prefer me over that "good girl" Sanae on the top of the mountain? I'm not even psychotic!"

"That's debatable. So, I might have made a pretty damn big breakthrough on the mist earlier."

"Oh? Learn something interesting?" She rests her cheep on her palm, using her arm as a head rest.

"Potentially something better than that. See, last night, I decided I'd head to the library. I thought I might learn something about the Scarlet Corporation from some of the books, but I got nothing. I did, however, help save the librarian's life when she started a deadly coughing fit. It turns out, the librarian was Remilia Scarlet's close friend, and Remilia stopped by my house earlier today and invited me over for tea."

"Eh? Really? If you can become friends with her, it'll make things a lot easier. Did you learn anything important, though?"

"No, not yet. Maybe in the future. All I know as of right now is the stuff all over the news. I tried looking into it online, but there was only the same rehashed story, a page from Enpen's website, and the Scarlet Corporation's homepage. The homepage was pretty empty, though."

"Oh, that's too bad."

"Speaking of news, though. Seems like that Aya girl followed us to the Moriya Shrine."

"...Uh oh. What did the article say?"

"I dunno, I stopped reading as soon as I saw a picture of myself."

"Gah, just what I needed. She probably accused us of dating too, knowing her."

"Well, it's a tabloid anyway. I'm sure people will be careful with what they believe."

"Hopefully."

"So, how are things for you?"

You spend some time talking about whatever with Reimu, and some more time watching television, when you look at your watch and find that it's 1:26 PM.

"Oh, look at the time. I have some stuff to do. I'll see you later, Reimu."

"Later."

You wave goodbye as you step outside the shrine, sliding the door closed behind yourself.

Now, what to do.

[ ] Head home and wait for Mystia.
[ ] You've got something to do first. (specify)
>> No. 26393
[x] You've got something to do first. (specify)
-[x] Pick up a nice gift for Mystia to surprise her with before the two of you head out.
>> No. 26394
>"Really? You prefer me over that "good girl" Sanae on the top of the mountain? I'm not even psychotic!"

Reimu in this story has proven to be a nice rational ally with a big task. That and our misadventures in the Youkai mountain sector has basically made us persona non-Grata there.

[x] Head home and wait for Mystia.

As nice as getting a gift sounds, we have to remember various things such as Mystia being 13.
>> No. 26396
>>26394
She's an independant 13 year old though~ That and the story takes place in Japan. 13 would be the default age of consent unless there are laws in place to increase it.
>> No. 26408
[x] You've got something to do first. (specify)
-[x] Pick up a nice gift for Mystia to surprise her with before the two of you head out.
>> No. 26418
[x] You've got something to do first. (specify)
-[x] Pick up a nice gift for Mystia to surprise her with before the two of you head out.
>> No. 26421
[x] You've got something to do first. (specify)
-[x] Pick up a nice gift for Mystia to surprise her with before the two of you head out.
>> No. 26425
>>26396
Still the age gap is big, we're not 16 ,but more late 20s. But the notion of a Mystia route is kinda cute. If there's routes, Reimu and Letty are in fierce competition.
>> No. 26426
>>26425
To competition! Besides, the route wouldn't have to be sexual, though whether or not anon could follow through with that would remain to be seen.
>> No. 26428
Well, it'll be a while before Mystia actually gets to your house anyway. Might as well pick up something on the way.

Your thoughts are to pick up some sort of gift for Mystia. But what? You've never really bought gifts for a girl before, other than your mother. As a result, you have no damn clue what a good gift would be.

...Might as well go with the generic option. Flowers are generally acceptable as gifts, especially if they're nice flowers. And you know where to get nice flowers, that's for certain. First, you're going to check her store. That'd be the best place for her to be, after all, if you're to get flowers from her.

You've never actually been inside. If you hadn't walked past it one day, you'd have never even known where it was. But, just as expected, it's quite humid and warm inside. There's a huge amount of sunlamps providing light to all of the various plants growing all over in the store.

As to be expected, there's no loose flowers to buy. To be honest, you think she'll probably get angry at you if you just ask her directly for a bouquet or something.

"Ah, who is it? I didn't hear the- Oh, what a surprise." Yuuka approaches from the direction of a small greenhouse set up inside the building. "Even though you've been taking good care of Nemo, I never thought I'd see you come in here. Don't tell me that you're here because something happened to Nemo."

"No, I was just going to buy a flower for a friend, so I decided to come to the best place in town for it."

"Ah, I see. Is it going to be potted, or is it going to be planted in a garden?"

"Well, uh..."

A moment of pause.

"Oh dear, you're not planning on giving someone a cut flower, are you? That's unacceptable." She glares at you, causing you to take a step back. Something about Yuuka makes you feel really uneasy when she gets angry. You've stared down yakuza thugs before without flinching, but you can't help but feel anxious when this parasol-wielding florist gets angry.
"Hah." She sighs. "I guess it can't be helped. I'll lecture you about cutting up flowers later. For now, I'll give you one that doesn't need to be cut up."

"Doesn't need to be..?"

"Just follow me. I'll show you what I mean."

She makes her way to a somewhat small greenhouse in the back of the store, marked with an Employees Only sign. You can't help but notice the Enpen, inc. logo just above it.

"And... Here it is. That fox lady came by the other day and asked me to help test a new product they invented. I'm not sure what to think of the methods they used to make it, but I couldn't bare to let them just throw the poor things away. Oh, come inside." She motions you into the greenhouse. Inside, it's slightly cooler and less humid than outside. In fact, it feels like a normal room.

But there's a lot of flowers growing, nonetheless.

"So, I take it this flower is for a girl? I don't imagine a man giving another man a flower. So, what color is her hair? That will be the deciding factor in the color of the flower."

"Uh, pink."

"...Oh? Not blue or black?" She means Letty and and Reimu, doesn't she?

"Nope."

"Well, I won't pry too much. Hmm, what would look good with pink hair... AH! This one." She reaches out and carefully pulls out a sky blue flower, handing it to you.
"This is a very special flower." She explains. "I don't know exactly how they did it, but Enpen found a way to make a decorative flower that never dies." Looking over it, it definitely seems strange. And...not cut. Even though, before looking closer, it really would appear to have been cut for preparation of a bouquet. At the end opposite the flower, there's a strange white honeycomb structure that seems to have replaced the flower's roots.

"What's this?" You're curious as to how this works.

"I don't know how, but they changed the flower's roots into that mesh at the other end. Just dip it in a special solution of water and nutrients every day for an hour and it'll live until it gets sick or damaged. It's supposed to be research on a "

Neat. It's interesting where today's technology is taking things. Though, you're unsure why they decided to develop this specific floral modification for.

"Don't let anyone but the person you're giving it know, though." She warns. "It's top-secret Enpen research, and if you weren't a special employee I wouldn't have even shown you them." She already knows? Well, if she's helping Enpen with their research, and she lives in the same apartment building as you do, it's not that difficult to imagine.
"You're lucky, though," she says in a threatening tone, "since otherwise I'd have just clobbered you with my parasol until you begged forgivenness from all the flowers that are callously killed so people can have a very temporary display of beauty."

"Uh, right. So, how much for the flower?"

"It's not mine to sell. The fertilizer solution powder is 1,000 yen per bottle, though. Of course, you're going to be buying at least one."

"Yeah, I'll buy one."

"1,050 yen, then."

You pull out a 1,000 yen bill and a 50-yen coin and hand them to her.

"Thanks a ton, Yuuka. I'll see you later."

"You certainly will, when I lecture you on brutally murdering floweres for display purposes. Later, John."

You walk out of the flower shop confident. Even though initially a flower seems like a cheap, lazy gift, you got perhaps the awesomest flower available to you for a gift. Since she only gave you one flower, it's probably meant to be worn in Mystia's hair. Must by why she asked for her hair color. Time to head home and wait for Mystia.

Looking at your PDA, it's only a little past two. You'll make it on time, then.

...

Indeed, you got here on time. There was no Mystia waiting at your door for you to return, which is definitely a good thing.
However, that doesn't mean someone else wasn't.

She stands up when she sees you.

"John." She addresses you as you come near.

"Hello...Wriggle, was it?"

"Yes. Mystia told me about tonight." She's using what must be a pretty imposing expression to other people her age, but to you it comes off as a middle-schooler scowling at you.

"What about it?" She's trying to int- Wait, she just stopped staring at you.

"I just wanted to let you know," even though her face is turned towards you, her eyes are unmistakably aimed at the flower in your hand.
"as her friend, if you hurt Myschii in any way," Aha, she follows it with her hands when you move it around a bit.
"I'll personally beat you to a pulp." Her threat doesn't work very well when she keeps her eye on the flower even when you're waving it back and forth in front of her face. She's supposed to be an insect, isn't she?

"Hey, hey, you're misinterpreting something. We're just a couple friends going to a party with a few more maybe-friends. It's nothing more than that."

"Yeah, that's what she said too." Alright, you've been waving the flower around like an idiot for long enough now. "I don't buy it, though."

"She's just a friend. We also both share an objective that we need to accomplish at Eientei, so I asked her if she wanted to come when I was invited."

"We'll see. Remember my warning, though." She walks off to le- Oh, wait. She stops in front of Letty's door and knocks. Must've decided to hang out with Cirno since she already came all the way out here.

It's sitting down time. You'll probably end up buying a nicer chair with your next paycheck, now that you know that in a short amount of time you'll be given a pretty big check anyway. While you're waiting, you once again check your PDA for any new articles on the scarlet mist, but find nothing.

Someone knocks on your door. Ah, must be time, then.
Standing up from your not-quite-awesome chair, you open the door.

"I'm not too late, am I~?" She asks as if it really matters how much time she took to get here.

"Nah. We'll probably be rather early as it is. Oh, come in."

"Ah, good~" She sings as she walks past you to take a seat at your kotatsu.

"So, should I put some tea on, or..?"

"I'm good~ So, what're we going to do until the party~?"

...That's a good question. You're not exactly certain if showing up this early will be a good idea.

[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 26429
"It's supposed to be research on an everlasting bouquet."

Fix'd.
>> No. 26431
[x] Show her around the place
-[x] Comment on how nice she looks and tell her you have something for her.
-[x] Show her the flower, put it in her hair, and say how it complements her.

>-[x] Perhaps tell her about the good news, but add that you're still willing to help her out.
What? I don't follow.

And Jerl~ We're missing a description of what Mystia was wearing when we answered the door. She has to be wearing something out of the ordinary.
>> No. 26432
[x] Show her around the place
-[x] Perhaps tell her about the good news, but add that you're still willing to help her out.

>"You certainly will, when I lecture you on brutally murdering floweres for display purposes. Later, John."

Oh shi-
>> No. 26433
File 126896896042.jpg - (157.49KB , 760x880 , 42a1359646cf86561c4f76209e6f7a20675befe4.jpg ) [iqdb]
26433
>>26431

...OH SHI-

Something like this.
>> No. 26434
>>26430
Also adding to the overall confusion from your post, Yuuka isn't an Enpen employee.
>> No. 26435
>>26431

They're talking about the promotion.
>> No. 26438
>>26435
I got that much for the good news, but I don't see how that corresponds to us reassuring Mystia that we'll help her despite it.
>> No. 26441
[x] Show her around the place
-[x] Comment on how nice she looks and tell her you have something for her.
-[x] Show her the flower, put it in her hair, and say how it complements her.

Let's see how this goes.
>> No. 26443
[x] Show her around the place
-[x] Comment on how nice she looks and tell her you have something for her.
-[x] Show her the flower, put it in her hair, and say how it complements her.
>> No. 26446
>>26438
Money reasons, but I'm changing my vote anyways since the other one sounds better.

[x] Show her around the place
-[x] Comment on how nice she looks and tell her you have something for her.
-[x] Show her the flower, put it in her hair, and say how it complements her.

As far a dynamics of the three seemingly possible routes.

Reimu- Rather equal, since from what I've seen they've been comrades, and sure Reimu may be younger, she's not that much younger. (Late teens, early twenties)

Letty- Older woman (but no less lovely), something of a Pretty Neighbor vibe. Perhaps things here would be more of a normal husband and wife vibe.

Mystia- Much younger girl; things would no doubt be very chaste if it did go in that direction. Though if Mystia decides to be agressive... well... (She is very mentally mature for a 13 year old)
>> No. 26452
>>26446

If I may ask, what money reasons do you speak of?
>> No. 26454
[x] Show her around the place
-[x] Comment on how nice she looks and tell her you have something for her.
-[x] Show her the flower, put it in her hair, and say how it complements her.

>>26446
Curious as well.
>> No. 26458
>>26452
With his new task he'll be making alot of money, and when he tells Mystia, she might assume that he might not want to help her anymore in the future with the stand.

The more I think of it, the sillier my original vote sounds.
>> No. 26459
>>26458

The first thing we need to do, when we finally receive our paycheck is donate 1 million of it to Reimu's donation box.
>> No. 26461
>>26459
That goes without saying, but it might be a good reminder for the rest of the folks. Donating to Reimu is always a nice thing.
>> No. 26465
>>26458
4 million yen is only 44k US. That's not exactly rolling in money. Of course, since we don't have to pay for our apartment, it's primarily disposable income which makes it as if we were making a bit more money than we actually are, but still. $40k-50k is like basic entry level pay, which considering we're 22, is perfectly normal.
>>26459
I don't think you get how salary works. You're paid bi-weekly a portion of it, though some employers might change the time period. You don't get all of it at once.
>> No. 26472
>>26465
Good points, but I thought Yukari said that we'd start to see a large boost in our pay check to reflect our new pay rate.

Still while not rich, it means we'd have some money to spare.
>> No. 26473
>>26446
>Though if Mystia decides to be agressive... well... (She is very mentally mature for a 13 year old)
ಠ_ಠ
"Mentally mature" means fucking nothing at all in these circumstances, and even less when pedophiles toss the phrase around.

So she runs a food cart and she's an underage drinker. That makes her mature? What are you high on? Besides, she's only interested in Mokou.
>> No. 26476
>>26473
There's a large difference between falling for someone from the time you spend together and falling for someone because of their appearance.
>> No. 26479
>>26473
I'm not among the many folks who voted to get her a gift. I merely remarked on possibilities, not preferences. I'd rather see Reimu or Letty with Mystia as a little sister figure.

And are you really that hellbent on bringing GH-style shitstorms here? It's such crusader-like zealotry that makes for such disasters. That and if the votes to get her a gift are any sign, then me and you both would be fighting losing battles if it turned out they were THAT serious about pursuing Mystia. And to be honest if things end up a Mystia route, I won't be that upset.

It's actually too soon to tell where her preferences lay since for all we know they might just be close friends.

>>26476
So true there, and as I think about it, I wonder: Will we be taking Letty (and possibly Cirno) next?
>> No. 26480
[X] Show her around the place
-[X] Comment on how nice she looks and tell her you have something for her.
-[X] Show her the flower, put it in her hair, and say how it complements her.
>> No. 26481
What is this i dont even
>> No. 26488
>>26481
I apologize for playing a part in how this slight shitstorm came about. I highly doubt there will be much of anything barring >>26473 's jackassery.
>> No. 26492
The first thought that occurs to you is that you should probably show her around the place. It's a little silly, though, since there's only 3 rooms. The fact that Letty's apartment has six rooms, at least that you know of, has always confused you a little. It's got the same amount of space as your apartment, but instead of being broken up like yours was, it was set up completely differently. Whereas you have one large main room where most of everything is done, including sleeping, and the dining and bathrooms, Letty's apartment has a sitting/dining room, an entertainment room, two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a kitchen.
The simplicity of your apartment noted, you should still show her around.

"Well, first I guess I'll show you around the place. Unlike Letty's place, it's only got 3 rooms. This room works as my living room, bedroom, and dining room all at once. Usually I roll out my futon over there." You point. "Uh, there's not much more to say. That door," you point to your bathroom door "is the entrance to my bathroom, and that one," you point at the kitchen door, "is the entrance to my kitchen. It's not very impressive, though, since I don't do much cooking myself."

"I see~"

Hmm. That took... Less than 5 minutes. Definitely didn't pass much time. Maybe the next thing you come up with will pass more.

...AH! You hadn't noticed before, but she seems to have dressed up differently from normal. Similarly to how Reimu wore a red yukata, she's put on a white one. Pink color of her hair and the wings she's still wearing even with the yukata make it almost look like it's a very very light shade of pink in places. She's also left her silly hat behind, which is a little surprising. In fact, if it weren't for those wings on her back, she'd look like a completely normal person with no strange religious beliefs. It does make her look quite nice, though.

"Oh, Mystia. That yukata looks rather nice on you."

"Ah, thanks~ I was hoping it would suit me~"

Oh, wait. You forgot something. How could you forget it so easily?

"Hold on, I have something to give you. Let me go get it."

"Okay~"

Looking around, you find where you set the flower and grab it, as well as the bottle of fertilizer that goes with it.

"Here it is. I figured that since you've always been so nice to me, I'd get you a little gift in appreciation, so here it is. Before you ask, though, it's not really that big of a deal." You show her the flower.

"Ah~ What a beautiful flower~"

"Yeah. Here, let me put it on you." You reach and push it into place her hair.
"...Wow." Yuuka definitely did choose the perfect color for Mystia's hair. It's odd, though, since if even the shade had been a little different, it wouldn't have turned out this well. Did she figure out that it was Mystia that you were giving it to?
Oh man, you're never going to live this down, are you. Everyone thinks you're going on a date with Mystia. Well, might as well make the best of the situation, you can at least make Mystia feel better.
"It looks great on you. It really compliments your hair and eyes." You decide to just honestly tell her your thoughts. Hopefully you won't come off creepy, or anything. You're sure as hell trying not to. Though, perhaps getting the flower in the first place was a bad move if your objective is to be as uncreepy as possible.

"Really~? Let me look~ Do you have a mirror~?" Good, it seems she didn't pull anything out of it beyond what you actually meant. Whether that's because she trusts you, or because she's naive, you can't tell. You're seriously hoping for the former, though.

"Yeah, there's one in the bathroom."

"I'll go take a look, then~"

She stands up and walks towards the bathroom.

Hmm. While that helped a bit, you still haven't spent much time. When she gets back, you'll have to figure out something to do, or it'll turn a bit awkward.

[ ] Turn on the television.
[ ] Go out for a walk.
[ ] Spend the time chatting.
[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 26494
[x] Go out for a walk.

Somehow I doubt there's much on TV.
>> No. 26497
[x] Go out for a walk.
>> No. 26498
[X]Go out for a walk.

Jerl, I know I'm a little late but isn't Letty's hair supposed to be a shade of lavender instead of blue? When Yuuka specifies hair color it makes it sound like she was guessing Reimu and Cirno.
>> No. 26499
>>26498

Ah, whoops. You're right. Consider this a retcon, then.
>> No. 26500
[X]Go out for a walk.
>> No. 26509
[x] Go out for a walk.
>> No. 26530
[x] Go out for a walk

Hey Jerl, remember when I said that you'd never find a 6-cell Maglite in a store? Saw one at McLendon's the other day along with all kinds of other Maglite stuff.

I stand corrected.

Also, they apparently made a 7 D-cell model, way back when (There's also a 7 C-cell model, which they MIGHT still make). It's not made anymore, though. Supposedly there were also 10-Ds made on custom order, too.
>> No. 26536
>>26530

...TEN D-cells? That's riddiculous. If there were one more, it wouldn't even be funny.
---

The best option you can think of is to go out for a walk. Walking is a good time-passer, at least when you're used to doing it. The teleivision probably isn't going to have anything interesting on, and you can always talk while walking, so the other two options don't see as good as this one. Yep, deciison made.

"Wah~ It looks great~" She states, full of smiles as she sits back down at the kotatsu.
"So, John, what're we going to do now~?"

"How does taking a walk sound? There's not really much to do around the apartment, so..."

"Okay~"

...

Man, the red tinting is even starting to show up in the middle of the day. Well, it was before too, but not to this effect. Those red clouds are starting to get to be too much. It kinda makes the walk less fun when there's no bright sunshine to make you feel better, but there's no helping it. At least for now. Soon enough, you'll probably end up putting an end to it.

Even though you generally have a faster walking pace than everyone else, Mystia is managing to keep up without any complaints. Granted, you're walking slower than usual, but still, you'd expect someone to complain a little. Hmm, it always does seem like everyone in this city is more athletic than the people outside.
Well, slowing your pace down even more won't hurt. The point of this isn't to get somewhere, it's to enjoy the path you take to nowhere in particular. Keeping your normal pace would just be silly.

You decide to start up some conversation on the way.

"So, how'd you and Mokou get acquainted, anyway?" Actually, you've been a bit curious about this for a while now.

"Ehe~" She responds, "That's a long story~ I'd rather talk about it while sitting down~"

Damn. You might have missed out on something good by choosing this option. Oh well, you're sure that you can make the best of it. Walking through the whole city through the entire time you've lived here hasn't been without benefit, after all.

"Wah~ It's pretty~" The desired result. Even though it's getting closer and closer to winter with each passing day, not helped by the constantly overcast skies, the trees on this particular street haven't started losing their leaves. You're not quite sure what kind of trees they are, but the shade of purple that the leaves have just in general leads to them looking quite magnificent, but the reddish lighting from the red mist above are intensifying the effect.

"Yeah, it's one of my favorite places to walk through when I'm trying to clear my head. There's a few others too, but this is the closest."

"I see~" She responds, while continuing to gaze at the purple leaves.

Yeah, some other notable places would be that giant flower garden and the park. Come to think of it, that mansion you visited with Reimu a while back...wasn't it called Hakugyokurou? Even though your entire time there was spent fighting, you couldn't help but notice that the gardens were quite well cared for. If you don't mind paying for a bus ticket, and then talking the girl who who had a serious fight with one of your best friends to let you onto the property, it'd be a great place to idly walk through.

"John~" Mystia calls your name. You look to her, only to be surprised once again at her beauty. The wind momentarily picked up, causing a few leaves to blow off of the trees and through the air. This combined with the image of her wearing that white yukata and the blue flower... The result is simply breathtaking. This isn't caused by you finding her generally attractive, it's something anyone would agree upon. This is the kind of image that pictures are painted to capture.

"Hey, John~" She snaps you out of your reverie.

"Yeah?"

"What're you thinking about~? You seem spaced out~"

"Oh, uh-" Well damn, she caught you at a weak moment there. She was probably talking about before you started staring at her, though.
"I was thinking about some events that happened in the past."

"Ah~ To be honest, so was I~"

She returns to idly looking at the flowers.

The two of you continue on, lost in thought.

---

To be continued tomorrow.
>> No. 26537
>Damn. You might have missed out on something good by choosing this option.

Goddamn it, you never said he was going to try to ask that.

Sure the scene was nice, but there was no need to make it clear that we gave up something in process. Ignorance is bliss, ya know?
>> No. 26541
It's so we can ask her later when we're back at our place for instance. Don't think of it as a missed opportunity, but a hint for later. Not like we won't spend more time with Mystia after this, we can do it then.
>> No. 26545
Well, my aunt asked me to come solve some computer problems that she had, and I told her I would. When I got here, I found a stack of 15 backup CDs containing all of her music waiting, and all encrypted with Norton's backup system. Which means that I may have to delay updating this. The next update is going to be another fairly lengthy one, so if I don't have enough time to write it, it's not going to happen.

This all depends on when I finish the job and get myself home, though, so it's still likely that I will update. I'm just alerting you to the possibility.
>> No. 26576
After your walk, which spent just enough time to make your arrival reasonable, you headed straight to Eientei. Of course, there was nothing pressing elsewhere, so it was only logical to head there. It's currently late enough in the afternoon that normally the sun would only just be starting to wane, but with the current cloud cover it's actually pretty dark out.

You've only started to get used to the rid tint that everything has laster on in the evening. Actually, today's is much more vivid than ever before, and when you look up at the sky, the clouds are definitely a lot more dense. Even though the sun generally shines through enough for there to be daylight, it's still a constant state of overcast. The mist is starting to get on your nerves more and more as time goes on.

When you look over at Mystia, however, she seems completely unaffected. She's just walking along, smiling and humming merrily. Considering how everyone else seems to be getting a little spooked at this point, it's a little strange that Mystia of all people wouldn't, since she seems like just a normal middle-schooler.

After thinking about it for a moment, you decide to bring it up.

"Geez, this atmosphere recently is making me uneasy." It probably wouldn't be that good of an idea to just act her directly; going over the words you'd use in your mind just makes them sound like you're trying to get her to grab onto you or something.

"Hmm~? Why's that~?"

"Well, it's always at least a little dark, and everything's shaded red. I think most people would start to feel a little uneasy if everything around them's the same color as blood."

"It doesn't bother me~ I like darkness~ That's why I run my stand at night~"

Makes sense. Someone who doesn't like the dark would probably choose a different time to open their stand.
But darkness isn't really the main part of what's creepy about the evenings recently, it's mostly the red tint. You were just fine walking around past midnight before this crap.

"If you get scared of the dark, just eat some of my lamprey~ It makes bad night vision go away~" She smiles warmly at you while plugging her product. Geez, as if she really has to advertise to you of all people.
"Oh~ We're almost there~" She points out your proximity to Eientei.

"Oh, indeed we are."

You walk the rest of the way up to the door and knock. After a moment, the door slides open, revealing a busy-looking Reisen.

"Oh, John, and...You're from the grilled lamprey shop, right? Uh, come right in. Kaguya and Eirin are already relaxing in the yard, so if you like, go ahead and join them. The door into the yard's just that way." She points. "I'm sorry I can't show you, but getting all the rabbits to do their jobs is getting frustrating. I'll see you two later, once everything's calmed down."

"It's fine, Reisen. I'm sure I can find my way. If you're that busy, I don't want to keep you from your work."

She nods and rushes off, stopping to harass a rabbit who appears to have just been sitting down in the hallway for whatever reason.

Well, out to the yard. While the fact that you're unsupervised means that this could be a potential time to get a little espionage in, it'd probably be best to wait until you have an excuse for wandering through the hallways before snooping.

After a couple minutes walking inside the mansion, you reach the exit. Outside, it's gotten just a little bit darker, and when you look up at the sky, you can see the full moon shining clearly through the mist. Though it's dyed red, it hasn't lost any of its brilliance.

"Over here, over here!" you hear Kaguya call out from between a few trees. She's waving you over while still staring up at the moon. Following her voice, you walk over and sit down with the two women.

"It's good to see you, John." Eirin greets you as you take a seat. "I see you brought someone different this time." She glances at Mystia.
Oh, here it comes.
"I must say, John, that even though something may be legal, it might not be a good idea." She's misunderstanding, just like you just predicted. "Well, I won't judge you unless you screw up too badly." Mystia's even looked away from the comment. Goddamnit, you really are never going to live this down.

"It's not like that! She's just a really good friend, like Reimu." Even if you say this, it's not going to be believed, but you have to at least try to defend yourself from misunderstandings.

"Whatever you say, John." She responds teasingly. Yeah, you can see that grin on her face. It's as if she isn't really trying to hide it.
"So, how's your day-to-day life been?"

The conversation goes from your everyday life to less mundane things. Eirin complains of little success with a drug she's trying to concoct for some obscure, rare disease. Kaguya converses just like everyone else, but seems to only voice opinions or make comments on things other people have said, not going into her daily life or past at all. It almost seems deliberate, but then again it could just be that it's pretty boring. Whatever the reason, it doesn't stop her from being quite enjoyable to talk to.

After a while, Reisen arrives with the first bottle of sake for the night. This one will probably last a bit longer than the ones after it, since it's just going to get everyone warmed up, but that doesn't make it any less important.
The four of you present old enough to drink each have your tiny sake cups filled up, and they're quickly drained.

"Hah, drinking's the best on nights like tonight. Let's make a toast to the moon, shall we?" Eirin proposes.

"Good idea, Eirin." Kaguya agrees with Eirin.

"Yeah, sure, why not."

The five of you raise your drinks in a toast, Mystia raising the bottle of cola she was given instead of alcohol.

As the night wears on, inebriation slowly sneaks up on most of those present. You don't think Mystia snuck any, so she'd be the one left out. If it weren't for her own good, you'd feel a little sorry for her. It's never that fun being the only sober person at a party.

"Oh, Reisen, go get the special bottle." Eirin instructs.

"On it." The bunny girl hurries into the mansion, and returns a few minutes later with a quite beautifully painted glass bottle, with a painting of a red moon being the focal point, and blossoming sakura trees painted in great detail over the rest of the bottle. Surely even just the bottle has to be quite expensive, so what's inside is probably fucking awesome.

"You know, in some ancient cultures, when people saw a red moon, they explained it as the blood of a fallen army or some important figure." Eirin explains as she gingerly removes the also quite ornate stopper from the bottle "So, it's only fitting that on a day like today we drink the blood of the moon, isn't it? Usually we only have this on eclipses." She takes her small cup and fills it with the liquid from the bottle, which has quite a deep red color similar to cranberry juice.
"This is a special liquor distilled by the family of Houraisan to be consumed on special occasions. Please, have a taste." She fills up your small cup, and you take a sip.

This is... Wow, this is fucking awesome. You can't quite place the flavor, but it's quite unique, and definitely delicious. You've never had anything quite like it.

"Wow, this is pretty amazing. What is it?"

"It's as close as you can come to the Hourai Elixer from the folk tale Kaguya Hime with ingredients that actually exist. Even though it doesn't make you immortal, it is quite good for the body."

Wow, you're somewhat impressed. You're not sure if you believe that it's actually the result of following a recipe for an elixer of life, but if she's just trying to avoid telling you what's in it to prevent you from trying to make it or sell the recipe, that's fine by you.

It seems that the red stuff also has quite the kick, since after two of the little cups of it, you've gone from being just a bit past buzzed to definitely quite inebriated. You stop drinking it before you're fully drunk, instead drinking from the normal bottle of sake. You dont' want to be fall over drunk this early into the night.

Wait, what time is it?

After you look at the time on your PDA, you confirm the time to be a bit past 10:30. Wow, you've been here for a while already. Time flies when you're having fun. And when you're drinking.

It's only when you actually need to use the restroom that you remember your mission. That's just as well, since this is just about the right point in the party to go and snoop around. Excusing yourself from the group, you stumble your way back to the mansion and through the hallways. After you find the bathroom, you take a moment to steady yourself.

Let's see, focus, stop-ah there-oh wait-THERE

One thing you've always noticed is that when you really concentrate, a lot of the effects of being drunk can just be ignored or avoided. You can't stop the lowered motor control or the slowed reaction time, but if you try hard enough you can think clearly. It takes quite a bit of effort, but you manage to pull it off.

Let's see. First step is to find where the normal bedrooms are.

After stumbling your way through the halls, you eventually find a hallway with a few rooms that aren't completely empty. When you enter the first one, the light inside burns your head.

"Ugh."

You close your eyes and let them adjust for a second.

Damn, headpain from just a few monitors that have been left on. Granted, one of them is an old CRT monitor, but still. Either you're more drunk than you thought, or that red mist is having even more effects than normally expected.

Right. You quickly look through the room, not overturning stuff enough that it's obvious someone's been in, and leave. If there was anything Mokou-related inside, it was pretty well hidden. You even looked under the bed, in case she was tied up and gagged underneath, but no luck. Well, the room was quite messy, anyway, so perhaps you just missed any valuable information inside the mess.

The next room you enter is a lot more well-kept. You almost mistake it for a guest room before you notice the signs of recent use: the desk has various papers stacked neatly, a drawer that isn't quite closed all the way has some clothing visible, and when you look in the closet, it's got a bunch of women's business suit jackets. Must be Reisen's room.

Nothing to find in that one either, so you move on to the next. It's locked, though, so you give up. The rest of the rooms in the hallway are unused, unfortunately.

After stumbling around a bit more, you find your way into a private laboratory deep inside the mansion and head inside. Inside is exactly the kind of thing you'd expect from a doctor's office, with a door leading to a short hallway on the other side. You walk through the door and take a quick glance at all the rooms, which look to be just normal lab rooms with various chemicals and powders; must be where she mixes up medicines.

The last door on the right, though, was locked. You couldn't get it to budge. You'd poke a hole in it, but unfortuately, the lab area isn't as Japanese-style as the rest of the mansion, so you'd have to have a finger of steel and arms of thunder to punch a hole into the solid wood door in front of you.

All in all, the search didn't return any results. You probably took too long anyway, so it's time to head back outside.

...

The scene changed slightly from before you left, as a portable grill had been moved over to near where everyone's sitting. Mystia's happily cooking something for the rest, enjoying a conversation that you can't quite follow about cooking with Reisen. You return to your seat with everyone else and pick back up your cup.

Odd, you thought the last thing you drank from it was normal sake, not the red stuff.

Mystia soon enough finishes cooking and everyone gets delicious food. After eating and a few more drinks, the conversation mostly dies to do what everyone originally came here for: to stare up at the moon.

Yeah, the red mist is only making it more beautiful. As beautiful as the drawing of it on the bottle was, it just doesn't compare to the real red moon you're watching right now. When you look long enough that your vision steadies, you can faintly see the mist swirling overhead in the moonlight.

A drop of liquid falls into your eye. It kinda stings, so you sit up whne you rub it out.

"What was that?" You ask yourself, looking back up. It doesn't really seem to be raining.

"Huh, what- John, are you alright?" Eirin asks as she quickly moves over and takes a closer look at the eye that the fluid dropped into.

"Yeah, a drop of something just fell into my eye."

"John, I think you're bleeding. Does it hurt anywhere?"

"No, but-"

Another drop lands right on your hand. Moving it up to look at it, it's the exact same shade as blood.

"Shit maybe I-"

More drops fall, and you hear the pitter-patter of rain falling on some of the fallen leaves.

Blood-red rain.

The general reaction to it raining blood is pretty much "what the fuck" all around. Pretty soon after it started falling, everyone rushed inside to get out of the sorta-rain. You've got no clue what the hell that was, but you don't want to walk back outside until it stops. Man, it even smelled like blood.

"Shit." There's no way you're going to walk home in this. You don't think Mystia will be any more keen on the idea than you.
"Looks like we're stuck here for now."

"If you like, I could lend you two some rooms for tonight if the rain doesn't stop soon." Kaguya offers graciously. That's good for you, but you're not quite sure about Mystia.

"I'll kindly accept your offer, but I'm not sure about Mystia. She has school in the morning, and I don't know what her parents will say about her spending all night with some guy."

"They won't care~" Mystia responds immediately. "I can do whatever I want, remember~?"

Once again, you're slightly envious of her.

"Reisen can show you to bathrooms so you want to wash that stuff off before going to sleep." Kaguya explains.

...

You wake up with your head throbbing. It takes you a minute to remember why it's throbbing. It takes a few more minutes of you looking around at the unfamilliar room you're in before you remember why you're here.

"Ugh, raining blood. Was that a dream, though?" It seems like the kind of absurd thing that you'd dream about. Maybe you stumbled and fell while returning from snooping around, or just fell asleep while looking up at the moon.

In any case, you're in Eientei. Actually, you're potentially in an even better place to snoop around now. Or, you could just eat breakfast.

[ ] Try the locked bedroom.
[ ] Try the locked lab room.
[ ] Try breakfast.
>> No. 26578
[x] Try breakfast.
>> No. 26579
[x] Try the locked bedroom.
>> No. 26582
[X] Try the locked lab room.

The bedroom's probably Tewi's. And the last time John ran into Tewi, she gave him a concussion. Better leave her alone.
>> No. 26586
[x] Try the locked lab room.
>> No. 26613
[x] Try the locked lab room.
>> No. 26621
[x] Try the locked blabroom.
>> No. 26662
[x] Try the locked lab room.

If we get caught, we can say we're in a daze due to a hangover.
>> No. 26666
>>26662
What if Eirin snuck a hangover cure shot while he was sleeping?
>> No. 26671
>>26666
I imagine you wouldn't have woken up with a hangover.
---

Might as well check something real quick before going to eat something. After all, it might be your last chance; it'll be weird to just sneak off if they know you're already awake.

Thinking about it, it's more likely for there to be something suspicious in a locked lab room than a locked guest room. After all, laboratories are just more suspicious in general. And, of course, it'll be easier to justify walking around through the normal portions of the mansion should you choose to do so if you want to check the locked bedroom later.

With a bit of effort, you manage to sit up in the bed. You immediately get a strong urge to lay back down, as the nausea of the hangover kicks in. Gah, you really did drink too much last night.

Ignoring your body's pleas to lay back down, you force yourself to your feet. Apparently not all of the alcohol has worked its self out of your system (duh, that's what a hangover is), since it takes a moment to balance yourself.

"Ugh." There's nothing good about how you're feeling right now. You should just get the sneaking around over with and get something to eat as soon as possible. Something greasy preferably, seems to help hangovers.

Just as you're about to reach the door, you realize that you're still dressed in only the bath robe from last night. After a short grumble, you look around the room a bit, and find that someone's set your clothes, now clean and fresh-smelling, for you to put back on. Convenient, but also slightly disturbing. There was someone in your room while you were sleeping.
...No, that's not very strange of a thing for something like a maid to do.

Stepping out of your room, you begin the painful, torturous walk towards the laboratory in the middle of the mansion.

When you arrive, you slide open the door and step inside. It seems a bit more used than before, with various papers sitting disheveled on the desk. The door leading to the hallway full of lab rooms is wide open, and most of the doors inside are also open at least a crack.

Including...Well damn, this is just a bit too perfect.

Cautiously, you step inside the hallway. It's completely possible that there's someone inside, so it'd be best to avoid getting heard.
Cautiously, of course, meaning as close to it as you can get while hungover like this. Maybe if you do run into her, you can ask if she has a hangover cure. In fact, that might be a reasonable excuse if you get caught down here.

Pushing the once-locked door open ever so gently, partly on purpose and partly because it's difficult to make quick, jerking movements, you look inside.

Huh, odd. Completely different from the other doors. Instead of a lab room, on the other side of this door is a set of cement stairs heading downwards. Once they get past what you assume to be ground level, the walls also become cement rather than the drywall that the rest of this lab seems to have for walls. It almost looks like the entrance to a dungeon.

Shrugging that thought off, you begin stepping down the stairs. Slowly, slowly. Mainly to keep your balance. Eventually, you reach the bottom, and find yet another door. This one, however, is swung open wide, revealing the room within.

Unlike the other lab rooms, this one's quite...different. Lots and lots of big machines that you've never seen before, including a large one in the center that looks like a large tube. It's shrowded by some sort of cover that's keeping it from being transparent, and now it's merely translucent.
When you look closer, you think you see the figure of a person inside, with long, silver hair...

But, the machines in the room aren't the only thing different from the rest of the labs you passed by on your way to this one. The biggest and most important difference is the woman observing the very tube you were examining earlier with a clipboard and pen in her hands.

...Shit.

Time to leave.

You turn to climb back up the stairs, and-

Fall flat on your face.

"Ugh." You can't stop yourself from groaning. That fall hurt quite a bit.

"Who- Oh, John." Eirin turns to you, and reaches out a hand to help you up. With no other option, you take it and let her pull you to your feet.
Even though you let go once you're standing, her grip doesn't release. In fact, it gets slightly tighter.

"Now, John, I'll have you tell me what you're doing sneaking around my private laboratory uninvited."

"Well, uh, I was just..." Shit, excuse, excuse, need an excuse...
Oh right.
"I wanted to see if you had some sort of hangover cure. My head's killing me."

She stares into your eyes for a moment.

"...You're lying. Tell me the real reason."

[ ] Fess up, tell her that you're suspicious about Mokou's disappearance.
[ ] Lie option 1: Corporate espionage. Tell her Yukari sent you.
[ ] Lie option 2: Tell her that you were just curious.
[ ] Refuse to tell her anything.
>> No. 26672
[x] Fess up, tell her that you're suspicious about Mokou's disappearance.

I doubt she'd believe anything else. And one can always hope to convince her to let Mokou go. That or hope that what's happening to Mokou isn't too insidious.
>> No. 26675
[X] Fess up, tell her that you're suspicious about Mokou's disappearance.

Others know where we are, so we may have rescuers if this gets worse.
>> No. 26676
[x] Fess up, tell her that you're suspicious about Mokou's disappearance.

Sure, why not?
>> No. 26680
[x] Fess up, tell her that you're suspicious about Mokou's disappearance.
>> No. 26681
[X] Fess up, tell her that you're suspicious about Mokou's disappearance.

Here's hoping we're still on her good side.
inb4 "Now that you know, I can't let you leave."
>> No. 26685
Shit, you've been caught. She could tell you were lying with that excuse, and you can't really think of anything more convincing that wouldn't have similar results to the truth, so you'll have to fess up. Hopefully, she won't decide suddenly that it's needle time.

"...Alright." Might as well get it over with, then. "The truth is, a good friend of mine went missing a couple months ago. She had told me that she got along pretty poorly with Kaguya, so she became the prime suspect, and you along with her. Therefore, I'm here because the locked lab room was pretty suspicious."

She stares into your eyes for a moment yet again.

"Haaaah." She lets out a sigh, and releases her grip on your hand.
"I see, that's how it is. So that's why you brought that girl with you, isn't it? Well, since you've seen everything, I might as well explain it to you."

Walking over to the large cylinder in the middle of the room, she grips the cover on it and pulls it away, revealing Mokou, unconscious and with a bunch of tubes strapped to her, floating in some sort of liquid.

"This is Mokou. Don't worry, she's alive and well, and not in any pain. In fact, she's currently recovering from a normally fatal injury caused by a gunshot to her heart. This machine is saving her life. However, that's all you need to know. Also, you will not share this information with anyone, even that girl. There will be dire concequences for both of us if you do. Understand?"

No, you don't really. You have enough questions to write not just an essay, but even a short book. Mokou's been alive and well this whole time? Gunshot wound to the heart? A machine that can save someone from a deadly gunshot wound?
You can't really wrap your head around all of this. It's just a sudden burst of information, and you're still recovering from a hangover. In fact, the headache just kicked up a few notches.
She said that's all you need to know, though. Obviously, asking her any more questions will probably prove fruitless. On top of that, you just want to do something about this hangover as quickly as you can, so you act as if there's not a huge mental gap between where you were and where you are now.

"...As much as I can, I guess."

"Good. Now, let's do something about that hangover of yours. After all, you're going to need to be as alert as possible if you're to help me in compensation for this information."

The two of you leave the room, heading back up the stairs into the normal part of the lab. Eirin closes and locks both doors behind you as you reach the top. Fortunately, the two of you are the only two here.

After looking through various drawers in a few of the other lab rooms, she finally comes out with a small ampoule and a hypodermic needle.

Wait, shit. You didn't want to get a shot for it.

"Unfortunately, I haven't put this into a pill form yet, so this will have to do." She sticks the needle into the ampoule and draws a small amount of the liquid. After swabbing a spot on your arm with both a disinfectant and some sort of numbing agent, she sticks the needle in. Due to the numbing agent, which seems to be both powerful and fast-acting, you couldn't feel a thing, and that's nothing you can complain about. You'll probably feel it later, though.

Removing her gloves and throwing them away along with the used needle, she turns to address you.

"That should kick in fully within an hour. When you're feeling normal again, or at least as close to it as possible, I'd like you to find me. In the meantime, take note of anything unusual that might be a side-effect of the shot."

Wait, she's using you as a guinea pig? Goddamnit.

Well, there's nothing left to do but eat breakfast and wait for the shot to kick in. After thanking her for the shot, which does seem awkward considering the circumstances, you excuse yourself and leave the lab.

Well, you've got a choice on what to do next. You're both tired and hungry.

[ ] Go back to sleep.
[ ] Eat breakfast.
[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 26686
[x] Eat breakfast.

Damn, and I don't think we can actually tell her out of earshot either. That and we should try to take notes of the side effects. But we need to think of a way to reassure Mystia without spilling the beans.
>> No. 26688
[x] Eat breakfast.
>> No. 26689
[x] Eat breakfast.
>> No. 26705
[x] Eat at Joe's
>> No. 26716
The tiredness is probably at least partially due to the hangover, and eating breakfast might do something to help the hangover go away even quicker, so it's the obvious choice.

As you walk through the hallways, the hangover slowly starts to get better. Not by much, but by the time you get to the living room, the headache went from blinding pain every time you heard a loud noise to...well, not blinding pain. When you get there, you find Kaguya in a very similar state. Did she also get a shot from Eirin? If not, you can't imagine that you'd even bother getting out of bed without a good reason.

"..Morning, John." She mumbles softly, barely even moving to look at you.

"Morning. When's breakfast?"

"It's cooking. Reisen will bring it in when it's done."

"I see."

The two of you sit there waiting in agony as the minutes pass. After what feels like an eternity, but what your PDA calls just about ten minutes, Mystia and Reisen enter, carrying trays with 6 plates on them. After setting a plate each in front of you and Kaguya, Mystia takes hers and has a seat at the table. Reisen leaves hers there and goes off, presumably to deliver the other two to their owners.

"It's my-" Mystia starts cheerfully, but then pauses and finishes with a much lower volume.
"My special anti-hangover food~"

Instead of her usual grilled lamprey, it seems like she fried it this time. The taste is quite different, but it's still pretty good. After you've gotten a bit of the food in your system, your hangover clears up a bit more. You're still not completely in form, but you're capable of thinking extended thoughts now without your brain attempting to murder you, at least.
Needless to say, the meal went fairly silently. You thanked Mystia for the food and told her that it was pretty good, as usual, but for the most part kept quiet.

When everyone finished eating, Mystia and Reisen took everyone's plates back to the kitchen, leaving you and Kaguya alone. It seems she's not faring as well as you are, though, since she's still for the most part looking pretty badly. Though, you can't really see yourself, so maybe you look just as bad as her yourself. It should be noted that even being hungover doesn't do much to affect her attractiveness.

It does do something to affect her sociability, though. You don't really feel like making her headache worse by forcing conversation on her, so you've got to find something else to do.

[ ] Take a shower. Aren't they supposed to help hangovers?
[ ] Drinking a little bit when hungover tends to help a bit.
[ ] Find a spot to lay down as you wait for the hangover to pass naturally.
>> No. 26718
[x] Find a spot to lay down as you wait for the hangover to pass naturally.

I don't think we'd want to risk more liquor with that shot in us nor have the side effects come when we're in the shower; those falls can be pretty bad.
>> No. 26719
[x] Find a spot to lay down as you wait for the hangover to pass naturally.
>> No. 26728
[x] Find a spot to lay down as you wait for the hangover to pass naturally.
>> No. 26807
Taking a shower might not be the best idea. If there are side-effects, you don't want them to occur in a place where you can easily slip and crack your head open, even if this is the home of a doctor. Drinking more also might not be the best idea; you don't know how the drug would interact with it. It might even make the alcohol not do anything which would make drinking the alcohol meaningless.

Instead, laying down sounds like a much better idea. You'd suggest it to Kaguya, but you honestly don't think she'd take even hearing your voice at all too kindly, so you leave her alone. She's practically doing just that anyway, the way she's sprawled across the table.

After a short walk, you find yourself a nice couch. You don't necessarily want to go back to your room, so since this couch is much closer, even though its position in the hallway is somewhat conspicuous, it's the best place you could choose to lie down.

Ahh, this feels nice. The slight remaining nausea goes away as soon as your head hits the armrest. When you close your eyes, the pain from the headache mostly goes away as well.

You spend a good 30 minutes lying there. The headache did a pretty good job of keeping you from falling asleep, but that's not really what you were trying to do anyway. It seems that whatever was in that shot has started to kick in now, so you decide to stand up.

Hmm. No headache. No nausea. No horrible feeling of tiredness.

It's as if you never had a hangover.

"I'll be buying some more of that as soon as she sells it in pill form." Anyone with half a brain who ever drinks at all would make the same decision.

In any case, your hangover is completely gone. Eirin told you to find her at this point, so you might as well.

The first place to check would be that laboratory. It's a bit easier to find it this time, being your third time here. This time, instead of stealthily (ha ha) sneaking in, you knock.

"Come in." Eirin' calls from inside the room.
Seeing no reason not to, at least with your current knowledge, you decide to oblige her.

"Ah, John. Is the hangover gone?"

"Yeah. Feels as if I never had it."

"Good. You'll need to be in a normal state to help me here. If I recall correctly, you've been to Youkai Mountain before, right?"

"Yeah."

"That's the only place in the city with a high enough elevation to be able to collect a sample of the mist. Specifically, on top of the Moriya Shrine's roof, where the clearance with the mist is only about eight feet or so."
Wow, that mist is flying pretty low, isn't it.
"I'd like for you to collect a sample of the mist for me. I want to know what exactly it is, so that I can identify any health risks plainly and clearly. If I can do that, perhaps proper legislature can be passed."

Huh. This seems rather familliar.

"Believe it or not, you're the third person who's asked me to help them get rid of this mist, and the second to request a sample. Since I'll be collecting a sample anyway, I see no reason why not."

"Good. Here, take this." She slides open a drawer and pulls out a box with the Enpen, inc. logo on it.
"It was a great pain to actually acquire this; your employer is unusually stingy when it comes to scientific equipment like this. If my guess is right, then you'll be recieving the same unit to collect a sample for Enpen, inc., but just in case I'll give you the whole thing. Bring it back to me when you've got the sample. I'd prefer it if you'd make it quick, but I can understand if there's more pressing issues."

"Alright, I'll try and get back here with it soon."

"Good. Well, unless you have any questions or comments, I'm really quite busy still, so if you could excuse me..."

"Alright. Later, Eirin."

She smiles and waves you off as you leave the lab.

Right. Now that that's taken care of and you're back in the hallway, it's time to decide what to do next.

[ ] Find Mystia and head back home.
[ ] Leave now to collect the sample.
[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 26808
[x] Find Mystia and head back home.

We should plan some, that and somehow hint to Mystia not to lose hope.
>> No. 26809
[x] Find Mystia and head back home.
>> No. 26812
[X] Find Mystia and head back home.

We should wait for that package from Enpen before going to get the sample, in case it's different from what Eirin gave us.
>> No. 26814
[x] Find Mystia and head back home.

Makes more sense to get the samples together rather than making multiple trips.
>> No. 26817
[x] Find Mystia and head back home.

Birdsearchan time
>> No. 26833
[x] Find Mystia and head back home.
>> No. 26865
Hmm. It'd be kinda silly to haul around this equipment twice, so you'll wait until you get the stuff from Enpen before climbing up that annoyingly steep mountain. It's worse than Reimu's stairs, which is definitely saying something.

Yeah, it's probably a good idea to head home now. You'll leave Mystia at her apartment first, of course.

Finding her wasn't that difficult. She was waiting in the sitting room with a definitely more lively Kaguya.

"Hello John~"
"Hello, John."

They both greet you in unison.

"Hi. Uh, as good as it sounds to just stay here, there's definitely more important things to do right now, so we'll have to be saying goodbye now, Kaguya."

"Alright. See you later, then, John."

"Yeah."

You and your bird begin walking through the mansion to the exit. Along the way, you bring up conversation.

"Hey, Mystia. When does your school start, anyway?"

She looks at you with a horrified expression.

"FFFU-" She catches herself. "Uh, seven~"

...Looks like she's aboue 3 hours late. Awesome.

"Looks like we'll have to hurry, then. Unless, of course, you want to just take the whole day off."

"Alright~ I guess I can afford that once~"

As you're walking, the two of you decide to just go back to your place, since there's apparently not really much to do at Mystia's place.

Hmm. It's still really creepy outside. After last night's blood rain, it's even moreso. In fact, it makes your skin crawl just looking at it, and you find yourself forced to avert your gaze to surfaces that didn't get rained on. It's disgusting. It even SMELLS like it rained blood.
Oddly enough, Mystia STILL seems unaffected. It's pretty weird when you think about it.

"Hey, Mystia, why do you seem to not be affected by the current state of our surroundings?"

She just looks at you with a confused expression.
"Is there something weird about it~?"

...Yes, but if she has to ask that, you'd rather not have to explain.

Walking through the streets in general just seems...Strange. On ones that would normally be busy, there's very few people, and the few you do see seem to be hiding and looking at you from around corners. Yeah guys, not really helping with the creepy feeling of the whole place at the moment.

"So John~ What do you want for lunch~?" Mystia asks an innocent question that you can't possibly answer right now. Maybe after you get home and wait an hour, but the sight and smell of all this blood just upsets your stomach too much.

"I dunno, I guess I'll decide in a bit."

"Okay~"

Eventually, you thankfully arrive back at your apartment. You can't help but notice that there's a scratch mark near the doorknob on Yuuka's door, and that Letty's is open a crack. Usually, Letty keeps her door shut and locked when she's not awake, and since she still gets jobs winterizing air conditioner systems, she'll probably still be living on a nocturnal schedule for the most part. Since she's probably asleep, and Cirno's probably at school, it's just a little strange that the door isn't closed or locked.

After unlocking your door, you let yourself and Mystia inside, and immediately attempt to turn on the television. However, all you get is static. Seems like your cable signal's been interrupted by something.

"John~ I'll start working on lunch, so just wait in the living room~"

Mystia calls from the kitchen while pulling on an apron and closing the kitchen door.

Hmm, if you're going to just wait here...
No, it's a better idea to check on Letty. In fact, you should have the second you saw that the door wasn't shut properly, but there's no helping that at this point.

Standing up, you walk outside. The soft sound of liquid drops falling on the ground below alerts you that it's raining again.
...More of that sickening blood. Ugh. Yeah, better to look away.

You're in front of Letty's door now. Time to...

It slides open easily, so you step inside.

"Hey, Letty, your door was unlocked." You call out so that she knows you've come in, just in case she steps out of a door and runs into you and gets a very nasty fright.

You don't get a response, though.

Hmm. She's gotta be in here, but... Well, if she isn't, it'd probably be a good idea to make sure no one's snuck in just like you have. You'd rather not have them attack Cirno or Letty when they get back. That'd be terrible.

Hmm, first place to check is the kitchen.

After sliding the door open, you're assaulted by the stench of blood once again.
...Oh, looks like the window was left open. That must be the reason.
Better close it, though, so none of that rain gets inside.

You walk past the island in the middle of the room up to the window and close it.

Hmm, since you're in the kitchen, it'd probably be best to check the pantry. They've got a pantry more similar to what most people would have for a walk-in closet, so someone could be hiding in there.

You cross the kitchen to the pantry door, which is directly across from the kitchen's entrance.

SPLASH

..What?
About halfway to the pantry door, you hear a wet sound when you step.

When your other foot hits the ground, another moist sound comes from below.

Looking down, there's some sort of fluid all over the floor. If you had to guess, it'd be red wine. Hmm, perhaps a bottle broke.
Looks like it's coming from inside the island.

Might as well check, though.

Reaching up, you grab the knob on the side of the handle and open it up. Some more fluid flows out of it, as well as some object.

Hmm. Might as well pack it back in the-

You freeze.

This object... How did it get here? This is impossible, it shoudln't exist in this form, oh god what are you going insane
Letty can't... This can't be... No, you won't accept...

Those cold, dead eyes staring up at you finally break your internal conflict.

With a rush of adrenaline, you rush to get out of the room. In doing so, you slip on the blood covering the ground, but you quickly recover and stand up, leaving the room. Pulling out your phone, you dial 119-

No reception? Absolutely none. It won't even let you dial out.
You'll have to borrow Mystia's phone, or use the landline.
But first, you need to check if Cirno's alright. At least she needs to be fine, right? Right? Right? Right?

You do a quick search of the house, finally ending in the bathroom. When you flip the switch for the light as you enter, the bulb explodes, scattering glass all over the floor.

Great.

Hey, something's on the mirror. What is it?

Closer-
Closer-
Closer-

Ah, you can read it now.

You read the first letter: E
Then the second letter: Y
The third letter: E
There's a small line that looks like an apostrophe here.
A fourth letter: M
A short space, followed by another letter: N
The sixth letter: O
Seventh: T
Damn, if you could read more than one letter at a time, it'd be great, but the darkness... THe eighth letter is preceded and followed by spaces. The letter is A.
Hmm, your eyes have adjusted to the light by now. You can read the entire last word at once: FOOL

"EYE'M NOT A FOOL" Huh? Written in lipstick on the mirror?
...Wait
This isn't...

The sound of water dripping in the shower distracts you. Hmm, better turn that off.

You slide the curtain open, and just about die from shock.

Hanging by her neck by a rope tied to a large hook drilled into the cieling, and with the Japanese characters for "fool" carved deeply into her forehead, as well as down the inside of each of her forearms...

Oh god. Oh god. Oh god. Oh god. Oh god. Oh god. Oh god. Oh god.
This cant this cant this cant this cant this cant this cant this cant

You need to call the police. NOW. NOW. NOW.

You sprint out of Letty's apartment, almost slipping on the blood and off the balcony, but recovering yourself in time, and straight into your apartment to find your phone.

Odd, you thought you had a landline installed. The phone was-

Wait, where'd it go? It's the cradle's here, but...

Oh, right. You left it in the kitchen.

"Mystia! I need the phone, so I'm coming in to get it."

"Okay~" She responds at the same moment as you hurriedly slide the door open.

Immediately upon grasping the phone in your hand, you dial 119 again and hold the phone up to your ear.

No ringing.

You hit the off button and then the call button again, holding it up to your ear once more. No dial tone.

Fuuuuuuck.

"Mystia, I need to borrow your cellphone?"

"Why~?" She asks as you-

Freeze.

What
what
what
what
what
what

"What's wrong~?"

That's the most riddiculous question
does she even need to ask
why
what

who


where



...why




why is she

she's cutting

it's

who is

what is









...


why is mystia carving up a dead person's corpse on your cutting board

"It'll be ready in just a few minutes~" She sings as she brings the knife down upon the arm again. Squish. Squish. Squish. Grotesque sounds are made as she slides the knife deep into the flesh.
Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. She drives it straight through the bone without even flinching, in one fluid movement.


"Is something wrong~ John, you're making me worried~"


You don't even bother asking her. Rushing outside, you run down the stairs into onto the balcony. Out into the falling red snow. Down the blood-stained street, all the way to the bloodstained intersection.

A blood-stained car slips on the bloody wet ground and loses control, turning you into a bloody stain yourself.



BAD END


Continues left: 3.

[ ] Back 1 choice.
[ ] Back 2 choices.
[ ] Back 3 choices.
>> No. 26867
>>26865

April fools!


Right?
>> No. 26869
>>26867

Sure, blame your stupid choices on some obscure holiday.
>> No. 26871
>>26869
It wasn't a stupid choice, and there's no way someone would do such an ass pull of a bad end seriously.
>> No. 26872
>>26871

Are you forgetting who writes this story
>> No. 26873
>>26872
I'm aware of who writes it and such things aren't that unusual in Nightmare, but not in this. I've been reading this from the beginning.
>> No. 26890
Hmm. It'd be kinda silly to haul around this equipment twice, so you'll wait until you get the stuff from Enpen before climbing up that annoyingly steep mountain. It's worse than Reimu's stairs, which is definitely saying something.

Yeah, it's probably a good idea to head home now. You'll leave Mystia at her apartment first, of course.

...Finding her proved impossible. After a good ten minutes looking around for her, one of the rabbits stops you and asks you what you're looking for, and when you tell them, they tell you that she left quite a while ago, saying something about being late for school.

That's fine by you. Heading home is probably the best decision right now anyway.

You tell Kaguya that you're going to leave, and then make your way back home. Hmm, looks like it actually started snowing, since there's red-colored snow everywhere. Needless to say, the smell is pretty horrible. Cleaning this up is probably going to be a huge chore.

Other than the truly bizarre scenery while walking home, nothing of note happened on the way back fo your apartment. You find yourself sitting inside on your chair with nothing really to do. Unfortunately, the package from Enpen hasn't arrived yet, so.


[ ] Write-in
>> No. 26904
[X] Get out some winter gear, for the mountain will be colder than the rest of the area.
[X] Check the news.
>> No. 26905
[x] Get out some winter gear, for the mountain will be colder than the rest of the area.
[x] Check the news if it's possible.
[x] Water nemo so we don't get pwned by Yuuka.
>> No. 26909
[x] Get out some winter gear, for the mountain will be colder than the rest of the area.
[x] Check the news if it's possible.
[x] Water nemo so we don't get pwned by Yuuka.
>> No. 26925
[x] Get out some winter gear, for the mountain will be colder than the rest of the area.
[x] Check the news if it's possible.
[x] Water Nemo, and set up that sun lamp for him if you haven't already.

Yes.
>> No. 26931
The mountain's probably going to be pretty cold. It snowed, right? You can only imagine what it's like up higher.

...And what it smells like.

Ugh.

Throwing those thoughts out of your head, you return to your task at hand: preparing for your climb up the mountain.
Looking through your stuff, you find the jacket you wore back during that previous incident with the weird weather, as well as some gloves you bought afterwards. Wearing these will protect your hands from the cold, but they'll impair your ability to wear your knuckles, so if you're going to actually wear them you'll have to be careful not to get attacked by another gang like the first time you went up there.
...Hmm. This is all the preparing you can really do, other than making sure not to lose Eirin's sampler thing. All that's left is to check up on the news and see if anything's happening.

...

Hmm. It seems that instead of repeatedly broadcasting about the mist its self and the possible implications, the news switched to offering advice on avoiding them. Some of the advertisements are advertising jackets that are claimed to be blood-resistant. It's probably a bit too soon for anyone other than Enpen to have developed anything like that, and since you didn't see any Enpen licensing information, it's probably bullshit. Regardless, they'll prolly fly off shelves. Even after the blood stops falling as rain.
...Damnit.

Nothing particularly entertaining or informative actually came from the news, however. Just the same crap you're coming to expect. It's pretty clear that no one's getting any new information at all, even after the blood-rain.
Actually, it's a bit strange that something like THAT wasn't enough to get legislation passed...

Whatever.

Hmm. Yuuka did seem pretty serious about flowers, though, as expected. She did promise you a stern, perhaps painful lecture.

...It's inevitable and could happen any time.

Best to be prepared, just in case. You've been keeping Nemo watered just fine, but you missed last night for obvious reasons. No metter time to catch up on the watering.

...

Alright, Nemo's watered, and you're ready to climb the mountain whenever the tools you need arrive. Time to figure out what to do until then.

[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 26946
[x] Set up a sun lamp for Nemo
[x] Go see whether Letty or Yuuka's available and go chill with them.
>> No. 26961
[x] Set up a sun lamp for Nemo
[x] Go see whether Letty or Yuuka's available and go chill with them.
>> No. 27001
[x] Set up a sun lamp for Nemo
[x] Go see whether Letty or Yuuka's available and go chill with them.
>> No. 27002
[x] Set up a sun lamp for Nemo
[x] Go see whether Letty or Yuuka's available and go chill with them.
>> No. 27004
It's probably best to stay close to home, since you might get the package any time. With that in mind, your best options are probably visiting either of the two neighbors you're particularly friendly with.
...Come to think of it, you really haven't seen Elly much. Considering that she lives closer than Yuuka, and that she seems generally easier to get along with, this is a little weird. Maybe it's because of that scythe?
Well, whatever. Your choices are between Letty and Yuuka. It's impossible to predict whether Yuuka will be home or not, but it's probably better than waking Letty up, so that's the first place you'll try.

Hmm. Out in the streets, there's people with uniforms sporting the Enpen logo scrubbing the streets. Good to know someone's cleaning up the mess.

You knock on Yuuka's door.
It takes a while, but just as you're about to turn and leave, the lock turns and the door swings open.

"Oh, it's John. Come in." She holds the door open for you.
...Actually, it's a little bit strange for her to be this welcoming.
"So I imagine you're here to get that lecture over with? I wasn't pleased when you didn't come for it last night."

...Yeah. That wasn't very likely to happen anyway, even if it didn't start raining blood.

"...I guess." You can't really think of anything better to say, though, since you knew she was going to give you a lecture anyway.

"Well, sit down and I'll get started."

...

It was a rather long lecture. She berated you for your questionable morals (not seeing where that comes from), scientific proof that plants have feelings (citing herself as a source, and admitting that she hasn't conducted any experiments), and other things like that. After about an hour of complaining to you about your behavior, she finally finishes.

"Well, now that that's over. I heard that Enpen is close to taking action against the Scarlet Corporation for the red mist. Do you know anything about that?"

Hmm.
Since you're not sure whether you should tell her or not, you cleverly drop the question.

"I sure hope they do. Raining blood is a pretty bad side effect."

"Indeed."

...Strangely, from this point, the conversation turns into an actual...conversation, something rather unusual for Yuuka. Maybe you caught her on a good day?
...No, that seems impossible, given the rain earlier.

Eventually, you say goodbye, and step outside. Most of the blood that was all over the streets seems to be gone, but obviously the rooftops are still stained red.

Ah! A box in front of your door. Good, this must be the sampling device thing.

When you get inside and open the box up, you confirm that this is true. Good, this means that you can go collect that sample any time.

...That doesn't necessarily mean right now, though.

[ ] Climb the mountain, it's good exorcise.
[ ] Head to the library. It's probably a good idea to see if that librarian's alright.
[ ] Mystia should be getting out of school pretty soon; head over to her apartment and wait for her.
>> No. 27005
[x] Climb the mountain, it's good exercise.
>> No. 27007
[X] Climb the mountain, it's good exercise.
-[X] Make sure you've got your knuckles in case you run into those gangbangers again.

Remember the Boy Scout motto: Be prepared.
>> No. 27009
[x] Climb the mountain, it's good exercise.
-[x] Make sure you've got your knuckles in case you run into those gangbangers again.
>> No. 27010
[X] Climb the mountain, it's good exercise.
>> No. 27011
[x] Climb the mountain, it's good exercise.
-[x] Make sure you've got your knuckles in case you run into those gangbangers again.
>> No. 27012
[x] Climb the mountain, it's good exercise.
-[x] Make sure you've got your knuckles in case you run into those gangbangers again.

The hell with other people.
>> No. 27016
>>27007
problem with that idea: we can't wear winter gloves and use the knuckles at the same time.
>> No. 27017
>>27016
Nothing says we can't take our gloves off and put the knuckles on afterwards if we have to.
>> No. 27026
[x] Climb the mountain, it's good exercise.
-[x] Make sure you've got your knuckles in case you run into those gangbangers again.
>> No. 27074
Gah. Sorry about the flakiness of my updating recently.
I'm going to try and get back in the habit of updating every day. I know just as much as everyone else that when you fall out of this habit, it just gets worse and worse, so hopefully this time I can get back on track.

That said, updates for this and Nightmare tomorrow, definitely. Not updating tonight since it's too late.
>> No. 27101
Well, might as well get going, then.

Hmm. Better to have the knuckles. If it's cold enough to need the gloves, you'll put them on when you get up there, but for now, you're just going to leave them in your jacket pockets.

After stepping out the door, you lock it behind yourself as always.

...

The climb up the shrine went mostly eventless. The Kappa left you alone, and the single Tengu that got in your way quickly got out of your way when you leaned in real close and asked him to let you through. Luckily, neither the gloves nor the knuckes were needed.

Now you're at the top of the mountain, at the entrance to the shrine. THe mist appears to be just high enough that in order to get a sample, you'll need to get up a little bit higher. Unfortunately, the only way you can think of is to get up on the roof of the shrine.

Oh man, this might be a little difficult.

[ ] Look in that shed over there for a ladder.
[ ] Knock and ask nicely when the door is answered.
[ ] Knock and explain exactly what you need when the door is answered.
>> No. 27102
[X] Knock and ask nicely when the door is answered. Explain if necessary.

We ended up having tea with Sanae and Kanako last time, and they're probably as annoyed about the mist as everyone else. A kind word should go far.
>> No. 27103
[x] Knock and ask nicely when the door is answered.
>> No. 27105
[X] Knock and ask nicely when the door is answered. Explain if necessary.
>> No. 27108
[x] Knock and ask nicely when the door is answered. Explain if necessary.
>> No. 27155
[x] Knock and ask nicely when the door is answered. Explain if necessary.
[x] "Pardon me, but I need to monkey about on your roof."
>> No. 27172
Argh. Just like with Yuuka earlier, you're not sure how much you can tell them about what you're doing. It's probably best to approach and just politely ask, but... Well, that might not work either. You and Reimu sat down and had tea with them after that fight with them, but that's quite a bit less extreme than using their roof for scientific tests.

In the end, you decide to just ask nicely, but explain if it ends up being necessary. It seems like this is the best idea you can think of, so you're going to go ahead and do it.

You walk forward, towards the shrine door-

Oh, wait, gotta drop a donation in the box.

-and, when you arrive, knock on the more solid parts of it.

After a moment or two, Kanako slides it open.

"Oh, it's the nonbeliever." Wha- That's kinda a cold way to refer to you.
"Well, I won't judge your beliefs. What brings you to the Moriya Shrine?"

Trying to act as friendly as you can, you respond.
"I was wondering if you'd kindly let me up on your roof, if it isn't a big deal."

She responds with an expression of amusement.
"My roof, you say? What could you possibly need on my roof?"

Gah, best to be as ambiguous as possible, then.
"I need to collect some samples of the red mist, and the roof of your shrine is the only place high enough to do it right now."

"I see. Even if you say that, though, it still sounds a little suspicious." A very non-serious smile stretches across her face as she says this. "Is that really why you're here, or are you here to damage the shrine as a favor to Reimu? I wonder."
She steps to the side, motioning you into the building.
"Just wait a moment. I'll have Sanae fetch the ladder. She's the only one who would know where it's at."

Sliding the door closed, she disappears into the shrine. A couple minutes later, the door slides open again, but this time it's Sanae that steps through.

"Follow me. I don't want to carry that ladder by myself." She walks right past you, but instead of heading towards the shed you noticed earlier, she turns and takes a turn, walking around the shrine building towards a different shed.

...

Well, now you're on the roof.
You've stumbled upon a small problem with an easy solution: the machines you were given to gather the sample are completely different, now that you've taken a look at both of them.
The good news is that the actual container that the sample will be put into is identical between the two, so you can just use one of the machines.
It's obvious to choose the one that you actually have an instruction manual for, so you pop the first container into the machine you got from Enpen and start reading the manual.

After figuring out how to start the thing, you set it up and turn it on.
According to the manual, it'll take a while before it collects a big enough sample, so you might as well take a look at the other machine and see if you can figure it out in the meantime.

You examine the machine for a bit before you hear a knocking sound from the door. It seems like someone answered it, since you also hear female voices soon after. However, the sound's too muffled to make out voices, so even if it's someone you know you wouldn't be able to tell.

[ ] The machine will prolly take a few minutes to finish collecting a sample, go find out who it is.
[ ] There's no need to get distracted, just keep doing your job.
>> No. 27175
[x] There's no need to get distracted, just keep doing your job.

This is a task not only given to us by Eirin but our boss Yukari as well. We shouldn't screw this up.
>> No. 27176
[x] There's no need to get distracted, just keep doing your job.
>> No. 27183
[x] There's no need to get distracted, just keep doing your job.
>> No. 27200
[X] The machine will probably take a few minutes to finish collecting a sample, go find out who it is.

Curious who would come way up here.
>> No. 27260
[x] There's no need to get distracted, just keep doing your job.
>> No. 27262
[x] There's no need to get distracted, just keep doing your job.
>> No. 27282
It doesn't matter anyway. Your job is to collect a sample, not to socialize. At least, right now that's what it is. You'll worry about future assignments when they come up, though.

...

Alright, sample collected.

After climbing down the ladder, you carry it back to the shed you got it from. Really, it's not as big a deal to carry as Sanae made it out to be.
The next step is to thank Kanako and Sanae for letting you use their roof. After all, it's only right.

When you knock, the door's answered by the younger-looking girl, Suwako.

"John? What brings you here?"

"I just needed to do something on your roof. Actually, I just need to think Kanako and Sanae for letting me, and then I'll be off."

"Ah, okay. They're in the living room with the other guests. Go right ahead." She invites you in.

And the living room is...here.

"Oh, John, are you finished already?" Kanako asks upon seeing you through the open sliding door.

"Yeah, didn't take very long. I just wanted to thank you for letting me go up there."

You step inside the room and bow, as is normal for Japan.

"It's fine. It's just the roof, after all. If anything, you're more likely to hurt yourself than us."

"Oh ho, what would our dear John need to be doing up on the roof?"

This voice isn't Kanako's or Sanae's, so it must belong to the guest. Without looking at who it is, the voice seems familiar. Someone you've met before, then? Hopefully you'll recognize their appear-

FFFFFFFF

The worst possible person to have asked you what you were doing on the roof just did, and now she's looking at you expectantly with those scarlet eyes.

Shit, what the hell is Remilia even doing here anyway?

[ ] Tell the truth. You're here for your job.
[ ] Tell the other truth. You're here because you don't like the scarlet mist.
[ ] Tell a lie.
[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 27284
[x] Tell the truth. You're here for your job.
>> No. 27285
[x] Tell the truth. You're here for your job.

I think if we just played it off as merely doing our job, I think Remilia will relent.
>> No. 27286
[X] Tell the truth. You're here for your job.

If Remilia has a problem, she can take it up with our boss.
>> No. 27309
[x] Tell the truth. You're here for your job.
>> No. 27310
[X] Tell the truth. You're here for your job.
>> No. 27320
[x] Tell the truth. You're here for your job.
>> No. 27366
You need to give her an answer. From your short experience with her, she seems like the type that wouldn't really let you just walk off without giving one anyway, and it would be best to be able to get along with her at least. Giving her the cold shoulder like that wouldn't help any.

But, you can't really tell a lie. Even if she seems like a child, she could still be good at picking up on those. Or maybe her maid is. Beyond that, telling a lie isn't a very good idea. Last time you tried to make something up on the spot, it didn't really go that well. It's best not to risk that with someone you only know a fraction as well as you know Eirin.

So, telling the truth it is. Hopefully, she won't be too upset by it.

"Well, to be honest Remilia, I was given the task of collecting a sample of the red mist for Enpen, inc. to analyze." It's best to just be straightforward and tell the direct truth, probably.

She frowns.

"And what purpose could Enpen, inc. possibly have for such a thing?" She asks with an irritated tone.

"To find a way to get rid of it, or to provide the government with the evidence required to stop it."

"I see." The way those red eyes dig into your vision feels the same as a needle held mere centimeters from your eye, and it's making you nervous. It's...terrifying. It's even more terrifying that she can be so terrifying while looking so much like a child. You're briefly reminded of a news report from a few days back about people with information on the Scarlet Corporation who were found murdered. If she's capable of such a thing, then...
"Go ahead and do that then, if you please. Just know that no one ever crosses me. Have a nice day, John." She follows an extremely cold statement with a dismissive one, seemingly deliberately designed to push you away and out of here. Of course, she didn't even need to do that, since just her appearance right now makes you want to run home and lock your doors.

"And you as well, Remilia." You attempt to mask your nervousness by acting normal and polite, but you're not sure how well it worked.
"And thanks again for letting me use your roof, Kanako and Sanae. I guess I'll be leaving now."

And with that, you make your way out of the shrine and back down the mountain as quickly as you safely can.

...

Alright, the samples have been collected, you've been scared out of your wits, and Nemo's been watered. It's time to decide what to do next.

[ ] Deliver Eirin's sample.
[ ] Deliver Enpen's sample.
[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 27367
[X] Deliver Enpen's sample.
-[X] Tell Yukari that you encountered Remilia in the process, and she was not pleased about this.
>> No. 27369
[x] Deliver Enpen's sample.
-[x] Tell Yukari that you encountered Remilia in the process, and she was not pleased about this.
>> No. 27370
[X] Deliver Enpen's sample.
-[X] Tell Yukari that you encountered Remilia in the process, and she was not pleased about this.
>> No. 27372
[X] Deliver Enpen's sample.
-[X] Tell Yukari that you encountered Remilia in the process, and she was not pleased about this.
>> No. 27374
[X] Deliver Enpen's sample.
-[X] Tell Yukari that you encountered Remilia in the process, and she was not pleased about this.

It should be an easy task dropping by Eientei afterwards.
>> No. 27415
[x] Deliver Enpen's sample.
-[x] Tell Yukari that you encountered Remilia in the process, and she was not pleased about this.

The bit about the needle and the eye was a good bit of phrasing. I liked that.
>> No. 27440
Well, your priority should obviously be Enpen's sample, since they're your employer. Time to go deliver it.

...

You're greeted at the door by the same girl who greeted you last time, but this time she seems to rush you more. And, on top of that, you weren't evne taken to Yukari's office.

"You have the sample already?" The woman sitting across from you at her desk asks. "Good. Now, we're rather busy right now, so unless there's something pressing..."

Hmm. Ran has always pushed you to be prompt with tasks, but you can't ever remember being rushed like this by her before.
Ah, but there was one thing to mention.

"Oh, yeah. When I went to the Moriya Shrine to collect the sample, I unfortunately chose the same time to visit as Remilia did. She didn't seem too pleased."

"...Damn, that's not good. Well, we should still be able to solve the problem at this point, since we did get the sample. But, uh, lock your door just in case. Now, unless there's anything else..."

"No, that should be everything. I'll see you later."

She nods in response, and you make your way out of the office.

Chen's waiting for you outside.

"John~ Hey, I'm hungry. Let's go get something to eat~"

...Thinking about it, you're rather hungry yourself. It's already past lunch, and most of your breakfast went to killing your hangover. While it's certain that you'd be in much worse condition right now if it hadn't, you're still famished.

Amazing how you can completely miss how hungry you are until the idea of eating is pointed out to you sometimes.

Yeah, Chen's right. It's time to eat.

[ ] Locate the building's eating facilities and eat there.
[ ] Even though Mystia won't be there, the lamprey stand is always delicious.
[ ] It's been a while since you've been to that cafe.
>> No. 27442
[x] It's been a while since you've been to that cafe.

While I'm sure the building's cafeteria has nice food, but that Cafe has interesting meeting potential.
>> No. 27443
[X] It's been a while since you've been to that cafe.

Not much point in going to the lamprey stand when Mystia's at school. We can always introduce Chen to it later.
>> No. 27445
[x] It's been a while since you've been to that cafe.
>> No. 27446
[X] It's been a while since you've been to that cafe.
>> No. 27449
[x] It's been a while since you've been to that cafe.
>> No. 27464
It's been a long time since you've been to that cafe. In fact, ever since you started frequenting the lamprey stand, you haven't even really thought about going to the cafe. It's a shame, because the food there is really quite great.
The biggest problem is that you always run into HER every time you go there. It's not like she's really that difficult to get along with, but she's always come off as just a bit annoying.

"Alright, Chen. Let's eat something. Uh, Ran wouldn't mind if we went out somewhere, right?"
...Thinking about it, taking Chen with you sounds kinda awkward, but since she asked you, it'd be rude just to leave her.

"Nah, as long as you're with me it's fine!" Her childishly beaming smile of trust strikes you in a weak point, but... Well, you're not sure if it's very realistic or not.

Regardless, however, it's time to go eat.

...

Well, you don't have a car. Perhaps you might choose to invest in one using the extra money in your last paycheck as a down payment. Until then, though, you're forced to walk or use public transit.
Of course, this doesn't sit well with Chen.

"Why do we need to walk? Walking is no fun!" She complains, even though she's acting just as excited and childish as ever.

"I don't have a car, and it's too close to take a bus. Just be patient. Walking's good for you, anyway."

"Hmph." She looks away while crossing her arms, a stubborn gesture that almost seems forced.

"See, we're almost there." You reach up to point at your destination. "It's that building just over-"

"Kay!" And she shoots off, running towards it.
Geez, she's so energetic. She's almost like a kitten.

Seeing the inside of this place reminds you of your first day here, when you first met Rin.
...You were a lot more cold back then. Pushing away people just because of their religious beliefs and all. Rin was definitely a little irritating, but by now if someone had offered you a ride, you'd have taken it whether it was a hearse or a fullsize dumptruck. Maybe you've just gotten more used to the place and the strange habits of its people.
In fact, it almost seems like you've started blocking them out, or ignoring them. Like, for instance, that girl pushing a wheelbarrow that just entered-

Wait, shit.

"John!" She shouts as soon as she sees you, while rushing over. It's amazing how she can so rashly start running around while pushing that wheelbarrow, and at the same time not damage any property. She must have gotten pretty used to it by now, if she's been doing that every day.
"It's been a while! I was wondering where you'd gone, and-"

She pauses when she notices Chen.

"Wha- John, did you find a different cat to replace me? I'm hurt!"
There's no denying that she's just acting, but still.

[ ] Yes, you found a new cat.
[ ] It's legal in most places to have two cats.
[ ] No, you're just making sure that the cats don't pray on a bird.
>> No. 27466
[x] It's legal in most places to have two cats.
>> No. 27467
[x] It's legal in most places to have two cats.
>> No. 27471
[x] It's legal in most places to have two cats.
>> No. 27472
[x] It's legal in most places to have two cats.
>> No. 27476
[zesty] It's legal in most places to have two cats.

Also, it's 'prey'.
>> No. 27481
[x] It's legal in most places to have two cats.
>> No. 27487
[x] She's our love-child from the FUTURE!

[x] It's legal in most places to have two cats.
>> No. 27492
"Hey, hey. It's not like she's a replacement or anything. You don't have to just get rid of friends just because you got another one." Of course, you're not sure you'd really call her a friend in the first place.

"Ehh...I guess you're right. So, it's beena long time! How are you? Anything interesting happen?"

You'd answer honestly, but that would just extend your time with her, and usually that's something you'd rather avoid.
"Except for that weird rain, and the red mist, nothing I could particularly call interesting has happened." To conceal a lie, you need to talk as normally as you can. But still, you need to stop yourself before- "How about you?" fuuuu-

...

Yeah, asking that question wasn't the best idea you've had.

It's been...oh, about 40 minutes spent talking about this and that with Rin. She's not really as annoying as you usually think she is, but spending the extra time wasn't probably very wise, considering that you've still got Chen with you.

"Uh, I think Ran might be worry about Chen by now, so we should get going."

"Oh, I see. Do you need a ride?"
...Perhaps you should have seen that question coming. Last time you said no, she gave you one anyway, though, so might as well agree.

"We won't have to sit in the back, will we?"

...

She stops the car in front of Enpen's office building and hits the button to unlock the doors.

"See you later, John!" Chen excitedly exclaims as she leaves the car. "Maybe next time everyone else can come too!"
You smile.
"Yeah, that'd be great. Later, Chen." You wave her off.

"So, John, if you want me to take you anywhere else, just ask. Or I could take you to meet Satorin, or something."

[ ] Ask her to take you to Eientei.
[ ] Meeting new people is always fun.
[ ] Nah, you'll get off here.
>> No. 27493
[X] Meeting new people is always fun.

It's also our job.
>> No. 27494
[X] Meeting new people is always fun.
>> No. 27495
[x] Ask her to take you to Eientei.

We still have Eirin's sample to possibly drop off, otherwise I'd be for the whole meeting new folks thing.
>> No. 27496
[X] Meeting new people is always fun.
>> No. 27521
[x] Meeting new people is always fun.

Satorin~
>> No. 27555
Argh, need to get back on track with my updates.
Making this post so I'll feel more obligated to update. Which will for sure be tomorrow.
>> No. 27573
"Satorin? Who's that?"

"She's my boss, sorta."

Hmm. You find it difficult to imagine just what kind of person could put up with being the boss of Rin without firing her.
...Well, then again, you've got a very baised opinion of Rin, so that's probably not a realistic concern.
Regardless of that, though, because of what your new job apparently involves, you ought to meet her. It's also nice to meet new people regardless, so it'd probably a good idea.
The thought of getting Eirin's sample delivered crosses your mind, but once again, you're not really on that tight of a schedule.

"Hmm...Why not. Introduce me to your boss, then."

"Roger!"

Rin shifts the hearse out of park and into drive, and you begin moving. Surprisingly, she doesn't have much to say during the drive.

She pulls up in front of a small fenced-in space between buildings with a small building inside of it, and steps out of the car. Walking over to a gate on the fence, she inserts a key into the padlock and swings it open.

Wait, why are you here? This looks like some sort of utility control station or something.

"This way!" She motions you inside the fenced-in area. Reluctantly, you follow her, unsure of what exactly to expect. Hopefully she didn't decide to swing by and pick up a corpse for delivery to the morgue on the way home, or something.

She closes and locks the gate behind you, meaning that unless you want to jump the fence, you're pretty much at her mercy for the moment.

"Let's go." She walks up to the building, unlocks its door with another key, and swings it open.

Inside, you unexpectedly find that it's actually an elevator. The room is barely lit by a small fluorescent tube, and there's a switch on the wall inside of the cage that actually makes up the elevator.

"...What's this?" You've seen strange things, but this just goes above and beyond. You're not even sure if Enpen has anything like this. Wouldn't put it past the Scarlet Corporation, though.

"Ah, we live underground. There's another whole city underneath the one on top, you know."

Now this just sounds like something out of a fantasy novel. You're not sure whether to believe what she said. Her living underground is at least plausible, what with the elevator, but a whole city? Come on, that's just a bit too much.

"And down we go!" After pressing a button, a sliding chain-link gate closes in front of the elevator, and the elevator starts creeping downward. The further down you go, the less light you get from the ineffective fluorescent tube, and by the time you're a couple stories down it's pitch black.

About four floors down, a crack of light seeps in, growing bigger and bigger until it reaches the roof of the elevator. The elevator stops its downward motion, and another chain-link fence on this level slides open.

The hallway in front of you isn't illuminated any better than the room above, and is just as gray and lifeless as you'd expect an underground tunnel-type thing to be. About ten meters down, the hallway ends when it intersects another perpendicular hallway.

You follow Rin as she walks down the hallway, until she pauses at the intersection.

"Ah, damn. I forgot which way. Usually I use a different access point."

She looks each direction down the hallway, and you do the same.
Each looks the same to you. A long stretch of blank concerete walls, with a steel door at the end.

"Hmm. It shouldn't matter which way we take, so...You pick, John."

Geez, you've never even been here, so you'd be even less likely to know where to go. Why's she asking you?

[ ] Right.
[ ] Left.
[ ] The best way is always through.
>> No. 27574
[x] Right.
Let's see if this will have the same results as in Nightmare.
>> No. 27579
[X] Right.

The right-hand rule always works when solving mazes.
>> No. 27586
[X] Right.

Suddenly, Nightmare crossover. Or is that the left?
>> No. 27587
[X] Right.
>> No. 27594
[x] Right.
>> No. 27595
[X] Right.

Righty tighty.
>> No. 27599
[x] Roight.
>> No. 27601
[X] Right.
>> No. 27639
"Uh, the right, I guess."

"Let's go, then!"

You follow her through the hallway to the heavy metal door, which she opens without much effort. Swinging it open, she steps through, and you follow.

Looking around, you see...What the hell is this?

Lots and lots of small houses, all contained in a large chamber. Jesus christ, there really IS another city down here.

"Oh no, we're further than I thought. Ah, but if you want to have a drink, I know a good place if we keep going this way.

[ ] Alcohol is your secret weapon for taking in all the weirdness.
[ ] Alcohol might be a little risky today...
>> No. 27640
[x] Alcohol might be a little risky today...

Wouldn't want to wreck Eirin's sample by accident.
>> No. 27643
[X] Alcohol might be a little risky today...

We just spent 40 minutes talking to Rin over lunch, and now she offers to go drinking? Someone's a little too clingy. Let's stick to what we came underground for in the first place.
>> No. 27646
[x] Alcohol might be a little risky today...
>> No. 27649
[x] Alcohol might be a little risky today...
>> No. 27667
[x] Alcohol is your risky weapon for taking in all the risky weirdness.
[x] Risky.
>> No. 27679
[x] Alcohol might be a little whiskey today...

What?