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27346 No. 27346
>>27332
If a "beat up Reimu in a nice way" vote had won, I would have just assumed you probably wouldn't want to brag about it later. Since that wouldn't be nice.

>>27333
Actually, I'm pretty new here, and not at all familiar with the first few weeks. So I suppose we should chalk this up to happy coincidence?


Ended up mixing a lot of the different write-ins here. I wasn't intending to at first, but it just kind of happened.

--

[X] Try to calm her down.

You dive to the side, avoiding a shower of amulets. "Whoah there! We don't have to fight!"

"This plan has worked for me so far!" She throws some more. "Now stand still!"

"I mean, you don't need to fight me," you duck under an amulet that got uncomfortably close, "because I'll just tell you what I know here and now, without a fight."

"Huh?" She looks genuinely puzzled. "You aren't trying to trick me, are you?"

"Of course not." She stops fighting and slowly begins to lower herself, so you continue. "See, while I don't know who the thief was, I bet I know where she was from."

"And where is that?"

"Well, I figure, that circus that has come to Gensokyo is pretty suspicious. It's always the new people who start incidents, right?"

"Circus?"

Wait, she hasn't heard of it? "Yeah, the circus. How did you not hear about it?"

She turns and glares at Suika, who shrugs sheepishly. "Well... I kind of was keeping you from finding out, since I was worried you might destroy the place."

"Suika! You could have told me that thirty hours ago!"

"I want to go see the circus! I can't do that if you exterminate all the performers and burn the tents to the ground!"

Reimu lifts Suika by the neck. "Now you are just asking for this, watermelon." She flicks her wrist and another amulet appears.

Well, this is going south fast. You nudge Kogasa, and she snaps back to attention.
You slink up behind Reimu while she is busy with Suika, and whack her on the head with your cane.
She falls to the ground, unconcious. "Surprise, biznatch."

Kogasa applauds, and you think you hear Nue snickering.

Suika looks at Reimu, crumpled on the ground. "Now, I would get mad at you for attacking Reimu, but she really needs to sleep anyway."

"Right." You glance around, a little nervous. You aren't sure if doing that was a good idea, but if Reimu had ended up fighting an Oni like that she probably would have lost anyway. "Don't worry about the incident, by the way. I'll handle it."

"Oh? You don't look very altruistic, to me." While that might be a good point, it would carry more weight if she weren't rooting through Reimu's clothing.

"Well, actually, Reimu wasn't the only one robbed. Byakuren was too, so of course everyone in the Temple decided to help." Except that bastard. Maybe. You didn't really check up on him before leaving. "Did you get a good look at the thief? It'd be helpful."

Suika shrugs distractedly. "I didn't, but Reimu saw a bit. She was cloaked, and Reimu said she was pretty short... ah-hah! Here it is!" Suika proudly pulls out a paper amulet. She grabs that gourd she carries around, and you notice that there is a sealing amulet on it. She applies the amulet she just took to the amulet on her gourd, and they both dissolve in a little puff of flame.

Nue drifts over. "She was taking your sake hostage?"

"She's pretty mean, yeah." Suika grabs Reimu and hauls her over her shoulder. "I'll go back to the shrine and put her in bed or something."

Suika starts off, but you feel kind of bad. Reimu wasn't exactly reasoning very well, but she was just trying to recover lost property. And then you blackjacked her. "Er, hey, wait."

"Yeah?"

You fish some money out of your pocket, and toss it over. "Could you leave that as an offering for Reimu?"

"How? Her donation box was stolen, remember?" She takes advantage of the temporary pause to take a swig of alcohol.

"It doesn't have to be in the box, does it? You could just leave it by her. Or put it on a table. Or stuff it into her underwear, who cares?"

"Bahaha! I like that last suggestion! Can do, can do." Suika flies off, still laughing.

Well, that's not ominous at all. Hopefully when Reimu wakes up she will be sufficiently distracted by the fact that she has money to not worry about it's position. "Enough of these distractions. Shall we go to the circus, Kogasa?"

She smiles eagerly. "Lets go!"

---

The rest of the walk to the circus is uneventful. You pass by a few fairies, but they aren't really spooked or anything and feel no need to attack you.

Soon enough you come to what looks like the enterance. There is a booth with a bored-looking girl sitting behind it, looking over what seem to be ledgers. She seems to be very... green. It's a step towards racial diversity in Gensokyo, you guess. To either side of the booth is a fence, made of old-looking wood. Presumably the fence encircles the entire parameter of the circus.

She glances up as you approach. "Welcome to Mackenzie Carat's All-Youkai Circus."

"Hey. You the ticket master?"

"Something like that." She adjusts the green visor she is wearing. You notice it's one of those hatless transparent green visors, like poker dealers wear. She also has a pair of tiny reading glasses. A slightly above-average number of hair decorations.

"Okay. Can I come in? I want to see the circus."

"Yay circus!"

"Do you have a ticket?"

"Er, no." You root around for your wallet. "How much are they?"

"They're sold out."

"Sold out?" Kogasa stops cheering.

"We advertised pretty well. There was so much demand that we ended up selling out every seat ahead of time. Well, we aren't that big in the first place, but even then I was surprised."

"Seriously? So I can't come in?"

"You can buy a ticket for tomorrow, if you want."

"That's too late." The thief will have gone to the ground by then, probably. "I need to get in now."

"Well, that's too bad." She goes back to looking at the ledgers.

"How in the world did you sell out so fast, anyway?"

"Well, almost half of the people booked today are in one group. Apparently there's this Scarlet girl who employs a lotta fairies, and when they heard about this thing they started really saying they wanted to go. So she eventually caved in, and booked half the staff for today and half for tomorrow." She shrugs. "Not often we get big groups like this, but it's good for business. I won't complain."

"Do fairies even need seating?"

"Hah, not that much. We tend to assign them three-quarters of a seat each. It means they get in cheaper too, and fairies don't tend to be rich so that means we get more fairy customers."

That makes sense. But it doesn't help you.

You look over. Kogasa looks sad.
Going to have to resolve this, and fast!

You would bring up the robbery, but if the circus is really to blame for that she is not going to have anything useful to say. Instead...

"Maybe you can, ah, 'accidently let me by'?" You slide a generous amount of money on the table.

She sadly gazes at the money. "I would like to accept this. I really would. Even if I didn't keep it for myself, the circus needs the money. But..." She sighs. "I think about money, and Miss Carat thinks about art. When I was booking people in advance, she told me, 'Zelby, I know you are going to want to use this as a way to bilk people out of money, but don't. We aren't some ring of criminals, we are performers. If we don't have our honor, we don't have anything.' And I'm just an accountant and Miss Carat is the boss, so what she says goes."

Well, it seems like what you have here is a failure to communicate. "Is there no way I can get you to let me through?"

"It's not my decision to make. If you don't have a ticket, you don't get in. I can't say anything else."

"What if I went to get a ticket?"

"I don't think Miss Carat would like that, either."

You pick up the money you had put on the counter, and stow it away. "It seems that diplomacy is not working." You draw your cane, and twirl it idly. "So, instead, I'll acquaint you with my brand of diplomacy." You hop up and lift into the air, twirling the cane between your hands. "Are you familiar with the rules of danmaku?"

She sighs. "I got a feeling it would come to this." She steps out of the booth... steps down, too. She's pretty damn short. A goblin, maybe?

"If it's any consolation, I don't really want to do this. I have to." Because Kogasa wants to see the circus. Also that robbery.

"No consolation whatsoever."

[ ] Fight her yourself.
-[ ] Take her out fast.
-[ ] Take her out hard.
-[ ] Take her out efficiently.
[ ] She doesn't look tough. Let Kogasa do the fighting, she might have a chance here.

>> No. 27348
[x] Ask if Kogasa wants to take a shot.
[x] If not...
-[x] Take her out efficiently.
>> No. 27350
[X] Fight her yourself.
-[X] Take her out fast.
>> No. 27351
[x] Ask if Kogasa wants to take a shot.
[x] If not...
-[x] Take her out efficiently.
She's short... so she's a suspect. I wonder...
>> No. 27355
[X] Ask if Kogasa wants to take a shot.
[X] If not...
-[X] Take her out efficiently.

>>27351
Not just short, but a greedy accountant. You can never trust bean counters.
>> No. 27356
>>27346
>Actually, I'm pretty new here, and not at all familiar with the first few weeks.

That may be for the best. It's good to see some new blood that isn't fucking poisonous. You may want to take a look at the archives though, there are some really fun stories.

[x] Ask if Kogasa wants to take a shot.
[x] If not...
-[x] Take her out efficiently.
>> No. 27357
File 127136693145.jpg - (145.31KB , 800x640 , lookithergo.jpg ) [iqdb]
27357
[X] Ask if Kogasa wants to take a shot.
[X] If not...
-[X] Take her out efficiently.

But, thinking about it, even if you do beat her, there are probably many more battles to come. If you tire yourself out here you won't be of use later, and if you use any spellcards for this battle you'll have fewer spellcards to use on the presumably stronger people inside.
So you should let Kogasa do what she can. "Actually, Kogasa, do you want to do this? You haven't played in a while, right?"

"Ooh, yes! I'll fight, okay."

You land, and Zelby gives you an odd look as Kogasa lifts into the air. "Now you'll be facing me! Prepare to be surprised!"

Nue floats down, and hovers by you. You hear her voice whispering into your ear. "That was a logical move, saving your strength like that, but didn't it look weak?"

"What do you mean?"

"You challenged someone to a duel and then stepped down and had someone else fight."

"Well, I'm not really used to marathon fighting. If I lose later it'll make me look weak, too."

"Fair enough."

Zelby stares evenly at Kogasa. "Three card duel?"

"Okay."

Zelby holds her arms to either side. Around her left hand cluster of amulets appear, and around her right a cluster of phantasmal coins appear. After a moment they both scatter, the amulets moving faster but the coins moving in slightly curved trajectories.

Kogasa spins her umbrella around, creating a sort of triple-layer spiral of red bullets. They fly off at a decent speed.

Each of them dodges through their opponent's inital pattern pretty easily.
While idly observing the patterns, you notice that the stray bullets that would pass over the fence are destroyed. In fact, they don't just pop like a danmaku bullet that hits the ground or a wall does. They burn and melt, turning into rapidly dissipating magical vapor. It looks like there is a barrier of some sort around the circus, and not just a fence. A nasty one too, to do that to the danmaku bullets.

After a few waves, Kogasa is the first one to pull out a spellcard. "Large Ring: Umbrella Halo!"
She begins rapidly spinning her umbrella around, creating a faster and denser version of her previous pattern. The bullets are in pretty rainbow colors, also.

Zelby dodges through the first wave, and then decides to use her own spellcard. "Arithmetic Sign: Bulk Number Addition!"
She pulls out a clipboard and holds it in both hands. Her eyes dart down to it and back up, so presumably it's her magic focus or something.
A large cluster of amulets appears around her, and a second one appears in front of her. She waits for a moment, building up energy, and then waves the clipboard.
The two clusters of amulets launch themselves at Kogasa. The one around Zelby goes faster then the one in front of her, and it seems timed so that they will reach Kogasa at the same time.

The sheer density of bullets is pretty impressive, but it fires straight and gives the opponent a few moments to plan their dodging. Kogasa is able to weave through it without too much trouble.

They both launch out several waves, but eventually Zelby fails to dodge. Her spell breaks, and she quickly stows the clipboard away and begins another nonspell pattern.
This seems to just be an improved version of her first nonspell pattern. More bullets, a bit faster-paced.

Kogasa dodges through for a bit, until her spell times out. She smiles. "This is pretty fun! It's nice to fight someone who isn't as good as Reimu or Aya for a change."

"Well, I'm supposed to be an entertainer," Zelby grunts as she dodges through Kogasa's next nonspell pattern, "right?"

You sit back. "I thought you were just an accountant. Do you also do acrobatics or something?"

"Well, I'm employed by entertainers." She pulls out a card. "That's close enough, in my opinion. Deception Sign: Income Tax Evasion!"

Whoah, is that really a name you want to advertise? There isn't any centralized tax agency in Gensokyo, but still.

Zelby pulls out the clipboard, and waves it around. Amulets flutter out from it and 'fall' towards Kogasa. After a moment, each amulet splits off into three or four amulets, each moving in a slightly different direction.

Kogasa dodges through the amulets just barely, and then fires off another wave of her nonspell pattern. But the bullets hit Zelby and fade away. A time-out card from such a weak person? That's unusual, you think.
Kogasa pulls out another card. "Umbrella Sign: Parasol Star Symphony!"

You know she is using this spell more for absorbing a hit then for actually attacking, but it still pains you a bit to see her have to waste the firepower of a spellcard on someone who is currently invincible.

Kogasa begins spinning her umbrella again, and a spiral of blue bullets come out. Also, large umbrella materialize and drift towards Zelby.

Every time the umbrellas come out they are quickly shredded by the amulets, but they do absorb a hit or two each before going. Huh, that's actually pretty clever. This card helps with defense a bit more then you would have thought.

Their spells clash. Obviously Kogasa can't hurt Zelby, but she does seem to be doing a pretty good job of defending.
She makes it through about twenty seconds of the rain of amulets before she slips up and gets hit.

Aw. You don't like to see Kogasa get hurt, even if it is just in a harmless form of combat like a danmaku duel.

Kogasa's movements are sluggish for a moment, and she nearly gets hit a second time in a row, but she manages to survive the rest of the card without getting hit.

A pause. Both of them look at each other. Kogasa is still smiling, but not quite as strongly as before. Zelby, on the other hand, looks pretty tired. She sighs. "I really didn't expect to be doing stuff like this when I went to business school."

...how in the world did she go to business school, looking like that? Is there a youkai business school somewhere? This leaves so many questions unanswered, but asking right now would interrupt the duel and be pretty rude and all.

Kogasa and Zelby draw cards at the same time. If you were Kogasa you would have waited a bit longer, to see what Zelby's card was first, but eh. You aren't her.

"Umbrella: Super-Water Repelling Bone-Dry Monster!" "Balance Sign: Sound Accounting!"

Kogasa spins her umbrella, and a purple aura expands from her. Danmaku raindrops begin appearing inside the aura and fall.
Zelby holds her clipboard out, and a wave of coins appear behind her. Behind Kogasa, a similar wave of amulets appear.

Zelby dives to the side, avoiding the shower of rain. Kogasa, on the other hand, nearly doesn't see the amulets behind her coming, and only barely dodges.

Kogasa's aura contracts, and the raindrops begin flying out at angles. Zelby is almost hit because of that sudden change, but she manages to dodge.

Kogasa expands her aura again... and then the coins and the amulets collide with each other between the two combatants, and with each collision there is a small explosion and a few randomly scattering green bullets. Kogasa is caught by surprise, and comes a hairsbreath from being hit... and then the next waves of amulets and coins are fired off.

An amulet is about an inch from the back of Kogasa's head when Zelby gets hit in the gut by a raindrop, and the spell breaks.

You suddenly remember to breathe, again. That was frikkin close.

Kogasa lands, looking proud but a bit shaken, and Zelby does not so much land as crash to the ground, holding her gut. "Those raindrops hurt!"

Kogasa giggles. "I win!" She then walks up to Zelby, both elated and a little concerned. "Are you okay?"

"Besides the fact that I friggin lost I'm all fine."

"Oh, okay!"

You walk up, stretching. "Now I'll be going in, if you don't mind."

"Heh." She laughs bitterly. "I know I'm held to an agreement with you because of the duel, but I'm sorry. I can't help you in. I'm bound to not let anyone in without a ticket, remember?"

"So don't the two agreements, like, cancel each other out?"

"Not really how it works." She straightens up, wincing a bit. "I still need to man the ticket booth, no matter how much I want to rest now. So I'll tell you here and now, the barrier around this circus is like nothing you have ever seen before."

"I consider myself to be pretty good with barriers."

"Don't be cocky. This circus was made of magic wood, and enchanted with all sorts of spells. I couldn't tell you the exact process because I've only been here for a bit under a hundred years, but these things are strong. They could keep out an army of youkai."

"Why in the world does a circus need defenses like this?"

She shrugs. "Beats me." She turns around and points to a point a bit above the fence. You can momentarily see a shimmering wall there. "I'm telling you this for your own good. If you aren't invited in, don't go in. These barriers don't just push you out, they... well..." she shudders, "one time one of the animals tried to run away, and it lept over the fence, and what landed on the other side was basically burning porridge with a very high bone marrow content."

Ew. Gross, but very suspicious. Very suspicious. "Well, sucks to be that animal, then." You leap over the fence, and land on the other side totally unharmed.

She stands there, staring at you wide-eyed. "Wha- how-?"

"As I said, I'm pretty good with barriers."

She slumps. "Great, I just know I'll get a talking-to for this, also."

You turn to Kogasa. "Okay. I'll go back over there and pull you through."

She backs off. "I don't want to become bone marrow pudding!"

...that's a good point. You don't know if you could carry someone else through without them getting hurt, and there's no way in hell you are trying it out on Kogasa. Maybe if that bastard was here... "Oh, okay. Nue?"

The glowing ball bobs up and down a bit. "Do I look stupid?"

"You do look pretty stupid. Er, as in, I don't think glowing orbs of light are a very good look. I don't mean you look like an idiot."

A pause. "I'll just pretend you didn't say that." Nueorb floats to the ground, and with a flash of light Nue is now sitting there, legs crossed. "I'll just wait here, I guess. If you can find a way to lower their defenses from the inside..."

"Yeah, I'll try to look for one." You turn back to Kogasa. "Sorry about you not being able to go in. I know how much you want to see this place. I'll try to find a way to get you inside, I promise."

"Okay." She smiles at you.

You turn their back on them, and continue on into the circus.

---

This place is full of fairies. Fairies in maid uniforms, too.
Maybe they are the fairies from the Scarlet Devil Manor? Well, if they were really that eager, maybe they plan to stay here and play around all day or something. It doesn't seem to be time for the acts to start, anyway.

It's kind of annoying how they are attacking you though. Force of habit?
Well, it's not like they are any real threat.

You have to admit, this place is pretty cool. They picked a big grassy clearing, and they moved all of their wagons and equipment here. The wagons are pretty imposing. Pretty huge for wagons, and made of this ancient-looking wood. You pause to examine it, and your youkai senses tell you that it is very strongly magical. Presumably that magic wood Zelby was talking about.
There is a huge tent red-and-white striped in the distance, presumably the big top, given that it is large.
There are all sorts of things lying around, presumably attractions that were unpacked from the wagons and will be moved to the big top before the performance.

Something's watching you. You wheel around, to see a few odd implike creatures in white makeup and colorful clothes peering around a wagon. When they realize you have noticed them they scamper out of sight.
Hm. So, where should you look next? The easiest solution would be to burn these wagons down, but you really don't want to stoop to such a level of vandalism. Maybe there's some kind of magic control device for the barrier somewhere?

To that end you go around, examining the various pieces of equipment.
There's a wheeled steam organ, currently being attended to by some musician. She ignores you, instead concentrating on doing a repair of some sort on the mechanism. She doesn't look short, so she probably isn't the thief, and the circus defenses probably aren't controlled by the steam organ, so you move on. Admittedly it would be pretty cool and thematic, so maybe you should check back later if you can't find anything.
Oh, hey, you think you see elephants in the distance. Maybe they are some sort of organic supercomputer maintaining the barrier? ...no, that's stupid.
You smell something good coming from that wagon. Like someone is making popcorn. Preparing food for the event? You hope they have peanuts too.
Ooh, speaking of food, is that candy apples? There's a stand with candy apples, and there's a small gaggle of fairies trying to steal some. Unfortunately for them, there are far too many of them to be sneaky, and the woman behind the stand has already noticed them. Seeing you coming also, they all bolt.
Wait, is that a dunk-tank?
Yes, it does look like a dunk-tank. There's a large tank of water, apparently made of glass. To the side is a target, and there's a bin full of balls for throwing at it in front of it. One fairy is sitting on the chair, an ancient-looking wooden chair that seems to be far older then the rest of the mechanism. Another fairy winds up and throws the ball, but misses.
How weird. You never associated dunk-tanks with circuses. Maybe they busted it out to keep the fairies amused before the performance?
You walk up to the bin, pull out a ball, and throw it. You hit the target spot-on and the fairy inside the tank gets dunked with a happy whoop.

The other fairy turns around, seeing you for the first time. She flies off, terrified. The fairy in the tank gets out and, noticing that her friend has run, flies off also.

That was fun, but not very productive. You give the tank one last look before-

"My, my. What do we have here?"

You turn around. There is a woman standing behind you. She is of somewhat above-average height, and currently wearing a modest, old-fashioned blue swimsuit. Her short, puffy brown hair is held down by a swimming cap, and her brown eyes bore into your skin like augurs.
Despite the fact that she is the one who is half-dressed, the way she is looking at you makes you feel kind of naked.

"I'm an intruder, I guess."

"An intruder, he says." She laughs. "How pathetic. He slipped through the defenses, scared off the fairies, and for what? I bet he did it because some girl told him to."

"Er..." Actually, that is kind of distressingly accurate. The way she said it made it sound like you are doing this out of sexual desire, though.

"Making up for his own inadequacies by playing the dashing hero, is he?" She leans forward, grinning.

"Hey, I must tell you I am a very adequate person!"

"Such low aspirations he has, too." She shakes her head sadly. "I bet he goes to sleep every night alone, and no amount of dares will change that, no no."

"Hey!"

She steps forward, and caresses your arm. "I think I can do something for him, too."

Er, wait, is she doing what you think she is?

Before you can react, she deftly undoes your belt and tosses it away. Your pants fall to the ground.
She laughs maliciously. Your eyes are drawn to hers, and you begin to feel queasy.
A low sound of scornful laughter fills your ears. You think you can see people leering at you in the corners of your eyes, but you turn your head and no-one is there.

"Feeling uncomfortable, is he?"

You... really are. You are actually really glad that neither Kogasa nor Nue are here to see this. You would die of shame.

You bend over to retrieve your pants, but they seem to have vanished. You look up to her, and she is snickering. You straighten, and attempt to look dignified.

Her gaze goes lower. Significantly lower. "Now if only he was wearing a little less, I would see if he really does need to compensate with his actions so much." She looks thoughtful for a moment. "Perhaps I should do another thing for him."

"Whoah, whoah, no touchy-touchy!" You back off, waving your arms.

She laughs. "Well, since he is an intruder, I should fight him." She lifts into the air, still laughing. "My, and I should thank him for all of the fun I am having, after I win."

You kick off into the air too. This bitch is going down. "Four card duel?"

"And if I win, I'll get to satisfy my curiosity... okay?" She smiles wickedly, and raises her hand. Water swirls out from the dunk-tank and into the air above her hand, forming into an orb of water. Strangely, despite all that the water level in the dunk-tank has not lowered.

You draw your cane, and make sure that your bonesaw is still holstered. Luckily you had attached it to your back and not your belt.

The two of you pause, both building up energy for the battle. The feeling of being leered at and the phantasmal laughing increase. But as they do, you pinpoint on odd sensation of being watched which doesn't quite match with the rest. You quickly glance in that direction. Nothing's there, just the dunk-tank...
...wait, the stool has eyes. And it's staring at you with a malevolent intensity.
Creepy.

But there's no time to dwell on that. You have a battle to fight.

(Pick one.)
[ ] Full offense! She is going to pay for making you look like a fool.
[ ] Play defensively and economically; avoid using spellcards until you have to.
[ ] Give her a taste of her own medicine! It can't be too hard to undress your opponent while fighting her, can it?
[ ] Write-in.

---

Stage 1: The Path to the Circus
-Boss: Reimu Hakurei, the Wonderfully Sleep-Deprived Shrine Maiden of Paradise
Stage 2: The Ticket-Booth
-Boss: Zelby, the Goblin That Went To Business School
Stage 3: Circus Grounds
-Boss: ???, ???
Stage 4: ???
-Boss: ???
Stage 5: ???
-Boss: ???
Stage 6: ???
-Boss: ???
Extra Stage: ???
-Boss: ???
>> No. 27358
[X] Play defensively and economically; avoid using spellcards until you have to.
>> No. 27359
[x] Give her a taste of her own medicine! It can't be too hard to undress your opponent while fighting her, can it?
-[x] But otherwise, Play defensively and economically; avoid using spellcards until you have to. (If possible)
>> No. 27360
[X] Play defensively and economically; avoid using spellcards until you have to.
[X] When you get a chance, turn that stool into kindling.
>> No. 27361
[x] Play defensively and economically; avoid using spellcards until you have to.

Save the spellcards for the important bosses
>> No. 27362
Where's our fun loving spirit? She stole our pants so let's steal her swimsuit.
>> No. 27363
[x] Play defensively and economically; avoid using spellcards until you have to.
[x] Give her a taste of her own medicine! It can't be too hard to undress your opponent while fighting her, can it? (If possible)
>> No. 27371
[x] Play defensively and economically; avoid using spellcards until you have to.
-[x] Give her a taste of her own medicine! It can't be too hard to undress your opponent while fighting her, can it? (If possible)
>> No. 27373
[x] Play defensively and economically; avoid using spellcards until you have to.
-[x] Give her a taste of her own medicine! It can't be too hard to undress your opponent while fighting her, can it? (If possible)
>> No. 27375
[x] Play defensively and economically; avoid using spellcards until you have to.
-[x] Give her a taste of her own medicine! It can't be too hard to undress your opponent while fighting her, can it? (If possible)

i think we can spend a peerless nomad just to undress her...
>> No. 27382
[x] Give her a taste of her own medicine! It can't be too hard to undress your opponent while fighting her, can it?
>> No. 27384
>>27375
Yeah since it's not even his most exhausting card. (The Grudge blow is), also I think there'll be chances to recover some stamina (I.e. getting bomb power ups)
>> No. 27389
File 127147216566.png - (189.87KB , 600x432 , suchatool.png ) [iqdb]
27389
[x] Play defensively and economically; avoid using spellcards until you have to.
-[x] Give her a taste of her own medicine! It can't be too hard to undress your opponent while fighting her, can it? (If possible)

You should continue to play it conservatively. This woman can't be the toughest person you will encounter, so you should try to avoid using spellcards until you need to. And, if you do need to, you might as well make due with your weakest ones, to save the good ones for later.

She twists her arm, and the orb of water rotates. She doesn't shoot any projectiles that you can see, but it's pretty obvious that this is some kind of trick. You glance behind you- yep, there are blue bullets coming up from behind. A bunch of them, each drifting back and forth as it travels forward. That uneven pattern will be annoying, but you shouldn't have much problem. Just got to hold... there, and let them miss you.

Now that you've got her first nonspell pattern figured out, you should start. You'll refrain from using big, flashy nonspells. As long as you are doing incident resolution, you might as well stick to simple aimed attacks. That's how Reimu fought you, right? It's a strategy that makes sense for a person who expects to be getting into a great many fights in a row against mostly inferior people, anyway.
That said, you point your cane at her and start unleashing a single continuous stream of yellow orbs. You begin lightly twirling the cane, and the stream oscillates. This is significantly weaker then your ordinary version of the pattern, but it is something you can keep up continuously while still focusing on dodging.

"How pathetic! He has such a weak pattern. Or does he think that he can get through this fight without trying?" You would respond, but you really aren't confidant in your ability to trash-talk while dodging bullets.

Unsurprisingly, she does not have any real trouble dodging your simple stream attack. If only you could do something a bit flashier while still conserving energy like this... ah well.

You can offset this attack's low power. Her nonspell pattern originates quite far from her, so there's nothing keeping you from attacking from point blank.
With that in mind you charge her headlong, and this takes her by surprise. She pulls out a card and declares it, rather then risk getting hit at that range. "Humiliation Sign: Public Spectacle!"

A torrent of blue danmaku bullets come out of her water-orb and circle around you. This is pretty tight. They are basically caging you into a sphere-shaped area.
She quickly puts some distance between you and her now that you are stuck. You continue firing but she is dodging it easily again.

Then she grins. Fairies begin to gather, flying in loose rings around your position and firing inward.
Odd. They are still Scarlet Devil Manor maids. Why should they be obeying her?
...their eyes look kind of glossy, and their faces are stuck in expressions of scorn. Probably part of the spell, then. Creepy.

However, you should have been paying more attention to the effects of the spell, and not the mechanism. "Immigrant Sign: Outsider Weaponry!"
You feel the rush of the spell run over you... and then you immediately get hit and the spell breaks. You got yourself into a situation where you had no chance to dodge there, so you had to use a spell to let you absorb a hit. Really feels like a waste.

She laughs. All of the fairies laugh at the same time. "How sad. Is he really up for this, I wonder?"

The fairies continue laughing even after she stops. God, if this keeps going on, it's going to drive you mad.

You shift your attention from attacking her and instead start shooting down the fairies. Sorry, but the laughing is going to have to go. No two ways about it.
Unfortunately, new fairies keep coming.

After senselessly mowing down several more waves of innocent, apparently mind-controlled fairies, her spell times out. It wasn't that hard once you stopped being distracted, really.

You turn your attention back to her. She, on the other hand, continues using the same nonspell pattern.

You charge her again, and the moment you get near she fires out four lines of brown danmaku bullets, one aimed directly at you and the others at 90 degree intervals. You barely dodge it, and then have to drift backwards and to the side to dodge the bullets from behind.
Well, point-blank won't work again. However, this distance you have here isn't so bad. You continue firing, and she rapidly dodges through the bullets.

"Well, if he really is that desparate to get close to a woman... how about some companionship?" She pulls out a card. "Water Sign: Witch Detector!"

Her water orb suddenly boils and then explodes into a dense cloud of blue bullets, approximately half of them tiny ones and half of them huge ones. They quickly slow down, until they form a field of bullets floating in midair.
The big ones are obscuring your line of sight, though. You aren't sure where to aim, since you can't see her.

You feel a body press up against you from behind. Two slender arms wrap around your own. A wet tongue runs down the back of your neck. And then you are flung bodily into the cloud of danmaku.

Holyshitholyshitholyshit. You are so surprised that you only barely manage to change your trajectory and avoid running headfirst into one of the bullets. You narrowly brake yourself in midair, and find that you are now inside the cloud. And the bullets are drifting. Within moments you are once again basically blinded by the amount of bullets.

Okay. You can figure this out. You don't want to use a spell when you don't have to.
She just threw you so she should be in... that direction! You fire. The spell doesn't break, so if she still is in that direction she dodged.

Her voice drifts over to you. "He should worry about his own safety before he tries shooting me."

You try to pinpoint her position, but you can't. Maybe you should take her condescending advice. Well, these bullets seem to be drifting in set directions, so you should be able to plot a course out...

...

...there. If you fly out that way, and twist to the side like this, you'll break through the cloud and reach-

She is standing right in front of you. She points with her right hand, and fires several rapid waves of brown bullets at you.
You just barely twist out of the way of them.
She smiles. "Getting out took him quite a while, did it not? I was almost thinking he would drown." With an audible pop, the spell behind you times out.

"Yeah, stuff it, bitchmuffin."

Her look changes from amused to mystified. "He does have inventive taste in insults."

That was not your finest wisecrack ever, you have to admit. "Stop flapping your mouth and keep fighting."

She acts mock-offended. "And I was just getting to know him, too! How rude." Then she swings her arm around, and the water orb reforms. A ring of rapid blue orbs fly out of it in those swimming-patterns from earlier, and then each stops in midair and launches itself directly at you.

You have to back off in a hurry. That rapid swimming pattern is a bit intimidating. She really is making it progressively harder or harder to get close.
Luckily, once they launch themselves directly at you they actually get a lot easier. You get to a safe distance and resume firing.

A few moments pass. She gives you a weary look. "He really must think up a more interesting pattern. This one he is using is truly boring." She pulls out a card. "Slow-Action Drowning!"

You are confused. Where are the bullets?
A blue danmaku bullet, shaped like an oversized teardrop, lands right by you. Oh.

You look up. A mostly random shower of blue danmaku bullets falls down from the sky.
And this is supposed to be a spell about drowning?
You keep up the firing, but she dodges pretty easily again. Well, this pattern doesn't really do much to keep you from getting right up to her, so...

Wait a second. The density of the danmaku is far higher by her. Also, a very rough wall of blue orbs begins forming between you and her. It's opaque too, which is pretty annoying. Why does she have so many spells that obscure her position?
You look down. It seems that every time one of those bullets hits the ground, it converts into a larger blue orb and then just stays there.
Drowning, eh. It looks like the danmaku is just getting faster and faster, so pretty soon she is going to 'flood' the entire battlefield.

You dodge around, weaving through the bullets and avoiding the mounting piles of 'water'. If this spell keeps going on, it might get kind of problematic...
As you look around, you notice one cluster of bullets vanish. So they go away after time, huh?

It seems to be pretty random though. One cluster of bullets will all evaporate at once, but they aren't necessarily the oldest ones. It does leave you with enough space to dodge through, though.

...and it looks like she can't control it either. As you fly around her position, you see a pretty critical chunk of bullets in her protective cover vanish. From your vantage point, you can see her back turned to you, her body still. So she can't see you through her own danmaku, also?

Maybe you should give her a taste of her own medicine. Show her what it's like to be picked up and thrown into danmaku. Or even to be undressed...
You dart forward, as quietly as you can.

And then suddenly you realize that you just flew into the densest region of the danmaku rain. You barely avoid getting hit, and find yourself in the center of a forming cylinder of blue.
She turns around and begins laughing.

You look up. There's barely any room, but you'll still be able to dodge, right? Just gotta move up and avoid the danmaku bullets coming down. You fly up, carefully weaving through the shower of bullets.
You dodge to the side, narrowly grazing a bullet with your right arm. Suddenly, you realize just how narrow this trap she has caught you in has gotten. You see a bullet coming down, and realize that you have no way of dodging it.
Okay, time to use a spellcard. You-

You can't. That bullet you narrowly dodged... the orb it formed is in the way of your right arm.
Your heart skips a beat.

You reflexively flinch as the bullets come down. It looks like a raindrop is going to get you after all.

...

You cautiously open your eyes.
There's a purple umbrella floating in the air above your head.
You hear Kogasa's voice whispering into your ear, though you can't tell from where. "Halo: Karakasa Surprising Flash."

A spinning wheel of lights extends from the umbrella, and with a crash like thunder they become a wheel of lasers.
The sea of danmaku around you is rapidly evaporated by the spell, and you can hear the spell break.

The umbrella folds itself up, and floats to your side. Kogasa's voice drifts out, rather indistinctly. "I'm sorry it took so long for me to catch up."

"You surprised me! I wasn't expecting you to catch up at all!"

She giggles.

The annoying woman growls. "So he needs someone else to come save him?" She peers at Kogasa. Or, well, her umbrella form or whatever you aren't really sure what's going on. "Such an ugly umbrella, too. A poor choice of color."

"Kogasa, don't be offended, she's just trying to make you mad so you slip up."

She laughs. "Oh, I don't need reasons like that to humiliate people. Your friend... a fag hag, I suppose... I think she would understand."

Kogasa is silent for a moment. "...I do understand. But that doesn't excuse you being mean to him!"

She shakes her head. "Such naivety. She is probably bad at scaring people, because of it." She pulls out a card. "Humiliation Sign: A Crushing Defeat!" An entire wall of blue bullets appears directly behind her.

"I'll help you out, so don't worry!" Three more folded umbrellas fade into existance, and the four umbrellas take up station around you, two to each side.

Each bullet in the wall fires itself forward, swimming from side to side like her nonspell patterns. Truly a pretty dangerous pattern.
But you feel a surge of confidance. You start firing at her again, and this time the four umbrellas help you. Each begins shooting a stream of small raindrop-bullets in the direction you are pointing.
You charge forward, guns blazing (metaphorically speaking.) You just barely squeeze through the wall of danmaku to see her forming a second wall... but it's already too late.
You swing your cane and three yellow orbs appear in front of you. Let's see her get a taste of one of your real nonspell patterns, before she loses.
Each orb fires off a stream of yellow danmaku, each at a different angle.
You twirl your cane, and each stream begins oscillating.

Surprised at your sudden change of pace, she barely dodges past the central stream... and into one of Kogasa's raindrop-bullets.
The spell breaks, before it can even fire a second wave.

She comes crashing to the ground, while you lightly land.
You turn to Kogasa, totally ignoring your downed foe. "So, how did you get here?"

"Nue was examining the barrier, and she realized that with some weird, confusing application of disguise magic she could trick it into accepting non-living objects! Since this half of me is kinda still non-living, I was just able to get through. I had to leave my other half behind, though."

"Hopefully nothing bad will happen to it."

"Nue's looking after it, so it'll be fine!"

"Oh, yeah. It will be fine, then." You walk over to the woman, and poke her with your cane. She grits her teeth, but doesn't say anything. "Can I have my pants back?"

"No." She scowls at you, and then her body dissolves into water. You wheel around, and see that she is now sitting on the stool in the dunk-tank. She is glaring at you, and so are the eyes on the stool.

"Huh?" Kogasa-umbrella floats up to you, silent for a moment. "Why don't you have pants?"

"She took them."

"Oh." She floats over to the dunk-tank. "Can you please give him his pants back?"

"I just said no!" The woman seems to almost be pouting, now. "Go away!"

Kogasa comes floating back. "She said to go away."

"I heard."

"Let's go to somewhere more fun then this depressing thingie."

"First, let me get some pants. Or something."

---

Five minutes and several very easy scuffles later, you find a fairy maid who is close enough to your size. Wearing the skirt of a maid outfit is kind of humiliating, but it's probably better then going around in your underwear. Probably.
Going to have to hope Remilia does not take offense at this, though.
You also saw a few of those weird imp-like clowns while you were beating up maids, but each time they ran off when spotted.

Kogasa floats up again. She enjoyed scaring the fairies, but was kind of unsure about undressing that one. Ah well. "Where should we go now?"

That's a good question.

(Pick one.)
[ ] Go to the big top.
[ ] Look for where they keep the animals.
[ ] Maybe they have a fortune-teller or something? You could use some advice, or failing that a knowledgable person to assault in exchange for information.

---

Stage 1: The Path to the Circus
-Boss: Reimu Hakurei, the Wonderfully Sleep-Deprived Shrine Maiden of Paradise
Stage 2: The Ticket-Booth
-Boss: Zelby, the Goblin That Went To Business School
Stage 3: Circus Grounds
-Boss: Arlie, the Spirit of an Old Torture Implement
Stage 4: ???
-Boss: ???
Stage 5: ???
-Boss: ???
Stage 6: ???
-Boss: ???
Extra Stage: ???
-Boss: ???
>> No. 27390
[x] Maybe they have a fortune-teller or something? You could use some advice, or failing that a knowledgable person to assault in exchange for information.

That bitch... stealing our pants and not giving them back.

Kogasa~; this sounds like a stage 4 area.
>> No. 27391
[x] Maybe they have a fortune-teller or something? You could use some advice, or failing that a knowledgable person to assault in exchange for information.

We have a couple more stages to go before the Main Attraction.
>> No. 27393
>Five minutes and several very easy scuffles later, you find a fairy maid who is close enough to your size.
The plot of Touhou games becomes so much more interesting when you imagine Reimu and Marisa having to do stuff like this during the pre-boss portions of each stage.

[X] Maybe they have a fortune-teller or something? You could use some advice, or failing that a knowledgable person to assault in exchange for information.
>> No. 27397
[x] Maybe they have a fortune-teller or something? You could use some advice, or failing that a knowledgable person to assault in exchange for information.

Our writefag is partial for Kogasa. I don't blame him but damn.
>> No. 27400
>>27397
Yeah Kogasa to the rescue.
>> No. 27403
[x] Maybe they have a fortune-teller or something? You could use some advice, or failing that a knowledgable person to assault in exchange for information.

>>27397
>>27400
I'm fairly sure this is playing out the way it is because we chose to have Kogasa as our incident partner.

Also, is it just me, or did her saving our ass pretty much work like a deathbomb in IN?
>> No. 27405
>>27403
Not sure; but it strikes me more like SA deathbombing. IN deathbombing/Last spell generally resulted in a powered up bomb of the current character that used up two bomb stocks.

But if Nue was our partner; well I think she'd find a way to sneak through herself... and possible catch us with our pants gone.
>> No. 27406
>>27405
Close, but no. Deathbombing in IN switched your character and completely reversed your gauge, which is another reason you most likely don't want to do it.
>> No. 27410
>>27406
you forget about the time orb loss. Interesting I never recall anything like that in the Wikia....
>> No. 27416
Remember:
It's not a skirt.

It's a kilt.
>> No. 27420
File 127157483684.jpg - (6.81KB , 165x250 , oldtiredmemes.jpg ) [iqdb]
27420
>>27403
>>27405
It was a deathbomb, yes.
Also, if Nue had won (before I called the vote without saying), you would have gotten UFO options in a fight with an annoying shapeshifter enemy.

---

[x] Maybe they have a fortune-teller or something? You could use some advice, or failing that a knowledgable person to assault in exchange for information.

"Let's go look for someone who knows stuff. Maybe they have a fortune-teller?"

"Okay!"

"Given that I don't know much about the layout, let's just start going in a random direction, I guess. Which direction looks the most... fortune-teller-est to you, Kogasa?"

"Hmmm..." The umbrella spins around. "That way!"

"Let's go that way, then."

---

You have yet to see any fortune tellers. No crystal balls, no strange portents. Maybe picking a random direction wasn't that smart a plan.

"I was kind of hoping that the fortune teller would be in a very obvious place. Maybe we should find an employee and ask. You got any ideas, Kogasa?"

"Maybe one of the fairies knows?"

"So you think we should ask one of the fairies before shooting?"

"Yes." A pause. "We should surprise her first, of course."

"Of course. Let's advance quietly, then. Next fairy we see is going to get the hell surprised out of her."

You tear a strip off your 'borrowed' dress, and continue on.

There's a fairy who is busy poking the wood of one of the wagons.
You quietly float up behind her, holding your breath...

When right up behind her you dart forward and gag her with the strip of cloth. You quickly drag her back behind the wagon before the other nearby fairies notice.

"I've never seen anyone surprise people like that before!"

"It's a special technique." You wheel the fairy around. "Now, fairy, answer my question quietly and honestly and I'll let you leave unharmed."

She nods. She doesn't actually seem all that scared, really. More surprised and curious. Why is it that doing something so shady-seeming doesn't scare a fairy at all, while just casually flying around makes them all attack you on sight? Or did you just, like, get the one stoner fairy of the bunch?

"Does this circus have a fortune-teller? And if so, where is she?" You take the gag off.

The fairy thinks for a moment. "There is this lady with a crystal ball. That's what fortune-tellers are like, right?"

"Where is she?"

"In this wagon."

...really? "As in, the one I have you pressed up against?"

"Yes. Can I go now?"

You let go of her.

"Bye, mister!" She flies off.

"Okay. You heard the fairy, Kogasa. Our mission is to infiltrate this wagon. And, er, ask the fortune-teller questions. Or beat her up, more likely."

"That sounds like fun!"

You sneak back around, trying to avoid the fairies. Luckily, it looked like the one you kidnapped has gone straight back to poking at the wall, and has not actually alerted the others.
You are almost to the door when one of the more distant fairies begins to turn your way. Luckily, Kogasa is quick-thinking enough to open up, and the fairy does not question the fact that there is suddenly an umbrella sticking out of the wall right in front of the door to the wagon. So, it appears that umbrellas can work just as well as cardboard boxes can, under some circumstances. The more you know!

After a few moments of waiting, Kogasa gives you the all-clear and folds up, and you go into the wagon.

---

This wagon is incredibly goddamn sparse for something someone is presumably living in. There is a table, a chair, and a crystal ball. The table has a candle burning on it. The wagon's window slats are closed, so that is the only source of light.
Also a woman, who is staring at you curiously. She is of a dark complexion, with brown, almost black hair. Her outfit is flashy and colorful, with a headband and an impressive amount of jewelry.

"I assume you are the fortune teller?"

She nods. "Clara Arlecchino, fortune-teller and... stage technician, I suppose you could say. And you are the intruder."

No reason to hide it. You nod. "Did you use your fortune telling ability to tell that?"

"No, I recieved your description from Arlie."

"Arlie?"

"Our dunk-tank."

"Oh." Waiiit. "Er, wait, your name is definitely Italian. Why are you dressed like a gypsie?"

She shrugs. "It's what customers expect." She slowly stands up from her chair. You notice that she is quite tall. "And now, I will attempt to make you leave."

"Hold on there, miss, you did that all wrong."

"I did?" She looks puzzled.

"You are a fortune-teller, right? You have to say something like..." You take a dramatic pose. "'I see defeat in your future!' Or you could take our some Tarot cards and draw the death card. Or something. Some kind of show-offy threat about how it is my fate to lose, anyway."

"I hardly see why I should. You aren't a paying customer, so you don't get your fortune told."

"Aw, can't I at least some flashy trick before we fight?" You motion to the umbrella hovering beside you. "Kogasa too. She's been looking forward to this for days! Would you want to make a poor little umbrella cry?"

"Yeah! I want to see a magic trick!"

Clara picks up the crystal ball. "How about this, then?" Holding it with one hand, she spins it with the other. The candle flickers out on it's own, and suddenly the room is in total darkness.
There's a gut-wrenching sensation, like you are being turned inside-out.
The candle is lit again. Except... now the room is different. The walls, while still textured like wood, are now a shade of blue. The wagon, previously sparse, is now full of things. Decorations, furniture, posessions. There are some clothes hung up on the wall, and there's even a bed in the corner. All of these objects are in odd colors, though.
She calmy walks past you and opens the door, then walks out.

You follow her outside, rather confused.

---

Kogasa is the first one to make any noise. "Wooow. This is pretty weird!"

You find yourself in an open plain, stretching as far as you can see in every direction. The grass waves underfoot from a gentle breeze you can't feel. If it wasn't for the blue house (wait, house?) behind you and the faux-gypsie in front, this place would be featureless.
Far off in the distance, the lush purple grass meets the dark red sky. Black clouds drift lazily by overhead. There does not seem to be a sun.

"What in the world is this place?"

"It isn't."

"Bullshit. There's grass and stuff here. This is hardly nonexistant."

"I meant, this is not in the world. It is in my world." She reaches down and plucks out a handful of grass. She opens her hand, and you notice the grass is now green. With a puff of breath the blades of grass scatter, becoming purple again in midair. "If you want to look around more, feel free. I will fight you when you are ready."

(Pick one.)
[ ] What is looking around a featureless plain going to do for you? Fight her right away.
[ ] You might as well look around this place a little. Try to figure out the nature of this place.
[ ] She had quite a lot of stuff back in her... house. Maybe you should take a gander?
[ ] Write-in.

(Pick one.)
[ ] Continue fighting conservatively.
[ ] Fight all-out.
[ ] Write-in.

[ ] If... hah, once you win, ask her... (Pick any that apply.)
-[ ] Who is your leader? Also, where?
-[ ] Are there any other people I should look out for?
-[ ] How does the defensive barrier around the circus work?
-[ ] Can I get my fortune told after all? Pleeeease?
-[ ] What is this place? Be more informative this time.
-[ ] Do you have any idea who the thief could be? (Obviously, you will have to explain about the robbery too.)
-[ ] What the hell was up with Arlie, anyway?
-[ ] You said you were a 'stage tech'. Elaborate.
-[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 27421
[x] You might as well look around this place a little. Try to figure out the nature of this place.

She's nice enough to give us a bit of time.

[x] Continue fighting conservatively if possible.
-[x] Have Kogasa help cover your blind spots until you get used to your opponent's style.

[x] If... hah, once you win, ask her... (Pick any that apply.)
-[x] You said you were a 'stage tech'. Elaborate. I've always wondered what a stage tech does at a circus.
-[x] Do you have any idea who the thief could be? (Obviously, you will have to explain about the robbery too.)
-[x] How does the defensive barrier around the circus work?
-[X] Can I get my fortune told after all? I'm willing to pay the usual price.

Just because we'll knock her silly is no reason not to be nice.
>> No. 27426
[ ] You might as well look around this place a little. Try to figure out the nature of this place.
[x] Continue fighting conservatively.
[x] If... hah, once you win, ask her...
-[x] Who is your leader? Also, where?
-[x] How does the defensive barrier around the circus work?
-[x] Can I get my fortune told after all? Pleeeease?
-[x] Do you have any idea who the thief could be?
>> No. 27428
[x] You might as well look around this place a little. Try to figure out the nature of this place.

[x] Continue fighting conservatively if possible.
-[x] Have Kogasa help cover your blind spots until you get used to your opponent's style.

[x] If... hah, once you win, ask her... (Pick any that apply.)
-[x] You said you were a 'stage tech'. Elaborate. I've always wondered what a stage tech does at a circus.
-[x] Do you have any idea who the thief could be? (Obviously, you will have to explain about the robbery too.)
-[x] How does the defensive barrier around the circus work?
-[X] Can I get my fortune told after all? I'm willing to pay the usual price.
>> No. 27433
[x] You might as well look around this place a little. Try to figure out the nature of this place.

[x] Continue fighting conservatively if possible.
-[x] Have Kogasa help cover your blind spots until you get used to your opponent's style.

[x] If... hah, once you win, ask her... (Pick any that apply.)
-[x] You said you were a 'stage tech'. Elaborate. I've always wondered what a stage tech does at a circus.
-[x] Do you have any idea who the thief could be? (Obviously, you will have to explain about the robbery too.)
-[x] How does the defensive barrier around the circus work?
-[X] Can I get my fortune told after all? I'm willing to pay the usual price.
>> No. 27465
File 127183143314.jpg - (23.78KB , 480x320 , lookskindatasty.jpg ) [iqdb]
27465
I was slowed down by an acute case of not working rapidly.

---

[x] You might as well look around this place a little. Try to figure out the nature of this place.

[x] Continue fighting conservatively if possible.
-[x] Have Kogasa help cover your blind spots until you get used to your opponent's style.

[x] If... hah, once you win, ask her... (Pick any that apply.)
-[x] You said you were a 'stage tech'. Elaborate. I've always wondered what a stage tech does at a circus.
-[x] Do you have any idea who the thief could be? (Obviously, you will have to explain about the robbery too.)
-[x] How does the defensive barrier around the circus work?
-[X] Can I get my fortune told after all? I'm willing to pay the usual price.

"I think I'll spend some time looking around, then."

"Very well. While you do, I have some work to do." She walks off.

"Er, okay."

You take a better look around. This place is pretty freaky. Not just the coloring, either. Now that you pay more attention, you notice a feeling of... wrongness in the air. It's subtle, far more subtle then the gut-wrenching horrible sensation of being pulled here, but you are sure that if you stayed here for a prolonged period of time it'd drive you mad.

"What do you make of this place, Kogasa?"

"It's weird. I don't like it much, either. It doesn't feel like it ever rains here."

You reach down and touch the grass. It's bone-dry. You experimentally flick out your tongue. The air is very dry too, yes. "Huh, you are right. If this place is so dry, though, how does the grass grow?"

"Maybe it's not real grass?"

"Maybe." You try sensing around, looking for magic. Oddly, this place isn't that magical. There's definitely a spell on that house, and a hugely complex one, but the rest of the landscape is less magic then the ordinary land in Gensokyo is. Probably more magic then the outside world, though.

Wait a second, what's that in the distance? There's definitely some commotion going on over there. Multiple people and what appears to be a tent. "Kogasa, let's go look over there."

"Okay."

---

Yes, that is a tent. There are a lot of those implike clowns milling around, quickly and efficiently setting the tent up. It looks like they have practice at this.

"What in the world is going on here?"

"Preparing for the show."

"And why do you need to set up a big tent in this weird world of yours?" It seems to have a very complex magic spell on it also, like the one on the house.

"It acts as a reference point for me to bring people in and out of this world."

"So you use it to pull the audience into this world or something?"

"No, the performers. It lets them disappear and reappear elsewhere. Of course, our acts make use of this."

"So is this why you said you were kind of a stage-tech?"

"Yes. It's not quite the right word, since I don't really know much about setting up devices like lights and such, but it's close enough. This tent, then, is our back stage."

"Well, I guess I'm ready to fight now. I assume we should put some distance so the tent isn't damaged?"

"That would be appreciated."

---

You go to a point about halfway between the house and the tent. There she stops you. "Four card duel?"

"Alright." You turn to Kogasa. "Can you watch my blind spots?"

"Yep! I can even do it while shooting!"

"Nice!" You turn back to Clara. "Let's do this."

The two of you lift into the air.

She points at you and fires two simultaneous wide cones of danmaku bullets, one of fast purple bullets and one of relatively slow green bullets. Kind of an eye-blistering assault there. It's pretty easy to dodge, though.
You begin firing out your simple stream of yellow bullets, while Kogasa provides raindrop accompanyment. If she is offended by the fact that you are holding out she does not say so.

She doesn't do anything tricky, and after a bit she declares her first card. "Chiromancy: Three Lines."

She slides her pointer finger through the air in a slightly angled line, and a line of purple danmaku bullets appear between her and you in that shape. After a moment they begin to vibrate and then all fire off in different directions. Nothing too hard.
She then slides her finger in a slightly lower, straighter line, and a line of green danmaku bullets forms itself also. After a moment all of the bullets launch themselves at you. All you need to do is float a bit to the side.
Finally, she slides her finger in a line that arcs downwards. And similarly, a line of purple danmaku draws itself in midair, and arcs towards you... and keeps going, and it surprises you enough that you nearly get hit.

She then repeats the pattern, except faster. Okay, the only really dangerous part was that third line, and even then it was more of a trick then anything.
What with Clara going faster and faster it'll get a bit trickier to dodge, but still nothing too bad. Just need to drift to the side just enough for the aimed attacks to miss, and do a bit of lateral movement to avoid the random shots. Streaming, that's the word.

In that manner you successfully time out the card. Too bad that she's pretty good at dodging. Timing out a card is so unsatisfying compared to breaking it.

She goes back to her previous nonspell pattern. Something's off, though.
Oh, that's it, this time the purple bullets are the slowish ones and the green bullets are the fast ones. Also it's a little bit denser, but the color change is the biggie. Not like switching colors is going to make you get hit, though, unless you really aren't paying attention.

Feeling a bit more confidant this time, you put full speed to engines and buzz past her right between waves. She doesn't turn quite fast enough and you get a good firing angle, and force her to switch to declare her next card. "Earth Sign: Lithomancy." She holds her arms out, and a bunch of multicolored danmaku bullets of various sizes and shapes scatter out. Then four lasers extend out of her, half of them purple and the other half green. It appears you got trapped in the fourth quadrant, so to speak. The lasers extend quite far vertically, more laser walls then just lasers, so you can't easily go under or over them.
And then each of the danmaku bullets explodes into an expanding uniform sphere of purple or green bullets. The larger the bullet was, the denser it's explosion is.

So you have a limited space to dodge within, and a number of predictable explosions in unpredictable places. Not too bad, but it's a bit harder then her last card.
You quickly squeeze past several explosions, firing at her all the while.
She scatters out more danmaku bombs. And then the battlefield is further divided by four more lasers, forming octants or whatever the word for that is. Oh, wonderful.
This time the dodging is a bit trickier. Your space is more narrow, and you almost end up dodging into a laser.
She scatters out more danmaku bullets. And then that previous set of four lasers split in half each, and you find yourself in... dodecants? Maybe it looks like a clock face from above.
Screw this. You suddenly charge straight up to the 'hub' of the wheel, so to speak. Or Clara, to be more specific. The change of pace is surprising enough that you manage to finally land a solid hit, and the spell breaks. You are getting so much mileage out of that trick.

She flies back, and waves her arm. With that motion she fires, in rapid succession, four cones of fast purple bullets. Each individual one is much less dense then the ones from her previous nonspell pattern, but it's still a fair step up in overall density.
You quickly dodge through those, and she waves her arm again. This time she fires out four cones of slow green bullets. And presumably next wave will be fast purple, and the next wave will be slow green, and so on.
You are entirely right in that assumption. Nonspell patterns are rarely very complicated.
Not going to be able to get close with this pattern, though. It's a bit too wide, and she probably isn't going to fall for that 'drive-by shooting' technique you used last time. So you basically keep firing until she gets tired of dodging your boring-ass pattern and uses another spell. Go go team predictability? "Magic: Dualist Technique (Flawed)" You are not sure how she pronounced the parentheses.

Two orbs appear next to her; a green orb to her left, and a purple orb to her right. Each orb begins firing fairly random waves of danmaku of it's respective color towards you; the green orbs firing fast green bullets, and the purple orbs firing slow purple bullets.
However, all of the purple bullets... vanish about a second after being fired, leaving behind a momentary green afterimage. A precaution against getting into point-blank range?

You dodge through the green bullets. It's not too hard... just more streaming. The distribution of the bullets is entirely uniform, so you can just dodge the waves with a minimum of effort. Oddly enough, the more you dodge the more the purple waves veer from being aimed directly at you. After a few moments of dodging they end up being aimed quite a significant number of degrees away.
But it's smooth sailing otherwise, weird pointless bullet behavior be damned. And then with what can only be described as a green beforeimage, a wave of purple bullets appears right in front of you.

You panic and pull out a card. "Snake Sign: Mysterious Snake Show!" You suddenly explode with... snakes. This does not really help you at all, and turns out to be pretty pointless because you manage to dodge the purple bullets anyway.
So, maybe you should actually figure this spell out. Another purple wave appears. Analyzing the firing of the purple waves, it looks like the waves aren't actually being destroyed, just turning invisible or phasing out of the world or whatever. And if one gets near you it phases back.
So you just have to watch the angle the purple waves are being fired at more carefully now. Shouldn't be too hard.

Hm.

Now that you are paying more attention, the weird angles the purple waves are being fired at make more sense. They are probably an attempt to lead the shots for the relatively slow projectiles. Since you have been streaming in one direction at a more or less uniform speed, a very successful attempt.
You start moving the other direction. It requires a bit of tricky dodging to go through the green waves, but you manage it. And the purple waves swing around, fairly slowly, to the other side of the green waves. Yep, it's leading the shots. Nifty.

A pretty annoying trick, though. Thus far this is the only really tricksy spell Clara has used. Arlie, by comparison, had a ton of spells that blocked your vision or attacked you from behind or tried to lure you into traps. A metaphorical ton, since spells don't really have much in the way of weight.
With that mildly embarassing spell use, you'll be able to take one hit, though.
So might as well use this to your advantage. Mysterious Snake Show is most dangerous if the enemy gets close, so let's get close. If your spell gets broken in the process of breaking hers it'll still be worth it.
You charge her, but she seems to have expected it this time and backs up. Not quite as fast as you are charging, though. You'll catch up, as long as you don't-
Oh. You got hit. Your spell breaks, and you back up. Right, right, need to not be so rash. A victory by timing out the opponent's spell is still a victory. And, really, you've been doing a pretty good job at dodging so far when not doing something rash. Here's to hoping that you keep it up.

"Are you okay?"

"Yeah, Kogasa. Just need to stop being so rash."

You manage to time out the spell after that, luckily.

She uses... her previous nonspell pattern, except a bit denser and with the colors swapped. Yes, she does have a theme going on, it seems.

It's not that hard to dodge, though. You just use the same technique from the previous nonspell pattern. Just need to ignore the colors and pay attention to the speeds.
After a while, she pulls out a card. "Magic: Dualist Technique (Perfected)"

Two orbs appear around her, one purple and one green. They start firing out waves of fast purple bullets and waves of slow green bullets, respectively. And they begin rotating around her, also.
The first purple wave disappears, leaving behind green afterimages. Then the first green wave disappears, leaving behind purple afterimages.

Oh, wonderful.
You dodge through the first few waves, but then the green bullets begin to lead you. Okay, you aren't good enough at this to dodge this without help. You pull out a card. "Travel Sign: Abundant Step!"

You continue streaming as best you can, but even the straightforward purple bullets are harder to stream now. It seems like they are actually varying by a few degrees each shot, which means you have to jerk to the side a bit to dodge them, instead of just straight streaming. You are a bit better at this spell now, but you still need to slow down quite a bit to charge up a jump. It makes the dodging even harder.
A green wave appears. You jerk into a safe spot, and leave behind a yellow copy of yourself. After a moment it turns into yellow bullets, which launch themselves at Clara. She has a bit harder of a time dodging this, but still not too hard. Even with Kogasa helping you.

You dodge another green wave. You would want to do this faster, to try to overwhelm her defenses, but your rythm is decided by the frequency of her firing. If you teleport too fast you won't have one charged up to dodge a green wave, and might get hit by it.

After a few tight spots, you time out her spell. Again, not very satisfying, but you have managed to beat two people so far and only used up your lowest tier of spellcards.

The two of you land onto the ground. "Good job, Kogasa."

"You did a good job too! You surprised her a couple of times!"

She stretches. "Well, I lost then. Oh well."

"You don't seem very concerned."

"Well, I wasn't hurt, and I've never been very concerned about combat."

"Fair enough. Since I won, will you answer some questions?"

"Very well." She starts walking off, towards the house. "Follow me. As long as we are talking, we might as well sit down."

---

"What is your first question?"

"Do you have any idea who the thief might be?"

"The thief?" She gives you a curious look.

"Today, Myoren Temple was robbed. Apparently, a few days ago Hakurei Shrine was also. I figured the thief would be from the circus since there are very few people stupid enough to cross the Hakurei Shrine Maiden twice."

"Ah. If that's so, why haven't we seen her yet?"

"She hadn't heard of the circus, and apparently nobody she interrogated mentioned it. They were probably scared she would run around mugging the performers and end up burning the place down or something."

"I should be glad for their tight-lippedness, then. So, a thief..." She thinks for a moment. "I suppose the obvious culprit would be Zelby. Her job is to be concerned about the circus's finances. I don't really care, so for all I know we might be in the red." She shrugs. "She is pretty loyal to Miss Carat, though. I don't think it's that likely."

"I heard the thief was short."

"Well, that doesn't help much. Zelby is short, of course, but I already mentioned her. And I can't think of anyone else who would go around robbing people, in here. I suppose Arlie might go rob someone if she thought that might make them look like a fool, but she isn't really very mobile. Also, I don't think most people would consider her short. So, sorry, but I can't help."

"Oh. Well, thanks anyway." Hm. What other questions should you ask? Ah, right, there's one pressing matter. "How does the barrier around the cirus work?"

She pauses. "Well, not long after the circus was first founded, and before we had our wagons, Miss Carat decided we should have some form of defense. I went to look for materials, and I found a grove of magic trees. So we cut them down, and used them to make the wagons. They had powerful magic in them, which is why I picked this particular grove. A very..." she pauses, searching for words, "...angry magic. A magic that tries to violently repel people. So I used a spell to trick the wood into only repelling unauthorized people. Acquiring the proper object to house the control spell involved a difficult fight, but I eventually got it. After asking my older sister to help, anyway." She was the one who made the barrier? Lucky break.

"How does the spell tell if the person is unauthorized?"

"At the ticket stand you are given a magical mark. It's a simple system I developed, which is very hard to spoof."

"Ah. It sounds like you are an accomplished magician."

"Oh, somewhat." She looks around for a moment. "Miss Carat gives me the freedom to do the magical experiments I want and doesn't ask many questions. All I have to do is some silly fortune telling and a few applications of my youkai power that are honestly child's play. It's a good deal, in my opinion."

"Well, anyway, where is that object with the control spell stored?"

"Why should I tell you that?"

Good point. You can't really make her tell you that. "I suppose you don't have any reason. Ah well."

"Anything else?"

You can't think of any more questions. But as long as you are here... "Can you do a fortune telling? I could pay the normal asking fee."

"Well, normally, most of the fortune telling fee is covered in the ticket cost. The actual asking fee is just a pittance to keep people from just wandering in and asking to have their fortune told just because they can."

"Well, maybe I could pay the amount that is covered by the ticket cost?"

"It's an average. It assumes not everyone has their fortune told, but... oh, who cares. I'll do fortune-telling for you."

"I want to have my fortune told too!"

"I'll pay for Kogasa, also."

---

Clara gazes into a crystal ball. "I see that you have had a very unusual life, leading up to now..."

"Yeah. Well, the last few months weren't too exciting, but yeah."

"And I see you have struggled much, but for very little reason..."

That's true too! Though it hurts a bit to hear it said like that. You refrain from commenting.

"So we shall see what the future holds for you..." She tilts her head a bit. "I see you... fighting Miss Carat, yes, but that should not be a surprise." A pause. "And I see you catching up with your thief, yes. She is not the person you would expect, and you will find her after leaving the Circus, entirely by accident."

So you will find the thief? That's good news. But after you leave the circus? Seems kind of stupid. What were all of these fights you participated in and/or opted out of until now for? Wasting time? You definitely have felt like you were on the right track! This place is pretty suspicious for just a group of traveling performers.
Then again, you aren't the person with the bitchin' crystal ball.

"And after a fight, you will triumph. But it will not be easy."

"Well, that's nice and all, but what about more juicy stuff? Like, what's in store for my love life?"

"I see... years from now, yes, you have hooked up with a girl..."

"Who is it?" Well, she wouldn't be able to tell their names just by looking at them, right? "Does she have... blue hair, heterochromatic eyes? Or black hair, weird colorful wings?"

"She has..." She squints, and then reaches to the side. She pulls a fancy-looking crystal magnifying glass off her desk, and starts looking through it. "I... do not see wings..."

So, Kogasa?

"...but that might be because of the wedding dress..."

Wait, really? Sweet!

"...I see... one moment, need to adjust the color..." She reaches onto the crystal ball's stand and turns a knob. The faint misty patterns on the crystal ball flicker into colorful static for a moment before settling again. "...yes, it looks black to me..."

"Who's the priest?"

"Huh?" She blanks for a moment. "Er, the priest is..." She looks closely, and twists her head to the side a few times. "...brown hair, or is that blue? And a black outfit..."

"Byakuren?" Well, it would make sense that she could conduct marriages. She is a religious authority, right? Or do Buddhists not do things that way? You don't really know.
Okay, next important question. "Who is the bridesmaid?"

"Kogasa."

"What, she's not our child?"

She blinks. "I'm afraid it's too late for that."

"Aw, I was just kidding."

"Any more questions?"

"No. You can do Kogasa now."

"Leave the house, then."

You nod and leave the house, and then motion for Kogasa to go in. For some reason Clara insisted that only two people could be in the room at a time for fortune-telling.

---

After about five minutes, Clara walks out of the house.

"Kogasa's fortune-telling session is over."

"Okay."

"I will now escort you out." She grabs you by the arm and yanks you into the house. "I'm sorry, but I don't have any more time to dally."

And with that sickening feeling you find yourself back in the normal world. Kogasa is floating around inside the wagon with you.

"How was it, Kogasa?"

"It was pretty fun. She had some great tips for me!"

"Tips, eh?" Well, what should you do next?
She said you would fight Miss Carat, so maybe that should be your goal. You doubt you'd find anybody who could give you more answers then you just got, short of the actual owner of the circus. Now, where would the owner of the circus be...
"Kogasa, let's go to the big top."

"Okay. Is it time for the show?"

"It'll be the main attraction soon, if that's what you mean." You stretch and twirl your cane. You would feel more badass now if it was not for the dress.
You are so glad Clara did not make fun of the dress.

---

Fighting your way to the big top, you meet little resistance.
Well, you meet a lot of fairies, and they resist you, but they are small, and they are not very good at resisting. So it's little resistance on multiple levels, even.

However, it looks like there's a bit more resistance left.
In front of the enterance to the big top stand two women. One is a short girl in a gauzy leotard with wings. A fairy? An unsually tall fairy, then. She has light green hair in a ponytail, and a determined look on her face.
The other is a woman, also in a leotard, who is carrying a dumb-bell. She has short blonde hair and two horns. An oni? Well, strongman would be a good position for an oni. You've met powerful oni, before, and she does not look powerful, though.

The oni speaks up first. "We won't let you get to Miss Carat!"

The fairy turns to her companion. "Let's do the defense formation we talked about!"

"Defense formation?"

"Come on! The one with the flaming iron hoops!"

"Do I look like I am carrying iron hoops?"

"Oh." She turns back to you. "Then feel the fury of defensive formation B!" She does a backflip and lands on her companion's shoulders.

The oni nervously shifts the dumbbell around in her hand. "I don't think that B is a good plan. We should just fight him in a normal way."

"Aw." She leaps off and goes into a one-hand handstand on the ground. "Well, feel the fury of our new ad-hoc defensive formation!"

This is kind of pathetic.

(Pick one.)
[ ] Blast them away!
[ ] Fight them economically.
[ ] Try to talk them down.
[ ] Write-in.

(Pick one.)
[ ] Milk them for information.
[ ] They don't look very knowledgable. No use wasting more time.

---

Coincidentally, Clara has no actual precognative powers. They just made her a fortune-teller because she isn't good enough with crowds to be a main attraction performer, but has the right 'mystic' atmosphere to put on a seer act.

Stage 1: The Path to the Circus
-Boss: Reimu Hakurei, the Wonderfully Sleep-Deprived Shrine Maiden of Paradise
Stage 2: The Ticket-Booth
-Boss: Zelby, the Goblin That Went To Business School
Stage 3: Circus Grounds
-Boss: Arlie, the Spirit of an Old Torture Implement
Stage 4: The Empty Plains of a Negative World
-Boss: Clara Arlecchino, the Girl of False Knowledge
Stage 5: ???
-Boss: ???
Stage 6: ???
-Boss: ???
Extra Stage: ???
-Boss: ???
>> No. 27468
[x] Try to talk them down.
-[x] Blast them away if talking fails.
[x] They don't look very knowledgeable. No use wasting more time.

I think we're close enough to the end to go all out.

Interesting fortune even if there's no real basis. Though I'd rather have Kogasa be a second bride.

There's a reason why compared those two to chocolate and vanilla: they're kinda opposites

Kogasa would be much akin to a newlywed wife, eagerly looking and cleaning hoping to surprise her husband.

Nue would be more like a modern wife, preferring nights out, and doing things with a sort of methodical naughtiness.
>> No. 27469
>You would feel more badass now if it was not for the dress.

Its a kilt!

[x] Fight them economically.
[x] Ask them but don't bother pushing it, they don't look very smart.
>> No. 27470
>>27469
It's not properly a kilt unless we're naked underneath.

[X] Fight them economically.
[X] Milk them for information.

The dumb ones are the best targets for information gathering.
>> No. 27473
[x] Try to talk them down.
-[x] Blast them away if talking fails.
[x] They don't look very knowledgeable. No use wasting more time.
>> No. 27475
>>27465
Not to be a jerk, but this kind of got on my nerves. "Then" is used for if-then and sequences. "Than" is used for comparisons. "Coincidentally" is not the same as "Incidentally", and is used when two such incidental occurrences are similar. The story's great and all, but there's little mistakes that bother grammarfags.

[x] Try to talk them down.
-[x] Blast them away if talking fails.
[x] They don't look very knowledgeable. No use wasting more time.
>> No. 27477
[x] Try to talk them down.
-[x] Blast them away if talking fails.
[x] They don't look very knowledgeable. No use wasting more time.
>> No. 27497
File 127205809035.jpg - (26.47KB , 509x381 , trapeze.jpg ) [iqdb]
27497
>>27475

Nooo my thens and thans

---

[x] Try to talk them down.
-[x] Blast them away if talking fails.
[x] They don't look very knowledgeable. No use wasting more time.

Well, you might as well try to talk them down. It won't hurt you, and if you succeed it would save time and effort for everyone involved. "Are you sure you want to do that?"

"Yes!" "Yes."

"Because so far, I've beaten every member of your circus I have met, without so much as using one of my good spell-cards. How are you two so sure you will do better?"

"We don't have to win! We just have to tire you down more!" The oni, on the other hand, is looking a bit more uneasy. Oni don't like losing, don't they... to have joined a cirus she must be some kind of Oni outcast, so she probably is getting pretty sick of losing by now. You should press that angle, then.

You lean forward. "So you want to go in to your doom, fight me when you have no chance of winning, lose yet again... and for what? For a bit of fleeting wearyness that will slow me down a tiny bit when fighting your employer? She gives you your paycheck, and you work for her in return, but do you really need to give her your honor?"

"Yes!" "Well..."

"Would she even like it? Would she like her employees to get themselves beat up for nothing? And right before a performance, at that?"

"You aren't going to beat me up!" "I... I'll sit this out." Half-success!

"What?" The fairy turns around. "I thought we were friends!"

"We still are. Just... I wasn't really sure that this was a good idea in the first place. He's right, it would accomplish more bad than good."

"Well, I'm still going to fight! Even if you don't come!"

"I'll cheer for you, then." The oni backs off.

"Fine!" The fairy lifts into the air, stretching. You tap off also, pointing your cane. She's bold, you have to give her that, so you'll give her the privilege of getting utterly blown away.

She holds out her arms, and begins firing out a rapid pattern of quick-moving danmaku bullets. It's pretty dense, but the gaps are predictable enough that you have no trouble dodging through it.
In exchange, you swing your cane. Three yellow orbs form, and each fires off a stream of danmaku. A twirl of the cane and the streams start oscillating. She clumsily tries to dodge out of the way, but is forced to use a spellcard. "Acrobat Sign: Grand Trapeze Show!"
Her body flickers and shines with light, and she splits into... a lot of copies. You count thirteen of her. The force of being cloned flings each of her copies out of the way of your bullets.
You temporarily halt your attacking, until you figure out what this spell does. The sheer number of clones is impressive, but what about the actual attack?

The clones pair off into two groups of six. The one ungrouped body, presumably her real one, takes a central position, and the groups gather around her. She fires off two lasers, each at about a sixty degree angle from you, and then one body from each group leaps off. Literally leaps; you can tell that they have deactivated flight magic. Each grabs onto one of the lasers and starts spinning around it like it was a trapeze. As they spin, they begin firing off danmaku bullets.
A second clone from each group leaps off, and grabs onto the feet of the first. The density of the bullets increases.

Well, you can see where this is going. You resume your nonspell pattern.
However, the remaining clones in each group leap in the way of the bullets, and they dissapate on impact. Ah, so the clones are invincible?
So you'll have to wait until the spell gets into full-swing to start attacking. Not a big problem.

Once there are three clones spinning around, one leaps off of each group, swings through the air (still firing bullets), and grabs onto a further-down part of the opposite laser and begins spinning around again. Then another clone leaps onto the first group, and then leaps off again...
Really, it's an interesting spell to watch, but a hard spell to describe. You wonder if this is a weaponized version of one of her normal routines?

After a bit all of the clones around her are gone. The bullet density is pretty high now, actually, but nothing that will scare you too much. You shouldn't be scared, this is your time to act.
You hold your cane forward, and point it at her. And then you charge forward as fast as you can, leaving behind a trail of big yellow spheres. You halt nearly in front of her face, and the bullets behind you all begin moving forward. You then twirl your cane, and each bullet begins weaving back and forth.
The whole process is fast and sudden enough that she gets hit by a faceful of danmaku bullets as she tries to dodge to the side.
The spell breaks. She is knocked into the tent with enough force that she probably would have ripped a hole through it, were she not a very lightweight creature like a fairy. The oni runs forward and grabs her before she hits the ground.

"You go make sure she wakes up before the performance, okay?"

"Yeah." The oni sighs. "At least Miss Carat probably knows you are outside, now." She walks off.

You turn to Kogasa. "Ready to go inside?"

"I think so, yes! I wonder what Miss Carat is like!"

"Me too. She's probably their ringleader, I would assume, but beyond that..." You walk inside.

You walk past the stands of empty seats, and begin to hear... roars?
You clear the stands. There are three lions, circling around the circumference of the ring. And in the ring is a short woman in a black suit with an unbuttoned green morning coat and a short green tophat with a single three-leaf clover stuck in it. She has short orangish red hair and green eyes, which are currently affixed directly on you. "So, intruder."

"Er, hello."

"Hi!" Kogasa is very happy to be here. "Where are the clowns?"

"They are probably mostly in that minus-world. You will have to ask Gioia. But, more importantly..." She draws a whip, and cracks it once. The lions disappear in puffs of smoke. "I heard from Clara. You claim to be here pursuing a thief."

"Yes."

"So you break through my circus's defenses, fight my employees, set the customers into a panic, and you have the gall to call us the criminals?"

"Well, I wasn't saying you were all definitely thieves. Just that one of you might be." And, come to think of it, she is the right height...

"That is just as bad. If you insult my employees, you insult me also." She straightens up, to her very unimpressive full height. "I believe the normal way to settle these kinds of disputes in Gensokyo is danmaku?"

"That's how it goes, yes."

"Then..." She leaps up, and cracks her whip downward. An entire elephant poofs into existance out of nowhere, and she nimbly lands on top of it. "Let us start."

(Pick one.)
[ ] Go all-out!
[ ] Fight at a measured pace.
[ ] Fight as economically as possible.

(Pick one.)
[ ] Prioritize defensive spellcards.
[ ] Prioritize offensive spellcards.

---

I have no idea what switching to a nonspell pattern represents in game-terms. However, it would be illogical, even for the main character, to never do it during these fights. A flaw in my conventions for representing spellcard duels, I suppose.
>> No. 27498
[x] Fight at a measured pace if possible
-[x] If not, all out.
[x] Prioritize offensive spellcards.

Well the nature of spell cards allows for a bit of defense even for an offensive one.
>> No. 27499
>She leaps up, and cracks her whip downward. An entire elephant poofs into existance out of nowhere, and she nimbly lands on top of it.
Awesome.

[X] Fight at a measured pace.
[X] Prioritize offensive spellcards.
>> No. 27500
[X] Fight at a measured pace.
[X] Prioritize offensive spellcards.
A BOSS A BOSS!
>> No. 27502
[x] Fight at a measured pace.
[x] Prioritize offensive spellcards.

She cracks that whip like a boss.
>> No. 27503
[x] Fight at a measured pace.
[x] Prioritize offensive spellcards.
>> No. 27509
[x] Fight at a measured pace.
[x] Prioritize offensive spellcards.
>> No. 27525
File 127226760033.jpg - (30.98KB , 220x257 , olifant.jpg ) [iqdb]
27525
So sad that The Game ended. It was a great ending, though.
Also, Palingenesia update. If Lion updates before I finish writing this too, it'll be all of three of my favorite stories.

EDIT FROM FUTURE ME: Lion updated before I finished writing after all! Yay.

---

[x] Fight at a measured pace.
[x] Prioritize offensive spellcards.

She seems pretty powerful. You won't win by holding out.
However, if what Clara said was true, she might not be your last foe. If you go all-out now you might end up too tired later. So a compromise is in order.
There is one important detail left unknown, though. "Oh by the way how many cards is this duel?"

"Did I forget to say?"

"Yes."

"Sorry." She looks mildly embarassed. She had such a cool opening, with the elephant and all, so it's a shame that you messed it up. "How about four?"

They keep wanting to do four but you won't complain. "Okay." You lift into the air, and crack your knuckles. "Let's go."

She cracks her whip forward, and the elephant spews a stream of water droplet danmaku out of it's trunk. You tumble to the side, avoiding the narrow stream. After a moment the stream widens into an unpredictable wide spray, and you have to scramble to avoid the droplets.
After a few more moments the spray ends. While the elephant recharges or whatever, you might as well use your own pattern. You sweep with your cane, and three yellow orbs appear. Let them fire off streams of their own, and widen them... she hops off the elephant to avoid your attack. The elephant is unharmed, even though your attack hits it directly. Kogasa pitches in also, firing out her own shower of water at the ringleader.
Curious. You probe it with your senses, and it appears to be a nascent youkai itself. Well, it's no surprise in a place like this. Hell, all of her trained animals probably are low-level youkai animals. With that much bulk it would be unable to participate in danmaku as anything but this girl's accessory unless it gained the ability to take on human form. ...which would also not be a surprise, since this is Gensokyo.

She cracks her whip again, and there's another stream of water. You dodge past it, creating another three yellow orbs. Kogasa fires some more, and her shots roughly fill in the gaps between the three streams of this nonspell attack.
Should you try charging this time? This attack of hers originates from a fixed point no matter where she is, so you could theoretically force her backwards with your attacks and then charge. In that case she would be unable to retaliate.

Yes, that sounds like a plan. You fire off your next wave, upping the bullet density a bit. She is forced to move back a little, just as planned.
You wait until the shower of water is almost over and then... well, this'll be a bit rough, but you need to take her by surprise here.

You concentrate on the air in front of her. You pretend to mess up your dodging, and let one of the water droplet bullets approach you. And then you shed your human disguise and let yourself be in front of her.
Your body jerks forward at an unnatural pace. Danmaku bullets, the sluggish tail end of her spray, bend to the side as your body passes through. You feel your body physically shimmer and waver in unnatural ways as the impromptu half-teleport ends. She jerks backwards in surprise.
The shed skin of your human disguise dissolves into dust, back where you were previously standing. You fire a single yellow danmaku bullet out of your fingertip and nail her straight in the chest. You smile.

She is knocked over twenty feet backwards, her hand held over where you just hit her. The dissolved mana dissipates, and you see a single card held between her fingertips. Good reflexes. Her body glows with power, and she calls out the name of the spell she just activated. "Earth Sign: Thunderous, Wonderous Elephant Show!"
She does a flip in the air, cracking her whip twice more. Two more elephants appear a fair distance away, one to either side of her. You are now in the middle of a triangle of elephants, you realize. She cracks her whip towards you, and each elephant does a one-handed handstand. One-hooved hoofstand? Whatever. You've heard of this trick. Not with one limb, though.
Then she backs up and cracks her whip again. And each elephant breaks into a cartwheel.
Holy fucking shit. Elephant cartwheel. No way these are normal elephants, no. You distractedly turn your human disguise back on. There isn't really any reason to not have it on when not trying to shock people, and you aren't sure how comfortable you are with looking like Voldemort on laundry day.

"Wow! These things are cool." Kogasa is impressed too, it seems.

"I'm glad you like my show." Mackenzie stares at the umbrella. "Maybe you could consider coming back tomorrow to see it?"

"So you'd be willing to take my business, even after I screw up this place?"

"I'm not fighting you to kill you or anything, just to," She snaps her fingers, "teach you a lesson."

The cartwheels go faster and faster. You notice that they are circling you, actually. The ground is shaking like thunder, and brown and yellow danmaku bullets rise up out of it.
The bullets make zig-zagging patterns, like they were vibrating also.

Hm. A bit tricky to dodge. You narrowly avoid getting a zig directly into your face and a zag into your arm. But you can probably manage this without a spellcard. If you can beat her first, easiest spellcard without using a spellcard of your own, you will have an advantage for the rest of the match.
You think you are beginning to see a pattern, also. It looks like the bullets are densest in the angles a elephant just passed by? Well, they are going pretty fast now, so that's not too much help.

"By the way, that was a very good surprise."

"Oh?" You are kind of busy right now, but talking to Kogasa is worth it.

"She was very surprised! I could feel it. I need to figure out how to teleport, so I can do that too!"

"I think you should do your own thing." You narrowly dodge out of the way of a danmaku bullet. "If we are going to be a good act, we need to have a variety of techniques."

"I suppose so. Maybe I could do hiding? And Nue could do..."

"Psychological thrills?" Ack, that one came close.

"Yeah!"

...thinking about it, you really should be taking your own advice. That trick was really effective, but it won't work twice. You probably should have saved it for later in the match.
Ah well.

A zig here, a zag there... her spell is bound to time out pretty soon. You let out a breath in relief despite yourself. This is really well past the point of just being able to halfassedly dodge. She is definitely very high in power, and it's probably only a lack of practice in danmaku holding her back.

She cracks her whip again, and the elephants all disappear. Another crack, this time up, and in the air above her a... seal... appears.
They have seals at this circus? Isn't that more of water park kind of thing?

Well, whaterver. Time to do this a bit more seriously. You swing your cane, and four orbs appear. That's right, four. 33% better then the three you were using before! Or is it 25%? You aren't really a math person.

She cracks the whip forward, and the seal swims through the air towards you. Right, youkai animals, so on and so forth. As it swims it builds up a cloud of blue danmaku bullets around it. A lot of them are left behind as it goes, but it is definitely generating them faster then it is losing them.
You dodge out of the way, but it is really fouling up the air with danmaku bullets. She cracks her whip again, and the previous seal vanishes and a new one appears.

Okay, dodge another projectile seal, find a relative safe spot, and resume shooting a lot of yellow bullets. Kogasa helps too, with raindrops too.

However, this nonspell pattern is really a bitch. It's clogging up the sky with danmaku, and though the old bullets are disappearing at a steady rate, the new ones aren't abating.
This is kind of a pain, so...

You stop your pattern. You need to shoot fast, and nonspells too slow. "Position Sign: Bilocation!"

As long as you are using a spellcard early, might as well make this awesome. In a flash of light, the other you appears. The two of you highfive each other. OH YEAH!

Then you split up. Half of the umbrellas follow one you, and the other half follows the other. Kogasa prime ends up going with the clone you, though. Whoops.
...great, now you need to find two safe spots. Better go full-out offense to make up for this annoyance in your badly-thought-out nonplan.

You fill the air with yellow danmaku, and quickly force her to declare a card. "Water Sign: Aqueous Horn Symphony!"

She cracks her whip backwards, and a line of youkai seals appear. Each has a horn in front of it.

...oh come on. The elephant thing was pretty cool, but is she really going to have a bunch of seals toot horns at you? What, are they magic horns that shoot danmaku?
The seals begin tooting the horns. The horns shoot danmaku.

Specifically, they all shoot out different types of danmaku. One horn fires out chaotic musical note danmaku bullets, one horn fires out lazy bubble danmaku, one fires little curvy lasers...
This is pretty annoying! At first they toot the horns pretty haphazardly, but as the spell goes on they do it faster and faster and more and more coordinatedly.

You can do annoying too. You step up the power on bilocation. There is no way you are going to have your spell broken by a bunch of goddamn seals tooting on horns.

You-prime gets hit in the gut by a curved laser. The other you vanishes as the spell breaks.
Goddamn curved lasers. Goddamn seals tooting on horns.

You back off, cautiously avoiding the stupid horn-based danmaku. The other umbrellas meet up with you. Time to time this stupid spell out.

"Is this even a circus act? I thought seals were for Sea World."

"It worked, didn't it? And, to answer your question, magic makes transporting and caring for sea creatures a lot easier."

You manage to time it out, but it's pretty annoying. Goddamn seals. She backs up, and readies her whip again.
She cracks it twice, and two lions appear in midair. They both 'prowl' towards you in midair, weaving back and forth to switch places in midair. One fires orange danmaku bullets at you as it travels, and the other fires yellow danmaku bullets. The yellow ones are a little bigger, but besides that there doesn't seem to be any significant difference.

Right. This nonspell pattern is a lot more straightforward. You can just stream this, though the changing angle of firing does mean you have to do it in kind of an arc.
You would want to switch to the other nonspell pattern that you thought up, but that doesn't go well with small movements. You just use your previous nonspell, instead.

You want to force her to use a spellcard first. If you idly sit around just because you have a bit of a lead, you'll lose it.
So you stream a bit closer to her. This nonspell is stronger at shorter distances, so if you stream closer and closer to her you'll get the advantage.
Huh, she aimed that pair of lions basically right at you.
You sidestep the lions. You really don't want to be hit by them.
...wait, doesn't that mean that one of them is now right behind you?
You turn around, to see a yellow danmaku bullet greeting you there.
Hi, yellow danmaku bullet.

You don't even have time to draw a card.

"Rainbow Sign: Over the Rainbow!"
A rainbow of colorful danmaku passes by you, and wipes away the bullets. A drizzle of blue danmaku bullets fly towards Mackenzie, but it's not too tough. However, the rainbow is falling towards her, and she pulls out a card as she dodges through the blue drops. That rainbow is pretty dense, so you don't blame her. "Animal Sign: Death-Defying Lion Performance!"

She does some rather rapid whip-cracking, and suddenly you are surrounded by five lions. They begin prowling in a circle, and one of them gets right behind her. She cracks her whip backwards without looking, and the lion opens it's mouth. And then she... climbs in?
And it closes it's mouth?
Uh.

Death-defying indeed.
Suddenly, there's a fierce burst of danmaku from behind you. Green kunai.
You turn around, and see she is now standing behind you, on the perimeter of the circle.
Kogasa aims the next rainbow there, but she steps into a passing lion's mouth... you turn around quickly, to see her then climb out of the mouth of a different lion.
Neat trick.

Each lion begins firing a steady stream of yellow or orange danmaku in your direction. This, plus the green kunai from unpredictable directions, makes this a card that keeps you spinning in place.
And that bizzare lion magic trick is making it impossible for Kogasa to hit her with a rainbow.

This kind of sucks. You still have a lead, but this danmaku is tough (or maybe it's not tough and you just keep slipping up), and her next spell is undoubtably going to be even harder.

(Pick one.)
[ ] More surprising.
[ ] Moar dakka.
[ ] More careful.
>> No. 27526
All of these spell cards are pretty awesome.

>Specifically, they all shoot out different types of danmaku. One horn fires out chaotic musical note danmaku bullets, one horn fires out lazy bubble danmaku, one fires little curvy lasers...
So basically Four of a Kind, but with all the bullet types that make me want to break keyboards and punch small children?

[X] More careful.

Does Kogasa's death bomb count as one of our spell cards? Either way, let's try to play the waiting game as long as we can; we've got the material advantage and we want to keep it that way.
>> No. 27527
[x] More careful.
Nice cards. Whip-slashing Youkai? I like.
>> No. 27529
>>27526
>Does Kogasa's death bomb count as one of our spell cards?
It does.
>> No. 27530
[x] More careful.
>> No. 27531
[x] More surprising.
>> No. 27532
[x] More surprising.
>> No. 27533
[X] Moar dakka.

Turn your bullets red. She'll never see it coming.
>> No. 27542
[x] More careful.
>> No. 27548
[ ] More surprising.
>> No. 27578
File 127252633489.jpg - (38.25KB , 468x393 , secondgoogleimageresult.jpg ) [iqdb]
27578
Been pretty busy lately. Will have a bit more time over the next few days, though.

---

[X] More careful.

Yes. You should be careful. Defensive, at least for the moment. You don't really have any chance of hitting her as long as she uses that weird lion trick, and Kogasa is handling the futile offense department for the moment anyway.

So, you want to focus on dodging.
The projectiles from the lions are no real problem. The lions are moving at a steady pace around you, and firing at a steady pace. You can predict where the bullets will be without too much trouble. If you were still human it might be hard, but it seems that things like this come more naturally to Youkai.
The hard part is the green kunai. Mackenzie fires a steady, predictable pattern of them, but you can't really predict which angle she is going to fire them from.
Therefore, you want to spend most of your attention focusing on the green kunai.

Okay, there's that wave. You slip between the kunai without much trouble. You look around for-

You weren't able to see her in time. You narrowly dodge another wave of green kunai. She can teleport so quickly like this, you can't reliably see her coming. You would need to look in multiple directions at once...

Oh! "Kogasa. Can you look out behind me and tell me if she teleports behind me?"

"Okay."

You look around. Okay, she teleported to your side there. You dodge that wave pretty easily.

"Behind you!" You turn around quickly and dodge out of the way of the kunai.

Alright, this is working pretty well.
By the time Kogasa's spell times out, you have gotten dodging this spell down pretty well. This isn't too bad. You'll be able to time her spell out also, at this rate.

Despite thinking something that is so obviously tempting fate, you do in fact manage to time the spell out.

There is a pause. The two of you stare at each other. She looks a little bit winded, and in all honesty you will probably begin to feel a little tired soon too. Kogasa is there too but you it's a lot harder to read her emotions when she is in this shape.
She pulls out another card. "I suppose I'll just skip straight to the finale, then. I can't afford to tire myself out too much."

"I would appreciate that."

"Well, you are honest." She holds the card forward. "Animal Sign: Rampage!"

She throws her whip into the air, and it vanishes. Behind her, animals begin appearing. Elephants, lions, seals, bulls, gorillas, alligators... dozens and dozens of them.
And they all begin to charge.

She steps back and crosses her arms.

You fling yourself to the side, narrowly avoiding getting gored by a very fast bull. You turn around quickly, to see the bull fade out as it reaches the other end of the Big Top.
A bull fades in to your side. So... they charge, vanish, and reappear somewhere else?

They aren't even leaving any danmaku bullets behind. Is this really valid under the spellcard rules?
Well, Murasa throws anchors, and Unzan punches, so maybe using projectile animals as danmaku bullets would be valid.

It just seems-

Holy shit, that was close. You never expected to ever find yourself dodging mach-1 seals, but... well, it's happening right now.
And, is the density of animals increasing? You think you see three elephants at once now, while the initial wave only had two elephants in it.

The stress of dodging high-speed animal projectiles is so much that you don't even have time to use a nonspell pattern.
Wait.
It means you can't use your first nonspell. Your second...

You charge directly at Mackenzie, avoiding a high-speed gorilla, and leave behind a line of yellow orbs.
They fly forward, wavering as they go, and go straight at her.
Of course, she dodges easily. This is still a nonspell. But it's the thought that counts. You don't want to go down without a fight.

Huh. Was that a rattling sound?
...yes, there seems to be a snake flying around now.
You know, you've never tried this, but shouldn't you be able to...

"Hey, could you please stop attacking?"

"Willing-to-entertain-offers. If-you-have-mice-for-me-then-maybe."

"Sorry, I think I would get a stern talking-to if I did." Well, it appears you can talk to snakes. Shame that doesn't mean they will listen to you. Maybe this would be easier if you were a real animal youkai instead of a human taking on animal features upon becoming a youkai.
It probably isn't needed anyway. This spell is fast and furious, but it's just pure reflexes. No trick to it. And you can do pure reflexes fairly well. Just need to stop wasting time attempting snake diplomacy.

"Umbrella Sign: One-legged Return Hit!" A wave of red orbs fly out in front of you, preventing a projectile marmoset from ramming your head.

"Er, thanks, Kogasa, but I probably could have dodged that."

"It didn't feel like that to me."

You hop over a low-flying seal, apparently going for your legs. "If you say so."

"I don't have many spellcards left, though. So don't rely on me for this any more."

"Well, I guess insurance like this is nice. Try to shoot away any animals that get too close."

Like, say, that elephant charging at you with uncomfortable speed.
A blast of red spheres knocks it off path enough for you to dodge comfortably.
Shame that only the red spheres from this spell were helping. If all these raindrop-bullets had this effect, it would have made this all smooth sailing.

After a few more close shaves with large animals, they all vanish.
The whip re-appears in mid-air, and falls onto Mackenzie's head. She slumps to the ground. "It appears you aren't going to be learning a lesson at all, here."

"I need to learn to not underestimate short people and animals. I got into a lot of close shaves in that battle."

She straightens up, pulling the whip off her hat. "I would enterain you further, but I need to prepare for the upcoming show now."

Entertain you further? "You are making it sound like you have a choice here. I won, so you are obligated to at least answer some questions, right?"

"Oh, fine. I suppose I could clear up this thievery misunderstanding also."

(Pick any that apply.)
[ ] "You're sure that you didn't rob Byakuren, right?"
[ ] "Do you think any of your employees could be the thief?"
[ ] "Do you have any idea where the thief could be?"
[ ] "Will you make this whole 'me breaking into the circus' incident be public knowledge?"
[ ] "Do you have any letters you want me to deliver?"
[ ] "Could I be let into this show?"
[ ] "Will I still be allowed to buy a ticket to next show after all this?"
[ ] "Can you tell me more about..."
-[ ] "...Zelby?"
-[ ] "...Arlie?"
-[ ] "...Clara?"
-[ ] "...Clara's sister?"
-[ ] "...those two people I met outside the tent?"
-[ ] "...yourself?"
-[ ] "...your animals?"
-[ ] Write-in.
[ ] Write-in.

---

Not all combinations of questions would make sense, obviously.
>> No. 27582
[a] "You're sure that you didn't rob Byakuren, right?"
[b] "Do you think any of your employees could be the thief?"
>> No. 27583
[x] "You're sure that you didn't rob Byakuren, right?"
[x] "Do you think any of your employees could be the thief?"
[x] "Will Kogasa still be allowed to buy a ticket to next show after all this?"
-[x]"Ï can deliver letters for you. A favor for a favor."
>> No. 27584
[x] "You're sure that you didn't rob Byakuren, right?"
[x] "Do you think any of your employees could be the thief?"
[x] "Will Kogasa and I still be allowed to buy a ticket to next show after all this?"
-[x]"Ï can deliver letters for you if you want to. A favor for a favor."
>> No. 27589
Imply that we think she lied about not stealing anything, then ask her for tickets? Way to tact, Anonymous.

[X] "Will Kogasa and I still be allowed to buy a ticket to next show after all this?"
- [X] "I can deliver letters for you if you want to. A favor for a favor."
[X] "You're sure that you didn't rob Byakuren, right?"
[X] "Do you think any of your employees could be the thief?"
[X] "Can you tell me more about..."
-[X] "...those two people I met outside the tent?"

We didn't get the oni church, so at least let me console myself by asking about the circus strongperson.
>> No. 27592
[X] "Will Kogasa and I still be allowed to buy a ticket to next show after all this?"
- [X] "I can deliver letters for you if you want to. A favor for a favor."
[X] "You're sure that you didn't have anyone rob Byakuren, right?"
-[x] "I'm sure if you ask her for something I'm sure she'd be willing to lend it to you"
[X] "Do you think any of your employees could be the thief?"
[X] "Can you tell me more about..."
-[X] "...those two people I met outside the tent?"

I don't think she ever did it personally, but I added that just since to be honest if they asked, I'm sure Byakuren would have said yes.
>> No. 27598
[X] "Will Kogasa and I still be allowed to buy a ticket to next show after all this?"
- [X] "I can deliver letters for you if you want to. A favor for a favor."
[X] "You're sure that you didn't have anyone rob Byakuren, right?"
-[x] "I'm sure if you ask her for something I'm sure she'd be willing to lend it to you"
[X] "Do you think any of your employees could be the thief?"
[X] "Can you tell me more about..."
-[X] "...yourself?"
>> No. 27600
[x] "Will Kogasa and I still be allowed to buy a ticket to next show after all this?"
- [x] "I can deliver letters for you if you want to. A favor for a favor."
[x] "You're sure that you didn't have anyone rob Byakuren, right?"
-[x] "I'm sure if you ask her for something I'm sure she'd be willing to lend it to you"
[x] "Do you think any of your employees could be the thief?"
[x] "Can you tell me more about..."
-[x] "...yourself?"

>"Hey, could you please stop attacking?"
>"Willing-to-entertain-offers. If-you-have-mice-for-me-then-maybe."
>"Sorry, I think I would get a stern talking-to if I did.
I smiled.
>> No. 27608
File 127269938442.jpg - (247.45KB , 640x480 , moarfanserviceplz.jpg ) [iqdb]
27608
This one kind of sort of wins on average.

---

[X] "Will Kogasa and I still be allowed to buy a ticket to next show after all this?"
- [X] "I can deliver letters for you if you want to. A favor for a favor."
[X] "You're sure that you didn't have anyone rob Byakuren, right?"
-[x] "I'm sure if you ask her for something I'm sure she'd be willing to lend it to you"
[X] "Do you think any of your employees could be the thief?"
[X] "Can you tell me more about..."
-[X] "...those two people I met outside the tent?"
-[x] "...yourself?"

Many questions come to mind, but you won't ask them all. You'd rather not outstay your welcome.
You need to use tact, also. Ask them in the right order...
"After all this, is it still okay for me and Kogasa to buy tickets for the next show?"

"I already told you that you could, remember?"

You... don't actually remember that, but maybe she did. You wouldn't be too surprised if some of the mid-battle banter hadn't stuck in your memory.
Next question, then. Here's where the tact comes in. "Are you sure you didn't, you know, have anyone rob Byakuren?"

She is beginning to sound mildly annoyed. "I already told you, I am not a thief, and neither are my employees."

"I didn't ask that. I asked if you hired a thief, perhaps not one of your usual employees."

She sighs. "Not that, either."

Well, darn. You beat her in a spellcard duel, so she can't just lie to you, but...
...actually, can she? You can't remember if people are obligated to tell the truth if defeated.
Oh well. It's not like you are going to torture her just to be sure or something.

"On the subject of your employees, can you tell me more about those two people I met outside the tent?"

"Outside the tent- aah, I think I know who you are talking about. I didn't ask for any help, but..." She coughs. "As a matter of principle I do not ask my employees about their pasts, and there are some of them who would rather not talk about their past lives. So I cannot tell you much about their histories. All I can really tell you, then, is that Etsuko joined up with us... oh, something more then a hundred years ago. She has served the role of strongman since then, as 'the Amazing Earth-Mover Etsuko'."

"That stage name contains her real name."

"There's no rule that says it can't." You would argue the point further, but she goes on without you. "Esen, meanwhile, joined us only about eighty years ago. She had been doing acrobatics as a hobby previously, so I did not have to train her much to bring her to my standards of quality."

You really wanted to hear their backstories. That Etsuko especially. She's obviously quite far from her birthplace, and she didn't seem to be that confidant. Your guess that she was some sort of outcast seems reasonable, but someone who won't ask people about their pasts out of principle probably won't appreciate you snooping more.
A shame. "And what about you? Surely you know what your own motivations were?"

"I traveled around Europe a lot in my youth, and the circuses fascinated me. Eventually I decided to try founding my own, to be the first circus specifically catering to youkai. We didn't call ourselves that, of course. That term has only become well-known in Europe in the last fifty years or so. Ah, but I digress. So about one-hundred and fifty years ago I succeeded in throwing together my own circus." She shrugs. "I have always been good with animals, and I knew a few people who would be willing to play along, so I didn't have too much trouble starting. I was lucky to know someone like Clara, though, who could handle the magical side of this operation."
A pause. "I'm sorry if that story wasn't exciting enough for you. I didn't run away from an abusive family, or any cliche like that." Despite that somewhat sarcastic-sounding apology, she doesn't seem as annoyed as she was a bit ago.

"Oh, it was about what I asked for. I can't complain."

"Is that all of your questions?"

"I think so." You can't think of any more you would want to ask, anyway. "How about you, Kogasa?"

"I don't wanna ask any more questions. If I know too much when I see the performance, it'll ruin the surprise!"

As good a logic as any. "Alright. I... suppose I'll be going now? Look for the thief elsewhere?"

"Good luck." Mackenzie turns away, and stretches her whip. "Just try not to break anything. You've caused enough trouble as it is already."

And what can she do? You beat her, she was pretty obviously unable to fight on, and you have still saved all of your best spellcards. But, you might as well humor her. "I'll try to take a fairly direct path out, okay? I might be waylaid by spontaneous fairy aggression, though."

She doesn't respond, so you walk out of the big top.

---

There's nobody out here, really. There's plenty of noise and commotion off in the distance, and it sounds like that steam organ you saw earlier is going through a test run. Etsuko and Esen are gone without a trace, presumably resting or doing some other preparation. There aren't even any fairies here. Maybe your battle scared them off?

It's a little uncomfortable, actually. To see a patch of emptiness inside a normally bustling place. You are almost tempted to open the flaps of the big top again just so you can see there's someone besides you and Kogasa here, but you've already left. Going back because of something this petty would be weak.

"Have any ideas, Kogasa?"

"No, sorry. This 'chasing down a thief' thing is harder then I expected!"

"Oh, so you are the ones?"
You spin around. Walking out from behind a nearby wagon is a willowy woman with long green hair and a simple tunic and dress. She stares at you with bloodshot green eyes. Most noticable, however, are her feet, which look to be made of wooden roots coiled together. You can't tell because of the dress, but the slightly odd way her legs move suggests that her entire legs might be made of wood. In her right hand she gingerly carries an object wrapped in ancient-looking cloth.

"Uh, who are you?"

"Were you one of the people robbed?"

"I am acting on such a person's behalf, yes." A somewhat stilted way of putting it, yes, but she has you off-balance. "Why?"

"I just so happen to know where the thief has stashed away the goods she stole. I will lead you, if you want."

This looks like a lead. "What do you say, Kogasa? Does she seem trustworthy?"

"She doesn't seem like a bad person to me."

Very quick judgement there, Kogasa. This woman is quite suspicious, really. But, on the other hand, you don't have any other clues... "Okay."

"Follow me, follow me, young one." She slinks behind the wagon. "We will leave under the cover of stealth, unless you really want to fight more fairies."

"I suppose it would be good to avoid any needless violence."

She chuckles. "Very good, very good." She creeps ahead, and you follow.

The two of you slink from wagon to wagon, hiding in the spaces behind and between them. Kogasa follows behind, drifting silently on the wind. As you go by, you pick up scenes of the circus. It seems that most of the activity is indeed away from the big top. There are a few lesser youkai out there peddling cheap circus food to the fairies, now, and it seems like the various sundry entertainments before the main show have heated up. If you understand correctly, the show is less then an hour off. The performers must be very comfortable with their routines to be able to spend time keeping the fairies amused like this. Then again, they are youkai, and have probably been doing more or less these same things for many human lifespans.
You see a tall woman in white face paint putting on some kind of little show for the fairies, along with a few of those weird implike clowns. There is a great deal of juggling, and fairly impressive juggling, but she doesn't seem to be straining herself at all. Presumably her actual performance is even more impressive. You can see why the fairies are so amused, also. It's sort of hypnotic, to watch those colored balls go round and round and round-

Something snags your torso. You are forcefully yanked back, and the voice of your mysterious informant hisses into your ear. "Do you want to be seen, young one? You must be stealthy, stealthy!"
You turn back. It seems that one of her legs has unravelled into a single long root, and she used that as some sort of weird wooden tentacle.
She looks rather agitated. Her hands are twitching, and once she has to visibly calm herself down. It almost looked like she was going to drop that wrapped object.

"Sorry, I got distracted."

Kogasa shows her support. "I would be too. Juggling is fun to watch!"

"There's no time for that, no time." The woman starts slinking again. "We aren't too far from the perimeter."

Actually, come to think of it, how are you going to get out of the circus? Surely she isn't going to try to sneak out, what with the barrier around this place. But this isn't quite the right direction to reach the ticket booth, you don't think.
Maybe the barrier only keeps people from coming in, and not from going out?

You don't have time to pontificate, though. You aren't even a bishop!
You creep after her.

---

The three of you stand in front of this old-looking fence. Well, two of you stand, and the third floats.

The woman looks at the fence. She looks down to the wrapped object in her hand, and her hands begin to twitch again.

"So... how long are we just going to stay here? Are we going to the exit, or what?"

No reply. She looks back up at the fence.

"Or is this where the items were hidden?"

She takes a step forward, and touches the fence with her free hand. Suddenly, the entire barrier around the circus vanishes at once. It feels like a spellcard breaking, but on a grander scale. You almost fall to your knees, momentarily woozy from the scrambled discharge of magic. "How-... what the hell was that?"

She snaps her head around and stares you in the eye for a moment. And then she smiles. "While you were distracting their leader, I took this." She holds up the wrapped object. "The control-spell for the barrier." Her eyes fall down to it again, and the smile immediately fades.

Such an incredibly suspicious person. She even has admitted to being a thief. If it wasn't for the fact that she is not even remotely short...

Perhaps if you answer carefully, you might get a useful response. "You are very well-informed."

"I've been following this circus for a long time," she responds absently, not even looking up from the control-spell.

"Ah. Well, lead on to the stolen objects, then."

"What? Oh, yes. Yes, yes, young one, no need to get impatient." She tears her eyes away from the control-spell, and looks at you. Her hands begin to twitch again.

"Lead on, then."

She sets off, and you follow.

---

"Now that the barrier is down, can you come over here with your human-half, Kogasa?"

"Oh, probably. It'll be hard catching up with half of me while following you with this half, though."

"No hurry. Maybe you could ask Nue to carry you?"

"She left a bit ago."

"She probably felt that barrier go down. Ah well."

Ahead of you, the woman stops. She seems to have lead you to a grove not very far into the forest of magic.

"Is this it?"

"Yes, yes, young one." She isn't even bothering to look at you. Her attention is entirely on the control-spell.
She steps into the center of the grove, where there is an odd pattern of exposed roots on the ground. A sort of circle with lines in it.

"And where are the things hidden?"

"They were buried under that tree." She points to an ordinary-looking tree on the edge of the grove.

"And how do you know this?"

She briefly glances at you. "Because I put them there."

You can honestly say that, at this point, that is not much of a surprise. "I heard the thief was short."

She pulls back her dress with one hand, exposing a leg. With a single fluid motion the wood reshapes itself, turning from a long and thin leg to a short and stubby one. "The proportions are a bit off, but I never let myself be seen for too long..."
Her leg springs back into shape, and she goes back to looking at the control-spell. The twitching in her hands increases.

She looks up. "I would start now, but I need to make sure everything is taken care of... show yourself, shape-shifter."

A bird flutters off of one of the trees and lands on the ground, and then suddenly Nue is there. She straightens up. "I suppose disguising myself as an animal was a poor choice." A slightly embarassed cough. "So, will you be fighting one of us over the stolen items?"

"What? No. I don't care about them at all. Go ahead and take them, give them back to their owners."

Nue goes over to the tree, and looks at the wood inquisitively. She tenatively pokes a place near the root, and suddenly the roots of the tree part aside, and more roots push out from below. On them are a wooden box (Reimu's donation box, you recognize), and a... simple wooden bowl?
Nue grabs the two items, and then turns back to the woman.

This is a little confusing. "Why did you steal them in the first place, then?"

"I needed a distraction," she snaps, annoyed. She looks back down at the control-spell, any semblance of calm rapidly melting. She almost begins to shout in frustration. "Enough with the questions! I've waited long enough!"
With her spare hand she grabs her tunic, and rips it off. You would be distracted by the boobies and such, but at the moment your attention is more drawn by the... thing growing out of her chest. Some kind of weird wooden thing, like a plug of living wood, sticking out of the right side of her chest. The skin around it is covered in dry blood. And, as you watch, you notice that it's rythmically pulsating.
She steps down on the ground in the center of the circle of roots, and you feel magic enter the air. Now that you think of it, those roots are arranged in the shape of a magic circle...
She grabs the wooden plug with her hand and rips it out. Fresh blood seeps from the wound, but not nearly as much as you would think. You can barely keep yourself from looking away from that wound... deep and unnaturally round, like someone applied a giant hole-puncher to her chest.
You can see the pain in her eyes, but her mouth has a smile of triumph. She unwraps the cloth bundle, to reveal a perfectly-preserved heart, covered in carefully-applied magic runes and somehow still beating. She takes the heart and, with no further ado, pushes it into the hole in her chest.

She falls down onto her knees. You can feel power seep into her body, and see the flesh begin to knit itself together.
After a few moments it is done. She stands up silently, looking immensely pleased. All that remainds of her wound is a neat ring of old blood on her chest.
You, Nue, and Kogasa are all silent. Really, it's hard to think of what to say after seeing that.

She raises one hand, and the roots rip themselves out of the ground. They flow through the air, and form into the shape of a stylized tree in midair behind her back. "I can feel my power finally returning, finally returning... and with it, I will crush those who have wronged me." She pauses for a moment, looking thoughtful. "But first, I will need a warm-up."
Her gaze turns to you. "You know, young one, I expected more of you. I heard that the peace-keepers of this land were very wontonly destructive. I was expecting that damned circus to be damaged a great deal more then it was. I was dissapointed, young one." She smiles. "You'll do, yes, you'll do..."

Hey, you aren't sure you like where this is going. "Ah, do we really need to fight-"

She turns to Nue. "But I can't do this outnumbered, no, I wouldn't want that. So begone, you." She waves her hand, and suddenly you feel a barrier form around the grove. With an unceremonious squack Nue is launched backwards, out of the clearing.

The woman turns back to you. She rises into the air, ever so slowly. "How would... a six card duel sound?"

Do you even have six cards left? You aren't entirely sure. "Yes ma'am." On the other hand, you get the feeling that if you fought outside the spellcard rules things would go very badly right about now.

So, you'll probably want to win this one. It's not really your original goal, anymore, but you aren't sure if you want a powerful, unbalanced person with a grudge like this lady loosed onto a circus full of bystanders. You'll sort out what to think about this whole thing after you win.
...if you win.

[ ] Give it everything you've got.
[ ] Try to go at an even pace.
[ ] Start small.

[ ] Optional- specify any specific strategy or spellcard you want to use.

---

Stage 1: The Path to the Circus
-Boss: Reimu Hakurei, the Wonderfully Sleep-Deprived Shrine Maiden of Paradise
Stage 2: The Ticket-Booth
-Boss: Zelby, the Goblin That Went To Business School
Stage 3: Circus Grounds
-Boss: Arlie, the Spirit of an Old Torture Implement
Stage 4: The Empty Plains of a Negative World
-Boss: Clara Arlecchino, the Girl of False Knowledge
Stage 5: The Big Top
-Midboss 1: Esen, the Swaying Wind
-Midboss 2: Etsuko, the Weakest Strongest Oni of the Circus Circuit
-Boss: Mackenzie Carat, the Selfless Big TOp
Stage 6: A Reclaimed Grove
-Boss: Zenovia, the Bitter Defeated Guardian Spirit
Extra Stage: ???
-Boss: ???

Was considering making this into two parts, but I'm pretty sure you would have figured out that she was the stage 6 boss and voted accordingly. And that would not have been nearly as much fun.
>> No. 27610
[x] Try to go at an even pace.

Damn, I hate that choice, but we still have to conserve our cards for the extra stage.
>> No. 27613
[X] Give it everything you've got.

Extra stages occur sometime after the victory tea party, not immediately after the final boss.
>> No. 27614
>>27613
I sure hope you're right.
Anywyay this... 'thing' seems too dangerous to be left alone. It has to be stopped pronto.
[X] Give it everything you've got.
-[X] Yell to Nue to get the stuff back to the Temple.
>> No. 27615
[X] Give it everything you've got.

It's the last dance!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8Ucm2GyN1U
>> No. 27616
[X] Give it everything you've got.
>> No. 27617
[X] Give it everything you've got.
>> No. 27618
>>27613
Well, in that case. Changing vote.

[x] Give it everything you've got.
>> No. 27620
[X] Give it everything you've got.

Body of swords, etc., etc.
>> No. 27622
[X] Give it everything you've got.
>> No. 27623
[X] Give it everything you've got.

Can be go Temjin on her? We got Kogasa.
>> No. 27625
>>27623
Umbrellas do not make good weaponized surfboards.
>> No. 27682
Updates?
>> No. 27683
Been working on final projects and studying for final tests. I might get a short update out tonight, but I might not.
I apologize for the inconvenience.
>> No. 27691
No worries; you're clearly not alone in that regard. Take your time, just so long as you do come back.
>> No. 27697
File 127338424390.jpg - (48.87KB , 610x606 , pimpmytree.jpg ) [iqdb]
27697
Eh. Today, yesterday, close enough. Not sure when I'll get time for another one. Might be tomorrow, might be next weekend.
There's still one class which hasn't announced it's final time yet, oddly enough. However, It can't be later then the 20th. I think.

---

[X] Give it everything you've got.

You take a deep, calming breath. You are going to have to give this everything. This woman is obviously not a lightweight, and there is no way you will be able to get away with using anything below max power. Even saving your energy for later in the match might be too risky. You have found so far that enjoying an early advantage is very useful.
You kick off into the air, Kogasa fluttering up with you. Once again she conjures up three more umbrellas.

Cane in hand, you gesture towards her. "You want to test yourself? Well, come and get it." Not the most coherent one-liner. Also, it was kind of a two-liner. But at this point you really shouldn't complain.

She points her hand at you, palm first. Two brown danmaku bullets fire out, each at what looks to be something over a 45 degree angle from you. After a moment each splits into two more bullets, each at somewhat narrower angles. And those bullet split, and those bullets split, and faster and faster... by the time they reach you you can just barely squeeze into a small diamond-shaped safe spot.
It's not really as hard as it sounds, though. While there are a lot of bullets, and they are moving pretty fast, the very configuration means that there are a ton of safe spots.
Behind you, after a few more splits, the bullets all turn green and then vanish in midair.

After a moment it stops, and she points her hand in a different direction. Not aiming directly at you, so it's not streamable. Fairly clever.
Now that you've seen her trick, it's time to show her yours. You swing the cane, creating three yellow orbs. Kogasa also begins firing full-speed, and you fire off your own danmaku spray. The woman sidesteps the yellow streams, weaving between the raindrops.
You spin your cane, and the streams of danmaku begin wavering. She dodges that fairly easily too, though. Maybe she had been watching your earlier fights?

You dive out of the way of a line of danmaku, and make another three yellow orbs. You're firing at pretty much full strength here, so hopefully you'll force her to use a spell first. Hopefully.

She creates another 'tree' of danmaku, and you scramble to the nearest safespot. She made this one a bit faster than the last... she looks to be getting a bit impatient. So maybe stalling would actually be a good idea in this case? If she wears herself down some with this relatively easy pattern, it would be good for you in the long run.
You continue attacking, but turn it down a little bit. You don't want it to be obvious that you are trying to wear her down, in case she tries something else.

It goes on for about half a minute before she pulls out a spellcard. "This is getting tiring." Her hand twitches for a moment, but not as badly as it was before. "Wood Sign: Roots Seeking Water!"

She raises her right hand, palm-up. There is a rumbling sound, and roots burst from the ground. They extend into the air an alarming distance (are there trees with roots that long?) In fact, they are all more or less on the same vertical level as you are.
You think you can see where this is going.

She clenches her hand into a fist. Each root suddenly extends towards you, making an angle in the air. You flit to the side, and a root goes straight by you.
They continue onward even after moving past where you were a moment before. She twitches her fist, and they all turn again and go towards you again.

You dodge out of the way, but this time it's a bit harder. They were firing from a lot closer this time.
They have kind of made a weird web of roots in midair. This is really pretty inconvenient.

She opens her fist. All of the roots crumble into dust. Oh, that's nice.
So she's going to repeat the pattern, then? Might as well resume firing, then.

She raises her palm, and more roots fly up. She dodges to the side, avoiding a yellow wave, and clenches her fist. The roots turn and fly towards you- hey! They aren't aimed quite at you this time! Each has a somewhat different angle.
Well, if she's going to keep this up, you might not be able to dodge this attack.

Time for a spellcard. You want something that can take care of these roots, but you want to save your best defensive cards for later. So...
You flick out a card, and yell it's name. "Unidentified: Invasion of Curiosity!"

You hold your hand aloft, and yellow orbs spiral out from your palm. Each yellow orb fires small yellow danmaku-bullets outwards.
A root comes close, and you twist out of the way. However, you can see that your choice is already working. One of the yellow orbs hits a root, and cuts it in half. The root then dissolves into dust. The yellow orbs is consumed in the process, but you are making orbs faster than she is calling up roots.
So, really, all you need to do is keep your head about you, destroy the roots, and dodge any that slip through your pattern. "Kogasa, lookout duty, okay?"

"Aye-aye!" Well, if she's having fun...

"Behind you!" You twist to the side, and a root narrowly slips by you.
A few roots break through with her next wave, too. It looks like she has seen through your pattern, and is trying to guide the roots through at just the right times so that they can hit you. It's a good thing her spell is probably almost timed out, though. Those are pretty damn fast for roots. There are no roots in the world, outside of stop-motion nature videos, that can go anywhere near this fast. People with poor reaction times might mistake them for brown bullets.

You dodge a few more roots, and her spell breaks. You have a bit more time on your spell, so maybe you'll get a hit in-
Nah. She's been dodging it fine until now.

"So, that spell didn't go so well for you, now did it?"

"That was my weakest spell." She slowly smiles. "But you have already used up all of your weak spells, haven't you?" She absently traces out the circle of blood on her chest with her finger.

Okay. Not winning ground with banter, here. You ready your cane.

She holds her hand forward and makes another tree of danmaku.

You swing the cane and- shiit.

This time, her pattern is a bit different. After making the full-sized tree, a single large white danmaku orb zips down the lines of danmaku.
You throw yourself to the side, narrowly going through a gap in the brown bullets, moving two or three safe spots to the left. It almost feels like time slows down as the white orb then takes a left at the next split, and continues on down towards you.
So, it's limitedly homing? Wonderful.

You throw yourself to the side again, this time just as the orb goes by.
Luckily, it does not seem to be able to double back.

That was... that was nervewracking. Is that what they are talking about with stories about sudden bursts of reflexes when near death? Well, danmaku isn't lethal, but this woman is kinda scary. You wouldn't be surprised if she killed you upon winning. If it wasn't for your enhanced youkai reflexes, there is no way you could have gotten out of that.

The tree vanishes, and she points her hand towards you again. She's going to do that again?
You aren't sure if you can dodge that again.

[ ] Try to dodge as long as you can before using a spellcard.
[ ] Use a spellcard right away.
-[ ] Travel Sign "Walking a Jagged Path Barefoot"
-[ ] Travel Sign "Peerless Nomad"
-[ ] Travel Sign "Immobility"
-[ ] "Bridging Two Worlds"
-[ ] Borrowed Power "Grudge Bow"
[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 27698
[x] Use a spellcard right away.
-[x] Borrowed Power "Grudge Bow"
>> No. 27699
[x] Try to dodge as long as you can before using a spellcard.
With Kogasa watching us, he should last some time.
Or is this option too risky?
>> No. 27703
[X] Try to dodge as long as you can before using a spellcard.

Kogasa still has a spellcard or two to back us up with, right?
>> No. 27716
[x] Use a spellcard right away.
-[x] Borrowed Power "Grudge Bow"
Full Power ahead!
>> No. 27734
[x] Unhelpful vote that does not break the tie because I am a dick like that sometimes.

Come on, people. There's only four votes.
>> No. 27735
[x] Try to dodge as long as you can before using a spellcard.

Defense before offense.
>> No. 27736
[x] Try to dodge as long as you can before using a spellcard.
>> No. 27738
[ ] Travel Sign "Walking a Jagged Path Barefoot"
>> No. 27764
[x] Use a spellcard right away.
-[x] Travel Sign "Walking a Jagged Path Barefoot"

I absolutely love this story on the whole, but I have to say, after a while the danmaku fights get a bit tedious. Not that there's anything wrong with them in themselves; you've managed to make keep the spells varied and interesting. It's just that there's only so many directions a spellcard duel can go in, and with six-to-eight bosses in an incident, things start to feel repetitive.

This story has been especially fun for its quirky character interactions and unusually creative challenges, like those that came up in exposing our roommate's cheating, visiting the Scarlets, and participating in the games at Yukari's party. If we do go on to tackle another incident, I'd personally like to see some variety in the requirements for completing each stage, rather than just a string of spellcard duels. Following Touhou's traditional pattern for incident resolution is all well and good, but there's no reason you can't do so while still playing off this story's strengths.
>> No. 27773
Ah, thanks for the comments!

I'm not sure what the next big storyline will be yet, but whatever it is it's not going to be an incident. It'll probably be more character-interaction based.
Most guest player characters only get to be main characters in a single incident, anyway.

I have a few small ideas at the moment, and none of them should involve danmaku at all.

Also, updates when?
Maybe later today or tomorrow. I only have one final project left, and after that it's just four final tests.
>> No. 27776
>>27773
Good luck!
>> No. 27847
>>27773
>Maybe later today or tomorrow.
>10/05/13(Thu)14:37

Missing person: anon.gov
Last seen: writing hijincks-filled story, possibly while at DHL

If found, please return to this thread at earliest convenience.
>> No. 27870
File 127434063123.jpg - (200.01KB , 500x375 , notsummerglau.jpg ) [iqdb]
27870
Oy, I said maybe. It's just that final project ended up taking about 20 hours longer then I expected.
Plus side, my last final is on thursday.

---

[x] Try to dodge as long as you can before using a spellcard.

It would be tempting to just use a spellcard here. You would avoid the difficulty of having to dodge this attack. It would take a load off your mind. But... no, you have to try. You can't afford to use your spellcards more often then you strictly have to, no matter how tempting. She is stronger then you, and less tired. Your advantage is experience, not energy. You should save up advantages early on. Otherwise, you will have nothing good left once she gets to her best spells, and you will be demolished.

Another tree springs out, and you get into a safe spot. You need to calm down. This is a predictable pattern. You can do this. There's no point in trying to dodge early on, so instead you just have to jump out of the way just before the orb gets to you.
Here it comes... you launch yourself to the side, almost hitting the tree in the process. The white bullet grazes past you.

Okay. You can do this. It's just... need to be a bit lucky, and time it just right.
No way you are going to be able to attack this way, also. If it weren't for Kogasa this would be entirely one-sided. Hell, it's not like Kogasa's shots are all that much in and of themselves. They are mostly useful as additions to your shots, and you aren't shooting now.

Speaking of Kogasa... "If it looks like I'm going to get hit, use a spellcard."

"But you got mad at me last time I did that."

Oh, right. Er. "When it really, really looks like I am going to get hit?" You dive out of the way of another zipping white orb, this time getting the timing a bit better.

"I'll try."

"Good girl." You turn back to the other woman. She looks to be getting a bit impatient again.

She forms another tree, quicker this time. The white orb was no faster, though, and you manage to dodge it again.
Another tree. Another orb- that one was close, though, and Kogasa even half-started to use a spellcard.

A groan. "Oh, fine. I'm tiring of this pattern, young one. I'll show you another spell, yes yes." She pulls out a card and points it at you. "Guardian Spirit: Guardian of Rivers!"

From either side of her, a brown laser fires. She points, and a torrent of blue danmaku bullets begin flying down between the two lasers.
So... you are caught between two lasers, with a 'river' of danmaku coming for you.

Will an umbrella be any help when it comes to rivers?
You glance at Kogasa. Probably not. Even with all four of these umbrellas, you wouldn't be able to handle this density of water. Plus it's danmaku water and all so it's not like an umbrella will work like normal.

Nothing to do but dodge, then. You ready your cane again. This card doesn't look too hard, so you should be able to continue your nonspell pattern. Unless she ups the density as the spell goes along, which isn't hugely unlikely.

It occurs to you, now that you have a time to think, that that last nonspell pattern of hers could have been easily dodged if you just started right next to the middle of the tree and moved to the other side of the middle after the white orb was launched. It seemed to be limited to following the branches of the tree, so once it committed to one half of the tree it'd be unable to leave that half.
Too bad you didn't figure this out earlier. Ah well. Time to stop bugging yourself about has-beens and focus on the present.
You squeeze through the river while swinging your cane. If you can knock her out of her spell with just your nonspell it would give you a serious lead.

...but no, you won't be able to, it seems. This spell was a bit harder then you first assumed. The 'water' bullets are of un-uniform density, and at some points they kind of clump together. Combined with the boundary on the area you can enter, it means you have to keep switching between slow, subtle movements and fast, frenzied dodging. You aren't sure if you can wait this out, so you'll use a spellcard.
This isn't a huge risk, so you might as well try out a spell you haven't yet. You draw that new card...

"Travel Sign: Walking a Jagged Path Barefoot!"

You wave your cane, and all around the battlefield yellow danmaku bullets appear. Individually they are mere pinpricks, but they form a uniform and fairly dense field all together. Your opponent warily eyes them for a moment, but after they don't show any signs of moving she shifts her attention back to you.
You slip between some more water danmaku bullets, and really set the spell up. You point at her, and a dense oscillating wave of yellow danmaku appears to either side of you.

They go forward quite fast, and suddenly she is in-between them. So she finds herself having to weave back and forth through the static field of immobile danmaku bullets, or get smashed against a wall of danmaku.

On reflection, this spellcard is basically the opposite of the one she is using on you. She is holding you in place with straight lasers in the hopes that you will get hit by moving danmaku. You are forcing her to move side to side with curving danmaku in the hopes of making her get hit by stationary danmaku.
That's actually kind of funny.

While thinking about that, you get hit in the gut by a danmaku bullet.

Wonderful. The spell breaks, and the static yellow bullets all fade at once. You really need to pay more attention. Ah well, at least you didn't get hit while out of a spellcard. That would have been bad.

You focus back on dodging, and try to ignore the laughter coming from your opponent. It's a kind of weird laugh. More "ah-heh" and less "ha-hah". But... no matter.
If you focus on this you can do it. You just need to focus. While letting your mind wander can help you sometimes, it keeps coming back to bite you.
Perhaps this is why some martial arts advocate entering a state of acting without conscious thought? There's a word for that, but you can't really remember it.

But no matter. You continue to weave through the rain.

Before long she steps up the difficulty of the spell, perhaps hoping to take advantage of your vulnerability. Instead of raising the density of the danmaku, though, she calls a ring of white danmaku orbs into existance around her and begins flying around. With each pass she forces you to move out of the way, adding to the difficulty of the spell.
If you hadn't bungled earlier this could have been a great chance to try to shoot her down, but you can't afford to divert your attention right now. You'll just have to time this out...

And so you do. It looks like that mobile phase is like a last minute added-difficulty bit.

She doesn't immediately switch to a nonspell, so you take the chance to catch your breath.

"Are you already tiring, young one? To get hit like that this early in the match... that's not good, not good."

"I was just distracted." You swing your cane around, and point it at her. "If you think I'll make that same mistake twice, you're a fool." You wish you had time to think up something snappier.

"If you say so." She holds her hands forward, twitching her fingers in odd ways. "Now, enough dallying-"

(Pick one.)
[ ] You switch to your other main nonspell pattern, to take her by surprise.
[ ] You immediately pull out a spellcard. There's no use wasting time, indeed.
-[ ] Travel Sign "Peerless Nomad"
-[ ] Travel Sign "Immobility"
-[ ] "Bridging Two Worlds"
-[ ] Borrowed Power "Grudge Bow"
[ ] You try to take your nonspell pattern to the max, and see if you can force her to bomb.
[ ] You back off and watch her carefully, to try to see through her nonspell.
[ ] Write-in.

(Optional.)
[ ] Maybe you should think up something snappy to say ahead of time. You don't seem to be having much luck with improvising. (Write-in.)

---

Odd place to end, yes, but it's getting late.
Of course, these decisions are hyper-important.
>> No. 27871
Could we get a status check (as in how many cards each side has left?)
>> No. 27873
[x] You back off and watch her carefully, to try to see through her nonspell.
Falling for the same rock twice is no good
>> No. 27874
>>27871
The duel was declared as a six-card duel. You have both used two cards each. So, four left.
>> No. 27884
>>27870
>notsummerglau.jpg
Oh, you!

I can't think of a good vote.
>> No. 27885
[x] You back off and watch her carefully, to try to see through her nonspell.
>> No. 27887
[x] You back off and watch her carefully, to try to see through her nonspell.
>> No. 27891
File 127465271880.jpg - (401.62KB , 743x486 , mightbeaformerUSpresidentthough.jpg ) [iqdb]
27891
[x] You back off and watch her carefully, to try to see through her nonspell.

-and she fires off another tree of danmaku.

You back off, cautiously. Patience. Caution. While you might be able to get a cheap hit in with a surprise attack, it would be just as likely that you would just get your ass kicked.
Hopefully this nonspell doesn't have some annoying trick like the last nonspell. Or, if it does, hopefully it's the same trick, since you've more or less figured that one out.

You absentmindedly swing your cane, making four orbs of yellow. As long as you are standing still there's no reason not to shoot, since this pattern doesn't require that much focus.

You sidestep (so to speak) the tree, as normal. So, what's the trick? You watch her, waiting for something nasty to shoot out at you.
Something shifts in your peripheral vision.

"To your right!" Kogasa's voice. You wheel around to the right. The lines of danmaku bullets there are shifting. It's kind of hard to describe, but it seems like they are 'rotating' on the spot.
After that rotation happens, another part rotates. And then another.
You turn around. To your left, it has begun also. All around you, the lines of danmaku are bending around.

Shit. What the hell is this pattern? You dodge through a rotating line, just barely avoiding the danmaku bullets. There must be a pattern here, but you can't quite figure this out.
So, it starts with a line at the very end of the tree rotating, and then there's another rotation further back, and then another?

No, some of the time, the second-to-last line will rotate first, and then the last one, and then it'll continue up.
If you watch this enough, and dodge with all your mind, maybe you'll be able to figure it out?

So, it's kind of... they bend like that, and... shit! That was close!

You angrily swing your cane again. Four more yellow orbs. If she's giving you a hard time you better give her one also, dammit.

"Kogasa, do you have any idea what the pattern is?"

"No, but it's pretty. Sorry."

"Thanks anyway." You bet that if you were Reimu you would have seen through this thing by now.

But, maybe it's...

Okay, yeah, you have no idea what the pattern here is. It's just a lot of bendy stuff and you'll have to rely on pure reflexes.

...

Okay, pure reflexes aren't working so hot. Time for pure other stuff.
You pull out a card. You have only one of your midrange cards left. However, it's probably your best one. Maybe this will let you get a lead. "Travel Sign: Peerless Nomad!"

This weird tree pattern of hers is dangerous, but it only fires in a forward arc. So if you are behind her, she can do nothing.
You want to be behind her. And you are.

She spins around in surprise as you fire off a stream of yellow bullets.
She throws herself to the side... straight into one of Kogasa's raindrop bullets. Lucky you were able to pull the umbrellas with you, with the power of this spellcard.

She whips out a card. "Guardian Sign: Guardian of Groves!"

A ring of light whips out of her, erasing your stream of bullets. It harmlessly passes through you, and forms into a ring made of a brown curvy laser.

All around the battlefield, outside the ring, brown and green bullets appear in clusters. So, they are presumably going to fly into the ring?
Well, might as well get a head start on this. You'd be better off staying away from the ring, so that all of the moving bullets won't hit you.
You'd be better off there, so you are there.

You fire another line of yellow danmaku at her, as she retreats from the ring. She dodges out of the way of that one. You probably should have attacked from closer.
Well, easy enough to fix. You want to be closer, so you are closer.

Another line of yellow danmaku, which she narrowly twists out of the way of.
You glance to the side, to see that the ring is now moving. So, instead of moving the bullets, it forces the opponent to move? That would be kind of nasty, with this weird clumpy bullets, but with Peerless Nomad on this is pathetic.

"Didn't pick a good spell, I see."

"Don't get cocky, young one." She points at you, her arm shaking a bit.

She's probably just doing her spells in order of weakest to strongest, and you got lucky. Still, that inflexibility of thinking is a definite plus.
Or maybe she just wasn't able to think of a better spell in the split-second that she had to counter you? Admittedly this spell did wipe away your bullets on activation, so it wasn't that bad a choice.

Well, time to milk this for all it's worth. You appear behind her, and fire off another line of danmaku. She dodges but narowly.
You appear to her side and fire again. She's not dodging this one-

Suddenly, she is surrounded by a ring of danmaku. Your own line of danmaku is wiped away again. It's only by your enhanced reflexes and the power of this spellcard that you don't get immediately hit. Oh, right. You really should have been expecting that. She got into this phase with her last spellcard also.

Well, it seems that you won't be able to get a hit in on her. She begins flying around at random, apparently not even bothering to try to catch you. Or maybe she is forced to fly in that specific pattern by the spellcard. It can sometimes be hard to tell with these things.

Your spell will probably end before hers, so you should just keep safe and make sure you are in a good position once you stop being able to teleport.
You don't want to end up near the edge of the battlefield, because you could get squashed against a corner. If you are too close to the center, you would be too easy to get to. You want to end up far away from that ring. Staying away from your opponent won't help much, because she is moving around pretty fast.

The spell is about to end so... that spot should do. It's a relatively thin patch of danmaku also. You are there.
Now comes the hard part.

You feel the spell time out, and she obviously sees it as well. The moment the spell breaks, she immediately starts flying towards you. So it seems she can control her movement.
You dive to the side, narrowly avoiding the ring of danmaku. You don't have to keep this up for long. You can keep this up, especially since you aren't being forced to move by that ring.

She buzzes by again. You can keep this up... you can keep this up...

Amazingly, despite tempting fate so badly, you do in fact manage to keep it up. The spell times out around you, and the clustered danmaku bullets fade away.
Unfortunately, the spell times out with her right in front of you. In front of you, and already holding her hand forward. She launches out one of those trees of danmaku. You don't even have time to react.

"Umbrella Sign: Flurry Traveler!" Fortunately, Kogasa does have time to react. An umbrella is blown in front of you, taking a bullet and giving you enough time to back off.


From behind you, a storm of umbrellas and raindrops fly down towards your opponent. You can tell Kogasa is trying to fight back her nonspell. But the umbrellas take but a single hit before being shredded.
This is but a temporary solution. You'll have to act fast.

You fly forward, weaving between the gaps of the tree. This tree seems obviously different from the others... the bullets start black, and sometimes change to red or back to black as they move.
But you don't want to see the gimmick. You clear through the tree, and draw your bonesaw. You can't use a nonspell while Kogasa's spell is active, so you're going to do this the hard way.

She catches the bonesaw in her free hand.
Free hand?

She has a spellcard in the other. "Guardian Sign: Guardian of Nothing!"

A ring of light forms behind you, extending just far enough to encircle you, but not enough for her to be inside.
She smiles, and the ring contracts and expands like the shutter of a camera. You reel backwards, feeling the spell break around you.
The dryad lets go of the bonesaw and drifts backwards. Her now-injured arm shudders and shakes like a willow, but she is still smiling.

You re-holster the bloody bonesaw and turn around, to get a better look at the ring. It's larger then you thought, and you seem to be on the edge of it.

"I'm sorry for not using your spell very well, Kogasa."

"Don't worry about that! Worry about yourself!"

"Still, I'm sorry."

There's an odd point of distortion on the far side of the ring, and the ring quivers, seemingly in anticipation. You won't be able to make it to the center of the circle in time. So... that's right, you should use a defensive spellcard. "Bridging Two Worlds."

The ring contracts and expands again, breaking the spell before it can even fully form. Getting a better look this time, it actually contracted to a point in the area on the far side of the ring, instead of to the center.

"Nue is coming back, and she's bringing Byakuren! They're going to see if they can break through this barrier!"

"At this rate..." You glance back, at the smugly smiling dryad. "You should probably bring Doctor Yagokoro also."

"Don't talk like that! I know you can do this, you've been doing so well until now!" That last line had a kind of pleading, perhaps desparate, ring to it.

That's right. You have been doing well, up till now...

[ ] Trust in your allies.
[ ] Trust in yourself.
>> No. 27892
[x] Trust in yourself.

Kogasa is right. We can do this.

After all... the only battle we can't afford to lose is the battle against ourselves!
>> No. 27893
File 12746621367.jpg - (236.81KB , 800x600 , 61b795fe40694fa442218f443f7d73c9.jpg ) [iqdb]
27893
Believe in me who believes in, ugh... forget it. Some memes suck anyway.
[x] Trust in yourself.

>>27892
true

Is there still some time to think up something snappy? Not that I can come up with something, but still.
The best thing I could come up with would be something like "You wanna piece of me, boy girl?" I've been playing Starcraft lately so...
>> No. 27894
[X] Trust in yourself.

"Never give up. Trust your instincts."
>> No. 27895
File 127466462130.jpg - (12.96KB , 200x210 , 1244466325560.jpg ) [iqdb]
27895
>>27894
"If you killer instincts aren't clean and strong, you will hesitate at the moment of truth [...] And then you will be in a world of shit."
Sorry, you just reminded my of this.
>> No. 27897
If you have any one-liners, feel free to suggest them.
That wasn't a one-time offer or anything.
>> No. 27898
[X] Trust in yourself.
come on, we still have the top tier spellcards right?
>> No. 27899
>>27897

We lack the sunglasses for a cheesy enough one-liner.
>> No. 27900
[X] Trust in yourself.

Believe in yourself and create your own destiny.

Don't fear failure.
>> No. 27901
[x] Trust in your self's allies.
>> No. 27902
[X] Trust in yourself.
>> No. 27903
[x] Trust in your allies.
I still don't know what the heck is she supposed to be.
>> No. 27904
[X] Trust in yourself.
[X]"How about you make like a tree and get out of here leave?"

I hope her bark is worse than her bite. Let's put her out on a limb, give her the short end of the stick. If there was an audience they'd be rooting against her.
>> No. 27905
>>27904
that was an overgrowth of puns.
>> No. 27906
File 127474218534.jpg - (12.61KB , 400x320 , france sca.jpg ) [iqdb]
27906
>>27904
Oh my, so many puns! Tree bien!

Is it too late to add them to the story?
>> No. 27907
>>27906
I'm not that guy, but to cedar puns above be put to good use would be pine by me.
>> No. 27921
[x] Trust in your allies.

>>27904
I feel like such a sap for not getting these right away.
>> No. 27922
>>27906
They might have had a chance, but we've been punted into next week, so we missed them.
>> No. 27929
File 127486091166.jpg - (67.20KB , 500x375 , relevant.jpg ) [iqdb]
27929
I apologize in advance for the tree puns.

...also, I just noticed that Travel Sign "Impediment" seems to have become Travel Sign "Immobility" at some point. The name change doesn't really mean anything, I'm just a bad record-keeper.

---

[X] Trust in yourself.

...and you can keep it up. You have to. Your allies are coming to help you, but they might not be able to break through this barrier. It's quite powerful, you know. And even if they did, it might not be legal to interfere with the danmaku duel.
Who are you supposed to trust, if not yourself?

Focus. You've got to focus.
The spell... before it contracted, there was that weird point of distortion beforehand. And it contracted onto that point. So it's an indication of where it will contract to.
And when it is at it's smallest, it looked like the circle was still large enough to fit you, albeit a bit snugly.

So... you move to the center of the circle.

"Kogasa. Watch my back. Tell me if a weird-looking point of light behind me. I think I've figured this spell out."

"O-okay!" She sounds a bit relieved.

The circle trembles, and- there! That's where you need to go!
You fly as fast as you can, and narrowly make it to where the point of light was. The circle snaps shut, and then open again, but this time you aren't hurt.

Back to the center of the circle you go, and you turn back to your opponent. "I've seen through your spell! I still have my top-tier spellcards, so I can still win!"

"Top-tier spellcard, young one, top-tier spellcard."

"Behind you!" You quickly fly back in response to Kogasa, avoiding the contracting circle once again.

You turn back to your opponent as you return to the center. "I beg your pardon?"

"You've used five spellcards. You only have one left. Unless..." She shakily points at you. "You intend on cheating."

"Perish the thought." You point back, posing in midair. And then are forced to abandon your cool pose as you dive to cover before you get hit by the ring. Damn.

Time to distract her from that mildly awkward moment. "Hey, I've been wondering. What's up with all the shaking?"

"Oh, oh, young one, do you want to see more?" She waves her arm, and a circle of danmaku appears around her.
And off she gooooooes!

"Whoah there!" You dodge to the side to avoid her, and then fly into a safe spot as the ring contracts. "No need to get hostile, I was just aspen!"

Hm. Oddly, she only buzzed through the ring. If she had flown into the safe spot and stayed there, you would have lost. Hell, if she had just gotten between you and the safe spot you would have lost.
Actually, she left the ring right before it contracted. So maybe she can't make the ring contract while she is in it? That'd make sense, and it means that these last few 'waves' of the spell won't be too bad...

You shoot towards the next safe spot, narrowly avoiding her next fly-by. "This spell isn't a threat anymore! You're done fir!"

"This spell has already served it's purpose quite well, quite well..." She shoots by again, as you move into the next safe spot. The spell is definitely speeding up in tempo, but it's also almost over.

"Yew shouldn't be so confident. I have many people, friends who are rooting for me. An elder like you ought to know that strength comes in numbers, so the strongest are people who are poplar like I am."

She gives you a blank look, and then does one last charge. You hop out of the way, and then narrowly avoid getting hit by the contracting ring. "I'm speechless, young one, at how stupidly idealistic you are. ...also, why are you substituting the names of trees for words?"

"Well, to be honest, I was just looking for an opportunity to make a lot of puns." Wait! You facepalm while the spell around you times out. Of course! "But puns don't translate into other languages well. No wonder you weren't getting them."

"So foolish, so foolish... young one, you are nothing compared to even the most humble descendent of Zeus!" She points at you, and three white orbs appear in front of her. Between each, and to either side of the row, a line of brown danmaku fires out. And each line stops after a bit and creates it's own three white orbs, and fire off it's own four lines of brown danmaku... this continues down three 'levels', after which each line of brown danmaku instead explodes into a chaotic shower of green danmaku bullets.

This is significantly different from her previous patterns. The part of it close to her is quite simple, but it does not extend very far. Once the green danmaku starts it is very difficult.
The obvious solution would be to approach, and get past the green danmaku, but it's being fired at all kinds of angles. Near the line where it starts there is a great deal of horizontal or mostly-horizontal shots. Getting past those would be very hazardous.
This sounds very dangerous. It'd probably be safer to just hang back and dodge, probably.

But...

What kind of cowardly fighting is that?

You rocket forward, swinging your cane. You twist out of the way of a green bullet, and stop in midair a split-second before you run into a horizontal green bullet. The line of yellow orbs behind you fly forward, and with a twist of your cane they begin to waver around. You hop forward again, zig-zagging to get through the moving green bullets.
A rush of adrenaline later you find yourself through the thick of the green, and into the easy part. You charge again, leaving behind another line of yellow, but this time at an angle. You won't be hitting her with these shots, but you do clear through the rest of her pattern.

She spins around, the tree crumbling. She's going to make another. You circle around her, and swing your bonesaw at her back.
The swing strikes the floating roots behind her, cutting through one but not meeting her flesh. Hm... so she has kind of a shield here. And the root is regenerating already, too, so physical attacks won't work.
Maybe your other nonspell pattern would have been better here. Oh well.

You let loose some normal yellow bullets instead. Unfortunately, she had enough forewarning this time to dodge. Well, can't let it up. She can't really fight back at this distance-
She points her palm towards you and bullets erupt out. Oh, apparently she can.

You just circle her again. The problem with her various patterns is that they only fire forwards. If she really wants to make it in Gensokyo she needs to add some kind of backwards-firing component to them.
Hm. Well, there's nothing that says that relying on yourself doesn't mean that you can't rely on others a bit.

You wildly swing your arms, firing off more yellow danmaku bullets. She dodges to the side... right into a raindrop bullet. Kogasa had been firing straight this entire time, so when you jostled her with your arm movement...
"Nature Sign: Reclamation!" But of course, it's not that easy.

Green bullets explode out of her, erasing the blue raindrop bullets.
You warily back off, watching the spell.

Spiralling out from her are green danmaku bullets, forming into elaborate curly shapes. It reminds you a bit of those decorative vine patterns you often see on metalwork and picture frames and such.
The curly shapes continue flying outward, growing larger and larger as they do, and new ones shoot out to take their place.
It's a decently dense pattern, and decently fast, but the main difficulty looks like the motion; the groups of bullets are moving out, and shifting in shape as they move out.

You slip through one of the curlies, with some complicated but small motions. It's a difficult motion... but it's patterned and predictable. It's not chaotic or surprising at all. It's actually quite pretty, but you have little time to appreciate that.
It's... something you can handle!

You try slipping between the curlies in the next layer. A bit easier then moving through a curlie, but not hugely so. Also, curlie is a really silly word. You wish you had a better way of thinking about these- focus!
This isn't something you want to get close for, though. You only have one spellcard left (as your opponent so nicely told you), so you'll probably time this out.

It's probably best to make sure everyone is on the same page, though. "I think I can do this... status report, Kogasa?"

"Sorry, I can't tell you much. Nue isn't carrying my human half with her."

"Oh, okay." You do a barrel roll. Through some danmaku. "Thanks anyway."

"Good luck!"

You slip through the curlies. What are these supposed to represent, anyway? Vines, presumably, but you can't really be sure. Maybe they just represent green curlies. Maybe she really likes cheese puffs but orange didn't fit the colors she had picked for her spells.
Oh, who cares. You don't have time to think about this stuff anyway. The last time you got too into it you got... hit...
Whoah! Damn, it almost happened again, even. You keep getting distracted by the shinies. So to speak.

Right, right, dodging. It's... the pace has picked up. The bullets are going faster. Uh. Right, you were going between them, like... ack! That's a bit better, yes...

The spell has been going on for a fair bit. She should be reaching the end. Is this one also going to have some kind of twist at the last minute? You aren't going to say that you hope it doesn't, because then, well. It will.

Four brown lasers fire out of her, and begin spinning. Dammit. A twist.

Also, brown lasers? You quickly relocate to another gap. Who uses brown lasers? It's like... brown. Brown is not a laser color. Brown danmaku bullets kind of work, but lasers?

It's like... oh, the spell just timed out.

"I only have one left to go, right?"

"Right, right." She pulls out a card. "I don't want to keep you waiting, so..." She raises a trembling hand. "Great Oak's Roots!"

She holds both hands forward, and bright white lasers come out. They branch in a fractal-ish-looking pattern, so by the time they reach you they have become a confusing web of lasers. And then, from her spirals out wave after wave of green danmaku bullets.

The luminescent 'roots' fade out, only to be replaced by a new set. A new set in different positions, so you have to move quickly to get to another safe spot. And those green bullets are going to reach you soon, too. This is your cue, it seems.

You pull out a card yourself. This is a spell where she is staying in one place, so your normal finisher it is. "Borrowed Power: Grudge Bow!"

Light showers down upon her, although she is not below you so it's not quite showering down in the strictest sense of the word down.
Regardless!
It's showering all right. Lots of light. Pew pew, and so on. It's lucky that you keep fighting different people, otherwise your opponents might get sick of this spell. And to think you were considering using this earlier in the match!

Now it's time to see how she handles the spell.
Actually, she looks a little surprised at this extremely late showing of power. Well, time to surprise her even more. Full power! Destroy everything!
...god, you feel like a generic hot-blooded teenager protagonist character.

She's speeding up the creation of the lasers-roots. It looks like she is definitely feeling the pressure. Good, you should step it up! Also, step the dodging up. Yes.
However, that's her mistake. You don't have enough energy to maintain this spell for the full duration, you now realize, so she should have focused on dodging and tried to time you out.

Instead, she has chosen to focus on offense. Well... as fast as you can, you accelerate the pace of the spell. How will she like it when the rate of fire suddenly doubles?

With an audible crash, the laser roots break, and the green danmaku bullets vanish right before they even reach you. You feel the last of your power wash away, and your own spell times out a moment later. It seems she didn't like it at all.

You lightly land on your feet, and the barrier around the grove sputters and fails. Then you fall over, into the dirt.

Nue and Byakuren rush in, and they are probably talking, but their words just wash over you. You pick yourself up.
There's some sort of congratulation in the air, mixed with concern. You think it's Kogasa.
Your gaze turns to the nymph, who is struggling to stand. Her entire body is shaking so much that she can't so much as get off her knees. The roots that were floating in midair earlier are now lying dead on the ground.

You walk over, rather dreamily. "I see that your bark was worse then your bite."

She just stares at you, balefully.

"Well, I won, so you... have to obey... me. What I want... you to do is make like a tree... and give up your plans for... revenge. Not like you could... attack the circus anymore, of course." You manage out a chuckle between the words and the catching your breath.

"I... see..." She just managed to wheeze that out.

Now, how was it that Reimu put it? "Before you do anything bad again... remember how easily... I kicked your... ass and... oh, forget it." It's just not the same.

"So, what now?" Nue sounds mildly amused.

[ ] A tea party's traditional at this point, right?
-[ ] Surely there's space for a tea party in the Temple.
-[ ] Reimu can put up with a few youkai. It's not like she does any real work anyway.
-[ ] The village probably has some places for tea parties. Tea shops? Something like that.
-[ ] (Write-in.)
[ ] Does it have to be tea? Couldn't you have coffee instead? Or booze? Or something like that?
[ ] You'd rather have a lie-down first.
[ ] Can it be extra stage already? You want to fight someone else!
[ ] You have something you need to check first.
-[ ] Kogasa's human half was just left lying around. Is it alright?
-[ ] Wait, isn't this woman's heart kind of stolen property? Or something? Do you have to return it? This is confusing.
-[ ] Can you go get tickets for tomorrow's show? Like, right now? Beat the rush and all.
-[ ] (Write-in.)
[ ] You have some questions to ask this woman.
-[ ] "Why do you hate the circus so much?"
-[ ] "How did you end up sans a heart anyway?"
-[ ] "What was with those nonspell patterns?"
-[ ] "What was that about being a descendant of Zeus?"
-[ ] "Who are you, anyway? This whole thing is really confusing."
-[ ] "Are you single?"
-[ ] "You are aware that your shirt isn't covering much anymore due to being ripped and all, right?"
-[ ] (Write-in.)
-[ ] Ask her right away.
-[ ] Ask her during the tea party.
-[ ] Ask her afterwards. Tomorrow. Whatever. Put if off, anyway.
[ ] You'll just chill for the rest of the day or something.
[ ] WHAT IS LOVE? (If you tried anything like that you'd fall over.)
[ ] (Write-in.)

---

Pick as many options as you want. You can pick options that you don't want also if you want but you might not want the results of said options that you do not want.
If you pick multiple locations for the tea party I guess that means you have multiple tea parties.
>> No. 27930
[x] You have some questions to ask this woman.
-[x] "Who are you, anyway? This whole thing is really confusing."
-[x] "Why do you hate the circus so much?"
-[x] "How did you end up sans a heart anyway?"
-[x] "What was that about being a descendant of Zeus?"
--[x] Ask her right away.
[x] You have something you need to check first.
-[x] Kogasa's human half was just left lying around. Is it alright?
-[x] Can you go get tickets for tomorrow's show? Like, right now? Beat the rush and all.
[x] A tea party's traditional at this point, right?
-[x] Surely there's space for a tea party in the Temple.
--[x] Invite Reimu anyways; it'd be nice for her to be invited to one.

I think this is good. I'd include the shirt remark, but there's two girls I'm more interested in.
>> No. 27931
[x] You have some questions to ask this woman.
-[x] "Who are you, anyway? This whole thing is really confusing."
-[x] "Why do you hate the circus so much?"
-[x] "How did you end up sans a heart anyway?"
-[x] "What was that about being a descendant of Zeus?"
--[x] Ask her right away.
[x] You have something you need to check first.
-[x] Kogasa's human half was just left lying around. Is it alright?
-[x] Can you go get tickets for tomorrow's show? Like, right now? Beat the rush and all.
[x] A tea party's traditional at this point, right?
-[x] Surely there's space for a tea party in the Temple.
--[x] Invite Reimu anyways; it'd be nice for her to be invited to one.
>> No. 27932
[x] You have some questions to ask this woman.
-[x] "Who are you, anyway? This whole thing is really confusing."
-[x] "Why do you hate the circus so much?"
-[x] "How did you end up sans a heart anyway?"
-[x] "What was that about being a descendant of Zeus?"
--[x] Ask her right away.
[x] You have something you need to check first.
-[x] Kogasa's human half was just left lying around. Is it alright?
-[x] Can you go get tickets for tomorrow's show? Like, right now? Beat the rush and all.
[x] A tea party's traditional at this point, right?
-[x] Surely there's space for a tea party in the Temple.
--[x] Invite Reimu anyways; it'd be nice for her to be invited to one.
>> No. 27935
>"But puns don't translate into other languages well. No wonder you weren't getting them."
I hope nobody wants us to sing.
>> No. 27936
[x] You have some questions to ask this woman.
-[x] "Who are you, anyway? This whole thing is really confusing."
-[x] "Why do you hate the circus so much?"
-[x] "How did you end up sans a heart anyway?"
-[x] "What was that about being a descendant of Zeus?"
--[x] Ask her right away.
[x] You have something you need to check first.
-[x] Kogasa's human half was just left lying around. Is it alright?
-[x] Can you go get tickets for tomorrow's show? Like, right now? Beat the rush and all.
[x] A tea party's traditional at this point, right?
-[x] Surely there's space for a tea party in the Temple.
--[x] Invite Reimu anyways; it'd be nice for her to be invited to one.
>> No. 27941
-[x] "Who are you, anyway? This whole thing is really confusing."
-[x] "Why do you hate the circus so much?"
-[x] "How did you end up sans a heart anyway?"
--[x] Ask her right away.
[x] You have something you need to check first.
-[x] Kogasa's human half was just left lying around. Is it alright?
-[x] Can you go get tickets for tomorrow's show? Like, right now? Beat the rush and all.
[x] A tea party's traditional at this point, right?
-[x] Surely there's space for a tea party in the Temple.
--[x] Invite Reimu anyways; it'd be nice for her to be invited to one.

Minus the Zeus question. She's a wood nymph, after all. Greek, you know?
>> No. 27961
File 127511622133.jpg - (47.67KB , 307x400 , touhou.jpg ) [iqdb]
27961
[x] You have some questions to ask this woman.
-[x] "Who are you, anyway? This whole thing is really confusing."
-[x] "Why do you hate the circus so much?"
-[x] "How did you end up sans a heart anyway?"
-[x] "What was that about being a descendant of Zeus?"
--[x] Ask her right away.
[x] You have something you need to check first.
-[x] Kogasa's human half was just left lying around. Is it alright?
-[x] Can you go get tickets for tomorrow's show? Like, right now? Beat the rush and all.
[x] A tea party's traditional at this point, right?
-[x] Surely there's space for a tea party in the Temple.
--[x] Invite Reimu anyways; it'd be nice for her to be invited to one.

You shake your head, trying to break out of this daze. "What now? I'll tell you what now. Now it's time for the tea party."

"The tea party?"

"That's tradition, right? To have a tea party with the perpetrator of an incident after you win."

"I didn't think you were that big on tradition."

"Oh, shut up. Go tell Byakuren to prepare for a tea party in the Temple. Or have Shou prepare. Or something." You glance back, at Byakuren. She seems to have a large chest of medical supplies now, but you are pretty sure she wasn't carrying them earlier. Maybe she conjured them up from that scroll? "I don't need any medical treatment or anything, so tell her not to worry."

"And what will you be doing?"

"Hey, I just fought like... five people in a row. Shouldn't I be resting?"

"I suppose that makes-"

"Of course I won't be resting. I'll be asking this woman some questions. Friendly-like."

Nue shrugs. "Okay, I'll stop complaining. I'll make sure the tea party is reeeeally good, okay?" She grins.
Not foreboding at all. You nod in response.

So, now, questions. You kneel down in front of the rather limply kneeling dryad.

"Hey."

She ignores you.

"As you probably heard, I have some questions."

She continues to ignore you.

"Okay, this first one is really important." You clear your throat. "Who are you, anyway? I never got your name or anything. All I know is that you are some kind of nymph or dryad or something. This is all very confusing, so clear it up for me. Chop-chop."

She ignores you some more.
You see a familiar umbrella float up in your peripheral vision, so you grab it. "Excuse me, Kogasa." You turn back to the woman. "If you don't answer you get the business end of this umbrella, alright? And if that doesn't work you get the tongue. So get to talking." You wave Kogasa around a bit.

"...be gentle."

"Huh?"

"I'm an umbrella, not a club!"

"Okay, okay. You can still lick her, right?"

"Huh?"

However, the nymph interrupts your conversation there by finally speaking. "...Zenovia. Or at least, that's what I'm called now. As you probably already figured out, I am a nymph. I was bonded with a certain grove in a forest in Arcadia. The grove had a small river passing through it, and just as I was the Alseid of the grove, I was the Potameid of the river. The trees were very magical, and I had great power, great power... even for a nymph."

"Arcadia... that's kind of backwater, isn't it? You said you were descended from Zeus, but his worship was mostly centered in Crete, if I recall."

"He traveled much. I am sure I don't need to tell you the many stories of Zeus's affairs. And there were many more that never became stories." She finally gives up on trying to stand, and shifts to a sitting position. Well, technically she was in a sitting position before, due to her attempts to stand up, but it was that uncomfortable Japanese sitting position you can't remember the word for.

A more relevant question comes to mind. "So, why do you hate that circus so much? To follow them around in secret and plot to destroy the place and stuff."

She glares at you. "You haven't- well, I know that you stopped by that Clara woman, but maybe she wasn't talkative. I cannot fault a foolish young one like you for ignorance, I suppose. A hundred years or so ago, I've lost count by now, that witch came to my grove with that creepy sister of hers and cut down all the trees. I tried to stop them, of course, of course, but they defeated me in a fight." Her arm shakes in anger, even at remembering it. "When the witch's sister cut me in half in a single lucky blow, I knew that I had lost. I could do no more to prevent them from taking the wood. But that witch soon realized that she couldn't use the magic in the wood so easily, so she conducted a little surgery on me. And there they left me, with a hole in my chest, without even checking if I had died or not."

"That hardly seems nice. I would kind of think it would be enough to kill you, though."

"Oh, I remember it well. I was hurt, young one, hurt in a way you could not even imagine. Perhaps a weaker nymph would have died from that, that horrible wound cut by something sharper than the finest bronze from the forge of Hephaestus, or from the death of her tree. But I am not weak, not weak at all. I rejected the wound, rejected my horrible fate, rejected my loss. I took the roots that still survived, and replaced my heart. Replaced my legs. And I swore there, yes, I swore there, that I would not take my final rest until they were ruined." Her whole body is shaking in anger now, although it's a bit hard to tell shaking in anger from shaking in weakness from shaking in excitement. Perhaps there are some downsides to grafting wood onto your body like that?

But, there's a more pressing issue here. "Has anyone ever told you that you sound like some sort of comic book supervillain?"

"What?" She looked pretty surprised at that. Her impressive miniseizure stopped, even.

"Yeah. Maybe one of those complex villains you are supposed to feel sorry for. You even swore on your prosthetic legs that the people who did that to you would pay. If you started commiting tree-themed crimes it would honestly be a logical jump."

A shocked silence. "What? Don't you dare belittle me!" She almost stands with that, but isn't quite able to make it. It looks like she can't quite properly control her legs at the moment.

"Whoah, whoah, calm down! It was a joke!" She doesn't seem to be listening.
You give her a minute to calm down. You filter out the various curses she throws at you. This might be your first ever dungeon crawl, and it did have a pretty cool final boss, and you were more or less prepared for that, but you aren't so sure about the whole after-fight conversation thing. Not a big part in most of these situations in fiction.

...

Okay, she seems to be calmer now. "Well, you are probably happy to have a real cardiovascular muscle now, right?"

"...it feels strange, now, but I suppose." She looks down at the ring of blood on her chest, at heart level. Speaking of her chest, she is kind of half-topless now. She doesn't seem to really mind, though, so you'll just leave that matter as it is.

You think that's answered all of your important questions, anyway. Who she is, why she's mad at the circus people, why there was a gaping bloody hole in her chest, and what that comment about being a descendent of Zeus was. Well, she didn't say that much on the last subject, but now that you think about it most nymphs in mythology were the daughters of various gods anyway.

"Well, you can sit here stewing in your hatred for a while. While the others prepare the tea party you are going to."

"Tea party? What tomfoolery have you signed me up for, foolish one?" Oh, so now you aren't a young one anymore. How nice.

"It's tradition or something. And you are probably thirsty after all of that getting your ass kicked by me."

She goes back to ignoring you. Ah well.

Next order of business, then. The tea party. Hopefully the more responsible people are actually doing the organizing and crap. Byakuren, Shou, Nazrin, whatever. So that leaves the fun stuff to you.
Maybe you could do... invitations!

You walk off, turning to the umbrella by your side. "Going to go do some invitations, Kogasa."

"Okay." She pauses, but it's a pregnant pause, and you can tell she has something else to say. "What were you talking about with that lady?"

"Huh? You were right there."

"I couldn't understand what you were saying."

"Really?"

"It was all in some kinda language I don't know."

"We were only talking in..." Wait, what were you talking in? You think back for a moment. "...Greek, which you have no reason of knowing."

That's actually kind of worrying. You were talking in Greek the whole time without even realizing it?

"You know Greek?"

"I learned a lot of languages. Ones I thought were likely to be used in hidden magical worlds. Greek was one. Japanese was another."

"Oh. That's pretty cool. I only know Japanese."

"I've always been good with languages. Don't fret about it. We all have different talents."

"I know a lotta powerful youkai know many languages. Maybe it's because you are stronger then I am?"

"I think that's just because a lot of powerful youkai are also old and well-traveled." Although... maybe being a youkai has made you better at languages? So much better then you are translating without even being consciously aware of it? It sounds a bit farfetched, but it could very well be the culprit in this strange matter. "Er, anyway, I'll go invite, uh." Who to invite? Well, maybe you can make it up to Reimu... "I'll go invite Reimu."

"Do you want me to come?"

A good question. The invitation would involve teleportation, probably, and you want to carry as little as possible with you. By this point, the run-of-the-mill long-distance teleportation doesn't take much out of you. Of course, speeding it up to be usable in-battle would be a huge pain, and you shudder to even think of it in the condition you are in now. So, given that, it would be better to not carry Kogasa. "Not really, no." Ah, but you don't want to make her feel unwanted. What could she do for you... you look down, at your clothes. They are pretty filthy, you have to admit. Also you still have that damn skirt on. You're surprised that nobody has taunted you about it. "If you want to be useful, though, could you get a change of clothes ready for when I return?"

"Of course!" She sounds happy to be of use. Just as planned. She floats off a bit, and then suddenly opens. A gust of wind picks up, and the umbrella is off at an alarming speed.
Classy.

No time to waste on your end also. You want to be indoors ASAP.

Okay. You close your eyes. Think about Hakurei Shrine. You've been there before. It's a known quantity. You just have to remember what it feels like to be there, know how to get there...

---

You open your eyes. Hakurei Shrine. Damn, you're good.

So, inviting. You don't see Reimu out front, so maybe she's lazing around inside.

You walk up to the shrine door- hey, there's Suika.

"Oy, Suika."

She chugs some more alcohol. "I see you're doing well." She laughs heartily. "Did you find that thief?"

"Yeah. It was some kind of nymph out for revenge. Who was using the theft as a deception. Oh, I'm not good at explaining things, so I'll just leave it at that."

"A deception? As an Oni I must say I do not approve. I'd just go and punch the people I was mad at."

"Well, I don't think she was powerful enough to do anything directly without the deception. But... leave that kind of after-incident talk to Shameimaru. I'm just here to invite Reimu to a tea party."

"Invite Reimu?" She laughs again.

"What's wrong?" You pause. Could it be. "Wait, will you demand to fight me for the honor of inviting Reimu or something?"

"No, I won't stop you. It's just that she's sleeping."

"Sleeping?"

"You knocked her out earlier so that she could get some shut-eye, remember?"

"Oh." You had totally forgotten. It's not been that long, so she would definitely still be asleep now. "Right."

"You can still wake her up if you want... if you want a cranky Miko on your hands, anyway."

You do not want a cranky Miko on your hands. The mere thought strikes you as very unsafe. "I'll be going then."

You have to tune out that damn watermelon's laughter the entire time as you teleport off.

---

You return back to the Temple. After that disasterous first attempt to get another person to participate in your tea party, you really don't want to try again. How do those Republicans manage it?

Shou walks out of the Temple, and has almost walked past you before noticing that you just arrived.

"Oh! I see you made it back in one piece."

"I was a hairs-breath from facing certain extermination. If only a watermelon hadn't heroically turned me aside, I would have walked into the den of that sleeping terror." You pause dramatically. "And never be seen again."

She sighs. "I see. Well, I am going to go pick up the nymph. Byakuren informed me she was in no condition to come here on her own."

"Okay. I guess I'll get in there, change into a clean outfit, and then... drink tea and talk about cute boys or something, I don't know what you do at these kind of tea parties."

"I will not be long. I left Murasa watching the tea. Talk to her if you for some reason have any tea-related concerns."

"Er, I will." She flies off.

Okay, now time to get inside and change clothes and relax or something. Chillax? All kinds of words ending in -ax which are about kicking back and not fighting for your life.

---

So somehow you ended up in a tea party with a ghost, an umbrella, a shapeshifter, a nymph, and a nun, while wearing a frilly dress. If that's not the setup for a very bad joke you don't know what is.
Perhaps you should have specified, when talking to Kogasa, that she should not pick that dress that Alice made for you. That might have been a good idea. However, she got a really sad look on your face when you tried to refuse, so you ended up caving in.
Also, where are Ichirin and Unzan? Are they out somewhere toking up on joints? Getting high as clouds?

Oh, forget it. What's done is done. What's done is, more specifically, crossdressing, but you don't want to dwell on that detail.

"Ah, Zenovia, was it? I hope you can see through your hate and come to peace." Given that Zenovia apparently doesn't actually know Japanese, you are forced to translate. Kind of a pain, but oh well.

"Oh, will you please shut up, shut up for a bit? I didn't come here to be lectured."

"Hey, don't be so rude to Byakuren!" Murasa is quick to come to her defense.

To her credit, Byakuren knows when she should back off. "I won't pressure you for now, then." She pauses, thinking. "So, I heard you are from Arcadia?"

"Yes, I am." A bit testy, but not quite mad anymore.

"Is that another magical land like Gensokyo? I must admit I am not very familiar with the West."

You think you can answer that. "Arcadia is a part of Greece."

"Actually, it is a magical land of this type, but a minor one. Arcadia exists both as a real location, and a sealed-off land nearly untouched by civilization. The latter is a reflection of the view of Arcadia as an idyllic paradise."

"My my. How nice." Byakuren takes a graceful sip of her tea.

You'd rather not talk any more to that nymph. She's a bit hard to get along with. And you're getting enough of her conversations from having to play interpretor. At least she's happy with staying silent for now. You'd much rather talk to Nue and Kogasa, of course.
Well, at least that bastard isn't here-

"Yo!" A head pokes into the room. Goddamit. "I heard you guys were having a tea party. Can I join in?" He saunters on over and sits down without even waiting for a response. "Do you have any beer?"

You stand up. Enough is enough! "Hey, what are you even doing here? I thought you were off in the village trying to talk your way into some girl's frilly dress."

He seems to notice you for the first time, and you can tell he is only barely able to keep himself from laughing. "Speaking of frilly dresses-"

"Not. A. Word." You lean over towards him, staring with all of the bile you can muster.

"Alright, alright, I won't comment."

"But I think he looks good in it..." Not helping, Kogasa.

You sit back down. Ugh, really going to have to rely on Nue and Kogasa to take your mind off of this guy. "I hope your stay in front of the circus wasn't too boring?"

"It was a bit boring. I'll be asking all about your adventures inside later, of course, but I doubt you want to talk now."

"...not really, no. Me and Kogasa can give you the entire story later, okay?" Kogasa nods.

"Right." She glances over at Zenovia. "I listened in while she was telling you her story."

"Oh, so you know Greek also?"

She nods. "I'm well-traveled. I think I've told you before. But, anyway, what are you going to do with her?"

"Do with her?"

"Well, this is your incident, basically. You get to choose what happens to her."

"Isn't there some kind of code of laws for this?" You wish you knew more about how these things happened in Gensokyo.

"Not that I know of. You pick whatever, I don't care too much. Byakuren might not like it if you do something really harsh or violent, of course, and it's against the rules to kill your defeated foe, but besides that anything you pick should be safe."

"So I should listen to my conscience or something?"

She nods. "If you want to, anyway. A big reason I am glad I don't have to deal with this."

"Really? It isn't that hard a decision to make. After this tea party is over, I'll just..."

[ ] "...turn her over to Miss Carat and have her deal with her."
[ ] "...let her go with a warning to never do stuff like this again."
[ ] "...have her kept under watch for a while, and later let her go."
[ ] "...try to reach some kind of compromise. Some way to nonviolently air her grievances."
-[ ] "Maybe I'll force the circus to return the wood from her grove they are using."
-[ ] "Maybe I'll buy the wagons off the circus. It'll probably cost a lot, but..."
-[ ] "Maybe I'll get someone to make them new wagons. They can't use the magic in the wood anymore, anyway."
-[ ] "Maybe I'll... somehow convince her to work with the circus. Maybe she can be one of their acts!"
-[ ] (Write-in.)
[ ] "...make those accountable pay, but avoid causing any property damage if possible."
[ ] "...burn down the circus myself, but make sure nobody is hurt."
[ ] "...burn down the circus myself, and kill all of it's employees."
[ ] "...defer the decision to Byakuren. She has some idea, surely?"
[ ] (Write-in.)
>> No. 27963
[p] "...try to reach some kind of compromise. Some way to nonviolently air her grievances."
-[q] "Maybe I'll buy the wagons off the circus. It'll probably cost a lot, but..."
>> No. 27964
[x] "...burn down the circus myself, and kill all of it's employees."

Why not? They're all assholes anyway.
>> No. 27965
[x] "...try to reach some kind of compromise. Some way to nonviolently air her grievances."
-[x] "Maybe I'll buy the wagons off the circus. It'll probably cost a lot, but..."

GOOD DEEDS
>> No. 27967
File 127514607582.jpg - (58.72KB , 408x290 , 1238884841375.jpg ) [iqdb]
27967
[x] "...try to reach some kind of compromise. Some way to nonviolently air her grievances."
-[x] "Maybe I'll force the circus to return the wood from her grove they are using."
-[x] "Maybe I'll get someone to make them new wagons. They can't use the magic in the wood anymore, anyway."

>>27963
>>27965
They practically stole the wood. Let us give it back to whom it belongs. They don't deserve the money, in my opinion.

Anyway, have some Nymph.
>> No. 27968
[x] "...try to reach some kind of compromise. Some way to nonviolently air her grievances."
-[x] "Maybe I'll force the circus to return the wood from her grove they are using."
-[x] "Maybe I'll get someone to make them new wagons. They can't use the magic in the wood anymore, anyway."
>> No. 27969
[x] "...try to reach some kind of compromise. Some way to nonviolently air her grievances."
-[x] "Maybe I'll force the circus to return the wood from her grove they are using."
-[x] "Maybe I'll get someone to make them new wagons. They can't use the magic in the wood anymore, anyway."
>> No. 27970
>>27967

Practically stole? They committed theft and attempted murder, and left the nymph partially crippled for several years.
>> No. 27971
[ ] "...try to reach some kind of compromise. Some way to nonviolently air her grievances."
-[ ] "Maybe I'll get someone to make them new wagons. They can't use the magic in the wood anymore, anyway."
-[ ] "Maybe I'll... somehow convince her to work with the circus. Maybe she can be one of their acts!"

>>[x] "Maybe I'll force the circus to return the wood from her grove they are using."
I'm not exactly sure how returning dead and cut up pieces of wood are going to help her with anything, especially since she already has her heart thingy back. It'd be better to find her a new forest or something like that.
>> No. 27973
>>27971
Maybe she can magically revive the wood or something like that. I think she wants her wood back anyway, even if she can't use it.
>> No. 27988
[x] "I have no idea. Maybe I'll ask her, and go from there."
- [x] "What do you want, Zenovia? I'd like to resolve this peacefully-ish, but I don't know if you want the wood back, or if it can even do anything for you now, or what."
>> No. 27991
File 127525982347.jpg - (773.52KB , 1000x914 , GOGOTOUHOURANGERS.jpg ) [iqdb]
27991
Forcing them to return the wood they used was part of the "make new wagons" option.

Anyway, fairly short update because I just realized I forgot some other important parts of the vote.

---

[x] "...try to reach some kind of compromise. Some way to nonviolently air her grievances."
-[x] "Maybe I'll get someone to make them new wagons. They can't use the magic in the wood anymore, anyway."

"...I plan to come to some sort of compromise. You know, something that doesn't involve violence. I'm sure it's a novel idea to all the crazies who live in this place, but it's possible to get someone to agree with you without beating the crap out of them with magic spells first."

Nue snickers. "You say that after you have beaten up half the people in the circus with magic spells, of course."

"Well, you know what Franklin D. Roosevelt said."

"No, I don't."

Oh, right. She was kind of sealed up in hell during that period of history. Or something. "It was 'Speak softly, but carry a big stick.' It means that you should do peaceful negotiations, but make it clear that you'd win if it stopped being peaceful."

"Somehow your ideology strikes me as a bit inconsistent."

"Oh, be quiet. You hardly have the right to complain about it either."

"Oh, you're too much fun!" She laughs a bit. "I swear, if all humans were this stupid, I'd feel bad about terrorizing them." God, she's even slapping her knee now. You didn't even think it was that funny. "Ah... but seriously, it's not that bad a plan. Of course, it'd help if you had a more specific idea."

"A more specific idea?"

"Yeah. What kind of compromise would you try to get? If you go into negotiations without knowing what you want, it would make you look weak."

Hm. A good question. "Well, maybe I could-" You get tapped on the shoulder. Oh, it looks someone wants to talk to Zenovia again. "Damn, hold on, got to act as interpreter again."

Your roommate nods sagely. "Ask her if she's single."

Goddamn. Who let this goon into the loop? Well, you have no reason to humor him. You turn to Zenovia. "He thinks you are ugly. I don't think he likes the wooden cyborg look."

She stares at you for a moment. "As much as it would be amusing to play along, young one, it is pathetically obvious that he did not really say that."

You turn back to cheesegoofus. "She says she's free for a date wednesday. But not tuesday, she'll be washing her hair that day."

"Really? Sweet! She's a real hottie, you know?" You turn back. "Ah! Don't tell her that. Say, uh, that I'll meet her then. What place?"

"He says that your mother is a plum tree and your father smells of eagle poop. Also, he wants to have a duel with you on wednesday and wonders where you should meet up."

She sighs. "What is with you and setting appointments for me, stupid one? Fine, I'll play along, play along with your stupid idea. Do you know of any good locations?"

Hm. You should give her a place where she has an advantage. For maximum probability of hilarity, of course.
But, wait, maybe you should set them up for a double-date? "How about the bamboo forest of the lost at midnight?"

"Very well. I am not as experienced with bamboo, but that will do."

You turn back. "She thought about it for a while, and decided on the bamboo forest of the lost. Wednesday, at midnight. Got it?"

"Yeah. But why midnight?"

"Don't ask me." You shrug. "Can I get back to my conversation now?"

"Alright. Wish me luck on my date." He winks.

"Yeah. Good luck with it. That thing that you have planned. Whatever." You walk back to Nue.

She sure seems to be having a good time. "Ah, I wish there were people who trusted me to send messages. That looks like so much fun!"

"I only prank people in the name of justice." You do your best power rangers pose. "Surprise rangers red!"
Nue mumbles something about how she wanted to be red, but then slides up from a sitting position and into a pose of her own. Her clothes fluidly reshape themselves into a black jumpsuit. "Surprise rangers black!"
This has gotten Kogasa's attention. She jumps into position, and then clumsily does a martial arts-style pose with her umbrella. "Surprise rangers purple!" Is purple even one of the colors for this kind of thing? Oh, who cares, she's cute.
"Surprise rangers yellow!" Yellow? You turn around to see- Yukari?

You almost jump out of your skin. "Dammit, Yukari!"

She laughs that annoying laugh of hers. "Well, if you call yourself the surprise rangers, you should expect something like that. Ufufufu~"

"Who invited you, Yukari?"

"I invited myself over. That's okay, right?" She pulls a cup of tea out of a gap. Out of the corner of your eyes, you see Byakuren bring empty hands up to her mouth while chatting with Shou.

Nue warily looks at the old lady. "And what were you doing during all of this, anyway? I have no doubt you knew what was going on the entire time."

"But it wouldn't be fun to interfere, would it?" The gap she is leaning out of floats into the air and flips around, leaving her upside-down. However, despite the fact that she is holding the teacup upside-down, nothing spills from it. "Don't mind me, I'm just here to watch."

She's kind of making you nervous. "You might say that, but your mere presence here is a bit unsettling."

"Oh? I know that I'm quite attractive, but if you really want to master danmaku you'll need to learn to ignore things like that."

"That's not what I meant- oh, forget it. Go on watching."

You turn back to Kogasa. "So, anyway, do you still want to go to the circus? You were talking about it earlier, but we got busy with all the fighting and such."

She nods. "We saw the circus, but we didn't really see it. We didn't see it the way it wants to be seen, I mean."

"It was pretty good." Yukari again? "I had Ran get three tickets. Chen especially liked the animals. There aren't any elephants in Gensokyo, of course, but if I had known she had wanted to We will, of course, be going again tomorrow."

"So, are you going to take me?"

"Let me think. We should get some tickets today if we want to make the performance tomorrow. I kind of forgot to get them earlier. I think I can fit them into my plans... my plans..." You're forgetting something. "Oh! Yeah, Nue, I was kind of thinking. I get the impression that Zenovia wants the wood in those wagons. I'm not really sure if it's to keep or just to bury and return to nature or whatever, but she wants it. Maybe we could make the people in the circus give up their wagons?"

"And you expect them to just say give up their wagons made from rare magical wood? Without any sort of complaint?"

"Er, maybe we could make them new ones?"

"How? Do you have any experience in construction?"

"No, but..."

[ ] "...Shou does."
[ ] "...Yukari could just probably 'acquire' some for us. Right, Yukari?"
[ ] "...we could work together on it. You can easily shapeshift into something big and strong, I could hammer nails, and Kogasa could... stand there looking cute or something."
[ ] "...I have money. I could hire some carpenters from the human village."
[ ] "...they've made wagons before. We could just give them some wood and let them sort it out."
[ ] (Write-in.)

[ ] When should you try to reach this compromise?
-[ ] Tonight.
-[ ] Tomorrow, before attending the circus.
-[ ] Tomorrow, after attending the circus.
-[ ] (Write-in.)

[ ] Who will you invite to the circus?
-[ ] You'll get tickets for everyone in the temple who wants to come.
-[ ] You'll get tickets for you, Nue, and Kogasa.
-[ ] You'll get tickets for yourself only.
-[ ] Actually, you'd rather not go to the circus after all.
-[ ] (Write-in.)

---

Yukarin here!

I would like to reiterate that, no matter what the narration may say, I am only 17 years old.

Yukarin out~
>> No. 27992
Before anyone asks, I know that a different Roosevelt was the one to say that. But apparently the MC doesn't.
>> No. 27993
[x] "...they've made wagons before. We could just give them some wood and let them sort it out."
-[x] "And if they need a bit of help, I could hire a few carpenters to give a hand."

[x] When should you try to reach this compromise?
-[x] Tonight.

[x] Who will you invite to the circus?
-[x] You'll get tickets for everyone in the temple who wants to come.
--[x] But try to get seated with Kogasa and possibly Nue in the same area.
>> No. 27998
You know, I don't see the harm in hooking our roommate with Zenia (sp), since she might actually keep in him line. Either that or feed him to a tree. Win-win.
>> No. 28002
[x]Who gives a crap about giving them new wagons?

They destroyed an ancient grove and mutilated an innocent nymph for the ones they have now. Why aren't we carpet-bombing them, again?

[x] When should you try to strangle them with their own intestines until they give the stolen wood back?
-[x] Tomorrow, after Nue and Kogasa have gotten to enjoy the circus.

[x] Who will you invite to the circus?
-[x] You'll get tickets for everyone in the temple who wants to come.
--[x] But try to get seated with Kogasa and possibly Nue in the same area.
>> No. 28003
>>27993
Pretty much what I had in mind, so.

[x] "...they've made wagons before. We could just give them some wood and let them sort it out."
-[x] "And if they need a bit of help, I could hire a few carpenters to give a hand."

[x] When should you try to reach this compromise?
-[x] Tonight.

[x] Who will you invite to the circus?
-[x] You'll get tickets for everyone in the temple who wants to come.
--[x] But try to get seated with Kogasa and possibly Nue in the same area.
>> No. 28007
[x] "...they've made wagons before. We could just give them some wood and let them sort it out."
-[x] "And if they need a bit of help, I could hire a few carpenters to give a hand."

[x] When should you try to reach this compromise?
-[x] Tonight.

[x] Who will you invite to the circus?
-[x] You'll get tickets for everyone in the temple who wants to come.
--[x] But try to get seated with Kogasa and possibly Nue in the same area.

Let's get the shit done as soon as possible.
>> No. 28008
[x]Who gives a crap about giving them new wagons?
[x] When should you try to strangle them with their own intestines until they give the stolen wood back?
-[x] Tomorrow, after attending the circus.
[x] Who will you invite to the circus?
-[x] You'll get tickets for everyone in the temple who wants to come.
--[x] But try to get seated with Kogasa and possibly Nue in the same area.
>> No. 28014
[X]"...Yukari could just probably 'acquire' some for us. Right, Yukari?"

[x] When should you try to reach this compromise?
-[x] Tonight.

[x] Who will you invite to the circus?
-[x] You'll get tickets for everyone in the temple who wants to come.
--[x] But try to get seated with Kogasa and possibly Nue in the same area.

>>27998
True, but we kinda decided that we are greifing him for all he's worth, so yeah.

>>28002
I sense great anger in you. You need to chill. Alot.
>> No. 28020
[x] "...they've made wagons before. We could just give them some wood and let them sort it out."
-[x] "And if they need a bit of help, I could hire a few carpenters to give a hand."

[x] When should you try to reach this compromise?
-[x] Tonight.

[x] Who will you invite to the circus?
-[x] You'll get tickets for everyone in the temple who wants to come.
--[x] But try to get seated with Kogasa and possibly Nue in the same area.

In before she's actually EXTRA evil and giving her the wood makes her EXTRA powerful.
>> No. 28021
>>28020
I doubt it; this is still a Touhou story and after everything is said and done, everyone mellows out.
>> No. 28022
File 127537593749.jpg - (46.94KB , 531x750 , cantsleep.jpg ) [iqdb]
28022
[x] "...they've made wagons before. We could just give them some wood and let them sort it out."
-[x] "And if they need a bit of help, I could hire a few carpenters to give a hand."

[x] When should you try to reach this compromise?
-[x] Tonight.

[x] Who will you invite to the circus?
-[x] You'll get tickets for everyone in the temple who wants to come.
--[x] But try to get seated with Kogasa and possibly Nue in the same area.

"...they do. They've made wagons before, so we could just give them the wood. If they complain, tough."

"We don't know how long it took them. It might have been years. Do we want to have them sitting around for that long? The circus would outlive it's welcome."

"Eh, if they get way too pokey I could hire some carpenters from the human village. But that would be a last resort."

"Fair enough." She kicks back. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I want to enjoy this tea."

"Somehow I doubt you are being honest there."

"Oh, you are such a kidder. Of course I am entirely sincere." She seems to be very focused on that tea. You kind of think you know what's going on. You quickly glance under the table, to see a snake quietly slither across the floor, towards where Shou just sat down. Yeah, that's about what you thought.

"Yeah, yeah." You wave her off and turn back to Kogasa. "Sure, we can go to the circus. I'll get a ticket for you, even. I have the spare money."

"Yay!" She hugs you. "I'll look forward to it!"

"Hell, I might as well get one for everyone who is interested." You raise your voice. "Hey, anyone here want to go to the circus? I could buy tickets for anyone interested. My treat."

"Sure." "I'll come." "Why not?" "Sorry, I have work to do." "I suppose I could see it once."

So, everyone here but Shou and the nymph. Zenovia gives you a confused look, but you don't think she will be interested in going to the circus for some reason. You shrug her off.
Oh, and Yukari didn't respond, but she already has tickets. Actually, where is Yukari? She seems to have vanished again.

Nue double-takes. "Hey, Shou."

"Yes, Nue?"

Nue mimes looking up. Shou looks up to see the jeweled pagoda balanced on her head.
It falls off, and Shou ends up falling backwards trying to catch it.

In a poof of smoke the pagoda turns back into Shou's normal head decoration. Nue laughs uproarously.

"N-Nue! I swear to Bishamonten I am going to get you this time!"

"Hah! I'd like to see you try!"

Nue runs out of the room, Shou on her heels.

Er. You look over to Byakuren. She sips on her tea serenely. "My my. Let them have their fun. If it gets too serious I will step in, of course."

Oh forget it. You stand up.
Kogasa looks over. "Where are you going?"

"I might as well go talk to that Mackenzie woman about the wagons. Get it over with."

"Can I come?"

"Sure, why not."

---

"So, what's the wagon thing about, anyway?"

"Well, Zenovia wants the wood they made their wagons from." You didn't explain the whole story to anyone else. It would just upset Kogasa and Byakuren. At the tea party itself you only told a very abridged version of the story. Kogasa didn't seem to be paying attention then, anyway.

"Oh, okay."

"I'll be picking up our tickets also." And speaking of... "There's the ticket booth up ahead."
The two of you land.

"Hey..." What was her name again?
"Hello Zelby!" Thanks, Kogasa!

"Oh, hi." She doesn't bother to looks up from the ledger she is reading. "I sure hope you aren't planning to storm the circus again. I couldn't stop you if you did, now that our defensive barrier is down."

"No, I just want to buy tickets." Oh, but there is something you want to know. "Is today's performance over?"

"Yes. About an hour ago. The customers have cleared out by now, mostly. We're going to be open for longer tomorrow, today we were too tired to keep open for too long. Due to, uh, you. Anyway, tickets?"

An hour? Either it was a short performance, or the party and the events leading up to it took longer then it felt like. Well, whatever. You pull out your wallet. "How much would, er, six tickets cost?" Wait, six would be counting your roommate.
...oh, you can let that slide today. You doubt it's that much anyway.

She looks up from the ledger. "That'll be-" She blinks in surprise. "Uh. I like the dress."

Dress?
...
Shit! You're still wearing that damn frilly dress!

"I designed it for him!" Kogasa smiles happily.

"That's... nice." She pulls out six tickets.
You very quickly pay and continue on before she can make you any more awkward. There's no turning back now.

"C'mon, Kogasa, let's hurry."

"But I wanna look around!"

"We can do that more tomorrow before the show. You know, when I'm wearing an outfit that I would-" Wait, you can't insult this outfit. Kogasa picked it for you. That might make her sad if you badmouth it too much. "-er, that is, while I am wearing an outfit that isn't stuffy in this weather."

"I guess that dress is pretty heavy-looking. But, don't you have a youkai's temperature resistance?"

"Er, I can survive it, but it's still a bit uncomfortable."

"Okay, I can look tomorrow." Whew. Crisis averted.

Well, people are still seeing you. You are just getting less exposure this way. You are glad there aren't many circusgoers here. You do think you see a flash of familiar green hair in the distance as you pass by, but if it is who you think it is she luckily doesn't notice you.

You want to make a wide circle around that dunk-tank. The big top should be... there!

You step inside, Kogasa following behind you.

---

...The ringmaster (ringmistress?) isn't here. There are only a few of those weird imp clown things, which seem to be cleaning trash from the stands, and Clara, who is reading what looks to be a spellbook of some kind.

One of the clowns walks up to her and nudges her in the elbow. She looks up.

"I see you've made it here. You-" She squints. "I thought you had a skirt on earlier due to having your pants stolen by Arlie. Could it be that you like-"

"Get to the point." This is getting pretty old. You walk up towards her.

"Ah. The point." She puts a bookmark in the book and shuts it, then drops it onto her seat. "I don't really see the point, but big sister insisted I do this." She walks up to you and Kogasa, stretching lightly.

"Do what?" Kogasa seems curious.

"While you two were at the temple, you were under all sorts of magical protection." She waggles a finger, and suddenly the world goes dark. There is a sickening yet familiar lurch, as you move without moving.

---

You find yourself in the big top but... not.

The grass is purple, yet the big top is a normal color. Clara walks off again, and gets back up on the stands, next to a small pile of various grimoires and spellbooks.

In the center of the big top is a woman who looks vaguely familiar. She is tall. While Zenovia is tall, and possesses a sort of willowy beauty, this woman is awkward in her height. She has on a baggy, colorful dress, and ridiculous floppy shoes. Her face is painted white, but you can tell from her hands that her complexion is naturally dark. Her hair is pure white, and it doesn't look died to you. The ensemble is completed by tear patterns of blue facepaint, and a squeaky red nose.

She walks towards you, and you see another difference from Zenovia. While Zenovia loses her grace to twitches when she moves, this woman moves in a smooth and efficient manner.
Upon reaching you she bows deeply. "Of yet you two are not prepared, I fear. But then, this must be done, I'm sad to say. For what you know could hurt my sister dear."

"What I know? You mean about Zenovia?"

"You're of but five who know that secret dire."

Five? Well, you guess that you haven't told Byakuren and company, so... you, Nue, Zenovia obviously, Clara, and apparently this woman. "Wait, does that mean that nobody else in the circus knows about her? How does that work?" Also, Kogasa will probably figure it out eventually, given that you are apparently going to be talking about it here, but you probably shouldn't point that out.

"They know but what I told of that old day."

Maybe she's doing some self-scapegoating or something? "So, uh, what are you gonna do about it?"

"The waves must come to wash the shore away. Dirty secrets will be lost once again. The five soon shall become four, past today."

Clara looks up from her reading. "I swear, Gioia, is it really all that serious? I know you have my best interests in heart, but I don't think this is necessary. ...also, could you stop talking like that? It's creepy."

Gioia shakes her head sadly. "Once more, I said, you know not what is wrong. No blade is more deadly then your sharp gaze. Even the guillotine most keen and strong."

"And yet you still help me."

The clown has nothing to say to that. She turns back to you. "Make peace, poor souls, and we shall then begin."

You don't like the sound of that. You lower your voice as low as it can go, as the woman closes her eyes in what looks like prayer. "Hey, Kogasa, can you make a run for it and get help?"

"Where to?"

...She's right. the only reason you were able to make it out last time is because Clara let you out. If she wants you to stay here, even at the insistence of someone else, you are basically stuck.

Gioia opens her eyes, and straightens up. She holds out her hands, and an imp comes up to either side. They hand her slapsticks. She flits forward, lunging.
You dodge reflexively, and you are glad you do. The swing hits the stands behind you, and with a crash like thunder the entire section of stands explodes into splinters. If you had tried to parry that, ugh.
Wait, she has a second weapon.

You feel a bone-crushing force, and the wind is pushed out of your lungs. Your body goes sailing, but you can barely tell due to the tinnitus from having two thunderous impacts like that in a row right next to your ears.

You crashland in the purple grass. You laboriously pick yourself off the ground.

...you can't even see the big top from here. How far away were you thrown?

You catch your breath for a moment. You are... beyond exhausted. You have almost no magic power left at this point, and definitely no spellcards. Your ribs are regenerating... surprisingly quickly, though, given that. You can't help but think that you will pay for this later, though.

You hear a light sound. You look up from the ground, to see Gioia standing directly in front of you. She is holding out a flower.
You roll to the side as her other hand squeezes, and a jet of water shoots out from the flower. She twists it towards you, but you hop up.

After the thing is out of water, you let yourself quickly glance back. It... looks like someone just slashed at the ground with a massive sword.

You turn back, to see she has produced a deck of cards. You lunge forward with your bonesaw, but with a light twist of her wrist she throws a card at you. You hop backwards, and you are almost fast enough. The card cuts your bonesaw in half like a hot knife through butter.

You see Kogasa approaching, in the distance. Shouldn't she be running?

A few more cards fly towards you, and your dodging is just getting slower and slower. The last one nicks your arm, even.

...you need a plan, and fast.

[ ] Throw her cards back at her! They're real sharp, she's shown that much.
[ ] Challenge her to a danmaku duel! One card, of course.
-[ ] Kogasa will be here soon. You can have her use the spellcard.
-[ ] Maybe... maybe if you try really hard you'll be able to manifest another spellcard?
-[ ] Write-in.
[ ] Try to talk her out of this.
[ ] Try to run, and stall for time. Just in case someone is coming.
[ ] Write-in.

---

Pick as many options as you want, if you think that your first pick might not work.

Stage 1: The Path to the Circus
-Boss: Reimu Hakurei, the Wonderfully Sleep-Deprived Shrine Maiden of Paradise
Stage 2: The Ticket-Booth
-Boss: Zelby, the Goblin That Went To Business School
Stage 3: Circus Grounds
-Boss: Arlie, the Spirit of an Old Torture Implement
Stage 4: The Empty Plains of a Negative World
-Boss: Clara Arlecchino, the Girl of False Knowledge
Stage 5: The Big Top
-Midboss 1: Esen, the Swaying Wind
-Midboss 2: Etsuko, the Weakest Strongest Oni of the Circus Circuit
-Boss: Mackenzie Carat, the Selfless Big TOp
Stage 6: A Reclaimed Grove
-Boss: Zenovia, the Bitter Defeated Guardian Spirit
Extra Stage: The Negative Big Top
-Boss: Gioia Arlecchino, the Final Comfort
>> No. 28024
[x] Challenge her to a danmaku duel! One card, of course.
-[x] Maybe... maybe if you try really hard you'll be able to manifest another spellcard?
-[x] Last Word 「Altered Power」 "Laser Airstrike"

FUCK. Surprise Extra stage. Should have seen it coming.
>> No. 28026
[X] Throw her cards back at her! They're real sharp, she's shown that much.
[X] Challenge her to a danmaku duel! One card, of course.
-[X] Kogasa will be here soon. You can have her use the spellcard.
-[X] Maybe... maybe if you try really hard you'll be able to manifest another spellcard?
-[X] 「Altered Power」 "Ancient Japanese Laser Beams Laser Airstrike"

Why don't we have spellcards? By my count, we should still have two left.
>> No. 28031
[x] Challenge her to a danmaku duel! One card, of course.
-[x] Kogasa will be here soon. You can have her use the spellcard.
-[x] Maybe... maybe if you try really hard you'll be able to manifest another spellcard?
- I don't know, just... something awesome.
>> No. 28032
>>28026
>Why don't we have spellcards? By my count, we should still have two left.
See:
>>28022
>You catch your breath for a moment. You are... beyond exhausted. You have almost no magic power left at this point, and definitely no spellcards.
That is why we have no spellcards left.
>> No. 28038
File 127541608450.gif - (189.17KB , 650x450 , 00746.gif ) [iqdb]
28038
>>28026

Whoops. Actually, you're right. I just digged through the thread, and he has one spellcard left.
So, uh, I guess the MC forgot that he still has Travel Sign "Impediment".
If any of you want to use that one, feel free, I suppose.
>> No. 28042
>>28022
Would he be able to teleport the card into her brain or other vital organ?
>> No. 28043
[x] Try to talk her out of this.
-[x] "What are you talking about? I'm just trying to resolve things without anymore violence or grudges!"
[x] Try to run, and stall for time. Just in case someone is coming.
[x] Challenge her to a danmaku duel! One card, of course.
-[x] Kogasa will be here soon. You can have her use the spellcard.
-[x] Maybe... maybe if you try really hard you'll be able to manifest another spellcard? Didn't I still have "Travel Sign 'Impediment'" Left?
[x] Throw her cards back at her! They're real sharp, she's shown that much.

If I knew this was the extra stage, I'd ahve waited until tomorrow.
>> No. 28044
>>28038
Just consider that 'trying really hard' for him means defeating his Alzheimer's for once.
So, we would still get our IRON HEART SURGE, but, now, he'd remain more or less fine in the physical and magical sense.
>> No. 28064
File 127560320851.jpg - (38.29KB , 500x498 , ohshi.jpg ) [iqdb]
28064
[x] Challenge her to a danmaku duel! One card, of course.
-[x] Kogasa will be here soon. You can have her use the spellcard.
-[x] Maybe... maybe if you try really hard you'll be able to manifest another spellcard?
[X] Throw her cards back at her! They're real sharp, she's shown that much.

If this keeps up, she really is going to kill you. You are running and dodging the cards, but you don't have the energy to keep doing that forever.
And, while your youkai body is quite tough, you get the feeling that she knows how to end you. You suddenly remember something Zenovia mentioned; "something sharper than the finest bronze from the forge of Hephaestus". Clara said that this Gioia woman was with her when they fought Zenovia... so does that mean that Gioia has some weapon that can inflict wounds that not even a powerful nymph like Zenovia can regenerate from? It's a scary thought. Then again, maybe her lack of regeneration was due to the forced removal of her heart. You don't know that much about youkai biology. Thaumaturgy?
But, wait, this is still in Gensokyo, right? Or kind of, anyway. So if you challenge her to a duel, she would be prevented from killing you, even if she won! It's situations like this where the spellcard rules come in handy, right?

"Whoah, whoah, hold on! I challenge you to a duel! One spellcard!"

Gioia pauses. Her hands blur and the rest of the deck is thrown at you in the blink of an eye, cutting an outline of you into the ground. "Very well, we shall fight by those old rules. I hope you know what you intend to do. Fleeing defeat is the domain of fools."

"Well, I'm hoping to not die, if that's what you mean." Good thing she's stopping to talk. It's giving Kogasa more time to get here. You're not sure if you have enough energy to even use a spellcard, even if you had one. But Kogasa... probably has one left. It's about to only chance you have, so you'll have to make use of it.
You get up and stretch momentarily. The clown holds her hands out, and two colorful blurs shoot by. A clown-imp lands to either side of you, and then steps back. Now she is holding, in each hand... a bottle of seltzer water?

"Let us duel well, my foe, in this short fight."

"Yeah, let's have a nice throw-down and whatever." You point your cane at her. "I'll show you that you have the short end of the stick. The stick of talent."
...wait, shit, tree puns were for Zenovia. Oh, whatever.

She suddenly charges forward, just as you take off into the air. She squeezes on one of the spray-bottles of seltzer water, and a cone of various-sized blue danmaku bullets flies out.
You charge directly down, leaving a trail of yellow danmaku bullets. Her hand moves up in an instant and points the other bottle at you, but you were ready. You dive to the side the moment the charge ends, and the cone of blue danmaku misses you. She rolls to the side, avoiding the wave of yellow danmaku.
The moment she gets out of her roll, she is in a crouching posture, and fires both bottles at once. One is pointed directly at you, and the other is pointed a bit to the side. You have to activate your nonspell and charge backwards to avoid the crossfire. It's obvious that she isn't experienced with danmaku, given how easily she agreed to a one-card duel when something like six cards would have given her a huge advantage, but damn is she learning fast.

And the moment your charge ends, her body flickers. You feel a gust of wind behind you, and feel a bottle press up against your back. Ack. You let your position waver, and find yourself about five feet down. And that's a good thing too, because those blue danmaku bullets would have given you a nice backache, to say the least.
However, the second spray bottle is pointed directly at you. She knew you were going to go down?

An arm wraps around you from behind, and a purple umbrella swings in front of you. Ah, so she has arrived.
Kogasa yanks you back while pulling out a card. "Monster Train: Spare Umbrella Express Night Carnival!"

Two 'train' of umbrellas fly forth, one on either side of Gioia. With them come a spray of amulet danmaku. Kogasa gets a fierce look of concentration on her face, and begins firing out red danmaku bullets. This is... quite powerful, actually. It looks like she is introducing even more danmaku.

Kogasa swings the umbrella back out of the view, and you get a good look at Gioia dodging past the 'train'. She pulls out a card on her own. "Munitions Sign: Itano Circus."
She pulls out a lighter, and a storm of colorful blurs streak by over her head. More of those imps land to either side of her, with surprising grace. And each one dropped a roll of firecrackers into the air above her.
Her arm moves in a blur, lighting every single one of the firecrackers before any of them so much as drop an inch.

The firecrackers shoot out like rockets, streaking towards you, twisting in the sky.

...shit. Kogasa is concentrating too hard to even think of dodging. You grab her and yank her up, over the impromptu rockets.
The rockets that twist down to meet you. Those things are guided? More like missiles then. You fly away from them as fast as you can while carrying another person. Guess you are going to have to shake these damn things off.

But you can't get too far away. If you do, Kogasa can no longer really hit Gioia. Might also invalidate the duel, you aren't quite clear on that. Maybe you should circle around your opponent. Hell, you might even be able to get her own missiles to hit her. They are physical objects and not just danmaku bullets, so they might be able to hurt her, right?

You swing around. Lets see how good she is at dodging Kogasa's spell and her own at once. It should be quite amusing. So, if you fly straight past her, almost close enough to touch, it might confuse the missiles.
Are you fast enough, though? You glance back.

And you suddenly realize why she chose this spell in particular. It's a spell which requires you to move fast to counter. If you try to just dodge slightly, the missiles will curve to meet you. But you, after a day of fighting danmaku duel after danmaku duel, and at least two rough, partially unplanned teleports, don't have the energy to fly fast anymore.
Before of how you are flying, the first missile hits you in your foot. It explodes, although not much, and pushes you off-balance enough for the second to hit you in the head. You hear Kogasa cry out beside you, and feel her spell break around her, so one or more probably hit her too.

You land on the ground moving at a fairly high velocity, and skid across the grass a good twenty feet before you come to a stop. It's surprisingly sharp and rigid for grass, actually. You are pretty sure your face is bleeding now, in a detached way.
Oddly enough, you came to a stop almost where you were before you started the duel. You see cards embedded in the ground in front of you, forming the outline of a person. You suppose it's yours. It's long and stretched out, like a shadow at sunset.

Gioia taps to the ground in front of you, now holding a rubber chicken. You weakly look up. "And now 'tis time; you should accept your fate. I have won this, delay me no longer. There are more who are due to be made late."

Wait, isn't that against the rules? You try to open your mouth to protest, but can't find the breath to speak.
The clown draws the rubber chicken back, as if to throw it like a dart. Kogasa runs in front of you, looking a bit ragged herself. "Don't!"

The chicken bursts through her stomach, creating an alarmingly large, bloody hole. A shriek. You avert your eyes. You don't want to see this.
The chicken slams into the ground next to your body, covered in blood. It must have been deflected by the... you don't want to think about this.

A weapon... you need a weapon. You grope your hands around the ground. Wait, the cards! She was throwing them at you, and those things were like damn razor-edged shuriken or something. Maybe if you threw one at a critical moment... you gingerly pluck a card out of the ground, and slip it up the sleeve of your goddamn frilly dress (pretty cut up and dirty by this point, you notice) before she can notice.

She walks up to you, somehow holding the same rubber chicken. She must have pulled it out of the ground when you weren't looking. She hefts it in her hands again...
And then spins around and throws it backwards. There's a cracking sound, and the cracked pieces of a stone orb rain down in front of her. Reimu suddenly appears beside her and swings her gohei, which is hastily ducked.

You take that chance to throw the card. It doesn't even fly straight, and is blown straight off course by the wind caused by that sudden movement. It was just an ordinary playing card?

Reimu leans back, yawning. "Yukari woke me up and said something about someone violating the spellcard rules. This better be damn good or I'm going back to sleep." She looks around, before settling her eyes on you. "I see. Trying to kill a defeated opponent?" She turns back to Gioia. "That's against the rules."

"Of that I had no knowledge, fair maiden."

"Yeah, who cares. Going to have to ask you to stop."

"No, I cannot comply with that, priestess. And if you press me to, you too will die. This is important, I hereby confess."

"They all say that. Though not generally quite like you do." Reimu is looking a... lot better then when you last saw her. "Now, this is the part where we fight, right? I'll show the rookie how it's done. You're a fortune-teller, right? Here, I'll tell you your fortune." She points the gohei at Gioia. "We will fight a three-card duel, and I'll win without ever using a spellcard." She's not a fortune-teller, Reimu. That's her sister.

Gioia says nothing, and just pulls out a card. Apparently she knows she doesn't have the time to fool around. "Record Sign: Egg Registry!" She waves her hands around and suddenly, floating in a ring around her, are eggs with faces painted on them. You're... not entirely sure where she pulled those things out of.
Each of the eggs flies out, and in a poof of smoke becomes one of those imps. Is this how she makes or summons those things or whatever? Each one starts leaping around, somehow both quickly and clumsily at the same time, leaving a trail of rainbow danmaku which begins to drift inwards. They are moving around in small loops which shift around, making it almost seem like multicolored flower petals rotating around her.

Reimu weaves between the moving streaks of color like she is in a dream, avoiding the danmaku bullets with effortless ease. You don't see her fight often, but when you do... it's kind of awe-inspiring. It's the ideal everyone wants to meet up with, in danmaku.

She times out the spell without so much as throwing a single amulet. "Well? Got anything else?"

Gioia pulls out another card. "Poison Sign: Nose Killer!" She pulls off her clown nose and throws it at Reimu. Reimu dodges easily, but the nose lands behind her and explodes into a cloud of poison gas. A ring of purple appears around the cloud, hemming Reimu in. Gioia then starts throwing clusters of purple danmaku into the ring, which fly to a specific spot and expand.
Reimu dodges through them, noticably slowed. However, even if she is flying faster, it barely seems to impact her ability to avoid the bullets. In fact, she looks positively bored. Has she seen this type of poison danmaku before?

After timing it out again, Reimu gags a bit. "That poison smells pretty bad. It's not as acrid as lily-of-the-valley, though."
And then she turns around, back to you. "How long was that?"

"I wasn't keeping track," you barely manage.

"Oh, oh well." She holds out her hand. "Donation, please."

"Huh?"

She makes that universal 'give me money' hand motion. In the background, Gioia seems to be admiring a flower. "I said, donations please. You've used up one donation worth of fighting. If you want me to keep preventing her from killing you, pay up again." She leans out of the way of a sudden torrent of water. Gioia tosses the flower away. You notice that the water was so highly pressurized that it made a foot-deep furrow in the ground.

You weakly pull out your wallet, and just grab some money and throw it at her.

Reimu gets a satisfied look on her face. "Alright!" She almost begins to do a victory dance of some sort, but then seems to remember where she is and quickly stops. Coughing, she turns back to Gioia. "Let's see your third spell. Make it something better, this time."

Gioia still looks calm, oddly. Maybe she's just good at hiding her emotions? Or maybe she thinks this last spellcard will win the fight for her? "Game Sign: Straight Flushes Running!"
With a flick of her wrists, she produces another deck of playing cards, seemingly from nowhere. She shuffles it for a moment, and then begins throwing the cards with lightning speed. Each card thrown also produces a spray of danmaku in the same general direction as the throw. She seems to be throwing them in lines.

You look at the cards embedding themselves in the ground behind you. Ace of clubs, deuce of clubs, three of clubs, four of clubs, five of clubs... wait, is she throwing the entire deck in order, even after shuffling it?

Reimu, however, only seems to be having a little trouble. She looks more preoccupied then anything. "Could it be... is this a timeout card?" She pulls out a single needle and throws it.
The moment the needle hits Gioia, though, her body wavers and vanished. So suddenly, in her place is a Joker, now with a needle sticking out of it. The joker falls to the ground.
Gioia reappears behind Reimu, and seamlessly continues throwing cards. Even that surprise, though, barely even phases the miko. She flips out of the way and continues dodging.

Reimu grins. "My intuition is never wrong. So, youkai, what did you expect to do with a timeout card? I'm not even attacking you."

The spell times out. Reimu taps to the floor, looking satistified. Gioia, on the other hand, is finally starting to look uncomfortable.

Reimu pulls out two amulets and flicks with a single hand. Gioia doesn't even try to dodge as the amulets slap down onto her hands. She hisses in pain for a few moments. Meanwhile, you busy yourself with trying to drag yourself to Kogasa.

"These amulets should seal any magic and youkai abilities you have for a while. Normally last a month, but for a youkai of your power it'll probably be more like a week."

The miko waits for a moment for any response, and then shrugs and walks up to you. "Now, it's time to discuss the sealing fee. For the materials and manpower required."

(Pick one.)
[ ] "Yes, yes, fine."
[ ] "What? You throw amulets like that all the time. There's no way they are expensive."
[ ] "I don't have time for this. Kogasa needs help."
[ ] Write-in.

[ ] Your priorities are... (Pick all that apply, in order of most to least important.)
-[ ] ...making sure Kogasa is alright.
-[ ] ...making sure Reimu doesn't get mad at you...
--[ ] ...by keeping her paid.
--[ ] ...by thanking her a lot.
-[ ] ...dealing with Gioia.
--[ ] How should you 'deal with' her? (Write-in.)
-[ ] ...dealing with Clara.
--[ ] How should you 'deal with' her? (Write-in.)
-[ ] ...making sure you are healthy, yourself.
-[ ] ...checking in with Yukari. She's gotta be somewhere around here, right?
-[ ] ...headbanging. (You can barely move your head!)
-[ ] Write-in.

---

So yes. Not quite the most heroic possible outcome of Extra Stage. If you had tried to fight her head-on you would probably have gotten your ass killed, though. Your main mistake was falling for an ambush, and like all good ambushes you had basically no indication it would happen. So I suppose that wasn't really your fault at all.
>> No. 28065
[X] "Yes, yes, fine."
We've got money to blow; in fact, we may as well pay her extra to get Kogasa and us out of here lickety-split.

[X] Your priorities are...
-[X] ...making sure Kogasa is alright.
-[X] ...making sure Reimu doesn't get mad at you...
--[X] ...by keeping her paid.
-[X] ...making sure you are healthy, yourself.
>> No. 28066
[x] "Yes, yes, fine. Now we need to get Kogasa some help!"

[x] Your priorities are... (Pick all that apply, in order of most to least important.)
-[x] ...making sure Kogasa is alright.
-[x] ...making sure Reimu doesn't get mad at you...
--[x] ...by keeping her paid.
--[x] ...by thanking her a lot.
-[x] ...dealing with Gioia.
--[x] Have her apologize to Zenoia, Kogasa, and yourself, and ask Byakuren to educate her on the finer points of Youkai conduct.
-[x] ...dealing with Clara.
--[x] Arrange a time when the new wagons could be made and the wood returned.
--[x] Depending on how much she was a part of the crime against Zenoia, an apology from her.
-[x] ...making sure you are healthy, yourself.
>> No. 28067
[x] "Yes, yes, fine. Now we need to get Kogasa some help!"

[x] Your priorities are... (Pick all that apply, in order of most to least important.)
-[x] ...making sure Kogasa is alright.
-[x] ...making sure Reimu doesn't get mad at you...
--[x] ...by keeping her paid.
--[x] ...by thanking her a lot.
-[x] ...dealing with Gioia.
--[x] Have her apologize to Zenoia, Kogasa, and yourself, and ask Byakuren to educate her on the finer points of Youkai conduct.
-[x] ...dealing with Clara.
--[x] Arrange a time when the new wagons could be made and the wood returned.
--[x] Depending on how much she was a part of the crime against Zenoia, an apology from her.
-[x] ...making sure you are healthy, yourself.

Sigh, saved by the miko.
>> No. 28068
[x] "Yes, yes, fine. Now we need to get Kogasa some help!"

[x] Your priorities are... (Pick all that apply, in order of most to least important.)
-[x] ...making sure Kogasa is alright.
-[x] ...making sure Reimu doesn't get mad at you...
--[x] ...by keeping her paid.
--[x] ...by thanking her a lot.
-[x] ...dealing with Gioia.
--[x] Have her apologize to Zenoia, Kogasa, and yourself, and ask Byakuren to educate her on the finer points of Youkai conduct.
-[x] ...dealing with Clara.
--[x] Arrange a time when the new wagons could be made and the wood returned.
--[x] Depending on how much she was a part of the crime against Zenoia, an apology from her.
-[x] ...making sure you are healthy, yourself.

dammit, who went around assuring us the extra stage would not get us with our pants down?
we got pants, underwear and scales down!
>> No. 28069
[x] "Yes, yes, fine. I don't suppose that defeating you in somewhat harmless fashion and telling Suika to help you get some -well needed- sleep counts. Grab your stupid money and help me to get Kogasa some help already!"

[x] Your priorities are... (Pick all that apply, in order of most to least important.)
-[x] ...making sure Kogasa is alright.
-[x] ...dealing with Gioia.
--[x] Have her apologize to Zenoia and Kogasa and ask Byakuren to educate her on the finer points of Youkai conduct.
-[x] ...dealing with Clara.
--[x] Arrange a time when the new wagons could be made and the wood returned.
--[x] Depending on how much she was a part of the crime against Zenoia, an apology from her.

Our character is really selfless sometimes. I kinda like that.
>> No. 28070
>>28068
Yeah if I knew that Trying to reach an agreement=extra stage, I'd have most definitely waited until tomorrow. After all most if not all extra stages take place a day or two after the end of the incident, not right afterwards! And none were really ambushes either.
>> No. 28072
>>28070
What about the extra stage in th 2? Wasn't that basically an ambush that Reimu walked into way later than the ambusher expected?
>> No. 28073
>>28072
Not sure, but Reimu detected the original ambush.
>> No. 28074
[x] "Yes, yes, fine. Now we need to get Kogasa some help!"

[x] Your priorities are...
-[x] ...making sure Kogasa is alright.

So she can throw rubber chickens like cannonballs... good thing Reimu has experience.
>> No. 28077
[X] "Yes, yes, fine."

[X] Your priorities are...
-[X] ...making sure Kogasa is alright.
-[X] ...making sure Reimu doesn't get mad at you...
--[X] ...by keeping her paid.
-[X] ...making sure you are healthy, yourself.
>> No. 28079
[x] "Yes, yes, fine. Now we need to get Kogasa some help!"

[x] Your priorities are... (Pick all that apply, in order of most to least important.)
-[x] ...making sure Kogasa is alright.
-[x] ...making sure Reimu doesn't get mad at you...
--[x] ...by keeping her paid.
--[x] ...by thanking her a lot.
-[x] ...dealing with Gioia.
--[x] Have her apologize to Zenoia, Kogasa, and yourself, and ask Byakuren to educate her on the finer points of Youkai conduct.
-[x] ...dealing with Clara.
--[x] Arrange a time when the new wagons could be made and the wood returned.
--[x] Depending on how much she was a part of the crime against Zenoia, an apology from her.
-[x] ...making sure you are healthy, yourself.
>> No. 28081
[x] "What? You throw amulets like that all the time. There's no way... Oh, the hell with it! Yes, yes, fine! Now we need to get Kogasa some help!"

[x] Your priorities are...
-[x] ...making sure Kogasa is alright.
-[x] ...making sure Reimu doesn't get mad at you...
--[x] ...by keeping her paid.
--[x] ...by thanking her a lot.
-[x] ...dealing with Gioia.
--[x] Have her apologize to Zenovia, Kogasa, and yourself, and ask Byakuren to educate her on the finer points of youkai conduct.
-[x] ...dealing with Clara.
--[x] Arrange a time when the new wagons could be made and the wood returned.
--[x] Depending on how much she was a part of the crime against Zenoia, an apology from her.
-[x] ...making sure you are healthy, yourself.
>> No. 28115
File 127588324817.gif - (29.67KB , 368x347 , theyrejustrecolorsofeachother.gif ) [iqdb]
28115
Sorry for the delay. I was busy watching [S] Descend over and over and over.

>>28081
The specific lines are more about what your intention is then what you specifically say. So combining all three of them like that is pretty confusing.

Also, most amusing error yet: accidentally posted this in the wrong thread at first. One of my previous threads. Luckily it was already in autosage, or that would have been an embarrassing ghost bunp.

---

[x] "Yes, yes, fine. Now we need to get Kogasa some help!"

[x] Your priorities are...
-[x] ...making sure Kogasa is alright.
-[X] ...making sure Reimu doesn't get mad at you...
--[x] ...by keeping her paid.
--[x] ...by thanking her a lot.
-[x] ...dealing with Gioia.
--[x] Have her apologize to Zenovia, Kogasa, and yourself, and ask Byakuren to educate her on the finer points of youkai conduct.
-[x] ...dealing with Clara.
--[x] Arrange a time when the new wagons could be made and the wood returned.
--[x] Depending on how much she was a part of the crime against Zenoia, an apology from her.
-[x] ...making sure you are healthy, yourself

"Oh, alright, I'll pay your silly fees. But make it quick, my friend is bleeding from a chicken-based wound of the greatest magnitude over there." You pull out your wallet and just throw the entire thing at Reimu, and then laboriously pull yourself to your feet.

You stumble over to where Kogasa is lying. "Cmon... I'll get you... to safety..." You try to lean over and pick her up, but end up falling flat on your face.

Reimu sighs and kneels next to Kogasa. She examines the wound. "This doesn't look too bad. Her youkai regeneration should..." She pauses. "Odd. It should have at least begun healing now. This isn't the kind of wound a mundane weapon would leave. What caused this wound?"

"Rubber... chicken..."

"A what? Oh, who cares. Well, maybe it was a rubber chicken with history. The first one ever made. That's all I can think of. I guess it could have been a strongly enchanted magic weapon, but most magicians don't want to waste their time enchanting something that's not really a weapon like that." She shrugs. "You should get her to Eientei, anyway. There isn't anywhere else in Gensokyo I would trust to treat this kind of wound."

"Will you be... charging me a transportation fee?"

"Hah. No, I won't be transporting you at all." She tosses you your wallet back, and then closes her eyes for a moment. She takes a deep breath, and then suddenly kicks backwards.
There's a yelp. Yukari pops out of a gap behind Reimu.

"You could have just asked for me to show myself," Yukari says while cradling her nose.

"I figured this could serve as an object lesson to you. Sanae's been telling me all about this psychology stuff, so I figured I should start trying it out myself, you pervert."

"You don't love me anymore, do you?" Yukari sniffles a bit, though by this point she is obviously just teasing.

"Oh shut up and move her to Eientei."

"If my dear Reimu says so I will do anything~" Yukari falls out of view, and Kogasa vanishes.

"And yet she always ignores me when I tell her to stop bugging me," Reimu mutters.

Yukari's head pops upsidedown out of a hole in space directly above Reimu, and looks down at her. "What was that?"

"I was just saying how beautiful and young you are." Reimu ungracefully plops down onto the floor, sighing.

Yukari turns to you. "Do you want to go also? Or do you have anything you still need to do here?"

"I need to... handle a few things, yes." You manage to pull yourself off of the ground. Luckily their little comedy skit there gave you some time to catch your breath again.

"Oh? Not going to accompany Kogasa every step of the way? What kind of man are you? Well, Ran will look after her until you are ready."

"People need to be... held... accountable." You walk up to Gioia. "I'll want an apology." You feel your breath returning. Good, talking like William Shatner was getting old.

"And you will get nothing without a deal. Let my sister go free, is all I ask. If you promise, I will do what you feel."

"And if I refuse?"

"Threats to myself, those things I can excuse. But to little Clara, there can be none. If you hurt her, your life you will lose."

Threats to Clara? So, what, was Gioia telling the truth when she said that she was just going along with her sister? "I'll consider it." You limp off. Time to get to the heart of the matter.

It seems you won't get any answers unless you talk to Clara. She was in the big top, right? The one in this negative world, anyway.

"Where are you going?" You are too tired to be really startled. You look over your shoulder, to see Yukari behind you.

"The Big Top. Over there." You point.

"The one that they set up here?" You nod. "I'm not really sure why they need two. They never showed the one in this world to the crowd or anything." There's a tingling feeling and your vision flickers for a moment, and then you find yourself outside the Big Top. Yukari moved a gap over you very fast, it seems? It's somehow smoother and more effortless than even your teleportation, even though it seems like a more complicated mechanism. It's a good deal, though. You didn't really relish the thought of walking all that way.

"Thank you." You are about to leave, but Yukari looks like she isn't quite done yet.

"I see you weren't ready for Extra Stage." There's that weird talk again.

"I'm not sure what you mean."

"Oh, people who can percieve a mere three dimensions like you can hardly expect to fully understand it." She waves her gloved hand dismissively. "But you aren't stupid. You know what I meant, on a simpler level. You charged in too early, and lost because of it."

"I didn't know I would be attacked ahead of time! If I had known, I would have waited until tomorrow."

"Let me tell you, Reimu's intuition is so sharp that when she is in top form she can't be ambushed. Skills like that... if you don't have some way of dealing with surprises, you won't ever be anyone special in this business."

That hurts, a little. Before you came to Gensokyo, this is vaguely the kind of thing you expected to be doing. Engaging in awesome magic duels, tracking down evildoers and tracking down mystic artifacts. However, you didn't expect it to be like this! In even performing so simple a task as tracking down a thief, look at how much trouble you've been in. You took the beating of your life, pissed off multiple supernatural beings, and may even end up with an assassin after your head. Worst of all, Kogasa got hurt because of it, even though her only involvement was tagging along for fun. "If resolving incidents is always like this, I don't think I want to resolve any more."

"That's no fun." She gets a thoughtful look. "Of course, resolving incidents isn't for everyone. Well, if you don't like it then you can probably leave it up to Reimu and Marisa most of the time."

"...I'll be going in."

"Have fun!" Yukari lazily waves.

---

Clara looks up from her book. "So big sister failed."

"That's about what happened, yes."

"Is she still alive?"

"Yes. Killing her would be against the spellcard rules."

"That's good." She snaps the book shut and puts it down. "So, what happens now?"

"Well, that depends on your involvement in this. Now, Gioia did tell me some, but..."

"But she is pretty hard to understand, I know. And the entire project was my idea. I was the one who learned about the existance of that grove, I was the one who figured out how to use the magic power in the wood, everything." She sounds kind of proud of it. "Let me tell you, you don't see an opportunity to use magical material of that calibre every day."

"I see. Then I'll ask for an apology. To Zenovia."

"Oh? She really is still alive? Gioia's spies told me that, but I could hardly believe it." She thinks for a moment. "An apology? I hardly see what I've done wrong, but I'll do it. I must admit I am curious, myself. I've never heard of anyone surviving the removal of their essence like that."

You... aren't entirely sure if that was agreement. "Also, I'll want you to return all of the wood taken from the grove to be returned. I will arrange for you to get more wood, but I would prefer if the circus was able to make new wagons without any further help."

She thinks for a moment. "There's not much point in keeping it without the control spell, I guess. And there doesn't seem to be much chance of retrieving it anymore. So, I agree with that also."
Okay, whatever. You don't have the energy to get into a long argument about this. "When would be a good time?"

"A week and a half from now. We'll be done performing by then, and have enough manpower to make new wagons."

"That works." You turn around. "I... guess I'll sort out the remaining details with your sister. She had a question for me anyway."

She goes back to reading the book. "I will see you later, then."

---

"What an odd person."

"You are hardly one to talk."

"Mm. I don't think she would fit into Gensokyo well. Of course, the circus isn't going to stay here forever, so it doesn't matter too much. I'll leave it up to you, if you take Gioia's request."

So she was listening to that? "I'm still thinking about it." Although, you have more important things. "But before I do any more, can you tell me how well Kogasa is doing?"

"No."

Huh? "Why not?"

"Moving in and out of this place is very difficult. I'd say that it is much farther removed from Gensokyo than the outside world is. Of course, that's just because Gensokyo was removed from the outside world by magic, while this place was a separate dimension to begin with."

"So the reason is because you are too lazy?"

"Of course not." She smiles wanly. "The reason is that this is much easier." She pulls something out of her sleeve and tosses it at you.
A pink cellphone. It has a little dangly thing, one of those cellphone charms, of a nine-tailed fox with a weird poofy hat.

"What do you expect me to do with this?"

"Ran is on speed dial."

You examine the thing. "So she is. But, er, we are in a separate dimension. How will this get reception?"

"I've modified it greatly, of course, for situations just like this."

Best not to overthink this. You call Ran.

"Hello? What do you need now, master?"

"Hello."

"Huh? It's not... oh, is that you, Stupid?"

"I'm tired as hell, so I'll ignore that for now. How's Kogasa doing?"

"She is being treated by Eirin right now. They're in surgery."

"Did you tell her about the rubber chicken?"

"The... what? I was just doing housework when suddenly Yukari moved me to Eientei and dropped a wounded karakasa into my arms. She didn't actually bother telling me anything."

That sounds entirely consistent with the impression of Yukari you have thus far gained. "Does Doctor Yagokoro think she will make it?"

"She was in too much of a hurry preparing treatment, so she didn't say anything about that, but I think she will. I've seen injuries like this before. They are the kind of injury well-equipped youkai hunters aim to cause. But this is well within Eirin's ability to treat."

"Good to hear that. Well, goodbye, then. There's not much else you could tell me at this point."

"Goodbye." She hangs up.

You give the cellphone back to Yukari. "I trust your conversation was enlightening?"

"Not really. Let's go back to Gioia, okay?"

---

Reimu lies back on the ground, looking pretty tired again.

You walk up. "Thanks for helping me, Reimu."

"It's okay." She yawns. "You take care of this aftermath stuff."

"What? No more fees?"

"You couldn't pay them."

"How are you so sure? I had quite a bit of money on me."

"I'm sure because I took all of the money out of your wallet before returning it. Look, I really need to get more sleep, so good night."

"Er, thank you, again. And good night." So placating her with money worked. Though cost a bit more then you would have wanted.

...and yes, she was telling the truth. Your wallet is now empty.

Ah well. You walk over to Zenovia.
You think about her offer. You think you know what she's trying. If you accept, she will take full responsibility for the incident, and try to cover up the fact that Clara had any involvement at all. If you refuse, then she will try to take full responsibility anyway, but most likely not do nearly as well, and will be very angry at you. So actually she will apologize either way, if that's all you are concerned about.
Of course, you could be wrong. She could very well just be deceptive about her motives.

[ ] Accept her offer.
[ ] Refuse.
>> No. 28117
[x] Refuse.

I don't care if it's dangerous. They are both bitches, and the worst thing is that Clara is actually proud that she could torture some spirit.
>> No. 28118
>Ah well. You walk over to Zenovia.

You mean Gioia, right?
>> No. 28119
File 127588711234.png - (312.26KB , 735x454 , sometimesIwantforSAsemoticons.png ) [iqdb]
28119
[x] Accept her offer.

>Sorry for the delay. I was busy watching [S] Descend over and over and over.
This is a perfectly acceptable excuse.
>> No. 28120
[x] Accept her offer.

Claria's reaction seems more Naivete than pure sadism. And if Gioia's willing to bear the burden, then if something goes sour, there won't be a problem with adding any more.

But damn, Yukari certainly is cold about her assessment; though I do think that full blown incident assessment is better left to the professionals, especially if they're expected to handle the extra stage same day as the incident being resolved. Makes me wonder how those two do it.
>> No. 28121
Hopefully we can go check up on Kogasa soon. Did we even get the tickets?

This is the second time Kogasa's paid for our foolishness.
>> No. 28122
>>28118

Oh, yes.

>>28121

You purchased them before getting sucked into extra stage.
>> No. 28123
[x] Refuse.
>> No. 28125
[x] Accept her offer.

Yukari's right, we aren't cut out for this incident business as we are now.

We need to start training again.
>> No. 28133
[x] Refuse.
>> No. 28138
>>28120
For Reimu, she does it by having craptons of skill & experience in the business, in addition to naturally having an edge over youkai anyway, due to being a miko.

...And Marisa just uses grossly absurd amounts of powerful magic to beat the ever-loving tar out people and things.
>> No. 28139
>>28138
So what about us? The MC has also shown some kind of skill. He used the ability analyse his situations calmly and precisely. I think, if we manage to train it, we might be able to acquire the ability to foreshadow and act to our best outcome. This could be a very powerful skill.
There is also another matter. Marisa is known to steal and modify the attacks and spellcards of other people, why not make the same except that we will copy fictional people? (implying that Touhoes aren't) If I am not mistaken, the MC uses some kind of charging attack. It would be funny and cool, if he modifies it to work and look like some kind of psycho crusher.
Well, so that's my opinion. I hope you understand what I mean, english isn't my first language.
I think we should discuss and bring our own ideas more often. Discussions can be very nice and I think it's also very motivating for the writer if we bring some talk into the threads.
>> No. 28140
>>28139 Here
One more thing. If the first heroine uses raw power and the second some kind of passive and instictive skill, then it would fit perfectly if the were the one to use his mind. Tt may make us vulnerable to mind reading, but I'm sure there would be some kind of countermeasure. Analysing is all about concentration, if we were able to concentrate to the level of multitasking, we might be able to think about some kind of annoying and loud disturb signal, while thinking at the same time about the more important matters.
But maybe I'm just wrong and reading to much into it. Whatever may be true, it's always fun to express his own ideas.
>> No. 28142
>>28138
I mean in terms of stamina, since I'm not sure if there's any extra stages where the heroine goes into it without much rest, but it'd require alot.

That's one of the big problems with our lead's attempt; he was rather worn out when he came here.
>> No. 28154
[x]Refuse
>> No. 28161
Is getting Gioia a lecture from Byakuren still in the plans?
>> No. 28162
>>28161
It's planned, but she might not agree to listen to Byakuren, if you refuse her offer. I suppose you could still manhandle her to the Temple and tie her to a wall even if she refuses to go, but Byakuren might find that a bit unsavory.
>> No. 28163
[X] Accept her offer.
>> No. 28196
File 127614099748.jpg - (274.23KB , 850x1180 , RIP.jpg ) [iqdb]
28196
Oh bother, a tie. I'll go with what was winning first, then.

---

[x]Refuse

You stand in front of the clown. "I am afraid to say I refuse your offer."

"I will make sure 'tis a choice you regret."

"Yeah, you do that, champ." So, as long as you here, maybe you should ask her to go take remedial lessons with Byakuren. Anger management, maybe. How to not threaten to kill people 101. "So, want to go to the Temple for a fun course on relationship advice, and by relationship advice I mean how to convince people without having to try to kill them?"

"You should know the answer to that question."

"Okay, about what I expected. How about I tell you that you have no choice?" You hold your hand forward.

"Even without my powers, I can kill."

You retract your hand. "Yeah, screw dealing with this." You turn back to Reimu. "I'm done here."

"Good. Yukari, let us out, please."

Yukari flips her fan, and a gap opens. "Young ladies first!" After announcing that, Yukari immediately enters the gap.

Well... you aren't a young lady, so you let Reimu go in before you.

---

You find yourself right outside the circus. There are a... surprising number of people waiting.

The moment you leave the gap, before you can even have time to take things in, someone approaches you. A girl, apparently a tengu, in a pink blouse and a checkered purple-and-black skirt.

"So, who are you?"

"Hatate Himekaidou, spirit photographer!" She pulls out a cellphone. "I'm, like, here to interview you. This way I'll so totally beat Aya for once!"

"So, what, am I going to have to endure another interview then?" You don't have enough energy for this crap.

"How was it that Aya does it?" She stops for a second, thinking. "I know! I challenge you to a danmaku duel!"

"Whoah there, I don't think I'm up to-" You hold your hands forward.

Snap! She takes your picture with her cellphone. "I win! Another victory for journalism! By the way, I like that dress. Who's your tailor?"

"Alice Margatroid. I mean, wait, no, please ignore the fact that I am wearing a dress." Silly questions aside, you... aren't really sure what's going on, but you shouldn't argue in this case. "Well, I'll leave you to that. You can go interview the other people."

"Like, Reimu and that old lady?"

Hatate suddenly vanishes into a gap.

Well now. Since that was taken care of, you can go on with the next orders of business. You know that Kogasa is taken care of, so you can afford to spend a bit of time making sure this whole damn mess is sorted out before going to Eientei.

You walk back towards the circus. You turn back to Reimu to say goodbye- hey. Uncomfortably close to her, there seems to be some kind of three-way standoff going between Yukari, Victoria, and Remilia. Sakuya stands by with a parasol, rather impassively.
No energy to deal with that mess. "I'm going back to the circus for a bit to sort this stuff out, and then going to Eientei." You walk off, waving at Victoria, who nods back but otherwise doesn't seem willing to move an inch.

Reimu yawns. "I'm going back to the shrine." She lifts off into the air.

"Let me come! I'll be sure to tuck you in goodnight." Yukari smiles wanly.

"You will do no such thing to my beautiful miko! You will not tempt her with your devious ways-"

"As an aristocrat I deserve say in what happens to Reimu! You commoners stand aside!"

"Oh not this again." Reimu throws three amulets, hitting each youkai in the forehead. "If you so much as touch me while I am sleeping that amulet will blow up."

"Oh, how scary." Yukari peels the amulet off with her fan. "I'll go back to Mayohiga then. You obviously don't want me around." Remilia, meanwhile, looks mildly nervous.
Victoria follows Reimu without a second thought, though. Such a brave, yet doomed, soul.

---

After a bit of asking around you find out that Mackenzie is currently in her office, in the head wagon.

She looks up as you enter. "You're back, I see."

"Yes I am."

"I must complement you on the dress."

"I was running out of good clothes. But I'm not here for fashion review, I'm here for a very important message."

"Is this about drunk driving?"

"What? No. Seriously, please don't get sarcastic on me here, I'm on my last legs by now."

"And I went through an entire performance after exhausting all of my power on a fight." She leans forward.

"Well I fought through your entire frikkin circus, several people unrelated to the circus, and just now almost got assassinated."

"Assassinated?" She looks curious. "One of the people unrelated to the circus, I hope?"

"Oh hell no. That's what I'm here about." You lean on the cane. "I think I understand what's going on by now, but could you please tell me everything about the wood used to make your wagons?"

"Clara said she had found a source of naturally-occuring magical wood, and by the time I had finished gathering up all of the people I needed to start the circus, she and her sister had successfully retrieved enough wood to make wagons. Why?"

"Okay, yeah, Clara lied to you. Or, well, she didn't so much lie as leave out some important details."

"There is noone in my circus who is a liar-"

"Yeah, can it. Look, I'm tired as all hell, but let me just tell you here and now that that wood was from the grove of a nymph."

"That is a very serious accusation."

"A few hours ago I fought that nymph. If you want I can take you to meet her, though she's pretty pissed at you all and might attack you on sight or something."

She thinks for a moment. "I will pursue an investigation into this, yes. I suppose that tomorrow I'll go over to... that Temple I have heard about, I assume? And there I will see with my own eyes. If this is true, I will have to have a talk with Clara and Gioia about this."

"I demand that the wagons are returned. Within a week and a half. I will provide wood to make replacement wagons with."

She sighs. "If you are telling the truth, that can be done."

"Out of curiosity, what sort of punishment would you give Clara and Gioia?"

"I will determine that after investigating. I do not like unsavory acts being performed for the sake of the circus, yes, but I will reserve judgement until I know just how severe the act was."

"I'd tell you, but... still really tired. So if you'll excuse me, I'll be leaving now, to Eientei. Gioia kind of messed up Kogasa good, when she realized I was going to the circus to report this."

Mackenzie shakes her head sadly. "I must say, that sounds like something she would do. I have never quite asked her, but I get the impression she was some sort of assassin before she came to work for me. She has never quite shook that kind of thinking, anyway."

"Oh, on that note, can you tell her to please not kill me? She really didn't want me to mention that Clara was at fault also."

A pause. "I'm not sure if I can. She is far more powerful then me. I will try to prevent her from doing anything rash, though."

"Okay, thanks." You walk out. "Bye."

"Goodbye."

A part of you wants Gioia to really pay for hurting Kogasa so bad, but another part of you feels more detached. You never have felt any particular ill will to Flandre, or even Yuuka. Or maybe it's just that you are too tired to feel angry. Who knows.

---

"Hello, Doctor Yagokoro."

"Ah. I expect you want to see the patient?"

"Yes. Please."

The good doctor leads you into one of the rooms in the clinc. Kogasa lies in a bed, asleep, and covered in all sorts of bandages. Ran is sitting by the bed, looking rather bored.
The shikigami looks up as you enter. "Welcome."

"Thank you for looking after Kogasa for me. You can go back now."

"Ah, yes. I have housework to finish."

"Yeah, good luck with that. I bet she leaves lots of used tissues for you to clean up, with how little luck she has with getting Reimu lately." Ran refrains from commenting as she hurries out, so you sit down where she was. You turn back to the doctor. "What's the prognosis?"

"Stable. The injury was... truly fascinating. I've never seen a wound like it."

"The attacker had some kind of weird ability. It was like... everything she picked up became deadly, no matter how mundane." You thought it was some sort of super strength at first, but that wouldn't explain why the weapons she was using didn't just break.

"Well, whatever the reason, it managed to badly wound Kogasa despite not being obviously magic, or even having a history. Truly an impressive skill, whatever it is." She glances at the clipboard on the table. "I expect her to make a full recovery, though. I performed surgery to prep her insides to regenerate, and gave her my strongest healing drugs. I expect she will be awake by tomorrow morning, and capable of moving on her own by late this week or early next."

This is problematic. "Will it be safe to move her?"

"I beg your pardon?"

"Well, we have circus tickets for tomorrow, and Kogasa seemed to want to go so bad."

"Ah. Well, maybe..." She thinks for a moment. "If I gave her some painkillers, you probably could. Youkai are hardly weak like humans, after all. As long as you carry her, and are careful not to jostle... she can probably sit in an upright position also. You should make sure to check- oh, I'll write down instructions for you, give me a moment..." She hurries out.

So she's getting paper or something?
...it occurs to you that the people at the Temple probably don't even know anything happened. You want to stay with Kogasa for as long as possible, but... well, maybe you can get her to send a letter.
You walk out into the hall.

"Doctor Yagokoro! Can you bring some paper for me also?"

"Eirin! Eirin! Where- oh, who's this?" You turn around. Behind you is a kind of familiar-looking woman. Oh, right, she's that Kaguya, right? You saw her at the party, and beforehand the doctor talked about a 'princess' quite a bit. "Oh, you are that guy who won that TF2 match."

"Oh, yes." That. It kind of reminds you, the bonesaw you got for it is sort of broken now.

"I see you are into cosplay too."

"Uh." What's she talking about?

"You should take better care of your outfits though. That one is pretty dirty."

Oh, shit, how do you keep forgetting that you are crossdressing? "Right, yeah. I got attacked while wearing it, though, so it can't be helped."

"Oh, aren't the hardships that us cosplayers face so difficult?"

"Yeah. Definitely."

"I know that I have lost many fine outfits to that dirty peasant Mokou. Why, that primitive has no appreciation for fine dress."

"I have it written down now- oh, Princess!" Eirin walks up. She hands you a piece of paper with instructions written down on it.
...you've heard she was a hack before, but you didn't believe it until now. This woman has good handwriting. There is no way she can be a real doctor.

"There you are, Eirin! I'm having a little problem at the moment..."

The doctor sighs. "Yes, yes." And her princess quickly leads her off.

...you never got a chance to ask to send a message.

Well, maybe that nice bunny will be able to help.

---

After getting Reisen to send a messenger rabbit to the Temple for you, you return to the clinic room.

You sit on the bed. Damn, this is the second time that someone has bloodily impaled Kogasa. Why in the world does that in particular keep happening? Is it you fate to see Kogasa get run through by a series of increasingly unlikely weapons?

So, with a helpful bit of doctor's advice, you can probably take Kogasa to the circus tomorrow. She said it would probably work. But... would it be the best idea?

[ ] There is no way you are just going to leave her here in this boring clinic.
[ ] You don't want to risk hurting her again.
[ ] But maybe you should wait until she wakes up, and ask her what she thinks?
>> No. 28198
[X] But maybe you should wait until she wakes up, and ask her what she thinks?

I hope she wasn't traumatized into a clown phobia or anything.
>> No. 28199
Okay, now I have to read this from the start.
>> No. 28200
[X] But maybe you should wait until she wakes up, and ask her what she thinks?
>> No. 28201
Kogasa's judgment isn't necessarily going to be the best, I'd think, given she'll not only be doped up on painkillers, but there's a chance she'll claim she's better than she really is, just so she can get a chance to go there.
>> No. 28206
[x] But maybe you should wait until she wakes up, and ask her what she thinks?

Not only will we be fully rested tomorrow, Nue and the others will all be there as well. We'll be able to protect Kogasa if needed.

Don't let down your guard. Phantasm Stage is just around the corner.
>> No. 28209
[x] You don't want to risk hurting her again.

I thought we're going after Nue.
>> No. 28210
[x] But maybe you should wait until she wakes up, and ask her what she thinks?

>>28209
I thought we were going after both of them. But I'm perfectly fine with just Kogasa.
>> No. 28221
>>28206
I don't think there'll be one; it'd take someone Yukari Tier to warrant that.

>>28209
I'm aiming for both, the perfect Waifu team; what one lacks the other excels in.

[x] But maybe you should wait until she wakes up, and ask her what she thinks?

I'm just hoping we won't regret our decision to refuse the deal. I suspect Gioia's power is related to damage.

Silly Hatate, There's very few people other than Reimu who can call her old lady and walk away from it.
>> No. 28228
[X] But maybe you should wait until she wakes up, and ask her what she thinks?

Depends on how well her regeneration is going.
>> No. 28267
[Q] But maybe you should wait until she wakes up, and ask her what she thinks?

And now, having read this from the start, I can say that I love you and your story. So far, the beginning and the circus arc have been pretty awesome. I hope to see you continue more of this.
>> No. 28277
File 127682326287.jpg - (34.57KB , 237x301 , dontdoitshou.jpg ) [iqdb]
28277
Coincidentally, that "you sit on the bed" thing was a typo. I meant to say that you sat down on the chair. But it's not an important detail so whatever I'm going to roll with it.
In other news, this sure took a long time to write.

---

[X] But maybe you should wait until she wakes up, and ask her what she thinks?

It might be a bad idea. It might hurt her. On the other hand, it might not, and it would sure be boring to sit in a hospital bed all day doing nothing. They don't even have TV here, so she wouldn't even have that. So maybe you should ask her what she thinks. It's her body, after all.

You sit back a bit, stretching. Then you get up off the bed, careful to not disturb her any. You can stay with her for the remainder of the day. You owe her that much, at least, given how this is all from your mistake. And, well, even if you wanted to go off on another adventure for the rest of today, you barely have the energy. You seem to have hit a point in exhaustion where you no longer can tell that you are tired. You are honestly not sure how bad of a sign that is, so it's probably best to just take it easy here. You sit down on the chair next to the bed. It's a good enough chair, so you might as well stay here.
...now that you think of it, you are pretty hungry. Doctor Yagokoro is off somewhere, doing some job for the princess, so you can't ask her. You probably should have asked nice bunny when you had a chance.

The door opens. A bunny-girl in a pink dress with short black hair comes in with a tray of food. "Reisen prepared this for you, usa."

"Ah, thank you." You take the tray.

Wait.

Wait.

You remember why that particular bunny looks familiar, all of a sudden. You look at the food warily. "Did you poison this or anything?"

And then you look up. She's gone already.

Wonderful. You'll just abstain from eating then.

You put the tray down on a nearby table. Self-restraint. You can't eat this, who knows what will happen for you. She has got to want revenge for you stuffing her in a closet.
Got to.

She probably slipped something into the food. Which is a shame, because it looks pretty good, doubly so since you are so hungry.
You lick your lips. It smells good, too.

...one bite couldn't hurt, could it? You're much more resistant to poisons and stuff now, aren't you? The whole being a cool powerful supernatural being thing. It's gotta give you some kind of resistance to this stuff.

Actually, if she poisoned you, she would have hell to pay, right? You are in a hospital. If you died of poison, the good doctor would know.
Yeah, it's probably safe to eat this.

---

Soon enough, you find yourself in the bathroom. Apparently poisons are off-limits, but laxatives are A-OK. You still aren't used to these traditional japanese toilet things, too.
Ah well, at least the food was welcome.

When you get back to the room, you find Nue there. She looks kind of unhappy.

"Why is it that every time I let you and Kogasa go alone, one of you ends up hurt?"

"I don't like this any more then you do."

"I'm not blaming you, just observing." She sighs. "I'm guessing that someone wasn't happy with you going to the circus to complain?"

"A fair guess, yes. Someone very experienced in youkai-slaying too, it seems."

"Well, I happened to run into the messenger while on the way here. It won't be long until other people show up, I think."

"Not sure what they could do at this point. She seems to be recovering okay, and she's not awake or anything so there wouldn't be any aspect of companionship."

Nue shrugs. "Beats me." She looks over Kogasa again. "So, what caused the wound? Some kind of powerful danmaku blast? Or maybe an arrow?"

"...an arrow?"

"Can't trust arrows." Nue shudders slightly. "Always showing up where you don't expect them."

You can play this game too. "In Indian burial grounds, and on road signs, and on the foreheads of little bald kids who are lucky enough to have their own cartoon shows..."

"It's suspicious, if you ask me."

You pause. "Well, it was a rubber chicken, if it really matters too much."

"Rubber chicken? Never heard of them. But, given the kind of place that circus is, was it somebody with weird theme danmaku?"

"Actually, it wasn't danmaku. She just threw it really hard. Or something. I think she might have some youkai power backing it up."

Nue shakes her head. "Poor kid."

---

Soon enough, others arrive. Fewer people then you expected, actually, although there aren't that many people who can fit in this room. Specifically, Byakuren, Ichirin, and Unzan. Apparently, Ichirin and Unzan were so busy trying to track down the thief they didn't get word that she had been caught until much later. Unzan especially felt kind of bad about totally missing the entire thing... apparently. All you have is Ichirin's word for it anyway.
Byakuren brings some flowers, though. An assortment.
You discuss the possible problems with transporting Kogasa to the circus, and Nue volunteers to help you move her. However, after some thought, you request Unzan's help instead. He is very big and fluffy, after all. They agree readily. You can kind of tell that the two are happy to have something to do besides that sham of a 'guarding' job that Byakuren probably gives them to make them feel better. Nice woman, but she needs to learn how to delegate work better. Shou ends up doing basically all of the housework, Byakuren herself does the religious duties, and Nazrin does basically everything outside of the Temple. Everyone else either has nothing to do or only has token duties. You're hardly much of an organizer yourself, though, so maybe it's not as easy as it sounds.
After a while they left, though, and left you alone again. Nue left eventually, too. There's only so much a person can do in a hospital room, after all.

You decide to spend this time thinking, then.

How can you prevent things like this from happening in the future?
Well, for one, you can not go out of your way to attack dangerous-looking youkai, and avoid sticking your neck into conspiracies.
It can be hard to identify a conspiracy, though.

You could, though... do... something... about... about what?
...maybe you are more tired then you thought you were.

---

You sit at a table with a mind-reader and a crow. You have been human for a scant few hours, and you are already beginning to be able to identify awkward social situations. The one-sided table talk, especially.
You really wish you could leave this damn place and go find something fun to do.

---

You can't really remember your dream, but it does leave you with an odd urge to take your clothes off.
However, it seems that you have been beaten to the punch, because you are already naked.

...also, you are in a bed. In a different room than the one Kogasa is in, presumably, unless you traded places... oh, yes, there are no flowers, definitely a different room.
You have some light bandaging, and you notice a change of clothes on the nearby counter.

Right, you were kind of wounded yourself. Maybe after the good doctor was done babysitting her bratty princess she came back to find you asleep, and decided to treat you also.
This does mean that this is the third time she has undressed you while you were unconcious. Maybe. You were, uh, kind of unconcious, so you don't know for sure. Maybe she got nice bunny to do it for her.
Or is it the second time? Oh, who cares.

As you rub the sleep from your eyes, the aforementioned nice bunny enters the room with a tray of food. Noticing that you are still naked, and have thrown the covers half-aside, she quickly averts her eyes and hurries out.
Such bad timing. At least she left the tray in the room, though.

Om nom nom nom. Your hunger is... much, much greater than what it normally is right after waking up. Might have to do with using up so much energy yesterday.
Much much greater. You've finished this plate of food off, so fast that you didn't even process what kind of food it was, and you are still hungry.

You go off in search of more, almost forgetting to dress before leaving the room.

You find your pace speeding up. Got to go get food, faster. Hey, it's not irrational, right? After all that you don't want to trust the circus good, anyway. So it's a good thing to get a lot of food now!
You bump into something. Going a fair clip faster than an indoor speed, also, so it's not so much a 'bump' as it as a 'crash'.
Yes, you crash into something.
Going by the surprised sound, someone.

Oh, it's nice bunny. You gingerly pull yourself off her, and then wave.

She waves back, a little bit dazed, before moving her hands to pick a (thankfully empty) bowl off her head.

"Can I have some more food?"

"Oh." She picks herself off the ground, wavering a bit. You notice her skin is pale, and there are several red marks on her neck, like she was punctured by needles. "The kitchen is that way." She points.

"Thanks." She probably just isn't good with mornings. Or something. Too hungry to really think critically. Uh, despite previous evidence to the contrary.

You quickly make your way to the kitchen and take some of the food there. Lots of carrots, actually, but whatever you can deal with it. You stuff your mouth with a bunch of carrots and then run back to Kogasa's room. Gotta eat on the go.

---

When you get there, you find Kogasa eating also. It looks like she was delivered food too.

She looks up from a bowl of rice. "Oh, hi." A bit weak, but not unhappy.

"Mmph!" Wait. You pause to take a carrot out of your mouth. "Hello." You sit down next to her. "Are you feeling okay?"

"A bit sore." She thinks. "But I'm going to be okay." She nods slowly, as if to illustrate.

"That's good." A bit of an awkward pause. "Byakuren brought you flowers."

"I saw them. They're pretty."

"So, uh, everyone was worried about you, so they'll be happy to know you are all right." Although they knew that she was going to do already from the doctor's report, and... oh, you're not that good at this.

She smiles. "It feels nice being wanted."

The conversation dies for a while. You let Kogasa finish the meal before going on. "So, uh, about today."

"Yes?"

"I wanted to know if you still wanted to go to the Circus. After, you know, that."

She nods, a bit more emphatically this time.

"Well, Eirin gave me this..." You fish around in your pockets for the paper before realizing that you now have a different set of clothes on. After a minute you find it lying on the table, as Kogasa watches with curiosity. "Here they are. Instructions to make sure you aren't hurt by being moved." You pause. "You still sure you want to do this? You've taken painkillers, but that wound was quite bad. According to this if you move yourself too much you might reopen your wound without even noticing."

"I can behave."

"Alright. Unzan will be coming by at some point to help move you."

"Unzan?"

"Well, I figured he is nice and fluffy. Probably better for carrying injured people then Nue."

"Oh, that makes sense." She thinks for a second. "I don't think I've ever been carried by Unzan, either. He sometimes carries Ichirin. I wonder what it's like." Her optimisim is quite astounding.

"Yeah."

Another pause in the conversation. Kogasa seems to still be a little sleepy.

Even with her optimisim, though. How can she... "Kogasa, you aren't scared?"

"Why should I be?"

"I mean, you got hurt really badly. You would have died if Yukari hadn't gotten you to Eientei so quickly, probably."

"But it won't happen again, right?"

"Oh, believe me, it won't." You really hope that's the truth. "Reimu ended up beating Gioia, and I made sure that the ringleader knows about this. The Temple is probably going to be on the defensive for a while, too, since they probably know about what happened by now."

"Then I don't need to worry, with all of those trustworthy people trying to keep it from happening again." She smiles.

Damn she is too nice to you. "It's just that, seeing you injured like that again, I..." You think back to the scene. "...you didn't deserve that. I should have... I..."

She leans over and hugs you. "It's alright."

---

You walk out of Eientei, carrying about the heaviest umbrella you have ever picked up (but don't tell her that). Unzan waits outside for you, and accepts the precious cargo you gingerly offer.

Strangely enough, she had no need to change before you left. Her outfit was doing perfectly fine. There wasn't even a hole in it. Is this some youkai ability you just didn't get? It would have been handy, say, all of those times you were forced to crossdress due to lack of clothes yesterday.

Nazrin approaches you (she must have snuck up, because you didn't see her before), and hands you a small blue crystal.

"What's this for?"

"It will make you easier to track. Just in case you are spirited away again."

A reasonable precaution, although you aren't sure how much good it will do. "Oh, okay." Wait a second. "How did you know about the whole spiriting away thing? Or alternate dimension or whatever."

"Do not underestimate my intelligence-gathering capabilities."

"Did you talk to Yukari or Reimu or someone?" But she has already left. You hadn't even thanked her yet.
My, how nice of her to be so transparent and informative. On the other hand you didn't get her a ticket and maybe she's pissed.

...but on the other other hand (the third hand? You haven't met anyone with three hands yet, right? You wouldn't be too surprised if you did, though.) there isn't any super magic barrier around the circus anymore, so she could probably just sneak in. You don't doubt for a moment that her skill at sneaking would be enough for that. Silent as a mouse when she needs to be.

No matter. The three of you set out. Oh, wait, Ichirin's here. It's pretty hard to miss her, but not for the same reason it's hard to miss Nazrin. Uh, the four of you set out, then.

---

"So, how's the ride?"

"It's comfy! I see why Ichirin does this!"

"It does look like that."

"H-hey! Don't talk about me like I'm not here!"

"Oh, sorry."

Unzan mumbles something, and Ichirin shakes her head sadly in agreement.

And there's the circus, up ahead. There's only a short line, yet, since this is quite a bit before the show. Kogasa wanted to come early, to look around more. You have to admit that the grounds did look pretty fun when not actually rampaging through them shooting, as you found out when sneaking out. Then again, the thing that captivated you most then was Gioia juggling, and you would rather not encounter her now for obvious reasons.

It is as you approach the ticket booth that you realize that you didn't buy tickets for Ichirin and Unzan. And, at that, you never actually gave anyone else their tickets. You kind of forgot to in the confusion.

Once you reach the end of the line, Zelby gives you a weary look. "Oh, you people again? That is, tickets please."

"Is that how you treat all customers?" You dig your wallet out of your pocket, and take the tickets out. At least you remembered the tickets. "For me and Kogasa." You hand her two.

"I'm still sore, you know." She takes the tickets.

You turn back. "Er, Ichirin, Unzan, I kind of realized I hadn't gotten tickets for you-"

Ichirin offers two tickets to Zelby. Well, that solves that.

Now to deal with the other problem. "Also, uh, I forgot to give the other tickets to the people I got them for, so if I gave them to you could you let the following people in?" You hold out the remaining four tickets. Which proceed to vanish from your hands.
Uh. You look back and forth, and see a floating ball of light next to you.

Goddamn. She really can be stealthy like that after all. You just assumed that was a joke or something.

Nue's voice comes out, slightly garbled. "I'll deal with that. Don't worry." And then nueorb flies off.

Well, that solves that. "Okay, nevermind."

"Welcome to Mackenzie Carat's All-Youkai Circus. Try not to break anything else, we aren't exactly rich."

---

The four of you wander the grounds for a while. It's more set-up than it was yesterday. There is food and music and low-level festivities everywhere. Fairies flit around everywhere, playing and hiding and exploring. You encounter that maid, who is watching the fairies with jaded amusement, and exchange some brief greetings. Otherwise, though, you just wander. You would think that it would be uncomfortable to carry someone around, but despite the grumbling Ichirin and Unzan seem to actually be happy. Maybe they are glad to have a change of scenery from their 'guarding' job. You do get a few odd looks, though, from curious fairies.
You happen to pass by that dunk-tank, and she begins to throw insults. However, she then seems to notice Kogasa's condition, and actually backs off (albeit with some reluctance.) Curious.
About halfway through, Nue rejoins the group. Once she does, conversation picks up a bit. It seems that Byakuren has more or less figured out what happened by now, and expressed a desire in talking to Clara and Gioia. Presumably she figured it out via Nazrin's information network that nevertheless failed to warn about this ambush ahead of time. Well, the ambush was probably planned in that negative-world, and there weren't any mice there, so it shouldn't be a huge surprise. Ah well. Also, she recounts that epic chase scene she had with Shou yesterday. Apparently, the cops got involved, even. Nue claims that 'even now, Detective Kotohime is probably wondering how a trapdoor was installed on the main merchantile road without anyone noticing'.
That's very nice, Nue, and it explains how you made that secret underground hideout, but is it really the most responsible use of shapeshifting magic?

Oh, who cares. Seriously. Just get the tourism board to call it an attraction and everything will be fine. ...does Human Village have a tourism board? You aren't really sure.
If there is a tourism board it isn't doing a good job. Not really an interesting place to visit. Only exciting if you like children and/or hot schoolteachers. Or if you want to buy supplies and don't trust/aren't trusted by the Kappa.

The others join up with you later on. Byakuren looks a little worried, but happy to see Kogasa so cheerful. Your roommate, on the other hand, looks pretty chill, but unhappy to be holding the ship-in-a-bottle. Apparently he volunteered to carry it, but he definitely looks like he regrets the decision now.
You take it from him before he drops it by accident or something.

After only a bit more looking around, it seems like the time to get into the big top. Your group files in. You holding the ship-in-a-bottle, Nue carrying a candied apple that now looks like a UFO for some reason, your roommate carrying a bag of peanuts, Byakuren carrying an icecream cone (you aren't sure if icecream is a circus food, but there's no reason to worry too much about it), Ichirin carrying two cones of cotton candy, Unzan carrying Kogasa, and Kogasa carrying herself. Kind of. Carrying the umbrella which is also herself anyway. She looks quite excited.
You seem to be at the head of the group, so you lead them up into the stands. You consider getting a good seat at the front, but after the events of yesterday you wouldn't feel safe at that distance. Instead, you go for a fairly low seat, but one that is still high enough to put a few rows of bodies between you and the performers in case of bad shit going down.

Nobody objects to your decision, either out of not caring too much about the location of the seats or out of agreeing with your unspoken logic.
Soon enough the stands of the Big Top have filled up to capacity. Actually, it looks over capacity. Some fairies are actually sitting on the shoulders of other fairies, or sharing seats with each other. One of them tries to sit down on the floor in front of the stands, but is shooed off. A quick scan shows a few people you recognize. That maid has a front-row seat, along with the two vampires. The seats they are taking up were actually taken before, they just kicked out the fairies that were there. Also, that blue fairy and the green one are on higher-up seats. You didn't think they worked for the SDM, so maybe they bought tickets with their own money. Or snuck in.
...and speaking of sneaking in, Nazrin is sitting off on the highest row. Either she managed to sneak in unnoticed or bought tickets earlier.
Beyond that there doesn't seem to be anyone else you immediately recognize in the crowd. There are other people who aren't fairies. People from the human village, various youkai in different-colored dresses who are only vaguely familiar, and so on. There are a lot of youkai living in Gensokyo, after all, you can hardly be expected to keep track of every single random elemental spirit you don't keep in touch with!
There is no-one inside the ring, though.

The lights dim. The various conversations in the crowd die down. Some particularly dim fairies continue talking, but are quickly shushed by their peers. A spotlight shines on the center of the ring, and suddenly the ringmaster is there.

She is holding a green megaphone. "Welcome, all, to Mackenzie Carat's All-Youkai Circus! Now, most nights I promise to take the audience into a land of mystery and wonder. However, you folk already do live in such a place, so I don't think that would be too exciting a promise. Still, just maybe, my circus has brought a bit of wonder of a different kind in. I hope you enjoy the show."

A bit of applause.

"Now, first, I want you all to welcome some animals never before seen in Gensokyo before the Circus has come. Our Circus's three elephants, Mombo," she flicks her whip behind her, without even looking back, and an elephant poofs into existance, "Vincent," another whipcrack and another elephant, "and Reaper." The third elephant makes its abrupt arrival. Each elephant has some colorful elephant clothing on, you're not sure what the technical word for that is, and feather headdresses and such. Very flashy and glittery stuff, anyway.
The crowd applauds some more, but you are a bit busy wondering who the hell came up with those names. Seriously. You can accept Mombo, that sounds like an elephant name, but Vincent? And that third elephant must have been the mount of a dark and gritty comic book antihero or something to get a shitty name like that.
Many of the fairies give the elephants curious looks. In fact, most of the audience has obviously never seen elephants before. Of course, Remilia doesn't look at all curious, and actually seems kind of puffed-up about not being so. Flandre, on the other hand, has reached forward, and probably was about to blow one of them up before she is stopped by an elegant gloved hand in her wrist.

"Of course, just seeing them isn't the only part of the show." She wraps the whip around her waist, and then raises her hand up. A long trough of water appears, and the elephants all gather water into their trunks and spray it upwards. Huh, she doesn't need to use her whip to do this? She was whipping all over the place during your fight.
Then again, maybe she doesn't need to. Presumably her animals are better trained for doing the show than they are for fighting.

That water is pretty dark, though. Maybe it's not pure wat-
It catches on fire in midair. They end the sprays of water just before the fire could move back and touch their trunks. Wait, that was oil or something?
The crowd oohs and aahs.

"This is hardly all they can do, though." Mackenzie sweeps her hand, and they lower their trunks. "After the main show, Vincent will be holding a painting session. We would have held it before the show, but he wasn't feeling inspired enough." She coughs. "But I should stop delaying the show. Because..." She looks up in mock surprise. "...it looks like Esen is getting impatient!"

A fairy flips down from the ceiling on a trapeze, and lands on the back of one of the elephants. She holds up a hoop. A moment later, two more of her land on the other elephants, with their own hoops.

The ringmistress runs forward, snapping her fingers. The elephants begin walking in a circle behind her. "Those of you in the audience might have noticed it already, but this big top has an enchantment on it that prevents flight magic. We don't believe in cheating like that!"

Huh. You hadn't noticed. You try to fly a bit, experimentally, and find that you indeed can't. You quickly look back and forth. If the others in your group are trying it, you don't see them do so. They are all watching at some level of rapt attention, with Kogasa being rapt enough to qualify as 'wack', and that bastard only slightly rapt.

You turn back. Now more fairy-clones are flipping around on trapezes, precisely going through the hoops. It's a rather impressive display of coordination. There seems to be a trapeze to cover every possible path of motion they can take, and there is no way they have all of those stored above, so Clara must be somewhere bringing them in and out of the minus-world.
...thinking like that will ruin the experience. You should just enjoy the show.

The trapezing gets more and more complex. Is that a real word? Trapezing? One of the elephants stops, and stands up on it's rear legs. The one in front of it stops, and half-stands-up. And the one in front of that one stops but stays horizontal. This would be easier to describe if you kept track of which elephant was which.
And then a trapeze carrying three Esens at once flips over. They all detach at the same time, and each goes through a different hoop. The top Esen then catches the next trapeze, the middle Esen catches the top Esen's legs again, and the bottom Esen then catches the middle one's legs.

That was pretty impressive, yes.

The elephants move into a triangular formation, and the Esens carrying the hoops begin to toss the hoops between them. Each toss, another Esen trapezes through it in midair.

Clown-imps begin pouring in, apparently out of nowhere. Half of them are carrying more hoops, and toss them to the Esens to circulate. The other half are carrying lit torches, and begin waddling in circles around the elephants. More Esens appear to handle the new hoops, so that they can all be in air all the time.
The motion begins to get so complex that, by now, a normal human would probably be unable to follow it all. There seem to be more and more acrobat fairies appearing, and swinging through hoops at different angles. Yet there is not a single mishap. They barely even touch each other, and when they do it's obvious that it is part of the act. One of them will grab onto the other in midair, and they will become a chain, sometimes using the collision to change direction in midair and grab onto a trapeze moving at an odd angle.

And then one of the clowns trips and tosses the torch high. It neatly flies through a ring, which catches on fire. The crowd gasps, but the action does not so much as slow down one bit. On examination it seems that was actually a purposeful pratfall. The hoop that is on fire keeps getting thrown very close to other hoops, catching them on fire too. Within seconds half of the hoops are on fire, and then they all are.
The finale is obviously approaching for this act. The speed of the performance has leveled off, presumably to the limit of Esen's ability. The hoops are all tossed at once, all towards each other, and the moment they all collide every Esen in midair goes through one of the hoops. They grab hands as the hoops all vanish in puffs of flame, and turn into a spinning wheel of fairy. Despite that, their collision managed to be so precise that they actually canceled out each other's motion, and the wheel falls to the ground, still spinning.
The wheel lands on the ground, and the other Esens hop there too. They all line up and bow, to the crowd's applause. None of their leotards are so much as singed.
All but one of the Esens flicker and vanish, and Esen prime flips off on a trapeze to nowhere. The clowns, on the other hand, seem to have vanished at some point while everyone was focused on the performers.
>> No. 28279
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Mackenzie pulls up her megaphone again, once the applause has died down. "My, I should tell the clowns to be more careful when they are playing with fire." Gioia flickers in beside her. You notice she has thick gloves on now, presumably to conceal the sealing amulets. "Oh, good timing."

You lean over to Kogasa, and whisper, "Are you sure you're alright watching this? Not scared of her or anything?"

"Nuh-uh." She doesn't look like she is bluffing, either.

"Okay." It occurs to you. After all this, she isn't scared of Gioia. However, she is deathly afraid of Sanae. That brings up the question of why?

Your thinking is interrupted by Mackenzie responding to Gioia's questioning look. "You need to tell your subordinates to be more careful! Hoops don't grow on trees, you know!"

Gioia nods, and walks over to one of the clown imps. This one is taller then the others. The second-in-command?

The head clown pantomimes being angry, and the second-in-command nods. Well, you guess that if she actually talked, it wouldn't fit the mood of the scene. A bit too stilted and formal for a comedy routine.

And then that taller clown walks over to one of the normal clowns, and shouts wordlessly some.

And then that clown stomps over to Mackenzie, but is yanked away by Gioia before having a chance to complete the circle.

Gioia goes back up to the lieutenant, and acts angry again. The lieutenant shrugs, and Gioia slaps him (her? You honestly have no idea what gender those things are.) And she is slapped back, and puts on an angry look and slaps again. And they continue slapping until the third clown walks over, looking confused, and the two of them pull themselves together.
Gioia 'yells' at them both, and they run off waving.

And then they round back, as a little car approaches. The car skids to a halt in front of Gioia, and clowns start piling out. And piling out. And piling out. By the time it's over, there are what must be nearly fifty clown-imps pooled around in front of Gioia.

She stamps and yells at them all, and pulls out a torch. She lights it and holds it, and then walks back and forth. Then she turns, and gestures to the other clowns.

They all pull out torches and start walking back and forth, too. But one trips, and then another accidently throws the torch, and so on, until they are a pile of quivering clowns with torches strewn about. Luckily none of them lit those things or this would be a clown bonfire.

Gioia fumes and looks to her second-in-command, who is silently laughing. She shoves the torch into the imp's hand and storms off. It shrugs and walks back to the ringmistress, but trips over it's oversized shoes on the way, sending the lit torch flying straight at Mackenzie.

A split-second before it hits her, though, the torch is deflected off course by a thrown knife. The torch lands a couple feet away, pinned to the ground. Gioia shoots a sour look back before fully leaving the Big Top.

Mackenzie Carat looks at the heap of clowns, then looks at the bigger clown eating dirt in front of her, and then back at the audience. "I probably shouldn't trust clowns with torches." She stamps out the torch, and then straightens up a bit.

You quickly look around the crowd, to scan the reaction. The fairies look amused, mostly, but the reaction of the rest of the audience is kind of mixed.
As for your group, Kogasa looks pretty happy, and Nue is snickering. The others are more neutral. Slapstick like that definitely isn't something Byakuren would like, for instance.

You turn your attention to Nue, then. Kogasa you expected, but... "So you liked that?"

"A bit. It's kind of cheap, though. Like a guilty pleasure."

"Oh, it's like that way with me too. Only I don't like it, so instead of a guilty pleasure it's just guilty."

Mackenzie cracks her whip a few times, and lions appear. The clowns all get up at once and scatter, leaving in record time. As if it wasn't obvious enough that they were just pretending to be uncoordinated. Things were kind of freakishly agile when you were fighting Gioia.

She pulls up the megaphone again. "I'm not happy letting my employees be the only ones to put their necks on the line, no. I'm sure that most people in the audience are familiar with lions? If not, I'm sure you can guess by looking at them." She sweeps her hands out, gesturing at the prowling cats.

She puts her hand on one's head, and it immediately snarls and snaps at her. To no avail. She then grabs it's head and yanks open it's mouth, and sticks her head it. And then lets go.
It doesn't bite down. She removes her head, entirely calm. "Of course, folks, we both know these are youkai lions. That's not exciting at all, is it, the idea that they are just in on the act too. So is there anyone there who thinks they can provide a bit of incentive for them to want to kill me?"

A momentary silence. And then Remilia stands up, and strides over confidantly. "That sounds like a wonderful idea." She grabs the lion by the mouth and stares into it. "I just change their fates a little..." And then she lets go, and walks back to her seat.

A change comes over the lions. They suddenly seem more aggressive, more bloodthirsty. To an unreasoning degree, even for a normal animal. They prowl angrily for a moment, and one leaps at her. One puts her entire arm in it's mouth... and she stares at it. There's a tense silence as they stare at each other, and then she pulls her arm out of the lion's mouth. The lion does nothing to stop her, as if frozen in place, and leaps back and returns to prowling the moment she breaks eye contact.
She walks over to another one, and sticks her arm into it's mouth this time. It's unable to do a thing.

Another lion leaps at her, claws stretches, and she moves her gaze to it. It stumbles in midair and misses entirely, skidding to a halt off to the side.

She walks off, back into the center of the ring. "All three lions have failed to so much as scratch me. Perhaps someone in the audience will do better tomorrow."

Remilia shakes her head. "With the trick you are using nobody ever will, you fox." You can't see her face from this angle, but you bet she's smirking.

"I don't know what you are talking about." All innocent-like, even. Well, whatever that 'trick' is, she doesn't seem too inclined to share it. Part of the mystery, it seems.
Or maybe Remilia is just a sore loser.

The shows go on from there. They are pretty good, yes. You'd say that the acrobatics and tricks are better than the clowns and the comedy, but maybe you just don't have what it takes to appreciate slapstick.
You have to administer some painkillers to Kogasa about halfway through. Otherwise, though, nothing serious comes up. It looks like the eventualities most of these instructions were written for probably won't come about.

After a while the intermission comes.

Kogasa leans over towards you. "Can you get me some snacks?"

"Oh, okay." Not like she can go get them herself.

"Hey, get me a soda or something. Also, some popcorn." Gee, thanks, you bastard. "I'll pay you back." Eh, in the spirit of magnanimosity you'll play along with him.

You wait for a bit, to see if anyone else wants something. However, it doesn't look like it. Well, Byakuren probably needs to watch her figure or something, and Murasa isn't in a position to eat anything. Ichirin still hasn't finished that cotton candy, too. She sure got a lot.
Alright then, time to go. Nue follows you as you leave.

---

You approach the food vendors outside. "So, you want to pick out your food yourself or something?"

"That, and you have no money."

You pause, freeze in place. Nue almost runs into you.

"Holy shit. I had forgotten already. Man, that would have been really embarassing if I got food then was unable to pay."

"Yeah. So you better be thankful that I am looking after your ass so well."

"Wait, how did you know I had no money?"

"You mentioned Reimu took all your money earlier. While going around the grounds."

You don't remember saying that. Oh, whatever. "Okay. So, you have money with you, then?"

"Nah."

"Oh, big help you are, then."

She gives you a sly look. "Don't worry, I have a plan." She pulls out a flier for the circus she must have picked up somewhere, and looks back and forth for a moment. And then she rips it into shreds, and moves her hand over it in a weird way. The strips of paper turn into paper money.

She hands you the fake money. "Is that really ethical?"

"Oh, it's just pocket change. Snack money. It's not hurting the circus too much."

"But if everyone did it-"

"Few people in Gensokyo are as good with illusions as I am. Look, don't worry about the details too much, okay?"

"Oh, fine." You go over to the counter.

So, the selection... they have popcorn, of course, so you'll need to get some of that. And yes, bottles of soda.
But what should you get for Kogasa? She never actually asked for anything in particular, so you're not sure. "Hey, Nue, any idea what I should get Kogasa?"

"Beats me."

"Maybe something filling? She's regenerating and all, so she's gotta be in need of energy."

"Sounds like a plan. Two more of those candied apples, please." She pays the woman at the counter with some more (presumably fake) money.

You step up next. "Okay. I'll have a bag of popcorn, a soda, and..." What's the most filling thing they have here? "...two slices of pizza, how about?" You're not entirely sure if pizza is 'circus food', but then again nobody in Gensokyo is going to know the difference anyway.

"Is that all?"

Hm. Nue gave you a fair bit of fake money, actually. You could get something for yourself too. "And also a hot dog." Sure, why not. Go for variety. But not too much. You once knew a guy who liked jelly on his hot dogs. Ick.

You walk back to the Big Top, box of food in hand. Nue, meanwhile, has made the candied apples into UFOs again. "Why UFOs?"

"Tastes better this way?"

"Really?"

"Nah, just kidding. It's for fun."

"Oh, okay."

You scale the stands and return to the group.

"Okay, here's your soda and popcorn." you hand over the stuff to that jerk. "And here's what I got for you." You give the slices of pizza to Kogasa.

"What is it?"

"It's called pizza. It's an Italian food or something."

"Paytza?"

"Close enough."

She starts eating, and she does indeed look kind of hungry. You are distracted from the very important task of watching a girl eat, though, by your roommate. "How much was it?"

You had totally forgot he said he was going to pay you back!
Well, technically, you got the stuff for free, but you tell him what the supposed cost of the popcorn and soda is, and he gives you the money. So Nue's tricks scored you some cash after all. Sweet!
...you were tricking that person at the stands to accept fake money, and tricking your roommate into thinking you spent money. So it's kind of, like, double-theft though. Or something. Oh well, don't worry about the details too much.

Oh, hey, it looks like the intermission is about to end. You look around, to see if your group looks happy. Kogasa is definitely enjoying the pizza, and meanwhile Nue's 'UFOs' are levitating around her. Well, if it tastes better that way, go for it. Byakuren seems to be enjoying herself in a genteel way, on the other hand. One icecream cone must have been enough. Ichirin and Unzan are having a lively conversation you can't hear. Murasa is... you can't really tell, her voice isn't very loud when possessing that ship. She is probably happy that she actually has a seat, though, as opposed to just being on someone's lap. Maybe. You'd have to ask her. And your roommate seems pretty happy to sit down and eat popcorn.

Okay. The ringmistress has appeared, and has taken out her megaphone again. "Welcome back, to the second half of our performance. Now, due to... unforseen difficulties yesterday, we were forced to cut off the second half. On the bright side, though, that means that these acts have never been seen before in Gensokyo. So, with no further ado..."

The performance continues. Overall, you don't really change your earlier opinion. The tricks and stunts are definitely their strongest part, while the slapstick is only so-so. The animals are a big hit, too, though with your outside-world knowledge it doesn't impress you too much. It seems a little bit... strained, though. Perhaps it's because many circuses include freak shows or other such curiosities, but there would be no freaks freakish enough to really shock a youkai audience? And they are trying to make up for the lost time by having more impressive performances of skill? Maybe they should consider the route Cirque du Soleil took, and instead of trying to take the traditional format further, add more theatrical elements. Perhaps that's just because this is a youkai circus, though. Old and slow to change, like youkai themselves.
You get to see Etsuko in action some, but not a great deal. You get the feeling that they realize that an Oni wouldn't be too impressive in a place where there are real live Onis, so they don't feature her as much as they might normally. Can't be good for her self-esteem though.
One cool thing they had, though, was a sword-swallower. Who would swallow a shortsword and pull out a wakizashi with the same hilt, and other similar feats. She finished the act with swallowing a flamberge that had been set on fire, appropriately enough. You aren't sure if those tricks were real sword-swallowing, or if Clara helped using that dimensional teleportation stuff.
You do indeed see a seal performance. You had almost forgotten about those goddamn seals and their goddamn horns that shoot curved lasers and stuff. Well, they don't fire danmaku this time, the audience would feel threatened by that. But it's another novelty, since Gensokyo doesn't have an ocean and thus almost everyone in the audience has never seen a seal before.
Otherwise, though, there isn't too much of note. It's still enjoyable, though, and you would say it would be worth your money if it hadn't been that you lost all of your money due to circumstances vaguely related to buying your tickets. But you can't fault Reimu for being greedy. Oh wait, yes you can.

The performance ends up on a high note, with everyone at once in some sort of odd mostly-clown-based youkai pyramid, a great deal of fireworks (presumably magic, since normal fireworks would be kind of unsafe to use inside a tent), and the music reaching a crescendo. There's a great deal of applause, and then after a bit of bowing (kind of impressive if you are in a human pyramid, actually), the performers begin to disperse, and so does the audience.e
Your group sticks around a bit, though. You have important matters to deal with, and Byakuren probably wants to hear this also.

You stride forward, past the thinning audience, to the ringmistress.

She looks around, looking a bit tired. "I trust you enjoyed the show?"

"It was pretty good, yes."

Byakuren steps forward. "I hear you are going to my Temple soon."

"For the investigation? Yes." She pauses. "Ah, so you are Byakuren Hijiri, then?" She holds out her hand.

They shake hands, after Byakuren spends a few moments looking confused. "I will be happy to host you while you investigate. I hope this matter is resolved as smoothly and sensibly as possible."

"My, how polite. Well, if you think it will help, I can leave immediately, with your group."

Byakuren nods. "Yes, that would be nice."

You feel a tug on your sleeve, and turn. Kogasa. "I want to see the painting elephant."

"Kogasa wants to see that elephant paint. Vincent, right?"

The nun thinks for a moment. "Well, we can wait some before going." She adds in a mutter, "I could go for another one of those ice cream cones, anyway." Isn't Buddhism about abandoning your desires?

"Ah, that's probably for the best. I'll make sure everything is going right before I leave, then." She tips her hat. "See you again soon." She hurries off.

"Well, let's find the elephants." You decisively step forward. "I'm a bit curious too, I'll admit. Let's go."

---

It doesn't take too long to find Vincent. Or maybe it was a different elephant. He is placed pretty prominently, and there's a small crowd watching him.
He has a big canvas, and... a big paintbrush and palette? Instead of the colorful hangings and feathers from before, he has a beret on his head and nothing else. He glances at one of the louder fairies (both in terms of noise and clothing color choice) and begins precisely flicking at the canvas with the paintbrush, held in his trunk. In under a minute there is a portrait of the fairy on the canvas. It's actually pretty good, like the stuff those quick-draw portrait artists at fairgrounds make, but kind of bolder and a little bit more crudely drawn. Makes sense, since it was made with a pretty frikkin huge paintbrush.

Kogasa is pretty wide-eyed. "Can I get my portrait done?"

The elephant looks around at your group, and you could swear he nods. The two clowns with him replace the canvas, and give the previous portrait to the fairy. The elephant then begins to flail at the canvas. It doesn't seem to quite make sense at first, but about half a minute in it clicks and you realize he is doing a group portrait, but doing it in landscape. After all, your group is wider than it is tall.
After about four-five minutes he's done. The imps carry over the canvas. There's Kogasa being carried by Unzan, Ichirin to one side and you to the other, holding the murasa-in-a-bottle. Nue stands on her tip-toes between you and Unzan, and your roommate gives a winning smile to the side of Ichirin. That bastard was fast enough figuring out what was happening, it seems. Byakuren completes the group, and the elephant nearly managed to do her complicated getup justice.
Not bad.

Your group walks off to the exit, and find Mackenzie Carat waiting there. Time to leave, then.

---

The trip to the Temple is quiet, but not exactly unfriendly. You can tell that no matter how she is acting, Mackenzie isn't quite comfortable, though. No huge surprise.
You reach the Temple first, and get the door open. The moment you do, Murasa leaves the bottled ship, and scurries off to put the thing back in her room. Your roommate slinks off, on the other hand, to who knows where. Maybe he is going to change clothes and go to another night in town, you don't really care. Byakuren walks in with Mackenzie, leading her to where Zenovia is.
On the other hand, Unzan quickly moves Kogasa to her room, and then rejoins Ichirin. The poor umbrella is definitely looking tired, so you don't protest the decision.
You would see Kogasa off, but there's a more important matter at the moment. You go off to Zenovia, Nue following you. She quickly puts down the new portrait, on a table where Shou will hopefully find it and then hang it up or something.

---

Zenovia looks up as the four of you enter, and narrows her eyes balefully when she recognizes the ringmistress.

"What an interesting visitor, interesting visitor. Acknowledging my existence now, wicked one?"

Mackenzie has a blank look on her face. Time to do what you came here for. You quickly interpret.

"I doubt you want to have a long conversation, so I will cut straight to the point. I have heard some serious accusations about my employees. Is it true that your grove was destroyed and those... other claims I have heard?"

Zenovia scowls. "Bah, playing stupid?" She points a quaking hand out. "Do I need to tell you? Even a foolish one like yourself should know the answer already, know the answer already."

"...I do, yes." She pauses. "I lived under that defensive barrier for over a hundred years. The magic radiating off you gives the exact same feel. Still, I would like to hear it from your mouth."

"Hear it from my mouth? You can't even talk to me without using an interpreter." She spits. "Fine, I'll say it. Yes, it all happened. In fact, even better, I'll show it, show it." She stands up, and pulls aside her skirt, showing the wooden legs. Then she half-rips-off her blouse, showing the ring of blood. What is with her and ripping her shirt off?
...wait, this set of clothing she is currently wearing... isn't it something Shou gave her? Destroying other people's property, eh? Wasn't that your problem in the first place?
Of course, a random pair of clothing is nowhere near the value of what she lost.

Mackenzie is quiet for a moment. When she starts speaking again, she sounds sad. "I see. I had wanted to think it wasn't true, but... I will punish those responsible." She coughs. "In addition, I had heard of plans to give you back the wood?"

"What good does the wood do for me? It's been dead for a hundred years."

"So it wasn't your idea?"

"It must have been that stupid one's idea." She points to you. But after a moment she deflates. "Ah, but it's not a bad idea, I suppose." She grins a bit viciously. "I'll take it, yes."

"I will make arrangements to return it, then. Expect it in about a week's time."

"I would rather if you returned it now."

"I'm not sure if I can do that-"

"Hmph. It's no use to me if I don't get it now."

You think you get where this is going. "You only want it because it will inconvenience them to give up their wagons, is that it?"

Her shaking pauses as she looks at you. "And what of it?"

"That's not the point of returning it. Come on, play along, you can hold a funeral service or something for it, right? That should be good enough."

"Oh, fine." She turns back to her foe. "I'll take it then, yes. And after I get it back I don't want to see any of you ever again. If any of you vile ones so much as enter my line of vision I will kill you all, kill you all."

"I understand." She bows, and then quickly leaves.

Byakuren looks up from her tea. "I am sorry I wasn't able to help any."

"Eh, don't worry. That conversation was going way too fast. Hell, the only reason that I could butt in was that I controlled the flow of words."

She sighs. "Ah, but there is one thing I can do. Can you go get Clara and Gioia? If I am to help them back on the path to righteousness, I would rather start soon."

"Okay." You get up and stretch a little. You get the feeling that you'll be pretty hungry again soon, since that hot dog wasn't too filling, but for now you are more sore than tired. "Want to come, Nue?"

"I better. Otherwise you'll probably get yourself killed this time."

"Oh, you." You elbow her.

---

After a bit of looking, you find both Clara and Gioia in the fortune-telling wagon. They both turn as you step in.

You clap your hands, mustering up as much energy as you can. "So, who's up for some lectures?"

"Lectures?" Clara looks curious. Gioia, on the other hand, turns away.

"Yeah! Lectures, straight from the person who is the (second-most) famous in Gensokyo for reforming others! Byakuren Hijiri!" Behind you, Nue fires a few small danmaku bursts into the air, where they explode like tiny fireworks. "C'mon, anyone in their right mind would want to go, 'cuz this is a one in a lifetime chance!"

Clara shrugs. "I'm not sure about this. I am fairly busy."

You walk forward and grab her arm. "You're going no matter if you want to or not, okay? So make the best of it."

"Oh, fine. I'll come."

Gioia looks up again. "Do not accept, for-"

"Please, can you stop talking like that?" Clara sounds a bit frustrated now. "I'll be going, alright?"

"That's the spirit!" You let go of Clara and walk over to Gioia, this time. "Now it's your turn, miss clown."

You hold out your hand. It is then summarily cut off. Gioia twirls a meat cleaver in her hand, looking very unamused.
Goddamn. You recoil, clutching the stump. At least... at least that was your left hand.

"Ask not, for I told you I would not come."

"Geeze, okay, I get the picture." You pause and look back. Nue looks tense, and ready to spring into action if anything further happens. Right. "You sure you are okay with Clara coming, though?"

"It is her wish, so I cannot stop her."

"Alright then. One out of two isn't bad, right?" The three of you walk out, but you pause right before you leave the wagon and turn back. "In the spirit of magnanimity I won't tell your Miss Carat about this. But if you cut off one of my bodyparts just to prove a point again you better be sure bad shit will go down because of it."

---

On the way back, your hand regrows. It seems that that cut was not nearly as sharp as the damage she was doing with mundane items earlier.
Regrowing a hand is kind of painful, but after yesterday it doesn't seem too bad.

As you return to the Temple, you find another person going there also. Tacita. Huh, but a while since you last saw her.

"I thought you came on fridays."

"I had to postpone my last session."

"Well, I'm afraid to say that today's session will have to wait also. Something came up." You gesture behind you. "Byakuren has to lecture one of the newcomer youkai."

"Oh."

Clara catches up to Tacita. "My, a Faun? It has been a while since I last saw one of your kind."

"Er, yes?"

"A young Faun too, I see. That probably explains why you are carrying electronics."

Tacita doesn't seem to know quite what to say. "I'm Tacita. And you are?"

"Clara." She leans forward and examines Tacita's forehead. "Hm. Did you know that the horns of a Faun can be used as a reagent in many spells? Quite good for spells that attempt to control nature, especially when powdered."

"I... didn't know that?" She seems a bit panicked now.

Clara pats her on the back. "It really is quite interesting, yes. Oh, but it's probably boring to you, though. You don't look like much of a magician."

"I guess I'm not." She looks pretty relieved now. "Ah, is that the Temple?"

Yes, little goat, that is the Temple. You should know what it looks like by now, you come here every week. She is probably just looking for an excuse to get away from Clara, though.
>> No. 28280
File 127682333578.png - (189.42KB , 384x1254 , rehabbutnotfordrugsmaybe.png ) [iqdb]
28280
As soon as you are inside you take Clara to Byakuren.

Clara bows. "I heard that your lectures are the second-best in Gensokyo."

"Oh, I don't know about that." She looks at you and Nue. "Now, you two, could you please leave? I want this to be one-on-one."

You and Nue heed her request. You make like trees and vamoose.

"So, what do you think of her?"

"Clara? Seems kind of creepy to me."

"She was way nicer when I first met her." And much more low-key.

"She seemed a little excited, to me."

Maybe that's it. "Oh well. Hopefully Byakuren can get to the heart of the problem."

You come to where Zenovia moved to, instead. Tacita seems to be waiting here, also.
She is looking at the nymph with curiosity.

"Why is your shirt ripped like that?"

No answer.

"Oh, maybe you can only..." She pauses, and then continues in rather clunky Greek. "Hello. How are you doing?"

"Oh, I'm fine, fine." You're pretty sure that's sarcasm.

"I didn't know... know there..."

You sigh. "How about I translate for you?"

"Oh, thanks. It's been a long time since I had any reason to speek Greek." She then goes on, you translating. "I didn't know there were any nymphs in Gensokyo."

"Well, now there are."

"Are you another immigrant?"

"Something like that, young one."

"Where are you from, then?"

"Arcadia."

Tacita pauses. "Arcadia... you know, I have a distant cousin who lived in Arcadia."

"Oh?" Zenovia doesn't look particularly interested. It seems more like she is being grudgingly polite to someone who has not yet directly offended her.

"Yeah. About, say, ten years ago, he moved to Olympus, I heard."

"And why was that?"

"Apparently Arcadia was dissolving."

"What?" That caught her attention. Her shaking begins again at once.

"Yeah. Lack of belief, probably. I'm sure you've seen many more sealed lands go under like that, if you are as old and wise as you seem."

"I hadn't heard of this, heard of this..." She begins muttering darkly. "This is bad, bad, bad, bad! Where am I going to stay then, this damned place? I might as well stay at Hades..."

"Couldn't you just go to Olympus?"

"No, no, that won't do at all. Can't risk getting anywhere near Hera." She stands up. "I'll go figure something out, something out. Maybe... maybe I can find somewhere tolerable in this hellhole." She runs out, almost tripping over herself in haste. And shakiness. That's a really unfortunate nervous habit.

Tacita slumps down onto the floor. "Ah, this is so depressing."

Nue shrugs. "This stuff happens all the time. It's just part of the modern world. That's why you came to Gensokyo, right?"

"Well, my home wasn't in any danger of dissolving any time soon. I just left it because I didn't like it there. But yeah, I really should be used to it." She shakes her head. "Ah, between this, and that creepy woman from earlier, I'm all upset. Need to meditate so I can be ready for today's lessons." She goes into the lotus position. You haven't really been paying attention to the specific things she has been learning from Byakuren, but somehow this specific posture seems appropriate. You wonder what kind of flexibility is required to cross your legs like that if you have goat legs. Well, it'd be nothing to a youkai, anyway. "Sorry, but I'll be tuning you out now." She closes her eyes, and an almost unnoticable sensation washes over you before receding. She probably turned on some localized silence. From what you understand, she generally does it by making a large field of silence and then contracting it, instead of making a small bubble of silence to begin with. That's progress, you suppose. You definitely had to go through many steps of progression to get as good with teleportation as you are now, and you will no doubt have to go through more to reach, say, a Yukari level of transportation ability.

"What now?"

Nue shrugs. "I don't know. That conversation they were having was kind of amusing, but now that it's over..."

"I'm at a loss as to what to do, here."

Nue seems to get an idea. "How about let's listen in on Byakuren and Clara?"

"Is that really a good idea?"

"Oh, come on, they don't have to know. You know I am good at sneaking. It'd give you valuable insight into that youkai's mind, anyway."

"Fair enough."

---

The two of you sit down in Nue's room. You wrap the snake around your head, and it shimmers and turns into a... bib? Damn, Nue, couldn't you think of something less embarassing to disguise that thing as?
Nue had taken out a magic audio recording device. Oddly enough, before she disguised it it looked like a doll. She refused to say where exactly she got the thing, but you have an idea.
And now she set it up to transmit the audio data directly into these snakes. Something about a low-band magic transmission that is hard to detect. Eh, sounds like technical stuff. Nue isn't really a magician, but this is the kind of practical magic you get the feeling she picks up in the line of her day-to-day activities.

You poke the bib a few times. Upon closer inspection it has little snakes on it. "So how does this utterly embarassing thing work?"

"Give me a second to turn it on." She concentrates for a moment, and then you hear a crackling. It resolves into Byakuren's voice.

"-surely, you see some value in their lives?"

"I honestly don't understand the problem. It's a well-respected field. Nobody has ever said it's wrong. I think you are just being overly sensitive."

"But it involves people's lives!" Byakuren is beginning to sound a bit exasperated.

"It's a reasonable sacrifice, to advance the state of magic."

"Magic is supposed to help people."

"Yes, but as I said, you must make sacrifices. Humans first learned about how their own anatomy worked by cutting up bodies, for instance."

"And have the discoveries you've made really been worth the sacrifices?" Byakuren sounds like she is humoring Clara, kind of.

"Of course! For the longest time, no-one knew how to properly draw out the magic in dead wood. In fact, most professionals thought that the only way to fully draw it out was by burning the wood. It's a horribly inefficient idea!" She begins to sound excited. "Also, for instance, there are many recipies that call for eye of newt. That's nice and all, but what species of newt? Of course, I set to find out... oh, but that's not too exciting to talk about."

"And what use is knowing how to use the magic in dead wood?"

"There's all sorts of uses! For instance, creating magic broomsticks to do your chores for you. If you don't understand the magic behind it well enough, they might end up not being able to stop. Documented problem."

"I still think that's not even remotely enough to justify taking a life."

"And I still think that you are blowing this entirely out of proportion."

You take off the bib. "Actually, this conversation sounds rather tedious. Let's go bug Shou or something."

---

After half an hour of following Shou around and making her nervous, Byakuren finishes.
As they leave the room, Byakuren looks tired and frustrated, while Clara looks mildly annoyed, but still in good humor overall. Obviously, it did not go any better after you stopped listening.

Byakuren goes off to talk to Shou, perhaps to consult her for advice.
Clara, however, notices you on her way out.

"That lecture didn't feel very high-ranking."

"That was hyperbole."

"I am aware." She stretches a bit. "Aah... there aren't many knowledgable magicians in this place, are there?"

"I'm not entirely sure what constitutes 'many'. I mean, Gensokyo has more magicians than I have ever met before."

Nue leans in. "There's more magicians than you will find in most places, nowadays. Back in the day, though, Gensokyo was hardly special."

"So not much tradition, huh?"

"Well, there's that Marisa girl, but she doesn't seem very knowledgable to me." You shrug. "Maybe Alice? Oh, wait, Patchouli is a definite fit. She's the librarian of the Scarlet Devil Manor, so she's gotta be knowledgable."

"A library. That sounds interesting." She looks thoughtful for a moment. "Could you take me there?"

[ ] Why should you help her?
[ ] Maybe that dour librarian will connect with her better than Byakuren did.
[ ] (Write-in.)

[ ] In the days to come, you will primarily focus on... (pick one)
-[ ] ...regaining the money that Reimu took from you.
-[ ] ...exploring and training your powers.
-[ ] ...helping around the Temple.
-[ ] (Write-in.)

---

So yes, this is drawing the circus arc to a close. After this last choice with Clara there'll be an epilogue-type thing.
Also holy shit three posts. Only barely, but still.

Excuse me for the actual circus part being kind of short. If I had written out an entire multiple-hour performance it would have taken me days, at the shitty rate I am going.

Coincidentally, because it's not really that important to the story, Mackenzie's 'power' is that she was predestined to never be hurt by an animal under any circumstances. If anything would make an animal try to hurt her, some circumstance will cause it to fail. The reason she was shooting them stares like that in the performance was to make it seem like she was actually actively making them not hurt her, instead of relying on fate.
So if she really wanted to she could march down into Chireiden and whip Okuu with impunity. Of course, she would have no protection against Satori, and if she ran into Koishi she would be definitely done for.
>> No. 28281
[x] Maybe that dour librarian will connect with her better than Byakuren did.
[x] In the days to come, you will primarily focus on...
-[x] ...exploring and training your powers.

Getting money from Reimu? Fat chance.
>> No. 28282
Oh, maybe that wasn't clear. That option isn't to get Reimu to return the money, it's to work harder to make up for the loss.
>> No. 28283
>>28282

Oh. Teleportation powers need to be fleshed out anyway.
>> No. 28284
[Q] Maybe that dour librarian will connect with her better than Byakuren did.

-[Q] ...exploring and training your powers.

I kind of wish there was a good way to communicate with unrepentant jackasses.
>> No. 28287
[x] Maybe that dour librarian will connect with her better than Byakuren did.
[x] In the days to come, you will primarily focus on...
-[x] ...exploring and training your powers.

I get the feeling that we'd never be exactly a mega powerhouse, but more a utility player.
>> No. 28293
>She leans over and hugs you. "It's alright."
(´・ω・`)

>"Paytza?"
Oh, you.

[X] Maybe that dour librarian will connect with her better than Byakuren did.
[X] In the days to come, you will primarily focus on...
-[X] ...exploring and training your powers.
>> No. 28295
We also need to find out why Kogasa's so scared of Sanae and do something about it. Nue (Who is merely severely annoyed instead) would like to see the crazy Miko get knocked down a notch or two.
>> No. 28297
[x] Maybe that dour librarian will connect with her better than Byakuren did.
[x] In the days to come, you will primarily focus on...
-[x] ...exploring and training your powers.

Well, prevention is better than the cure - training means we might not need to rely on that greedy miko.
>> No. 28299
>>28287 Here explaining what I meant.

In Touhou there's characters with far more might/skill than useful non-combat abilities while others are just the opposite.

Take the three mischievous fairies, to weak to really fight in spell card duel even, but their abilities have various uses.

I mean we may end up moderate power (Thanks alot, asswipe!), but highly useful ability.
>> No. 28300
[x] >>28297

This fuckhuge update was wonderful. Thank you!

Although...
>misusing 'Coincidentally' again, twice.
Hey, come on, man. We've been over this.

It's incidentally.
>> No. 28302
[x] Maybe that dour librarian will connect with her better than Byakuren did.
[x] In the days to come, you will primarily focus on...
-[x] ...exploring and training your powers.
>> No. 28304
[x] Maybe that dour librarian will connect with her better than Byakuren did.
[x] In the days to come, you will primarily focus on...
-[x] ...exploring and training your powers.

Next time we'll be ready.
>> No. 28308
[damn] Maybe that dour librarian will connect with her better than Byakuren did.
[good] In the days to come, you will primarily focus on...
-[cheddar] ...exploring and training your powers.

Wonderful update.
>> No. 28314
[X] Maybe that dour librarian will connect with her better than Byakuren did.
[X] In the days to come, you will primarily focus on... )
-[X] ...exploring and training your powers.

We must be able to defeat Ex-bosses.
>> No. 28316
>>28314
That's not really a healthy way of thinking. I voted that because I wanted to protect Kogasa better. She's been paying far too much for our stupidity.
>> No. 28317
>>28316

If we could defeat ex-bosses, she wouldn't get hurt so often.
>> No. 28318
>>28317
She'd get hurt less if we didn't charge blindly into things. Like that first time, we went going into Yuuka's Flower Fields, which means we were too dumb to live. (Yuuka: Dangerous until proven safe)
>> No. 28319
>>28318
We had no indication of how the author viewed Yuuka, so we went by canon. I don't think that qualifies as a stupid move.
>> No. 28321
>>28319
In canon, trespassing in her flower fields gets you attacked. It was more like people assumed that Yuuka would be of the more friendlier sort as seen in some other stories. Perhaps had we try make friends with Yuuka outside of her field then visited, perhaps Kogasa wouldn't have ended up with a hole in her.
>> No. 28354
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28354
[X] Maybe that dour librarian will connect with her better than Byakuren did.
[X] In the days to come, you will primarily focus on... )
-[X] ...exploring and training your powers.

Byakuren didn't have much luck talking to her. But she does seem to be interested in books and knowledge. Maybe she will find common ground with that librarian? You could try to ask Patchouli for a favor and have her see if she can get Clara to open up. Well, Patchouli doesn't owe you anything, so maybe you could get Remilia or something to ask for you. You did locate Flandre, right? It sounds like a plan, anyway.
"Alright. I'll lead you there."

"Should I wait, or do you want to go right away?" She looks to be calming down a little.

You look over to Nue. "Do you have anything you want to do?"

"No, not really." She shrugs. "It's not like I plan ahead much, anyway. A boring stuffy library sounds like just the place to go to now." Okay you aren't sure how to interpret that last comment.

"Well, then I guess I'm ready to go right away."

"Good." Clara pauses. "Actually, wait a bit. Could you, uh, tell me where the bathrooms are?"

Oh boy. Nue quickly directs her the right way.

"I assume they were drinking tea the entire time?"

"Probably." Nue leans forward. "But this is a good chance. I'm wondering what your logic is here."

"Is it really all that weird?"

"I can tell you don't have a very good opinion of her at this point."

"Yeah, I really don't." You aren't entirely sure what to think about that woman, but by this point it definitely wouldn't be something along the lines of 'nice and helpful'. Maybe something more like 'jackass' or 'crazy bitch'. "She seems to be more of an intellectual. Maybe that librarian will be able to find common ground with her?"

Nue thinks for a moment. "I guess it could work."

"I figure, I could try to get her to see if there is anything she could do to help reform Clara. Maybe use the fact that I found Flan as leverage if she is hesitant to take the effort."

"If worst comes to worst I could just impersonate Patchouli." Nue straightens back up. "I think I could do a decent impression."

"Yes, but I doubt you have the level of specialized knowledge required to do it right. I mean, they are probably going to want to talk about... magician things."

"Oh, true." She grimaces. "And I don't think I could wire answers in from elsewhere without her noticing. There'd be too much of a delay, it wouldn't seem real."

"She's coming back."

Clara walks back, and the three of you set out without much more conversation.

---

When you arrive at the gate to the manor, you find that chinese girl standing there, looking very drowsy. She shakes herself awake when she sees your group.

"Oh. Visitors! State your business here!"

Nue steps forward before you can react. "Here for the library."

"I'd like to let you in, but Sakuya gets mad when I-"

"Yes, but we have an esteemed visitor here with us."

"That may be true, but-"

"Surely you aren't going to keep lovely Clara from waiting?"

"I don't even know-"

Nue shrugs thoughtfully. "I'm sure Sakuya wouldn't like that."

"What-"

Nue leans forward, getting up right in the poor gateguard's face. "You don't want to be knived again, do you?"

And her opponent deflates. "That... seems like a... reasonable enough story. Go ahead."

Nue waves back, and the three of you go ahead. "See? Nothing to it."

---

Soon after entering, your group is stopped by that aforementioned maid. "And what are you up to this time?" She raises an eyebrow, questioningly.

You decide to take the lead this time. "Oh! Just who I was looking for!"

"Really now."

"See, I need to get to the library, but I don't know the way."

"Well, Patchy isn't busy now. She's never busy, really, unless Remi asks her to do something or the library is under attack. So I can take you there."

Uh. You didn't have to a chance to employ your legendary mastery at fast talk.
Wait. That means that your fast talk is so fast it convinces people before you even start. So badass.

She sets off. "Follow me."

The three of you follow. Clara is eyeing the decor, though she doesn't seem all that interested.
Well, this place is pretty nice looking.

After a bit, the maid takes you to a big, imposing oak door. "The library is inside." She curtsies and then vanishes.

For a moment, Clara stares at the spot the head maid was before she vanished. However, you open the door, and she gives up doing that to follow you inside.

---

This place is full of books. Tons of books. Like, a whole lot. Like, you might think that your neighborhood library has a nice number of books, but that's peanuts compared to this place.
Books up the wazoo, whatever a wazoo is. Probably a euphemism for something. Might be an African country though, your grasp on geography is a little shaky.

There is a single, decently wide aisle, and a forest of bookshelves to the side. Off in the distance you see more bookshelves, higher up. This place is multiple stories tall?
...how in the world does this place fit inside the manor? The library alone definitely looks to be bigger than the manor. Or at least, bigger thant the manor appears to be from the outside. Maybe it's a TARDIS manor or something.

Clara looks around with interest. Apparently even a connisseur is impressed by the sheer number of books here. Books books books.

Okay, bored of books already. You stop gawking and stride forward in a direction that looks center-ward. And hopefully whatsherface lives in the center.

You pass a number of fairies as you go. They seem to be clumsily dusting the books. Jeeze, just imagine the amount of dust that must be here. Lots of dust.
In the distance, a colorful blur rockets back and forth, steadily growing taller. After about ten more seconds of walking down this aisle, it shoots overhead, an object breaking off and landing at your feet (with surprising gentleness, given how fast the thing it fell from was moving). You pause for a moment, and see that it is now jittering around and getting shorter off in another section of the library.
You pick up the thing that dropped off the ground. A book. No big surprise. You hold the book up, and offer it to your two companions. "Either of you interested in reading... uh..." You look at the cover again. "Latawnya, the Naughty Horse, Learns to Say 'No' to Drugs?"

"No."

"Patchy has horse pornography?"

You stare at Nue in shock. "I think this is a children's book. Why did you think-"

"Well, when you said 'naughty horse', I just kind of assumed..."

"Seriously, what is... oh, I don't want to know. Let's just drop the subject, okay?"

Nue nods gratefully. Clara doesn't comment.
The three of you continue onward, a bit faster now, and quite a bit more awkwardly. It fades soon enough, though. Nue's seen you make enough embarrassing mistakes already, so situations like this have played out before. It's something you get used to after a while.

You soon come across a handsome mahogany writing desk, covered in various sheets of paper. Some sheets look like inventories, written in a tiny letters by a meticulous hand. Others seem to be recipts and other notices of transaction. The paper in the center looks to be a map of some sort, written in black ink, with numerous marks in red ink over it. A cup of tea sits to the side of the papers, looking almost untouched. Patchouli sits behind the desk, poring over the map. She looks up as you approach. "What is it?" Such a quiet, unhealthy voice.

Clara is the first to answer. "I am here to visit your library."

"Then you came at an unfortune time. I am currently doing some reshelving."

That seems a bit unfair of a statement. "You don't seem to be doing much to me."

"Obviously I am directing the process, and having others do the actual physical moving." She glares at you momentarily. "Now, if you are done asking stupid questions..."

Clara does not look particularly deterred. "Can I at least look at the books you have?"

"Oh, very well." She pauses, and peers at Clara. "But first... I know who your two companions are already, but your identity is a mystery to me. Introduce yourself."

The fortune-teller extends her hand. "Clara Arlecchino."

Patchu shakes. "Arlecchino... Arlecchino... ah!" She turns to the side, and yells (or does the closest thing she can to yelling with that weak voice of hers). "Koakuma!"

There's a chilling feeling, and a red blur curves around you. It reaches to the side of the librarian and stops, revealing a vaguely familiar little devil. She looks at Patchu, questioningly.

"Please retrieve the copies of sui Reagenti e il Loro Uso negl'Incanti Persistenti and la Magia in Stato Solido per l'Uso Moderno."

"Yes, Mistress." Koakuma blurs off.

"That is much more... fearsome than I remember her being. Back in that festival."

Patchouli harumphs. "She is more powerful inside the library, obviously."

Even then, you doubt you would lose. She didn't feel very powerful, so maybe she just has the special power to move really fast when retrieving books or something.
Oh, and speak of the devil. Koakuma blurs back to where Patchy is, and carefully puts two books on the table. They look fairly dusty, but not that old. You aren't really an expert at judging the age of books or anything, but these things probably are like zero to one hundred years old. Some of those books on the shelves have got to be hundreds of years old.

Koakuma bows slightly. "Do you want any more tea, Mistress?"

The librarian tears her eyes from the books. "What? Oh, no thank you."

"Very well, Mistress." Koakuma blurs away again.

Clara, meanwhile, has found a seat. Nue too. Damn, it looks like they took the only two chairs nearby also. Serves you right for standing around like an idiot gawking at Koakuma's afterimage.

Nue frowns. "You didn't stop to ask me if I wanted any tea."

Clara nods. "Yes, some tea would be nice at this point."

You, on the other hand, shrug. "I am officially neutral on this matter."

"...bah. Koakuma is behind schedule enough already." Patchouli waves a finger in the air, and you can feel a discharge of magic. A moment later, that maid appears right behind her. "Sakuya, two cups of tea, please."

Two cups of tea materialize on the table. The pre-existant teacup also flickers slightly, and suddenly the tea inside looks fresher. The pattern on the cup is slightly different too, you notice. You didn't think there was enough room for any more stuff there, but it looks like she organized and stacked the papers at the same time also. Patchu looks a bit miffed about that, but lets it slide. The maid curties and vanishes again.

"Maidgirl didn't mention that you were busy."

"No-one knows my domain as well as I do." She does the most unexpressively understated double-take ever. "Maidgirl?"

"I forgot her name, okay?"

"Sakuya," Nue helpfully provides. "If you forget her name again, use 'Pads' instead. It's more specific. Maidgirl could describe several people."

"Okay."

Back to complaining. "And why are you even reshelving?"

"I have decided to move some sections, to improve organization in the library. At the moment Koakuma should be finishing up the move of the children's section."

This place has a children's section?
Oh, right! You had totally forgotten.

You put the book of horse pornography or whatever down on the table. "Your familiar dropped this."

"Ah, thank you."

A short silence. Well, you are basically out of complaints. Patchy seems to get that idea, too. She sips her tea some, and then turns back to Clara. "You have some interesting ideas about the use of reagents."

Clara looks up from her tea. "Yes. I see you have my book on the subject."

Oh, so Clara wrote those books? Well, their titles are in Italian, and she's Italian also, so it adds up. Or something.

Patch-patch nods. "It was an interesting read, yes. I must admit that most of your ideas have no application for me."

"Oh?"

"As an elementalist, I mostly use non-living reagents. Rare earths, sulfur, ancient coins, and so on. You focused your study entirely on living or formerly living reagents, after all, which is a valid avenue of research to be sure but is not particularly useful for me. Your ideas on how to use magic wood are revolutionary, however, and quite relevant to my Wood spells."

"Yes, I am particularly proud of that part."

Oh boy. You can see where this conversation is going.
...well, maybe if you can get P-dawg to try to figure out Clara, buttering her up like this will make it easier later.

"On the other hand, while your book on solid-state magic is quite a good summary, it was nothing I did not already know."

"You can hardly expect me to beat an elementalist in that field, can you?"

"I suppose not. I am sorry to say I don't have a copy of un Caso Tipico Nella Magia non-Rituale del Trasferimento Dimensionale. It sounds like an interesting subject, but they seem hard to get a hold of."

"Oh, yes, I believe the Catholic Church somehow got the idea that that book was about demon-summoning."

"How unfortunate. If I had a copy, perhaps I might figure out some more reliable way to travel to Makai then a summoning ritual. I am sure Koakuma would appreciate some home leave... and I have heard that the library is Pandaemonium is quite impressive, of course."

You shrug. "I never went to the library. Or if I did, I forgot."

"You might not have a copy, but are you not talking to the book's author?"

Patchouli blinks. Had she honestly not thought of that? "How fortune, then."

Eh. You really don't want to sit through this. Or, rather, stand through it. Due to not having a chair. "If you will excuse me, I'll leave you two to talk and go find some fresh air."

Nue stands up, also. "Me too."

Patchu curtly nods the two of you out.

---

The two of you step out into the hall.

"I'm not entirely sure how well this idea of yours is working."

"Well, at the moment, that beansprout has no idea she is supposed to be reforming Clara."

"And because of it, she's giving positive reinforcement or something." She shrugs. "That's a psychology-type term, right?"

"Yes, I believe that is probably a psychology-type term. And that is why we go see Remilia and ask her about this. Hopefully Clara will want to come more times, anyway."

"She said she wanted to look at the books, so she probably will. There are a lot of books to look at."

"It does seem like a safe bet. But they only have a week or two in Gensokyo, which isn't too long. So we should go see Remilia and get this all cleared up, to not waste any more time."

"You're gonna see big sis Remi?"

"Yeah. But I didn't know she was your sister." Wait. You have no doubt Nue knows how to project her voice, but she has no reason to do that now. Also, she is giving you a confused look.
The two of you slowly turn back.

Flandre stands behind you. Watching curiously. Staaaaaaaaaaaare~

The little vampire points her hand at you. You suddenly start to feel a biit nervous, and you see Nue suddenly go on the defensive beside you.

She hands you a letter. "Give this to Koishi. But don't show it to big sis." And then she walks away.

The two of you stand there in silence for almost a minute, before Nue speaks. "That went pretty well."

"The two of us could have taken her on."

"Even then, I'd rather not have to."

"Same here."

Out of morbid curiosity, or perhaps a death wish, you pull the letter out of the envelope. Removing a letter from it's envelope without disturbing the envelope is an interesting skill you practiced some, a little out of a desire to pry, but mostly just to see if you could. One day, you may be able to walk through walls using this same general technique. Given how it took you months to learn how to gently, carefully pull a slip of paper out of a paper envelope, it will probably take you hundreds of years to figure out how to reliably move your own body through a solid wall, however.
All of that is irrelevant today, though, because Flandre forgot to seal the envelope.

That's... a lot of hearts. Wait, is this made in crayon?
Nue edges over by you, and reads over your shoulder. Flandre's attempts at poetry are so bad that you refuse to reproduce them. That thing she does where she breaks things... she must have been doing that to the words. Vogons have to use machines to hurt people with their poetry. Those sissies.

You scratch your head. "I don't think I have ever seen someone butcher the Japanese language so thoroughly. I don't have that much experience though, I guess."

"She destroyed it as easily as she destroys her sister's house."

"Seriously, I'm tempted to go call the U.N., because shit just got genocidal. They'll be getting the first refugees pretty soon, telling the tales of kanji and hiragana dying left and right."

"I bet Koishi will love it."

"Oh, definitely."

You walk off towards where Remilia probably is, after putting the letter back in it's envelope and sealing it yourself.

---

Okay, Remilia wasn't there. You ran into Sakuya, though, and she pointed you to the actual room.

So you find yourself in front of the door. Nue is behind you. On a side note, that is very inconsistent terminology. You are in front of the door, Nue is behind you... you are in a line, but it almost sounds like Nue is between you and the door. Why is it that being in front of a door is different from being in front of a person in such a manner? It's so stupid. Then again, a door doesn't have any defined front or behind, while being in front or behind of a person involves the orientation of their body. Doors have no head, so you could argue that it would simply be impossible to apply the same standards as a person. On the other hand, most doors can only open in one direction. You could consider that to be the 'direction they are facing'. But either way, it's relative in an odd way, right? You consider the person who is on the end of the door you are on to be 'in front of' it, and the person who is on the other end of the door to be 'behind' it. Yet the standard for people is quite consistent. It isn't relative or anything, like it is for doors. But what about people who are doors? Say, a person standing in a doorframe, acting like a bouncer. Would you use the terminology for doors, or the terminology for people? Or perhaps a door tsukumogami or something. It could happen. Actually, what would a door tsukumogami be like? This is gensokyo so chances are it'd be a cute girl, so what does she have a doorknob on her stomach you have to turn or something? That sounds dirty.

Nue gives you a curious look, presumably as to why you have stared at the door for the last minute. "Having second thoughts?"

You shake yourself out of that torpor and knock on the door. It's a good thing Nue snapped you out of it when she did, because otherwise she might have to ask you why you were staring at the door... and heavily aroused. "No, I just... was... I mean, wasn't thinking about... I was thinking about something that doesn't make sense if you don't speak English, okay?"

"Whatever."

The door opens. Remilia motions for you to come in.
She is on the opposite end of the room from the door, and there does not appear to be anyone else inside the room. So the door opened itself?
Eh, she's probably just showing off again.

The two of you get in, and sit down at the table. There is already tea out for three.

"What is your business with me?"

Might as well cut to the chase. "Well, I have a favor to ask of you."

"Oh?" She crosses her arms on the table, and puts her head on them. She stares at you with an amused look on her face. "Do tell."

"Actually, I want you to get Miss Patchouli to do something. Just I figured she doesn't owe me anything, so..."

"And I owe you something?" She looks even more amused now.

"I told you where your sister was being kept, right?"

"And then continued to deliver letters for her. Her mind is still in Chireiden, even if her body isn't. I might as well have not rescued her.

"Well, I can hardly help that. I did my best, you know, so you can at least ask your friend to do a bit for me? I can probably get Myoren Temple to help you out some way, too, if it's too hard."

She smiles. "I never said I wouldn't be helping."

Great. So she just likes watching people squirm, then. No big surprise. "Well, specifically, Byakuren has been trying to reform a certain youkai. However, she has been having no success. I think that Patchouli might have better luck. At the very least, she seems to get along well with the aforementioned youkai, so she could try to get her to be more receptive."

"I see." She thinks for a moment. "No, that doesn't sound like anything too hard. I would hate to take advantage of Myoren Temple for such a simple favor." Right, Remilia. And that's why you have such an unbearably smug grin on, too? Showing your pearly, pointy whites? "I will ask her to when I next get a chance. But might I ask if you have a strategy in mind?"

"A strategy?"

"It might be too transparent if Patchy just said 'Oh, you should listen to the nice lady.', would it not? Suspicious, even."

That hadn't occured to you. "True, a more roundabout approach might work better." But what approach?

[ ] Perhaps Patchouli could just wait a while, gain Clara's respect, and try to gently nudge her.
[ ] Perhaps Patchouli could try to make Byakuren seem better without directly suggesting anything. Happen to mention good things about her during conversations and such.
[ ] Perhaps Patchouli could 'bribe' Clara in some way.
-[ ] She could offer to let Clara keep some books if she listens.
-[ ] Or money bribes could work.
-[ ] Maybe she has some magic items Clara would find interesting?
[ ] Perhaps Patchouli could debate philosophy and morality with Clara a while before making a direct move.
[ ] On second thought, it'd be best to be direct about this.
[ ] (Write-in.)

(If bribing, pick one.)
[ ] Of course, she will be reimbursed in money. (Byakuren's money, presumably. You're currently broke.)
[ ] You will steal the items back afterwards, and return them to Patchouli.
[ ] You will give Patchouli an IOU for...
-[ ] Your service for a fair amount of time.
-[ ] An item of equal value, once you acquire one.
-[ ] A replacement of what Patchouli gave away.
-[ ] The money value of what Patchouli gave away.
[ ] Patchouli will have to pay for it herself, though.
[ ] (Write-in.)

---

I don't think I could write any story but this one. Anything serious would be a no-go. This is kind of like the closest you can get to improv in a pre-prepared written format. I don't actually aim to make jokes or be silly or whatever. I go in with a general idea of what the story is and what is going to happen, and then as I write I get minor ideas and throw them in, and soon enough the narrative has segued into a ~300 word mental monologue about doors and it feels like the most natural thing in the world to me. And then I realize what I have just done and sit there, wondering if it was a good or bad thing.

Anyway... I feel bad for leaving it off here, since I planned to have the epilogue be in this update, but I really didn't want to delay the update any further.
Incidentally, the vote for what to do afterwards was for which of the mini-story ideas I would use first.
(See? I can use words right when I remember to!)
>> No. 28356
[x] Perhaps Patchouli could debate philosophy and morality with Clara a while before making a direct move.

I was tempted to go with the first choice before I remembered that Clara is denser than a black hole.

This update, man. I was laughing the entire time and it still managed to be serious enough so shit got done. I love you.
>> No. 28357
[X] Perhaps Patchouli could debate philosophy and morality with Clara a while before making a direct move.

Seems like the only valid choice, as I doubt Patchouli and Byakuren are close, despite both being magician youkai.
Also, favorite parts: P-dawg, genociding the Japanese language with poetry, and hot door youkai.
>> No. 28358
File 127719850530.png - (217.56KB , 600x1000 , Koa`s secret job.png ) [iqdb]
28358
>>28354
>Koakuma in off season
No, THIS is Koakuma in the off-season.

(Don't worry, it's SFW)
>> No. 28360
I don't know what to vote for. None of the options seem like they'd work, but one of them has to, right? And it's 3am, so I have no good write-ins, either. Sorry.

>I go in with a general idea of what the story is and what is going to happen, and then as I write I get minor ideas and throw them in, and soon enough the narrative has segued into a ~300 word mental monologue about doors
That's more or less what writing The Game was like. Except 10-40 word tangents, but yeah.
>> No. 28361
[x] Perhaps Patchouli could debate philosophy and morality with Clara a while before making a direct move.

The only bribe that would work are books and there's no way Patchy would go for that.
>> No. 28363
Holy shit. Reading through this again the morning after, I noticed it has so many spelling mistakes and such. Jeeze. I need to start proofreading these things or something.
>> No. 28364
[X] Perhaps Patchouli could debate philosophy and morality with Clara a while before making a direct move.
>> No. 28390
[Q] Perhaps Patchouli could debate philosophy and morality with Clara a while before making a direct move.

Oh Nue, you are your dirty mind~
>> No. 28406
File 127769377556.jpg - (597.69KB , 806x2000 , mostlyIjustlikethispicture.jpg ) [iqdb]
28406
[x] Perhaps Patchouli could debate philosophy and morality with Clara a while before making a direct move.

"Maybe Patchouli could debate philosophy with her first? It would let Patchouli get a better idea as to what her views on morality are, and also kind of set the stage."

Remilia thinks for a moment. "Yes, that seems like a good strategy. I will tell her later today."

"Okay. She'll be here for something like two weeks, so make sure Patchouli doesn't dawdle too much."

"Oh, I'm sure she'll be interested. She seems to be getting along well with Clara, after all, and I am sure she would love to have an excuse to talk further." You, on the other hand, are entirely glad to have this out of your hands. "She always likes meeting authors, anyway, though I gather some of them end up being disappointingly stupid."

Wait a second. "You knew I was talking about Clara?"

"Of course."

"But I never mentioned her name, and she wasn't ever mentioned during the Circus acts."

"You expect me to not know what's going on in my own manor?" Sakuya probably told her. "My, I'm offended!" She acts mock-hurt.

"I did not mean to hurt your poor, fragile sensibilities, milady." You stand up, finishing off the tea. It was good, but you were mostly drinking it to be polite. "And now, I figure I should not detain you any further. I thank you for your aid."

"Ahah. You can count on me."

You bow and leave. Nue follows you, stretching.

---

"So, what now?"

"We can either wait for Clara or go back to the Temple."

You are beginning to feel a little drained. "I'd rather not stay here."

"That could be seen as rude."

"Since when have you cared about that?"

"You got me." Nue grins. "Let's ditch that bitch and go laze around in the Temple instead."

You pull that letter out of your pocket, and look at it. "Actually, I think we should take a detour first."

"What are you, express delivery?"

"I already have Gioia after my head. I'd rather stay on Flandre's good side." You glance back at Nue. "Unless you feel like making her upset."

"Oh, hardly. You don't get to be my age by being stupid."

"That's hardly something a proud youkai like yourself would say."

"Fights like that... each one is a calculated risk. In that I calculated that it would hurt like hell if I slipped up."

"That doesn't seem like much calculation to me."

"Hey, do I look like a shikigami to you? Math isn't my thing."

"So, are you coming with me or are you going to just stay around here talking about how bad you are at arithmetic? Because I'm all ears, if you want to waste more time."

"Since when were in a hurry?"

"Since that time I got tired of this damn all-red color scheme. Which was now. Is now." That didn't come out very well. "I know she's Remilia Scarlet and all, and she has a thing going on with all of the red, but she really needs to add some variety."

"I guess I could spare some time from my busy schedule of maxin' and relaxin' to go visit some stinky cavern so you can deliver some bad poetry." As if you needed her help to deliver a letter. Hell, if anything she'd slow you down. But having someone to talk to on the way isn't bad, you suppose.

Of course, you wouldn't admit that. "Do you chillax also?"

"Huh?" She gives you an innocent look.

"Nevermind."

You start off. "Then let's go. Time is precious, so let's not waste it on standing around acting witty."

"Oh, believe me, you'll have plenty of time to stand around acting witty now that you are a youkai."

"I am beginning to get the feeling that that is all you youkai do."

"Sometimes we fly around acting witty."

"Oh, joy."

You hurry down the coridoor, Nue following behind you.
As you near the exit of the manor, Sakuya appears in front of you.

"Leaving already?"

"Ah, yes. I didn't feel like sticking around while Clara talked in the library."

"I will insure she returns safely to the circus."

"Oh, thank you."

"It is nothing." She curtsies, and then gets a shifty look in her eyes for a moment. She slips a letter into your hands, and whispers, "Deliver this also, alright? And don't tell Remilia."

You nod.

---

Nue quickly walks out the gate, wheeling around. "Why, Meiling, how nice to see you on this fine day!" She slaps the woman in question on the shoulder.

The gate guard jerks awake. "I wasn't sleeping!"

"Of course not, of course not! Always keeping a keen eye out for intruders, right?"

"I was just overtaken by this good weather- I mean, yes, I was just watching for intruders! Trying to make them think I was sleeping so I could surprise them!"

You stroll past. "That'd be a pretty good strategy. Using the element of surprise and all. Say, I know someone who could coach you in that stuff, it'd be great."

"Oh, you think Kogasa would be able to help her?"

"I could give Tai Chi lessons in exchange."

"Sounds like an idea. I'll bring it up with her." Kogasa might find it fun, who knows.

You take flight as you leave the gate, and Nue follows suit.

So... the underground. You know the way pretty well by now.

"Have you been to the underground lately?"

Nue shrugs. "Not really. It's a nice enough place, but I kind of have had enough of cramped underground areas for a few lifetimes, you know?"

"Oh, yeah." That, right. "You sure you want to come?"

"Yes, this sounds like fun."

"Okay." And speaking of fun. "Let's spy on other people's private correspondence, okay?"

"I taught you well."

"I'm pretty sure you never told me to spy on other people's letters."

"No, but I told you to do all kinds of other things."

You pull out Sakuya's letter. "Fair enough." You ease the letter out of the envelope. This time you actually have to use that trick. Sakuya sealed the envelope, unlike Flandre. Not just sticky, it has an actual seal. Red, of course.

You hold out the letter where Nue can see it also.

"Dear Koishi.

I hope you are doing well. Milady seems to have it in for you, so hopefully she hasn't given you any more horrific fates. You did a good job avoiding that youkai shark she left swimming around the manor, but I would still be on the look-out.
But that's not why I sent this letter. Remilia is planning to spend most of friday at the Hakurei Shrine, so I was wondering if you were interested in a sleep-over at the manor. I will keep quiet about this, as long as you two can too.
I am sure that if you agree, it will cheer Lady Flandre up immensely.
I will set up the basement for your visit and provide snacks.
If you agree, please send a return letter by thursday evening.

-Sakuya

P.S.: It's rude to read other people's letters. Yes, I mean you." You'll ignore that last part for now.

"So, she is going against her mistress's orders?"

"She probably is tired of cleaning up after Flandre and wants to keep her happy and docile. Or maybe she wants to keep Flandre happy out of family loyalty, I don't know." Nue shrugs. "If I was her it'd be the former."

You put the letter back into the envelope. "This is serious shit. Spy stuff."

"Except the spies are going on a play-date and sleepover. And not actually spying any."

"Okay, it's not spy stuff at all. But it'll be way more fun if I pretend it is."

"Well, if you get caught, Remilia very well might have a horrible shark-related end for you. It'd be like in those spy movies Unzan watches on the Temple's TV when he thinks nobody else is there."

"Unzan watches spy movies?" Wait a second. "We have a TV?"

"I was kidding."

"I sure hope so. If we had had one, I would have seen if I could lead a cable into Makai. Camilla says their programming is quite good. I'm especially interested in that gameshow, of course..."

"Maybe you could buy a TV in Makai, then. We have access to electric power, so it wouldn't be too easy to get one, right? If not that, maybe the Kappa have some."

...
Huh. "That's actually a pretty good idea. Too bad I don't have any cash at the moment."

"Or you could just stop by in Makai and watch the stuff there. I mean, you can go there for free anyway, and you are held in pretty good regard by the demons."

"I suppose I'll get a TV eventually. But it can wait, yes." Of course, you aren't entirely sure if you could lead a cable into Makai in the first place. If not... eh, maybe you could get Camilla to tape the good stuff.

"First, you should concentrate on getting that letter delivered."

"It's not like delivering letters is hard for me. I've been doing it for months. I have the whole thing down."

"You're pretty good, I admit. I'm sure that nobody would ever be able to, say, steal the letters you are carrying," she produces two letters, "like thus."

"Hey, how'd you get those?"

She only grins in response.

"Seriously, give them back."

With a few deft twists of her hands she rips the two letters into confetti and scatters the bits to the wind.

"I thought you didn't want Flandre to get mad at us? She definitely won't like it if the letter isn't delivered-"

"What do you mean? Of course the letter will be delivered." She leans forward, and takes the letters out of your pocket. In the air behind you, the torn bits of mail turn back into bits of red stationary, presumably pilfered from the manor. "Tah-dah!"

You are both very relieved and a little annoyed. "Oh. I knew that. I was just humoring you," you manage weakly.

She gives you an appraising look. "Wait, did I overdo that?"

"A bit."

"Er, sorry." She looks a bit embarrassed.

"Don't worry about it." You came that close to having to change your pants. You fail to mention that out loud.

---

Huh. You had heard that it sometimes snows in the underground, but this is the first time you've ever seen it happen.
You wonder what causes it. Definitely not snowy aboveground. Or even cold enough for snow. Maybe it's magic.
Even then, this is a light flurry at best.

You walk through the streets of the snowy hell, to your destination. All around you can hear the sounds of merry-making and good cheer that would be seasonal if this was a different season. Actually, this would make a great scene. 'The Ancient City at Christmastime'. You'd just need to lie a little bit about the time.
The palace looms ahead of you. It really is quite pretty. You've come down here many times, since Koishi is a repreat customer, but the stained glass windows never cease to impress you. Satori must have found the tortured spirit of a hellbound artist or something. But, on the other hand, you can't imagine there are many people who die in or around Japan who know how to make stained glass. It's not really an Asian art style. Or did they get hellbound souls from other parts of the world also? Hell, or maybe Satori already knows how to make stained glass stuff for some reason and directed the process herself.
Jeeze. There's a lot you don't know about this. And will probably never learn, since it's more or less utterly irrelevant to today's task, and Satori is a busy woman.

You open the door for Nue. She walks through, looking vaguely amused.

When you walk in, you find Orin is waiting for you. "Who's a good kitty?"

Orin rubs against your leg and purrs.

"You are, that's who... er, anyway." You take out the letters. "Messages for Koishi."

"Follow me." She pads off.

You are lead through the halls of the palace by the surprisingly fast cat, with Nue cooly strolling behind you. Every time you come here you have to get someone to lead you, because you for some reason find the layout of the palace very hard to remember. It's actually not that complex, so you aren't entirely sure why you have so much trouble.

You come into a large room, and find Satori there, drinking tea and looking particularly tired.
Orin hops onto the arm of Satori's chair, and balances there.

Satori looks over at her cat. "You aren't sure where Koishi is?" It appears she is taking the indirect route of finding Koishi. Probably for the best, given how adept Koishi is at not being found. "I see. Well, I do not know where she is either. All I know is that she is somewhere in the palace. But I am sure that once she hears that she has letters she will come here." Whatever works. Satori turns her eyes to you. "Until then, you may sit down."

You awkwardly comply. You haven't talked to Satori much. She always seems so busy. Also, a little creepy.

"I apologize if I seem a bit... brusque." Creepy, not brusque. "For a satori, there is little distinction."

It's not her fault, you know. Just... you aren't some empty-headed fairy. You have all kinds of thoughts that you would rather not be heard. Like that one you had earlier about doors.

"Doors?"

You would rather not have Nue hear about it.

"I see."

Nue grins. "Now I'm curious."

Satori glances at Nue. "I'm sure it's not what you are thinking it is." She looks back at you and blinks. "Oh, nevermind, it is. Ah, sorry."

Yes, that is about why you didn't want to come here.

"Er, shouldn't we be making loud noises or something for Koishi to hear?"

"She will know."

Nue turns her head, to see a floating skull come in with a tray balanced on top of it. Joy. More tea. "I'm sure she can hear you coming a mile away, with that messed-up mind of yours."

"Oh, come on, I'm not that messed up."

"Believe me. You're my type, and you see how messed up I am?" She lazily points to her own head. "We're in this together, pal."

When she said 'her type', did she mean a person she would like to date, or a person like her? That distinction is important, for you to know if you should be complemented or insulted.

"That was mildly rude."

"I am stepping up the ribbing metagame by only thinking the insult. This way, she can only tell the intensity of the burn by gauging your reaction."

Nue glares at you. "Well, two can play that game." She closes her eyes and concentrates.

Satori visibly blanches. Shit, Nue's good. "I... I didn't even know half those words. But I still could get your intent..."

"You don't know very many languages for a mind-reader, then."

"I haven't ever traveled very much. I mostly stay in my home." Alone, except for her cats and other animals. Also her sister, but Koishi barely counts as company from what you've seen. So, definitely fits the crazy cat lady archetype. "So now you are 'ribbing' on me again?"

"Oh, sorry." You should probably change the topic, before Nue thinks anything else that upsets Satori. Yes, that is exactly why you want to change the topic. "So, uh, why are you so tired?"

"It's just the Kappa. They run into so many problems, and keep pressuring me to expand my operations."

Nue leans back. "It's no surprise that humans were the ones to come up with the idea of businesses. Such tiresome things."

"Hey, as a former human I resent that remark!"

"Oh, so you would enjoy running a large, organized business?"

"...not really, no. Though it must be nice to make a lot of money even if you suck at your job."

"Perhaps if I actually had a reason to value money, that part would impress me."

Satori doesn't seem to be paying attention any more. "I keep telling them, Okuu is overworked as it is. I've tried to fix the problem, but that red kappa keeps forbidding me from changing the operating schedule."

"What do they even need all that power for?"

"I'm not entirely sure. I heard something about a giant robot. I'd never heard of such a thing before, but if the mental images people have are accurate then they are truly fearsome beasts."

"Why do I feel this has something to do with Sanae?" There's an odd feeling of pressure on your shoulders. Maybe your worries are weighing you down.

Nue winces. "Yes, this sounds just like something to do with Sanae. She's probably feeding the kappa with wild stories or something."

"I would do something about it, but I've had enough of conflicts for a while."

"I don't blame you."

Your mind is briefly brought back to the events of the previous day. Satori looks at you for a while. "I see. That is quite a lot. I am quite glad to live a quiet life underground... is what I would say, if it wasn't for all of the responsibilities I now have." She begins to stroke Orin, who begins purring. "I should get back to my work before long, though. I have been doing research into alternative energy sources to try to help ease up Okuu's workload, but I have to redo my presentation because the kappa are insisting on 'teleconferencing' now." They probably just want to be out of mind-reading range when they hold meetings. "Yes, that seems likely."

Suddenly, the chair you are sitting on flips into the air, with you still in it. You find yourself upside-down in midair, held up by Koishi's feet on your shoulders, as she does a handstand. You try not to look down, but instead keep your gaze on Satori. "It seems Koishi has arrived."

"Yes, that does seem to be the case." She hefts Orin up onto her shoulder and then stands up. "I will not detain you any further, then." She walks off.

Nue stares at Koishi. "Give the poor man a break. You know he's trying his hardest to not look at your panties."

"Even if he looked down, he wouldn't see anything."

...huh? You look down without thinking and you... don't see anything. You feel yourself go cross-eyed, as you look at... what were you looking at again? It was something... that...?

Nue kicks Koishi out from under you, and catches you before you fall facefirst into the ground. "Th-thanks."

"Don't mention it." She puts you down. "Tricks like that are hardly fair, you know."

"Aw. You probably aren't going to want me to poke all those other interesting bits either, are you?"

You vigorously shake your head. "No thank you. I don't want to get poked any more than necessary."

Nue pokes you. You roll your eyes.

Koishi produces the two letters. "Time to read these letters!"

Goddamit, is everyone going to steal those from you? Okay, Nue didn't really steal them, but whatever.

She opens the one from Sakuya first, and reads it. After a few moments she nods. "That sounds like fun."

"Want me to deliver your reply a letter on the way back?"

"No, I'll deliver the reply myself on the way to the sleepover."

"But she asked you to reply the night before."

"I'll just wait there for the night in the basement."

"So you are going to sleep over while waiting for the sleepover to start?"

"That's the best type of sleepover."

"Right, my mistake."

Koishi opens the second letter. She has taken the letter halfway out of the envelope when she suddenly pauses and brings it up to her nose. She sniffs a few times. "Flandre didn't seal this."

"Er, well, I did, I guess."

Nue gives Koishi an odd look. "You know what Flandre's saliva smells like?"

"Of course."

She looks at the actual letter. She takes quite a while, too. You would be looking at your watch if you had one on you. Nue yawns.
Wait, is Koishi crying? "Nobody writes poetry as beautiful as Flandre does."

You expected this general reaction, but tears? "Is it really that good?"

"The true poetry is between the lines."

Uh. You aren't sure what that means. It sounds pretty pretentious.

Nue narrows her eyes. "That isn't some kind of mushy metaphor about love, is it? Please let it not be about love."

"I can see her heart laid bare in this poem... the true essence of the gloomy power of love!" Nue groans.

Koishi holds out each hand and snaps her fingers and two glowing red hearts appear, each with an eye on it. The hearts attach to the upper corners of the letter, and float off. "I will attach this to the wall of my room!" And then she vanishes.

Silence.

Nue hesitently speaks up. "Want to pick up some snacks for Kogasa on the way back?"

"...why not."
>> No. 28407
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28407
Kogasa enjoyed the Suspicious Manju you got her. Or, she enjoyed them after waking up anyway. Nue was right, the filling really did surprise Kogasa. The greatest surprise was for the shopkeeper, though, when the money turned back into leaves a day later. Of course, you weren't there to see his reaction.
With your affairs more or less in order, you relaxed the rest of the day.

Time marches on, and the week comes to a close. Little progress is made with Clara, unfortunately. She continues agreeing to come to visit Byakuren, but none of their sessions are at all fruitful. She apparently mostly tries to explain herself. You do not know that first-hand, however, since you don't listen in on them anymore.
Patchouli's help proves of little use, also. She seems to find it interesting, though, and asks for no payment or compensation. After Clara's first few visits, she tells you that she thinks Clara is a borderline psychopath who is primarily held back by having few worldly desires. You aren't sure if that diagnosis is correct, but it doesn't seem unreasonable to you.
If Patchy is to be believed, Clara is being entirely honest in her statements that she is doing it solely for the sake of amassing knowledge. You get the feeling that Patchu gets a tiny bit of perverse respect for her, because of that. A truly unfettered academic... given Clara's choice of fields, it is a scary thought.

Besides that, though, the other matters with the Circus go fairly smoothly. After performances are over they surrender their wagons, and you are able to procure enough wood to give to them. It involves a little bit of poking around the Forest of Magic looking for some place that's not claimed by a youkai, a little bit of planning, and a lot of Nue turning into a giant beaver. Mostly to amuse Kogasa, you get the impression.
You are glad that the circus people don't need to take you up on your offer to hire some wood-workers from the village to help them make wagons, because you wouldn't be able to afford them. And that would be probably be something you would be unable to use fake money for without getting in trouble. You decide that you need to make at least a little money again. Enough to be able to pay for your own food when going to town, though you can wait until you really feel like it to actually begin seriously earning again.
After a few days you remember what you had said to Meiling, and ask Kogasa about it. She agrees, and for the next few weeks takes Tai Chi lessons. You aren't entirely sure how much it helps, but it's not like it hurts either. Meiling, on the other hand, is almost definitely not learning anything from Kogasa about surprising people. She kind of got the short end of the stick there. On the other hand, she doesn't complain any, so whatever. Maybe she doesn't mind, maybe she's just too good-natured to complain, who knows. It's not like it's making her miss any more work than she would otherwise anyway.

Kogasa ends up recovering without a hitch. Perhaps the Tai Chi helped, but you had expected her to recover fine anyway so perhaps not. Sometimes being a youkai really is handy. And by 'sometimes', you more mean 'all the time', because being a youkai is pretty sweet.
She doesn't seem to be especially traumatized or anything, too. Which is a good thing, because it would suck to be responsible for traumatizing her also.

You aren't entirely sure what Zenovia ends up doing. You don't see her again, anyway. Not knowing what else to do with them, you end up leaving the wagons outside the Temple, and after a day or so they simply vanish without a trace. Apparently they vanished when nobody was looking at them, because there isn't a person in the Temple who has any idea what happened to them. Zenovia probably picked them up.
It's possible that Nazrin knows where Zenovia is, but if she does she doesn't tell you about it. Not that you particularly care, though. She's not a bad person, given her circumstances, but she is still pretty rude. So you don't exactly miss her company.
On the other hand, she does end up remembering and making it to that 'date' you set up. That bastard refuses to talk about what happened during it, but he comes back to the Temple quite battered-looking. Scorched also, but that was probably Mokou. He doesn't look entirely unhappy though, so who knows.

Eventually, the circus moves on. From what you understand, besides the whole deal with having to replace their wagons, they manage to make a good profit while here. In fact, it seems that they use the change of wagons as a chance to renovate their fixtures. Overall, they come out quite ahead... you would call it shrewd management, but that Carat woman didn't seem all that shrewd to you. She is not exactly stupid, but she gives you the impression of being too trusting to be a good business owner.
Needless to say, you manage to not get assassinated any. In fact, you don't see anything of Gioia at all after that post-performance negotiation. The few times you return to the circus, she is nowhere to be found. Most like, she is strictly forbidden from getting anywhere near you.
The exact details will forever remain a mystery, probably. Well, you could find out, but it'd be a real pain so you'd rather stay in ignorance. Besides, if you don't know the real reason, you can make up your own reason. For example, maybe you were so manly that she was trying to assassinate you but the attacks kept bouncing off your steely body withour you even noticing.
See? Way more fun.

Things are quiet for a while. Perhaps a month or so, you are honestly not sure. You can feel your sense of time slowing slipping away. Occasionally you see huge shadows moving in the distance, over by the mountains, but they don't seem to be any sort of danger. You don't feel trouble brewing, anyway, and Reimu does nothing to investigate. One time you go to investigate, but there is nothing to find once you get there. Odd.
You begin to travel more. You had traveled a fair bit before, while delivering letters, but wandering for your own sake is a different beast. It's rather enjoyable, in a way. Gensokyo is full of terrain of a type that is getting increasingly rare in the outside world. It is pristine, mostly untouched by technology... even in the technological capital of Gensokyo, youkai mountain, there is almost no pollution. It's probably because all of the power generation is done underground, and the kappa make sure to limit themselves to low-impact industry otherwise.
As you travel, you see many things. The various forests are good, and quite natural habitats for youkai, but for you the roads and paths are the best. Simply wandering them and seeing the sights, meeting other travelers on the way... it is rather fun.
Sometimes you take Kogasa or Nue with you for walks. Kogasa, unsurprisingly, wants to go on walks most during rainy days. Nue is less predictable, but also tends to get into more mischief on the way. You kind of get the feeling that that is some habit she has never been fully able to shake. Of course, you gather she used to drive people to suicide for sport, so she has changed a great deal already.
When wandering, sometimes you carry letters for other people. Enough so that people don't forget that you deliver letters, anyway. You make a little money, but not as much as you had before.
Instead, you spend your time merely enjoying the act of wandering. As you travel you practice your powers, primarily teleportation. Your technique improves a great deal. You are nowhere near being able to walk through walls or what other crazy powers you may one day have, but you can finally more or less control your baseline abilities. At any rate, you feel like you have definitely grown into your abilities. Perhaps if you still had that raw power you had when you first started out, that invincible rush, to go with your increasing levels of technique, you might be as strong as Nue. But there doesn't seem to be any way to get that beyond getting older... and Nue has a serious headstart on you, in that race.

It's odd. You are sure that, a year ago or so, you would have found this to be very boring. But... something about you has changed since then. You can appreciate small things now. You've gained patience. Maybe this has to do with the "pride of youkai" you have heard about... some sort of mental change to make a near-immortal life more tolerable. At the very least, the prospect of waiting however many thousands of years you need to wait to become an Elder Youkai doesn't actually seem all that bad... although, who knows, by that point the ability to teleport might be considered pretty uninteresting in the outside world.

No matter how much you've changed, however, you can still recognize an odd situation when you see one. So when the path you are traveling down has a large crack in the earth running across it, you know something is up.

---

This is pretty odd. A crack like this... you aren't a geologist, but it definitely isn't normal. You don't think there are any fault lines in Gensokyo, and you hadn't heard of any shocks recently, so it couldn't be an earthquake. Perhaps a heavy object was dropped from the sky and landed somewhere nearby? Or maybe a youkai with earth powers decided to mess around.
It seems to be leading up that hill. You follow it, but as you go up you begin to hear voices.

You taste the air experimentally. Yes, there seems to be a group of people on the other side of that hill. You can't see through it, unfortunately. It sounds like one of them is talking, and the others are responding in chorus. It would make you think of a church session, but it sounds kind of disorganized. The 'chorus' is more a cacaphony, honestly. Perhaps a church session for people with very bad reaction times.
However, while looking around you notice that there seem to be more cracks in the distance. In fact, they look to be converging on a single point, somewhere in the general 'other side of the hill' area.

Well, this is making you curious. You might as well check it out. Too bad you don't have Kogasa or Nue with you. You are sure they could do for some adventure.
But how should you approach? They might be dangerous, you can't tell from here.

[ ] Stealthily.
[ ] Surprisingly.
[ ] Swiftly.
[ ] Soporifically.
[ ] (Write-in.)

---

So yes. The start of this mini-arc.
Also, bah, was just barely too long for one update.
>> No. 28408
[x] Stealthily.

See what's coming up first before making a move.
>> No. 28409
[Q] Stealthily.

Sneaky sneaky. And frankly? It was worth the wait for an update this large.
>> No. 28410
[x] Stealthily.
>> No. 28412
[x] Stealthily.

This is a sneaking mission.

>Updates

Hooray.jpg
>> No. 28413
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28413
Man, I love Kogasa, but Nue and our protagonist are pretty much made for each other. Every update with them together has been fantastic, and this one is no exception. Keep up the good work.

[X] Stealthily.
>> No. 28415
[x] Stealthily.

Oni church arc? I'm fine with this.
>> No. 28416
>>28413
I agree, their back-and-forth type of conversation is really fun to read.
>> No. 28418
>>28413
>>28416

True, but I still maintain my desire to have both.
>> No. 28421
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28421
here's something with the two women in our hero's heart.
>> No. 28423
[x] fabulously~❤

gonna need some thread 1 shenanigans.
>> No. 28427
[x] Stealthily.
>> No. 28431
[x] Fabulously~❤

Agleed!
>> No. 28432
[x] Stealthily.

Off topic... but do we have an actual animal form, due to being a snake-youkai? I know we started off as a human, but... *shrugs*
>> No. 28433
>>28432

We can turn into Lord Voldemort, but lack the hooded robes to give it any effect.
>> No. 28434
>>28433
So... we lose our nose?
>> No. 28436
The main character does have an animal form, but as a former human he is uncomfortable using it.
Alternate answer: I keep forgetting about the whole snake thing.
>> No. 28468
[x] Swiftly.

Teleport!
>> No. 28628
[x] fabulously~❤

You should never forget your roots...
>> No. 28632
[x] Stealthily.
We all know acting stealthily will always get us caught.
So after we get caught we must act
[❤]fabulously~❤
to put them off guard.
>> No. 28638
Wrong thread, bros.