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27865 No. 27865
Suddenly, long-overdue updates.

---
Yeah, with that drug you were given earlier, you can't be certain that drinking alcohol would be safe. There's also the sample you need to deliver. If that broke, there would be many complications, including for example owing Eirin a new container thing, and whatever side effects arise from releasing the compressed red mist in a sealed area with people in it.
So no, you'll just head straight to your destination.

"Nah, I had enough drinking last night. Let's just go to meet this Satorin person."

"Aww, no fun. Fine, let's just go meet Satori. Uh, don't add that -n at the end when you talk to her in person."

So, she leads you through the almost mazelike underground city. Not just the passageways around the larger openings, but the actual streets in this city weave in and out with seemingly no real pattern that they follow.

After a while of ducking in and out of tiny streets, you arrive in something that seems strangely placed: a western-style mansion, underneath some sort of large metal dome thing attached to the ceiling of the chamber.

"Kay, we're here." Rin announces as she inserts a key into the lock on the front gate and turns, causing the gate to slide open on its own.
"Let's just-"

Everything suddenly goes dark as the electrical power for the whole cavern seems to go out.

"...Darn, we must have gone over our allowance somehow." Rin speaks as a series of dim red lights come on every ten meters or so, along with a loud humming sound. The lights reveal that, unfortunately, the gate has been stuck closed, juuuuust too narrowly open for you to pass through.
"Looks like we'll have to do this some other time. Too bad~ Oh, any particular location you want to get as close to as you can when you go up top?"

[ ] Eientei, of course.
[ ] Your apartment.
[ ] Perhaps there's a secret tunnel into the Scarlet Corporation's factory, or something like that?

>> No. 27866
[x] Eientei, of course.
>> No. 27867
[x] Eientei, of course.
-[x] Ask about the factory anyways on the way.
>> No. 27868
[X] Eientei, of course.
[X] "The electrical bills down here must be hell."

I'm not keen on entering the shady and dangerous world of corporate espionage.
>> No. 27869
>>27868
You forgot that's a major objective for us, due to requests of both our boss and Reimu. And perhaps the best way to end something is to get one's hands dirty.
>> No. 27872
[X] 27868's terrible pun
[x] Perhaps there's a secret tunnel into the Scarlet Corporation's factory, or something like that?
>> No. 27875
[x] Eientei, of course.
[x] "The electrical bills down here must be hell."
>> No. 27882
[x] Eientei, of course.
[x] "The electrical bills down here must be hell."

Nice.
>> No. 27888
[x] Eientei, of course.
[x] "The electrical bills down here must be hell."
>> No. 27889
[x] >>27868's terrible pun and choices
[x] Perhaps there's a secret tunnel into the Scarlet Corporation's factory, or something like that?
>> No. 28126
Are you still alive?
>> No. 31897
NINE MONTHS. Seriously, nine months? What the hell? I had to read my own story to even begin to write again.

---
"And we're here!" Rin exclaims as she stops the car in front of the familliar mansion.

"Thanks for the ride." You thank her as you step out of the vehicle. Even if it's someone annoying, you should thank someone who does you a favor, right?

"No problem! See you later!"

...

Well, this is Eirin's lab. It's immaculately clean. The walls are a bright white, which is made even more blaring by the overly bright fluorescent lights lighting the room. There's various tables with neatly stacked papers as well as various vials of fluids and powders neatly organized on top of them. Against the wall, bookshelves with books that you're sure are organized efficiently, likely alphabetically or some other logical sorting method.

In short, it's the working lab that every pharmacist would dream to have; it has every bit of functionality one could need.

Except the pharmacist.

If she's not here, though, that's not a big deal. This is her office, after all. You can just leave the collection tube sitting on the desk.

Now that that's taken care of, you can just leave. You'd have liked to have met Kaguya or Reisen on the way out, but you had no such luck. Reisen's probably with Eirin anyway. You're not sure whether you'd want to run into Tewi or not, considering what happened the last time you "ran into" her; however, that's besides the point. You're now standing outside of the building. You're now free...ish. Both of your obligations involving the collection of the mist have been taken care of. All that leaves is solving the problem its self, and pretending to attempt to find more out about Mokou.

...Yes. That's right. Mokou, the girl who Mystia and yourself were so worried over, is currently undergoing some sort of reconstructive...experiment, or something, in Eirin's lab. You found, out, but you can't say anything to the person who it's most important to. Haaaah. Well, at least you know that it isn't that big of a problem anywa-

Wait. She was shot.

"The only people in Gensokyo who use guns nowadays are the police...And Eientei."

Reaching into your pocket, you finger the shell casing Mystia gave you to hold onto.

...

Well, that's something for another time. For exaple, when the restoration finishes.

All you've got left to do is go home and relax. The past few days have been stressful. Normally relaxing is boring, but you'd like to maybe sit back and...well, not have a drink, but relax accordingly regardless. Maybe go to sleep early, in case someone decides to wake you up rudely? Well, even with the drug Eirin gave you, you still didn't get very good sleep last night, so you should probably rest regardless of whether you plan on being woken up early. Right now you feel fine, but you don't even know if the drug's effects will wear off.

---

Ahhh. That rest felt good.

After checking your phone, you find that you surprisingly only slept for a few hours. In other words, it's still only evening outside. You feel so rested that you probably wouldn't be able to fall back asleep very easily, and you've bothered enough as it is with the whole scarlet mist problem today that you don't want to turn on your television to hear more about it.

So, what now?

[ ] Mystia's stand is probably open by now.
[ ] Reimu could probably use some company.
[ ] Just go for a walk.
>> No. 31905
It'll probably take a day or two at the least for votes to kick in, since I'm sure most people are going back to re-read the other threads, so they can remember what's going on in the story. Just thought I'd say that so you didn't go thinking people weren't actually reading it.

No sage so it gets bumped and more people read it.
>> No. 31906
[x] Reimu could probably use some company.

I had given up hope that this would be updated. I am extremely glad to see that I was wrong.

I suppose I'll go reread it to make sure I'm up to speed sometime soon. Waiting incredibly warmly for more.
>> No. 31907
>>31905
>>31906

I guessed as much, considering I had to reread it myself.
>> No. 31908
[x] Mystia's stand is probably open by now.

Is it okay to tell Mystia we found something out and to stop worrying without going into any specifics? I'd like to do that.
>> No. 31909
[x] Mystia's stand is probably open by now.
>> No. 31910
[x] Mystia's stand is probably open by now.
>> No. 31934
[x] Reimu could probably use some company.
>> No. 31941
Your stomach decides for you, when it lets out a growl. It's been a while since lunch, so you're hungry. And the best place in town for a meal at this time of night? Obviously Mystia's lamprey stand. So, with your mind made up, you put on a jacket and head outside.

...

It's a lot more chilly out now than the past few days. With the mist as thick as it's gotten by now, you can't see the stars. Of course, it's acutally somewhat brighter during the night now, since the lights from the city are reflecting off of the red mist. Of course, it's only the red light that bounces, so it's an even more eerie type of red ambient light than when it was just filtering out the moonlight. It's red everywhere. You can still smell blood from last night's rain once in a while.

But regardless, you attempt to enjoy the walk. You've somewhat gotten used to it already. When you put your mind on something else, it makes it much easier to ignore the strange atmosphere and enjoy the physical movement getting your blood pumping. It feels quite nice right after taking that nap.

Your reverie lapses slightly when you notice someone following you.

Yeah. Footsteps. They're only perhaps 10 steps behind you. Well, chances are it's just someone out for a walk. A lot of people in this city like to take nightly walks. Most of them stopped when the mist started building up, but...well, you're walking, aren't you?

Best just to leave them alone, then.

BZZZZT

That buzzing's coming from your pocket. That means it's a text message.
You pull the phone out of your pocket and look at the screen:

"New Message: Enpen inc."
"Good evening. The preliminary results of the analysis of the mist sample you collected have been completed. We'll be needing your assistance again tomorrow. Please show up at the same time as the last meeting, 11:00 A.M. Attached is a copy of the reports, in case it can be of use.

Please reply to this message when you recieve it."

Might as well take a quick look at the data.

....

...Yeah, you can't make sense of most of it. There's a chart that you can't make sense of, a bunch of chemical formulas that mean nothing to you, and full of technical jargon throughout that makes your head spin. After staring at some of this data for a bit, you decide to just skim until you find something you understand. Near the bottom of the page, you finally find just that:

"To put it bluntly, this substance is nearly identical to human blood."

The hairs on your neck instantly stand up.

...Huh?
What?
Nearly identical to human blood...and it's been turned into a mist and pumped up into the sky?
What the hell?

This is beyond bizarre. This is...You don't even know how to put it. It makes you extremely uncomfortable. Especialy since you got yourself so close to it when you collected the sample. Given the...smell, that the rain from last night gave off, it isn't unfathomable, but...It's hard to believe. That someone could do this. That someone would do this. That...there's blood, floating above your head in the form of a mist.

Your heart skips a beat when you realize that the footsteps are still coming from roughly ten steps behind you. You've taken too many turns now for it to just be a coincindence. Someone's actually following you, for whatever reason.

Just know that no one ever crosses me.

[ ] Run.
[ ] Try and lose them in the back alleyways.
[ ] Try not to act suspicious.
>> No. 31942
[x] Try not to act suspicious.
>> No. 31944
[x] Try not to act suspicious.

This is always step one in confronting whatever shitstain is trailing you. We'll simply fake it out, and give it a quick one-two when they step into range.

>Nearly identical to human blood
I don't know why he's freaking out over this. Would actually knowing its close to the composition of blood freak him out more than merely suspecting it?
>> No. 31948
[x] Try and lose them in the back alleyways.

I thought that BZZZT was a taser for a second. Oh shit moment averted.
>> No. 31950
[x] Try not to act suspicious.

Losing them won't help figure out who they are, or why they're following you. Information is good and all that.
>> No. 31953
[X] Try not to act suspicious.

>>31944
>I don't know why he's freaking out over this.
Think about this: if it's blood, where did the Scarlet Corporation get it? Since it's made of cells, you can't just make it directly using a chemical reaction, it has to be grown and harvested.
>> No. 31955
Let's not do anything rash. You don't really have anything to hide, so there's no reason to act like you do.

So, let's just walk.

Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step.

Yeah, they're still following.

Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step.

...Even if you don't have anything to hide, someone following you is making you nervous. You can't stop thinking about it.

Step (step) step (step) step (step) step (step)

Their footsteps, even at a distance, seem just as loud as your own due to the adrenaline surging through your body and heightening your senses.

step (step) step (step) step (step) step (step) step (step) step (step) step (step)

You've got to calm down. Your heart's pounding, and your body is urging you to run.

step (step) THUMPTHUMP step (step) THUMPTHUMP step (step) THUMPTHUMP

step (step)-

Your heart skips a bead when someone suddenly steps out of an alleyway further down the street. With all the adrenaline pumping through your system right now, any unexpected movement will set you off.

step (step) [step] THUMPTHUMP step (step) [step] THUMPTHUMP

Their footsteps towards you are as audible as the person behind you.

step (step) [step] THUMPTHUMP step (step) [step] THUMPTHUMP

step (step) [step] THUMPTHUMP step (step) [step] THUMPTHUMP

step (step) [step] THUMPTHUMP step (step) THUMPTHUMP

Your heart skips a beat once again when he stops. Right in front of you.

SKREE

A black van stops besides you on the sidewalk you're walking on and someone jumps out.

Reason disappears. Instinct immediately kicks in. Your first response is to get away, but you can't do that when three men push you to the ground. You attempt to fight them off, but it's useless.

And then there's pain.

A sharp, blinding pain coming from your abdomen.

One of them says something, but the pain prevents you from being able to undertand it.

Then one of them drags something across your neck. They then quickly jump into the van and disappear.

Within a few seconds, everything fades into black.

DEAD END

---

To be completely honest, your death wasn't your fault at all. There's no way you could have known that this was a hit instead of a man tailing you, or that there would be more than one of them. Your choice to not seem suspicious was a rational one with the information you had.

However, often a choice that sounds good actually turns out to be a bad one in reality. By not reacting, you made it easy for them to box you in before you even realized what they were doing. Basically, you fell right into their trap.

However, since this is a fictional world, you can learn from fatal mistakes. You can turn back time and make a different decision, to recieve different results.

...Since this bad end wasn't your fault, I'll give you some advice that will help you beyond only this decision.

Remember that a corporation isn't controlled by a single person.

Just because you only know about one cult doesn't mean that it's the only one that exists.

There's much more to Enpen than meets the eye.

---

Your heart skips a beat when you realize that the footsteps are still coming from roughly ten steps behind you. You've taken too many turns now for it to just be a coincindence. Someone's actually following you, for whatever reason.

Just know that no one ever crosses me.

[ ] Run.
[ ] Try and lose them in the back alleyways.
[ ] Pre-emptive action.
>> No. 31956
[x] Try and lose them in the back alleyways.
>> No. 31957
[x] Try and lose them in the back alleyways.
>> No. 31958
[x] Try and lose them in the back alleyways.
>> No. 31968
[x] Pre-emptive action.

Perhaps I'm just stubborn, but I still think we can take em. Especially now that we know for a fact he is currently alone.
>> No. 31976
Reimu tried to lose people in alleys when we were with her. Totally could have avoided this if we had her intuitionfollowed her example.

[x] Pre-emptive action.
>> No. 31977
[x] Pre-emptive action.

Take out one of them and look for identifying insignia. We know they don't have guns, so it's not Eientei.
>> No. 31978
[x] Pre-emptive action.
>> No. 31981
>>31977
I have a feeling that it is eintei.
Just because some eintei opperatives have guns, doesn't mean they all do.
>> No. 31982
>>31981
I just got done rereading the story again. I am confident it is the SDM. See >>27366 for evidence.
>> No. 31988
For some reason, you get a feeling that this person isn't just trying to follow you.

Just know that no one ever crosses me.

That thinly-veiled threat came from Remilia Scarlet, when you ran into her at the Moriya Shrine.

And she's not the only person who you can be considered on bad terms with. To start with, you beat the crap out of that gang on the way up the mountain the first time you went to that same shrine. There's also that girl you ran into at the hotel. You still don't really know anything about her, so for all you know she could be the leader of a crime syndicate or something.

...And, you also can't rule out the possibility that it's connected to Eientei. Even if you helped Eirin obtain that sample, you're still trying to help the most hated enemy of her mistress. For all you know, it could even be someone in Enpen, Inc. trying to stir something up in the chain of power. Right now you're probably one of the most important employees in this city, and your job is to maintain relations with other businesses that you happen to know people at the top of...

You're probably just being paranoid. Chances are, your feeling that they aren't just trying to follow you is just you overthinking it. After all, you haven't really done anything THAT severe.

But even though it's often said that paranoia can be a fatal mistake... Another common adage is "just because you're parnoid doesn't mean that they aren't really after you."

...Yeah. It might turn out to be a stupid idea, but you don't want to risk getting the shit kicked out of you. Or worse. So you're gonna make the first move.

Step (step) step (step) step (step)

...He's too far behind you. Gotta get him closer. How? Well, just stopping in the middle of the road for no reason would be suspicious. However, people often stop walking when they answer their phone or send a text message.
Sending a text message can also help in another way. If you let somene know that you're being followed, it'll be easier to get someone's help after you've acted. So, the first step is to send out a text message explaining the situation.

Even though your logic is solid, it still makes you nervous. If he really is going to attack you, you shouldn't take too long sending the message out. He could get close enough to shove a knife in your back or slit your throat from behind. Or, well, simply hit you really hard. He could have knuckles too, after all.

As you stop, a surge of adrenaline bursts through your body. Slightly shakily, you pull your cellphone out of your pocket prepare the message to send out. You only need to send it to two people: Ran and Reimu. That should be enough.

After you finish typing the message, you press send.
When you slip the phone back into your pocket, you also push your fingers through the holes on your knuckles.

(step) (step) (step) (step) (step)

(step) (step) (step)

NOW

With all of the energy you held back while forcing yourself to look calm as you sent the text message, you rapidly turn around and charge the person following you. He doesn't see it coming, and can only fall to the ground in pain after your strong blow cracks a few of his ribs and likely causes some sort of internal bruising.

SKREE

A van that you hadn't been able to see in the darkness turns its lights on and rushes towards you. Hah, so he wasn't alone. Well, they can't follow you in a van if you run into the back alleys.

Still running on the adrenaline high from before, you race into a nearby alleyway and take a few random turns. Of course, it's not like they can't follow you. At the speed you're running, your footsteps are making quite a lot of noise. You can hear them running as well. For the one time in your life, you wish you could acutally run faster, because even with your large stride you can hear their foosteps gaining on you. If this were anywhere other than Gensokyo City, you'd be wondering how the hell they could pull that off, but you've seen enough absurdly fit people here not to question that. Instead, you focus your mind on moving forward.

However, it seems that unfortunately for you there wasn't only two of them. You're not sure how he got ahead of you, but you recognized the same clothes as soon as he ran out in front of you. You prepare your fist to attack again and-

He ducked, avoiding your blow. At the same time, he charged forward, pushing you hard onto the ground. The blow to the back of your head immediately triggers an extreme headache, the blinding pain of which disorients you. You feel something press down hard on your neck, and then-

BANG

The sudden gunshot makes your ears ring, and the pain in your head spikes again.

This is it. You're done for. You've been shot. There's nothing you can dow now. All that's left is to give up and hope that help comes in time to save your life.

You close your eyes and accept the situation as it is.

"...you okay?"

The pain in your head doesn't let you understand the words, though.

"John, are you okay?"

It hurts.

"Open your eyes if you can hear me."

...Huh? This voice is familliar.

The first blurry thing you see when you open your eyes are two glowing red circles. As your vision steadies, you begin to recognize Reisen's concerned face.

"Try to hang on. You hit your head pretty hard when you fell."

"Rei...sen?"

"That's right. More help is on the way. Please try to stay awa..."

Despite her urging, your consciousness fades.

---

The rest of it as soon as I finish writing it. I need to take a break.
>> No. 31994
Your eyes open.

White. A painful, blindingly bright white.

You involuntarily wince and close your eyes as fast as you can.

"Ah, good. You're awake."

Another familliar voice speaks. Eirin. So that must mean you're in the clinic.

"You've taken a rather hard blow to your head...again. We've got to stop meeting like this."

...Taken a rather hard blow to the head? That's...not what she should be commenting on. A concussion is nothing compared to a gunshot wound.

"What about the gunshot?" You manage to mumble.

"Gunshot? But you haven't been shot. Oh, are you worried about the thugs Reisen shot in the struggle? What a silly man, worrying about someone that was trying to kill you."

Thug...Reisen shot?

"You were lucky she was already in the area, otherwise you probably would have died back there."

You manage to open your eyes again.

After a couple seconds, they adjust to the bright lighting of the room.

This is...
Not the clinic.

"Where am I?"

"You're in my lab at Eientei." She explains while writing something on a clipboard. "We couldn't exactly just take you to the clinic after Reisen shot two of them. They're also recovering inside of a more secure room."

She sets down the clipboard and smiles at you.
"So, besides the obvious, how are you?"

"Very confused. I still don't get what's going on. Who were those guys?"

"We can't know for sure, since they didn't have any sort of identifying information at all, but they were probably one of the Scarlet Corporation's hit teams. This makes you their first survivor. You're quite lucky, you know. Ah, Reisen. He seems to be in good enough condition to accept his guests. Let them in, please."

"Understood."

"I'll give you some time with them. I've got research to complete to, so I'll be stepping out. Later."

She leaves the room, closing the door behind her.

A few minutes later, the door opens again, and a person you're definitely glad to see walks in.

"Evening, John." Reimu speaks as she walks towards your bed. "Quite a mess you got yourself in, huh?"

"You've gotten me into worse before, you know." But your smile gives the joke away.

But she reacts the opposite way, looking down and away,
"I almost feel like I"m the one responsible for getting you into this one too. I'm the one that asked you for help, aren't I?"

Huh?
"Who're you? Why are you pretending to be Reimu? The Reimu I know would never blame herself for another person's actions. Quite the opposite, actually."

"But still, if I hadn't asked you for help, then-"

"I still would have~" Yukari's airy voice floats through the door as she steps inside the room. "After all, it's his job now." You notice that she's carrying a plastic bag. Apples? How cliche. "And I'm not the only one. Eirin also asked him to do the exact same thing as I did, you know. But in any case, trying to place blame on someone doesn't help us move forward. Instead, we need to decide what to do next."

"That's simple," she says harshly, "we go to the mansion and start beating people until we get to Remilia. And then we knock her around some too."

"It's not going to be that easy, Reimu. The security at the mansion is too tight for a group as small as ours to get past."

"Then I'll get Marisa to help, and-"

"Reimu." You need to try to get her to think more rationally about this. "If it were that simple, wouldn't we have already done that?"

"Then what the hell do you want to do?" She asks impatiently.

"well-"

.>input
>> No. 31995
[x] Try sneaking in through the underground. Then bust some heads.

Wanna meet Satori already.
>> No. 31996
[x] Take down people in the Scarlet's Christmas list until her defenses are weakened enough to risk taking on.
>> No. 31999
[x] Try sneaking in through the underground. Then bust some heads.
>> No. 32002
[x] Take down people in the Scarlet's Christmas list until her defenses are weakened enough to risk taking on.
>> No. 32007
[x] Try sneaking in through the underground. Then bust some heads.
>> No. 32043
[x] Try sneaking in through the underground. Then bust some heads.
>> No. 32045
I'm taking the liberty that .>input gives me and combining them, since they're a lot better together than by themselves.
Windows IME helped a lot with the kanji.

---
It just so happens that you know about a place that most people in Gensokyo City have no clue exists.

"We could go underground."

Both of them look at you as if you're nuts.

"Underground? That's stupid. How the hell are we gonna drill a hole that big?" Reimu seems to have completely lost her patience.

"Well, I could theoretically comissission a large tunnel boring machine... But then we might as well just use it on the walls." Yukari doesn't understand either.

"Who said anything about drilling? We'll go through the tunnels that are already there, underground. There's an entrance nearby, and-"

"You mean the sewers?" Reimu interrupts. "No thanks, I'd rather dig my way there with a spoon."

"No, not the sewers. Tunnels. People live down there, underground. I've been there. They have problems with power."

The stare is now one of concern.

"EIRIN!" Reimu interrupts you with a loud yell. "I think you need to MRI John's head again! I think the damage is worse than you thought!"

...Oh shit, you really do sound nuts. But...It's true, right? Right?

"No, really. It's there. Just... Gah, you probably won't believe me until I show you. Whatever."

"Hmm." Yukari ponders for a second before responding. "Even if these tunnels are there, and there's one that leads up to the mansion... The fact that we'll be sneaking in doesn't help the fact that there's too many guards inside the mansion to take on, even if we took quite a number of people with us. There's a reason not much is known about the Scarlet Corporation or its owner."

That's true. You hadn't thought about that. So you'd either need to take quite a few people with you who aren't afraid of getting hospitalized or killed...Or somehow reduce the number of actual people on patrol.

...Hah. That sounds fun.

"How about we arange it so that quite a number of them end up not making it to work that day, then?"

"How are we gonna do that?" Reimu asks. "We don't have any way of getting any information on who even works for the Scarlet Corporation. As far as anyone who isn't an employee can tell, there are none."

"I wouldn't be so sure about that, Reimu. Whose house do you think this is?" Yukari asks.

"Kaguya Houraisan. What about her?"

"Spelled 蓬莱山 輝夜, right?" She writes it on a spare napkin she pulls out of her purse.

"I guess? I've never seen it in writing before."

"How would you normally pronounce 輝夜, then?" She asks, pointing to the kanji used to spell "Kaguya".

"Teru yo. I still don't get what you're getting at."

"Yes, Teruyo. The infamous hacker who leaked the first two lines of every single secret document Enpen had at the time."

"...Who?"

"My point is, she may be able to get us the information. Assuming it exists in a digital format at all."

"I see."

...And with that, you begin working out the more detailed parts of your plan for infiltrating the Scarlet Devil Mansion.

---

Moar soonish. I need to plan the specifics of the next few scenes.
>> No. 32046
Click.
Creeeak.
BANG.

...He's home.

Light. After waiting for so long in the dark, it hurts her eyes a little. However, to someone with her level of experience and training, the pain is meaningless.

"Geez, I need a new job." The man complains. "Standing around for hours in front of a factory, and then move and stand around for hours in a garden. Feh, I'd rather just mug people for money. Too late now, though."

She lets him pour himself a drink. Straight vodka. He downs it at a speed that makes her cringe.

"Lessee what's on TV." He grabs his remote and hits the power button.

Now.

She sneaks up behind him,
lifts the gun in her hand up to his head,
and pulls back the slide.

"Huh?!" The guy jumps and turns around. Almost mechanically, the girl keeps her aim perfectly in the center of his head.

"w-W-WHO'RE YOU? HOW'D YOU GET IN HERE?" He begins to crawl backwards away from her.

BANG

The bullet purposefully misses. The point isn't to kill him. But he needs to be scared shitless.

"Listen." She speaks with a harsh voice unbefitting of her usual nature. "You're gonna skip work tomorrow. Got it?" She threateningly pulls back the trigger just enough so that it doesn't actually fire.

"Y-y-yes! I understand! Now stop pointing that thing at me."

"Good." She lowers her aim.

BANG

The bullet passes through his leg just right so it does the least amount of damage to arteries and veins. Wouldn't want to make her colleague's jobs too hard when the ambulance arrives, right?

Closing the door behind her, she pulls out her cellphone and opens up a message.

"Let's see, my next target is..."

---
>> No. 32048
You're being followed.

Even though the only assignments you've been given recently have involved securing the mansion from attacks from someone like yourself, your senses haven't dulled. It's easy to tell that you're being followed, even if you've only gotten a passing glance at the person tailing you. All you saw was green hair and a parasol.

Someone weak like that, following you? Is she trying to get herself killed? It sure seems like it. Even if she's just a spy or something, it's obvious that you're just gonna kill her, right?

But it's such a pain. She's so far away. Even if you had a spare knife to throw, you've got no idea how. You tried to get that bitch to teach you, but she didn't even look away from her work.

No matter. You know what to do in situations like this. If they're gonna follow you, you lead them into a place where you'll have the advantange and strike.

Just like this alleyway.

You duck inside, and quickly sprint to hide behind a dumpster. You reach into your jacket pocket, and pull out a knife. After pressing the button on the side, it's ready to taste blood.

Now you wait.

And wait.

And wait.

Don't tell me she didn't follow you here.

Might as well check, anyway.

You peek your head out the side of the dumpster and-

BANG

the dumpster implodes.

"Hello boy."

SHIT

She stares straight into your eyes, from the same level. It makes you jump back in surprise, but you quickly regain your composure. It's just a woman, right? You won't be able to forgive yourself if you let a woman scare you like that.

"So you really do want to die. Here I thought I'd just picked up secret admirer."
No reaction. Normally someone gets angry when you say something like that.
"Looks like I'll be taking your life after all."

You get into your striking posture. When you're this close, it's impossible to avoid your attack.

You lunge forward, and-

CRACK

!?

Impossible!

The pain from your hand and wrist are unbareable. It feels like every single bone was broken.

The pain causes you to trip and fall. When you grab your hand to soothe the pain, shockwaves spread through your body, and forcing you to let out a cry of pain.

The bones in your arm...they're all...shaped wrong. And there's something sharp sticking out.

Suddenly a shadow.

You look up, and see...

A dumpster.

What

That's riddi

---
>> No. 32049
We really need to recruit Yuuka to help us take on SDM
>> No. 32050
>>32048
I forgot that Yuuka wasn't so happy with the mist messing up her plants. Apparently, she's really UNHAPPY about it.
>> No. 32054
moar writan tomorrow. Everything I write seems boring after Yuuka throwing dumpsters.
>> No. 32058
>>32054

Hooray!
>> No. 32062
SSSSSSSSSSSSS

The loud sound and pleasant aroma of the grill fill the air as she puts a new round of skewers on to cook.

"You know, Myschi, your food's the best after a long day at work." The customer strikes up conversation while eagerly waiting for his meal.

"Thank you~ Your continued patronage is always welcome~"

This man is one of her frequent repeat customers. He stops by almost every night on his way home from work.

"So... How are things goin for ya? Anything new happen recently?" He asks, fully relaxed, as he takes a sip of sake.

"Not really~" She lies. "Just the same things as always~" That part wasn't a lie, though. She's more or less gotten used to problems occuring in her life and throwing her completely off.

"Eh? So you didn't get anywhere with that guy yet? What a shame."

"Eh!? What guy?" She freezes up.

"That one guy you told me about. Had a foreign name. What was it, Jack? Jordan?" He gives her a sly smile.

"Eh, that's not...He's just a friend, you know." She forces herself to go back to preparing the food.

"Ehh, is that so?" She decides to ignore the disbelief in his voice.

The lamprey reaches the perfect done-ness, so she takes it off of the grill.

"It's finished~" She places the plate in front of the man, and then fills a small cup with sauce for the lamprey.

"Ah, do you want a refill?" She asks, noticing that his sake is almost completely gone already. Must be a stressful job.

"Ah. Yes, please." She refills his cup.
"By the way, is it okay for someone as young as you to be serving alcohol?" He asks her a very frequent questtion. "I mean, it's one thing if you're an employee for someone and you serve it, but this is your own business, right?"

"It's fine if you don't tell anyone~" She jokes. Of course, even if he does tell someone, it's unlikely that the police would do anything about it. This is Gensokyo City afterall.

They sit and talk for a bit about the man's life. Apparently his wife still can't get pregnant, and his boss still won't let off of him for that mistake that wasn't even his. Of course, he can't give any details of it.

Noticing that his food is almost gone, she carefully drops a small amount of powder into his drink. After he takes his last bite, he downs it in one gulp.

"Thank you for the food, Myschi. Delicious as always."

"I'm sorry." A tear forms in the corner of her eye as she apologizes.

"Huh? What're you sorry for?"

"Please don't let what I've done make you stop eating here! You understand, right?"

"Huh? What did you-"

And he notices.

Whenever he looks away from the stand, everything's...Black. He can't see at all in the darkness.

"What-"

"I'm really sorry! But I can't let you get away~"

As the rest of his vision fades, something hits him hard on the head.

---

Okay, one more before shit actually happens.

But I can't decide which. You guys choose. Make sure it's someone connected to Enpen or Eientei though.

.>input
>> No. 32063
>>27865
To clarify, anyone reasonably close with John is connected to Enpen.
>> No. 32064
>>32063
Wait... Even Letty and Reimu? That's actually quite odd and scary.

If that's the case, I want to see what Letty is doing to help.
>> No. 32074
>>32064
Dunno about Reimu as she wouldn't need so many donations if she were connected to them. I wouldn't be surprised if her general goals are in line with theirs.

[x] Kaguya

I want to see what she does, even if it's dull compared to Yuuka throwing a dumpster.
>> No. 32076
>>32074
Thinking about Yuuka... What the hell was that back there? Natural strength is one thing, Yuuka is certainly unique but now that was just a show of quite abnormal strength. No way humans can do that... right?
>> No. 32079
[X] Mokou

We haven't seen her outside of that machine/coma thing in the lab.
>> No. 32084
>>32074

*INSERT EXCITING OBVIOUSLY FAKED HOLLYWOOD HACKING HERE*

...Alternatively

*INSERT COMPLETELY BORING TO OBSERVE REALISTIC HACKING HERE*

...This doesn't count as the last one, before someone BAWWWWWs.

Also, "connected" doesn't mean "paid by." You don't pay your friends just for being your friends, right?
...I sure hope so.
>> No. 32085
>>32079
Extra scene unlocked.

---
"EIRIN!" A loud yell wakes her up. "I think you need to MRI John's head again! I think the damage is worse than you thought!"

...Gah. Whoever is in that room with him sure is noisy.

She sits up and rubs her eyes. Looking at the clock on the wall, she determines that it's only been a couple hours at most since she laid down for her nap.

So tired recently.

Still, curious as to what warrants yelling, she presses her ear against the wall to hear the conversation on the other side.

"...are there, and there's one that leads up to the mansion... The fact that we'll be sneaking in doesn't help the fact that there's too many guards inside the mansion to take on, even if we took quite a number of people with us. There's a reason not much is known about the Scarlet Corporation or its owner."

Sneaking in? Scarlet Corporation? What the hell are they talkin' about?

"How about we arange it so that quite a number of them end up not making it to work that day, then?"

A familliar voice comes from the other side.

So that must mean that it's got something to do with whatever it was that happened earlier.

That was quite a shock for her. She'd only barely managed to get her head back on straight after frantically escaping some sort of tube full of fluid. Because, I mean, who the hell WOULDN'T be scared shitless from waking up like that?

Shortly after leaving, she realized she was being tailed. By the same girl who ____ her. Not a big deal, though. Reisen managed to get the jump on her because she had no idea she was being followed. It's not a big deal to escape when you know you're being followed, though.

...But the gunshots threw that thought process off. She quickly ran to find what happened, and found quite a brutal scene. John passed out on the ground. Another guy on the ground bleeding from his shoulder and also out cold. A third guy a distance away bleeding from a number of places.

Of course, Reisen noticed her rather quickly, and, with a sufficient amount of begging, convinced her to help take care of the mess. Namely, help her lift the three injured men onto stretchers and put them in black vans that seem to be the underground equivalent of ambulances.

And when she asked for an explanation, Reisen just danced around the subject.

So troublesome.

After listening to their whole plan, she goes back to sleep. Hell, it's not like she's got anywhere better to spend the night

---

A dream.

It's a very lonely dream.

She's in a world, where she's all alone.

No matter where she goes, there's no one else there.

Not at the shrine. Not at the village. Not at the mansion in the middle of the bamboo forest.

No one. There aren't even any fairies. Even most of the wildlife is missing.

It's exactly the same as ____

---

This one also doesn't count.
>> No. 32086
>>32064
No matter what I try, I just can't find a way to involve Letty. Anything she could do would either be completely against her characterization, or too mundane to bother writing.

Believe me, I had situations planned up, like her dropping a block of ice on someone from a rooftop...But that's not Letty. I can't write it. At all.

Blame RAaN if you must.

Still accepting .>input
>> No. 32088
[x] Marisa
>> No. 32089
...Looks like I won't be doing another one tonight. Can't find the will to write any more tonight.
>> No. 32098
[x] Marisa

Mystia will be happy soon~
>> No. 32103
>>32085

This is >>32079 here. Thanks for the free extra scene, Jerl.

Can I input a name again? If so -

[X]Patchouli

We saved her life, and she's connected to Remilia, whose corporation is at odds with Enpen.
>> No. 32104
>>32103
It's true that we saved her life, but we didn't talk much before then. Not close at all.
>> No. 32105
Mokou's dream was rather interesting as she dreamed of Gensokyo and her normal life. I wonder if Gensokyo City is a result of Yukari screwing around or not.
>> No. 32107
[X] Orin

I can imagine her being quite eager to make corpses cart someone off for a few days.
>> No. 32121
BANG

A loud explosion rocks the factory as its door gets blown wide open by a shaped charge.

"I'M HERE TO TAKE YER CRAP ZE!"

A girl rushes inside, violently swinging around a broom. In the confusion, the few guards who manage to even hear her through the ringing in their ears or see her though the smoke and dust are too dumbfounded to react. The rest don't even see the concussion coming.

"Alright, now let's find the stuff."

She rushes through the factory, finding anything valuable she could fit in her bag and grabbing it. Every time she comes across a locked door, she simply blows it open.

"Enpen sure has nice stuff ze." She steps out of the way of the explosion and presses the button on her remote detonator.

Loud sirens. Some red mist seeps out through the hole before a large, thick blast door closes.

"Time to leave ze."

On the way out, she gathers the wallets and valuables of all the guards she knocked out.

...

"How Reimu-like ze. So lazy ze. Leaving the biggest part of the plan to me while she drinks tea."

She counts the money she stole. Feh, only 30,000 yen. Cheapass guards.

"Whatever. I got to take some stuff, so it's all good ze. I just hope that it works."

---

I wanted this to be longer, but blowing stuff up doesn't take detailed writing.

Next update will finally have a choice.
>> No. 32122
Where does Marisa hold her explosives? In her hat?
>> No. 32123
>>32122
Same bag she was stuffing the stuff she stole into.
>> No. 32170
The sound of the sliding door to your room slowly opening wakes you up.

"Gah." You drank just a little bit too much last night. No where near as much as last weekend, but it's just enough to make waking up this soon unpleasant.

"Sorry, did I wake you?" Reisen's voice comes from just outside the door.

Opening your eyes, you force yourself to sit up.

"Yeah. Don't worry about it though. It's probably about the time I wanted to wake up anyway." You pick up your phone and check the time. 8:12 AM. Good, not too early or too late.

"I see. I brought your clothes, and Eirin asked me to give you this syringe." Must be that hangover stuff. You're not sure if it's worth the needle hole, though. If anything you may stick yourself with it on the way to the mansion later.

"Thanks. I'll put them on then."

"I'll be leaving then." She steps back into the hallway and closes the door behind her. As you hear her footsteps traveling away towards the kitchen, you stand up and slide the clothes on.

Okay. Now to make sure you have all of your stuff.

Wallet. Keys. PDA. Knuckles. Red marble. Mokou's Phoenix. The shell casing that you now know came from Reisen's gun. ...Let's get rid of that later. Now you've also got a syringe. You're not quite sure why you still carry the marble with you, but whatever.

...

You take a seat at the kotatsu in the living room area and turn the television on. It seems you're the first one besides Reisen to get up. Kaguya was probably up pretty doing whatever hacking she was doing, and Eirin...You've got no clue what she was doing, but she's not here either. Oh well.

You flip through the channels until you find the news. Not just because the news is interesting. You have plans to check on the progress of.

"...critical condition after being found smashed underneath a dumpster. Police are baffled as to how such a thing could happen. With absolutely no leads to go on, it doesn't seem like they'll be able to solve it."

...Found under a dumpster? What the hell? That's crazy. You've heard of people accidentally tipping vending machines over onto themselves, but a dumpster? That's not even funny. However, it's not related to what you're worried about, so you patiently wait for more information.

"Another break in attempt at the Scarlet Corporation's factory was thwarted today. Once again the Scarlet Corporation declined to allow police to conduct an investigation inside the factory, but they did release to the police a list of serial numbers for the minor items they claim were stolen."

Good, that part of the plan seems to have gone well. Once you realized that there's no way you could possibly get rid of enough people in such a short amount of time without drawing suspicion in one way or another, you decided that shifting more of their security to the factory would be a good idea. If they've been broken into twice, it's more likely that they'll expect the factory to be broken into a third time. They probably don't suspect your plans to attack the mansion at all. Hopefully they moved some of the security personell from the mansion to the factory, and it'll give you a short window before they hire more security personell for the mansion in which you'll be able to attack more easily.

"-eral more suspected employees of the Scarlet Corporation also disappeared last night. There are also no leads on their disappearances."

Of course, you already knew this.

Having all the information you need, you switch the television off and continue reading your book. It's nowhere near as comprehensive as the library where you met...what was her name, Patchouli? But Eientei has a decent collection of books.

...

Breakfast was delicious. Reisen's delicious cooking would have been acceptable, but instead you got to eat a special meal prepared for Mystia. She stayed here last night after bringing the person she was asked to take care of over. When she showed up, you gave Eirin and Yukari a piece of your mind for getting her involved like this, but it can't be helped at this point. You can just be glad they didn't get Letty involved; you can't even imagine her thinking of hurting someone. But regardless of that, now that you're fed, you've got the rest of the day ahead of you.

[ ] You disappeared without a trace for a whole week. Letty must be worried sick.
[ ] OH SHIT NEMO
[ ] Write-in
>> No. 32172
[x] OH SHIT NEMO

Do not want to become a dumpster flapjack.
>> No. 32175
[x] OH SHIT NEMO
[x] You disappeared without a trace for a whole week. Letty must be worried sick.
[x] Be careful. Your apartment might be being watched.

Why not both?
>> No. 32176
[x] OH SHIT NEMO (This first and foremost)
[x] You disappeared without a trace for a whole week. Letty must be worried sick.
[x] Be careful. Your apartment might be being watched.
>> No. 32179
[x] OH SHIT NEMO
[x] You disappeared without a trace for a whole week. Letty must be worried sick.
[x] Be careful. Your apartment might be being watched.


Yuuka's going to kill us if Nemo dies.
>> No. 32191
[x] OH SHIT NEMO
[x] You disappeared without a trace for a whole week. Letty must be worried sick.
[x] Be careful. Your apartment might be being watched.
>> No. 32197
Jesus christ, this is a lot longer than I expected it to be. Of course, that's never a bad thing.
---

Well, it's been a week since you were more or less confined to staying inside Eientei. Walking in the hallways has gotten tiringly boring, with nothing new to see. However, you still find yourself restless. Perhaps it's anticipation of what's going to happen tonight. Perhaps it's simply boredom. Whatever the case, you'd like to take a walk. A decently long one, through the city. One thing about walking in the city is that, no matter how many times you do it, something will be different. Especially in a city that's developing at the rate that Gensokyo City is. Shops are still moving in to vacant lots, and of course, setting up decorations and signs. There's also different people walking around. Whether it's new people coming, or people changing their appearance, there's always something more absurd than the last thing you saw to gape at.

Yeah, a walk would feel great. While you're up, though, you should probably find something in the city to do. You've just eaten, so going to the cafe doesn't sound that great. The shrine is entirely too far to be worth it. Underground is...
Come to think of it...It's been a week. You more or less vanished off the face of the Earth for a whole week already. You haven't had any contact with Letty...or even Yuuka for that matter. Yuuka must be worried sick. And Yuuka... Well, you can't say she'd worry about you. More about your pla-

Oh.

Oh. Shit.

SHIT.

NEMO. You haven't taken care of Nemo for a whole week. This is bad. Yuuka's gonna be pissed. She already lectured you once over simply wanting to give someone a cut flower. If she finds out that you left Nemo alone for a whole week...

SHIT. You gave her a key. There's no way she hasn't found out. This is bad. Screw the Scarlet Corporation, they're small fry. This is it. You're dead. It's certain. You've got no hope. The best you can do is never return there again...

NO! That's not how a man should act. A man shouldn't avoid something for something as silly as fear of death. That's how it is. You can't allow yourself to be swayed by simple fear.

...Even after deciding on that, though, you've still got doubts and fear. That was a nice motivational speech, but it doesn't change the fact that you're in some shit.

Shit.

Hopefully she'll accept a sincere apology.

...

After rushedly shoving your keys into their holes, you slam the door open and run over to the sink to fill your spray bottle with water. You immediately head over to Nemo, preparing to apologize to him for-

Wait, he actually looks fine.

...You don't remember leaving the sunlamp on.

You slump your shoulders and let out a sigh.

"Phew."

Yuuka must have actually taken care of him. That's a relief. It means that your life expectancy just raised 10%. Now you just need 90% more, and you'll be good.

The first action for you to take, then, is to immediately apologize to her.

Stepping outside, you walk the short distance to her door and knock. After waiting for a bit, you hear the lock turn, and the door swings open, revealing Yuuka. She looks kinda tired.

"Yes, what is it?" She asks, rubbing her left eye with her hand.

Right. The only thing to do is..

Kneel down on the ground.

Place your fingertips on the ground in front of you, and...

Bend forward until your forehead also touches the ground.

The deepest bow of sincerity that a Japanese knows how to execute.

"I'm sorry! It'll never happen again! Please spare me for my insolence!"

A moment passes.

"...Huh?"

You lift your head to view her reaction.

Her expression...Is that of surprise?

"What's this all about?"

Once again, you touch your forehead to the ground.

"I disappeared for a week and didn't water Nemo at all! However! I was completely incapable of coming home! Something...Important happened, and I couldn't risk coming hime just yet. Please forgive me!"

"Oh, that. Yukari explained everything to me. I made sure Nemo was taken care of properly, so don't worry."

Once again, you look up at her face. A slightly annoyed expression.

Wait, She knew? Then...Was she a part of it?

That...Makes sense. You already know she's done business with Enpen, and she also outwardly expressed disdain for the scarlet corporation for the mist, so...

"...If that's all you're here to say, I'm just going to go back to sleep. I didn't get to sleep until late last night."

...Ah. She's probably thinking something like "you woke me up just for this?" Shit, now you feel bad.

"S-sorry. I'll talk to you later then."

Once again you bow as she closes the door.

Phew. That's a relief. A huge one. You really thought you were done for. Seriously.

"Haaaaaaah." You let out a big sigh. That's one less threat to your life that you have to worry about. You're still not out of the water yet, but at least it isn't a sure thing any more.

...You suddenly wonder why you were so certain of your death when it was just a flower shop owner in somparison with an almost yukaza-like corporation who sent hitmen after you. Is Yuuka's threatening atmosphere really that strong?

Well, that aside. You've got one more thing to take care of. You can't imagine Yuuka bothering to tell Letty what was going on. They've got completely opposite sleep schedules, and Yuuka doesn't really seem that social. But you can't just leave Letty worrying about you. You can see her silently worrying about you to herself, in the back of her mind, no matter what's she's doing, until one day she snaps. Endless tears, and no matter what Cirno tries she can't get Letty to come out of her room to-

No, that's already taking it too far. That happening even in an imaginary world is just too horrible. You've gotta prioritize letting her know you're okay.

You walk over to her door and knock.

"Ah, just a moment!" Footsteps, and then the door swings open.

"Hello, who's th-" She sees your face. "JOHN!?" She practically yells your name.

"Yeah, it's me."

"Are you okay!? Where have you been? I've been worried about you! I thought maybe you hit your head again, and..."

Gah. Even she's recognized the pattern. Your head doesn't seem to know how to keep its self out of trouble.

"Well, kinda. It's a long story."

"I see. Explain it to me over a glass of iced tea, then? Come on inside."

Iced tea, at this time of year? It's almost winter. She really does like cold things.

...

So, you explained to her the whole story, from the beginning. That means, clear back to when you met Mokou. You can't really say it's not related. If it weren't for your attempts to find her, you never would have ironically become good friends with her worst enemy and her housemates, and then this whole situation would have gone down differently.

Of course, you leave out specifics. there's no reason to go into detail about exactly what your plan was. In fact, for now you've even left off the fact that you're going to raid the mansion tonight. That'd probably just make her worry more. But you do tell her that you've been exceptionally safe for the whole time you've been missing , and that she shouldn't worry any more.

After you're done with your explanation, you give her a minute to let it sink in.

"I understand." She relaxes her shoulders and closes her eyes, then looks into your eyes. "I'm glad that you've been okay. But, try not to make me worry this much next time, okay?"

Those pleading eyes...There's no way you can turn down that request. Even if you don't actually know if you can comply with it when stuff actually goes down like it did.

"Yeah. I'll make sure to let you know that I'm fine as soon as I can."

She smiles at you.

...

After a few moments of silence, you decide to shift the conversation into something more light.

"So, how's Cirno been?"

"Ah, actually, she and Rumia are-"

"THERE HE IS!" The door behind you slams open loudly, and the young girl's voice erupts from the other side. "JOhn! I challenge you to a match!"

...What?

[ ] When a girl challenges a boy to a match, it can only mean one thing WHOOPS, WRONG STORY
[ ] A real man never turns down a challenge.
[ ] ...What?
>> No. 32203
[x] ...What?
>> No. 32209
[x] A real man never turns down a challenge.

Play along. They're just kids.
>> No. 32210
[x] A real man never turns down a challenge.

We better make this a grand sight complete with sound effects, terrible acting, and tons of melodrama. At least it'll cheer up Letty and reassure her that we are completely okay.
>> No. 32213
[x] ...What?
>> No. 32239
[x] A real man never turns down a challenge.

HAVE AT YOU
>> No. 32240
[X] A real man never turns down a challenge.

>>32210
>We better make this a grand sight complete with sound effects, terrible acting, and tons of melodrama.
I think you're overthinking this. Remember the time John played video games with Cirno?
>> No. 32275
"I challenge you to a match!" she says.

Heh.

"No." You stand up. Reaching out your arm, you point at her triumphantly. "Cirno, I challenge YOU to a match!"

You only realize how dumb that sounded when you notice Letty staring at you in a way quite similar to the way Reimu and Yukari were a week ago.

...Yeah. That sounded pretty dumb. But Cirno didn't seem to notice.

"It's settled then! But before you fight me, you must fight Rumia!"

What?

Cirno disappears into her room for a second, before pushing Rumia out in front of you.

"...ut I don't wanna fig-"

Her expression stops when she looks up and sees your determined expression. Of course, to a girl as small as Rumia, a 6'8" man will be intimidating enough as it is, but when he's ready to fight...

"Cirno, what's this? First you challenge me to a match, and then you hide behind your friend?"

"Hmph." She responds, smiling and shaking her head. "I don't wanna beat you up too fast. If you can't beat Rumi, there's no way you can beat me, the strongest!" She stands tall...well, as tall as she can anyway, with her arms crossed.

"Thinking lightly of me, huh? Don't complain when I melt down your wings for drinking water!"

...Okay, yeah, that one was really bad.

"You'll be the one melted! But first you gotta beat Rumi!"

"Fine. With what are we to compete?"

"Your fists! What else is there to compete with!?"

Oh, good. You've played that game. You're pre
SHE WANTS YOU TO ACTUALLY FIGHT RUMIA!?

...She's joking, right?

You glance over at Letty, and she just gives you a nervous smile. Wait, she's not going to try to stop it?

"Okay!" Cirno shouts, returning your gaze to her. "Five paces, you two!"

You take up your position five paces away. Of course, your five paces were a lot larger than Rumia's.

"Fight!" She shouts.

...You don't really want to hurt her.

Thinking about it, the best method you can think of would be to just stand there while she tires herself out. Rumia seems to only be maybe six years old. Cirno, being nine years old, is more likely to actually do damage if you let her hit you, but... A six year old girl isn't a big deal.

But you don't want this to be obvious, so you take a defensive stancel.

After a moment of staring at each other, Rumia begins slowly walking forward.

Hmm. She's pretty close. You could probably grab her arms and lift her up off the ground or-

THUMP

Your thought is interrupted by the sound of something hitting the ground in front of you.

It looks like she decided to charge at you, but tripped, landing face-first.

While you're worried that she's hurt, at the same time it's unbelievably cute.

Eh. Might as well use this to your advanta- Ah, she got up. Too bad.

And she charges at you again.

THUMP

...And trips again.

"Oww..." She once again stands up. "I give up." She dejectedly walks over to the kotatsu and sits down next to Letty, laying across the table with her eyes closed.

"I'm surprised, you did pretty good there!" Cirno beams. "But don't get cocky! I'm looooots stronger than Rumi!"
...But you didn't even really do anything.
"Ready?"

[ ] No. This is stupid.
[ ] BRING IT
-[ ] TICKLE ATTACK
-[ ] FALCON PUNC- er, flick her as hard as you can in the forehead.
-[ ] Write-in
>> No. 32277
[x] BRING IT
-[x] TICKLE ATTACK
-[x] SAY UNCLE! SAY IT!

I feel kinda bad for Rumia here.
>> No. 32278
[x] BRING IT
-[x] Sure-kill technique: Ruffle dance!

Fuck if I know what that entails.
>> No. 32279
[x] Stand there untill she hurts herself too.
>> No. 32280
[x] BRING IT
-[x] TICKLE ATTACK
-[x] SAY UNCLE! SAY IT!
>> No. 32307
[x] BRING IT
-[x] TICKLE ATTACK
-[x] SAY UNCLE! SAY IT!
>> No. 32341
[x] BRING IT
-[x] TICKLE ATTACK
-[x] SAY UNCLE! SAY IT!
>> No. 32343
[x] BRING IT
-[x] NOOGIES
>> No. 32356
Well, just like with Rumia, you don't want to actually hurt her. Knowing her, it's probably less likely than with Rumia, but that doesn't mean you should even try. After all, you can beat her with without anything like that.

"Prepare yourself!" She shouts as she charges at you.

...

That was actually pretty fun. She put up a decent fight until you finally managed to grab her and started tickling her. She gave up pretty quick after that, especially for a girl who claims herself to be the strongest.

She quickly dragged Rumia back into her room after that. She was probably pretending to be a sore loser. You can tell that she had too much fun to really care about that.

So now you're back to sipping iced tea with Letty.

"You're pretty good with kids, aren't you?" She smiles warmly.

"Well, I guess..." You wouldn't really know, considering that Cirno and her friends are really the only kids you've spent much time with since you were a kid yourself.

Once again silence fills the room, the two of you simply quietly sipping on your tea.

[ ] Finish your tea and then excuse yourself.
[ ] Bring up something to talk about. (Specify)
>> No. 32359
[x] Finish your tea and then excuse yourself.

I think Letty will understand. Evil corporations to take down and what not.
>> No. 32365
[x] Tell her what you'll be doing. If she's going to worry, it's best to have her worry about the truth.

Truth-tellin' games.
>> No. 32368
[x] Tell her what you'll be doing. If she's going to worry, it's best to have her worry about the truth.
>> No. 32372
[x] Finish your tea and then excuse yourself.
>> No. 32373
[x] Tell her what you'll be doing. If she's going to worry, it's best to have her worry about the truth.
>> No. 32375
[x] Tell her what you'll be doing. If she's going to worry, it's best to have her worry about the truth.
>> No. 32442
[x] Tell her what you'll be doing. If she's going to worry, it's best to have her worry about the truth.

Sure.
>> No. 32529
For some reason, something doesn't seem right.
You're holding back on telling her the full extent of what's going on. Even though you're holding back to prevent her from worrying...She's still going to, when you come back late. Even worse, if something does happen to go wrong, she might not ever even find out. If the news is anything to show for it, you can't even be sure that they'd be able to find any trace of you left, even if they do somehow manage to connect you to the Scarlet Corporation.

That's...wrong. It was bad enough when you were actually completely safe, but just the thought of making someone, anyone, worry that much over someone is unbearable. You've...seen it already. With Mystia. She put on a brave, smiling face, and still spoke with her carefree, melodic voice whenever you talked about anything, but every once in a while you could see through the cracks. You could see what it was really like inside of her mind. It might have been just an expression that managed to make its way through while she was washing dishes, or a slip in her voice when talking about something that reminded her of Mokou, but it was all anyone would ever need to see. Anyone would be able to recognize the pain she went through on the inside, because a person she worries about went missing.

...Yeah. You can't do that to Letty. If there's anything you can possibly do to prevent that, it's preferable to letting it happen. Even if it makes her worry more for tonight, at least if something does happen she can feel better about having some sort of idea what happened, and she might even be able to get something done about it. However, if you don't say anything, all she can do is hope and wait.

Taking a long sip, you finish your tea.

"Actually, Letty, there's something I didn't tell you." You place the cup down on the table and look into her eyes.

Detecting your seriousness, her expression shifts to concern.
"What is it?" She asks, placing her cup down and giving you her full attention.

"The truth is... Tonight, we're going to attack the Scarlet Corporation's owner's mansion." You finally tell her the full truth.

Something unexpected happens.
"Heh." She smiles. "I knew you would end up doing something like that."

Something seems wrong about her reaction, though.
"...Why do you seem so happy?"

"Because you told me. You trusted me enough to fully let me know what you're going to do."
She giggles.
"Thank you."

After another period of silence, you decide that it's time to leave.
"Well, I have to go. There's still preparations to be made, so..."

"Ah, wait!" She stops you before you stand up.
Reaching up to her chest, she unpins the brooch.
"Take this. It's always brought me good luck." She holds it out in her hand.

"Ah..." After a moment of hesitation, you pick it up. "Thank you." You carefully tuck it into your pocket. You still don't want to look silly, afterall. You also don't want it to fall off or something.

---

I was going to write more, but then I found out that this week's zombies and dragons were released, and also got distracted by explaining basic Japanese sentence structure to someone.
>> No. 32582
A cultist's good luck charm. Huh. Nice to have?
>> No. 32687
Fuck yeah. Letty's a cool lady.

Hopefully we won't need to use that brooch to stab any giant oarfish through the eye.
>> No. 33049
>15 days
Spring break makes it far too easy to get completely distracted away from doing anything productive.
---
On the way out, you step into your apartment for a bit to check whether you left any lights or anything else of the sort switched on. Yuuka will make sure that Nemo stays okay, but you're not sure she'll bother with anything else, like a light or something.

After verifying that nothing's been left on to cause a fire or large bill, the next thing is to check your mail. Gathering it up, you place it on the table, and sort through it for anything that isn't junk. You've recieved a number of ads for new stores and such. There's a couple bills that you set aside, as well as some other envelopes that you're not sure of the contents of, to check later. Nothing seems particularly urgent, so you just let them sit.

Knock knock.

The sound of someone knocking on your door pulls you away from the unimportant and menial task of sorting your mail.

Standing up, you walk over to the door. Just as you're about to just straight up open it, you catch yourself.

...Right. You've already had someone try to kill you. Even though it's probably nothing, it's best to look through the peephole first before opening the door.
Hesitantly, you look through the hole to see who it is that knocked.

It takes you a second to recognize her. Wearing your pajamas outside isn't even that strange outside of Gensokyo City, but some people here ONLY wear their pajamas for some reason. You're not sure if this librarian fits into that category, but both of the times you've met her, she was dressed as if she had just gotten out of bed.

Of course, this makes you hesitate a bit more. You know that she's a close friend of Remilia's. It shouldn't be any surprise that her showing up in front of your door would make you a little bit nervous.

"John, I know you're there." She speaks from the other side of the door. "Even if you don't trust me enough right now to open the door, I at least want you to listen to what I have to say."

"..."

"I...Heard about what happened. It doesn't make me happy either that they would choose to go so far, but please, don't do anything rash. If...You decide to do something dangerous, I'm sure that someone will get hurt, and I don't want that to happen to either of you. I...Can't stop you physically, so please listen to my words and act accordingly."

"..." You remain silent, still. To be honest, you're not quite sure how you'd respond if you were going to in the first place.

"I hope that we can enjoy a cup of tea together sometime. All of us. That's all I have to say."

You watch her leave through the peephole. It takes a few minutes, spent in quiet contemplation of what she said as well as everything else, before you can pull yourself to open the door and leave.

Sorry, Patchouli. This is beyond the level of someone getting hurt.

---

The walk back to Eientei is decidedly much more gloomy than the hurried rush to your apartment earlier.

Even though you knew it was impossible, you kinda wished for an enjoyable walk in nice weather, with the sun shining on you. The scarlet skies and red-stained surroundings completely kill any plans for anything enjoyable outside. You hadn't thought about it before, but if there's never a cheerful, sunny day again in Gensokyo, wouldn't that be extremely depressing?

Your attention gets pulled from this silent contemplation when you encounter a young girl staring up into the sky with a gloomy expression. As if you expected something interesting to be up there, you looked up yourself, only to see the same dark red clouds that have been hanging up in the air for so long. Letting out a sigh, you look back to street level, but by now she's already disappeared. Well, it's not like you knew her, anyway.

You continue on your way, still feeling melancholy.

---

After you return to Eientei, everyone begins preparations for the attack later at night. For you, that means a minor workout in the form of practicing your fighting techniques. You're not sure what most of the rest are doing, but Reisen's probably at the firing range. Honestly, you'd prefer that it didn't come to that, but it can't be helped if it does. They already tried to have you killed, presumably just for taking that sample for Eientei and Enpen, so who knows what they might do for actually breaking in to the mansion?

After that, you go over the exact plan for attack a few times. The theory is that you'll have most of the people involved distract as many guards as possible while Reimu, Marisa, and yourself try to get to wherever Remilia is. Kaguya was somehow able to acquire a floorplan to the mansion, but it's more of a blueprint for when it was originally built, so there isn't much information on what each room does. You can throw some guesses about which ones are, for example, the kitchen, bathroom, dining room, and lobby, but the electrical wiring for most of the other rooms is a bit difficult to use to determine which room is which. Thinking about it, though, unless Remilia actually houses a large portion of her staff on-site, there's a lot of wasted rooms that are larger than your whole apartment. If circumstances were different, you may even want to move in. Unfortunately, that seems nearly impossible with the current situation.

Soon after, you leave.

---

Gah. Sorry I keep cutting my updates before they get to a point where votes can be cast, but it's better than no update at all, right?

I'll try to write more after class tomorrow.
>> No. 33059
>"I hope that we can enjoy a cup of tea together sometime. All of us. That's all I have to say."

I don't think it's going to work out like it does it Gensokyo, Patchy. ;_;
>> No. 33066
>>33059
Maybe after everything blows over, but Remilia has gone too far in various ways for anyone to stop their attack.
>> No. 33428
Still alive?
>> No. 33484
>>33428
Somehow, yes.

I decided to get a job. I also decided not to tell them how many hours to schedule me for, so they put me near 40. This on top of college and the new animu season has left me with barely any free time. Next week the adjusted hours I asked for kick in, though, so I should be able to start writing again.

I wanted to write something on April Fools, but I ended up being too tired to think of anything decent, so I didn't.
>> No. 36763
>>33484
Yep. One week.
---
Well, you've made it through the underground tunnels. The power only went out twice while you were down there, thankfully. Even the backup light in some of those tunnels doesn't work, so you were stuck waiting until it came back on.

As you had hoped, one of them led right up inside the Scarlet mansion's yard. Luckily it popped up inside of a hedge maze where no one was there to see you. After a bit of time spent navigating it, you eventually made it out, just near the mansion. In another stroke of luck, it appears that there's also no one outside doing any yard work. There also don't seem to be any cameras back here; those appear to be limited to the front of the house. You don't really blame Remilia for not wanting video cameras to constantly be pointed at her, though, even in her own mansion. From some of the information Kaguya gave you, despite being a rich socialite, she seems to zealously protect her privacy for some reason. You've got a pretty good hypothesis about what that reason could be, though.

You take a moment once again to look up at the sky. The blood red cloud now appears to have turned a dark brown. It's hard to tell whether it's because of them getting constantly thicker...or something related to them being almost identical in composition to blood. If that's the case, then...

Well, that's what you're here to stop. Rather than waste your time in reverie thinking about it, it's best to plan out your next move.

There are three possible points of entry that you've spotted. In the center of the mansion's outer wall, there's a large doorway, only a bit smaller than the one at the front of the house. From how ornate it is, you can only assume that it's the main entryway for the back of the house.

Next, there's a much smaller door that doesn't have any decoration on it at all. In fact, it's been painted the same color as the wall. It's almost as if they're trying to keep it hidden. You can only assume that this is an entryway for kitchen access, or something similar that primarily the custodial staff would use.

Finally, there's a vine running up the side of the house. Remarkably, it's quite thick and sturdy. It seems to be able to support your weight quite easily, at least if you go one person at a time. It comes close enough to a second-story balcony that you could easily grab on to the railing and climb over to get inside the mansion from there.

---

.>input ENTRANCE [required]
.>input PARTY MEMBERS [required]
.>input [optional]
>> No. 36764
Whoa, didn't expecte an update. I'll need to reread a bit to get back into this before voting.

Who's with us on this again? And can I assume those not in our group will use others entrances (or do we decide everything on who enter by where?)
>> No. 36765
>>36764
Reimu, Marisa, Mokou, Reisen.

Yuuka's at the front entrance ready to bust through if something happens. Perhaps via throwing a small car through a window.
>> No. 36770
going to reread this from the start
>> No. 36780
[x]The Vine
[x]Reimu

And once again, I can barely remember what is going on here. I might have to reread this to catch back up, again.
>> No. 36782
[X] You, Reimu and Marisa will climb up the vine.
-[X] Marisa should go first to check for occupants. If it's all clear, head up and wait on the balcony.
[X] Reisen and Mokou will take the hidden door. Their goal is to silently knock out any workers they find, then cause a commotion to draw out any guards. Reisen should type out a text message beforehand to send when they're spotted.
[X] Once you've got Reisen's text, move in and avoid any patrols heading for the distraction.
>> No. 36783
Errr... You're SURE you want to have Reisen and Mokou working together on this? Granted, I know they know better than to start a fight between each other here, but still...
>> No. 36784
>>36783
It's canon that Mokou doesnt hate Eientei, she just hates Kaguya. She doesnt really hate Reisen or Tewi just because they're related to her, she only hates them when their protecting Kaguya. Basically she hates their jobs, not their persons.
>> No. 36786
>>36783
You do remember what happened in >>32085, right?
>Of course, Reisen noticed her rather quickly, and, with a sufficient amount of begging, convinced her to help take care of the mess. Namely, help her lift the three injured men onto stretchers and put them in black vans that seem to be the underground equivalent of ambulances.
It shows that they can at least tolerate the other for a short amount of time.
>> No. 36796
[X] You and Mokou will take the vine.
[X] Reisen and Marisa will take the hidden door. Their goal is to silently knock out any workers they find, then cause a commotion to draw out any guards. Reisen should type out a text message beforehand to send when they're spotted.
[x] Reimu takes the front door and pretends to be a legitimate guest.
>> No. 36806
[x] You and Mokou will take the vine.
[x] Reisen and Marisa will take the hidden door. Their goal is to silently knock out any workers they find, then cause a commotion to draw out any guards. Reisen should type out a text message beforehand to send when they're spotted.
[x] Reimu takes the front door and pretends to be a legitimate guest.
>> No. 36831
Of course, going in through the main entrance is probably a bad idea. But the other two entrances are also problematic. The door is too narrow for all four of you to enter quickly. You've been told that only Eientei uses guns, but that's just as far as anyone can tell usually. Who knows how the security guards here are armed? If you all try to burst through the door at the same time, you'll all just be that much more likely to get hurt, and it also makes it more difficult to attack if everyone's crowded together. The balcony has the same problem, since only one of you can climb up at a time, and it's not exactly easy to hide in front of a glass sliding door. Additionally, you've got no clue where each entrance actually leads, and each of them might have their advantages. It seems, then, that the best option here is to split up into smaller groups.

Thinking about it, you should probably keep Mokou and Reisen separated. You know they seem to get along well enough normally, but...Mokou. She seems like the type to hold a grudge, even if she doesn't realize it herself. You don't want anything like that to potentially get in the way here, since you've got no clue what might happen.

You explain your reasoning to the group. Except that last bit, of course.

Reisen nods. "That's true." She quickly glances between the two entrances. "Trying to breach into a room with this many members is problematic. There's too many of us to all enter in an instant, but too few to effectively raid. Splitting into groups is probably the wisest action."

Reimu places her hand on her hip.
"Well, if we're going to split up, then I guess I'll head over to the front entrance and try to get in under the guise of an actual guest. It might be enough of a distraction to make it possible to successfully enter with just two groups of two."

"Agreed." Reisen nods once again.

"Well, let's do it already then -ze." Marisa, whose expression became more and more bored with every word of planning that's been spoken, urges.

"Yeah." Reimu nods. "I'll send a text message when I'm about to knock on the door, so you know when you're clear to enter."
She waves, and then rushes off towards the front of the house.

"Alright, then." You turn to Reisen. "Mokou and I'll take the balcony. You and Marisa can take the door. As soon as we're in, try to make as big of a fuss as you can, and take out as many of the guards as possible."

Marisa's face lights up.
"Yeah! That's my kinda attack -ze! Just barge in, beat everyone up, and take what you want!"

"I'll send you a text message when we get spotted, then," Reisen suggests, "so you know when to make your move."

"Alright. Let's go."

...

Bzzzzt

A buzzing sound from your pocket snaps you out of the silent reverie you were in while waiting for Reimu's call. You were able to get up onto the balcony and hide directly to each side of the door, but after that all you could do is silently wait. Trying to strike up a conversation with Mokou in the meantime could very easily backfire, if someone inside were to hear it and come to see what's going on. In the meanwhile, you've been spending a minute daydreaming while staring up at the muddy brown sky. Mokou's just been enjoying a cigarette.

Pulling the phone out of your pocket, you look at the message displayed on the screen.

I'm in.

"Well, that's the signal. Let's go."

"Yeah." Mokou responds, throwing her cigarette to the ground and stepping on it.

The two of you crash through the door.

...

I'm in.

She flips her phone closed and nods to the impatient girl waiting with her.

"It's time."

"Roger!" The enthusiastic girl doesn't just kick the door open, but completely knocks it off of its hinges and sends it flying forward a good few feet with one swift, hard kick. If anyone were inside, chances are they'd be too stunned by the door suddenly flying at them to react to two girls rushing in ready to fight.

However, there was no one on the other side. Rather, the door opens into a staircase heading downwards.

"Hmm. That's odd." Reisen peers down the shaft.

"What? Can you actually see anything down there?"

"Yeah. It just keeps going downward for a while, and then suddenly stops and makes a turn. I can't see very well, but I think it just starts going downward in the other direction."

"Ehhh, that's so boring. I bet there isn't even anyone down there." The witch says with a disappointed expression.

"Still, there may be something important down there. I think we should at least see where it goes at the turn down there."

"Yeah, yeah, you're right. At the very least there might be a wine cellar down there with somethin to drink."

...

You've been lucky so far. You ran into one maid who was leaving a room as you walked by. Mokou's glare made her go back inside the room to hide. Of course, that's better than having to fight her.

"This is weird. There aren't any guards at all. We weren't exactly being that sneaky when we broke through that glass door." Mokou says while cautiously looking around.

"Well that's not my fault. I was going to at least try opening it normally first,but you just went right ahead and broke it."

"Yeah, yeah. Just be glad I didn't just light the place on fire; looks like it'd burn pretty nicely."

This place would burn pretty nicely?

After walking a bit further, you arrive at the main staircase. One wide case leading down to the main floor, and two smaller ones heading upwards.

[ ] Go to the first floor and try to meet up with Reimu.
[ ] Head upwards.
[ ] Check out the rest of this floor first.

...

"It's just like I thought." The rabbit-eared girl speaks as the pair of girls reach the end of the stairway. "It just turns around and keeps going the other way."

"So, like, are we gonna keep going, or what?" The blonde-haired witch impatiently asks.

[ ] Keep going.
[ ] Send a text message to Reimu and John, and ask them what they think you should do.
[ ] Leave; go and regroup with John and Mokou.
>> No. 36834
[x] Head upwards.
[x] Send a text message to John
[x] Keep going.
>> No. 36846
[x] Go to the first floor and try to meet up with Reimu.
[x] Leave; go and regroup with John and Mokou.

Something is amiss so it'd be better to group up and I doubt checking out the basement is a terrible safe idea.
>> No. 36857
[x] Go to the first floor and try to meet up with Reimu.
[x] Leave; go and regroup with John and Mokou.
>> No. 37433
One more vote and I'll update.
>> No. 37438
[x] Go to the first floor and try to meet up with Reimu.
[x] Leave; go and regroup with John and Mokou.

I forgot who John is.
>> No. 40518
[x] Go to the first floor and meet up with Reimu.

After looking up and down both staircases, you come to a conclusion.

This really is weird.
You've only run into that one maid who practically had a heart attack just from seeing you.  No one at all has come to check what was going on after Mokou smashed in a glass door.  It wasn't very quiet.  You're sure someone had to have heard it.

So, where is everyone, then?  There has to be people here.  This mansion isn't just a scapegoat.  Everything has been taken care of too nicely.  It just wouldn't make sense to put this much effort into the interior if no one's going to be here.

Which means that everyone in the mansion is preoccupied with something.  Something that would take precedence over someone breaking in.  Something like a fight.

Oh, right.  Reisen and Marisa's team's goal was to go in through the door at the bottom and cause a ruckus.  That would explain why there's no one here; they'd all be down there handling that.

...The only problem with that is that they never sent you a txt message.  Which means they either haven't run into anything, or they've already been stopped or captured.  But if they were stopped or captured, there'd be people to spare to send up here.

Which means they haven't started fighting yet.

So if they haven't started fighting yet...

Reimu.

"Shit."

"Huh?  What's up?"

"Shit.  Shit shit shit shit shit.  This is bad."

Reimu's all alone.  You're sure she can handle yourself normally, but you still have no idea how the mansion's guards are armed.  You haven't heard gunfire yet, but even Reimu would get hurt pretty badly if she were to be stabbed.  She's all alone, and all indications point to her currently fighting the whole guard force by herself.

"Hold up.  What exactly are you suddenly so worried about?"

"We're going downstairs.  Quickly."

Before you can even hear her response, you've already started rushing downstairs.

---

[x] Leave; go and regroup with John and Mokou.

"Well, I don't think we can cause much of a distraction in a cellar.  We should probably go back and meet up with John."

"Aww.  We're not even going to open the door and peek inside?  C'mon, let's loot and plunder why we're here!"  Marisa grabs onto the door handle and starts to pull.

Reisen shakes her head.

"No.  Everyone else is up there doing something to move the plan forward, so we can't just waste our time down here."

"Fiiiine.  Let's just make it fast, because it's boring down here." The witch lets go of the door and starts walking back up the long staircase.  Reisen follows silently.

---

Fuck it I'm stopping here.  I'll finish it at some point in the future that I won't even speculate about anymore. 
>> No. 40685
Finally updates!
>> No. 41606
Thud.

You hesitate for a split second at the sight of the knife that just got embedded into the wall right in front of you. If you'd been only slightly faster clearing the last few steps, you'd be in trouble.

You encounter a wild maid of time. What will you do?

.>Input
>> No. 41608
Which character cluster is that in >>41606?
>> No. 41610
>>41608
The only one written in second-person perspective.
>> No. 41674
So we've run into Sakuya.

We have to hold her off so she can't join the fight against Reimu

There are two of us so we should be able to win.

[x] Engage in combat with Sakuya
>> No. 41979
[x] Fight
John: [x] Attack
Mokou: [x] Attack

The maid of time has been defeated! The party gained some experience!
>> No. 43259
Fight or flight. The two basic threat responses. A surge of adrenaline surges through your body like lightning, sharpening your senses so that you can choose between those two options in less than a second.

Running away wouldn't solve anything. They've already tried to kill you before. The only direction you have to run is deeper into the mansion, which just decreases your ability to escape. Above that, it's almost guaranteed now that Reimu is in trouble. You have to get to her to help her. Running away wouldn't help with that. All there is to do is smash through all the obstacles in your way.

These decisions come not as thoughts, but as pure reflex. Before you've even fully processed what's going on, your body has already begun to move. In a surge of speed, you clear the distance to the bottom of the stairs like a wreckingball,

However, while adrenaline can help, it can also hinder. The problem with a rush like this is that if your opponent is more composed than you are, it's simple for them to get out of the way. Especially if they're trained in combat.

When the initial adrenaline boost wears off, you find your knuckle embedded into the wall behind where the maid was standing. Proper awareness returns just in time for you to avoid her counterattack. A swift swing of her knife, using it as a close-ranged weapon instead of its intended use as a throwing weapon. She's really well-trained in melee combat.

You quickly lunge backwards to avoid her jab. Missing doesn't stop her, though, as she's already transitioned into a sweeping slash attack. You manage to block it with the steel of the knuckle on your left hand, but the force is enough to make you wince from pain.

Taking advantage of the opening you created by blocking her attack, you attempt to land a powerful blow with your right, but she's already seen through it. Instead of trying to attack you with her knife, she pushes a powerful kick into your gut. Despite your reach being better than hers, her smaller body gives her superior speed, and you find yourself on your back. Before you can stand, she's already cleared the distance between you, and-

Mokou cleanly clotheslines her before she even reaches you.
After slamming the silver-haired maid into the ground, Mokou kicks away her knife and presses down on her throat with her foot.


"John, go on ahead. I'll take care of this chick for ya."

[ ] Go help Reimu.
[ ] You can't leave her here alone.
>> No. 43261
[x] Go help Reimu.

Listen to the girl who just saved your ass.
>> No. 43263
[x] Go help Reimu.

Surprise update!
>> No. 43275
[x] Go help Reimu.

I wish I knew how to add text to images. Nothing calls for a "Chill The Fuck Out I Got This" like that post.
>> No. 43281
[x] Go help Reimu.
>> No. 48086
Nine months. I have no excuses to offer.
---
There's no time to think. You have to go make sure Reimu's all right. In your time living here, you've gotten to know quite a few of the people in this crazy city, but Reimu is more than that. You've fought together, laughed together...confided with each other about things that you just can't with the rest of this city's population. If it weren't for her, you'd never have been able to fit in with the insanity, and you'd never have learned that, despite their eccentricities, a lot of the people here are truly warm and friendly.

Running through the coridors goes by in a blur. There's no time for anything else, so all that goes through your mind is finding her and making sure she's not hurt. Finally, you turn a corner and see further down the hallway the top of a staircase.

Rational thinking returns, and an avalanche of thoughts crash through your brain. You've seen the blueprints, so you know this leads straight down to the main lobby, where Reimu entered the mansion.

Is she safe? There's no way to tell. In contrast with the blur of movement that got you here, now it feels like your whole body is made of lead. Fortunately, you aren't hearing screaming or anything of the sort. Wait, that's not a good thing at all. You've fought at Reimu's side before, so you know that while she doesn't exactly lose control, she doesn't fight quietly either. If it's physical combat, you'd expect to hear loud crashes from her orbs smashing into walls and such. If it's oral confrontation, there's no way you wouldn't be able to hear her dignified, assertive voice from here.

Instead, you hear silence. No, not silence; the same adrenaline that made you run so quickly to get here and that is currently slowing you down has increased your senses. You can hear your heartbeat, you can hear your breathing, and you can even hear your footsteps echoing back at you from down the hall. But you can't hear anything from downstairs.

Slowly, you reach the end of the wall that briefly separates the main lobby from the hallway, and turn your head to loo-

WHAM

Before you can see what's going on at the bottom of the stairs, something quite heavy flies right past your head and slams into the wall. A burst of adrenaline makes you duck back behind the wall in an instant. After the initial shock wears off, you look over at the brand new hole in the wall, and see something quite familliar.

"I saw you up there! There's no use hiding! Just come out quietly so we can thoroughly discuss the situation!"

And just like that, all of the tension that led you here melts away. It doesn't matter that Mokou's probably having quite the time with Sakuya, or that you have absolutely no idea what Marisa and Reisen are doing, or that you were inches away from needing more than just a couple days' rest to get better.

She's safe. That's all that matters right now.

But the feeling doesn't last long. The fact that she isn't fighting, but at the same time has to be alert and cautious enough to launch surprise attacks on people at the top of the stairs, means that something's gone wrong.

.>input
>> No. 48089
will need to reread this
>> No. 48093
>>48089
Same here, but I remember enjoying this a lot.
>> No. 48101
>>48093
I literally remember nothing about this except it being good.
>> No. 48132
[x] Make sure Reimu knows that it's you and go down to discuss the situation.
>> No. 48135
May as well take this one and run with it. Since people are catching up, it's better to update on one vote than forget about the series existing by the time more people have voted.
---

It isn't a catastrophic failure, though. Sure, your plans got thwarted, and you'll have to work something out for what to do next, but at least no one seems to be hurt.

Well, it is true that you haven't heard anything back from Reisen and Marisa, and you left Mokou fighting that maid...but honestly, you're not that worried. Mokou's an excellent fighter, and between Reisen's tactics and Marisa's enthusiasm, you're confident in their progress as well.

Still, with your plan having slipped through the cracks, you should regroup and come up with a new plan. The first step is getting Reimu to stop throwing stuff at you.

Moving yourself as close to the edge of the wall as you can without presenting a target, you yell down the stairs to her.

"Reimu! It's me, John! Chill out for a minute!"

"John? Why in the world are you all the way on this side of the house?" You step out and begin walking down the stairs as she acknowledges you.

"Well, basically, everything fell apart."

"I gathered that already." She folds her arms. "Any idea what went wrong?"

"Not exactly. We managed to sneak in just fine...actaully, it was probably too easy honestly. The security seems a bit lacking, doesn't it?"

"Yeah." She nods. "I take it there wasn't anyone waiting for you either?"

"Just some maids. We ran into Sakuya, and she gave us some trouble, but Mokou's taking care of her."

"I see. Any idea what Marisa's team is up to?"

"None. If the basement's anything like the upstairs was, though, they'll probably be showing up themselves pretty soon."

"So what do we do now, then?"

[ ] This plan's pretty much blown. It's time to cut your losses and leave.
[ ] Have everyone gather here. Remilia might not be in right now, but she'll have to return home sometime. You might as well wait for her.
[ ] Have everyone gather out back. You're not sure you want to call this a total loss just yet, but it would be better to get out in the open where you're less likely to be discovered until someone gets back home.
[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 48136
Guess I'll start reading as well since this one seems to be getting pretty good reviews
>> No. 48145
[x] Have everyone gather out back. You're not sure you want to call this a total loss just yet, but it would be better to get out in the open where you're less likely to be discovered until someone gets back home.
>> No. 48168
[X] Cut your losses and leave.
-[X] Take Sakuya with you.

Lets see how long that spoiled brat can survive without her perfect maid.
>> No. 48195
I'll update once this tie is broken.
>> No. 48202
>>48195
I'm >>48145

I'll change my vote to >>48168
Not an idea I thought of but it seems very interesting.
>> No. 48211
>>48195
Just read this from start till now. I like it!
>> No. 48213
>>48202
In the future, please delete your old vote so that I can be sure you aren't trying to jack someone's vote from them.

In this case, since I was only really looking for a tie breaker, I'll count both votes, but please keep this in mind in the future. I don't like bugging the mods to check IPs.

That being said, I'm calling the vote here and I'm going to start writing now.
>> No. 48217
It seems like with Remilia elsewhere, there isn't really a whole lot you can do here. Waiting around could serve problematic; you don't know if there's any sort of alarm system that you've tripped. For all you know, a couple vans filled with Scarlet Corp. hitmen are going to roll up and storm the place any minute now. The best idea is probably just to get out of here.

"I guess we leave. There isn't much we can do if Remilia isn't here."

"Really? You want to just leave? I can see where you're coming from, but we broke into someone's house and beat up one of their maids. Do you think Remilia's going to let us just get away with this? And in the end, it didn't accomplish anything."

She's right, though. At the very least, this would be a completely valid reason for all of you to be thrown into jail; worst case scenario, you're all assassinated.

"Well, what do you suggest we do, then?"

"I say we make a mess of the place; let Marisa do her thing. We were here for a direct confrontation in the first place, so we may as well make this a declaration of war. They'll probably come at us directly like this, and that's what we want."

She has a point, but at the same time, you'd much prefer to resolve this without turning Remilia into a long-term enemy. You remember what Patchouli said earlier.

I hope that we can enjoy a cup of tea together sometime. All of us. That's all I have to say.

Honestly, deep down, you feel the same way. You'd prefer for everything to end as peacefully as possible (at least, what this city considers peaceful), but you honestly can't think of a way for that to happen. Too many people have gotten hurt.

For a moment, you think back on the fights you've been in here. You invaded the Moriya shrine; now you're at least on good enough terms that they allowed you up onto their roof to collect the samples. You fought alongside Mokou when she was attacked by Eientei, and yet they're one of your most powerful allies now. Ultimately, that's how this city works. People fight, and through their fighting, friendships are forged. There are street fights every day here, and yet the reported statistics on violent crime are incredibly low compared with the rest of the city, since in a way it's a way to bond. The murder rate is nearly nonexistant.

And yet, there's something incredibly different in your current situation. Making a mess of the mansion would be completely different from these street fights. An act based solely on aggression, anger, and spite. Messing the place up won't lead the path to friendship; instead, it can only lead to bitter hatred.

You don't want that.

"No." You shake your head. "I agree that we need to do something, but not that."

"Then what do you suggest we do?" Reimu crosses her arms. "Standing around here arguing about it isn't going to solve anything."

She's right. The longer you stay here, the more likely Marisa is to get herself into trouble somehow, and the more likely the fight between Mokou and Sakuya is to go too fa-

Wait.

Sakuya. Remilia's head maid. It wouldn't be a lie to say that Remilia depends on her. You've only met each other a couple times, but it was clear that she's pretty important to Remilia. Under normal circumstances, you'd call yourself crazy for thinking of this, but it may just work here.

"Let's take Sakuya with us."

"What." She deadpans. Saw that one coming.

"At the very least, we can use her as a bargaining chip to lead Remilia out into the open. It's a lot easier and safer than busting up the place, and we can probably get some information out of her, too."

She stares at you for a minute.

"That's a great idea." She smiles. "Why didn't I think of that? Let's do it."

You lead her back to where you left Sakuya and Mokou fighting. This area was made into a bit of a mess its self in its own right, but most of that is from the knives now imbedded into the walls. You have no idea how she can carry that many knives safely, but that's a question for another day. It seems that they've been pretty evenly matched; both of them are breathing heavily and waiting for the other to make their move.

And then Reimu barges in and effortlessly knocks Sakuya out with a gohei to the back of the head. Classy.

You send out the text message to Marisa and Reisen to let them know what's going on. Mokou and yourself carry Sakuya downstairs and out the rear entrance, where you find Reisen and Marisa waiting.

"Either of you find anything interesting?" You ask as soon as you're close.

"Not really, but... What's that? Reisen asks while pointing at Sakuya.

"Well, we didn't manage to run into Remilia at all. It seems she's out, or something. We did run into her head maid, though, so we're going to take her with us."

"I see. You decided to bring her with us."

"Yes."

"In other words, we're kidnapping her."

"...I guess you could say that."

She proceeds to lay into you about how badly this has compromised your mission, and by the time she's through, you've already made your way to the entrance to the underground tunnel.

"So, what now, then?" She asks. "We can't just kidnap someone and be careless about where we take her."

That's a good question. You can think of several places to take her, but the best one is-

[ ] The shrine. You want to end this as quickly as possible, and the shrine is probably the first place Remilia will look.
[ ] Eientei. You don't think anyone was particularly hurt, but it may still be a good idea to head there anyway. That's where your base of operations is, anyway.
[ ] Enpen inc. headquarters. Remilia already knows that Enpen is trying to get in her way, and it's a good way to keep this away from prying eyes.
[ ] Underground. While still technically a part of Gensokyo City, it's as culturally and politically isolated from the rest of the city as the city as a whole is from Japan. It'll be an easy place to hide out until you can plan your next move.
>> No. 48218
[X] Underground. While still technically a part of Gensokyo City, it's as culturally and politically isolated from the rest of the city as the city as a whole is from Japan. It'll be an easy place to hide out until you can plan your next move.

Neutral ground. Making it much more likely for Remi to agree to any sort of meeting/exchange. Also, with the head of a major above-ground business in tow, we have a reason to pay Satorin~ a visit.

If possible, I say we maneuver twords Increasing both our and Enpen's rapport by orchestrating a mutually beneficial business relationship, secretly using Sakuya as a bargaining chip.

On the other hand; while both companies seem to be having some sort of unexplained crisis going on, perhaps my plan outlined above is just wishful thinking.
>> No. 48224
>>48213
He was trying to jack my vote, the jackass.

[x] Eientei. You don't think anyone was particularly hurt, but it may still be a good idea to head there anyway. That's where your base of operations is, anyway.

I don't feel right having things dragged underground.
>> No. 48230
[X] Underground. While still technically a part of Gensokyo City, it's as culturally and politically isolated from the rest of the city as the city as a whole is from Japan. It'll be an easy place to hide out until you can plan your next move.
Let's go for the 'well-hidden' part.
>> No. 48240
I'd like to take this moment to mention Little Reimu, a feature-film length video project that was recently translated. Not quite a regular video, it's presented more like a single panel of a 4koma at a time, with appropriate and well-executed sound effects and background music. The basic synopsis is a story of when Reimu was young and small and Rumia was an adult. It's truly one of the most amazing things I've watched in several years, so if you're at all interested, check it out.

---

Everyone is taken a little aback by the scene before them. Your path to the mansion didn't really lead you through the city proper, so this is their first time seeing it.

Even after you showed them the tunnels, they didn't fully believe you that there were people living down here. However, now it's plain as day that there's an even more secluded sect living right underneath everyone's feet. You're not sure how long it'll take to sink in, but you can't really just stand out here like this.

That being said, you have absolutely no idea where anything down here is. Your first thought would be to go to Satori's house and see if Rin would be able to help you out a little, but to be honest, you have no idea how to get here. In the one trip you took down here, you never ended up in this part of the underground town, and you really don't know the layout. It was honestly a little disorienting the first time you came down here, with the poor power and surrealness of the situation, so you're not even sure of its approximate position in the city. To be honest, you even cheated when leading the way to the mansion by using the GPS feature in your PDA. The only clue you have for the position is the large dome you remember being attached to the cieling, but it's so dark down here right now that you can't even see the cieling above you, much less potentially on the other side of this chamber. It seems that even in a city with no sunlight, the people down here respect the night time and they turn down the lights accordingly. That, or they're trying to save their limited power by cutting down on usage while most of them are asleep.

Well, the only direction to move is forward. You decide that at the very least, you should ask if anyone down here can point you in the right direction.

"Where to now?" Reimu asks.

"Well, I'm not exactly sure." You can feel her scowl without even seeing it. "I was thinking of asking someone more familliar with the area for directions."

"Are you sure that's a good idea?" Reisen interrupts. "None of us even knew this place existed until a few days ago, so we have no idea what kind of people live down here. For all we know, this is where all of the dangerous members of the cult hang around."

Hmm. That sorta confirms your theory. You've had a sneaking suspicion in the back of your mind that she wasn't actually a member of the cult, but like Eirin, acted like one, presumably to blend in. You've never seen her act like one of the cultists, and other than the obvious bunny ears and bright red eyes, she's actually dressed quite normally. Her fighting style is also a lot more deliberate than most of the clutists you've seen; while you've seen them use weapons (and bombs - the thought makes you shiver), they're always trying to be as showy as possible, almost in a way that turns the fight into a spectacle. Reisen, however, is quite different. You had her give you a little bit of instruction in fighting over the past week while you were preparing, and her moves were quite deliberate, with no wasteful movement. And you've seen her using her firearm, as well - no showy nonsense, just a proper stance and a steady aim. And, from the few seconds you remember when you were being attacked, she doesn't have any hesitation to actually use it, either. These qualities might be terrifying in their own way if you were to actually get on her bad side, but it isn't anything like you'd expect any of the cultists to actually behave. Though, honestly, you think that if you were going to cross that bridge, it would have already happened back when you first found out about Mokou.

Actually, thinking about it, does that mean that Marisa's the only cultist in the entire entry team? Come to think of it, if you're going to be referring to people who are helping you with a problem that almost got you killed, you should probably find a better word for it than that. You'll ask around about what they actually prefer to be called once this is all over.

...You momentarily remember Patchouli. It's funny how some of the people living in this city can manage to make such a big impact. Well, all you can do is hope that everything turns out okay. She's probably the best person to ask. All you can do now, though, is wait.

That, and find someone to ask for directions.

"Well, we don't exactly have a lot of other choices. If it comes down to it, I don't think anyone will be too much of a problem if you intimidate them a little. Pardon me for saying, but Eientei has a little bit of a reputation as the only group in the city besides law enforcement to use firearms."

"Hmm." She closes her eyes. "I guess you're right...though overt hostility like that would probably best be avoided. We don't want to draw undue attention to ourselves right now, even if we're practically invisible to the aboveground world."

"You're right. Let's be careful, then."

After a while of wandering around, you run into someone dressed quite strangely. Her dress is puffed out really big; yet, at the same time, you can tell from her slender arms and legs that she isn't overweight at all. Combining the crisscross of ribbons and the eight buttons sewn on front that look like eyes, your first guess is that she's trying to look like a spider. After introducing yourself and learning that her name is Yamame, you ask her for directions to Satori's mansion. She points you in the right direction, and you thank her, heading off to your next stop.

Eventually you make your way to the mansion. Even from right underneath, you can barely make out the dome hanging above in the darkness. Remembering that Rin needed a key to open the gate, you ring the buzzer.

A voice cuts through the speaker.
"The number you have called is currently out of service and-"

This is followed by some muffled sounds of movement and speech. Eventually, another voice speaks through the PA.
"Hello, this is Komeiji Satori speaking." Then a pause. "Judging from your size, you must be that person Orin was talking about...John was it? And...Oh my, the Hakurei miko, the black-white witch, and two people related to the Lunarians. Oh dear, did something happen?"

"Well, a lot of things happened...We were hoping that we could stay here for a while, at least long enough to sort things out."

There's a short pause.

"I understand. The gate should open shortly. Oh, don't worry, we've installed a backup generator, so it should still be able to open even if the power goes out."

After a little while, the gate opens up and you walk towards the main door. Just as you're about to knock, the door opens. Are there that many cameras around here? Well, security actually might be a bit of an issue given how dark it generally is down here, but still...

"Come in, come in. I won't bother asking what happened, but with so many important faces, there's no way I can turn you down. I have Utsuho preparing some rooms; in the meantime, is there anything you need?"

She seems nice enough, but at the same time, something feels a little off. You're not sure exactly what it is, but you aren't going to bother too much thinking about it. For now, you're just thankful that she's so willing to help.

Well, you might as well answer her question.

[ ] What you could really use right now is some intel. Intel on the underound city, what it is, how it runs, etc.
[ ] If it isn't too imposing, you could use something to eat. You've all been on edge since the night started, so you could use a good meal to relax.
[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 48242
[X] If it isn't too imposing, you could use something to eat. You've all been on edge since the night started, so you could use a good meal to relax.
- [X] Make SURE Sakuya is properly secured - chasing an escaped captive in a place you're not familiar with is one sort of fun you'd like to avoid.
>> No. 48246
[X] What you could really use right now is some intel. Intel on the underound city, what it is, how it runs, etc.

Da fuck is up with the energy crisis?
>> No. 48248
[x] If it isn't too imposing, you could use something to eat. You've all been on edge since the night started, so you could use a good meal to relax.
>> No. 48251
"If it isn't too much of a bother, do you think you could get us something to eat? It's been a long night."

"Of course. Orin should be returning home soon, at which point you're welcome to join us for dinner. Unfortunately, the only thing I could offer you now is a light snack and some tea."

Eating junk food might not be the best idea when you've got no idea yet what your next move will be. It's possible that you'll be even busier tomorrow, in which case it'll be a good idea to eat a good dinner tonight. While a quick bit of food to sate your hunger for now sounds enticing, you think you're probably a lot better off just waiting on the meal proper.

You know Reimu will kill you if you reject the tea, though, so you at least accept that part of the offer. Knowing Reimu, she'll probably be able to wolf down an entire plate of snacks and still be able to ask for seconds at dinner, so you may as well accept the offer anyway.

"That would be lovely. I don't know how we can repay you for the help you're giving us."

"You don't need to worry about that. I'm sure there will be a time when I'll be glad to be able to ask you a favor myself. Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be right back with your tea."

...

For you, at least, the tea was good enough to hold you over until until dinner. While everyone else was enjoying their tea (and in Mokou's case, stepping out for a cigarette), Reisen made sure that Sakuya was adequately secure in one of the bedrooms that you've been lent for the evening. Apparently this involved switching her clothes out with ones that couldn't possibly be concealing knives, as she apparently found so many that it would have taken longer to find and remove them all than it would be to just change her clothing. While she was at it, she gave her a preliminary checkup to make sure that she really is fine.

Dinner was enjoyable, but unremarkable. Despite the trauma she caused you early on in your stay in the city, Rin's not that bad once you get to know her. She did seem a little bit jealous because of the number of girls you're with, but you can't really think of that as being a big deal.

After everyone finished, your group met back up in the room Sakuya's been secured in, of course with some food in case she wakes up. While you'll certainly be asking her questions, it probably isn't a good idea to go as far as interrogating her, and you'd prefer to be on her good side as much as possible. you're not sure exactly how everything's going to go down, but you're sure that returning Sakuya in as good or better condition than you found her in will help your chances of ending this without anyone getting hurt.

Now that you're here, it's time to start the strategy meeting.

"So, what now?" Reimu asks. "We're safe and all, but we need to decide what to do next."

"Agreed." Reisen affirms her.

[ ] The quicker you can get this over with, the better. You should work on setting up a trade tomorrow.
[ ] Wait a few days before doing anything. You want to get Remilia desperate first.
[ ] Getting whatever information you can out of Sakuya comes first; you can decide what to do after.
[ ] Write-in.

---

On another note, to make up for the huge gaps between updates, I'll also answer questions about the story, characters, setting, clarification of the plot, or anything else you may wish to know. I obviously won't give out any actual spoilers, but if you ask the right questions, you may receive some hints. If you have anything you'd like to know, ask away.
>> No. 48252
To start with;

>>48246

While plans for the system of underground tunnels and even the large underground cavern had been around since early on in the city planning process, no one thought that people would actually be living down there fulltime.

Because of this, the amount of electricity in use underground is much higher than was originally expected. While it's still enough to handle the basic needs of most of the populace most of the time, it has recently become increasingly tempermental, with black-outs and brown-outs occurring during peak hours.

There are currently plans to get more power routed underground, but since public awareness is practically zero and the government is already overwhelmed trying to run the city as it is, these plans are progressing slowly.

Relief may come more quickly from the private sector, however. Scientists are close to finalizing the plans for a safe, small-scale fusion reactor designed to get Gensokyo City off of the national power grid. Once this project is completed, it should be much easier to run sufficient power underground. Codenamed UTSUHO, the reactor is expected to be switched on by the end of the year.
>> No. 48253
[X] Getting whatever information you can out of Sakuya comes first; you can decide what to do after.
More intel is always nice.
>> No. 48254
[X] The quicker you can get this over with, the better. You should work on setting up a trade tomorrow.
-[X] Call in a random tip to the police, telling them there is going to be a possible non-cultist gang fight tonight. Give them an address close to Mystia's apartment.
-[X] Call Letty, tell her to spend the night at Your fortresshouse tonight. Tell her you'll make it up to her when you get back.

If I was Remilia, I would kidnap all the people John thinks are important and then be like "yo nigga I got yo whole squad, let Sakuya go before I start takin fingers!"
>> No. 48256
[x] Getting whatever information you can out of Sakuya comes first; you can decide what to do after.
>> No. 48264
Right now, you're honestly not sure what the best course of action is. You were in a little bit of a rush when you left the mansion, so you didn't have much time to plan several moves ahead. The decision to stay underground in the first place was made with this in mind, after all; you need to keep yourself out of the open while you work out a real plan.

That said, you don't have a whole lot of information to work with. You have Sakuya, but she's still unconscious. Cellular reception is very spotty underground, so you haven't been able to make contact with anyone aboveground yet. Your plan from the beginning relied upon Remilia being at home, which by all means is what your intel said the case was. Since she wasn't, you can't rely on the other information you had to be true; it's possible that they somehow found out and mixed things up to thwart you.
Even so, the mansion was surprisingly unguarded. You're not sure what to make of this. Did they get moved to the factory as you had planned? Were they moved along with Remilia to some place you have no idea about? You aren't a tactician, so you really aren't that sure what Remilia would do in this situation.

With neither information nor tactical training, you're at a complete loss. You've never been trained for this.

Reisen is the first to propose a plan.
"Putting ourselves into a potentially dangerous situation without any information would likely prove to be a mistake. My suggestion for now is to wait. We should try to get back in touch with Kaguya in the morning to see if anything's happened aboveground and to check in. While we have her, we should try to get whatever information we can out of the maid as well."

You remember that you promised to let Letty know that you're okay. Your stomach takes a bit of a dip when you realize that this will likely have to wait for tomorrow as well.

However, you honestly don't have any better ideas than that.

It seems that everyone else also agrees with Reisen's plan. Soon after, you find yourself in bed on the verge of sleep. As conscious thought slips away, you start to dream.

[ ] Faint embers glowing in the darkness.
[ ] The beautiful full moon, bright in the night sky.
>> No. 48268
What? Why would interrogation even be an option if she was still gonna be unconscious for the damn update? I know that's kinda metaknowledgey, but still...

Oh well, not that big a deal.

[X] Faint embers glowing in the darkness.
>> No. 48269
[X] Faint embers glowing in the darkness.
>> No. 48275
[x] The beautiful full moon, bright in the night sky.
>> No. 48277
Gray. The color fills your eyes, soaking into your soul.

After a few moments, you become aware that you're staring up at the sky. Slowly, your senses begin to return, and you become aware of your surroundings.

The cold ground pressed against your back. The smell of cold air and dirt. The sound of nothingness. And the roofs of old wooden buildings.

You try to move your eyes to get a better look, but they won't budge. For a moment you are filled with panic; are you stuck, paralyzed in the middle of nowhere?

Suddenly, your body begins to move on its own. Your hand presses into the ground as if searching for something. You can feel vividly what it's doing, but it ignores every attempt to get it to cooperate. Your hand feels around for a moment, and then it pushes your body up into a sitting position.

From this position, you get a much better view of the city. The buildings look incredibly old, but at the same time, well-kept. The ground is paved with neither concrete nor asphault, but rather has been packed down. Overall, you feel the atmosphere of an old rural town in the mountains. The complete lack of electrical lines or lighting refines the feeling. Are you in the Meiji era?

Your body looks down at the ground for a moment, and then back up, and then climbs up onto its feet. From this position, you get a much clearer view of the town. Decorations hang from the front of shops and paper signs with beautiful calligraphy denote the name of each shop. Here and there, you see ornate paper lanterns hanging unlit from the edges of a roof. Everything you'd expect to see in a lively small town, other than the people.

You feel the wind blow against your face and through your clothes, chilling your bones. It is the only sound besides that of desoltion.

Your mouth begins to move.

"Che." You hear a familliar, feminine voce speak.

"Well, this is near wh..." As the voice goes on, you feel everything slowly turn to darkness.

...

You awaken from a dream. Not a particularly bad dream, but you're left with an overwhelming feeling of loneliness, like you're the only person around for miles. By the time you realize you're awake, the only thing you can remember is a cold breeze.

Opening your eyes, you find yourself in an absolutely pitch black room. You feel around where you remember the nightstand being for your PDA. pressing a button on the top causes the display to light up, giving you a tiny bit of light to see by. You look around the room for a lamp and pull the chain.

Immediately you recoil in pain from the bright light seeping into your skull. Covering your eyes with your hands, you slowly allow them to adjust to sudden brightness after spending a whole night in a room with absolutely no light.

After your eyes have adjusted, you look around the unfamilliar room. After a couple minutes, you remember what happened last night. Sneaking into the mansion, kidnapping the head maid, and then retreating underground until you can make your next move. It feels like something out of a bad movie, but the fact that you're here means it really happened.

After slowly getting dressed, you walk over to the door and turn the handle, opening the room to the hallway outside. For a moment, you ponder what to do first. Do you want to check how you're prisoner's doing? Do you want to check in with someone else in your group? Do you want to rush out to the closest place with cellular reception to call Letty and let her know you're alright?

The growling of your stomach makes the decision for you, though. You immediately realize that you're famished. You ate well at dinner last night, but you expended a lot of energy before that, and you probably expended quite a bit more resting overnight. You didn't notice until you were in the bath last night, but blocking that knife with your knuckles did quite a bit of damage. Luckily none of your fingers were broken, but there was some pretty bad bruising, and open sores where the metal dug into your skin.

You quickly make your way to the dining room, where you find everyone already gathered and waiting for breakfast. You wait there mostly quietly; conversation is limited to minor chitchat, with everyone seemingly having formed a silent pact not to let the girls who live here get dragged in any further. You can't blame them; they've already done enough to get themselves in trouble just by letting you stay here, you wouldn't want relative strangers to end up having to deal with the Scarlet Corporation, even if they're practically invisible down here.

After breakfast, everyone else has something or another to do. Reisen left for one of the spots with phone coverage to get in touch with Eirin; Marisa dragged Reimu off somewhere to spar or something; and Mokou decided to go on a walk to clear her head. You could bug one of the residents of the mansion for a bit, but you decide that you'd rather try to do something productive.

Stepping into the kitchen, you prepare another plate, along with a full glass of water and some ibuprophen, to take up to Sakuya.

You knock lightly before slowly opening the door and entering the room. It seems Sakuya had already awoken before you entered. The moment she sees you, she shoots you a fierce scowl; however, shen she notices the plate with food, that expression is replaced with one of puzzlement.

"I figured you could use something to eat by now." You speak softly and calmly. "And something for the pain. Reimu can sure knock you for a spin with that stick, can't she?" You smile at her.

"...Thank you." She mumbles a reply, and you set the plate down on her lap.

...

A couple moments pass before you realize she can't move her arms enough to eat.

[ ] Feed her. "Say ahn~"
[x] Carefully loosen her restraints enough that she can eat; keep an eye on her to make sure she doesn't try anything funny.

Carefully, you loosen the restraints on her right arm just enough that she can eat. It makes you a little uncomfortable to be this close to someone who tried to kill you only last night, but it can't be helped. You can only imagine how fucked you'd be if you returned her in poor shape.

The first thing she reaches for is the ibuprophen; seems you guessed right about the pain. Well, you've experienced enough head injuries yourself since moving here that you might as well be an expert.

After, she slowly and patiently starts eating her food. You'd expect her to be absolutely starving by now, but she doesn't rush at all; as you'd expect from Remilia's most important maid. She maintains her elegance even when being held hostage deep underground.

The time passes in silence, neither of you saying a word. It's likely that neither of you has a word to say. You try not to make her uncomfortable by staring at her, but once in a while you find yourself transfixed on her elegant demeanor.

When she finishes eating, she softly speaks.
"Thank you for the food."
And the room is immediately plunged back in silence, with not another word spoken as you resecure her arm to the chair.

Just as you're about to leave, the door swings open and Reisen walks in.

"Oh, this is where you've been." She looks at you.

"I figured I'd bring her some breakfast. We're trying to use her as a bargaining chip, not a prisoner being punished for a crime."

"You're right about that, but doing it alone was dangerous. You don't know what someone who's been confined to a chair in an unfamiliar room will do if you let one of their hands free."

"I guess you're right about that." The idea did cross your mind.

"Well, we might as well get down to the questioning. Honestly, I'd rather do it while the others are away. They can be a little rough."

You can see what she means. You don't even want to think about what Reimu would do to get information out of her.

Reisen pulls over another chair and sits down in front of Sakuya.

"Good morning Ms...Izayoi, was it?" She smiles at the maid. "How are you feeling?"

"I've been better."

"Any dizziness? Nausea?"

"None."

"That's good. I'd like to check the dialation of your pupils; is that okay?"

Reisen proceeds to give Sakuya a full checkup, similar to the ones you received after your head injuries. You'd never imagined excellent bedside manner to be a valid interrogation technique, but Reisen seems to be pulling it off wonderfully. Sakuya has relaxed somewhat, and seems a lot more willing to talk, even if only about mundane things at the moment. Reisen sure is wonderfully skilled. You wouldn't be surprised if she's already had to turn down a couple job offers from your own employer.

"All done! Everything looks great. I can't say for certain without taking an MRI, but there doesn't appear to be a concussion. You'll be sore for a couple of days, but there shouldn't be any real problems. Of course, I'd like to have you in for an MRI as soon as possible."

"I see." Sakuya looks a little confused.

A few moments pass in silence by the Reisen begins the questioning proper.

"Do you know why we have you here, Ms. Izayoi?"

"I imagine it has something to do with the Mistress."

"Yes. To be honest, things aren't looking good. We had intended to confront her directly, but we weren't able to. Our only option at that point was to leave. However, given that certain things that your mistress ordered to happen, we needed to have some sort of insurance that no one else would get hurt."

Reisen pauses for a moment.

"And so here we are. Don't worry, we aren't going to hurt you. We want this to all be over as quickly and as painlessly as possible, but in order for that to happen, we need some information."

"Even so, I cannot betray my Mistress."

"Sakuya...We're trying to resolve this peacefully, without involving the police or anyone else. What do you think will happen when they finally find a reason to go after Remilia for this?"

Sakuya doesn't respond.

"Given the nature of the mist, it's possible she could be arrested for bioterrorism. Those aren't charges you can buy your way out of."

Sakuya remains silent.

"We're trying to convince your Mistress to voluntarily shut down the factory, and it's for her own good that she does. By enabling her, you're just going to hurt her in the long run."

"..."

"The only thing I'm asking you to tell us is how we can peacefully convince her to stop."

"..."

"I'll let you think about it for a while. I understand that it's a tough decision. I want you to put deep thought into what being loyal to your mistress means to you. I'll be back in a little bit to see if you've made a decision." Reisen smiles at Sakuya, and stands up to leave the room. You follow after her.

Just as you're about to close the door behind you, she speaks up.

"Wait!"

You both stop and re-enter the room.

"Remilia is very stubborn, but her pride forces her to stay true to her word." She pauses. "And...she takes spellcard fights seriously. If you want to convince her to shut down the factory, that's probably the best way."

Reisen smiles sincerely at Sakuya.

"Thank you very much. You have no idea how helpful this is." She bows, and leaves the room, this time for real.

You're about to leave as well, but she stops you.

"I'm...sorry."

"Hmm?" You turn to face her.

"It shouldn't have ever had to come to this. However, I hope that when this is all over, you can come to forgive Remilia." She speaks in clear and sincere words. "Despite what she's done to you, she really is a kind and caring person once you get to know her. Please, just give her a chance."

"..."

You're still incredibly torn. You can't make any promises either way. You need some time to think and make a decision.

You leave the room without a word.

...

After finding a spot with reception and letting Letty know that you're fine, you ended up taking a lengthy walk to clear your head and think. Along the way, you explore the underground city, much like you did the Gensokyo City proper in your first few days here, getting a feel for the general layout. Since a lot of the housing down here is improvised, there isn't a whole lot of infrastructure. However, it isn't quite the shanty town you imagined, even though there are definitely signs that many of the buildings started off as improvised shacks. In fact, given the state of the technology you see through windows and the overall way that the underground city has developed, it seems that the people living down here are definitely well enough off to be able to afford living above ground as well. From what you can tell, the streets down here aren't any more dangerous than aboveground, save the possibility of tripping over yourself when the power goes out. Of course, you haven't run into anyone.

However, this only serves as background imagery to what you're really doing. After walking around for a while, and putting some serious thought into it, you've made your decision.

...

After you get back, you head towards the bedrooms, and find that everyone has gathered inside Reimu's room for a meeting. You step inside and join them.

"Ah, John. Welcome back." Reimu greets you.

"She was beginning to worry about you ze." Marisa says with a gigantic grin.

"We were talking about what to do next." Reimu completely ignores Marisa's teasing. "While you were gone, Reisen got some more information about Remilia. It seems we might be able to pull this off."

"It seems that the best way to have this go down is to have her meet us somewhere alone. Still, we can't trust that she'll actually follow those directions, so we'll need to plan in case of it. There are a few places that could be useful for that. There is an empty warehouse that has access to the tunnels. I went and checked it out myself, and while it isn't exactly hidden, it also isn't exactly obvious that it's an elevator that goes deep underground. This means that if something goes wrong, we can escape quickly. The other option is Enpen Headquarters. This doesn't leave us much of an escape route, but we can broadcast security camera footage up on the building's external display screens for all passers-by to see what's going on and ultimately force her to fight fair. There are a few other places, but these two are probably our best bets."

She turns to you.

"John, you're the one that was hurt here. I can give you my opinion on what you should do, but ultimately I feel that you should be the one to make the final decision."

Choose one of:
[ ] Demand a straight trade - Sakuya for plant shutdown.
[ ] Follow Sakuya's advice and challenge Remilia.

and one of:
[ ] The factory. Being able to escape is crucial.
[ ] Enpen headquarters. The public eye is the best form of safety.
[ ] The shrine. If this is going to work, you need to show that you're willing to trust Remilia.

and finally one of:
[ ] Forgive Remilia.
[ ] Don't forgive Remilia.

Of course, along with all of the above you can always:
[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 48278
[X] Demand a straight trade - Sakuya for the promise of a one on one spellcard duel, tommarow at high-noon.

[X] The shrine. If this is going to work, you need to show that you're willing to trust Remilia.

[X] Be sure to have tea ready. You want to hear her side of the story before deciding to forgive or not.

Que the Reimu training montage. Complete with her running in slow motion up the steps of her shrine.
>> No. 48279
[x] Follow Sakuya's advice and challenge Remilia.
[x] The shrine. If this is going to work, you need to show that you're willing to trust Remilia.
[x] Forgive Remilia.

I feel if we keep things clean and fair, there won't be any issues. As far as forgiving her? She has yet to do anything truly despicable and there's a whole defeat means friendship thing going on in this city. Today's foe is tomorrow's friend.
>> No. 48283
[x] Follow Sakuya's advice and challenge Remilia.
[x] The shrine. If this is going to work, you need to show that you're willing to trust Remilia.
[x] Forgive Remilia.

Quite a straightforward choice
>> No. 48289
I don't want to come off like GIVE ME ATTENTION I WANT MORE VOTES, but if you've been reading this story without voting, please consider doing so, even if just this once.

This is an important choice with lasting implications on the story and John's personality. If you've been on the wall about participating, now would be the time to step up and make your voice heard.
>> No. 48291
[X] Follow Sakuya's advice and challenge Remilia.
[X] The shrine. If this is going to work, you need to show that you're willing to trust Remilia.
[X] Forgive Remilia.
Yeah, think I agree with this option.
>> No. 48297
>>48289
I am fine with whatever gets chosen. I enjoy reading more than voting.
>> No. 48304
The foul stench of blood and the frigid December air, exacerbated by the dense red clouds hanging perilously close to the ground, assail you as you slowly climb the bloodstained stairs to the ground.

The clouds have grown thick, and have dipped down closer to the city. While a few weeks ago it hung above the mountains, today it has dipped into the valley, near the rooftops of some of the taller buildings. The shrine, being atop a hill, has been bathed in the bloody mist.

Once you reach the top of the stairs, you immediately start for the shrine in order to escape this atmosphere. Some of the mist may have seeped into the shrine, but the small rooms and bright fluorescent lights should be enough to overpower it.

As you seat yourself at the kotatsu, Reimu lights sacred incense. It seems like a fitting choice for purifying the air around you; though, and Reimu will agree with you, in this case its effects are purely symbolic. Still, it's better than the terrible smell of blood that has been hanging in the air today.

After the incense are lit, Reimu briefly leaves the room.

"John, Sakuya," she yells from the kitchen, "you want me to bring you some tea?"

Reimu's tea is still the best you've had in this city, though the person sitting across from you can give her a run for her money. Still, Reimu usually makes Japanese sencha, while Sakuya usually ends up making European black teas. While both of them are technically tea, your Japanese sensibilities keeps them as separate from each other as from coffee, so it's hard to really compare them.

"Sure." You yell back your response.

"That would be lovely." Sakuya yells back hers.

"Alright, give me a few minutes."

As you sit in silence, you enjoy the brief peace. This morning has been a bit of a rush. Even after you had the general idea behind your plan decided, there was still a lot of running around and preparation before you could make it here. It's nice to have a moment to just rest.

Soon, Reimu enters the room with tea. For a few minutes while you're enjoying it, you catch up on everyday things that you haven't had time to talk about since this operation started. Ever since Eirin let you move around outside of your room, your schedules just haven't lined up properly for a good conversation like usual. Sakuya joins the conversation, giving a fresh perspective on things. Overall, these few minutes provide a form of much-needed rest for your mind and soul.

However, all good things must come to an end. Once you finish your tea, it's time to start the operation.

Pulling out your cellphone, you enter in Remilia's number and hold it out to Sakuya. Before she takes it, you pause.

"Are you sure you're okay with this?" You ask, just to be sure. While you really need her help here, you understand that it's a difficult decision for her to make.

"Yes. As Reisen said, it's in the Mistress' best interests if she listens to you."

"I see. I am thankful that you're willing to help us, considering the situation."

She smiles.
"You had your reasons. Considering the situation, it's the least I can do to apologize"

You hand over the phone, and she hits send.

You can hear it ringing a couple times over speed dial.

"Y-yes, who is it?" An unfamiliar voice answers.

"Let me speak to Remilia, please."

"Who are you and what do you want?"

Sakuya's expression sharpens.

"Oho, you haven't forgotten forgotten the voice of your supervisor in such a short time, have you, China?" As she says the last word sharply, you swear you feel the temperature of the room drop a few degrees.

"Ah!?" She reacts with surprise and fear. "O-of course not, Miss Sakuya! I will go get Lady Remilia right now!"

Sakuya's expression returns to normal.

"Thank you, Meiling."

A moment passes.

"Sakuya!? Are you-" She practically screams through the phone. "I-I mean, where have you been? Everything's been a mess with you missing." You smile at her attempts to hide her concern.

Sakuya gives her the basics of what's going on.

"Don't worry. I'll be there shortly." As soon as she finishes the sentence, you hear a click, and the call ends.

And now you wait.

---

Cutting it off here. This is a pretty important scene, and I don't want to ruin it by writing while drowsy. I'll try to finish it in the morning, or at least post another partial update. If I can't finish writing it in the morning, expect it in the afternoon.

That said, what I said a couple updates ago about being willing to answer questions about the story is still true.
>> No. 48305
You shiver as you look out across the valley.

It's cold. Of course, cold is normal for this time of year, but not this cold.

You hear the sound of footsteps a ways down the stairs. Eventually, Remilia takes her place near the top of the stairs...along with the woman you remember guarding the gate when she invited you over to the mansion.

Reimu steps forward, crossing her arms.
"You were supposed to come alone." She motions towards the gate guard, while keeping eye contact with Remilia.

"Oh? But it seems that you aren't alone yourself, either." Remilia stares you straight in the eyes. "Meiling's only here to make sure Sakuya is safe."

She moves her gaze over to Reimu.

"So," she says coldly, "what are you after? Money? It looks like you could use some." She glances around at the shrine.

"You know damn well what I'm after." Reimu tightens the grip on her gohei.

"The factory, right? And you're going to say that you won't let Sakuya go unless I shut it down." She frowns.

"No. Sakuya is free to go. You'll find her inside enjoying a nice cup of tea."

"So is that all you called me here for? To just give her back? I appreciate the gesture, but please don't waste my time." She begins walking towards the shrine.

"No, that's not why you're here either."

"Ho~ Were you going to invite me to have some tea with you as well? I'm dreadfully sorry, but I'm quite busy today, so I'll have to take a pass."

"No. You're here so we can have a proper fight." Reimu uncrosses her arms and points her gohei at Remilia.

"Oh? That's quite interesting." She takes a few steps forward. "So, what are the terms?"

"If I win," Reimu declares, "you shut down the factories. I'll let you decide what happens if you win."

"Oh? After all you've done, you're going to stake it on a straight-up challenge? How interesting. Very well, I accept."

---

This didn't come out as well as I had hoped, even if it did come out infinitely better than it would have last night. I'm going to cut this off here and finish it later today.
>> No. 48307
Watching a real fight between people skilled with the spellcard rules is breathtaking.

You've seen a few scuffles on the street before, and of course you've been involved in a handful of informal fights, but this is your first time seeing one where the spellcard rules are really used.

Reimu's movements are somewhat lazy, but incredibly effective. She seems to avoid attacking directly, instead using her amulets to create distractions, and then slip through blindspots in Remilia's stance. Knowing that Remilia isn't actually a cultist, this just shows you that she's serious about it.

Remilia isn't a pushover, either. She moves with incredible speed and precision, often even avoiding the sneak attacks. When she manages to get close enough to Reimu, she unleashes a lightning-fast volley of strikes that would be impossible to dodge.

Watching this, it almost feels as if it were choreographed. You're watching a brutal dance, and it's almost terrifying to see how skilled these two are at fighting.

Even so, despite Remilia's speed, Reimu keeps up steady pressure, and you can tell that Remi's being pushed back. It's clear that Reimu has a lot more practice. You can tell that her more adultlike height and reach are really giving Remilia a hard time. After Reimu got a feel for the flow of Remi's attacks, she's gotten more and more consistent about completely avoiding them, and sneaking up from behind.

Before you know it, it's over. Reimu somehow manages to block one of Remilia's lightning fast attacks, slips behind her. Raising her gohei high, she brings it down...

And Remilia completely disappears, leaving Reimu confused.

"You're good, but you're still a couple hundred years too young to match me." Reimu immediately whips around to face Remilia, now standing several feet behind her. How in the world did she get over there that fast..?

"Your defeat..." She speaks, "was fated from the moment you challenged me!"

And then she disappears again. No, that's not quite accurate; she simply moves quickly enough that the only thing you can see is a blur. Instantly, she's in front of Reimu. With one blow, she sends Reimu flying backwards.

From this point, you're not exactly sure what happened, as it was literally a blur. Reimu landed on her feet, Remilia disappeared again, and then the next thing you know, Remilia's flat on her back unconscious.

---

That silly writefag is dividing the update into yet another piece? How reprehensible!

Alas, I've never been good at writing fighting scenes. I ended up scrapping my original plan for how this was supposed to play out, so after redoing the entire thing, I'm exhausted. This will be finished tonight, but I just need a short break to clear my head.

Writing was so much easier when I could just make stuff up as I went along. Ahh, the days of TAiG... But as fun as that was, it's not nearly as rewarding as writing this. Still, the idea of reviving one of the .>input only stories is tempting.

Oh well, that's enough rambling. imageboard not a blog etc.
>> No. 48308
Top scientists from Enpen have determined that the red mist that accumulated enough to block out the midday sun several weeks ago has now almost completely dissipated. It is expected that trace amounts will remain in the skies above Gensokyo City for several more days before blown away by the next snowstorm. Environmental officials are still baffled over the composition of the red mist, but reports from Yagokoro Pharmacy assure that trace amounts are of no danger to the average person. Children, the elderly, and people with breathing conditions are advised to stay indoors.

The Scarlet Corporation still refuses to make any public statement about the purpose or composition of the red mist, and both Enpen and Yagokoro Pharmacy have also declined to comment in detail about it. It is suspected that they had some involvement in shutting down the factory, but as of now no evidence has surfaced.

And once again, I'll turn the mic over to our meteorologist for the weather. How's the weather looking, Miss Kumoi?

Well, for now it doesn't look like we'll any more snow for a couple of days. Today, we're going to have a high of...


You switch your television off, having grown tired of the news.

As nice as it is to laze around all day, you did enough of while it was snowing all last week. Now that the sun's up, you've lost your only excuse for locking yourself in your apartment.

[ ] Water Nemo.
[ ] Visit Reimu.
[ ] Head over to the library.
>> No. 48309
[x] Head over to the library.
-[x] Water Nemo first.

I want to see what Patchy thinks about how this ended. Hopefully we'll have time to drop by the shrine afterward.
>> No. 48310
[X] Water Nemo.
[X] Head over to the library.

That went well.
>> No. 48311
[X] Head over to the library.
-[X] Water Nemo first.
>> No. 48312
[X] Head over to the library.
-[X] Water Nemo first.
>> No. 48313
[x] Water Nemo.
[x] Visit Reimu.
Time to chill
>> No. 48320
Before going out, you always make sure to give Nemo a good watering. You've come to learn that he likes the water to be slightly warm, and that if you put his bottom leaf in just the right spot-

Wait! What the fuck are you doing?!

You immediately take a step back and take a few deep breaths.

Good, you feel like you just saved yourself from something. This has been happening more and more recently, and you have no idea why. You can honestly say that you still don't particularly like flowers or other plants any more or less than the next guy, but now you're even projecting preferences and habits onto them. Something might be seriously wrong; at this rate you might drive yourself insane! You should rush over and see Eirin immediately!

...Ehh.

You calmly finish watering your plant and check hi- IT over for insects. There aren't any, and you don't find anything else weird with him, so you leave it alone for now.

Okay, you were just about to go out. Time to make sure you have everything. Wallet.

Wallet. Keys. PDA. Knuckles. Red marble. Phoenix.

You pause. This is quite odd. You're not a smoker, and you should have given Phoenix back quite some time ago. Why do you even have this? And the marble, you're still not sure why it was even given to you, yet you still carry it around every day. And the knuckles. Do you even need them?

Oh well. You aren't missing anything, so it's time to leave. Throwing on a good jacket, you head out the door.

...

You're thankful to finally get inside the heated building. You're used to cold weather, but it's still unpleasant. Your height probably doesn't help much either; more surface area means more heat loss, plain and simple.

Well, you're here. The quiet, calming atmosphere puts you at ease. Yes, this is a library, a sacred place where people keep quiet and to themselves. There's no way something loud and noisy could happen.

[ ] See if you can find Patchouli. You never did finish that conversation from your first meeting.
[ ] Look for the other girl. You haven't really been properly introduced yet.
[ ] Search for something to read. (specify)

---
That "hi- IT" thing actually happened as I was typing. I, as the writer of this story, have started to automatically refer to my character's plant using human pronouns, while actively acknowledging that he is just a plant. I don't know what to think of this.
>> No. 48322
Being bigger is actually better for cold, as heat generation is a function of mass (in turn, mass is a function of volume), which scales cubically, while heat dissipation is a function of surface area, which scales cubically.

The net effect can be approximated with (x^3)/(x^2) where x is size.

[x] Find Patchouli. I'm curious about how kidnapping Sakuya effected Patchy's (and Remi's) opinion of us.
>> No. 48323
[x] See if you can find Patchouli. You never did finish that conversation from your first meeting.

Might as well finish things up before trying to hit on Koakuma.
>> No. 48325
[x] See if you can find Patchouli. You never did finish that conversation from your first meeting.

I think we should make-up with Rin. She only wanted to be friends.
>> No. 48326
[x] See if you can find Patchouli. You never did finish that conversation from your first meeting.

I'd like a bit more detail on whatever fallout has happened since Reimu pushed Remi's shit in. And, of course, Patchy did mention tea. Can't let that opportunity pass us by.
>> No. 48330
You're definitely not the type of person who doesn't appreciate a good book, but that's not quite the reason you came here. Sure, you'd like to leave with a book or two in hand, but there are more pressing matters.

It's about time to start tying up loose ends. As far as you're concerned, the current situation iwht Remilia is fine. You've forgiven her, but you're still reluctant to trust her. You're also not how she feels about it, and you'd honestly rather not just randomly show up at her door. If she's angry about what happened and she doesn't want to see you at all, it'll probably just cause problems.

The same is not true for Patchouli. Patchouli may be Remilia's friend, but you also saved her life. It also seems that she wasn't entirely happy herself about the things that Remilia had done either. Her angle in the whole thing was that she didn't want anyone she cares about to get hurt - which is why it's important to go talk to her now that everything's blown over.

This library is huge. Of course, it's not like gigantic libraries are that strange, but you'd expect a library of this size, built so recently, to have also been designed to be more appealing as a meeting place or a community center to encourage people to visit it. However, it's has the most old-fashioned library design you can think of. Rows and rows of bookcases with an occasional reading area with desks, and a larger reading area in the center. Despite being so big and having so many books, you're completely baffled as to how they are organized. You noticed it the last time you were here, but damn. You're pretty much forced to ask for help if you want to find anything.

Still, you're not trying to find a book, but rather a person. This task should be somewhat less difficult, but it's still a large library.

After a while of searching, you eventually find her scanning across one of the shelves. She reaches up for it...

And doesn't reach.

She gives it another try, and once again it's no good.

It's incredibly amusing to watch, until you remember that she isn't in the best of help. It might not be a good idea for her to over-exert herself too much.

[ ] Greet her.
[ ] Pull the book down for her.
[ ] Lift her up so she can reach.

---

Noticed after posting the first time that there were some mistakes to correct.
>> No. 48332
[X] Lift her up so she can reach.

Dis chick need to go see Eirin and get a prescription for some damn Albuterol HFA. What kind of idiot goes through life not knowing when they are gonna randomly cough to death?
>> No. 48333
[X] Pull the book down for her.
>> No. 48334
[X] Greet her.
-[X] Pull the book down for her.

Glad to see this alive again.
>> No. 48336
[x] Greet her.
-[x] Pull the book down for her.

Finally all reread caught up again.
>> No. 48337
For a moment, you think about simply sneaking up behind her and lifting her up so she can reach the book.

It's an amusing idea, but ultimately it isn't really a good one. You have no idea how she'd react. You'd effectively be invading her personal space, and realistically you've only actually talked to her once. You still don't know how she feels about how everything went down, so you'd prefer to avoid anything that might get you on her bad side.

But, you obviously can't just let her overexert herself like that. You wanted to talk to her today, not rush her to the hospital again. You can only imagine how that would go if Remilia showed up.

So, the obvious choice is to help her get the book. With your height, pulling the book off of the shelf is a breeze.

"Ah-" She starts to say something as you remove the book from the shelf.

"Here. I figured you could use a hand." You hand the book over to you.

"Thank y- Oh, John. Can I help you with something?"

"Actually, if you don't mind, I'd like to talk for a bit."

"I see. Let's sit down at one of the tables first, then."

She leads you over to one of the tables, and you explain what happened to her. You explain how you broke into the mansion and ended up kidnapping Sakuya, about how you convinced Sakuya to go along with your plan, what actually happened at the shrine, and about how after Reimu defeated her, Remilia simply made a call on her cellphone to have the factories shut down and left.

She listens, taking it all in. When you're done, she gives a short pause.

"Hmm. So that's what happened." She sighs. "Indeed, that could be why Remilia has been acting... Well, I probably shouldn't say."

"Hmm?"

"Regardless, I think you're overthinking it. I'm sure you'll understand if you pay a visit to the shrine."

Overthinking it? Well, true, you have been quite wary about the idea of running into Remilia again. Just the fact that she and Patchouli are apparently good friends was motivation enough for you to put off coming here until now. Well, that and the snow.

But there's something wrong.

"Patchouli, I was actually worried about what you thought about it."

"Oh?" This is one of those times where you get to see something rare. It's a memory you will surely cherish for years to come. Patchouli is actually showing you an expression. What's more, it's one of shock. But, of course, it only lasts for an instant. "That's... Well, I'm glad that it ended peacefully. While I don't think that breaking into the mansion was a good idea...the method you eventually chose to resolve the situation was probably the best choice."

You sigh.

"Thank you. Hearing you say that takes a weight off of my chest."

She smiles. You get a sudden desire to take a photo, since it seems like this is a truly rare occurrance, but really, you've only talked to her twice now. That would probably be a bit rude, and you can't even really say for sure that it's odd for her to be expressive in the first place.

Well, in any case, was there anything else that you wanted to talk to her about?

[ ] Yes. You wanted to talk about...
--[ ] Remilia. It would be good to know a little more about her, even if you are still a bit reluctant to see her.
--[ ] Gensokyo City. You've been living here for a while, but you still don't really know much about the cult. Come to think of it, you wanted to ask her about a better word for it.
--[ ] Something else. (Specify)
[ ] Perhaps you should pay a visit to the shrine like Patchouli suggested. It's been a while since you last spoke to Reimu.
[ ] Before going out to do anything else, you should go and get lunch. You ate this morning, but it's been a few hours.
>> No. 48338
In a moment of boredom last night, I discovered this story. Good stuff, mate.

[x] Greet her.
-[x] Pull the book down for her.
>> No. 48339
[X] Yes. You wanted to talk about...
--[X] Remilia. It would be good to know a little more about her, even if you are still a bit reluctant to see her.
--[X] Gensokyo City. You've been living here for a while, but you still don't really know much about the cult. Come to think of it, you wanted to ask her about a better word for it.
>> No. 48340
[X] Yes. You wanted to talk about...
--[X] Remilia. It would be good to know a little more about her, even if you are still a bit reluctant to see her.
--[X] Gensokyo City. You've been living here for a while, but you still don't really know much about the cult. Come to think of it, you wanted to ask her about a better word for it.
>> No. 48341
[X] Yes. You wanted to talk about...
--[X] Remilia. It would be good to know a little more about her, even if you are still a bit reluctant to see her.
--[X] Gensokyo City. You've been living here for a while, but you still don't really know much about the cult. Come to think of it, you wanted to ask her about a better word for it.
>> No. 48350
Yes, there are a few things you'd like to know more about.

First of all...

"Can you tell me anything about Remilia?"

"Hmm..." She thinks for a moment. "I don't know exactly what I should say. She's prideful, and yet she's also true to her word. She's selfish, and yet she's exceedingly loyal, and would do anything to protect someone she cares for. And..." She pauses for a moment, flashing you another smile. "She's my precious friend. That's really all that I can tell you about her, the rest you should learn for yourself."

You take a moment to think this over. You really were walking a tightrope, weren't you? One little mistake and you may have ended up in a gutter somewhere.

That said, you do have one other question.

"What can you tell me about the city? I've been living here for several months now, but I still don't really know much about the cult..." you quickly catch yourself "...ure."

"Hmm, that's right. You asked about the city when we first met. There isn't much I can tell you about the city its self that you don't know, but I can tell you a bit about the culture.

The majority of the people in this city believe themselves to be supernatural beings, or at least to have supernatural abilities. Originally started on net communities, it quickly spread to the real world. Originally considered to be some sort of mass-outbreak of eighth-grade syndrome, it soon became apparent that it was too widespread and focused to simply be a cultural phenomenon, and people began to call it a cult.

Soon after, members of the group started being targeted and discriminated against. Their visibility made them easy targets, and they were subjected to everything from bullying to being used as scapegoats. Many people felt disdain for them, and soon it became apparent to both sides that something needed to be done about it. Shortly after, after receiving financial backing from both supporters of the group, who wished for them to lead a more peaceful life in a place more suited for their needs, and those opposed to the group, who just wanted them gone, the planning and initial construction of Gensokyo City began.

As for more specifics about the group's beliefs and activities, the main thing kept in mind is that things should be flashy and beautiful. The more you stand out, the more status you have. This is obviously quite different from the rest of Japan. Conflicts are usually resolved through fighting. Initially, this was just raw violence, but in an effort to reduce the resultant chaos, the Hakurei Shrine introduced the spellcard rules, which have been widely adopted by members of the group. These spellcard rules shift the focus in fighting away from hurting your opponent and more towards fights being visually impressive, and imposes restrictions designed to make them more controlled.

As for the actual religious beliefs of members of the group...there are as many as there are members. Since a lot of the members were influenced by others when they joined, there is some level of overlap, but there is no absolute set of beliefs followed by everyone."

Hmm. Judging by the fact that she seems to be almost deliberately avoiding the word, you were probably right about not calling them cultists to their faces. Though, you still don't have a good idea of what to call them.

"You look troubled over something." She notices that you're lost in thought.

"Well, it's just...Since I got here, I've just been referring to the people here as cultists. At first, I didn't think much of it, since I was annoyed and, to be honest, a little frightened of the people here, but now taht I've gotten to know a lot of them, it just feels like a rude thing to say. Is there a better way to refer to them as a group?"

"Hmm." She places a finger on her chin and thinks. "That's certainly a good question. It's also a difficult one. You can't really refer to the group as a whole as a single religion, as there are several separate religious groups within the larger group. Well, the vast majority of the members refer to themselves as some form of youkai, so that may be an acceptable term for most situations. However, I feel that it's probably best not to refer to them all as one group at all if you can avoid it. Even if they have unusual beliefs about themselves, they are still people."

You can see what she means.
"Thank you, Patchouli. I'll remember this for the future."

What will you do now?

[ ] You still have more questions. (Specify)
[ ] You're really starting to get hungry now.
[ ] Perhaps you should visit the shrine.
>> No. 48354
[X] You're really starting to get hungry now.
>> No. 48355
[X] You're really starting to get hungry now.

Mystia time?
>> No. 48356
[x] You're really starting to get hungry now.
-[x] Look into getting some food for Reimu if possible.

I'm sure Reimu wouldn't mind some free food.
>> No. 48357
[x] You're really starting to get hungry now.
-[x] Look into getting some food for Reimu if possible.

Grab some grub and head to Reimu's. I'm sure she'll enjoy the surprise.
>> No. 48358
Well, those are all of the actual pressing questions you have for Patchouli. Though you're sure you could come up with a few more, you'd like to let her get back to reading. You've bugged her enough for one day and besides, you'd like to have something to talk about the next time you see her.

"I'll see you later. Thank you again for the information."

"It is not necessary to thank me. If anything, I should be thanking you. But that is a conversation for another day. Goodbye, John."

You wave and make your way outside of the library.

Your stomach growls. Come to think of it, it's about lunch time, and you haven't eaten since breakfast.

So, what is there to eat? A few ideas come to mind. The first one is Mystia's stand, but it's still too early, even if it were in season. She closed it down for the winter the day the first snow hit.

The other idea is Mokou's stand. However, the last time you walked past it, it was just as abandoned as the day you checked it for clues about her disappearance. You haven't seen her around at all, so your first guess is that she's still staying at Eientei. Come to think of it, you still have no idea whether Kaguya knew that Mokou was involved at all.

With your two best options out the window, you're left with the cafe you visited on your first day. While the atmosphere is completely different from the stands, the food is delicious and the service is very welcoming. You'd probably have visited it a lot more if you weren't close friends with Mystia. Her grilled lamprey is delicious, but you can't just live on it all year round.

After a bit of traveling, you enter the cafe. This place started as mainly a coffee shop. Instead of being seated and giving your order to a waitress, they take your order at the entrance and bring it out to you when it's done. Their sandwiches started getting a really good reputation, so they started serving more food items, but people still usually place their order to go. This means that if you want to sit down at a table to enjoy your meal, it usually isn't very difficult to find a seat.

Today, though, you think you'll have your food to go. You haven't visited Reimu in while, and honestly the girl could use a good sandwich once in a while. With the amount of donations she usually receives, you're not entirely certain how she even manages to feed herself.

However, just as you're about to leave with the two sandwiches you ordered, you run into someone familliar.

"Oh, John! What a surprise to see you here!" It's Rin.

[ ] Greet her.
[ ] Ignore her.
[ ] Tell her to leave you alone.
>> No. 48359
[X] Greet her heartily.
>> No. 48360
[X] Greet her.

Sup Rin.
>> No. 48361
[X] Greet her.
>> No. 48363
[x] Greet her.

No need to be rude. That I can recall anyway.
>> No. 48364
[X] Greet her.
>> No. 48376
"Oh, hey Rin. Nice to see you." You greet her with a wave.

She stares at you for a moment. She moves a little closer, still staring, and then steps around you to look at you from different angles.

"Uh, Rin?"

"Hmm. You certainly look at him, but..." She returns to standing in front of you, rubbing her face as if she were stroking a beard. "What have you done with John?! You can't fool me!"

"Uhh..." You stand there with your mouth hanging open for a moment, utterly confused. "Rin, what the hell are you talking about?"

"Ahahaha..." she laughs nervously, "it's just, you've always acted so coldly to me, it was a surprise for you to actually greet me like that. Normally you would have ignored me or told me to leave you alone. Even when you stayed at Satorin's place for a couple days, we didn't talk at all..."

Well, it definitely is true that you got off on the wrong foot. You were legitimately creeped out by her (and especailly the hearse) the first time you met her, and you weren't too happy about being woken up super early in the morning. But, after living in this city for as long as you have, such things as those don't even phase you anymore.

You're about to apologize for how you acted in the past, but she stops you before you can.

"Hey, while you're here, wanna go do something? You can tell me about all the things you've done since you moved here! I've seen the tabloid articles."

...Articles? As in, more than one? You certainly hope you're not gonna have to make your way up that mountain to talk to a certain reporter about this...

[ ] Ask her what she has in mind.
[ ] Ask her if she wants to visit the shrine with you.
[ ] Politely decline, you have mikos to feed.

---

This ended up being a little short, so if enough votes come in, I'll try to update again tonight.

not that i'm implying that you all don't have anywhere else to be this evening or anything
>> No. 48377
[x] Ask her what she has in mind.

I think we can stop by the shrine on the way back.
>> No. 48378
[x] Ask her what she has in mind.
>> No. 48379
[X] Ask her what she has in mind.

>>48377

The sandwich is going to be stale by then. Hopefully John takes the time to saran wrap it.
>> No. 48380
>>48379
It was wrapped in the cafe, since it was ordered to go. My apologies for not being more clear on this point.
>> No. 48381
I hate being torn between two choices I really want.

[x] Politely decline, you have mikos to feed.
-[x] Figure out another time to hang out.

That sammich won't stay fresh forever.

>not that i'm implying that you all don't have anywhere else to be this evening or anything
Not for another 5-10 minutes I don't. Movie marathons require breaks and what-not.
>> No. 48382
>>48381

Please see >>48380

Sammich will still be tasty and fresh when we go bug raymoo this evening.
>> No. 48383
>>48382
I did, indeed, see that.

It's lunch time. You do not just leave a sammich you intend to give to someone you get along with out for several hours regardless of whether it's wrapped or not. You gotta refrigerate that shit man.

I'm speaking from the perspective of one with more experience than I'd like with the topic at-hand.
>> No. 48384
"What do you have in mind?"

"Hmm..." She pauses, touching her finger to her chin. "I guess going somewhere to eat doesn't really work... Maybe we should just walk around a bit? We could pretend to be in Osaka and eat while walking around."

Well, it's not that bad of an idea. It's cold enough outside that as long as you don't hold it against your body, Reimu's sandwich should stay cold enough to last until you get to a refrigerator.

"Sure, that sounds good."

"It's decided then! Lemme order my food first, and then we'll go."

...

Walking right now is a much more pleasant experience than it has been for the past few weeks. The sun is up, and there isn't anything troublesome like snow or spooky red mist to keep you from enjoying the walk.

You talk with Rin about everyday things. Despite being one of the very first people you met here, you never really talked to her very much. You tell her about your job; how you were originally transferred here just to test the waters for moving in a larger number of workers, and how you're now instead here to keep up relations between Enpen and the various important people who live here. She also tells you a little bit about her job, thankfully not going into detail as you don't think you'd be able to finish your sandwich while talking preparing corpses for cremation. You've heard that working in a crematorium tends to make people unstable and depressed, but that doesn't seem to be the case with Rin. She's quite possibly the most lively person you've ever really talked to.

Eventually, you run out of mundane topics to talk about. There is a pause as both of you think about what to talk about next.

[ ] Tell her about what happened, and why you and the others spent a couple days in her house.
[ ] Ask her about the tabloids. If Aya slandered you again, you don't even care if those gangs get in the way.
[ ] Talk about something else. (Specify)
>> No. 48385
[X] Tell her about what happened, and why you and the others spent a couple days in her house.
[X] Ask her about the tabloids. If Aya slandered you again, you don't even care if those gangs get in the way.
>> No. 48387
[x] Tell her about what happened, and why you and the others spent a couple days in her house.
[x] Ask her about the tabloids. If Aya slandered you again, you don't even care if those gangs get in the way.
>> No. 48388
[X] Tell her about what happened, and why you and the others spent a couple days in her house.
[X] Ask her about the tabloids. If Aya slandered you again, you don't even care if those gangs get in the way.

Oh boy. Looks like we might be having deep fried tengu tonight.
>> No. 48394
If you're going to start making friends with Rin now, you need to clear some things up. Putting aside the way you treated her the first few times you met her, now that everything has settled down, you really should let her know exactly why you and the people you were with spent time at the mansion.

So, for the second time today, you explain what happened, this time looking around to make very certain that no one is listening in with a tape recorder or something.

She listens intently, cheering you on when you tell her about saving Patchouli's life, expressing jealousy over being able to drink tea with someone as important and influential as Remilia, laughing when you tell her about running into Remilia after collecting the sample (Hey! That isn't funny, it almost got you killed! Well, maybe it was a little funny...), showing concern for you, anger for your attackers, and thankfulness towards Reisen when you tell her about the night you were attacked. You tell her about the planning, execution, failure, and salvaging of what happened the night you broke into the Scarlet Mansion, and finally about resolving the incident.

"I'm sorry I didn't tell you about what was going on while we were staying at Satori's mansion, but given what happened to me, I didn't want to get you any more involved."

She thinks for a moment before responding.

"That's a lot to take in." She finally responds. "But it sounds like you have some really good friends." You see her quickly glance at the bag containing the sandwich you bought for Reimu.

"Well, I should probably go." She excuses herself. "It was nice talking to you. Let's do this again, okay?"

It almost seems like she wants to run away now, but you realize that she probably just wants some time to think. Hell, you'd probably want some time to think yourself if someone unloaded something like that onto you. You can't really blame her, so you'll let her go for now.

"Sure. See you later, Rin."

She smiles and leaves. You suddenly realize that she's been pulling that wheelbarrow behind her this whole time. Have you gotten that desensitized to this city? Well, whatever. You can't really just stand out in the middle of the street doing nothing like this, so you should get moving yourself.

[ ] Better get around to feeding that miko.
[ ] Maybe you should check how Nemo's doing.
[ ] Stand out in the middle of the street doing nothing.
>> No. 48395
[X] Better get around to feeding that miko.
>> No. 48396
[x] Better get around to feeding that miko.
>> No. 48397
[X] Better get around to feeding that miko.

We can water Nemo when we get home as i don't think the weather is such that it'd dry up by now.
>> No. 48411
Yes, standing out in the middle of the street would indeed be silly. After all, you've got a miko to feed.

...

Those steps are pretty scary this time of year. Of course, they've been properly shoveled and salted, but if there's even a tiny bit of ice lingering on, you're likely to just be fucked.

Thankfully, your figurative chastity remains unharmed, and you arrive at the shrine with no incident.

You knock on the door.

"Come in!" Reimu yells, sounding slightly annoyed. Hopefully this isn't a bad time. Then again, with Reimu any time is good if it involves free food, so...

Sliding the door open, you walk into the room and make your way over to the kotatsu.

"Oh, it's you. Thank god, it's nice to see a normal person after today." She says as you slide into the kotatsu across from her.

"Oh? What happened?"

"Visitors. Lots of them. All day. None of them 'normal'. Though, that's pretty much to be expected." She leans forward and plants the side of her face on the top of the kotasu.

The two of you just relax in silence for a bit. You don't mind; just sitting under this heated table is quite nice after being outside.

Then you remember.

"Oh, I almost forgot. Reimu, I present to you an offering."

She rolls her head towards you.

"Ehh, you coulda just put it in the-" then she sees the sandwich and completely drops that sentence.

"I..." she looks back up at you. "I can eat this, right?"

"Yes."

"Your donation is much appreciated. Now, excuse me while I make this disappear."

After a couple minutes, you have successfully made a happy miko.

Well, now that you've appeased her, you should figure out what you came here to do.

.>input
>> No. 48412
>Ask her how was her day.
>Did anyone of importance drop by?
>> No. 48413
>>48412
This works. Might as well let her vent a little.
>> No. 48415
>Ask for spellcard lessons, in exchnage for food two night a week

She is the only person who will teach us. We can't rely on others to save us all the time.
>> No. 48416
>Ask her how was her day.
>Did anyone of importance drop by?
>> No. 48418
>Ask her how was her day.
>Did anyone of importance drop by?
>Ask for spellcard lessons, in exchnage for food two night a week
>> No. 48419
Guys... You realize we most probably don't have the physical prowess needed to be anywhere near a competent level?
>> No. 48420
>Ask her how was her day.
>Did anyone of importance drop by?

I'm not too sure on the spell card thing as John seems best as an assistant to Reimu and Co. than someone trying to do the same thing. That and he has the advantage of looking normal.
>> No. 48421
>>48419

Who the heck cares about being a competent spellcard dueler? It's an excuse to see Reimu twice a week.
>> No. 48422
Idle chitchat is as good an excuse as any. Actually, you shouldn't need an excuse to see Reimu.

"So, how was your day?" You ask, despite already knowing how she'll reply.

"Tiring. Everyone neglects the shrine, doesn't visit or give donations or anything, until one day when they all decide that it would be nice to come see me. And not leave any donations. Argh." She buries her face in the top of the heated table.

"Did anyone important show up?"

"Hmm." She pauses, and then lazily answers. "Yeah, that ghost girl whose tree we sealed dropped by for a visit. With your boss. It seems they know each other quite well. It's quite suspicious..." She shoots you a playful grin.

Huh. So they know each other, huh? Well, you were asked to deliver a package, but...

"Oh? What brought them around here?"

"Well, the girl wanted to apologize for causing that incident. Yukari also wanted to thank me for helping with the red mist."

"Interesting. From what I've heard, Yukari actually meeting people herself is somewhat rare. In fact, talking to people for her is pretty much my job description right now."

"Yeah. It seemed odd to me too, but apparently I'm an Enpen VIP or something right now. I have no idea how that works, though, and I don't think they're gonna pay me anything."

"Not even any donations?"

"None."

"Ouch." Yukari's probably the richest person in Gensokyo City, so you can't think of any reason why she wouldn't be able to spare a few thousand yen for a hungry miko...

"Oh, right. Your neighbor showed up." She suddenly changes the subject.

"Oh? I wouldn't expect Letty to be bothersome, though..."

"No, your other neighbor."

Oh.

She continues. "She and I aren't exactly friends, but that's something from before you started living here. She came to thank me for the mist, but...you know."

"Yeah, I know." You remember Nemo. Hopefully not taking a look at him before heading over here wasn't the wrong decision.
...No, that's silly. It's chilly outside, but your apartment has a proper heater. There's no reason for it to have problems, given that you watered it this morning.

"Maybe I should tell you about what happened back then one of these days. Oh, right. Remi also dropped by." She slips in nonchalantly.

Huh?

[ ] What.
[ ] Who?
[ ] Why?
>> No. 48423
[X] Why?
>> No. 48424
[x] What?

She wants a reaction
>> No. 48425
[x] What.
[x] Why?

Perfectly normal reaction.
>> No. 48427
You feel as if you've just heard something ridiculous, but you can't quite place it.

Something happened between her and Yuuka in the past? Well, that's a little bit surprising. Despite giving off a somewhat dangerous air, she seems to hide herself away in her apartment when she isn't minding her flower shop or hosting her short segment on television. You wouldn't really expect her to have been involved in anything big.

...But no, that's not what's currently causing your thoughts to grind to a halt. Yuuka having been involved in something is a little surprising, but not enough to have bewildered you as you are right now.

So was it what she said after that? Something about someone dropping over. Who was it again? "Remi"? That name sounds familiar, but you can't quite place it.

...Wait

"What." Your brain finally catches up with the situation, and you give the most appropriate response your mouth will form.

That's ridiculous! You've forgiven Remilia, but that doesn't change the fact that she tried to kill you! Just a couple weeks ago, Reimu was out for Remilia's blood. What the hell is going on here?

"...?" Reimu gives you a strange look. "What's wrong?"

You know perfectly well what's wrong!

"Why?" You finally manage to stammer out another question, not caring that your first hasn't been answered yet.

"No idea." She answers bluntly, as if not knowing why Remilia was here is absolutely normal. "She's been bugging me a lot lately, though."

What?

Ah, this feeling. You've heard something ridiculous once again. It takes you a lot less time to piece it together this time.

"And...you're not bothered by it at all?"

"Well, I am. She drinks my tea and never donates. I guess she does have some good stories, though."

The fuck

Remilia doesn't donate? Even though she's quite rich? That's just od- wait that isn't even the issue here!

.>input
>> No. 48428
>Hey Reimu, you remember Remilia wanted to kill you not too long ago, and now she comes over to drink tea and chat? You're not worried about that?
>> No. 48432
>The issue here is, why hasen't she been to my place to share her amazing stories??
>> No. 48434
>The issue here is, why hasen't she been to my place to share her amazing stories??
>> No. 48435
>The issue here is, why hasn't she been to my place to share her amazing stories??
>> No. 48437
Suddenly it hits you.

Why hasn't she been to your apartment if she has great stories like this?

...Wait, no. That's odd. Why is that your reaction? Shouldn't it be something more like "Reimu, you do remember that she wanted to kill me and most likely you as well not too long ago, right? You're not worried about that at all?"

You can recognize that that's what your reaction should be, but that's not how you're feeling at all.

However, you get a feeling that just coming out and saying that you're jealous of Reimu for this would be quite odd. Remilia did send hitmen after you, after all. Even if you've forgiven her, it's pretty weird to actively want her to visit you and tell you stories, right?

How should you react, then? Obviously, you don't want Reimu to think you're weird, but...

Ah, fuck it. The easiest solution is just to act the way that you'd normally be expected to act.

"Uh, Reimu."

"Hmm?" She tilts her head to the side.

"You remember that Remilia wanted to kill us not too long ago, right? You're not worried about that at all?"

"Hmm... Isn't that norma-" She cuts herself off, and sits straight upright, clenching a fist.

"Shit! I didn't even notice. That's not normal at all!"

"Right? And you didn't even notice it until I pointed it out, I bet."

"That's exactly right! What's going on? Is this city rubbing off on me, and warping my values?"

"Sometimes I wonder the exact same thing myself! More than once I've found myself walking past someone with an absolutely ridiculous umbrella, thinking that it'd be nice to have one."

"No, John," she retorts immediately, without pause, "that's just weird."

Oh.

Well, it really is, isn't it?

"Well, I guess you're right. But still, it seems as though staying in this city too long isn't good for one's mental processes."

She slumps down onto the top of the kotatsu again.
"Yeah, you're right. Sometimes I want to just take a vacation, somewhere far away where everyone is normal, but there's no way I could do that with my income, right?"

You nod to h-

"That can be arranged."

Both of you jump quite noticeably at the completely unexpected voice. Shouldn't one of you have noticed if someone entered the room? There's only the one sliding door, and it isn't exactly quiet. You can hardly imagine someone opening it silently enough to sneak up on both of you.

"Y-Yukari?!" Reimu is the first to regain her composure. "What the hell are you doing?!"

"My, I simply thought you could use some company." She says, covering hiding most of her face with a paper fan. "I didn't expect that you were already talking with John though. I didn't want to interrupt your conversation, so I stayed quiet." If you didn't know better, you could swear you feel her smiling mischievously behind that fan of hers.

"Bullshit!" Reimu sees right through her as well, it seems. "There's no way I'll believe that this wasn't on purpose after all the things you've put me through!"
...It seems your employer is quite meddlesome.

"Fine, fine." Yukari waves her off. "I'll admit that it's fun to give you a good shock once in a while. However, I was quite serious about being able to arrange for a vacation. Both of you have been working quite hard on my behalf, so it would only be fair to give you a reward, right?"

You're not quite sure about it. You've never known Enpen to be so liberal with vacation time, so-

"I'll take it." And Reimu just goes ahead and accepts. One might interpret it as being shameless and greedy, but really, Reimu is probably desperate for a change of pace. Thinking back on the incident that happened in the next time over, it seemed like she was in quite a rush to get out of the city. Honestly, you don't blame her. You've been able to get along fairly well with most of the people you meet, but from what she's told you, it's hard for her to walk to the nearest convenience store without getting challenged to a fight. It sounds incredibly annoying.

"How about you, John?" Yukari looks at you expectantly.

"...Let me think about it for a bit." You don't want to just rush into it.

"Sure. Just let me know when you've decided."

...

From there, the conversation shifted into where a good place for a vacation would be. You don't really care much, yourself, but it's nice to talk about unimportant things like this.

Yukari eventually decides to leave. Apparently she has some important business to take care of. This leaves you alone with Reimu once again. A glance at the clock reveals that it's around 5:30 PM. Between Rin and Reimu, the time sure went by in a flash, didn't it?

[ ] Television time.
[ ] Start a conversation. (specify subject)
[ ] Invite Reimu to go out drinking.
[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 48438
This guy needs to stop living in the past. The whole ”sending hitmen to kill him” thing should be water under the bridge by now.

[X] Drinking with Raymoo
>> No. 48439
[X] Invite Reimu to go out drinking.

When's the last time we've really let loose and enjoyed ourselves?
>> No. 48448
[X] Invite Reimu to go out drinking.
>> No. 48450
[X] Invite Reimu to go out drinking.
>> No. 48453
A few minutes pass in silence. Not uncomfortable silence; rather, the opposite, a comforting warm silence that is quite welcome after all the stress you went through recently. The kotatsu helps quite a bit.

You briefly ponder turning on the television or starting a conversation, but to be honest there's nothing you really want to watch right now, and you don't really have anything in particular to talk about.

It occurs to you that you haven't really just let loose and enjoyed yourself in a while. You got yourself completely shitfaced at the last moon viewing party before everything went horribly wrong, but even then you were covertly (ha!) trying to find out if Eientei had anything to do with Mokou's disappearance.

There was the moon viewing party before that, but that was a little different.

Now is as good a time as any. There are no incidents hanging unresolved, and the sun finally showed its self today. If you need an excuse to drink, those are as good as any.

You decide to bring up this suggestion.

"Hey, Reimu."

"Hmm?"

"Wanna go out for some drinks? It sounds like you could use a couple."

"Ah, that's a good idea." She flashes you a sly grin. "You're buying, right?"

Gah, she got you. Still, given that your income is primarily disposable, you don't really see a problem with it.

"Sure, why not."

"Alright, let me just grab a few things real quick."

...

Bars in Gensokyo City are...interesting, to say the least.

In most bars, you'd expect to be thrown out the second you start any sort of trouble. Not here. In fact, instead of throwing you out, they lead you up to the stage so that it can impromptu entertainment for the patrons. Of course, given the culture here, you can expect the fights not to get too out of hand, even if the way some of these people try to fight makes an outsider like yourself shake your head.

Before you left, Reimu went and changed into more casual clothing. Nothing too special, just a normal red blouse and a black skirt. She probably intended for the change in atire to make her stand out less, but it doesn't seem to be doing an entirely good job. The more inebriated of those around you don't even give her a second glance, but you've seen a lot of people come through the door and look her over a bit before shrugging and moving on. Being dressed like an outsider really just causes you to receive more attention. Thankfully you've been around enough that, along with your abnormal height, people have gotten used to seeing you around.

---

I wanted to finish this update tonight. I really did. Right now it feels like if I were to keep writing, I'd stare at the screen for 5 minutes at a time just to word the next time, meanwhile putting great effort into not passing out into my keyboard. I'll finish it up tomorrow.
>> No. 48456
In a strange way, watching some of these fights makes you want to learn how to participate in spellcard fights yourself. You're somewhat tempted to ask Reimu for lessons, but you're not sure she'd enjoy giving them. From conversations you've had, it sounds like she never even practices, so it might just be a bother if you were to ask her.

...Isn't that a little weird, though?

Meanwhile, you decide to flap your lips with Reimu. After all, drinking time is the best time for telling stories.

"So, Reimu. You mentioned something that happened with Yuuka before I came to the city. You mind telling me the story?"

"Hmm... Well, it was actually a few things. Last Spring was...weird. Every flower started blossoming, even those that usually don't start blooming until Summer or Autumn. Normally I wouldn't really care, but the "fairy" girls living in those boarding schools started acting up a lot more than usual. Forming gigantic mobs in public places, playing all kinds of pranks all over the place, even some that turned out to be a little unsafe, and just generally being a nuissance."

Man, it can already be annoying enough as it is trying to navigate your way through a crowd of them, but to imagine them constantly playing pranks as well...

"That sounds pretty annoying."

"Yeah. Obviously I didn't really connect the two at first, but it seems that they were extremely excited about the weird Spring or something. After a couple pranks involving some marbles went a little too far, I decided to look into it. Naturally the flower shop owner was the first suspect, but it didn't pan out. She put up a pretty good fight, though. I have no idea how she was able to pull a pedestrian crossing sign right out of the ground and rush me with it."

"What."

Uh. Okay, that's pretty scary. One more entry on the list of reasons to avoid pissing her off.

...Seriously, a sign? That's ridiculous.

"Yeah, that was pretty much my reaction too. I don't even know how I managed to beat her. This was before spellcard rules, so it was quite a dangerous fight."

"Scary. You said there was more than one thing, though?"

"Yeah. Not too long after that, people started crowding the shrine. Not visiting, but practically protesting it, only without the signs. Of course, it was impossible to get donations. Obviously I had to do something about it. I eventually found it it was her fault, so I went over to her mansion and confronted her." She rubs the back of her neck. "I might have gone a little too far, though. The place got pretty messed up, and... well, now she's living in an apartment complex a couple doors down from you."

What.

You hold yourself back from saying it out loud this time, though. It's pretty surprising if she was able to mess up a mansion enough that the owner would need to move out and start living in an apartment. It's probably a damn good thing you stopped her from messing up Remilia's mansion.

"I see." You manage to reply calmly despite images of extreme violence against furniture flashing through your mind.

"Oh, but she did help out with that one incident. She, Marisa, Mima, and I all-"

"Oh hey it's Reimu!" Her sentence gets cut off when a small girl jumps up and grabs her in a hug, hanging from her neck.

"Eh!?" Reimu gives a yelp of surprise. "Suika, don't just jump on me without warning like that."

Oh, it's the girl you've seen hanging around the shrine before. Her being here begs some serious questions. First of all, what kind of bartender would serve hard liquor to someone who looks like a young girl? You're worried about this.

"Don't worry about it, don't worry about it~! Hey, let's have a drink! You want some sake?" She holds up a purple gourd up to Reimu's mouth.
...This brings even more questions. What kind of bartender would allow someone to bring in their own alcohol? Especially if she's going to be giving it out. That's just bad business.

...Oh well.

"I think I'll pass. I'm not trying to get completely shitfaced tonight, I just want to unwind a bit. A couple beers is enough for-"

"Denied~!" The girl forces the gourd into Reimu's mouth, pouring the sake inside down Reimu's throat. Reimu swallows once in reflex before pushing the gourd away.

Wait. She's quite a lot shorter than Reimu, how is she forcing-
...Is she really holding herself up by pressing down on Reimu's shoulder with one arm? That's pretty ridiculous in its own right.

"Suika! What did I say last time you did that?"

"Aww, you're no fun, Reimu."
She seemingly notices you for the first time.
"Ah, it's the tall outsider guy with the western-sounding name! What was it, Jim? Jack? Jerry?"

"John." You respond.

"Whatever, doesn't really matter! You want a drink?" She holds the gourd out to you.

[ ] Sure, why not.
[ ] Politely turn her down.
[ ] Ask her what it is first.

---

Remember kids: never write updates tired. I'm certain that if I tried to finish this last night, it would be less than a quarter as long and with less than a sixteenth of the quality.
>> No. 48457
[x] Ask her what it is first.
>> No. 48458
[x] Sure, why not.
>> No. 48459
[X] Ask her what it is first.
>> No. 48461
[x] Ask her what it is first.
>> No. 48463
[x] Ask her what it is first.
>> No. 48465
[x] Sure, why not.

We're Irish
>> No. 48467
New thread: >>48466