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File 127511014893.png - (276.16KB , 700x393 , Picture 2.png ) [iqdb]
27955 No. 27955
Previous thread: http://www.touhou-project.com/others/res/24393.html

======

Mortally wounded in a brutal youkai attack, you are rebuilt by the kappa and reborn as the cyborg Masked Rider.

======

The story continues in the next post.

>> No. 27956
My sore hand reminds me of what I did earlier.

"Ah, right. Sorry about the whole punching you in the face back there."

"Huh? Oh, forget it, no big deal."

"Seems like this isn't unusual for you." I continue, keeping the momentum going.

"What? Getting clocked in the face?"

"Ah, no, no, not that."

"Oh! Well, I knew people who liked to go overboard," he replies, chuckling a little to himself with a reminiscent look on his face.

I guess the mood has lightened up. We could probably talk some more.

[ ] What does he think of the recent youkai attacks?
[ ] Why do I see him at Nitori's more often lately?
[ ] How's his bike doing?
>> No. 27957
[x] Why do I see him at Nitori's more often lately?

Only phrased in a way that doesn't sound accusing. Maybe more in a Oh-just-sort-of-wondering kind of way.
>> No. 27958
[X] Why do I see him at Nitori's more often lately?

>[ ] How's his bike doing?
This question would seem a little weird since the bike was working fine yesterday.
>> No. 27959
[X] Why do I see him at Nitori's more often lately?
>> No. 27960
> Awesome Picture

I mentally heard the YEAH! from CSI playing when I saw that picture.

[X] Why do I see him at Nitori's more often lately?

inb4 "She's letting me test some top secret stuff for her. I can't say what. And no, you can't put that into your paper."
>> No. 27962
[q] Why do I see him at Nitori's more often lately?
>> No. 27966
[X] What does he think of the recent youkai attacks?
>> No. 27972
[x] What does he think of the recent youkai attacks?

Pissing against the tide, etc.
>> No. 27974
[X] Why do I see him at Nitori's more often lately?

This
>> No. 27975
>>27960

"I'm not a experimental military cyborg, I'm just uhhh... having an affair! Yeah!"
>> No. 27976
>>27975
It's not an affair when both parties are single.

It's called bumping uglies.
>> No. 27977
Ahh, but what if they secretly married other people first so they could carry on an affair? What then?
>> No. 27978
[ ] Why do I see him at Nitori's more often lately?
>> No. 27979
[x] What does he think of the recent youkai attacks?
>> No. 27981
>>27977
Then that would just be ridiculous.
>> No. 27994
File 127526661291.jpg - (368.02KB , 765x1286 , Ayayaya.jpg ) [iqdb]
27994
"Say," I start, bringing him out of his reverie, "How's Nitori?"

"She's all right." He replies but then gives me a funny look. "Why're you asking?"

"Ah, it's just I've seen you around there more often lately." He's not letting up with that look. "What? I'm capable of small talk too, you know."

"I can't see a friend when I feel like it?"

"Well, I'm not saying that. People notice things, like a healthy young man making his way to the mountains to see a cute girl."

"Hmm, no use hiding it then," he leans forward in his seat, resting his chin on his hand. "It's just what it looks like."

"Whoa, really?"

"No." A smirk flashes across his face.

"Now, now, it's not a good to lie to a reporter," I return the smirk along with a wag of my finger. "Your reputation could take a bad turn at just one sentence. Anyway, I'm just asking, I haven't had a chance to talk with her myself. The kappa seem really busy lately, not just her."

"If you're asking me if I know anything about it, I don't."

"No need, I have some idea why." And it's likely because the youkai problem isn't exclusive to the village alone.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Well, thanks for this morning." I tell him as we both step outside. "Sorry 'bout dropping in on you like that."

"It's fine, just be careful next time."

I start walking as I look into my notes from yesterday. What the hell? I can barely read these scribbles, what happened? Wait..."Hakurei." Ugh, I remember, I was drinking with those two--

My thoughts get cut short when someone bumps into me. Oh, it's just some kids.

"Wah! Sorry, miss!" Says the girl, giving me a hasty bow and then continuing on her way, pulling her friend along. "Hey! Hey, mister!" She calls as she passes me.

"Hello, can I help you?" He responds.

I wonder what this is about?

"Umm, Miss Keine told us where to find you." Says the girl. "You're friends with the puppet lady, right?"

"W-we wanted to say th-thank you for h-helping us from the sca-ary doll before." Stutters the boy.

"Ahh! I remember now, you were those kids. Are you two all right now?"

"Yep!"

"Good to hear. Don't worry, I'll be sure to tell her when I see her again."

Oho! What's this? He told me he didn't see anything yesterday! Tsk, tsk, Mister Courier! What did I just tell you about lying to reporters?

[ ] I should ask him for a ride home. I'll interrogate him on the way!
[ ] I'll hide somewhere and keep an eye on him, he might go somewhere today.
>> No. 27995
[x] I'll hide somewhere and keep an eye on him, he might go somewhere today.

Aya's style
>> No. 27996
[Q] I'll hide somewhere and keep an eye on him, he might go somewhere today.

Best reporting method.
>> No. 27997
[x] I'll hide somewhere and keep an eye on him, he might go somewhere today.

A Tengu asking him for a ride would be VERY suspicious.
>> No. 27999
[X] I'll hide somewhere and keep an eye on him, he might go somewhere today.

>>27997
>A Tengu asking him for a ride would be VERY suspicious.

Said Tengu could just be feeling horribly lazy or feign an excuse not to exert herself so soon after just having a meal.
>> No. 28006
[x] I'll hide somewhere and keep an eye on him, he might go somewhere today.

This is a stealth mission.
>> No. 28034
[x] I'll hide somewhere and keep an eye on him, he might go somewhere today.

Aya Shameimaru, Intrepid Girl Reporter!
>> No. 28107
File 127587015234.jpg - (570.94KB , 1240x874 , zoom.jpg ) [iqdb]
28107
I won't be leaving the village just yet it seems. It's been a while, but it's kind of exciting to be secretly tailing someone again. I walk around the corner out of sight and watch as the kids thank him again and leave. I keep an eye on him until he finally goes back into his office.

Not much foot traffic at this time of day. There are some barrels across the street I could maybe use. I make my way over and check inside. Two of them are filled with rice, and the third, while empty, has the strong smell of alcohol. This will have to do. Making sure I'm alone, I drag the barrel closer to the office. Getting picked up suddenly and brought elsewhere is something I'd like to avoid.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Still inside the barrel, I lift the lid to see that his bike is still there. No sounds of starting up either, so he hasn't left and while I wasn't looking. I'm about to duck down again when I see him step back outside and slipping his helmet on. Finally!

He secures a package on the back and gets on his way. Popping out of the barrel, I fly after him while keeping my distance. He really knows the streets around here, he's barely slowing down when he's turning the sharp corners on that machine.

Soon, I find myself following him to the outside of the village. Looks like he's not headed for the mountain today.

[ ] Fly low.
[ ] Fly high.
>> No. 28110
[x] Fly high.
>> No. 28111
[Q] Fly low.

Can't see if you're too high up.
>> No. 28112
[x] Fly low.
>> No. 28113
[x] Fly low

Don't want to let him see the shadow she casts (from flying up so high) ahead or near him.
>> No. 28124
[x] Fly low.

If she's careful, there's less chance of being spotted.
>> No. 28128
Keeping a good distance behind the motorcycle, I stay close to the ground. The sun is rising higher, so he might catch my shadow if I go too high. Up ahead, I spot the trees getting denser. Looks like he's headed into the Forest of Magic.

He slows down as he begins navigating between the trees. I keep tailing him, making use of the natural cover. Awfully brave of a human to even step foot into the forest. Continuing after the courier into the forest, I become more aware of the junk and knickknacks strewn about. Just then, my foot trips over something. I immediately clasp my hands over my mouth as I let myself fall on my side. Dammit, I hate walking through here in my geta!

"Huh?"

No good, he heard me. I hold my breath and lie as still as possible despite the pain in my side. A few seconds pass and I hear him continue on his way. I let a breath out and rub my side as I cautiously get back up. With Kourindou in sight, I make my way to it and press myself against the wall, inching toward the corner and the voices talking past it.

"..., you're here quite early."

"Well, you know me."

"Understandable. Youkai are attacking more frequently, after all."

"Yeah, they might be establishing a curfew after yesterday."

"Oh? Why's that?"

"You didn't read about it?"

"Err, no, I never got the Bunbunmaru this morning, actually."

"That...so? Uh, yeah, you're right. I didn't get mine this morning either."

It's fine if it's just one day, right? No one's perfect.

"So, what happened?"

"Kids were playing outside the village and nearly got taken."

I think I remember hearing about this yesterday.

"They didn't actually get taken, did they?"

"No, someone managed to step in just in time. It got away though...Uh, so I heard."

I get my notebook out in time to write down all this new information.

"Anyway, special delivery. She says she wished she could have brought it in person, but she's been really busy lately."

"Ahaha, she really shouldn't have. My thanks, give her my regards when you see her."

"Yeah, definitely. Anyway, gotta be on my way."

"Of course, of course. Take care."

Crap, he's leaving. I move away from my corner, crouching low behind a tree, keeping an ear open. I hear motorcycle growl back to life and return to my covert pursuit, following him back out of the forest where he picks up speed again. Looks like we're headed back. Just as before, I maintain a low altitude and distance from his back.

As I follow him through some sparse woods, something quickly leaps out from nowhere. The sound of the bike toppling against a tree is accompanied by the simultaneous and panicked take off of wings. My eyes dart around to find the courier and spot him being pinned to the tree by the youkai.

"Back for...more, eh, friend?" I hear him manage to say as he fights the creature's grip.

Does this mean he...? Wait, I have to help him first!

[ ] There's no time, I should just tackle it out of the way!
[ ] Can't expose myself, a gust should do nicely!
[ ] Call for help!
>> No. 28129
[x] Can't expose myself, a gust should do nicely!

No need to expose yourself.
>> No. 28130
[X] Can't expose myself, a gust should do nicely!
>> No. 28131
[x] Can't expose myself, a gust should do nicely!
>> No. 28134
[Q] There's no time, I should just tackle it out of the way!

Dramatic reveal! Aya, interestingly, has nothing really to lose by revealing herself.
>> No. 28136
[X] Can't expose myself, a gust should do nicely!

>Uh, yeah, you're right. I didn't get mine this morning either.
You found Aya asleep outside your office this morning, and the idea that she may have been there all night didn't cross your mind?
>> No. 28137
>>28136
Man, reporters dig superheroes. Don't you read comic books? It's perfectly natural for her to do that.
>> No. 28141
[x] There's no time, I should just tackle it out of the way!

Suddenly, Tengu dropkick.
>> No. 28145
File 127594229538.jpg - (21.96KB , 704x396 , scarf.jpg ) [iqdb]
28145
Taking my fan out, I stay out of sight and hide behind some trees. I peek out the side and take aim, swinging my fan. The wind picks up and I watch as the gust knocks the youkai off balance. Seizing the oppurtunity, the would-be victim throws his attacker into another tree with a loud crunch. As the dust settles and I take a better look at the youkai. It's quite muscular, easily larger than the human. The head bears boar-like tusks and a snout. Next to the youkai is the broken half of the tree. Against an enemy larger than him, he managed to do that? Is he human?

"I'm done wasting time with you." He says, as he slowly approaches the boar.

Wait, he wasn't wearing that belt before. Is he performing some kind of ritual? His body begins to glow strange colors. His form looks as if it is melting away, yet there are no remains on the ground. A fluttering red scarf immediately catches my eye and my gaze travels upward to the face. Huge bug-like eyes, and antenna. It's just like what the witnesses said. Incredible! Could this be the Masked Rider himself?!

[ ] What a scoop! I need to take photos!
[ ] I should wait.
>> No. 28148
[x] I should wait.

Wait for the perfect shot.
>> No. 28150
[x] What a scoop! I need to take photos!
>> No. 28151
[x] I should wait.
Wait for it... wait for it...
>> No. 28152
[x] I should wait.
>> No. 28156
[x] What a scoop! I need to take photos!
>> No. 28158
[x] I should wait.

We don't want to mess up the fight, wait until he wins then take pictures.
>> No. 28159
[Q] What a scoop! I need to take photos!

It may vanish at any time!
>> No. 28160
[X] What a scoop! I need to take photos!
I hate it when I miss a good shot because I took too long to get my camera out.

>>28137
Don't berate me, the MC's the one who doesn't realize that.
>> No. 28164
[X] I should wait.

Charge and prepare for a shutter chance.
>> No. 28165
[X] I should wait.

Need a perfect shot!
>> No. 28188
Not yet, not yet. I get my camera out but I stay in place. This is quite a find! I continue to observe the Masked Rider from behind my tree.

He approaches the fallen boar youkai which struggles to get back on its feet. It's too slow however, and the Rider sends it reeling back after a well-placed punch. Squealing in pain, it turns away to make an escape. The Rider stays still for a moment, but his eyes suddenly start flashing, like a signal. I hear the growl of an engine and turn my head in its direction. His riderless motorcycle collides with the boar, causing it to stumble.

"Toh!" The Rider leaps into the air, fist at the ready. "Rider Pu——"

Sparks fly, interrupting him mid-jump. A bullet? Wait, what was that? A black cloak is all I catch a glimpse of. Turning my attention back to the fight, I find the youkai gone. Oh, what's he doing now? He points a gun-like device into the air.

[ ] Keep watching him.
[ ] Shutter Chance!
>> No. 28189
[x] Shutter Chance!

Why is this even a choice? Itchy trigger finger >>>> taking less photos.
>> No. 28190
[Q] Keep watching him.

This's probably here for a reason. Maybe.
>> No. 28191
[X] Shutter Chance!
>> No. 28192
>>28188

[x] Keep watching him.

The perfect shot will come soon
>> No. 28193
>>28190
I want to believe!

[x] Keep watching him.
>> No. 28194
[x] Keep watching him.
>> No. 28219
[x] Shutter Chance!

Someone is moving against the Rider?
>> No. 28220
[x] Shutter Chance!
Its the perfect pose
>> No. 28223
[x] Shutter Chance!
>> No. 28339
Better take it while I still can. I peek out from behind the tree with my camera ready. Pushing the button, a bright flash emits from my camera followed by the click.

"Huh?" Oh, crap. So much for maintaining cover. "All right, who's there? Come out!"

"Ahh~, looks like I messed up." I step out from behind the tree, my hands up. "Hello there, Mr. Masked Rider."

"Tch, shoulda' known." He looks to be rubbing the side of his...uh...head? Helmet? He goes ahead and pulls the trigger on his device, launching something into the air as the antennae on his head begin adjusting their positions. "Shameimaru, if you're looking for an interview now's not the time." He mounts his bike and revs the engine, quickly leaving the scene, likely in pursuit of the youkai from earlier.

No point in hiding if he's figured it out, I follow him as he speeds back onto the dirt road. He quickly glances back at me as he keeps driving.

"Relax, I won't get in the way," I yell to his back, "Just doing my job as a reporter."

He looks like he shakes his head before taking a left at a fork. I can see the village from here across the rice paddies, but ahead of us is the large, grounded ship that settled here not too long. He slows down as we get closer. I'm getting bad feelings about this. The Rider seems hesitant to step off of his bike as he comes to a stop.

"Did you track it here?" I ask, keeping at eye out.

"Yeah," he replies, finally getting off his bike, "but I don't like what this could mean."

I don't either. I was so sure the monk here wanted to remain peaceful. It's a temple for youkai and humans, isn't it?

[ ] Hopefully no one has seen me yet, maybe I can go hide somewhere.
[ ] I might be getting to the bottom of this, I can't back down now.
>> No. 28340
[x] I might be getting to the bottom of this, I can't back down now.

No scoop shall escape the legendary reporter of the Tengu!
>> No. 28341
[x] I might be getting to the bottom of this, I can't back down now.

I don't think anyone in the shrine proper would have done it intentionally, but there's always other factors, that or said youkai running there to hide.
>> No. 28346
[X] I might be getting to the bottom of this, I can't back down now.

What can possibly go wrong?
>> No. 28349
[x] I might be getting to the bottom of this, I can't back down now.
A pure-hearted reporter fights alongside the legendary Masked Rider to solve a conspiracy to destroy the human village!
>> No. 28351
[X] I might be getting to the bottom of this, I can't back down now.
>> No. 28353
[something you can do with a pen] I might be getting to the bottom of this, I can't back down now.

This is our job.
>> No. 28391
[Q] I might be getting to the bottom of this, I can't back down now.

Following through~
>> No. 28392
[X] I might be getting to the bottom of this, I can't back down now.

May as well. And at least this way we can actively get better angles for shots since we won't be restricted by hiding.
>> No. 28396
[x] I might be getting to the bottom of this, I can't back down now.
>> No. 28450
File 127789426499.jpg - (406.04KB , 1202x1416 , the_monk_arrives.jpg ) [iqdb]
28450
If I stay away, I might miss something. What's more, if it's as bad as it looks, he may not be able to handle it. Did it go inside? I'm not hearing a commotion. My question, however, is soon answered when the Rider is knocked over from behind. Same youkai as before, and it hasn't fully recovered. It doesn't take long for the Rider to turn the situation around. They try to wrestle an advantage over the other, but Rider succeeds, kicking his attacker off. Its last-ditch ambush backfired, the youkai finds itself at the mercy of the Rider's punches and stumbles backwards. Pinning the youkai by its chest, the Rider delivers its final blow and is quickly engulfed in the explosion.

He emerges from settling dust just when I see it coming. My voice doesn't come out in time. The Rider is struck backwards by a blast of magic. Her black cape fluttering as she lands, the monk of the temple finally shows herself. She wastes no time in beginning a follow-up attack. A flourish of her hand and the Rider is caught in restraints. He attempts to struggle, but loses balance and falls over helplessly.

[ ] I can still run for it!
[ ] This must be a misunderstanding!
[ ] I don't know anymore!
>> No. 28453
[Q] I don't know anymore!
[Q] Take pictures!

In fact, we should be doing this constantly.
>> No. 28455
[&] This must be a misunderstanding!
-[&] Take pictures!

This will do
>> No. 28459
[x] This must be a misunderstanding!
-[x] Take pictures!

Aya to the rescue!
>> No. 28460
[X] This must be a misunderstanding!
-[X] Take pictures!

Rider attacked Youkai. Byakuren sees Rider attacking Youkai. Byakuren gets pissed. Aya is seeing the result.
>> No. 28461
[X] This must be a misunderstanding!
-[X] Take pictures!
>> No. 28463
>>28460
What she didn't see is how Youkai attacked Rider first in the forest.
>> No. 28466
[x] This must be a misunderstanding!
-[x] Take pictures!

>>28463
I doubt she saw the youkai attack first here, either.
>> No. 28524
[x] This must be a misunderstanding!
-[x] Take pictures!

I like how monsters explode on dying.
>> No. 28774
A side of Byakuren Hijiri I've not seen with my own eyes. My hands snap the photos out of reflex in quick succession. Meanwhile, my mind finally catches up to what I should also be doing. One must maintain journalistic neutrality, but knowing what I know, I can't let this keep going.

"Wait!" I call out and she turns to me. Despite getting her attention, I'm not sure what to say next. That look on her face has me frozen in place.

"If you are going to get in my way, Miss Tengu," she answers calmly, "I may have to restrain you as well."

"N-no need, just hear me out!" I start to lose my cool a little. "This has to be a misunderstanding."

"And what is it that I've misunderstood? Was a youkai not killed in front of this temple just now?" Her gaze shifts back to the Rider, still trying to struggle against his bindings. "I've been hearing from some of my visitors that a strange creature has been running amok, targeting youkai."

"'Running amok?'" The Rider speaks up. "I think you're being misinformed."

"Am I?"

[ ] Let him continue and defend himself.
[ ] Cut in. I think I we need to hear more from Hijiri.
>> No. 28775
[X] Cut in. I think I we need to hear more from Hijiri.

How can we convince her?
>> No. 28776
[x] Let him continue and defend himself.
-[x] Interrupt them if Byakuren seems like shes' going to attack again, with a wind wall if needed.

She can kick their asses in a hearbeat. Discretion is the better part of valor
>> No. 28777
[x] Let him continue and defend himself.
>> No. 28778
[Q] Let him continue and defend himself.
>> No. 28779
[x] Let him continue and defend himself.
-[x] Interrupt them if Byakuren seems like shes' going to attack again, with a wind wall if needed.

Planning ahead is good.
>> No. 28780
[x] Let him continue and defend himself.
-[x] Assist when he leaves an opening.
>> No. 28782
[x] Let him continue and defend himself.
-[x] Interrupt them if Byakuren seems like shes' going to attack again, with a wind wall if needed.

This will do.
>> No. 28783
[x] Cut in. I think I we need to hear more from Hijiri.
Maybe she really is being misinformed? The only way we can really tell is if she reveals who's been giving her this information.
>> No. 28784
[X] Cut in. I think I we need to hear more from Hijiri.
>> No. 29025
I have an urge to stop him, worried he might say something stupid, but I'll have a bit of faith in him.

"To be frank, I can't trust a word you say." Hijiri takes a step toward him. "The temple's followers would have no reason to lie to me."

He remains quiet for a while. I'm a little worried. His, uh, face makes it a difficult to read an expression.

"Wasting my time then?"

Wha- You're giving up just like that!?

Hijiri gets closer with each step and it looks like she's done talking. I get my fan out and with a stroke, it causes a gust that surprises the monk. She turns to where I had been standing and finds nothing.

[ ] Gotta remove these restraints while she's distracted!
[ ] Time to get out of here!

======
I have to say sorry again for suddenly going AWOL. Things are manageable again, so I hope to crank out posts at a normal rate again.
>> No. 29026
[x] Gotta remove these restraints while she's distracted!

She's too trusting for her own good.
>> No. 29027
[X] Gotta remove these restraints while she's distracted!

Somewhat surprised she doesn't seem to notice Youkai behaving strangely. Maybe the temple's a safe haven in regards of whatever is affecting the youkai out in the wild?
>> No. 29031
[x] Gotta remove these restraints while she's distracted!
>> No. 29033
[x] Gotta remove these restraints while she's distracted!
The world has changed, Byakuren...
>> No. 29036
[Q] Gotta remove these restraints while she's distracted!
>> No. 29037
[Q] Gotta remove these restraints while she's distracted!!
>> No. 29039
[x] Gotta remove these restraints while she's distracted!

Whoosh~
>> No. 29041
>>29027

Or maybe she and they are being affected as well.

[X] Gotta remove these restraints while she's distracted!
>> No. 29042
[x] Time to get out of here!
Can't be seen siding with the "enemy." That would be terrible for the papers reputation.
>> No. 29131
File 128208724958.jpg - (0.98MB , 1000x1080 , Ayayayaay.jpg ) [iqdb]
29131
I can only hope I'm doing the right thing. In the moment Hijiri's attention is diverted, I break the Rider free from his restraints. His eyes flash again and his motorcycle comes to him. Thankfully, I don't need to tell him we have to get out of here. If his bike is as fast as he says it is, now's a good time as any to prove that.

He speeds away from the temple and I lose him in the trees below. I'm not sure who the monk is after right now, but the farther away I can get from her the better. Sorry, Masked Rider, but I've gotta look after my own skin too.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Laying back in my seat, my eyes wander over to the draft and the pile of photos on top of it. I finally figured out the Masked Rider, but it feels like something bigger just reared its ugly head. I step outside to think and maybe have talk with Momiji if she passes by. I do come across someone on patrol eventually, but...

"Hey there!"

His black ears perk up at hearing my voice, and he turns to greet me, "Good day, ma'am."

"This isn't your usual route. Where's Momiji?"

"Inubashiri? She was assigned to escort some kappa going underground with a few others from the Mountain Guard. The rest of us just had to widen our perimeter for the time being."

I didn't really think of the underground. I wonder if they have the same problems we do up here. Maybe it isn't too bad, there's a lot of oni and, well, it's usually a big party down there most of the time.

"Err, ma'am?"

"Huh? Oh! What is it?"

"Will that be all? I really should be returning to my duties."

"Ah, yeah, go ahead. Thanks, Sayo."

He nods and goes on his way.

Underground, huh? It'd be nice to visit the Ancient City but I think I have a few things to check out up here first. Guess I'll hold off on that article for a little longer.

======

Masked Rider of Gensokyo Episode 2 complete!
>> No. 29132
Looking forward to the next one~

Was interesting to see things from Aya's POV, but I'm hoping it'll go back to the Rider, now.
>> No. 29135
File 128211181716.jpg - (87.27KB , 537x536 , goodmorning.jpg ) [iqdb]
29135
With the last box loaded on the cart, you lock up your door and secure the notice out front that tells people you're not in. You check the cargo again, making sure everything Nitori asked for is in there before pulling the sheet off hiding your bike. Preferring to avoid being a nuisance for everyone else this early in the morning, you resign to pull your bike along with the cart to the outside of the village before you start the engine.

Not long after you've made it outside the borders of the village you hear someone call your name, greeting you good morning. You know the voice, and you were hoping you wouldn't have to hear it so soon.

[ ] Pretend you didn't hear anything and keep going.
[ ] Return the greeting.
>> No. 29136
[X] Return the greeting.

Maintain cover. She might suspect something, so acting normal should throw her off.
>> No. 29137
[X] Return the greeting.

Don't panic! Act natural!
>> No. 29138
[x] Return the greeting.

"Gooooooooooooood morning."
>> No. 29139
[x] Return the greeting.
>> No. 29140
[x] Return the greeting.
Mornin'
>> No. 29141
[Q] Return the greeting.
>> No. 29142
[x] Return the greeting.
I wonder why she's bothering us? Maybe shes trying to hire us.
>> No. 29143
[x] Return the greeting.

Can't possibly go wrong!
>> No. 29144
[X] Return the greeting.

Politeness will... hopefully... give some breathing room.
>> No. 29156
Relax, just pretend she didn't almost kill you the other day. Act natural, act natural! You snap your head around to the woman addressing you.

"Gooooooooooooood morning, Miss Hijiri!"

Oh, yeah, that didn't come out strange at all! She tries to stop herself, but she's definitely laughing.

You clear your throat, "I mean, good morning."

Byakuren manages to regain her composure. "You look like you have a busy day ahead." She says, no doubt noticing the load you're pulling along

"Yeah, I won't be available today or tomorrow, so..."

You drop your sentence halfway when you notice she's staring at your bike.

"Something wrong?"

"Oh, nothing." She looks back up at you. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't be keeping your from your work. I'll be on my way then. I nearly forgot I have some things to do myself."

"Okay, see you around then." You give her a wave a get going.

After a bit, you heave a sigh. That was too close. You could only hope she didn't focus on your motorcycle too much to recall it from last time you met. You consider suggesting remodeling it once you meet up with Nitori underground.

======

The next episode will begin at the next post.
>> No. 29158
File 128227060066.jpg - (458.62KB , 717x1000 , fantastic wind hole.jpg ) [iqdb]
29158
How long have you been going through this cavern now? You glance behind you to make sure your cargo is still secure in the shaking cart. Glad to know nothing has fallen out yet, you return your attention to the front. Even your bike's headlight can't penetrate the darkness ahead. Further into the cavern, you begin to hear what sounds like running water and you can feel the ground getting bumpier.

[ ] Speed up! You want to get through this damn cave already!
[ ] Stay at your current speed.
>> No. 29159
[X] Stay at your current speed.

As if speeding up is a good thing to do in a situation like that.

Unless of course that sound of running water and the ground becoming bumpier is a sign that the ground is collapsing under him.
>> No. 29160
[X] Stay at your current speed.

Nothing good ever came from accelerating down an uneven path in the dark on a 2-wheeled vehicle while not knowing the layout beforehand.
>> No. 29161
>>29160
I wanted to vote for this, on almost exactly the same grounds.

And then I wondered why this choice was being given. It seems far too blindingly obvious. Am I being too suspicious, or could there be some reason for it?
>> No. 29162
[x] Speed up! You want to get through this damn cave already!
>> No. 29163
[X] Stay at your current speed.

If you can barely see anything in front of you, speeding up will give you less time to react to suprises.
>> No. 29164
[x] Speed up! You want to get through this damn cave already!
We're the fucking Rider! Being able to traverse treacherous paths on our bike is part of our job.
>> No. 29165
>>29161
I figure it'll end up the difference between an encounter with some denizens of the underground, or losing control of the bike and having to be rescued after losing/ruining the cargo.
>> No. 29167
[X] Stay at your current speed.

Gah, I'm not sure.
>> No. 29169
[X] Stay at your current speed.
>> No. 29170
[X] Stay at your current speed.

Sightseeing the pretty embedded gems
>> No. 29202
You overcome your impatience with this seemingly endless tunnel and maintain your speed. They might have to wait a little longer for you, but at least you'll make it without getting in an accident. You've never been underground before, but according to Nitori it shouldn't be too different from the surface. She did mention a city, but you wonder who would live there. Mole youkai maybe?

Eventually, the downward slope ends and, to your surprise, you can see lights ahead. You soon find that those lights were torches at the start of a wood bridge. Slowing down as you approach, you can see it isn't one of those really narrow bridges you expected in this sort of place.

[ ] Go head and cross it.
[ ] Check if it's sturdy.
>> No. 29203
[x] Go ahead and cross!
>> No. 29204
[X] Go head and cross it.
>> No. 29206
[X] Go head and cross it.

Nitori wouldn't send you down a path with a bridge that can't handle you, a bike and a cart full of stuff, would she?
>> No. 29207
[X] Check if it's sturdy.

We need to ask Parsee if we can cross first.
>> No. 29213
[X] Check if it's sturdy.
>> No. 29215
[x] Check if it's sturdy.
More Parsee is always a great thing.
>> No. 29250
I think we could use some kind of tie-breaker here. And it doesn't help that the last voter decided to sage his vote for some retarded reason.
>> No. 29251
[x] Check if it's sturdy.

Sensible option. Let no harm come to that which must be delivered.
>> No. 29260
[X] Check if it's sturdy.

Works for me~!
>> No. 29262
If we're underground, we might run into Yamame again!
>> No. 29263
File 128277520763.jpg - (182.17KB , 985x862 , green-eyed invisible monster.jpg ) [iqdb]
29263
Despite your mild anxiety when it comes to bridges, there seems to be no other way forward. The least you could do is make sure it won't collapse while you're crossing. You walk up to it and give it a closer look. It's seen better days and you certainly won't be the first one crossing it. You can feel the slight dent in the middle of the planks. You step further onto the bridge stopping just a little before the edge of your headlight's radius. With one hand on the railing, you raise one foot. Time to see if this bridge can take a stomp or two from a cyborg.

Making sure you hold back all your strength, you bring your foot down on the bridge with an echoing Thud! There's a bit of shaking, but the bridge seems to hold and the area seems to glow with a faint green that fades away only a second later. Maybe the noise disturbed some glowing worms or something. Satisfied with your inspection, you make your way back to the bike. The sooner you cross this bridge the better. You don't know exactly how long this bridge is, but there are more dim lights ahead, probably like these torches.

A little after getting on the bridge, the cavern walls and ceilings slowly light up with green again. You only realize now these lights aren't coming from anything on the walls. A glance at your rearview mirror shows you the source: a mass of green light snaking toward you. Left with no other choice, you accelerate. You can hear the cart rattling violently behind you as you speed along the bridge. You quickly check your mirror again. The green light is still chasing you.

[ ] Go faster!
[ ] Shake it off!
>> No. 29264
[x] Go faster!

Kinda saw this coming. Damn. Choosing this one because I have no idea how one shakes a tail on a restricted linear path.
>> No. 29265
[x] Go faster!
Big green balls: do not shoot.
Small green balls: shoot at will
>> No. 29267
[X] Go faster!

SERPENTINE YOU FOOL SERPENTINE!
>> No. 29268
[x] Go faster!

"FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF"
>> No. 29270
[X] Go faster!

This is why I wanted to just cross the bridge right away. Parsee is always pissed.
>> No. 29273
[X] Go faster!

oh shi-
>> No. 29277
[x] Shake it off!
How the hell are we going to do this on a straight path?
>> No. 29278
[Q] Go faster!

Can we outrun the jealousy?
>> No. 29279
File 128287923215.jpg - (183.01KB , 365x365 , parsee.jpg ) [iqdb]
29279
"I'm jealous that you can go so fast..."
>> No. 29306
The bridge may be wide enough to let you weave right and left to lose the green light, but you worry all the equipment might fall off from the violent movement. Your only alternative now is to keep a straight course and see if this light can keep up with your motorcycle. You give the bike some more juice and just hope you don't run out of bridge soon.

To your relief, going as fast as you can seems to be working. A quick check in your mirror shows the green light falling behind. When you return your attention back to the front, you can see the distant lights up ahead and what looks to be the end of the bridge. Your speed finally gets you off the bridge, however you're also back on the rough, uneven terrain of the cave floor. You try to hang on so you can brake, but you're thrown off your bike. The sharp, loud noises echo throughout the cavern. You lose track of which way is up and you're suddenly hurting everywhere.

You let out a groan not long after everything had stopped spinning. This is the last thing you need right now. A bad memory nearly resurfaces, but you fight if off and try to get yourself up. Almost immediately, a surge of pain races along your left arm and you flop back down onto the cold dirt. You wonder if you should be grateful to feel pain like this despite your modifications. Hopefully your bike didn't get too far from you or, worse, go tumbling down a bottomless pit.

[ ] Lie down a bit longer.
[ ] Force yourself up.
[ ] Call for help?
>> No. 29307
[X] Lie down a bit longer.

Whatever struck him either had no intention of outright killing him or is a poor shot. Either way, better to fake death or lost consciousness till he can see what he's exactly facing.
>> No. 29308
[Q] Force yourself up.

Pretty sure he wasn't "struck" so much as thrown down by the acceleration.
>> No. 29309
[X] Force yourself up.
>> No. 29310
>>29308
derp

reading comprehension fail on my part.

Still sticking with the choice though.
>> No. 29311
[X] Force yourself up.

You're a cyborg. This should be nothing.
>> No. 29312
[X] Force yourself up.

Tis but a scratch.
>> No. 29313
You'd better get up. You're still in a cave after all. There might be things much worse than relentless green light. Which reminds you, that thing seemed to stop following you. You don't even see any faint green glowing anywhere. Whatever the case, you still have a delivery to make.

Turning a little on your side, you push up with your good arm and sit upright. Pushing up your visor, you try to look for your bike. You can definitely hear the puttering of its engine. A little further down the cavern, you can see a small patch of cave wall brightly lit up. You get up on sore legs and hobble over. On the way, you feel for your broken arm with your other one. You're sure it's not supposed to be bending at that angle. Should you still see Nitori for this or would an actual doctor be better?

Suddenly, you have the feeling of not being along in here. It's hard to see in your immediate surroundings, and the best light you can get, aside from your toppled bike, is far up ahead which you can only assume is that city you were told about.

[ ] Stay where you are, maybe it won't notice you.
[ ] Get to your bike now!
[ ] Scare it away with a shout or loud noise.
>> No. 29314
[X] Get to your bike now!

Yamame?
>> No. 29315
[X] Get to your bike now!

Works for me~!
>> No. 29316
[X] Get to your bike now!
>> No. 29317
[X] Get to your bike now!

This story just made remember that W ended and OOO will be airing this Sunday ;_;
>> No. 29318
[X] Get to your bike now!

This story just made me remember that W ended and OOO will be airing this Sunday ;_;
>> No. 29319
[Q] Get to your bike now!

The sooner we get to the city, the better.
>> No. 29320
>>29318
>>29317

Double post man

[x] Get to your bike now!
>> No. 29321
[x] Get to your bike now!

And here I was worried Parsee's twin-image thing was going to ram us from the opposite side, back on the bridge.
>> No. 29331
"Get to da choppa!"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xs_OacEq2Sk
>> No. 29402
File 128451826088.jpg - (68.97KB , 941x630 , hanging around.jpg ) [iqdb]
29402
Staying in the dark would be bad, especially if whatever is lurking around doesn't need eyes to find you. Still constantly turning your head to check all directions, you get to your bike. You set it upright again and put down the kickstand.

"Wah! Please take care where you point that light!"

That voice sounds familiar. You look up to who your light seems to be blinding and find a girl hanging upside down. Her dress has a puffy skirt and yellow ribbons wrapped around it. Seeing her again reminds you of that fateful day.

"Oh, you're, uh, Yamame...Kurodani, right? Fancy running into you in a cave again."

"Indeed. It's been a while." She touches down on the ground and makes her way to you, looking at your broken arm. "What happened to you?"

"I got careless. A green light was chasing me and-OW!!" You get interrupted when she takes your arm and realigns it, bending it to its proper angle. "What the hell, warn me when you do that!"

"It's easier when you don't know it's coming. I know what I'm doing, no need to worry." Yamame replies, securing your arm in a sling made of what looks like silk. "So, you crossed her bridge, I presume."

"Whose bridge?"

"The bridge princess. She's always like that to anyone crossing. At any rate, what brings you down here?"

"Oh, transporting some things for the kappa." Just as you say that, you squint and try to see if any of the boxes are nearby, but you only find the toppled cart. "They must have scattered when I crashed."

"Well, you're lucky I found you then! Let me help you."

Hopefully, they won't be too hard for her to find. You tell her how many you've lost and she gets to work. For now, you lean on your bike, looking at the silk sling holding your arm. It's actually kind of warm, but then you remember that Yamame is also a spider. You try not to think about it further.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

To your relief, she manages to find everything and gets the last box onto the cart.

"Whew! There you go, all done." She declares as she dusts her hands off.

"Thanks again. I really appreciate the help."

"It's the least I can do. You've helped me before after all," she says, looking pleased with herself. "We should get going to the city though, it's at least safer than here."

Unable to properly control your bike with one arm out of commission, you have to go the rest of the way on foot, pulling your bike along with Yamame's help toward the city. She tells you you're not that far, but you figure there's enough time to talk about something.

[ ] Ask about what the Ancient City is like.
[ ] Ask about how she's been since your last encounter with her.
>> No. 29403
[Q] Ask about how she's been since your last encounter with her.
>> No. 29404
[x] Ask about how she's been since your last encounter with her.
>> No. 29405
[x] Ask about how she's been since your last encounter with her.
She was mind controlled last we saw her, right? We should make sure shes doing okay after that.
>> No. 29406
[X] Ask about how she's been since your last encounter with her.
>> No. 29407
[X] Ask about how she's been since your last encounter with her.
-[x]Ask about what the Ancient City is like.

Yamame could easily just want to get past that incident and move on without it interfering with her life later on.
>> No. 29408
>>29407
[X] Ask about how she's been since your last encounter with her.
-[x]Ask about what the Ancient City is like.
>> No. 29409
[X] Ask about how she's been since your last encounter with her.
-[X]Ask about what the Ancient City is like.

> {Parsee} always like that to anyone crossing.

Well at least it doesn't look like she's controlled or anything. Maybe.
>> No. 29411
[X] Ask about how she's been since your last encounter with her.
-[x]Ask about what the Ancient City is like.
>> No. 29414
[1st] Ask about how she's been since your last encounter with her.
[2nd] Ask about what the Ancient City is like.

>>29409
She's just a natural bitch~
>> No. 29519
File 128605448812.jpg - (416.61KB , 732x690 , Yuugi in the city.jpg ) [iqdb]
29519
"So, uh, how've you been? No problems since last time?" You ask.

"Not at all. I was actually worried it would happen again, but there's been nothing of the sort ever since." Yamame nods. "By the way, did you ever find out who made that device?"

"I think the kappa've been looking into it. Don't know if they've found anything though." You make a mental note to ask Nitori when you see her.

The surrounding darkness gradually fades as the city comes to view. Surprisingly, it looks like it was plucked right off the surface then buried underground. The structures are not at all different from what you see back at the village.

"Huh, so that's the Ancient City?" You can't help but sound a little disappointed.

"What exactly were you expecting?" She turns to you giving you a funny look.

"I don't know. More buildings carved out of rock, less fancy pagodas."

"Hmm, I'd be careful 'bout saying something like that there." An unfamiliar voice speaks up. "Almost sounds like you were expecting cavemen or something."

"Ah, Yuugi!" Yamame turns to the person behind you.

Also looking back to the source of the voice, you are met with a tall blonde woman in a gym uniform top and an unusual skirt, even for Gensokyo's standards. What really grabs your eye, however, is the big red horn sticking out of her forehead.

"Hey there, little spider!" She greets Yamame before returning her eyes back to you. "Who's your friend?"

Introduce yourself...

[ ] ...maintaining a professional demeanor.
[ ] ...casually.
[ ] Compliment her large horn.
>> No. 29520
[X] ...casually.
>> No. 29521
[x]Compliment her large rack
Best choice. Definitely.
>> No. 29522
[X] ...casually.

And can you please update sooner Hopper?
>> No. 29524
[x] Dramatically!

>>29522
YES.
>> No. 29525
[X] ...casually.

Take it easy.
>> No. 29526
[x] ...casually compliment her large horn while maintaining a professional demeanor
>> No. 29538
[x] ...casually compliment her large horn while maintaining a professional demeanor

This will do
>> No. 29645
[x] ...casually compliment her large horn while maintaining a professional demeanor.
>> No. 29650
"Nobody special," you raise your working arm in greeting, "just a guy making a delivery."

"Oh, you're with that other guy," Yuugi says as she looks over at the cart full of boxes. "For the kappa, right?"

"Yeah…" You pause for a moment. Wait, did you hear that right?

"Anyway, I should take off. See you around, Yamame." She gives you two a quick salute before taking off quickly for the city. Sure must be convenient to fly wherever you need to.

Before long, you and Yamame finally make it into the city. You're basking in the warm yellow glow of the lanterns lining the street. You pick up the scent of alcohol in the air and notice many of the people here have horns sticking out of their heads like Yuugi. You put two and two together and realize you're in a city populated by oni. So this is where they all are. It only looks similar to the village back on the surface, while the atmosphere itself feels festive. You can hear a cheerful choir of drunken voices as you pass by a tavern. It's all too tempting to stop, have a drink, and relax but the job has to come first.

At last you reach the very out-of-place mansion at the edge of the city where Nitori said she'd meet you.

"I was wondering why I wasn't hearing your motorcycle. What happened?" She and the other kappa with her begin unloading the cart.

"Took a tumble after some green…thing chased me across a bridge." You answer, all the while feeling the aches across your body as you revisit your crash. "The boxes got tossed around too and-"

"Did you put in that packing gel like I wrote down?" Nitori asks, interrupting you.

You nod.

"Step by step?"

You nod again and her face lights up, eager to learn how her creation did during a field test. Meanwhile, the other kappa begin taking the boxes

"So, why's Yamame with you?"

"I was just returning a favor," Yamame speaks up, "And he's not so familiar with this place so I thought to accompany him."

"Well, lucky you!" Nitori says as she gives you a smirk, "Any later and we were considering docking your pay. Anyway, this makes things easier. Yamame, could you come with us?"

"Huh? What for?" The spider asks.

"It's actually about that mind-controlling device. You remember, right?" Nitori is speaking to both of you now. "We didn't find all the components, but we managed to reconstruct it as best we can with some of our own tech. We were thinking of running some tests." You can see she's looking right at Yamame as she says this. There's no doubt as to what the kappa has in mind.

[ ] Object.
[ ] This could be helpful.
>> No. 29651
[x] Object.

Kappa please.

>considering docking your pay
So we are, despite the courier job, still the kappa's bitch, in the end? Well, could be worse. If anything, the kappa are pretty neutral. It's not like we're aligned with one of the major factions.
>> No. 29652
[x] Object.
Too soon man.
>> No. 29653
[X] Object.

This is unethical and could take a very bad turn.
>> No. 29654
[Q] Object.

Bad. Fucking. Idea.
>> No. 29655
File 128753865932.jpg - (8.45KB , 177x248 , Me2veetor.jpg ) [iqdb]
29655
[x] Object delicately.
[x] Remind Nitori what Yamame went through.

Striding the line there, Nitori...
>> No. 29657
[X] Object.

Update sooner, or at least give us an excuse as to why you're not updating.
>> No. 29658
[X] Object.
Obviously.
>> No. 29659
[X] Object.

Not all strange incident's are alike...

>>29657

Author could have been quite busy with life.
>> No. 29660
File 128761638333.jpg - (124.65KB , 1100x800 , spider and kappa.jpg ) [iqdb]
29660
Maybe Nitori knows what she's doing, but even so...

"Nitori, I'll have to stop you there," you start, "This is too soon for her to deal with. How do you even know something won't go wrong?"

"I don't," She says plainly, "But we're bound to get some kind of result, right? I thought you wanted to figure out what's been behind all this."

"Well, yeah, I do, but not this way." You reply.

"Why am I even listening to you?" Nitori crosses her arms. "You're not the one I'm asking to do this."

Damn, she's got you there.

"I'd like to help you," Yamame finally speaks up again, "But…I'd rather not go through that again."

"All right, fine." Nitori sighs. "I can't guarantee we'll find anything more with what we have, but we can keep trying."

Yamame looks relieved. "Thank you for understanding, Nitori."

"Wait, so what have you found out so far?" You ask.

"We're not familiar with some of the parts." She notices the funny look you're giving her. "It's technology we've never encountered before."

"So you're saying it came from outside Gensokyo."

"It's a possibility." Nitori says. "Of course, we kappa aren't the only ones experienced in science. Anyway, I should go back with the others. This all needs to get set up." She picks up the last box and turns to leave.

"Hey, can't you do something about his?" You call to her, pointing at your silk-wrapped arm.

Nitori stops and turns around. "Not until we get this done. You're a big boy, you can wait for a bit, right?"

With that Nitori disappears behind the doors of a tunnel right by the foot of the mansion's front steps. Looks like you have some time to kill but your arm's still busted.

[ ] What's this mansion?
[ ] Hang around the Ancient City.
[ ] Go inside the tunnel.
>> No. 29661
[x] What's this mansion?
>> No. 29662
[X] What's this mansion?
>> No. 29663
[x] What's this mansion?
Why the hell not, meeting a satori should be interesting har har.
>> No. 29685
[X] What's this mansion?

New job opportunities ahoy!
>> No. 29690
>>29685
More like Satori reads our minds and figures out who we are. Which I am sure would cause some interesting situations.
>> No. 29693
[x] Hang around the Ancient City.
>> No. 29730
[x] Hang around the Ancient City.

DRINK, BITCH
>> No. 29818
"What's this place?" You turn your gaze to the building sitting at the stop of the steps.

"Chireiden," Yamame answers. "Where earth spirits gather. You're only seeing the very top. It's actually built right above the blazing fires of Hell."

You feel a bit unnerved knowing that the fire and brimstone Hell you've heard about isn't that far from where you're standing. "Wait, so what lives up there, then? Devils or something?"

"Devils?" Yamame looks amused for a moment. "No, not here. I heard there may be a few living on the surface though." She looks back up at the mansion. "A pair of satori live here."

Illustrations from books on folklore you leafed through as a child spring up. Hairy mountain-dwellers that read the thoughts of travelers and spoke them out loud. But if living in Gensokyo has taught you one thing, it's that these depictions aren't always accurate.

"Why are satori living all the way down here?" You ask.

"I haven't he slightest." Yamame answers with a shrug. "Well, you look like you'll be okay for the time being. I should get going, I forgot I came here to see a friend."

"Oh? Uh, okay then. See you around." You wave to her as she takes her leave.

Just as Yamame gets out of sight, you're overcome with the tingling feeling that someone is watching you from behind. You whip your head around, looking back at the mansion's stained glass windows. The light in the window is faint, but it's enough to give you a silhouette. The tingling is then replaced by an even stranger sensation. It's as if many tendrils have come into your head, gently brushing against the insides. It doesn't seem threatening, but it's not comfortable either. Soon, the feeling subsides and you watch as the figure moves away from the window.

Could that have been a satori?

[ ] Go and find out.
[ ] Get away from here.
>> No. 29819
[x] Get out of there.

I know we're probably supposed to pursue the obvious plot point, but I can only think of reasons NOT to go, namely avoiding whoever it is that's trying to mess with your mind, staying the hell AWAY from thought-readers (don't want to get our secret identity exposed, do we?), and returning to the surface ASAP. The delivery job is done, isn't it?

Maybe we could go check on Nitori and see what she's up to, I dunno.
>> No. 29821
>>29819
You're assuming Satori is a blabber, and it's that mind set that drove them underground in the first place.
>> No. 29822
[X] Go and find out.

>>29819
>(don't want to get our secret identity exposed, do we?)
Considering Aya knows, its only a matter of time before she blabs about it by accident. And since the number of confidants is growing at the rate of one per episode, why buck the trend?
>> No. 29825
[X] Go and find out.
>> No. 29826
[X] Go and find out.

You're right there, may as well find out~!
>> No. 29827
[X] Go and find out.
>> No. 29984
Too curious for your own good, you proceed up the steps. You chuckle to yourself, reminded of those dares made by your friends to enter an abandoned house. Once you reach the mansion's front doors, you try knocking.

No answer.

You try the doorknob and find no resistance as you turn it. It creaks as you push it open and step into the hall. Before you is a descending stair leading to the floor below. Along the floor are many images from the lit stained glass. Judging from the lack of other stairs in the area, it looks like you'll have to head down.

After taking your last echoing steps to the bottom, you find two hallways on either side of you. On your left is a corridor, lit by small floating flames. Did you just hear giggling coming from there? To the right is a dim passage, and you can hear some faint footfalls beyond the darkness.

[ ] Stay here and announce your presence.
[ ] To the giggling. Head left.
[ ] To the footsteps. Head right.
>> No. 29985
[x] To the footsteps. Head right.

Giggling is never good.
>> No. 29986
[s] To the footsteps. Head right.
>> No. 29987
[x] Stay here and announce your presence.
Bursting into someones house uninvited? How rude.
>> No. 29988
[X] Stay here and announce your presence.
>> No. 29991
[x] Stay here and announce your presence.
>> No. 30083
[X] Stay here and announce your presence.

Works for me~!
>> No. 32472
"Hello?" You call out as you stop in the middle of hall. A few moments pass and you get no reply. The sounds you heard earlier have gone away too.

"Is it normal for you to enter a house uninvited even knowing someone's home?" asks a voice. Turning around you find what looks like a young woman standing in the middle of the flight of stairs.

She looks strange enough with her pale complexion and short pink hair, but even stranger is the single large eyeball by her left breast that all the tubes wrapped around her seem to connect to. The eyeball stares at you and the feeling of creeping tendrils in your head is beginning to return. This must be the satori.

"Sorry, but that's the last thing I wanna hear from someone doing this to my head." You answer, turning to face her.

"Fair enough," she starts climbing down the rest of the steps. "But I'm afraid you'll have to bear with it. Asking me to stop is like asking a fish to stop swimming." She reaches the bottom of the stairs and looks back up at you, staring at you uncomfortably for a few moments.

To your relief, the silence is broken by a girl in a green dress who comes running in, catching her breath as she stops right in front of the satori.

"We looked…everywhere, Miss Satori." She pants. "He's no where in the house!"

Realizing that now may not have been the best time to visit this place, you're about to make an excuse to leave when the girl in green finally notices your presence. Not a second after she lays eyes on you her face goes sour.

"Who is that? He has the same smell!" She hisses and looks ready to pounce on you.

"Relax, Orin." The pink-haired satori bids her. "He's not like the other one."

"Uh," you jump in, "I'm a little lost here. What's she talking about?"

"It's about this colleague of yours." Satori starts.

She doesn't mean Nitori, does she? You feel the sensation in your head react as these thoughts come.

"No, it's not her." The disembodied eye seems to be staring at you more intently now. "…I see, so you don't know him."

Suddenly, you recall something Yuugi said in passing earlier today.

"Oh, you're with that other guy."

Someone got here ahead of you, and seemed to give the impression that he was working with you. He also has the a similar smell to you but his mind can't be read by a satori. You are about to inquire further when you hear a distant crash outside. Quickly, you head out the mansion's doors and stop at the top of the steps. Within the Ancient City, you spot a cloud of dust rising from one area.

"What's with today?" You hear the irritated voice of the red-haired girl behind you. "It's one thing after another!"

Satori remains quiet as she looks on, concern showing on her features.

You would have expected this sort of thing to be normal in a city full of oni, but the reaction from your current company says otherwise. You don't have time to be standing around. You make your way down the steps.

"And where are you going?" Orin asks while still being rather combative toward you.

You ignore the question.

[ ] Get to the scene on foot.
[ ] Ride your bike, despite your injuries.

======

Many apologies to the regular readers (if any of your are still around) for my long, unannounced absence. At the very least, I will promise you that I will finish this story. Should another hiatus come up in the future, I'll try to let you know ahead of time. For now, onward we ride!
>> No. 32474
[x] Ride your bike, despite your injuries.

People could be in danger down there. We need to get there as fast as possible to prevent any injuries or something, I guess. Also, we need to find out who this mystery guy is.
>> No. 32483
[X] Ride your bike, despite your injuries.

We might need the bike for whatever it is.
>> No. 32490
[x] Ride your bike, despite your injuries.

HE LIVES
>> No. 32492
[x] Ride your bike, despite your injuries.
[x] Be CAREFUL.
>> No. 32493
[x] Vote for partial Kisama-Tachi subs version.

I know it's not a translation, but I like the use of "Henshin" as opposed to "Transform!" Henshin seems like a word of power, and I think it's pretty cool.

Sage for this being a not-voting vote.
>> No. 32494
[Q] Ride your bike, despite your injuries.

Even if not ahead of time, just plain mentioning that it's a hiatus would be much appreciated.
>> No. 32689
"Leave him be, Orin," commands Satori. "It seems he has an idea of what is going on."

You have some guesses, but another explosion tells you that time to share isn't a luxury you can afford right now. With the bike free from the cart, you tear off some of the webbing wrapped on your arm to let it move. With a twist of the accelerator you're on your way. You suppress the increasing rising pain in your arm as you concentrate on avoiding the confused bystanders scattered on the streets.

A loud crash blindsides you and you're swerving to a screeching halt. Whipping your head behind you, you see dust settle over what use to be a wall. A deep growling sound is audible past remains of the wall and soon a hulking oni comes lumbering across the rubble. Slung over his shoulder is a keg. This doesn't seem like the usual intoxicated oni however. His current expression bears no sentience as he stares at you with bared teeth.

[ ] Engage it right here.
[ ] Lead it on a merry chase.
>> No. 32691
[x] Lead it on a merry chase.

I'm working under the assumption this is the source of all the trouble. Anyways, we need to lure this guy into a remote area so as to reduce casualties, property damage, and better hide our identity. Unfortunately, this will probably wreck his arm something fierce, so we'll be fighting at a disadvantage. Can't be helped though, heroes just have to do that sort of thing.
>> No. 32692
[x] Lead it on a merry chase.

Need to find a good place to HENSHIN.
>> No. 32696
[X] Engage it right here.

What are the chances this particular Oni won't even bother chasing?
>> No. 32702
[X] Engage it right here.

He might not run after us, and the sooner we deal with it, the sooner we can finish the job and rest up.
>> No. 32703
[X] Lead it on a merry chase.

Get him out of the city before he wrecks it.

>>32696
>>32702
>His current expression bears no sentience as he stares at you with bared teeth.
Aggro. We have it.
>> No. 32704
[X] Lead it on a merry chase.
-[X] Taunt the hulking brute.

It may not be all that wise, but at least it will help in making him follow us.
>> No. 32717
[x] Lead it on a merry chase.

vrooooom
>> No. 33984
With a quick look at your immediate surroundings, you still see some people fleeing to safety. Strangely, no oni among them. No time to wonder why; it's time you deal with the one in front of you. Get him as far away from any other bystanders as possible.

You twist the accelerator and the engine answers with a roar. The oni angrily snarls in response and begins advancing toward you. Swinging your bike around, the rear tire kicks up dirt at him as it spins. The drunkard swats at air in a clumsy attempt to shield his face. You've annoyed him enough and you ride away. The thundering footsteps and annoyed grunting not far behind tell you he's in pursuit.

Further down the road, you're weaving through abandoned carts and boxes. Glancing at your mirror, they've done little to slow the oni who just smashes his way through them. You swerve, barely avoiding a cart wheel that came flying from behind. At the next intersection, you make a right, onto a road lined with stone walls on both sides. There's less on the road to maneuver through, but debris from broken some damaged walls still litter the road. Up ahead, you see the road splitting into a "T". You go into a sharp turn, but a keg goes soaring just over your head. You curse out loud as the barrel fragments upon impact, splashing sake all over everything in the vicinity, including yourself. Your wheels lose traction, and you leap off the bike as you call up your belt.

Transform!

You miss your landing and end up tumbling along the ground. Even after transforming, you still feel an ache all over your body again as the heady vapors of the alcohol invade your nose. The pain in your left arm also returns with a vengeance. Nearby, you notice the dust settling over what is likely a newly made hole in the wall. It seems your pursuer wasn't able to stop himself in time. Despite your body's protests, you get back on your feet and wait, keeping an eye on the broken wall. You pick up the sounds of heavy footsteps and loud sniffing, but it's not coming from the other side of the wall.

"Damn it, you can't be serious!" You mutter to nobody in particular, turning to find another oni coming toward you. You figure it must be the smell.

It will be difficult with your left arm as it is, but you stand your ground and ready yourself for any sudden movements from the newcomer. As soon as he gets close enough, he lunges. You step to the side a little and then throw a hard right aimed at the midsection. Your fist connects, but it feels like you've just punched a rock. The second oni merely lets out a grunt, but seems unfazed as he shoves you with his shoulder, throwing you down on the soaked dirt. He raises a fist, about to bring it down on you. You're about to roll out of the way when you hear a woman's voice yelling.

"Hibiki, over there!"

"On it!" A man's voice shouts back in reply.

A blur slams against your attacker, and they tumble down the road. The blur turns out to be another oni with impressive horns pinning down the crazed one. Meanwhile, your old friend emerges from the hole in the wall, looking like he just woke up, but appears just as irritable. A familiar blonde woman touches down in front of him and puts him back down with a few swings of her fist.

She turns to her companion, "Hey, you done yet?"

"Just about…" You hear him say, which is followed shortly by a distinct thud! "All right."

You're getting back on your feet when Yuugi turns to you.

"You've got some explaining to do." She doesn't look the least bit pleased.

[ ] Ask her what she's talking about.
[ ] Ask about what's happening in the city.
[ ] Tell her a drunk oni was chasing you.
>> No. 33986
[x] Tell her a drunk oni was chasing you.

I swear he was, Ociffer Hogishuma. Biiig as a building, too.
>> No. 33987
[x] Ask about what's happening in the city.

Everything else can wait until we are certain the situation is under control, and no one is hurt.
>> No. 33994
[x] Ask about what's happening in the city.
>> No. 33996
>"Hibiki, over there!"

Does he happen to have a tuning-fork like item on him somewhere?

[X] Ask about what's happening in the city.
>> No. 34022
[X] Update sooner.
>> No. 34023
[X] Ask about what's happening in the city.

Works for me~!
>> No. 34036
[X] Ask about what's happening in the city.

Crazy shit going down.
>> No. 34507
"Whoa, wait, wait, wait," You wave around your one good hand in front of you in an attempt to signal her to stop her slow advance. "I don't even know what you want me explain here. At least tell me what's causing all the racket."

Thankfully, Yuugi does stop, but she's still close enough to grab a hold of you if you try to get away.

"I was hoping you'd be telling me." She folds her arms.

"You sure he's the one?" The oni called Hibiki jogs up to the both of you.

"There's nobody else around here with a face like that." She turns to answer him while sticking her index finger right where your nose would normally be.

You interrupt them, "Hey, whoever you're talking about, you're mistaken! I just came to see what all the trouble was."

Yuugi shoots a glare back at you, "You think we'll let you off with just that flimsy——"

"As far as we know, a bunch of drunk oni started tearing the place apart." Hibiki cuts in.

"Hey!" Yuugi blurts out angrily.

"We're going nowhere at this rate, Boss." He turns back to you, "We were thinking it might have to do with the sake at a few of the pubs, but we can't say for sure. We'd like the kappa to investigate, but with the city as it is now it's too dangerous."

Youkai are going berserk underground and now you might have a look-alike skulking around too. If this is in any way related to past incidents you've gotten involved in this just might be the lead you've been waiting for.

"So, do you know anything?" Yuugi asks, still eying you with suspicion. "If you're not the one we're looking for, you still look like him. You have to know something."

You recall the residents of Chireiden searching for an intruder when you stopped by, but also remember that they couldn't find him. Either he's great at hide-and-seek or he left already. Could he have left, using the ruckus as cover for an escape? As far as you know, there are only two ways in and out of this underground city. One is the way you came, across that bridge, and the other is whatever passage that Nitori and company used to get to their labs down here.

[ ] Check Chireiden again.
[ ] Search the streets of the Ancient City.
>> No. 34508
[x] Search the streets of the Ancient City.

I am convinced that, should he be hiding in Chireiden, Satori's telepathy would have found him. He must be trying to make his quick get-away in the back alleys or something. We'll have to be pretty quick to catch him, as this oni rampage was a pretty good cover.
>> No. 34510
[x] Search the streets of the Ancient City.
>> No. 34512
[X] Check Chireiden again.

He might have doubled back. It's possible, at least.
>> No. 34952
File 130852817368.jpg - (248.64KB , 1546x598 , underground.jpg ) [iqdb]
34952
"I wish I did." You respond to Yuugi. "I'm getting curious about this myself."

If the residents of Chireiden couldn't find their intruder, there isn't much chance that you will. Luckily for you, searching out here will be a lot easier.

"Tell you what, let me help you look for your guy," you suggest.

"Oh?" Yuugi gives you a questioning look. "And how much help are you going to be? You don't even look like you can run very far."

"I have my ways." Is the simplest answer you can give.

You withdraw the gun from your holster and a tube-like object hanging from your belt. You notice Yuugi eying you with suspicion again, like she's ready to move at a moment's notice.

You assure them, "Relax, it's not a weapon." Except for that one time, you think to yourself.

With the device properly loaded in the gun, you aim straight up. Even if you are underground, the ceiling is high enough to make this work. With the pull of a trigger, a sky hopper shoots upward. You watch as it climbs high enough beyond the lights of the city. Soon, that prickly feeling in your antennae starts. Your field of vision widens but your sight is foggy. It soon clears up, and you finally get a full view of the Ancient City bathed in warm, yellow light down below. You can see all the way to the walls that stand at the edge of the plateau. A small ache begins pulsing in your head and grows. Your brain still isn't used to the visual overload, but you bear with it.

You hear Hibiki speak up. "You all right? You look like you're spacing out."

"I'm fine, just a bit of a headache." You manage to reply, keeping most of your concentration observing the city below.

"What was that just now?" Yuugi asks.

You think of a good way to explain it, not sure how much technological understanding an oni would have. "You can think of it like me sending out an extra eye. I can get a better view this way."

Patches of damaged buildings and wall litter the city, indicating where fights have broken out. While in other places, you can actually see dust kick up from structures already on their way down. A few streets are obscured by taller buildings because of the angle of the sky hopper. From what you can see though, a lot of streets have been vacated, while a few still have stragglers running through them.

This isn't enough, you think. You're worried your double might just be moving through the some of the blind spots. You still have a few more sky hoppers you can deploy.

[ ] One is enough, look around some more while it's still active.
[ ] Send out the rest of them at once, you need as many angles as possible.
>> No. 34955
[x] One is enough, look around some more while it's still active.

If one is already straining him, sending out all of them will probably just cause him to black out. Besides, we've done enough here; there is no need to be militant justice at all times. If this guy gets away, well, we'll just have to try harder next time. I mean, if he can evade an entire city of people, than he's obviously good.
>> No. 34966
[x] One is enough, look around some more while it's still active.
>> No. 35016
[x] Send out the rest of them at once, you need as many angles as possible.

Live a little.
>> No. 35272
[X] One is enough, look around some more while it's still active.

Hard Mode
>> No. 35276
[X] One is enough, look around some more while it's still active.

Tactical options available.
>> No. 35841
Any more sky hoppers and your body may not take the strain, especially in your current condition. You instead focus on observing whatever you can. Every corner, every rooftop, every window, every little movement within your visual scope. You spot many clouds of dirt kicking up and people fleeing to safety as buildings and walls get knocked down.

"Well?" You hear Yuugi speak up again. "Anything?"

You want to speak, but it's hard when your still-human brain is trying to process a greater field of vision than it's used to handling, not to mention focusing your attention on so many places at once. You manage a gesture that tells her to wait. That's when you spot it.

A quick-moving figure bounds across the rooftops and vanishes from sight behind one of the taller buildings. Shortly after, your sky hopper deactivates and you're back at ground level looking at the pair of oni in front of you. Could that have been the doppleganger?

"I think I found him." You report as your mind still recovers from the near sensory overload. "He's pretty close to the city gates."

Cursing under her breath, Yuugi quickly takes off as soon as you're finished speaking. Hibiki stays behind, watching Yuugi leave before turning to you, looking unsure.

"You need to get out of here as soon as you can." He advises. "Satori's- I mean, Chireiden, is probably the safest place to be in right now. You should head in that direction."

With that, he goes after Yuugi, leaving you with two unconscious oni. You make your way to your beaten motorcycle and set it upright. Examining some of its new dents and scratches causes you to wince a little. At least the frame hasn't been broken out of shape yet. You think about heading back to Chireiden, the dull aches of your injuries suggest it might be a good idea, but you have to find that doppleganger and get some answers of your own.

The engine sputters to life as you start it up. Good to know it still has some fight left! Remembering the layout of the area from your surveillance earlier, you take the road leading toward the city's surrounding walls. Fights mostly broke out within or close to the center of the city based on your observations. Hopefully, taking the long way will reduce encounters with drunk oni.

It's not long before your hearing picks up screaming nearby. Looks like you'll have to make a detour. Your antennae adjust their orientation to better pinpoint the source. Rounding the nearest corner, you find a mostly intact wall, with one part of it leaning over, but not broken. You're sure it came from beyond the wall, as you also pick up the smell of sake in the air.

[ ] Smash straight through and run them down!
[ ] Use the fallen wall as a ramp and get the drop on them!
>> No. 35842
[x] Use the fallen wall as a ramp and get the drop on them!
that sounds so awesome it has to work.
>> No. 35843
[X] Use the fallen wall as a ramp and get the drop on them!

Stylish.
>> No. 35844
[x] Use the fallen wall as a ramp and get the drop on them!
>> No. 35845
[X] Use the fallen wall as a ramp and get the drop on them!
Dynamic Entry!
>> No. 35846
[x] Use the fallen wall as a ramp and get the drop on them!
>> No. 35848
[X] Use the fallen wall as a ramp and get the drop on them!

DO IT FAGGOT!
>> No. 35855
[x] Use the fallen wall as a ramp and get the drop on them!

I don't think our sweet bike can handle any more duress. We'll have to play it safe until we can get back to Nitori's garage.
>> No. 36059
[x] Smash straight through and run them down!

>"You need to get out of here as soon as you can." He advises. "Satori's- I mean, Chireiden, is probably the safest place to be in right now.
>Hibiki is saying this
Somebody's got a soft spot for IPF~