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30175 No. 30175
[X] ...seriousness.

This isn't a time to be fucking around. Those last few fights were all against mechs that weren't too tough. They had pretty good armor, sure, but none of them had weapons that were that special. This mech looks like it probably has special attacks of its own, though. You should... look at the view screen harder than ever, or whatever. Or maybe even take your supposed role as 'team heart' more seriously.

Hisou Tensoku steps forward, twisting to the side enough to turn another quick spear jab into a mere glancing hit. Reimu deftly moves the controls and pushes the enemy's spear away with one hand, then follows it up by using the Onbashira like a club.
However, Mars blocks that attack with its shield.

Mars pushes Hisou Tensoku away and does a shield-bash. Looks like it is trying to get some room to use its spear.

Sanae finishes the prayer, and grabs the controls again. She steps Hisou Tensoku back.
Wait. That doesn't make sense to you. "Why are we pulling back? It seems to be what the enemy wants us to do."

"If we pull back a lot we will have the advantage if War God Mars has no ranged weapon!" Sanae brings Hisou Tensoku back more. "Kogasa! You found the missile launchers last time, right?"

"Y-yes?"

"Press some more buttons and see if we can find more guns!"

Kogasa nods dumbly and starts hesitantly pressing buttons.

The lights in the cockpit turn off. "O-oh, that surprised me! I think that one was the light switch..."
You reach out and hold Kogasa's hand. "Stop before you accidently start the self-destruct or whatever, okay? Just stick to pressing the missile button, that one was cool."
"Okay." She presses a button, and Hisou Tensoku sprouts a bunch of missiles. They begin firing.

Mars begins maneuvering its shield around, blocking the missiles one by one. As it does that, it holds out its spear. The bulges near the base of the spear begin crackling, and your viewscreen shows energy building up there. With a series of loud 'zap's, the spear fires off three energy bolts. The first misses, the second accidently shoots a missile out of the air, and the third hits Hisou Tensoku in the arm. Hisou Tensoku twists with the impact, and the remaining few missiles all go wide.
You look at your viewscreen again. "We haven't sustained much damage. That wasn't a very powerful attack."

Marisa nods. "And the accuracy sucked too. Not an attack I'd want to borrow, you know?"

Sanae does another quick prayer. You figured that "pray" advice was just a figure of speech, but hey. Maybe it'll help, she is a priestess.
Speaking of helping... "So, uh, is there anything else I could do to help but look at our vital statistics?"

Nue snickers. "Maybe you could try actually controlling the mech a bit."

"I haven't done it so far, so I'm worried I would screw up. Also, too many cooks, spoiled soup, etc."

Marisa thinks for a second. "I think there's a function for scanning the enemy."

"Oh, cool, I'll check for it." Maybe it's one of those buttons? "Wait, wait, how do you know that?"

"I said that I read the manual."

"Oh right."

"I know you probably think I skimmed the boring stuff and just went straight to the section on finishing attacks. But that's okay, it won't hurt my feelings. Because it's entirely true. I do remember seeing a functions list though."

Mars charges again, and this time Reimu doesn't quite block the spear attack. Hisou Tensoku's arm gets stabbed pretty hard.
You aren't quite paying attention, though. "Hey, Nue, which of these buttons look like they would activate the scan viewport?"

"Do I look like a technology expert?"

"Er, no?"

"Then why are you asking me?"

"Sorry. Hey, Kogasa, care to press random buttons on my controls until something good happens?"

Nue snorts. "Didn't you just tell her to not do that?"

"Oh, yeah. I'll just do it myself then." You look at the control panel. Uh, uh, these buttons aren't labeled well. Wait, that one has a camera on it, maybe it is the right one?
You press it. There's a camera sound, and a picture of War God Mars comes out of a slot on the dashboard. It's a pretty good picture, but... why the hell does this thing have a camera anyway? And why isn't it a digital camera? Hisou Tensoku rumbles.
The picture has flopped down over your viewscreen, so you pull it away. Okay, so maybe this unlabeled button is the right one?
Hisou Tensoku rumbles again. "What's our status?" Sanae asks you, a bit curtly.

"Oh, uh... minor damage to right arm, mostly punctures. Deep wound on the chest, but it missed anything vital." Since when did Hisou Tensoku get stabbed in the chest? "I'm trying my hardest to find out how to activate scan view, so please bear with me."

"Okay. Now, let's execute attack plan delta!" Sanae charges Hisou Tensoku in and punches. Why does this attack plan even need a name?
But there's no time to watch. You have more buttons to press.

Uh, uh, uh, what was the one you were going to press before you got interrupted? Oh, who cares. Well... wait, maybe the viewscreen is a touchscreen?
You poke it. Doesn't look like it.

The cockpit rumbles and tilts, as Hisou Tensoku is knocked onto its side. Your hand slips and presses a button by accident. The contents of the viewport change to a detailed readout on the enemy.
Oh... huh. "Hey, I found it!"

You look outside. Hisou Tensoku is currently lying in a deep furrow on the ground. Reimu brings up the Onbashira, blocking a kick. She grits her teeth. "That's... nice."

You glance at Kogasa. "Shoot some more missiles. Cover for us as we stand."

Marisa laughs. "Might not be a good idea with the mech's chassis half in the dirt. Some of the missiles would be blocked by the ground."

Kogasa presses the button anyway. The missile ports on Hisou Tensoku open up and Mars quickly backs up, but no missiles come out. Kogasa frowns. "Oh, this thingie says... 'missile cache empty.'"

Sanae uses the chance to stand Hisou Tensoku up, before Mars can press on again.

You look at the screen. "Uh, okay, so, it looks like it has a weak point on... uh. Okay, it has no weak points."

Reimu laughs grimly. "Good job."

"Wait, I think this says that the armor on the arm holding the shield is a bit weaker than the armor elsewhere?"

"Let's attack that arm then!" Sanae charges Hisou Tensoku in again, and tries to hit an arm that is holding a shield without hitting the shield. Mars just blocks the flurry of blows with the shield, of course. Mars counters with a kick, which sends Hisou Tensoku momentarily stumbling back.

The War God uses the chance to nail Hisou Tensoku in the leg with a spear jar.

Reimu glances at you. "Status report?"

"Uh, I can't see our own status while the scan view is open..."

"Then change it back!"

You switch back to status view. "Okay, damage to the leg is pretty bad. I... think it should be okay as long as we don't run any though."

"Okay."

Now what was the button you used to switch to scan view, again? ...oh hell, you didn't think to memorize which one it was.

Hisou Tensoku launches another few punches, and manages to drive Mars back this time. However, Mars continues backing up, even out of spear range.

The War God points its off hand at Hisou Tensoku, and the wrist flips down. A thin, elaborate-looking cannon barrel pops out of the wrist.
There is a rising hum. A familiar rising hum. You feel a sharp increase in magic pressure, and the barrel begins to glow.

It seems like a lot of energy is gathering in that cannon. A lot. You don't need to use the scanning viewport to see that. "Mars is definitely preparing a powerful attack, guys!"

Nue rolls her eyes. "Duh."

Sanae fistpumps. "Let's charge it!"

"What? No!" Reimu seems actually surprised for once. "We can't run, remember?"

Marisa hits a button. "Onbashira Beam!" And Reimu, apparently thinking about the same thing at the same time, brings the Mega-Onbashira up and points it at Mars.

The two attacks fire at the same time. A lance of blistering white light shoots out, and meets a javelin of overhelming magic force. There is a bight flash of light and a deafining bang as the two attacks cancel each other out.
Hisou Tensoku stumbles backwards, barely avoiding falling over. The crumpled Onbashira drops to the ground, out of the mech's hands.

Luckily, though, the mech's systems automatically filter out most of the light, so you aren't temporarily blinded or dazzled by the flash. Therefore, you all see the War God immediately charge and lunge again. It was not pushed back in the least by the explosion due to it's greater mass.

Reimu catches the spear by the shaft, but Hisou Tensoku's grip is not as good this time. The attack is not quite stopped, and ends up puncturing Hisou Tensoku a little.
You look at the console. "Damage is minimal. He did not hit any critical system, it doesn't look like."

With a roar, Sanae makes Hisou Tensoku gather up it's strength and push the spear away, pulling the speartip out of the wound. If she had been a moment slower Mars could have driven it further in. She then charges Hisou Tensoku in and throws several punches at the War God, which dent it's armor but ultimately accomplish little more than momentarily keeping it from attacking again.

"We've got another Mega-Onbashira on the way!" Thanks, HQ. Couldn't you just provide two to begin with instead of sending them over one-by-one? Oh well.

Sanae begins lashing out more, but it is clear that this is pretty futile. Even with the Mega-Onbashira as a weapon, Mars's shield was able to easily block every blow. Simple punches aren't cutting it, and the piloting of the War God is good enough to simultaneously block these blows and do attacks of its own to counter.
After a bit of this, a kick manages to take Reimu by surprise, and Hisou Tensoku is knocked back. Mars immediately follows up with a spear jab, getting Hisou Tensoku in the shoulder.

"Uh, this one hit... er, didn't hit the motors, luckily, but the armor there is trashed. Another good hit might take the arm off entirely."

Reimu scowls. "You should try to avoid punching with that arm then, Moriya Green."

"Alright, we can do this... we just need to step up the offense!"

Nue glances at Sanae. "We aren't going to win without changing strategy. Transforming our offense to something different."

Marisa nods. "We should wait for that Mega-Onbashira to come. They are pretty good clubs, and they can fire some awesome lasers."

You cough. "Speaking of, what's taking them?" You glance at Kogasa, who either has nothing to say or is too scared to say anything. Probably the former... you can hardly think of anything else to say at this point yourself, the plan of action is pretty clear.

Reimu brings Hisou Tensoku back, into a defensive position. Sanae offers a quick prayer, and then says, "It won't be much longer. We just need to hold out!" Well, at least she's not bothered too much by being forced to do something lame like defend.

Mars steps in with a one-two punch: a spear thrust and then a shield bash. The spear is misdirected, but the shield is taken full-on.
However, the shield is not a particularly fearsome weapon. It dents the armor and shakes the cockpit, but it's nothing that Hisou Tensoku can't handle.

Reimu quickly disengages Hisou Tensoku from the shield, before Mars is able to follow that attack up. She dodges another charge, and a moment later there is a loud whistling.
A Mega-Onbashira slams into the ground next to Hisou Tensoku. Sanae quickly picks it up.

HQ opens up on the radio again. "This is the last one we can get to you, so make it count! I'm sorry about the lack of support, but we were taken by surprise!"

"It's okay, we," Sanae swings the Onbashira out, testing the weight, "are definitely going to," she dramatically brandishes it, and then breaks Hisou Tensoku into a dead run, "win!"

You blink. "Uh, that was a nice speech, but remember I told you not to make Hisou Tensoku run?" Hisou Tensoku nearly trips as the damaged leg simply stops working mid-run. Reimu is able to get control for long enough to use the Onbashira to break Hisou Tensoku's fall, and barely ward off another attack with her other hand.
She manages to get Hisou Tensoku standing again, resting the mech's weight on the sparking, gutted leg as best as she can.

Sanae grabs control of the arms again, and begins to swing the Onbashira. Luckily Hisou Tensoku at least got in range. Mars raises its shield.
Sanae lashes out with the new Onbashira over and over, with as much strength as Hisou Tensoku can muster. Every time, though, Mars blocks the blow with its shield. It isn't even bothering to attack now... it's like those bastards are just playing with Sanae, at this point. A good thing too, because Reimu has usually handled Hisou Tensoku's defense, but now she is occupied keeping the damn mech from falling over from Sanae's offenses. Sanae launches one final mighty swing of the Onbashira, and the shield shudders with that blow just a bit, but then Mars kicks Hisou Tensoku away.
Hisou Tensoku slams into the ground. Sanae tries to raise the mech, but with an inoperative leg like that standing normally is impossible. She attempts to push Hisou Tensoku up with its arms, but she puts the weight on the wrong arm and the damaged shoulder makes an ominous snapping sound.

Mars steps back a bit, and holds the spear forward again. It begins to fire more energy bolts. More of those weak energy bolts. Yes, definitely playing.

Sanae groans. "This isn't working. Maybe we should use another finishing attack, see if it works this time."

Marisa shakes her head. "No, he'll just match it with another special attack of his own."

Kogasa timidly raises her hand. "Maybe we could combine our powers?"

"Huh?" Sanae looks at Kogasa in confusion.

Kogasa shrinks a bit, but you put your hand on hers. She goes on. "There's nothing that says that we can't use our own powers, right? I mean, that mean lady used her powers, last time."

Sanae's eyes go wide. "That's genius! Yes, I've got an idea already! Good job, Moriya Purple!" She is almost shouting, and Kogasa shudders a bit. Luckily, Sanae turns her attention to Marisa. "Marisa, do any of our finishing attacks cause the magic energy to, like, float out into the air and stay there for a bit before attacking?"

"'Float out into the air and stay there a bit'?"

"Hey, I'm not a magician. I don't know the fancy magic words for it. You know what I mean though, right?"

"Yeah, I think so. There is this one, 'Froggy Bomb', that sounds like it should."

"Good." She turns to you. "Then you teleport out of the mech and siphon the energy into the cockpit."

"Wait, what? Do you want us to die?"

"You can do it, right?"

Can you? "Uh, probably."

She turns to Nue. "And then, Moriya Black, you use the magic energy and your alien powers to transform Hisou Tensoku into... into Mega Alien Robofighter Hisou Tensoku!"

Nue laughs. "Normally I would object, but this plan is so retarded I have no choice but to try it."

"That's a mean way of saying 'yes', but okay, Miss Alien- I mean, Moriya Black!" Sanae pumps her fist. "And then me and Reimu guide Mega Alien Robofighter Hisou Tensoku in and beat up War God Mars!"

Kogasa raises her hand again, timidly. "What do I do?"

"Oh, uh. Surprise him. You like to surprise people, right?"

Kogasa nods, actually a bit happily this time.

"Begin the plan, then!"

Marisa nods, and presses a button. "Froggy Bomb!"
Hisou Tensoku holds out the Onbashira with its one remaining operative arm, and it begins to glow. The sound of warning sirens blare, and a big orb of energy gathers in front of Hisou Tensoku.

In response, the War God raises its arm and that cannon pops out again. It begins to charge.

You teleport out.
Hm. You should at least take a cool pose, right? You cross your arms, and begin siphoning the energy sphere in front of you into the mech. Behind you, Hisou Tensoku crosses its arms and begins to rapidly rise into the air. Hundreds of seeds of non-identification scatter out of it.
You pull the last bit of the energy inside, and just in time too. You teleport back into the mech a split-second before that energy javelin would have nailed you. The javelin flies straight and true.
Unfortunately for Mars, it flies straight and true straight through where Hisou Tensoku was a few seconds ago. It passes straight under the mech you are in and flies towards the shrine.

Three circles of light appear; one of red, one of green, and one of blue. They spin in place for a second and then converge into a shield of white light, which blocks the javelin of force in midair in front of the shrine. The javelin is caught in the air, pressing against the shield, sparks flying.

The seeds of non-identification combine together in the air around Hisou Tensoku and form into gleaming plates of metal. One-by-one they then fly inward and combine with Hisou Tensoku. Heavy metal gauntlets with a pattern of frogs. Big stompy metal boots with intricrate snake-themed engravings. A new helmet, with strange, alien-like features. A glowing emblem of a UFO on its chest.

Mega Alien Robofighter Hisou Tensoku descends to the ground and lands there smoothly. It uncrosses its arms and takes a fighting pose. Behind it, the force javelin finally bursts into a huge, pyrotechnic explosion, angled straight up due to the fading energy shield's influence.

HQ's voice crackles over the radio again, sounding a bit surprised. "I didn't think it was possible, Miracleteam☆Moriya, but you did it. You transformed Hisou Tensoku into... uh..."

"Mega Alien Robofighter Hisou Tensoku," Sanae cheers.

"Yeah, that. Go kick Mars's ass!"

Sanae cheers again. "Let's do this!" And then brings Hisou Tensoku into a run, dropping the depleted Onbashira as she does. Luckily, it seems Nue had the foresight to do a bit of repairs in the process, according to your viewport.
Speaking of Nue, she is concentrating pretty hard. It looks like she is using a lot of her own energy for this transformation too. In fact, she didn't quite use all of the energy you pulled in. There's still some in the air, though everyone seems to be too busy to notice.

Hisou Tensoku charges into melee range, and begins another series of blows. Mars once again blocks them, but you can tell right away this is different. The War God can see it too, obviously, and does a quick shield bash and tries to back up, but Hisou Tensoku refuses to lose any ground.
War God Mars swings the spear, but at this short range Hisou Tensoku easily knocks the weapon out of the mech's hands. The War God's wrist deforms for a moment as a blade pops out, and within a moment it is holding a sharp looking double-edged short sword.
Hisou Tensoku blocks one slash with its wrist guard, and another with its face. Smooth. Mars gets a fist to its gut for the trouble, though, and for the first time in the battle it actually directly takes damage.

Hisou Tensoku follows up with another punch, but this one is blocked again. The shield isn't handled quite perfectly this time, though, and a chip of it actually flies off from the force of the impact.

Nue opens her eyes momentarily. "I don't want to rush you guys, but I don't think I can hold this transformation for much longer."
You look at your viewport. It has been totally freaking out over the transformation the entire time, obviously not sure what was going on. However, it does look like the thing is beginning to break up.

Sanae nods. "Alright, let's hurry th-"

Mars kicks Hisou Tensoku and grabs its spear again in one motion, rocking the cockpit enough to halt an enthusiastic good girl mid-sentence. It backs off before Sanae has a chance to react.
Sanae grins. "If that's how you want it..." And she brings Hisou Tensoku into a run again.

War God Mars thrusts out the spear, but Reimu guides Hisou Tensoku to twist just right so that the spear thrust is deflected to the side.
The enemy mech sees that its counter has failed. It brings up the shield.

Kogasa reaches out and grabs the remaining energy in the cockpit. She closes her eyes for a moment, and then snaps them open. "Boo!"
The mana burns off, and Mars' control wavers for just an instant. The shield jerks to the side slightly.
And in that barest moment of weakness, Hisou Tensoku lands a mighty punch directly into the enemy mech's chest.

Mars reels back from the punch.
Sanae turns to Nue as she guides Hisou Tensoku into another charge. "Miss Alien, dispel the transformation!"

"What?"

"Just do it!"

Hisou Tensoku suddenly returns to its normal form. The remaining energy in the transformation finds itself with no spell, so suddenly the mech's chassis begins to shake with loose mana.
Your screen shows suddenly dangerous levels of mana. "Hisou Tensoku is being torn apart from inside! It can't handle this much free mana!" Not like Hisou Tensoku isn't already pretty torn-apart, with all of those temporary repairs gone.
Sanae brings Hisou Tensoku into a running jump the moment the transformation ends, with the mech's leg becoming inoperable again in midair.

Sanae leans over and presses a button on Marisa's controls. Marisa glares at Sanae for a moment, perhaps annoyed due to not getting to press the button herself. There's honestly no time to give orders, though. "Mishaguji... Buster!" Wait. She's trying that without an onbashira?
Hisou Tensoku's fist flies forward, and begins to glow. The mana levels lower from the mech rapidly, miraculously enough, as... the mana is pulled into the fist?

Hisou Tensoku's fist connects with Mars's shield. The War God barely had enough time to bring it up, even as it was falling backwards.
There is an explosion of energy directly out of Hisou Tensoku's fist. The battered shield buckles and then snaps, and the explosion passes onward and into Mars's chest.

The enemy mech finally slams into the ground, digging a deep furrow into the land. You shudder to think of how much work it will take to repair that nice shrine path. Hisou Tensoku lands on top of the War God, sliding to a halt with it. The enemy mech's arms feebly raise up for a moment, as if about to try to squeeze the life out of Hisou Tensoku, but then go limp and drop down.

All of the lights go off at once in Hisou Tensoku's cockpit. "Warning. Motor systems have overloaded. Reactor going offline. Emergency power has been routed to AI Unit Ruukoto."

Sanae cheers "We won!"

"A job well done." Reimu smiles a little. "Though it was a little close."

"I guess it was fun," Kogasa timidly offers.

"We're barely better off than the enemy." Marisa grins. "It was a good fight though. The explosions were pretty satisfying, but there could have been more."

Ruukuto speaks up again. "Reactor damage detected in enemy mech. Warning, detonation imminent. Please stay clear."

Everyone suddenly blanches.

You grab Kogasa, and physically yank her out of her seat. You then take Nue's hand, and... "Uh, everyone hold hands, quick, I don't have enough arms for you all."
Everyone complies. Reimu seems to figure out what you are about to do, and grabs your arm while hanging onto Marisa.
You teleport out of the cockpit.

It's a bit tricky to move so many people at once, but the chain of physical contact helps. You resolve in front of the shrine, and the moment you all touch the ground Reimu pulls out a spellcard. "Dream Sign! Duplex Barrier!"
A magic shield appears in front of the group right before the War God explodes spectacularly. It isn't some silly special effect, either. It totally wrecks the path, knocks trees over, and rains metal shrapnel everywhere. It doesn't touch the Onbashira on premises though, you notice.

The smoke begins to die away. Everyone watches, stunned.
Reimu lets the shield drop, and suddenly runs into the crater. She begins sifting through the wreckage. "Ruukoto? Ruukoto?"

You teleport over. "I doubt anything could have survived that explosion. Unless Ruukoto teleported out at the last moment..." You gesture at the wreckage of Hisou Tensoku. It is surprisingly undamaged, really. It was torn in half along the waist, and the body was scorched, shredded, and dented beyond recognition, but it's amazingly still in one piece. Okay, two pieces, it was torn in half. ...okay, three pieces, it seems to have lost that arm also. But still, compared to War God Mars, which current resembles a frag grenade that has gone off, it is very intact.

Reimu is almost crying. "Who is going to do all of my housework for me now?"

Marisa hops down from a broken rock. She pats Reimu on the back, comfortingly. "Just do it yourself, you lazy bitch."

Reimu punches Marisa. It's a good-natured punch, though, not an angry one. You think. "I was looking forward to taking a break from chores after this, you sneak-thief."

"Then get Suika to do them. Why did you stop using Ruukoto in the first place if you liked her so much?"

"I, uh," Reimu scratches her face, a bit sheepishly, "forgot she existed for a while."

"Really."

"Also, she was pretty bad at doing my chores. But by now I don't really care." It seems Reimu's standards when it comes to job performance have been getting lower and lower.

"I'm sure you'll get over it somehow." Marisa begins to walk off. "I'll be going back to the group. Sanae has a victory party in the works."

"If it has free food, I'll come." Reimu follows Marisa.

She sure recovered quickly. You teleport back, yourself.

---

You get back to find that the others have removed their suits, so you do the same.
Sanae seems to be trying to talk Nue into some kind of party.

"-and she said there would be a party. It's HQ's command, so you have to come!"

"What, it's an obligatory party?"

You saunter over. "Are you really complaining about a party?"

"Not for my own sake, but for..." Nue nods in Kogasa's direction. Oh, right.

"I'll handle that, okay? You can go... get wasted and eat all their food, whatever, don't worry."

You walk over to Kogasa. "You feeling okay?"

"Yeah." She doesn't sound too bad, actually.

"I heard that the party is optional."

"HQ sounded like it really wanted us to come."

"And you're okay with that?"

"I- I think so." She meets your eyes. "You'll make sure Sanae doesn't do anything mean, right?"

"Yeah. So you just enjoy the party, okay?" You stretch. "I think I'm overdue for a party, anyway. A bit tense. Did they say what kind?"

Marisa finishes her walk over. "Oh, so there really is a party?"

Reimu glares at Marisa. "You made it up just to get me to leave the crater?" She doesn't actually sound too angry, though. She isn't putting much energy into the accusation.

You shrug. "Well, it turns out there is a party. It's not a lie if it turns out to be true, right?"

Before Reimu or Marisa can reply, an object shoots by your line of view and slams into the ground near the group with a loud bang.
It kicks up a small cloud of dust, which you promptly teleport away. No sense wasting time with this concealing dustcloud shit.

Alice steps out, looking uncomfortably at the broom she had just rode in on. "I came as fast as I could! I think I've figured it out! The... construct, this time, is powered by..."
She looks around. At the huge smoking crater. At the shredded metal embedded everywhere. At the barely-recognizable wreckage of Hisou Tensoku.

She starts up again, in a small voice. "Oh. Nevermind."

---

I imagined a power rangers-esque version of 'faith is for the transient people' playing during that transformation sequence, myself.

>> No. 30176
File 129084076943.jpg - (40.32KB , 807x510 , aftermath.jpg ) [iqdb]
30176
Marisa laughs and pats Alice on the back. "C'mon. Tell us what you figured out!"

"Well, the mech was powered by... give me a second." She waves her hand, and a doll shoots out. You aren't sure where she was keeping it. The doll flies off into the crater and then flies back, holding that scrap of paper you saw earlier.
It looks like a page, ripped out from a spellbook. Odd how it wasn't burned in the slightest by that explosion.
She reaches for the book at her side and unlocks the chains. The book flaps open, and suddenly the pages begin to flip on their own. Within seconds it is open to a page that is missing. And the page the doll is holding suddenly is yanked out of the doll's grasp, and attaches itself to the book. The tear mends instantly, to the point where you can no longer tell that the page was missing in the first place. "It was powered by the Ultimate Magic. I detected signals that someone had fully activated it not long ago, and I finally triangulated the signal and pinpointed this location about ten minutes ago. I made the connection between the theft and these battles on the way here."

"Huh, that explains why it was so badass, right?" Marisa smiles nicely. "Now. Why do you have my broom?"

"Eh-heh. I, uh, I had to get here fast, and you... uh, you steal from me a lot, so..." Alice is blushing pretty hard. "...but, it took me so long to figure out how to use it, I think it would have been faster to fly normally..."

You groan. "Come on, cut the touchy-feely bullshit. Or the embarassment over committing a theft. Or whatever. I heard something about a celebration party, and you are totally delaying that."

"Oh. Can... can I come?"

"Uh. No idea."

"Sure." Marisa grabs Alice's hand. "If they don't invite ya I'll just smuggle you in."

Okay now that that is taken care of maybe you can have a party. You are not all that confidant that this upcoming victory party is going to be very good, but they seemed pretty serious about you coming so you'll come.

You turn to the doors of the shrine. The others are gathering in front of it also. Sanae is in the lead, of course. Nue is standing between Sanae and Kogasa, who looks nervous.

Sanae opens the door to the shrine, and walks inside. The others follow. The inside is dark; the lights have not been turned on.
When everyone gets inside, the lights snap on.

"Happy birthday, Sanae!"

You find yourself in a room decorated with confetti, streamers, banners, the work. "Happy Birthday Sanae!" dominates the main banner.

Sanae stands there for a moment, surprise on her face. And then she runs into the waiting crowd, smiling happily.
Lesse... Suwako and Kanako are there, of course. Aya and Nitori adn some other tengu and kappa you don't recognize. Some others- wait. In the back, is that...
Yeah. It's the guy you just thought. Actually, he has the other two guys with him too. They are drinking wine. Politely, if not as enthusiastically as the others.

So either there was a sudden last-minute change of heart for both parties, or this was an act all along. Probably the second.
You can't say you are surprised, honestly. This entire thing has seemed just a bit fishy.

There is a table, with a big cake. You would count the number of candles on it, but it's impolite to ask a lady her age. Given the fact that this is Gensokyo the cake is probably in some way female, and thus the principle would still hold. Of course, if it is a female cake...
...you should probably drop that line of reasoning before it comes time to eat the thing.

Suwako hops over to the others in the party. "Everyone, take a seat. There's enough food for everyone prepared. The tengu are providing, of course. Can't ask Sanae to cook for her own birthday meal, huh?" She waves her hat in the direction of the table, and everyone begins to take seats.
Looking at the others, Kogasa seems surprised. Alice is a bit surprised too, but it's more of a 'suddenly it all makes sense' kind of surprise. Nobody else is surprised in the slightest.

Reimu immediately leans back when she sits. "Well, time for the food now."

Kogasa looks around, a bit confused. "So this was all fake?"

Reimu nods. "Basically. They cleared it with me ahead of time, of course."

"Oh, did you get them to make a donation too, to keep you quiet?" Marisa snickers.

"I'm hardly greedy."

Marisa laughs at that. "No, you're just desperate."

"No, no. I mean they offered to make a donation without my prompting. So of course I accepted."

Marisa begins to fill her plate with food. Nobody else has started eating, though. Isn't she jumping the gun? "That reflects poorly on you."

"I need to feed myself somehow."

Marisa sticks the plate in Reimu's face. "Here."

"Oh. Thank you."

Enough of those two and their good-natured (?) bickering. You look over to the birthday girl (??), who has yet to take a seat. Instead, she is walking around and talking to the other seated guests.

"-and then he gave me this bullshit story designed to make himself sound way better. Ayayahaha!"

"He played an important part! He was our moral support."

"That's not what he said."

"Well, I hope you got some good news articles anyway."

"Oh, believe me, I did."

Sanae smiles at Aya happily, and then turns around. "Oh! Suwako!"

Suwako hugs Sanae. "I'm so proud of you, you good girl!"

Sanae giggles and hugs Suwako back.

Suwako glances back at Kanako. "That guncannon over there," she snickers at her own joke, "was impressed by your creative thinking about that transformation, too, but she's not going to admit it."

Sanae runs over to Kanako, still holding Suwako in a hug, and tries to hug Kanako at the same time. This can only end in failure.
...or she can successfully hug two people at once. That's cool too. You're not sure why you thought she would fail anyway. It's not that hard.

Enough of that sappy bullshit. You aren't here to watch Sanae get rewarded for managing to not get herself killed for another year. You're here to... party, or something.

You look at your plate of food. Pork cutlets, huh. Some other stuff too, but besides the pork you mostly got sweets. Because hell why not.

While you dig in to your very unbalanced and unhealthy meal, you turn back to the other conversations at the table.

"...you know what's going on, right Reimu? With those unpleasant-looking men?" Alice looks a bit annoyed at having to admit that she is confused.

"Yeah. I checked out all of them when Yukari brought them across the border. Not sure how much I like them, but I made sure they didn't really want to conquer Gensokyo. I believe they knew Kanako in the old days and she asked them to come here and play bad guys as part of a favor?"

"Or perhaps you could ask us." Alice jumps a bit, and turns. That man in the suit is now standing behind her.

"Er, hello, Mr..."

"Deimos."

You look up from your plate. "Oh, you're Deimos? I assumed you were Metus. Since, uh, that's what your mech was called."

"Those kappa named the robots, not us." He shrugs. "A bit annoying, being compared to that pretender, but it was worth being allowed to use one of those robots."

"I assume that your two companions are Phobos and Ares, then?"

"Yes."

"And they both look like I would have expected them to look like. But... uh, what's with the suit?"

Alice is looking back between you two. At first she looked confused, but now it looks like she is beginning to figure out what is going on.

"Oh, I am going to law school."

"The personification of terror, going to law school?"

He shrugs. "We aren't invoked in battle very much anymore, and Olympus isn't large enough to have any real wars. Not much to do anymore."

Ares grips his son on the shoulder. "And we don't get a chance to play with modern military hardware much, let alone impressive magically-powered numbers like that 'War God' mech!"

Nue looks up from a plate of food that has been picked apart to the point of being unidentifiable. "And in exchange for putting up with the hassle, you get to keep the robots?"

"Good guess, chimaera!" He smiles. "Of course, two of them were really trashed. But the 'Terrorlord' is still intact, and I bet Zeus will love my new toy." His smile grows more nasty.

Deimos glances at Ares, a bit annoyedly. "Sadly, they are keeping the power sources. Something about returning the things to their true owners. But once we return to Olympus we will be able to use our full divine powers to power the mech directly."

Reimu looks up from a cup of tea. "Should I be worried about another divine war spilling into Gensokyo?" There is an annoyed edge to her voice.

Ares shakes his head. "No, no. As much as I want a war, I recognize that Olympus no longer has the belief to sustain one. If I tried to overthrow Zeus it would probably destroy us both. No, I'll just use the robot to make myself look cool, maybe disguise it as a statue when not in use so I can give any would-be invaders a nasty scare."

Nue nods appreciatively. "That sounds like what I would do if I had a giant robot."

Ares laughs. "I think it will be a fun day when I take it home." Phobos yells something, and he glances over. "But for now, it looks like I should get back to drinking. You should probably talk to your hostess." He saunters off, downing the rest of the wine in his cup in one gulp. Deimos follows him, still looking a little bit silly in that suit.

You look at Kogasa. Her expression is unreadable. "You doing okay?" you whisper.

She nods. It probably helps that Sanae isn't sitting at the table yet- oh you spoke (thought?) too soon. Sanae sits down right next to Kogasa and gives the karakasa a biiiig hug.

Kogasa stiffens. Sanae smiles happily, apparently not noticing. "Did you have a better time this time?"

"I... I... I-"

You glare at Sanae. "You're making her uncomfortable."

"No!" Kogasa takes a deep breath and calms herself. "I... I had a good time!"

"Really? I'm glad." Sanae stands up again and pats Kogasa on the shoulder. Then she wheels over and sits down by Nue. Or rather, since Nue does not have an empty seat by her, sits down on Nue's lap with rather remarkable agility. "And how about you, Miss Alien?"

Nue scowls. "I'm not an alien, damnit!"

"You don't need to be so guarded around me, Miss Alien!"

"No, she's right." You catch Sanae's attention again. "She's not an alien." You shake your head. Slowly. Deliberately. "She's not an alien. She's a robot."

"Really?" Sanae looks back at Nue, new wonder in her eyes.

"Oh fuck you."

"Got to mix up the fantasies sometimes or they'll get stale." You wink at Nue.

"What alloys are you made of? Does your power generator convert food into nuclear fuel, or do you just eat in order to pretend to be a living being? Are you a transforming robot?" Sanae is well up in Nue's grill, poking her (perhaps for signs of hidden mechanisms under her skin.)

Kanako walks up to the head of the party, after having a short chat with Ares. "Now, let's bring out the cake." Sanae immediately looks up from Nue. "Suwako, if you would?"

Suwako hops out, wheeling a fancy-looking cake on a trolley.

---

The party is pretty fun (obviously a great deal of care was put into it), albeit tiring.
Amazingly enough, everyone seems happy when they leave. Sure, there are varying degrees of happiness. Marisa is definitely much more enthusiastic than Reimu, for instance. And Nue is, surprisingly enough, happy too; apparently the alcohol was enough to let her forgive Sanae's attempt to see if she had a working CD drive.
But the most surprising part is Kogasa. She seems quite content when she leaves... amazingly comfortable considering Sanae's major presence in the party. Of course, she still declined to attend the sleepover afterwards, but you suppose change can't happen that fast.

---

Moriya Shrine did indeed deliver on its promises to clean up after the various battles. You aren't sure how much it cost them, but they got some kappa work crews working for several days, and Suwako came to help shape the earth to repair craters. It was actually kind of interesting to watch the combined effort of magic and technology in rapidly repairing damage. Far different from construction crews in the outside world.
Things calmed down a great deal after the events. You suppose all Moriya Shrine's budget was strained pretty hard by all of those extravagent battles, because after the repairs they didn't do anything noteworthy for a long time. Of course, for some groups in Gensokyo, nonactivity is the norm. But for the ambitious Kanako, not running some kind of conspiracy is odd. Well, she probably didn't start another conspiracy. You don't think. If she did she didn't tell anyone anyway.
They never did apologize for stealing all of those priceless artifacts though. Everyone dropped the subject very quickly, all things considered. Maybe there was some kind of under-the-table bribing going on?

A few days after the birthday party, Nue reminded you about the promise you made. Soon, you began to teach her English. She had some knowledge of old German beforehand, which is useful.
You considered teaching Kogasa also, but in all honesty she didn't seem too interested. You doubt she has the aptitude for learning other languages well anyway, or at least not in the way a perennial traveler like Nue does.

Besides that, the seasons trickled by. After some more procrastination you finally built up the capital to restart your importing/exporting business, and began to actually make real money again. Enough to not feel like a loafer in the Temple, anyway.
Things began to move like clockwork. Another incident went by. Maybe even two. You remember mention of some sea-dwelling youkai coming and making trouble. Reimu and Marisa resolved the incidents with ease, so fast that you only heard about them second-hand from Shou.

You saw Zenovia a few more times, although never on purpose. Once while taking a walk through the forest of magic; another time while browsing the Nature section of Voile Library; and a third while carrying Nue to Eientei in need of an orange and a medical consultation (there is a long yet surprisingly boring story behind that). Each time she was curt and vaguely insulting. Which should be no surprise, of course. That last time she was a bit nicer, though, and you had a short talk about how hard it is to walk through bamboo. It is totally unfair that she gets a teleportation power too, even if it is such a limited one.

You began to actually gather some real posessions for yourself. Your room in the Temple has become your new home, basically, and you figured you might as well use some of your money to make it feel that way. You got a mechanical alarm clock from Kourindou. Although you have have no work schedule to keep, it's still nice to have one. You drew a few maps of Gensokyo and the surrounding areas to hang on your walls... mostly useless given your sense of direction, but much more thematic than posters. You got a real western bed from Makai. Quite affordable too, much better than the price the Scarlet Devil Mansion was asking for it's spare beds. You even comissioned Tacita to surround your room with a thin film of silence, in case... Kogasa ever brings a date home and makes noise all night right next door? Okay yeah it's not going to be useful at all, but perfect soundproofing is something you had always wanted while living on campus back in the outside world.

Time passed. A year, two years, maybe even three. You remember dreading the end of the first year, wondering what birthday party Sanae would have this time. Luckily, though, it was nothing too big. Just a theme party. You got invited and reluctantly came. Kogasa got an invitation too, and decided to come. She was awkward the entire party, but not fightened. She managed to hold an entire conversation with Sanae, though. Watching her you felt a sense of pride, for some reason.
A year or two in, you weren't really keeping track of time so you could hardly tell for sure, Yukari had a strange chat with you. She bothered you while you were relaxing one day, and started talking about politics. Outside-world politics, even. She was so vague about them, though, that you came out with no idea why she was talking to you, or even what about politics she was saying. She seemed to find it pretty interesting, or at least thought you would. She was probably just screwing around with you, though.

You got more and more practice in teleportation in. Nue volunteered to help you practice group teleportation, and so you had to put up with long hours of her griping at you about how bored she was as you teleported the two of you back and forth. You did learn a fair bit about how to make it more efficient, though, and also began to get a feel for how to teleport Nue in particular. As one of your final tests you even managed to teleport her into Makai, and then promptly lost track of her. A few days later, it turned out that she had snuck to Hokkai and cased the joint out of curiosity. Without telling you, of course. She did bring some food back for you though, which was nice and thoughtful of her. Or at least it was until you had to apologize to Shinki for all of the forgery Nue committed, your next visit.

Though the pace of life moved oh so slowly, it was still interesting at times to see things change. The Temple's prestige growed slowly; when you had come here it was maybe a year old, you're not quite sure, which is barely any time at all. But by now it is a fixture of the village. Trusted by all of the humans, more than the lazy Hakurei Shrine and the distant, scheming Moriya Shrine. You wonder if they know that Byakuren is a youkai; the religious end of the Temple has never mattered to you, and you aren't sure if some people would object to that kind of thing. Of course, Gensokyo has always been special.

And you are basically a fixture in the Temple by now. A fixture that most of the humans only vaguely associate with the Temple; some amateur postman and businessman who happens to live there.
If the Temple is your home, you guess the people at the Temple are your family. The family members you take for granted and don't talk to all that much, like a bunch of live-in aunts or something. Besides Nue and Kogasa of course.
...thinking about it like that is kind of depressing. Almost as bad as thinking hard about your actual family. Like, the people back in the outside world who probably think you are dead and/or a crack whore by now.

So that's why, yesterday, when Nue idly expressed interest in meeting your parents, you realized you had not thought about situations like this at all.

---

Oh hell. I meant for this to be two updates, but THP claims the second half has 500 more characters than OpenOffice does. So I'll have to break it into three updates.
>> No. 30177
File 129084105656.jpg - (203.76KB , 1000x798 , lookedthisupinahurry.jpg ) [iqdb]
30177
You look at the suitcase. Did you pack everything you'll need? You open it again to make sure.
And then you close it. Of course you packed everything. You'll barely need anything. It's not like you are going to camp in the wilderness. You are going to your house in the outside world. There are modern conveniences, like 7-11s and motels and stuff. You're going to need them, since you are betting it will take you a while to acclimate to the outside world again enough to teleport around in there. Plus, Japan to the U.S. is a greater distance than you have ever teleported anyway.
You don't have any money, admittedly. But again, Nue is great at counterfeiting. You aren't sure what it says about you that you don't really care about the morality of the action, just the consequences.

"Did you pack everything, Nue?"

"Pack?"

"Okay, do you have your trident?"

"I am holding it. In my hands. You don't need to ask me, you just need to use your eyes."

You look up at her. "So you are." You turn to Kogasa. "Did you remember to bring yourself?"

She nods. "Yep!"

"Wait, where are those packed lunches Shou made for us?"

"Oh, those were for the trip?"

"Nue!"

"Just kidding." Nue waves her hand lazily, and a UFO floats up. "They're in there."

"Isn't that kind of a conspicuous way to carry something?"

"Uh, maybe? You're the guy who is from the outside world of this era."

"Yes. It would be conspicuous, that was a rhetorical question."

"We aren't addressing the root problem here. I don't know what's conspicuous, so I am having to rely on your judgement."

"What, are you saying that I'm not to be trusted here? That's I'm a conspicuous guy?"

"Yes. Don't you ever watch yourself when you are prancing around with that little cane, being disgustingly adorable? Humans don't act like that, I can say that from a position of authority here. They would break under the strain. You are going to give yourself away."

"Yeah, well, you're conspicuous!" You point at her dramatically. "Those wings stand out like a sore thumb."

"What wings?"

"Also, the red eyes."

"What eyes?"

"The ones that are- oh god that looks creepy, please shapeshift back."

"Oh, fine." Eyes re-appear in her empty eye-sockets. Brown, this time. "This better?"

"Yes, thank you."

"So, do you have anything else to ask us about? More complaints about my good looks? More things we should pack?"

"No, I think we're good."

"What about changes of clothes?"

"Fuck! I forgot!"

"I packed changes of clothes for all of us!" Kogasa holds up a second suitcase. "Well, I couldn't find any extra clothes for Nue, though."

"I don't need any. This outfit never gets dirty, I just periodically shift it into perfect condition."

You learn in towards Nue and exaggeratedly hold your nose. "No wonder you smell so ba- Ow! Hey, I was just kidding, sheesh." You straighten up, and cough awkwardly. "Thank you, Kogasa. Now, we should get going." You begin walking away from the Temple.

"Shou is waving goodbye."

You stop, and turn back. Yes, she is waving goodbye. You... didn't actually tell her you when you would be leaving today, on reflection, but it shouldn't be a huge surprise that she knows anyway. You wave back. "Look after Byakuren for me while I'm gone, okay?"

"Don't worry, picking up your duties won't raise my workload at all." She smiles. Cold, man.

A bit more waving later, the three of you reach a good safe distance from the Temple, where you had prepared the circle. A teleportation circle like this... it isn't a real teleportation circle like a magician would use, sure. It's more just a focus you have developed to aid difficult mass-teleportation jobs like this. Drawn in advance for a specific teleport, planned out strictly ahead of time. Arranged to help port the teleportation in the right direction, so you can focus your concentration elsewhere. If you were a magician, you could probably make teleportation circles that actually teleport you entirely by themselves, yes, and that would be utterly sweet. But you aren't, so you'll have to live with this primitive thing.
Once Kogasa and Nue have stepped in with you, you reach down and touch the right place on the circle. You focus the teleport through it, while Nue and Kogasa hold onto your other hand...

---

The world spins, a vague blur of color. You find yourself unable to maintain your kneeling position, and instead fall over. Your hand slips from the hands holding it, feeling heavy as lead.
Something picks you up. The motion is further disorienting, but it doesn't prevent you from passing out.

---

You wake up in a bed. It's not a very well-made bed, you idly note. You roll a bit to the side, and the springs you were lying on a moment ago don't seem to be springing back into shape.
You slowly sit up, shaking the dizziness from your head. It's hard, though. You feel so drained.
The bed seems to be... in the middle of some dilapidated structure?
Oh, wait, this is the outside world side of Hakurei Shrine, yes. You were aiming for there, so it isn't too weird that you ended up there. But why is there a bed lying around inside it?

Something shifts near your legs. You look down, to see Kogasa is sitting on a chair next to the bed. She jerks a little on hearing your motion. It looks like she was sleeping also.

"Hey."

"Oh, you're awake!"

"Yeah. How long was I out?"

"Uh. I think a few hours? I fell asleep also, so..."

"Well, okay then. Next question. What happened?"

"You passed out after you teleported us through. So Nue made a bed and let you sleep there."

"Well, I guess that explains why it was such a shittily made bed. Nue probably just doesn't know how western beds work very well, from a mechanical standpoint." You look down at the bed. "Hopefully the transformation won't wear off while I am still on it."

"Then she decided to go scout, and made me a chair to sit on so I could watch you while you sleep."

"That's pretty creepy."

"Ooh, is it scary?"

"No, just creepy. Sorry."

"I just wanted to make sure you would be okay."

"Hey, breaking the border takes a lot of energy. I probably should have expected to immediately pass out." You pause. "Actually, no, I shouldn't have. The last two times I did it I managed to make a round trip."

"Maybe it was harder because it was three people?"

"Maybe." You slowly lower yourself from the bed. Your legs feel heavy. "I guess I do feel really drained. That I about expected."

"Do you want me to help you walk?"

"It would help, yes. Well, once we have somewhere to walk to." You stand in front of the bed for a moment, and then slump into leaning against it. "Do you know when Nue will be back?"

"She didn't say."

"Did she leave you with some way of contacting her?"

"No. She said she would return when you woke up." Behind you, there is a 'sproing' noise as the poorly-formed bedsprings spring back into their original state.
The bed turns into an old, broken-down donation box. The sudden change in size and state of the thing you were leaning against almost causes you to fall over. Kogasa keeps you from toppling, though.

A snake slithers off from the box with alarming speed, and becomes a bird as it takes to the air.

You sigh. "Well, I guess that answers how. She could have warned you that the bed would stop being a bed after I got up."

"Maybe she wanted to surprise you?"

"A noble endeavor." Behind Kogasa, the chair turns into a piece of rubble.

"So, uh, while we are waiting, want to make sure you are ready to blend in to the outside world?"

"We already did that yesterday." Kogasa sticks out her tongue, and so does her umbrella half.

"Okay, first off, you need to not do that. Umbrellas do not normally have tongues. It's okay to carry an umbrella around, that's a bit weird but not too weird, but once people start seeing the tongue... well, we will become the center of attention, and it won't be pretty."

"So it will surprise people?"

"No, no, please don't do it. Okay you can surprise my parents I guess, there's no way I'll be able to not come clean to them eventually, but don't do it to random strangers."

"Okay."

"Also try not to gawk at any of our modern technology too much. You'll look like a fool."

"Is the outside world really all that wonderful?"

"Er, maybe? I am just guessing here. Just making assumptions from the tropes about country bumpkins coming to the big city and stuff."

"Tropes?"

"Sorry, I don't know the Japanese word for it. Or even if there is one. It's like... conventions that come up often in literature and movies and stuff. I think, anyway. It might be one of those words that have changed in meaning over time."

"I wouldn't know about stuff that appears in movies."

"Yeah. Er, anyway. Remember that nobody back at my home will speak Japanese, so I'll have to translate for you. While we are still in Japan you'll be fine though."

"Okay."

A ball of light drifts down to your side. It resolves into Nue.

"You got back quick."

"I came as fast as I could."

"Did you reconnoiter up any useful information?"

"Not really. I don't have enough knowledge of the current-day outside world to know where to look."

"Well, then it'll be an adventure for you."

"It will be an adventure for all of us."

"Hey, I know what I'm doing."

She looks you over carefully. "You are far too tired to teleport us to our destination."

"Well, I was planning on having us take a plane. Just need to... acquire some capital. Actually, I'm not sure if airports like it if you pay in cash, we might need to steal tickets instead."

"Sounds like fun." She stretches. "So, what's the plan? Are we going to go and rob some poor travelers right away, or do you want to rest first? Last time you did something like this it was weeks until you were capable of moving again."

"I've gotten better at this, of course." She does have a point, though. This is the biggest teleport across the border you have ever performed. Nue alone is more powerful than that bastard was, and you also brought Kogasa along. Perhaps it was your increasing level of familiarity with how to pull something across the border. Perhaps it was your greater familiar with teleporting Nue. Perhaps you are simply stronger now. Or, most likely, a combination of all of those.
It's a good thing you didn't have anything back in Gensokyo to forget to bring. It would utterly suck to have to pop back in; the return trip is going to be enough teleporting across the border for this year.
You could have just asked Yukari to spirit the three of you over. But fuck Yukari and her fucking utter unreliability. She probably would have thrown you into an ocean for laughs or something.

"What I'm saying is, maybe you should rest some more before we go. I'd be doing most of the heavy lifting of the forgery or robbery, sure, but you still need to be there to make sure I don't do anything stupid due to inexperience."

Hm. Do you have the energy? Kogasa can help you walk, sure, but that is a bit conspicuous. Of course, the sooner you leave, the sooner you can get back to home, where you will actually have access to real capital and not just stolen/fake money.

[ ] You should find a motel or something.
[ ] You have already been sleeping in the Shrine. Why stop?
[ ] You can just sleep in the airplane.
[ ] (Write-in.)

---

So yes, I finally finish this update. Next up: hazard prevention stalls and data forwarding! Er, I mean, the next story arc!
>> No. 30178
Oh man oh man oh man

[x] You can just sleep in the airplane.
>> No. 30179
>a third while carrying Nue to Eientei in need of an orange and a medical consultation
Sudden-onset scurvy?

[X] You should find a motel or something.

Checking to a motel at an odd time of a day with two girls in tow? There's no way our protagonist can pass up such a ripe opportunity for hilariously awkward misconceptions.
>> No. 30180
[X] You should find a motel or something.

In celebration of the end of the Humongous Robot arc:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zS6IT9UMC8U
>> No. 30181
[x] You should find a motel or something.

I worry about introducing Nue to cable. It will give her ideas.
>> No. 30182
[x] You can just sleep in the airplane.

We can sleep when we die.

>that bastard
;_; I will never forget him.
>> No. 30183
[x] You should find a motel or something.

>Marisa hops down from a broken rock. She pats Reimu on the back, comfortingly. "Just do it yourself, you lazy bitch."

Awesome.

This is quite the gargantuan update. I think the only thing bigger is Sukima's Great Wall, but I don't think it is even feasible to top that.
>> No. 30186
>>30183
Palingenesia. The update size on that behemoth of a story is just ridiculous, and it's definitely one of the best story on this site. I highly recommend reading it. If you bump it, I will fucking kill you.
>> No. 30188
[ ] You can just sleep in the airplane.
>> No. 30191
[x] You should find a motel or something.

Man, I took two days to read all of this. Great story.

I wonder what will happen... Will we bump into Koishi and Flandre (unless they returned to Gensokyo when we made that new hole to pass the barrier)? Will we have to meet the bastard to get some information (considering that the two vanished at the same time and he returned, mabe some people asked if we would return too)?
>> No. 30192
>>30183
>>30186

The fallout story is another story with HUGE updates. The Idea of Alice also had some big ones.
>> No. 30193
[Q] You should find a motel or something.
>> No. 30682
You still alive?
>> No. 30729
Update is ~75% done.
Was delayed by final exams, multiple final projects, and also the entirety of Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2.
Sorry about that. It's not that long an update, so it really shouldn't have taken this long. Probably going to only be ~1.5 updates once it's done, which doesn't excuse this latency.
>> No. 30846
File 129456309091.jpg - (239.56KB , 600x600 , notridingtatarairsorry.jpg ) [iqdb]
30846
[x] You should find a motel or something.

You could just save time and get into the airplane ASAP. Then you could sleep during the flight. It would be very efficient.
Well, except for the fact that sleeping in airplanes can be hard. They aren't very comfortable. Unless you get business class, presumably, but you think that paying for a business class flight in cash would be extra-suspicious.
As would having someone else physically carry you onto the flight. Yes, it would be a good idea to get some rest before the flight.
But, needless to say, not here. On that uncomfortable bed, in the drafty run-down shrine, and so on. You might even be spot by some group of intrepid shrine-explorers.
"Yes, you're right. I could do with a night's sleep before we go."

Nue glances at the bed. "I'll want to put some more energy in it, if you are going to take a nap of the not-unconscious variety on it..."
"It wasn't that bad of a bed, over all." But you still wouldn't want to sleep on it. "But no. We are going to find a motel and get a room."

"You didn't like the bed, then."

"It's not a bed anymore," Kogasa notes.

"Okay, fine. I lied, it was a bad bed. It was a bad bed even before it stopped being a bed and started being a broken box. I just said it was good because I didn't want to hurt your feelings."

"Oh, you didn't hurt my feelings. I don't take pride in my ability as a... whatever you call a person who makes beds. I've never done it before, in fact."

"Good, no hurt feelings then. So we can get going, alright?"

Nue nods. "Is there anything I should do before we set out? Prepare some disguises? Nothing too complex, it will be a lot harder to restore my reserves of mana here in the outside world."

You think for a moment. "Can you give Kogasa black hair? Blue hair isn't normal outside of Gensokyo."

"I noticed." She reaches over and rubs Kogasa's hair. In an instant it turns black. "Any other appearance alterations?"

"Well, Kogasa can hide her umbrella-half as a normal umbrella without your help, so no."

Nue nods. "Very well. Let's get going then. Kogasa, you help him move."

"Aw, you aren't going to carry me, Nue?" You muster up your best disappointed look. "It would be so effortless for you."

"If I just carried you it would attract too much attention, and letting you lean on me would slow me down too much. Hinder my freedom."

"You're going to have to slow down anyway, if you don't want to lose us."

"Still, it's not my style. You can handle it, right Kogasa?"

"Yup!" Kogasa nods enthusiastically. "After all of the times he has injured himself and required moving to Eientei, I'm getting good at it!"

"Hey, I've carried you to Eientei also."

Nue grins. "I've never been carried to Eientei while unconscious. I feel so left out."

"That can be changed!" You raise your cane. Slowly. "Okay that would be a more credible joke if I wasn't so weak right now."

"We really need to get you rested up. You can barely even threaten me with physical violence. This won't do, not at all."

Kogasa begins to help you towards the door. You shrug as you walk, and immediately regret it. "Isn't it- ow- better that way? You don't like getting your ass whooped, right?"

"Ahaha, as if you could really beat me. Even with all of your training you aren't quite up to my level of power, and even if you were I have hundreds of years of experience on you." It is true that you're not quite up to the level you were at that brief, oh so brief moment in the very beginning. But you're fast and mobile. Sure, if you really tried to hurt Nue with your cane you'd probably break the thing well before you could do any real damage, but you could still make it sting with an attack at just the right angle.

"Eh, I don't really want to fight you anyway."

"No, no, I wouldn't mind. Byakuren is nice. Too nice, really. I keep worrying I might be going soft, without any monster-slayers going after me. A friendly sparring match once in a whole might be good, I suppose."

"If I was less drained I would give you a good smack, okay?"

"Aw, how nice of you."

"I can hit you if you want!" Kogasa waves her umbrella-half with her free hand.

"You don't want to drop him."

"Oh. Right. I didn't want to fight you anyway." Coming from someone else that might sound like an attempt to save face, but from Kogasas it definitely sounded genuine.

"It wouldn't be fun anyway. Your heart obviously wasn't in it. Instead, we should focus on getting down this path and into the city without any slipping or falling. Can you put your heart into that?"

"Yeah!"

---

"There are lots of humans here."

"Kogasa, don't call them humans. Call them people. Because you are a human also," you wink, "remember?"

"Oh, right!"

Nue raises an eyebrow at you. "Wait, you even winked at her? Seriously? You are going to attract more attention than Kogasa."

All whining aside, nobody is looking at you. Admittedly that probably does not mean that you are not making a scene. It could just be that nobody wants to look at you, out of politeness or such. Actually, that seems very likely.
Maybe if you pass by any children they will provide a more honest evaluation of just how well you three are blending in.

"So, what part of the city would a 'motel' be in?"

"Well, it would be in the... uh..." You poke someone passing by in the arm. You would aggressively corner someone, but you aren't very good at walking at the moment. "Hey, mister, can you please tell me where the nearest motel is? Something cheap, hopefully?"

He ignores you and hurries on.

"Well, that was rude."

Kogasa frowns. "Maybe he was busy."

"Or maybe he didn't want to be seen talking to us."

"You are looking for a hotel?" Luckily, it looks like this passing young lady heard.
Actually, you are looking for a motel. Admittedly you are't sure how a motel is different from a hotel, so a hotel will probably have to suffice. Since there is no need to correct her, you nod. She glances at the sun for a moment, and then back at you. "Point two-four kilometers, seventy-one degrees and two minutes from north. Sorry, I'm late for a meet-up, I have to get going." She hurries off.

"Uh. Thanks?" You turn to Nue. "Do you have a compass?"

"Isn't that more your sort of thing?"

"Oh. Right." You close your eyes, and concentrate. North is... that way. So seventy-ish degrees from north (clockwise, presumably), would be... that way. Your arm moves on its own, to point out the proper direction. "Kogasa, go in the direction my arm is pointing."

"You hit me in the face!"

"Oh." You did indeed hit Kogasa in the face with your arm. You actually moved it much more forcefully than you would have thought. You might have put a bit too much energy into that... scrying, or whatever you would call it. You are already feeling more tired. "Sorry."

"It's okay. I know you aren't feeling too good."

"Thank you." You try to avoid saying anything funny. Or accidentally slipping and falling. Nue already looks amused by this schadenfreude. "Let's get going. I... am going to run out of energy soon."

---

"Welp. It is indeed a hotel. A cheap one, even, from the looks of it. I didn't think there were many in Japan, given how starved for space the place is."

"You are basically talking to yourself here. I don't know anything about outside world economics." Nue gives the building an appraising look. Given what she just said, presumably she is appraising it to determine it's fun factor, not it's economic plausibility.

"Well, you know the word 'economics'. That's a start. Want to learn?"

"Not really."

"Good, because I couldn't teach you either. Economics isn't my thing."

"So, do we just go inside and ask for a room?"

"Yes."

"Then what's keeping us?" Nue begins to walk up to the door.

"But first." You take your wallet out of your pocket. Quite a handsome one, great deal in Makai, very fireproof. You fish some bills out of it, and hand them to Nue. "Most of the money in Gensokyo is fairly old. Might be suspicious, I don't know, I'm not an economist. People do sometimes pay me in modern yen, though, so I do have some. Use these bills as a model for making more."

She looks over the yen. "Yes, I've seen them before. Alright, I can handle it."

The three of you walk inside. Or, rather, two walk inside, one is walked inside.

A bored-looking man sits at a counter. He looks up from a magazine as you enter.

"Can I get a room, please?"

"Of course." The man blinks, and takes a closer look at the three of you. "Are you... cosplayers?"

You quickly nod. "Uh, yeah. I came here to the wondrous state of Japan so I could attend Comiket. My two friends," you weakly gesture to Nue and Kogasa, "are letting me stay over with them."

"Summer Comiket was a month ago."

"I decided to stay for a while."

"And why are you staying in a hotel if you have a host family?"

Um. Good question. "Their house is getting fumigated. Do you really not want business that bad?"

He laughs, and hands you the keys. "I was just showing interest, son. Second floor, third door from the right."

"Thank you." You take the keys. "Help me up the stairs please, Kogasa?"

---

Kogasa looks around in wonder. "Woow, this room is-"

"Terrible." Nue grimaces. "Look at how dirty it is."

"Do you really care?"

"Well, I'm okay with dirty. I've slept in the wild many a time. Just I know enough about humans to know that they like their rooms to be clean, in this age."

"So you are talking from a human perspective?"

"Of course. While we are out here, we are all 'humans'... right?"

"I guess there is some virtue in getting in character." You slump. "Kogasa, can you help me to the bed?"

"Of course!" She walks you to the bed, and then lowers you down.

Nue looks around. "So this room has two beds. I wonder what that says about what the man at the counter thinks about us."

"Maybe he thought you and Kogasa were sisters?"

"Or maybe he thought we were coming here to make out."

"That," you pause. "Actually, that's plausible. My cover story was pretty pathetic."

"You need to think about these things beforehand."

"Isn't winging it half the fun?"

"Oh, of course. But I thought you wanted me to take this seriously?"

"Where did you get that impression?"

She thinks for a moment. "I could continue debating, but really it's an argument I would rather lose."

"Go ahead and have fun. Just try not to attract the attention of any secret order of youkai hunters."

"If there are any secret orders of youkai hunters in the outside world, they are going to be used to youkai who are starved for power. If they try to take me out, they are going to be in for a nasty surprise."

"But you might not be able to protect me. I don't think I'll be able to defend myself for the next day or two, at least. Until I get home, anyway. I'm sure that home cooking will somehow make me recover extra-fast."

"Really?"

"Well. It's just a theory, here, but that sounds like the kind of thing there would be belief behind in the outside world. Not in youkai, not in magic, but in the power of family."

Nue is definitely not buying this bullshit. "The outside world seems quite cynical."

"Well, it might not work. But it sure would be nice if it worked." Maybe it's not the best idea to count on the power of family cohesion in America. Hell, for all you know your parents have divorced while you were gone.

"Maybe you should plan on something more surefire."

"I could buy a gun and count on the power of the second amendment to heal me."

Nue shrugs. "Maybe the power of laws will work. I don't know."

"Do you even know what guns are?"

"A weapon, right?"

"Right. And a lot of people really like them. Actually, you know what, while I sleep maybe you should watch TV."

Nue looks at the TV. "I've seen them before, in Kourindou, but never actually operated one."

"Kogasa, are you interested in experiencing TV?"

"Sure!"

"Well..." Oh, there's a remote over there. "Can you hand me that plastic rectangle on the table? With the colorful buttons on it?"

Kogasa gives you the remote. You use it to turn on the TV, dial back the volume, and flip through the channels until you find one that is running something that looks like an action show. You doubt that a sitcom or cooking show or whatever would hold Nue's attention. "It's just entertainment so don't assume that it's very realistic, but you could find some things out, I suppose."

Nue looks at the TV. "I assume that there aren't this many battles and explosions normally?"

"Not in a city. Unless a war is going on, I suppose."

Kogasa pauses for a moment, thinking. "Oh! I've seen this kind of stuff before!"

"Really?"

"One time I visited Orange's house, and she had a working TV!"

"...Orange?"

Nue shrugs. "Never heard of her."

"She also had a pool table."

"Are you sure you aren't making this up? I didn't think anyone in Gensokyo had that much technology, except maybe the Kappa. Unless Orange is a kappa."

"Kappa aren't known for associating with colors besides blue and green." Nue frowns. "Although maybe she picked that name without knowing what it meant."

"I met a red kappa, once."

"No, she's not a kappa. She's Meiling's sister. Meiling introduced me to her."

Meiling? Name doesn't ring a bell. Sounds vaguely Chinese. Wait, maybe she means China. Yeah, that would make sense. "Oh, back when you were getting meditation lessons?"

"Yeah!"

"Well, okay. Enjoy the show, I guess. I'll go to sleep." You lie back and close your eyes.
There are some sounds of shuffling. Maybe Kogasa is getting closer to the TV. Maybe Nue is preparing to leave and take a walk. You don't really know.
And really. You don't care. You're tired.

---

You are talking to Nazrin. She needs to find something, but no matter how much she describes it you can't figure out what she is talking about.
After a while, she gives up. You wander off. It seems like you are in Makai.
Shou runs by. She is looking for the same thing Nazrin is.
You want to help, since you suppose you owe it to them, but you can't.

---

Your eyes open. That was a dream?
It was... downright normal. If a bit frustrating. And not normal as in "normal for you". Normal as in normal-normal. You have long gotten used to strange dreams. It's ultimately harmless, you've decided. But to have a normal dream... maybe it has to do with being in the outside world? Like, the dreams were caused by some interaction between the high mana concentration of Gensokyo and your mind?
Well, not like it matters. They're just dreams. And, as a famous nicotine addict once said, sometimes a dream is just a dream. It was probably just bits of memories coming through. God knows that Shou has a talent for losing valuable objects. Like that one time she forgot that she had borrowed that 'kappa torch' and when the Kappa asked for it to be returned she and Nazrin had to search for three days before realizing that it had somehow ended up in the Scarlet Devil Manor's now-unused basement. You're not really sure why she even needed a blowtorch to begin with. You don't think she does any metalwork, but then again you don't really pay attention to her chores anymore. Thinking about it, that was around the time she was repairing the Temple's plumbing...
Okay, mystery solved. Back to the matters at hand.

Kogasa is asleep on the other bed, hugging her umbrella-half. Kind of cute. Nue is... well, that shaggy thing on the floor is probably Nue. You thought she didn't want to use energy for frivolous transformations?
It looks like they figured out how to turn off the TV.

You slowly sit up from bed. You are feeling sore and tired, even after all that sleep. But... a little better. You'll be able to walk on your own, at least.
You stumble a bit as you get out of bed. Okay, it might be a good idea to have Kogasa nearby anyway, in case you need any help.

You seem to have made enough noise to wake Nue. She raises her head from the floor.

"Feeling better?" It's kind of amazing that an animal's throat could produce human speech so well.

"A bit." You gingerly sit down next to her. "Why are you so... shaggy?"

"It's a long story."

"How could you do enough while I was asleep to make it be a long story? Did you eat some humans and have to take on a disguise to escape?"

"No, I wasn't hungry. Okay, fine, I just wanted to amuse Kogasa."

"You know, I doubt pets are allowed in this hotel."

"Are you comparing me to that kasha?"

"No, no. It's just what the hotel owner would think if he saw you. Besides, you're not nearly hardworking enough to be compared to her."

"Oh, I can work hard. When it's fun."

"Boy I sure wish I could make a living doing what I enjoy." Wait a second. "Oh, I do make a living doing what I enjoy. Well, okay, most people don't have that luxury."

"I don't really make a living so much as mooch off the Temple and relive my glory days."

"That's, uh, accurate, but I didn't think you would admit it."

"Oh, so you agree?"

Shit. "I-"

"Ssh, don't get too panicky, you'll wake Kogasa." Nue pads over to Kogasa's bed and smoothly hops onto it.

"I can be as panicky as I want! Kogasa needs to get up soon anyway."

"I don't really care too much, anyway. Providing your own food is fine, and it's how I used to live, but it's discouraged nowadays. They are giving me food and lodging for not working. So, instead, I get more time to play."

"You can play out here too. Just try not to do... that kind of playing. The kind that involves danmaku. Within hours the place would be swarming with wizards and FBI agents hushing everything, I bet."

"No, no, the most fun kind of game is the one where the other person never realizes what you are."

"So I'll just have to worry about you committing identify theft."

"Should you have ever expected anything else?"

"Not really, no. You can do a little, okay, but don't do anything too malicious. If you can, say, use your powers for good and cause a couple to be reunited or cause some escaped convicts to accidentally turn themselves back in or some other feel-good comedy movie hijinx like that I'll be fine with it."

"That sounds a lot more difficult than what I was planning to do." Nue curls up around Kogasa, but in such a way that she continues looking at you.

"Fine, jeeze. Just try not to bomb a mall or kill the president or start an international incident or something."

"I promise to be good. Or, at least, not actively malicious."

"That promise does not inspire much confidence."

"I'm not a follower of Jainism or anything. I'm not going to pad around carefully so as to avoid stepping on insects."

"It might just be too much work to avoid accidentally robbing someone?"

"Well, I've already given someone fake money. On your orders."

"...oh, right."

"On that note, it should have turned back into a handful of leaves early this morning. We should probably leave soonish, just in case that guy at the desk notices."

"Er, right." You get up from the floor and dust yourself off. "Should I wake up Kogasa or do you want to?"

Nue disentangles herself and hops down from the bed. Upon touching the floor she turns back to normal. "Go ahead."

You walk up to Kogasa and gently shake her shoulder.
Nothing. Well, she wasn't woken up by Nue getting in the bed. Maybe she stayed up late?
You lean up to her ear. "Kogasa. Wake up, Kogasa."

She shifts a bit, but is still asleep.
Wait a second. Maybe...

You reach down and pull her arm aside. You take her umbrella-half, hold it up, and open it.
Kogasa suddenly springs from bed, wide awake.

You close her, and hand her back to herself. "Sorry about that, but we will be going soon."

"It's... okay..." She begins to calm down, but she is still breathing a bit heavily.

"Hey, isn't it bad luck to open an umbrella indoors?"

"I sure hope not. I do it all the time!"

"Well, we can protect you from bad luck. Right, Nue?"

"Bad luck is serious business. I might not be able to do anything."

"What?" Kogasa is beginning to look a bit panicked.

"Kidding, kidding. Some stupid humans think that opening umbrellas indoors will insult the spirits of the house, but you should know tsukumogami better than they do, right?"

Kogasa frowns. "I dunno, if I was a house I would be pretty insulted if someone was going around with an umbrella inside me."

"I could take on a house easy. I used to do it all the time. Little peasant dwellings were so fun to squash, let me tell you. And big houses can be even more fun, though you can get some pretty nasty splinters." Nue pauses. "No offense, miss hotel. Or mister."

"A modern-day building is much more durable than the stuff you used to break back in the day. We build these things using... uh, concrete and steel. Or maybe wood. I don't know, I'm not an architect."

"Between the two of us we have got to have enough power to destroy 'concrete', whatever that is."

"I suppose. So, uh, let's not talk about destroying the hotel while we are inside it. We are already heading for trouble here. What with the..." you wave your hands a bit, "...you know, the fake money thing."

"Right. We might as well get going."

The three of you grab your bags and quickly leave the hotel room, only stopping to turn your key in. If the man at the counter knows about the counterfeiting he says nothing. Or maybe he is intimidated by the three of you?
...given how he reacted to you yesterday, probably not. It's all for the best, anyway.

---

"Hey, can we go there?"

"Go where?" Oh, Kogasa is pointing. At a hardware store. "Uh, okay."

"Yay." Kogasa runs into the store.

"I am guessing that you don't care about hardware, Nue."

"Not at all."

"You can go con people or something."

"Yay." Nue melts away.

You chase in after Kogasa, catching up as best you can. By the time you catch up you are winded. She must have forgotten how tired you are.

"Look at all of these tools!"

"Are they, uh, happy?" People are giving her odd looks. She's a bit too big to be acting like this, honestly.

"They're full of anticipation."

"Since they haven't been bought yet?"

"Yeah! You get it!"

"Whoah, hey, don't paw them that much. People might think you are a shoplifter."

"Fine." She puts the screwdriver, and goes to look at a shelf of hardhats.

---

"Did you have fun?"

"Yeah!"

"Too bad I didn't have money on me."

"Yeah. I guess the hardhat would have looked silly on me anyway."

"I suppose. Oh, Nue!"

Nue saunters over, looking proud of herself. "We are going to the United States, right?"

"Yeah."

She tosses a wallet at you. You catch it, and open it. Some money, and... three plane tickets? "You know what a plane ticket looks like?"

"I was doing some investigating last night. I found the airport, and watched them for a while."

"You sure got these tickets fast." You begin walking to the airport. If you just stand here and stare at the stolen tickets it'll look suspicious.

"We're close to the airport now, and you were in there for half an hour."

"Even then..."

"Fine, there was a bit of luck involved. Some family of three is going to be really sad. Once they wake up."

You pause mid-step. "Once they wake up?"

"Don't worry, I didn't hurt them. Just made sure they won't be here to complain about their tickets getting stolen, if you get my drift."

"Well, I guess that will mean that we won't get held up in the terminal. Uh, good job." This is a bit unsavory though. You look at the wallet. Has a credit card too. Gonna have to arrange for it to be returned later, and maybe pay them back for the lost tickets. In an untraceable way, of course.

"Oh, my pleasure. I don't get to do stuff like that often in Gensokyo. It's too small, for one. People here won't think of the possibility of a shape-shifting mugger, too."

"So you were in a different form?"

"I took on a male form. Bald, suited, muscular. I made sure they could see the tattoos I assumed."

"Yakuza or something?"

"I saw some TV shows about them!"

"Yeah, Kogasa told me about them. I figured that looking like an established criminal would throw any investigations off."

"Clever." The airport looms ahead.

In the distance, an airplane takes off. Kogasa's eyes follow it. "Neat!"

"Airplanes are pretty neat, yes. We can all fly, so it's nothing new to us, but it also doesn't take any effort. So you can relax. Of course, these aren't business class tickets, so there won't be much legroom."

"How do they fly? The outside world doesn't have magic, right?"

"It, uh. Burns fuel, and it makes turbines turn. Or maybe it shoots fire out the... you know, I don't know how airplanes work. They use totally mundane and probably very expensive methods, though."

Nue looks at the contrail. "Don't humans get scared, flying inside a machine they can't understand? What if the thing broke, or ran out of fuel?"

"Then the airport gets its ass sued off." You start inside the airport, and the other two follow. "But yes, there are many people who are afraid of flying. It is so much faster than other forms of transportation though, especially when going over oceans."

Nue looks around the airport interior. Pretty nice place, very modern-looking, though there are definitely bigger airports in the U.S. "They must make a lot of money to have such a big building. Back in the day, the only buildings this big would be the palaces of kings and emperors, grand temples, and so on. Of course, it seems like humans have gotten much better at constructing buildings in general."

"Yeah, it's a big business. Operating a plane is expensive, but they put a lot of people onto each plane, and charge a lot of money."

"Oh, it sounds like it would be fun to try to catch one of these. A big metal can full of humans who are already terrified even before you snatch it up in your mighty jaws..."

'Uh, please don't go any further with that line of thought. Airport security is not known to take people talking about destroying airplanes well." Maybe that's just U.S. airport security? Well, no reason to make a mess either way.

"Hey, what are those things?" Kogasa tugs on your shirt.

"That's the security checkpoint. We have to pass through it to get to the part with the airplanes. So they can make sure we aren't carrying any weapons."

"Do they have to search your body, or do they have some kind of 'modern technology' that lets them detect weapons?"

"Those arches detect metal items."

"So someone could smuggle a bow on and they wouldn't know?"

"I suppose. But it would be hard to use a bow inside a cramped airplane."

Nue frowns. "You can never be too careful."

"That's not like you. Oh, Kogasa, they aren't going to let you take your umbrella inside, put it on the conveyer belt there."

"I suppose that none of these passengers are likely to secretly be legendary archers anyway." Nue puts the suitcases and bags down onto the conveyer belt. It sure was nice of her to carry them for you. You are't sure if you would be able to.

"Yeah, probably not."

You pass through the security last. Luckily, none of you trigger any alerts. You even manage to avoid being called in for a search, despite the fact that all of you are pretty suspicious-looking. Hell, you just realized that you left in such a hurry you had no time to take a shower! It's a good thing your sweat glands aren't quite what they once were, or you would probably stink by now.
You walk over to the other two, beginning to feel soreness setting in from that little dash earlier. "Now I suppose we find our exit. There should be maps on the walls and such."

"Is this going to be difficult?"

"God, I sure hope not."

---

Luckily, it was not difficult. In fact, it took around ten minutes at most.
You look around. People are mostly ignoring you. If anyone has wised up to the whole robbery thing, nobody is showing any signs of it.
Going well so far, then.

"When does the plane depart?"

"In, uh... two hours."

Nue groans.

"Assuming there aren't any further delays."

"I'm hungry." Kogasa rubs her stomach.

"How about let's... look and see if there are any restaurants or something inside the concourse."
>> No. 30847
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After an overpriced meal, the three of you decide to explore the concourse to pass the time. Nue wanted to go solo in order to have more wacky hijinx, of course, but you decided that splitting up would just probably end with one of you getting lost, the way things are going at the moment.
All in all, it wasn't too bad. But the concourse is not all that exciting, and when an hour and fourty-five minutes had passed you were quite glad.

Of course, the plane was delayed by half an hour. Half an hour of sitting around. With Nue playing small pranks on the other people who are waiting. With Kogasa disinterestedly watching the news on the nearby TV, fiddling with her umbrella-half. With you just sitting there, bored out of your skull. It is too cramped and quiet to have any real conversations, too, without overs overhearing.
You look at the board. Still another twenty-three minutes.
Damn, that silence ability would be so useful. If only Tacita was here, she could just shape the silence and you could have a singalong with Kogasa.
...of course, you don't know her all that well, so it would be awkward to bring her along on your vacation. Also, it would be hard to justify the goat legs as another cosplay.
The plane trip itself was... boring in the extreme. Hours and hours long. The most stimulation was watching the clouds below and the lame in-flight movies.
Well, and talking, of course. But the noise level and cramped quarters meant that you couldn't have any substantial conversations. The people nearby would surely overhear, and you'd rather avoid the very slight risk that there might be someone on this plane who knows enough about magic to figure out your true nature. Or, failing that, to think that you all are druggies and report you to the police or something.
The food isn't even all that good. There isn't much, either. Well, you get what you pay for. Or, rather, what the people who bought these tickets pay for.

You end up sleeping, with a great deal of difficulty. You assume the others do the same, but you are too busy sleeping to tell.

---

A hand nudges you awake. You open your eyes. Nue. "The plane is landing."

"Ugh. Finally."

"I agree. That was boring. But don't worry, it looks like some excitement is coming up."

"What do you mean?" You sure hope it's not the bad type of excitement.

The intercom, you just realize, is on. "We repeat. There will be a security check before passengers are allowed to disembark."

Oh great. The bad type of excitement. Shit shit need to make a plan. But if you said anything, the other people nearby would hear. There are bound to be both Japanese and English speakers on this plane.
Wait. You know more than two languages, and so does Nue. What others do you have in common? Lesse lesse... Greek! She was able to talk with Zenovia, if you recall!

You quickly switch to Greek. Hopefully this won't be too suspicious. "Do you think they found out about the... you know, the ticket stealing?" You try to make the most jovial tone possible. "Pretend we are having a friendly conversation."

She nods and smiles at you. "Got it. And that's possible. We can't risk being caught. I can't transform you in front of this many people, and you don't want to become a criminal, right?"

"Right. Any idea on how to escape? I could teleport us out, but that would be too attention-grabbing."

She thinks for a moment. "I'll provide a distraction," she says, her tone of voice as though she was telling a joke.

You laugh. "Okay. Wait until the plane fully stops moving. We wouldn't want your distraction to accidentally cause it to crash."

"Very well."

A good five minutes go by, tensely. Kogasa looks and you and Nue in confusion, not sure what you were talking about. All you can do is wink and gesture at her and hope she catches on. You eventually give up, since she doesn't even know that trouble is coming up. Damn, it would be really nice if she knew more languages.
Instead you look around and memorize the layout of the plane and the nearby runway.

Finally the plane comes to a full stop. The little connecting bridge thing extends, and the intercom reminds the passengers to not get out yet.
But the air takes on a different quality. In moments darkness gathers, and suddenly the entire interior of the airplane is pitch black.

There are shocked gasps and other sounds of panic from the passengers. You rapidly teleport around the plane and tap people lightly. Each person you teleport to some nearby safe place in the runway area. You have to make sure that you, Nue, and Kogasa aren't the only ones who vanish. That would make it too obvious who is at fault.
And then you shift back to your seat, grab Nue with one arm and Kogasa with the other, and teleport straight up above the airplane.

"Quick, disguises."

A snake wraps around your wrist, and you feel the spell take hold. You fly up with the other two, and look down to see the dark cloud dissipating.
Confused passengers look around. Security guards begin to pour out of the building. There is chaos and panic everywhere, albeit no actual damage.

Time to make an exit. "Let's fly and look for a safe place to land and turn off these seeds of non-identification." You begin to fly off, the other two following you now without you needing to grab hold of them.

"What's going on?"

"They might have been catching on to us, Kogasa."

Nue laughs. "That was exhilarating."

"Scary! You should warn me!"

"I'm sorry, I couldn't risk someone overhearing us."

"I don't mean the escape, I got a little rush from all the surprise. I meant all of this disguise and running stuff!"

"Don't worry, after all that there's no way they will be able to track us. In the short term, at least." Nue grins. Maybe. With these seeds on, you could just be seeing her do what you expect her to do. "A good magician will probably be able to figure out what went on, with enough investigation. But we'll be long gone by then. Not sure if those pathetic-looking security guards down there even have any magicians in their employ."

"If they do, I doubt they know it. I'd never heard of real magic before coming to Gensokyo. It probably does exist out here, but in secret."

"I'd heard as much."

"What about that spot?" Kogasa is pointing downwards.

"What about- oh, I see, it would make a good place to land and turn back. Thanks, Kogasa." A good thing too, since you used a lot of energy just now, and maintaining flight is beginning to get... uncomfortable.

You land on the ground unceremoniously, and quickly pick yourself up, breathless. The landing was a bit... uneven. You think you turned flight off a monent too soon.

Nue lands behind you. Kogasa lands a moment later, to your side.
The adrenaline is rapidly wearing off. You slump to the ground, panting.

"That was a very exciting way of leaving the airport," Kogasa says.

"In... in retrospect... it was the only way we could have left. Neither of you... have passports." Your panting begins to subside. It definitely wasn't nice doing all of that magical heavy lifting while still so tired.

Nue sighs. "Well, at least we finally got here."

"Are you okay?" Kogasa kneels down in front of you. "I felt you using a lot of energy back there. And you had already been so drained!"

"I... I'm okay. Thanks for asking." You straighten up. "Just I should really not do that again. As long as you two can handle that, I think I'm ready to move out now."

"Everyone act natural," Nue says. "Me and Kogasa are Japanese tourists, how about, and you are a friend who is guiding us?"

"That's basically the truth, anyway. But yeah, it's best to avoid being eccentric, at least until we leave the city."

"Okay. I'll be a good human," Kogasa says solemnly. And then she begins to leave the alleyway she guided you into. You follow her out, into a street.

Kogasa begins to look around. "Is it earlier now than when we left?"

"When it's day on one side of the world, it's night on the other. And we just traveled very far."

"I didn't know it worked like that." The three of you begin to walk, looking around as you go. People talking in English, signs in English... it's been a long time since you've been immersed in your native language. You hope you don't have an accent now.

"Well, Gensokyo is only a small patch of land. This is an entire world."

"I guess that makes sense."

Nue seems to be focusing her attention mostly on the skyscrapers. "This isn't all that different from the last city we were in."

"Modern architecture is pretty global. Especially really tall buildings, since those are hard to make with traditional methods."

"It's a shame. There are still some more... historic-looking buildings around, but at this rate all of the cities will eventually look the same. So boring."

You pass into a more populated street. It looks like there's a supermarket over there, so many of these people are probably shoppers.

"Look at all the foreigners!"

"Of course. We did leave Japan, after all."

"That makes sense."

Nue turns to you. "So, where is your house?" Nice of her to wait for you to catch your breath first.

"Uh... you know, we are in the same country as my house, but the U.S. is much larger than Gensokyo. We are probably hours of flying away."

"Flying by airplane or personal flight?"

"Personal flight. We probably shouldn't return to the airport."

"I thought personal flight would attract too much attention?"

"It would, and I'm in no condition for it anyway. I am pretty sure there are long-distance bus rides we could get for cheap."

Kogasa frowns. "I hope the 'bus rides' aren't as cramped and boring."

"Don't get your hopes up, sorry."

"We could probably pay for a bus ride in cash. I think. Ah, but Nue, they don't use the same type of money here as they do in Japan. I don't have any on me, so I'll have to find a sample..."

"Maybe we could go to a shop? I could watch the people paying and try to memorize the configuration of the bills."

"A lot of people pay in stores with credit cards. There's no way you could properly copy one of those."

"Or we could go to a bank?"

"I think people would get nervous if we leaned over their shoulders enough to memorize the details of the bills anyway. We'd get kicked out."

Nue groans. "I'll do it my way then." And then she runs off before you can respond.

You look over to Kogasa. "I am going to regret being so indecisive, aren't I?"

"Nue isn't dumb. She'll find a good solution."

"Yeah, but I'm the one who knows how the modern world works. She is probably going to rob a store and get caught on security cameras or something."

"She gets to have all of this fun though. I wish you would let me surprise people."

"Okay, fine. You go surprise someone while we wait, okay?"

"Yaay!"

"I'll just wait here, so Nue knows where to find me."

"Okay. I'll be back soon!"

"Don't surprise them too hard!"

And there she goes. You sit down at a nearby bench.
A moment of quiet, then. Not cramped in by pressing walls of annoying airplane passengers. Not being hounded by the cops (yet). Not enduring the trials of patience you will surely be subjected to during this upcoming bus trip.
Even your current freedom from Nue is nice, in a way. Since, well, it lets you not think about what kind of horrible trouble she is probably going to be getting you into.
Of course, the very first trouble she ever got you into is one you can't complain about. Since it's why you can now do magic and expect to live for hundreds of years. And that's pretty sweet.

You wonder what her idea was...

"Kogasa left while I was gone?"

"Yeah." You look back. She is holding a handful of bills.

"Are these the right currency?"

"Yeah."

"Alright. I can fake these, yes."

"Where did you get them, anyway? Did you rob someone?"

"He was a beggar, so it's okay."

"You robbed a beggar?"

"Mugged a beggar, and yes."

"Great." Well, she probably shapeshifted for it again, so it won't be traced back to you unless there's some kind of paranormal detective around. "Did you get a look at his shoes?"

"Yeah. Guy tried to roundhouse kick me. Like he thought he was some kind of martial artist. It was hilarious."

"Did they look expensive?"

"How can you tell?"

"They have, like, complicated patterns of rubber on the soles, and little swooshy emblems or whatever on the sides of the shoe." You get up from the bench slowly. Should probably get ready to get moving.

"I think so, yes."

"Okay, it was probably justified then. I've heard that many beggars are actually pretty well-off, and you can often tell by looking at their shoes."

"So, where is Kogasa?"

"She went out to, uh, surprise someone. Hopefully she'll be back sooARGH-" suddenly something lands on your back.
You fall forward, to the sound of Kogasa's giggling.

"Was... was I the person you went out to surprise?"

"No, you were dessert!"

"You're attracting attention." Nue directs your attention to a small child staring at you. The child's mother tells him to stop staring and apologizes.

"I guess we were being a bit conspicuous. Talking in a foreign language and... jumping on each other."

"I'm satisfied now." Kogasa nods vigorously. "I'll be good."

"Okay, that's good. Because... we are going to need a lot of being good. The bus trip is probably going to take a long time too."

"Aw."

"Sorry. The world is big, and transportation is slow. I'm hoping that I'll be in better shape for teleporting in a few days, in case we want to travel more."

"I would say that teleporting takes away the fun of traveling, but," Nue rubs her forehead, a bit tiredly, "these modern-day human forms of transportation feel so... confining. That journey would have taken at least a month how the youkai flies, but at least there would have been lots of sights along the way."

"Oh, right, you used to travel a lot back in the day." You begin walking to... actually, where would the busses be?
They... probably pick up at bus stops. But, wait, would that be true for long-distances buses? You doubt they just ride up to a streetcorner bus stop.
In fact, would there be a bus to take you where you need to go anyway? Would you need to charter one specially? Oh god, are you going to have to steal a car or hitchhike or something?

"...are you listening?"

"No, sorry, I just realized how flawed that 'bus' plan is. Going to have to do some research."

"I think I saw a library while I was off looking for a suitable beggar. Maybe we could start there?"

"I doubt we could find any useful books on this. But a public library probably does have internet access, so... yeah, lead on, Nue."

"Internet?"

"Oh, Kogasa, I have so much to teach you."

---

"...and if you type in 'umbrellas', specialty umbrella vendors come up. Oh, that's what that word that I typed means in English, by the way."

"So it's like a TV, but you can tell it what to do?"

"Yeah, sorta. Also, be more quiet, this is a library."

Nue walks over, leafing through a book. "Doesn't look like I'm in here."

"A book on mythological creatures, huh?"

"Well, it has the Chimaera and such, but not my favorite persona."

"So the first thing you look for in a library is yourself?"

"Why else would I bother reading outside-world books?"

"Fair enough." You would come to the defense of books, but honestly, fuck books. You're not a book person. Fuck the book industry and their expensive language textbooks. "You can learn about the modern world much faster by experiencing it in person, anyway."
Speaking of expensive school-related stuff, you wonder what happened to your student loans. Did they get sent to your 'next of kin', or did they get waived due to you vanishing? You'll find out when you get home, you suppose. If you remember to ask.

She puts the book down on the computer table. "Have you found out anything about that bus thing yet?"

"Oh, no, I was giving Kogasa a tutorial on the internet. It took me a bit because it's been a while since I last used it, too."

"No hurry, I am having lots of fun in this stuffy, boring library."

"Wait, maybe Google maps can plot out a bus route?"

"Shouldn't you know these things, Mr. Travel?"

"Hey, travel is a lot more complex in the outside world. I don't control bus routes, highway positions, and so on." Lets see. Place the start position... the end point... no, they can't plot a public transportation route over such a distance.
Under a day by car, though. Maybe stealing a car is going to be the only option?
Or, uh, getting a rent-a-car. But, wait, wouldn't that require a driver's license? You have one, of course, but if you show them yours they would be able to associate your use of fake money with you.

"It doesn't look like things are going well there."

"It doesn't look like buses are going to work, no..." Wait, but maybe... "Nue, do you think you could transform the outside of a large machine without knowing it's internal workings? And keep it transformed for about a day?"

"Yeah, probably. As long as you can tell me what it should look like so I don't make any mistakes."

"Okay. I have a plan. It's... not a nice plan, but it should work."
>> No. 30848
File 129456330619.jpg - (141.20KB , 850x600 , gladmarisawasntdrivinghuh.jpg ) [iqdb]
30848
You look the car over. It's a cheap one, but that's a plus in this case.

"Right. How long will these disguises hold, Nue?"

"About five minutes. I am trying to conserve energy here."

"Right. Let's go." You approach the car and give it a final look-over. As nonchalantly as possible. "Nue, get ready."

You take out the key Nue procured and unlock the car. You get into the driver's seat, and test the key out in the ignition. Right, it's been years, but you still know how to do this. Hopefully. "Get in, you two. Kogasa, you go into the back seat."

They quickly take their seats. You start the car up.
First challenge. Leaving the parking lot without hitting anything. You were only a mediocre driver in the first place, and you are out of practice. Hopefully with your youkai reflexes and such it shouldn't be a problem, but you never know.
Go into reverse, turn a bit, and then accelerate forward... there we go. Nice and smooth.

"Let's go. I'll try to go around less-popular roads. Once you are sure nobody is looking, transform the car, okay? Be sure to change the license plate."

Nue nods distractedly. She is probably focusing on the mental image of the car and such you showed her. If the details of the transformation are off, it might cause suspicion.

After a few minutes of driving, making sure to go through every unpopular road you can see, you feel the car change. The chassis shifts, the color changes, and so on. The insides stay the same, but that is something you can't really help. Hopefully nobody will notice.

"There we go. Okay, now your job is to read me the directions, Nue."

"At least it's some form of stimulation."

"Kogasa, will you be okay back there?"

"Wow, they have a lot of books in the back seat!"

"Oh, okay, you'll be able to keep yourself amused."

"They're all in English though. And there aren't many pictures. Except for this one with lots of pictures of food." You glance back, which probably isn't a good idea while driving for the first time in years or whatever. She is looking at some cookbook for dieters.

"Uh, maybe you can get Nue to read one aloud to you. While we are on a long road and there's no need for directions."

"What do I look like, a babysitter?"

"I think you would make a wonderful babysitter. If you wanted your kids to grow up to be hooligans, anyway."

"Why would I waste so much time on human children just to have them become common thugs? If I was going to spend hours taking care of human children, they better damn well become exceptional thugs."

"Read them books about politics then, maybe?"

"I'd rather take them with me on heists." She glances at the paper and frowns. "Also, you should have taken a left there." She is learning damn fast. A fifteen-minute tutorial about the U.S. system of roads and she can already give directions from a Google directions printout? With a fair degree of latency, yes, but it's still pretty good.

"Oh, thanks. Can you say that earlier next time, though?" You don't get improvement by praising someone for doing it wrong, though!

"Those little road signs are hard to read, okay?"

"What, the mighty Nue is defeated by signs?"

"Hmph. Your lessons on English were more focused on the spoken language than the written."

"Fair enough."

"I'll do better next time, though. Take a right, by the way."

"Thank you." So you are going to be merging with the interstate pretty soon. That will be an interesting challenge for your rusty driving skills. At least if you get into a crash, none of you will die. Probably. It would only really be a problem if you, say, crashed with a truck carrying gas or oil or something and it caused a big explosion. Even then, you would all probably survive, if not very pleasantly. The bigger problem in such a case would be the fact that they might realize that the car was stolen during the rescue process.

"Take a left. And then it says the next turn is... a significant distance down the road. Which book do you want me to read, Kogasa?"

"The one with all the food!" Great. Everyone is going to get hungry. Fuck, you just realized that you're already hungry. You didn't eat that much before boarding the plane, and they weren't very generous with airplane food while on it.

Oh well, you can stop by a cheap restaurant on the way or something. Once the others start complaining, anyway, you would rather not stop just for you.
For now, you should just focus on not crashing into someone else. For the next... many, many hours.

This is going to be a long day.

---

When you finally drive into the right boring middle-class neighborhood, you are utterly exhausted. Most of it is mental exhaustion, admittedly. Your body is tired from the long day, but the car ride has left it itching to do something besides turn a wheel and press pedals. Despite all that, you are somewhat... exhilarated. Compared to airplane rides, a car drive gives a much better feel of freedom. It's not quite the same as flying, because you have to follow the road, but it's still something.
The stops for food and gas were, luckily, uneventful. You don't think Kogasa likes American food much, but Nue ate without complaint.
You step out of the car. Nue begins to get out also, but you hold her back with your hand. "I should go in alone first."

"Don't want to spring this on your parents all at once?"

"Something like that."

"Fine, I'll stay undercover for a while."

"It'll just be a bit, Kogasa, okay?"

"Okay."

You walk towards the house.
And approach the door.
Knock. Knock. Knock.

There is the sound of footsteps, and after a minute the food is opened by your mother.
She gasps. "Dear, get over here!" She hugs you.

Aand there comes your father. "Where were you?"

"Around."

"I thought you'd never come back," your mother manages out. She's crying. Maybe... you should have contacted them at some point during those years.

Wait. 'Never come back'? Why didn't they just assume you had died?
...you suppose you can let the wordless emotions and such go on for a while. You owe them that much.

---

It's a good half an hour until they've calmed down any real amount. You feel kind of bad about just leaving Kogasa and Nue out in the car like that. Well, Nue at least is probably hiding outside and listening in. Kogasa also probably, by now.

"Son. Where were you, really, these last years?"

"We've been worried sick!"

"How did you know I hadn't just died? Or was that just hopeful thinking?"

Your mother sniffles a bit. "That young man, your college roommate, disappeared at the same time as you. The police report concluded that you had been in the same room when you both vanished, even."

Your father nods. "When he came back, we figured that meant that you had probably survived also. We got ahold of him. He refused to tell us much, but he did say that you were alive, and were still wherever he had gone to."

"Huh. That makes sense." Damn. You had almost forgotten about that bastard, too. Well, you can just go back to forgetting about him. Not like you have to visit him while you are in the outside world.
But the police report... you wonder what your dorm room looked like after the teleportation machine went off. Was it scorched? You honestly can't remember how the damn thing worked anymore, so even with your current knowledge you can only guess as to what the physical manifestation of the teleport was. The time you spent constructing it was... odd. It was probably running mostly off latent power and faith.
Now's not the time to ask about that, though.

"Answer the question." Your father's taking a firm tone, finally. He was always kind of a supportive father sort, but you can't blame him for wanting to know what was going on.

"Hey, uh. You know what my lifelong dream was?" There's no use hiding it from them. It'll just cause problems.

"To be a gameshow host?"

"No, the other one."

"To live in a world of fantasy with swords and magic and quests? Like in those books you used to read?"

"Well, I achieved it!"

"I've always told you, son, you shouldn't take drugs-"

"No, no, no. I'm serious." You hold out your hand, and generate a small yellow danmaku orb, using as little energy as you possibly can. Even that is difficult, though. It's like trying to draw water from a dried-up well. You really need the mana recharge that rest and good ol' home cooking will hopefully hopefully give you.
There's a moment of surprise. You can see it in their eyes.

And then your father hugs you, for a change. "I've always told you that you would achieve your dreams! Just I always figured it would be the other one!"
Your mother starts to clap.

Over the last few years, it seems you had almost forgotten what your parents were like.

"So yeah. I'm a well-established personage in said land of magic and stuff. I decided to come back here. To visit."

"And you never contacted us at all during that entire period?"

"Uh. Sorry. It's kind of hard, though. I've only really figured out how to enter and leave at will recently. Teleporting between dimensions takes both power and finesse." Kind of a lie, but it's close enough to the truth to make you not feel too bad about telling it to your parents.

"So you'll be going back?"

"Yeah, but every time I go back and forth I get better at it. Eventually I'll probably be able to just enter and leave on a whim. Probably." After seeing the look on your mother's face, you quickly append, "but I'll be staying for a few weeks, at least. It'll be a while till I have enough mana to return!"

"Damn right you will." Mom knows how to get her way.

Dad looks thoughtful for a moment. "If you stayed there for so long, you must be doing well. Do you have a job now?"

"I suppose you could say that."

"Do you go slaying monsters and rescuing fair maidens? ...I'm sorry, I don't read many fantasy books."

"Well, I guess you could say that I'm the monster now, and the closest things to fair maidens are other monsters. No, I deliver letters."

"That's never a job you've expressed interest in. Are you sure you like it?"

"It's okay. It involves a lot of walking. Or, rather, flying. I kind of feel urges to move and explore nowadays. It has to do with how I gained magic power."

"Well, if you're happy."

Your mother, on the other hand, is more concerned. "This magic sounds dangerous. Are you sure it isn't... draining your life energy, or sucking your soul away, or something?"

"Well, uh, about that. Actually, one of the parts of the whole package was agelessness. So if sis ever has any children, I'm going to easily outlive your great-great-grandkids." Where is your sister, anyway? Did she move away to go to college or something?
That seems likely, actually. She's very no-nonsense and grounded. Always been the black sheep of the family.

"So you don't plan on having kids yourself?"

"Pretty sure another part of the package was infertility, sorry."

"Oh well. Do you at least have some more friends now?"

"Uh. About that, also. I actually brought two people with me. I told them to wait outside, though."

"Well, tell them to come in then. Ah, dear, you prepare for visitors, okay?" Your mom nods and runs off.

The door opens and Nue strolls in. "Heeey I thought we'd be out there forever." Kogasa follows meekly.

"Oh, and who are you, young lady?"

"Nue Houjuu, professional terror that stalks the imagination of mankind." She shakes his hand. Only a trace of an accent on her English. Not bad.

"So you're his girlfriend? Well, at least you have a steady job."

"Sorry, the truth is I'm retired. I was trying to give a good first impression, but I guess if he's not going to lie I should be honest also. Terrifying humans like that is frowned on nowadays."

You sit down at the couch. "You didn't object to being called my girlfriend?"

"W-well-"

"So I assume you are one of the monsters my son was talking about?"

"Don't worry, I don't eat humans anymore."

"Well, that's more or less all I wanted to know. Now, how about you take a seat."

"Do you want tea or coffee?," your mother calls in from the kitchen.

"Tea, please."

"And who are you?" Your father looks at Kogasa, who is looking a bit awkward.

She looks at him, embarassed.

You cough. "Er, sorry, she doesn't speak English. Let me interpret here, okay?" You turn to Kogasa. "He asked who you are."

"Kogasa Tatara. I'm a human!"

"No, you can be honest. They're family."

"Okay. Kogasa Tatara. I'm a karakasa."

You turn back to your father. "Right. Her name is Kogasa Tatara. She is a karakasa. Ah, that's an sentient umbrella. That human body she's walking around in is just a manifestation of her soul."

"Well, I'd always heard that the Japanese had weird mythological creatures. Uh, no offense, I'm not trying to call her fake."

"He, uh. Expressed mild surprise at your nature as a karakasa, I guess."

Your father goes on. "Well, that's okay. Tell her to take a seat also. And ask her if she wants tea or coffee."

"Take a seat. Do you want tea or coffee?"

She takes a seat next to Nue. "Tea please."

"She wants tea, mom!" You sure hope mom has green tea and knows to make it in the right style. If she makes milk tea or iced tea or something this could be a catastrophe.
Well actually neither would complain too much. Kogasa is too nice and Nue wouldn't want to be seen as a whiner. And neither is really a huge tea fanatic anyway. If, say, Reimu was here, a mistake like that would be more of a problem.

"Anyway," Nue says, "I guess you could say I'm his mentor."

"So you taught him magic?"

"Oh come on. Nue, you haven't taught me shit."

"I gave you near-immortality, the ability to fly, and magic. I think that's a lot."

"But that was a transformation. You didn't really teach me. You just gave me powers, or perhaps unlocked dormant ones I already had."

"I also taught you many important life lessons!"

"Okay, I'll give you that. I guess you did teach me a lot, as long as we accept that mastering one's youkai powers is something one must do oneself."

"Son, it's good to see you have people you can talk so earnestly with." God, were you really that pathetic before? For your father to be so happy that you now have a thousand-plus-year-old monster you can have intelligent, relatively pleasant conversations with? You had friends. Uh. You think. Admittedly you hated all of them, so maybe they didn't count.

Your mother comes in with tea.
Wow, it really is green tea. And it looks hot, so not iced green tea. Success!
She takes a seat also after serving the tea. "Oh, speaking of your friends, your roommate is doing well, don't you think?" Where the hell did she get the idea that bastard is your friend?

"Well enough, I guess." You really have no idea how he's doing, but if you know that bastard at all there's no way he's doing badly.

"He's done so well for himself since he came back."

"Oh, really?" Nue leans in, looking a bit interested.

"You met him also? Well, I suppose if he went to that same land of magic..." Your father pauses. "Oh, if you've been living there, of course you hadn't heard."

"Heard what?" She is definitely curious now. Kogasa sits around, looking a bit left-out. You'll get to interpreting in a bit, if this really is interesting.

"When he came back he became very driven. He started traveling around, talking to people, building up support. And then the election year came, and he got elected president! The first independent to ever win!"

You stiffen up in shock. "What."

"Even though he's below the minimum age of candidacy! Everyone was just so charmed by him, they amended the constitution just to allow him to take office!"

You begin to feel a bit of bile rise in your throat. "What."

[ ] What the hell does that bastard think he's doing?
[ ] You can wait until tomorrow to figure this out. You're in no shape to do anything tonight.

---

Again, I apologize for how long this took.

There are a lot of scenes there I did not realize were going to exist until I wrote them, in the end.
A lot of those "wait, this method of transportation won't quite get him there" realizations were shared by both the main character and me as I wrote the story.
It came out to be like... 2.003 posts, in the end. I broke it into three posts because I didn't want to have to juggle precise word counts and stuff.

And now it's really late, so I am going to bed. Hopefully nothing messed up during the uploading process!
>> No. 30849
>"When he came back he became very driven. He started traveling around, talking to people, building up support. And then the election year came, and he got elected president! The first independent to ever win!"

wat

[x] You can wait until tomorrow to figure this out. You're in no shape to do anything tonight.

Figuring out what is happening with that asshole can wait a bit.
>> No. 30850
[x] What the hell does that bastard think he's doing?

We can't give in to apathy. Not when that bastard is involved.

I love your walls. It's so refreshing to not hit a vote every 5 seconds.
>> No. 30851
[x] You can wait until tomorrow to figure this out. You're in no shape to do anything tonight.
>> No. 30853
[x] What the hell does that bastard think he's doing?

So this was his plan the entire time; to use his luck powers to become one of the most influential men on the planet. Clever, bastard, very clever. We still need to go pester him with more of our wacky antics.

As an aside, this is definitely one of the most enjoyable stories on the site. Thank you for taking your time to write it, writer person.
>> No. 30856
[x] You can wait until tomorrow to figure this out. You're in no shape to do anything tonight.

So that's why Yukari talked to us about politics... Should have seen that coming.

And damn, if this is what you call not a long update, I sure understand the time you take between each update.
>> No. 30857
[x] You can wait until tomorrow to figure this out. You're in no shape to do anything tonight.
Not bad. I bet he could fix the US international relationships problems in a heartbeat.
>> No. 30858
[x] You can wait until tomorrow to figure this out. You're in no shape to do anything tonight.

You're always delivering awesome walls, thank you.
>> No. 30859
[x] You can wait until tomorrow to figure this out. You're in no shape to do anything tonight.

It's raining and fucking cold over here, but it's always a good day when Let's goooooo updates.
>> No. 30861
[x] You can wait until tomorrow to figure this out. You're in no shape to do anything tonight.

That bastard!
>> No. 30862
>>30856
>And damn, if this is what you call not a long update, I sure understand the time you take between each update.
Actually, it's kind of the inverse. The more time I spend procrastinating/being too busy to work on an update, the longer the update gets. Because I think of new scenes to add.
And that update was, in fact, long. Just I think it wasn't long enough to justify how frikkin long it took.
>> No. 30870
[x] You can wait until tomorrow to figure this out. You're in no shape to do anything tonight.

Sounds like something the guy'd do. Not sure why we should be so upset...

>Orange
>Pool Table
>TV
>Kogasa knows her

Heh nice reference to The Game

And was that begger Chuck Norris?
>> No. 30875
File 129461946399.png - (1.21MB , 1000x1000 , less than three!.png ) [iqdb]
30875
[x] You can wait until tomorrow to figure this out. You're in no shape to do anything tonight.

Thank you for everything.
>> No. 30876
>>30862

Kind Writefag. I for one couldn't care less about your update speeds. All that matters is quality over quantity.

On another note. His parents took that rather well. Better than, "O MY GOD my sons a monster!" Anyways, awesome update is awesome.
>> No. 30877
>>30870
I think it's because WE were the one's that sent him back to Earth and all.
Also because he is a BASTARD for one thing and he's probably using his ability to get what he wants now.
>> No. 30878
>>30877
I think he forgot the most important thing about luck: it always eventually runs out. And we're here to bring that notice...
>> No. 30879
>>30878
Why are we all so quick to condemn him? He's probably using his power for good. If he actually was a self-centered bastard, there are much more efficient ways to be one than becoming a president.
>> No. 30880
>>30879
Glad to see I'm not the only one who loves that bastard. I was sad when we decided to boot him out of Gensokyo. We still need to go mess with him though; the opportunity for zany antics is just too good to pass up.
>> No. 30881
>>30879
>>30880

Personally, I'd rather keep him out of sight, out of mind. He's probably not doing anything bad, but I would rather not meet with him because that would dilute the joy of introducing our ladyfriends to the GLORIOUS STATE OF MIDDLE AMERICA.

On that note, where in the US does the MC live?
>> No. 30882
>>30881
Are you saying you have a better way to introduce Nue and Kogasa to AMERICA than a trip to the White House?

Why not bring the parents too? Family trip! Without that horrible normal sister.
>> No. 30883
>>30882
Exactly! This man gets it. We can keep Nue and Kogasa entertained by causing a state of emergency simply by pranking and fucking around with the president. Come on, it'll be fun, right?
>> No. 30884
>>30879
I for one honestly don't care; not as if his parents are complaining about it. If he's not fucking about with Gensokyo, I couldn't care less. Who knows, he might be the best damn president ever.
>> No. 30885
Guys, chill. For all we know, he could have totally lost control on his powers or the effect is greater on humans outside of Gensokyo. I for one wouldn't go for president if I had his powers. Who would want that much responsability and paperwork?

And before you say luck may make him avoid it... Would you be comfortable only letting others do seriously important decisions?
>> No. 30930
>She glances at the sun for a moment, and then back at you. "Point two-four kilometers, seventy-one degrees and two minutes from north. Sorry, I'm late for a meet-up, I have to get going." She hurries off.

Oh hey, Renko.
>> No. 30931
>>30930
That felt too much like taunting us about a missed Maribel and Renko scene for me to enjoy it.
>> No. 31265
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31265
[x] You can wait until tomorrow to figure this out. You're in no shape to do anything tonight.

"What's the problem, dear?"

There's... no way you could just drive down to Washington in your condition. Nor do you have the mana to try to do something that would attract his attention and make him come over. And you doubt you could just call the white house on the telephone and expect to actually get the President.
You'll have to sit on this for a day. It's a bit hard to say that, but... oh, it's not hard at all. You're fucking tired. This decision was easy as fuck. That guy's been president for months probably, he can wait another day. "Nothing, mom."

"If you say so."

Nue laughs. "Obviously he is pleasantly surprised by this change in leadership."

"Pleasant, yeah. It sure is pleasant." You sigh. "God I'm tired."

"It's inspiring, to think of the things you can do if you put your mind to it."

"Sure."

"What's going on?" Boy, you should just get used to translating the high points of everything for Kogasa. It'd save a lot of trouble.

"Our old friend, my roommate, has gotten a very high position of leadership since he came back. Sounds suspicious to me."

"Oh." She frowns. "Well, he's really good with people, right. So I'm not surprised!"

She's right. Really, it shouldn't have surprised you as much as it did. You suppose you had just wilfully forgotten about the bastard.
"Yeah. I'm more curious why he did it, though." No reason to let your parents know what you think yet. Who knows, maybe it really is something you shouldn't care about.

"Maybe he just wants political power. That's not too strange."

But there was a time when Nue was powerful and in the world of humans and she never tried to grab power, to your knowledge. "You never tried for power, right?"

"I just wanted to have fun. Cause a little chaos. But I'm a youkai and he's a human. He's bound to have different priorities, right?"

"If you are politically powerful you can cause way more chaos than any monster."

"Oh, in this age, sure. However," Nue says, "that's not as satisfying as being there, causing it myself, and seeing the results firsthand."

Kogasa hums confusedly. "What about all of those times you disguised things and then left them out for passerbys to find?"

"Those don't count."

"Do you want any snacks, dear?" There's a note of worry in her voice. Well, you just had a long conversation in a language neither of your parents speak. That's actually kind of rude, thinking about it.

"Okay. Uh, sorry for leaving your out like that. Kogasa just had some questions."

Nue shoots you a glance, but doesn't say anything. It's obvious she has something more to say, but doesn't want to be rude to your parents any more. Instead she focuses on the plate of cookies. "These are pretty good."

"They're storebought."

"Good thing I didn't complement you on your skill at baking." Nue tosses a cookie into the air, and then catches it in her mouth.

Kogasa claps. You do too, but in a more sarcastic way. "Good dog."

"I don't think it counts as a dog trick if you throw the treat yourself."

"Whatever. We can argue semantics later. For now, you're a total showoff."

"And you love it."

"Hey, I'm a showoff too."

"Oh, you have magic tricks also?" Your father looks a bit curious.

"Hey, I showed you one already."

"Son. If making little balls of light is all you can do, I doubt you are all that happy with yourself."

"Oh, I can teleport and stuff also. I'm just way too tired to at the moment."

"Sorry, I think I remember you saying that earlier."

"It's okay." You wave it off. "I'm happy enough to be able to relax here for now." After putting aside thoughts of the whole presidency thing for the moment, anyway.

"So, you two," Nue says, gesturing to your parents. "What kind of humans are you, to produce such a fascinating child?"

"Well, I'm a middle manager."

"What's that?"

"They don't have large companies where you come from, young lady? Well, I guess if it's a land of magic, they wouldn't. A middle manager is in charge of managing low-level employees for the upper management."

She yawns. "Sounds boring," she says. "Also, can you stop calling me that? It's a bit patronizing. I'm, oh, at least a thousand. I've stopped keeping track by now." Speaking of being patronizing, wasn't that 'what kind of humans are you' bit pretty rude too, Nue?

"I'm sorry. What should I call you, then?"

"Nue is fine. If you haven't heard of me as the Nue, maybe you are more familiar with the name Chimaera? Or Gryphon?"

"Very well, Ms. Nue."

Wait a second. "Is that... is that the exact same speech you gave me when I asked?"

"Look, I don't have a full-time writer working for me or anything. I re-use lines sometime, okay?"

"I'm sorry, you need to think up some more. They lose their impact after a while. I mean, it might sound cool now, but eventually you will get mad at the milkman or something and end up use that 'Die from the terror of this unidentified flying object!' line and you will know that it is well and truly dead." You try your best to imitate her voice.

Kogasa perks up when she hears your impression. "Sounds like you are having fun!" Fuck you forgot to translate again. You quickly get her up to speed.

"I'm sorry, Ms. Nue, I didn't brew enough tea. Do you want water?"

"No thank you."

Kogasa seems to get the gist of it before you can translate. "Don't they have lots of sugary drinks in the outside world? Like that 'coke' Rinnosuke showed me once?"

"Yeah, I'll see if you can get one." You turn to your mother. "Can you get Kogasa a coke?"

"Alright." She goes back to the kitchen.

"So, are you really okay with all this?" Nue sounds genuinely curious, although not concerned. "Your son getting mixed up in all this stuff."

Your father shrugs. "It's what he wanted. You seem alright, and he seems happy. It's nice for him to have direction in his life."

"As I thought, you really are a special human."

Despite that somewhat rude statement, he doesn't object.

You continue with small talk for another hour or so. You eventually excuse yourself, feeling a bit too tired to go on. Nue and your parents leave also. Kogasa is too wired up to sleep yet, probably.

As you walk out, Nue brushes up besides you. "What are you planning to do about this?", she whispers.

"Going to rest up first, wait until tomorrow. Am I that obvious?"

"When it comes to that man, yes." And she slaps you on the shoulder and walks off laughing.
It's nice that she knows you want to be discreet about this. You're not sure how well your parents would like talk about beating up the president.

Well. It looks like they converted your room into a storage room. Your mother might have said something to that effect earlier, but you had begun to nod off there by the end.
At least they cleared the bed up for you to sleep there at some point. There is some clutter that was obviously moved hastily to the floor.

Actually, how did they even have time for it?

Oh screw it. You don't have the energy to think about that.

It does not take you very long to drift off, luckily.

---

You don't remember your dream in the morning. The sleep was too deep, perhaps.
You get out of bed, a bit stiffly. That smell, though... breakfast? So inviting.

Smells like actual breakfast though. With pancakes and stuff. Parents are pulling the stops out for the guests, probably. Or maybe because you have come back after so long. One of those two.
It's pretty good for you, though. A good breakfast. You're hungry.
You go to the dining room.

Everyone else is already there when you arrive. No big surprise, you were really tired.
Everyone is also enjoying pancakes.

"Heey how's breakfast going?"

"Your friends seem to like pancakes well enough."

"Good to hear that. Can I like them well enough also?"

She serves up some pancakes on response.

You are pretty damn hungry. You begin eating.

"Did you have a good night sleep?"

"I think so. I was too busy sleeping to assess how well I was sleeping."

Yeah, you really need this food. Since you are so busy digging in, the table talk shifts back away from you.

"So are vampires real too?"

"Yes."

"Damn. Does that mean that all of those Twilight fans have it right all along? Or are they closer to the more classical portrayal of vampires? Please let it be the latter."

"Huh? I'm sorry, I don't know."

"I see."

"I spent a few days staking out and spying once, but after watching Lady Scarlet laze around getting waited on for the second day in a row I just gave up. Maybe it's how so many vampires have some human aristocrat in them. Unless you were talking about their weaknesses."

"The weaknesses are important."

"Sunlight, rain, flowing water, and some vegetables. As far as I know that's it."

"Close enough. As long as they don't go around romancing teenagers I'd be fine."

"So are you some sort of vampire enthusiast?"

"No, they were just the first supernatural creature to come to mind."

"Ah, yes, there aren't many native to this continent, right?" You seem to remember having to answer a trivia question about that at some point.

"The food was good!"

"And Kogasa thinks the food was good."

"Thank you."

You finish the pancakes in record time. "I think the food was good also."

"I bet you were missing it," your mother says. "What are your plans today, dear?"

"Preparing for a road trip to Washington. I want to show the landmarks of America to my new friends. Don't worry, I'll stay over here afterwards, I just have to go soon. For, uh, some reason."

"It'd be a shame to see you go so soon, but I understand." She does? "You will want to get some food for the trip, right? We need groceries anyway, so you could shop for them on the same trip."

"It could be a good outing for your lady friends." Your father walks into the room, looking a bit amused.

"Really? A supermarket? I mean, it'd be new, but it's not like a real vacation spot."

"Son. When you get to be my age, you will want someone else to do all the boring routine chores for you. Especially on weekends. Things like mowing the lawn, taking down the trash, and, now, going out for groceries. If you are going to live forever, you'll know that feeling too eventually."

"That was a... remarkable moral lesson for me, dad."

"Thank you." He moves some pancakes to his plate.

"Is this normal for your education of your son?"

"You have a problem with it?"

"No, no, I approve. Those sound like tedious tasks to me."

"Well, Kogasa, Nue, how does going grocery shopping sound?"

"Sounds like it would be boring normally, but maybe as a change of pace."

"Sounds like fun! I want to see outsider shops."

"Well, I guess we can go grocery shopping." You turn back to Kogasa. "If you want any sweets you can pick them out while we are there."

"Okay."

---

Luckily, you remember the route to the supermarket. Rather than taking the (stolen) car there, you decided to walk. It's not that far away, and walking feels nice after spending so long cooped up.

After maybe half an hour or so you reach the supermarket.
Nue glances at the tables in front of the store. "So the food store is an outdoor restaurant also?"

"No, a lot of supermarkets have coffee shops inside. The tables are probably for that also."

"Oh, I see."

"Can we have some tea out here?", Kogasa asks.

"Not sure if the coffee shop would sell tea."

"Aw."

"Those places are really overpriced anyway."

"Well, let's go." You go in, and the others follow. "Kogasa, you follow me while I pick up the groceries. Nue, you look for goods for our trip. Look for stuff that won't spoil. Stuff not stored in iceboxes or refridgerators, canned goods especially."

"Alright." Hopefully Nue is able to grocery shop well enough. Well, she's pretty clever, she'll be able to figure it out.

You gesture at the checkout lines as you walk in. "Once you are done, meet us in front of these. Not on the side facing the door, if you try to carry food that way they'll think you are trying to rob them."

"Yeah, yeah."

"C'mon, Kogasa. If anything looks good tell me."

---

"Okay, next is eggs..."

"What are those?"

"Fruit gushers? They still make those? Huh. Well, they are gummies have this sugary goo in the center."

She takes the box. "I have no idea if I'll like them."

"That's the spirit. Just remember this is my parent's money, not mine."

"Okay."

"The eggs should be... that aisle."

"There's so much stuff here."

"And then we need to get milk, soda, and several types of meat." They probably have Nue pegged as a type who wouldn't appreciate vegetarian. Fair enough.

Speaking of Nue, you should get moving. You wouldn't want to keep her waiting.
>> No. 31266
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31266
You walk out of the supermarket, carrying some of the bags. Nue is behind you with the rest.
Behind you, you can feel her stiffen a bit in surprise. You feel her use a bit of disguise magic.

What's got her so worried? You look around and-
Something catches your eye.

Sitting at one of the tables, stirring a cup of coffee, is your roommate.
He seems to notice you about the same time you notice him. He makes a 'come here' gesture.

You quickly sit down at the other chair at the table, too surprised to do anything else.

"I hope your visit home has been pleasant, so far."

"Uh, I guess." What the hell is he doing here? Why isn't he in Washington? Why don't you see any Secret Service bodyguards milling around, if he really is the president?

"There are certain... sensors, that can detect the coming and going of strongly magical beings into the U.S. Pretty soon they located you, on the interstate. Once I read the report and I realized it was you and Nue, and immediately began to make arrangements to come here."

"How nice of you. I assume you have something you need to tell me? Make it quick, the ice cream will melt."

"I can buy you a new carton." He waves his off-hand dismissively. He has a weird gauntlet on that hand, you notice. "No, I don't really have much to tell you. More importantly, I bet you have a lot to ask me."

"Yeah. What the hell is going on?" A bit behind him, a woman pauses in the middle of carrying groceries to hold a cellphone conversation. It takes you a moment to realize she is Nue in disguise.

"Well, you've already probably guessed that the voting was not entirely natural."

"No shit."

"I extended my influence as hard as I possibly could. It really took everything I had in me to influence that many people at once. I eventually decided to spread low-level influence wide, and focus my attention on rich people who could fund advertising campaigns. That worked pretty well." He nods. "But I'm guessing you care more about why I am doing this."

"Yes."

"Well, before I left, Yukari told me something. I could be doing much more with my power. It really resonated with me at the time. I was feeling worthless. When I came back, I began to realize that with my powers, I could do good!"

"By taking away people's free will and forcing them to make you president?"

"No, no. Let me finish explaining my plan." Fine, you don't want to ruin your voice shouting at the bastard anyway. "I've had several... magical power amplifiers, I guess you could call them, built. They are letting me increase my influence past it's natural strength. My plan is, through diplomacy... or, if needs be, war, to spread my influence into other countries and make more amplifiers there also. The things aren't really refined enough to be mass produced in a practical way yet, but I figure that with me supervising the research the researchers will stumble upon major breakthroughs by accident frequently." Sounds nice and handy for him. "So I will spread my influence to more countries, and strengthen it as I go. This will take many years, but I'll just need to get them to repeal the 22nd amendment. Eventually I will control every country in the world."
He looks off into the distance for a moment. "And then, perched upon my throne of total power, I will tell the people of the world to cease all wars and violence. And they will listen."

That is his plan? To make some kind of twisted utopia built upon mind control? "That sounds unethical. To take away people's free will like that."

"I only need to tell them to stop fighting. They can continue to live their lives normally otherwise."

"How do you know you will be able to overcome all opposition? There are bound to be humans who have just enough magic in them to resist your influence."

"As long as most of humanity is peaceful, individual rebel groups would be easy to deal with. Just think, this would be everyone's dream. A united world, where nobody

"With you as it's leader."

"Well, yes, I do admit it would require my presence to hold itself together."

"How long could it really last? You will grow old eventually."

"For forever, if needs be. I merely need to learn Shashoku magic." Shit, you had almost forgotten about that. Becoming a youkai magician...

The question you do not ask, of course, is how do you know he is being truthful about his intentions? At that, even if he is truthful, what is keeping him from being corrupted by power? You wouldn't trust his answer to those questions.

He frowns, perhaps at your expression. "I don't need your approval. It's happening if you want it or not. You can continue on in Gensokyo, which I won't really be able to touch. I just wanted to tell you this, since you deserve to know what's happening."

"And if I took action?"

"Sorry, but I can't let you stop me. This is my calling, I know it now. It's good for the world."

You hold out your cane. "You know, I've never actually fought you."

"Don't start now." He holds up his hand. The one with the odd gauntlet. Now that you have a better look, you notice it looks like the glove from an astronaut's space suit, except armored and with some odd decorations. "This glove is something I retrieved from NASA's secret armory. It was made for the use of astronauts fighting in the First Lunar War. It boosts the magic power of a human. With it, a normal human can operate magical weapons enough to fight off Lunarian mages. For a human with strong magic power like me..."

So even without accessing those magic amplifier stations he talked about, he has boosted power? That doesn't quite sound pleasant. "Don't gloves come in pairs?"

"I'm a bit scared to put on the right hand. The boost from having just one of them on is enough already. Enough to fight you and Nue at once and win."

Well, bluffing failed. You got some energy back from the rest, but not that much. In your current condition there is no way you could beat him in his normal state, let alone with some top-secret government magic weaponry on his side. "Fine."

"Look, I'm just asking you. You leave me be. I won't do anything to you. I'll even let that incident in the airport slide." Oh, so he knows you were responsible?
Well, he knows about Nue's powers, and he knew you were here, so it shouldn't be too much of a surprise.

Behind him, Nue finally reluctantly finishes her fake cellphone conversation. She begins to leave. You wonder where Kogasa went. Did Nue have her go back alone?
Might be best to start off now, and make sure Kogasa didn't get lost or something. Actually, yeah, she deserves your attention way more than this bastard does.
"I'm going." You turn sharply and leave. God, you don't want to even look at the bastard right now.

You've got to stop him. There's no way you can trust someone that flighty with control over the entire Earth. But it's not going to be easy. He's too powerful for you to take down right now. Assuming he was bluffing back there would be a deadly risk. You'll need to prepare, plan, get more people to help.
And once you beat some sense into that bastard's fool head, then you can figure out what to do with him.

So you have a quest. A madman to stop, allies to gather, battles to fight. Heroics (albeit of a somewhat postmodern, morally ambiguous sort) to commit. This is going to be the best vacation ever.

---

You burst into the house, all dramatic and cool-like. "Everybody. We have some ass to kick."

"Put the groceries away first, dear."

"Oh, alright, mom."

You go to the kitchen and begin to store food. The icecream is a bit melty, as you feared. Oh well.
On the table there's another bag. Looks like the stuff Nue got.

You return to the living room after you are done. "Okay, now we have some ass to kioh what now?"

"Got to go get Kogasa, she got lost on the way back, give me a second, I think I know where she is." Nue rushes past without even letting you finish your one-liner.

You sit down on the couch instead and just wait. Might as well plan this shit out while the team is assembling or whatever.
Or. You could just rest. Yes, actually, this couch is pretty nice, you could do with another little nap...

---

You jolt awake when the door next opens. Nue comes in, leading Kogasa.

Nue grins when she looks at you. "Had a good nap?"

You reach up and wipe away some drool, feeling a bit self-conscious. "Yeah. Got lost on the way back, Kogasa?"

"This landscape is so confusing."

"She almost broke into someone else's house before I found her."

"Really now."

"I'm so proud of her."

"So now that we are all here, we should talk strategy."

"What are we going to do?"

"What we always do, Kogasa. Try to stop my roommate! From taking over the world."

Nue sits down on the couch next to you. "Unless you are suddenly at full power, I don't think we have good chances alone."

"Oh? You don't have what it takes? You think he wasn't bluffing?"

"I know he wasn't. Didn't you think it was weird that you were having a heated conversation with the president in a public place and nobody noticed?"

"...on reflection that was weird, yes."

"That was his influence. He didn't want anyone else to know about those things, so nobody noticed the conversation. It was even working on me, somewhat. I constantly felt things distracting me. It took an effort of will to pay attention to the conversation. I'm not even sure if he was consciously trying to do it."

"Damn. Well, if the three of us aren't enough, we could look for allies."

"Thank you for getting the groceries." Your dad walks in.

"That was... some amount of time ago. One nap ago."

"Fifteen minutes," Nue corrects.

"I didn't want to wake you up."

"Oh, thanks."

"So, looking for allies."

"Going back to Gensokyo- that land of magic- isn't really an option. I'm in no shape to do it."

"What are you talking about?" Your mother comes in, looking curious.

It is pretty suspicious, sitting here talking animatedly in Japanese. "Have a quest now."

"What kind of quests can you get in the real world?"

"Just keeping someone from taking over the world and removing all free will. Or something."

And your old man frowns. "That doesn't sound good." You aren't sure if he is taking you seriously or not.
You remember to start translating for Kogasa also.

"Do you need any help, dear?"

"I will need to gather allies to help me on this quest. Except because of this whole youkai thing, I guess I should be looking for monsters instead of heroes."

"I'll tell you if I can think of anything," your mom says.

Your father suddenly thinks of something. "Back at work, one of my co-workers-"

Your mother sighs. "Is this about that Dave man again?"

"No, no. One of my co-workers was born in France. He mentioned a few days ago there are something going on in his birth city of Bordeaux. Buildings keep vanishing, leaving behind just a little rubble and dust. It mostly happens during the middle of the day, yet there are never any witnesses. Thinking about it now, it could be something supernatural."

"Yes, that does sound pretty supernatural." It could be a good lead, yes. Whoever could do something like that would be a powerful ally... if they could be reasoned with.

Kogasa raises her hand. "That circus is in the outside world, right?"

That's actually a good point. It's the only unified group of powerful youkai you know of out here. Even if you couldn't get the entire circus to come, because they wouldn't want to hurt the group's reputation, you might be able to ask for a single member or two to come and help you. The most obvious one would be Gioia.
Of course, that's also the problem. "A good idea, but we'd need to be able to keep Gioia from murdering me." You say that in Japanese because you wouldn't want your mother to worry.

Nue laughs. "I could take her, come on."

"Still, if they are going to lend us any help, she would be the best they could do. It'd be better if we could talk her down without a fight, persuade her to work for us."

"I'm not entirely sure if I could do that. From what you told me, she seemed very... unyielding about the whole matter." At least Nue is honest when it comes to things that would probably end with a knife in your back. Most of the time. "If we do go there, be sure to crossdress again. They might not recognize you otherwise."

"Shut up."

Nue pauses, and switches back to English. "Do you still have any clothes in his size?"

"No, sorry, we sold them in a sale."

"Hah! He'll have to rely on the stuff Kogasa packed for him, then."

Wait a second. Does she mean what you think she means? "And... how is this relevant?"

Nue walks over to where she left the suitcase, and opens it. It's packed with dresses.

"I... we're going to have to go clothes shopping at some point, also."

Nue walks over with the frilliest one, and holds it up to you. It's just in your size. Has Kogasa been having more of these damn things made?

"I didn't know you were into that, son."

"I'm not. Just... just everyone else seems to want me to!"

Nue puts the dress back in the case. "He looks so charming in a dress. It's so wonderful."

"L-look, let's focus on making a decision here. There are a lot of places we could go, and while we shouldn't take a move right now we should at least make a plan."

Nue shrugs. "The Circus is the only big lead for allies I can think of offhand. Unless my new two favorite human parents here have any more ideas?"

"That was the only lead I had."

"Sorry, the most occultism I've seen is the lines for Harry Potter movies."

"Fair enough. Well, maybe we should consider doing research into locations, also? Gotta know where to launch the plan in."

"Might be best to do that first. If we leave the country he'd be able to detect it, right? He mentioned that the government has some kind of youkai sensor."

Nue laughs. "I bet I could fool it. No, if you want to be subtle and not immediately show that you want to act, going straight to scope out his home wouldn't be the best idea."

"Okay, I'll keep that in mind. Give me a few moments to think, okay? I'll make a decision, and then you can go back to talking about my wardrobe or whatever."

Actually, you just realized Raquel would be an option too. She is currently living in the outside world, so you wouldn't need to go over the border or anything. She claimed to be a well-known archeologist, so you could probably figure out her location via the internet. Of course, she might not necessarily be willing to help. She has a public persona that could be ruined, of course. She isn't all THAT powerful either, but you might need the extra help.

So you have your options. The problem is, of course, France is on another continent. Chances are the circus is too. In general you will probably need to take another plane trip.
This really isn't the time to cause more chaos. You need to at least put up a facade of playing nice. You're going to want to actually get plane tickets the real way. And, unfortunately, that means that you might not necessarily want to bring everyone along on every trip. It'll cost your money... or, rather, your parent's money. Nue can probably stow away aboard the ship and never be noticed with the right transformations, so you won't need to worry about her. Kogasa, however, is not nearly as reliably stealthy.
Of course, if you want to start out cheap, you could do something besides gather allies. Washington D.C. isn't THAT far away, all things considered. You could take a long car trip, and bring Nue and Kogasa along basically for free. And you could snoop around there. Do local research, figure out the local landscape, get info you could use when finally setting the plan in motion. If that bastard asks you what's up, you can just tell him that Kogasa was curious after hearing about the presidency or something.

On a less practical level, these options aren't too bad really. You were planning on taking Nue and Kogasa to the White House at some point anyway, it's a great location for tourists. You might even be able to take your parents along for that trip.
France could be fun also, though you aren't that good at French. Isn't Bordeaux known for it's wine? You could sample some, in between hunting the mysterious serial-demolitionist.
Visiting the Circus... well, it's the Circus. You could book another show while stopping by. You've been there before, but the tickets were pretty cheap so there'd be no reason not to as long as you are visiting. Well, besides the fact that you'd have to avoid being assassinated and all. Depending on where it currently is the locale might be nice too.
Raquel... wouldn't actually be too fun. Well, maybe if she is currently in Egypt or something it might be kind of cool.


(Pick one.)
[ ] Road trip to the White House! Go research.
[ ] Go to France.
-[ ] Bring Kogasa. She could use the trip.
[ ] Go find the Circus.
-[ ] Bring Kogasa. Maybe her innocence will be disarming?
[ ] Find Raquel.
[ ] Maybe there's someone else you can ask? (Write-in.)
[ ] You don't have to immediately start. You can do something fun first. (Write-in. If it's not an entire trip, you can add this to another vote.)
[ ] Screw that. You have everyone you need.

---

Hello☆
Yukarin here!

You sure have a serious task ahead of you. So I will give you some advice!
You can choose how many allies you want to gather before going in. If you go in now with only Nue and Kogasa, I won't give you very good odds. But you might not need every ally either. Use your judgement!

If you really think those options aren't enough, and you can't think of any good write-ins, kind and gracious Yukarin provides you with one more option:
[ ] Ask Yukarin for help.
-[ ] Why should she help you? (Write-in.)

Don't expect any handouts. If you want me to help, give me a good reason!

Yukarin out!

---

Goddamnit. I had just a bit over one update, so I removed a few lines to make it exactly one update. And then thp tells me I am a lot over! So I didn't need to get rid of them after all. Too tired to put them back. They weren't important anyway, but it's still a pain.
Why is it that openoffice's character count never agrees with thp?
>> No. 31267
I love this story. So much. Thank you for writing it.

[x] Go to France.
-[x] Bring Kogasa. She could use the trip.

Koishi and Flandre are out there somewhere, aren't they? I think this might be them. Maybe? Wishful thinking. They're definitely the most powerful allies we could acquire.
>> No. 31268
>>31266
differences in how they read pressing enter to move a line down; some count that as more than one. That or spaces.
>> No. 31269
>>31267
And even if it isn't them, we can meet someone new.

[x] Go to France.
-[x] Bring Kogasa. She could use the trip.

Would we even consider leaving Kogasa behind in the first place?
>> No. 31270
[x] France
WE need to find Morgan Everett and Nicolette DuClare
[x] Ask Yukarin for help.
-[x] To make up for encouraging a man who can't do good for shit.
>> No. 31272
[ ] Go to France.
-[ ] Bring Kogasa. She could use the trip.

Really. Leaving Kogasa behind? What heartless monster could bear to do such a thing?
>> No. 31274
[x] Go to France.
-[x] Bring Kogasa. She could use the trip.

Guys, guys wait. Do you know what this all means? We are starting our first bona fide incident. Hell yeah.

As an aside, I am disheartened that there is no option to let bastard do his thing.
>> No. 31275
[X] Find Raquel.

Guys, guys, it's a slim chance but she could maybe have relics that can help us defeat the bastard?
>> No. 31276
>>31274

Sorry man. If I let you just leave him alone, I'd have to come up with a new plotline. So I can say that I am railroading you via the MC's constant, unthinking hatred of his roommate. The guy could have become president in order to make money to breed llamas and MC would probably still be flipping his shit.

>>31268

A quick test shows that OO counts spaces as characters, so it couldn't be that. It doesn't count newlines as characters though, so that is probably it. Thanks.
>> No. 31279
>>31276
well it'd be better if the Roommate weren't using his powers to do an ultimately good thing. As it is, it comes off as quite petty, especially if Gensokyo isn't affected or benefited by such a thing.
>> No. 31282
>>31279
He (probably) does mean well, but absolute power corrupts absolutely. Really, we're doing him a favor this way.

...At least, that's how "Stupid" will probably try to justify it.
>> No. 31284
>>31279
I don't believe mind-controlling the entire world is an ultimately good thing. If he was going to use his power on a case-by-case basis to prevent specific wars and specific fights, I'd consider it, but blanketing the entire goddamn world in a no-fighting compulsion? No fucking way.
>> No. 31285
[x] Ask Yukarin for help.
-[x] Because given his power and equipment, leaving him unchecked could easily spell massive trouble for Gensokyo one way or another. Basically doing something now will save you 5 times the effort and time later.

I got nothing other than this; sorry.
>> No. 31286
>>31284
Let's also add that conflict IS needed at times to grow. What is the actual restriction of the 'no fighting' he intend to implant anyway? It could stop, say, teams from facing each others in sports since they are 'fighting each other' for victory.
>> No. 31287
Why do you guys want to ask Yukarin for help? Do you think collecting allies isn't going to be enough?

I sort of want to get Raquel after France, just because she seems useless. What was her power anyway?
>> No. 31288
[Q] Road trip to the White House! Go research.

I never would have guessed it!
>> No. 31290
>>31287
We have no idea how well ally gathering is going to go, in both getting them and how useful they'd be against someone fully aware of youkai and having things that allow them to fight back.
>> No. 31311
[x] Ask Yukarin for help.
-[x] (Ask for the other NASA Gauntlet)
-[x] Because given his power and equipment, leaving him unchecked could easily spell massive trouble for Gensokyo one way or another. Basically doing something now will save you 5 times the effort and time later. It will also be interesting to watch.

Two former "friends", each with half of the same set of magic amplifying gauntlets, duking it out for the fate of the world.

C'mon, that gauntlet was practically MADE for us.
>> No. 31319
>>31311
I was under the impression that That Bastard had both, but only had one just because both would be overkill. Hence my worries on what he'd do when shit got real.
>> No. 31324
>>31319
It wouldn't be fun if there was no challenge, would it? Just take it easy and things should work out fine. Maybe. Worst case scenario, I doubt he'll kill anybody.
>> No. 31336
>>31324
Not so sure about that if he's making threats. And I doubt it'd be just him as he'd have "loyal" troops.
>> No. 31338
>>31336
Well. It'd be a huge mood-whiplash for the story to suddenly start having deaths.

Then again, this story has never had a proper save-the-world Quest either. Still... I think the roommate would rather beat everyone up and send them packing to Gensokyo. He doesn't seem ruthless enough to kill.
>> No. 33201
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33201
Bring out yer dead!
>> No. 34593
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34593
I will wait for this thread no matter how long it takes.
>> No. 34594
>>34593
5 months is pretty standard fair for this guy. Maybe a little longer then usual, but I'm sure he'll have something whipped up in a bit. I'll wait forever, if need be.
>> No. 34595
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34595
>>34594
What. He was apologizing like mad for far lesser delays. I'd joke that he'd kill himself out of shame for this one if him being dead wasn't a disturbingly real possibility.
>> No. 36032
[x] Go to France.
-[x] Bring Kogasa. She could use the trip.

also sage so as not to give people false hope
>> No. 37934
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37934