[Return]
Archived Thread

File 129265597329.jpg - (186.03KB , 1024x926 , a smug devil.jpg ) [iqdb]
30388 No. 30388
“Everything in the world belongs to me. That’s why I can do whatever I want.”

>> No. 30391
(http://www.tindeck.com/listen/fgfj)

That voice... I’m sure it’s calling out to me. But whose voice is it? It’s not Elly’s voice -- in fact, I don’t recognize it as the voice of anyone I know at all. And yet, that voice feels familiar to me, like I should easily be able to identify who it is. That voice... it belongs to someone very close, and very important to me, and yet that someone is a person I have never met before. So then, whose voice is it, what is their relation to me, and why are they calling out to me?

I feel like my fear’s fled my mind, and my eyes remain unblinking, fixatedly staring at the womanly figure in red, across from me. The voice is coming from there. It’s not Elly’s voice, but it’s still coming from Elly. I... want to find out to whom that voice really belongs to. I feel like it’s something that I have to figure out; something that I can’t just ignore.

No, that’s not entirely the reason why I’m drawn to the voice. Somehow, I get the feeling that if I listen to that voice -- if I can somehow communicate with it, I’ll be able to save Elly. I don’t know why it is that I think that, and I might just be desperately reaching for a bloodless solution here, but my gut feelings are telling me just that. I just know that I have to stop that girl. I still don’t know how to do it yet, and I can’t even concentrate on figuring out a way, but still, my feet begin to guide me toward her.

Meira steps in front of me, staring at me with a stern if somewhat agitated expression, biting down lightly on her lip. She stands with one arm stretched out across me, but never letting her guard down, she’s not entirely turned toward me, instead standing with one shoulder toward me so she can turn forward to confront Elly from the front should the need arise. She raises her voice, just barely above a mutter, and speaks to me.

“Are you insane, you fool? If you get close to her now, she’ll kill you, no question about it. Stay back where you will not get in the way. You know that there’s only one way to resolve this.”

In response, I lift the gun in my hand and point it at her. With a shaking voice and a fast-beating heart, I say, “You’re not stopping me. Move out of the way.”

Her eyes widen in surprise, before narrowing in contempt. She scowls, but lowers her arm, stepping back. “Fine. Do as you please. I won’t stop a man from running to his death, if that’s what he’s resolved to do.”

Lowering the gun, I quickly run past her, hurrying toward Elly. Even though I’ve just barely started running, I feel asthmatic, and my entire head feels cold and deprived of oxygen. I’m probably as white as sheen right now. But I still keep my legs going, my eyes locked onto the girl wielding that deadly scythe in her hand.

She lunges forward at the vampire girl, with her stance crouched low like a natural predator. The latter leans back as Elly takes a wide slash across with one arm, evading the blade as it cuts through the air above her. But even before she can recover from her movement, Elly’s already moved in even closer. With her free hand, she smashes a fist into the girl’s stomach, causing her to double over her arm in pain. Stepping back to gain some room, Elly spins around, delivering a heavy roundhouse to the side of Kurumi’s head, knocking her to the ground.

The girl moans out in pain, her hands still held on top of her wounded stomach as she writhes in her suffering. Elly approaches her rolling body slowly, with her scythe leaning against her shoulder. She draws back a foot and swiftly kicks the girl in the side, drawing out a loud gasp of pain from her. Without any expression on her face, she kicks the girl again, deeper this time. There’s no sign on her face that displays any sadism, but she kicks her yet again, and again, and again, and finally, she raises her scythe overhead and--

“Stop it!”

I throw myself forward in a full-tackle at her side.

She turns around and sees me a split-second before we make contact, her soulless red eyes gazing at me hollowly, that burning, fiery red aura still rising up from her body. Time seems to slow down as I fly toward her. As our bodies touch together, the flames around her body seem to engulf me as well. They lick across my flesh and clothes, and spread all over my body, surrounding my hands and feet and even the gun in my hand.

My body starts falling, and as we go tumbling to the ground together, time’s flow appears to return to normal.

In a confusing, frenzied instant that lasts only a few seconds, Elly’s body hits the concrete, and I end up falling on top of her. I hear a clatter somewhere away from me. She must have dropped her scythe. But my gun’s also been knocked out of my hand, not feeling it in my grip. I’m lying on top of her, and I know I have only about a second before she reaches up with her bare hands and disembowels me outright.

But what can I do?

What can I do to stop her?

I need to calm down and use my head.

...but I don’t even have time to do that properly.

That’s why I, without thinking, draw back my head and smash my forehead against hers.

---

(http://www.tindeck.com/listen/zfmu)

I feel warmth.

It’s a very comfortable, cozy warmth. A warmth that fills me with sheer bliss, the kind of warmth that makes you feel good doing nothing at all. It’s a wonder that I’m even able to keep my head on straight when faced with happiness like this. I think that if I were any less mentally focused, I might be completely lost in this ecstasy, unable to think at all. That’s why, I’m wondering if I’m dead. Surely the living wouldn’t be able to experience a feeling like this. What kind of feeling is this...?

I try to move my limbs, and to my pleasant surprise, I can feel their motion. I reach out in front of me, toward the void that fills my sight, and see my hand reaching toward the darkness. I stare at my palm, and clench and unclench that hand. Even though it’s such a small thing, it fills me with glee, and the realization that I still exist, even in this blissful world. I begin walking forward, on the road to nowhere and everywhere.

And I see something bright, floating down from the black sky. I reach out with a hand as it sways to-and-fro, and I catch it in my palm. I bring my arm down, and open my clenched hand. Resting on top of my palm, I see a glowing white feather. It’s a feather like none I’ve ever seen before; it’s simple and white, but it’s more beautiful than anything that belongs on the most exotic of birds. No, it’s more like the feather of an angel. No, not the feathers of cruel angels like that Savior and Mikazuki, but the feather of a real angel. That’s what this feather looks like, to me.

010010000110010101101100011011000110111100101110

Who was that?

010101110110100001101111001000000110000101110010011001010010000001111001011011110111010100111111

I’m...

010000010111001001100101001000000111100101101111011101010010000001110100011010000110010100100000011011110110111001100101001000000100100100100111011
101100110010100100000011000100110010101100101011011100010000001110111011000010110100101110100011010010110111001100111001000000110011001101111011100100
0111111


You’re... waiting?

010010010010011101110110011001010010000001100010011001010110010101101110001000000111011101100001011010010111010001101001011011100110011100100000011
001100110111101110010001000000110000100100000011011000110111101101110011001110010110000100000011011000110111101101110011001110010000001110100011010010
11011010110010100101110


For who?

010010010111010000100111011100110010000001100010011001010110010101101110001000000111001101101111001000000110110001101111011011100110011100101110001
000000100100100100000011001000110111101101110001001110111010000100000011100100110010101101101011001010110110101100010011001010111001000100000011000010
1101110011110010110110101101111011100100110010100101110


I see. That’s a shame.

010010010010000001110111011000010110111001110100001000000111010001101111001000000110100001100101011011000111000000100000011110010110111101110101001
01110


How?

010010010010000001110111011010010110110001101100001000000110011101101001011101100110010100100000011110010110111101110101001000000111000001101111011
101110110010101110010001011100010000001000001001000000111000001101001011001010110001101100101001000000110111101100110001000000110110101111001001000000
1101111011101110110111000101110


Power...?

Will you let me help you?

[ ] 01011001011001010111001100101110
[ ] 010011100110111100101110
>> No. 30392
[x] 01011001011001010111001100101110
>> No. 30394
Not really essential to understand what's going on, but:

Hello.
Who are you?
Are you the one I've been waiting for?
I've been waiting for a long, long time.
It's been so long. I don't remember anymore.
I want to help you.
I will give you power. A piece of my own.

[ ] Yes.
[ ] No.


[X] 01011001011001010111001100101110
>> No. 30395
[x] 01011001011001010111001100101110
>> No. 30396
[x] 01011001011001010111001100101110
Yes. Power to not be useless, to help your friends and comrades.

Perfect bgm for this scene.
>> No. 30397
[x] 01011001011001010111001100101110
>> No. 30398
[x] 01011001011001010111001100101110

Yes.
>> No. 30399
[01111000] 01011001011001010111001100101110
>> No. 30400
[ ] 01011001011001010111001100101110

I hate numbers.
>> No. 30402
It is hard to say what this mysterious voice's true goals are. To give you power? This is an offer for salvation in desperate times but it isn't any different than the previous one. Besides the presentation of an 'angel' feather and good feelings, it really isn't. Who is to say that the end result is any better than that vile injection given to Elly? If this person really wanted to help there are other ways to do so besides offering something vague.

Power should be obtained through ones own means and without shortcuts. There has been already a sign of a developing ability, to accept this offer could mean a stunted growth in that natural talent. Relying on something like this would mean lack of faith as well. It may be hard to keep going on without help, to watch those around us get hurt, to seem utterly useless, but these things will only strengthen our resolve and desire to improve. I see it as a test. Do not waiver at the first signs of uncertainty.

At the moment, we have done all we can do. If Yuuka is correct in saying that humans hold unlimited potential then to accept any inhuman help will only hurt progress. They have learned to adapt to the situations and even drove out youkai. I wish to see this gamble come true. Yes, a belief in yourself to improve for the future. That is that is the path on which we can hold our promise.

[x] No.

Also long binary strings make the width of the page odd.
>> No. 30404
[x] 010011100110111100101110

Nope. Nope nope nope.

Because nope.

Really though, when something seems too good to be true, it usually is. The question is what we're going to need to pay for this down the line.

That or Lion is fucking with us and there's really nothing to worry about.
>> No. 30405
>>30402
This is the chance that we have been waiting for. It would be very unwise to decline now, because it would mean being once again helpless and just having to watch and hate yourself even more in the end.
>Power should be obtained through ones own means and without shortcuts.
There are always limitations because he is human. His own talent will probably only get him so far without someone helping him grow.
>They have learned to adapt to the situations and even drove out youkai.
More like they had the numbers and the advanced weapons on their side. I fear both will not help very much in these fights.
>I wish to see this gamble come true. Yes, a belief in yourself to improve for the future.
This sounds very nice in theory, in practice not so much. Unlike the other situations this time he does not see it as harmful but as helpful. It is good to be sceptic but being paranoid will only make matters worse.

If we fail to take this chance now we may very well lose everything right now. Elly won't hesitate to mow him down like weed and the others will not always be in time to save him. Especially when they are already down or hurt badly.
>> No. 30406
[x] 01011001011001010111001100101110 (yes)
>> No. 30409
>>30405
I wasn't really excluding all help, just from this unknown voice. Isn't it better to accept it from someone you know and through more natural means? Even then, if we did accept there isn't a guarantee that this offered power will be enough. The same could be said about the MC. He suddenly gained the powers to sense other's feelings, so who knows what other abilities he has. So how I view this choice is who you trust more, yourself or others.

I realize as well that this could be the last chance and critical moment but it's difficult to say what happened after the head butt. Elly is without her scythe and recovering from a hit to the head. This is a good thing if even for just a moment, a split second or two at worse to recover from a daze is enough time for the others to react. If this is the case then what does he need power for, just insurance to prevent further injuries caused by Elly? Meira should be able to take advantage of this opening.

I won't say that there isn't some paranoia with distrusting the voice but it's hard to make a choice like this with 100% confidence. There are a lot of factors at work that might have been missed or overlooked but this post and the previous are the reasons I chose my choice.
>> No. 30410
That angel's been waiting for a long time, right? And it's going to help us by giving us a piece of itself - probably that angel feather.

I think it's safe to trust it. I mean, our MC is an empath, and he's being bombarded with feelings with bliss. When he was dealing with Sariel and that Altered Human, he was able to sense that he shouldn't trust them.

I think it's safe to trust the angel for now. We can't going around suspecting everyone who wants to help us.

>He suddenly gained the powers to sense other's feelings, so who knows what other abilities he has. So how I view this choice is who you trust more, yourself or others.

So, which choice is which? Saying No might be meant as 'I can take of things myself', or it can be 'I trust my friends more than you'. Likewise, saying Yes could mean 'I trust you', or it might be 'I trust my gut (and ergo my empath power)'.

We have gone on record saying that people couldn't - and probably shouldn't - understand each other. Even though we're the one with the empathy power, and all the cliches it provides.

And Kana called us out on it. We're shallow. We only see the cause and effect of how any given action would apply to us.

So let's flip the tables. Let's be the angel for a bit.

Said angel has been in this blissful world, waiting for someone. We don't know if it's blissful for her, anymore - for all we know, it might not be such a nice feeling for it.

Now, the MC has mentioned that had he not been so mentally focused, he would have just been lost in the warmth. Again, we don't know if the angel is feeling that warmth, but it's plausible to believe that the angel has a similar focus, if not as strong.

The angel has been waiting for so long that she can't remember who she's supposed to wait for. We don't even know if she's supposed to help the person she's supposed to wait for.

So, we have this person, waiting in a black void, and she stumbles upon another person.

She doesn't know if that person is her objective. She might not even know what her objective is.

And yet, she still wants to help us. Something about us strikes a chord - even if that 'something' is the fact that we're like her - a light in the darkness.

We might not be the person she's waiting for. Maybe she wasn't supposed to help us.

But that doesn't matter to the angel. she showed herself to us, and offered a hand.

We should take it.

[X] 01011001011001010111001100101110 And thank you.
>> No. 30412
>>30410
Completely agree here. Besides, if Meira use the opening, it will probably be to kill Elly.
>> No. 30413
Since it seems like no one else is going to, I might as well bring up the other dream sequence (>>29612).

Our "MC" (can't really say if it's the main MC, or someone else he's channeling) wants to, needs to reach the sky. A voice, italicized like the current voice, asks for help. He needs to touch the sky because he left something important and precious up there. In his hand is held an angel feather, which reminds him of the black wings he built ala Daedalus and he takes to the air. All to the same exact music as the current sequence.

I'm not sure how this information will help, but I doubt that it's irrelevent.
>> No. 30414
[x] 01011001011001010111001100101110
>> No. 30415
>>30413

I completely forgot about that.

If it's the same feather, then that's another nudge to get her help. And maybe it's a sign -

If we've built wings to reach the angel again, than that means we want to help her. She might be busting out now, so we'll have to repay the favor.
>> No. 30417
[x] Yes.

The latest trials have done a pretty good job of showing the MC how impotent he is. Maybe a 'no' would have been more suitable earlier when he was more concerned with saving his own life than anyone else's.
>> No. 30418
[x] Yes.
>> No. 30419
[x] Yes.
>> No. 30422
>>30396
Well said.

[x] 01011001011001010111001100101110
>> No. 30428
[ ] 01011001011001010111001100101110
>> No. 30435
[X] 5965732E
er,
[X] 01011001011001010111001100101110
>> No. 30437
[x] 01011001011001010111001100101110
>> No. 30438
[ø] 01011001011001010111001100101110

>Phantasm
God damn, I love this BGM.
>> No. 30441
>Phantasm

Lion, where are you getting these BGMs? Or are you making them yourself?
>> No. 30442
[x] No option.

>>29612
>Is this what I was looking for...?
>No.

We already have our own set of wings that will take us into the sky. We don't need, nor want any help from this mysterious angel. Echoing what that other anon said, human potential is limitless, accepting help from this candid douchebag will only harm us in the end.
>> No. 30443
>
We already have our own set of wings that will take us into the sky. We don't need, nor want any help from this mysterious angel. Echoing what that other anon said, human potential is limitless, accepting help from this candid douchebag will only harm us in the end.

A) Who do you think the angle is?

B) Yes doing every thing alone is obviously the way to Power. Its not like pretty much all important tasks take multiple people or anything.
>> No. 30444
[ ] 01011001011001010111001100101110
>> No. 30447
Human potential is limitless - but it's just that - potential.

Even if we accept help from others, what we do with said help is what matters in the end. What Sariel and the people behind the Altered Human are trying to do is manipulate that potential. What this angel is trying to do is help us unlock it, on our own terms.

The other times we've been offered a way out, there was, explicitly, a catch. Here, we can't even sense that the angel is deceiving us.

>We already have our own set of wings that will take us into the sky.

Like hell we do. We have a bunch of Youkai that are on good terms with us, and an undeveloped empath power.

In that dream, we had an angel feather. It was not what we were looking for, but -

>But looking at this feather, I feel, somehow, that I am closer now to what I’ve been trying to reach.

The feather was not meant to become our pair of wings.

We will design and build our own pair of wings, to reach the sky. But to do that, we need to learn how to gather materials. We need to learn how to use the proper tools. We need a blueprint. We need a teacher.

And what better blueprint than an actual pair of wings? And what better teacher than a person who uses those wings?
>> No. 30449
>>30443
It doesn't matter who the angel is. They are an unknown, a mysterious being that we have no knowledge of. To trust them implicitly would be beyond foolish. We do not need its help to become a better being, as we are already on that path. We already have friends and allies to push us along. Just who do you think we are doing this all for?

>>30447
You put a lot of faith in a being we have never spoken to, based solely on our "undeveloped empath power". We have no idea what this angels agenda is, so trusting them would not be a wisely chosen course of action.

>other times we've been offered a way out, there was, explicitly, a catch
What makes you think this is not the case in this situation? Nothing in life is free.

>The feather was not meant to become our pair of wings.
>We will design and build our own pair of wings

>>29612
>...That’s right. I remember now.
>I have my own set of wings.
>The wings I built to fly me into the sky.

In the dream sequence, we rejected this angels bullshit feather because we already had wings. He built them entirely by himself, and needed no "teacher" to tell him how to do it.
>> No. 30450
>>30449
My opinion hath been swayed, good sir.

[x] 010011100110111100101110
>> No. 30451
[x] 01011001011001010111001100101110
Nice argument, but useless. He needs power NOW, regardless of its origin. I'm not sacrificing his friends so he can have more character development
>> No. 30452
>>30451
A deal with the proverbial devil, to save our friend? Forgive me if I do not share your enthusiasm.

The MC of this story is a shallow, worthless NEET. His growth as a character is an oft repeated theme of this story, and one of the major hurdles to overcome. To accept this deal, to take the easy way out...it would be a step backwards in progress. We all know that there is a way to "fix" Elly on our own power and initiative, we just need to have faith and conviction in ourselves and figure out how.
>> No. 30453
[X] 010011100110111100101110
>> No. 30454
[x] 01011001011001010111001100101110
>> No. 30477
[X] 010011100110111100101110

For all the raw power being slung around, this entire conflict still seems to be very metaphysical. The strength of a human, and more importantly a person, comes from within. The personal weakness of the protagonist is a recurring theme.

So let's be strong. As an individual.
>> No. 30478
[x] 010011100110111100101110

Sound arguments. But we know so little about the power that is being offered to us, apart from it being a part of this mysterious 'benefactor'. So no. Also, Yuuka would be so proud of us.
>> No. 30480
Oh yeah, she'll be oh so proud to see us all dead just because we wanted to do this by ourself...

>>30452
Character growth also include being able to trust without always being cautious. 'Knowing' isn't enough and I refuse to let the result of the battle by suddenly gaining insight on how to cure Elly.

Second, reread the start. He feels the vocie is familiar and very important to him. if it's the same offering us help, then there's even less reason to refuse.

Too bad I already voted for this. Because I would say yes again and again. I prefer trusting and maybe being betrayed after than never trusting at all out of fear of being betrayed.
>> No. 30481
(http://www.tindeck.com/listen/zfmu)

Power, huh?

...I’m not so sure.

The offer of power, beyond what you already possess, is a temptation that few can resist, fictional or otherwise.

But I always thought that if I were given such a choice, that I’d turn it down immediately. That it wouldn’t even be much of a dilemma for me. I had never sought anything in life, and so there was nothing that would move me to accept such an offer. That was my reasoning, anyway.

But lately I seem to have been contradicting myself with the actions I’ve been taking. I thought that my only concern throughout this entire ordeal would be for my own life, but here I am, sticking my neck out for a kid I’ve barely met and a woman I’ve known for only a week or so. It’s kind of funny, looking at how much I’ve changed in the last couple of days, for better or for worse.

So then, considering what’s already changed about me so far, has my decision over the choice presented to me, which had been set long before I’d even encountered the question, changed with me as well? Even putting aside my past rationale, I don’t have many reasons to accept here; the one offering me the choice is someone -- maybe even a something -- that I know almost absolutely nothing about, and it’s safe to assume that it probably goes both ways. That person has no incentive -- nothing to gain -- through helping me. Thinking like this, I shouldn’t accept. It wouldn’t be logical.

My hesitation is plain to the other person here.

Why do you want to help me?

I don’t know.

I don’t know who you are, and you don’t know who I am. There’s no connection between us. There shouldn’t be a reason for you to want to help me. So, why is it that you’re offering me help?

I don’t think people need a reason to want to help others.

If... it was that way. If people always needed a reason to help others, then the world would become one where good deeds no longer exist, wouldn’t it?

Maybe, that might be so.

I think that would be very sad.

I think so too.

...But, why was it that I decided to save that little girl? Was it for her sake? Because I wanted to save her life? Was I genuinely concerned with her well-being? No. It wasn’t because of any of that. It was for a much more selfish reason. I wanted to save her because she was the only lead I had in getting out of this mess. I did it for myself, and not for her. I did it, because there was an incentive for me to do it. What does that make me, compared to this person who offers their hand without asking for anything in exchange?

There must be something I can do for you.

Then, can you take me away from here?

Do you want to leave?

...I hate this place...

There is no beginning or end here.

A world of the immaterial.

No one else exists but yourself.

A world void of anything.

Feeling nothing but mind numbing pleasure.

Losing yourself, bit by bit, and eventually becoming just another silent part of it.

That’s what this world really is.

If you stay here, that’s what will happen to you.


How can I escape it?

Spread your wings and fly.

Fly up and above the current

and don’t let yourself fall into it again.


But I don’t have wings.

I’ll be your wings.

What about you? Aren’t you trapped here as well?

My wings are already broken.

Then I’ll--

But your hand can’t reach me, can it?

I lift my other hand, and reach as high as I can with it. I strain my fingers, trying to stretch them out as far as I can, standing on the very tip of my toes. I can’t reach that person, no matter how much I try. Even if I jumped, I wouldn’t be able to reach them. And even if I used the wings they gave me, I would never be able to reach that person. It’s an impossible dream.

I’m sorry.

It’s okay.

But, there’s someone else here

that you should be able to reach.

Pull her out from this stream, and escape from here.

...As for me, I’m... going back to sleep.


I lower my arm, and stare at the feather still resting on my palm. It begins to glow even brighter than before, shining a radiant light in the darkness that surrounds me. As if shying away from the light, the pleasant, warm sensation filling my body begins to fade away, completely gone by the time the light’s enveloped my entire self. When the light ceases to shine, I look down at my palm once more, now no longer holding that feather.

I understand now.

What I was given isn’t power itself.

Power already exists within all humans.

A potential that was present within us since the beginning of humanity itself. A power that had been made possible to exist since human cognition came to be. A power that manifests itself in many different forms. A power that one person can’t possibly control alone. A power that can create worlds, or destroy them.

That power already exists within everyone.

And what I was given was a method to control it. No, not even to control it, but to understand it.

With this, I can do it.

---


347er784

wrtjdfl;

1590

fd;3254

jfuriuenv,zj48e

Connecting to -Elly-... succeeded!

ERROR: Data is corrupt.

Attempting to restore corrupted data...

Initializing AutoTextureManager... OK!

Preparing to begin transfer...

---

I’m flying through space.

My body feels as light as air as I throw my weight forward, feeling no resistance from neither air nor wind as I drift forward among the countless specks of stars. My wings -- although I don’t see them at my back, nor am I consciously flapping them -- are carrying me as I soar through space itself, seemingly led on a predetermined path. Up ahead, I can make out an unusually beautiful structure, drifting in this infinite space.

The path of my flight lowers, and I feel myself heading toward that structure. Behind it, I can see a pale blue moon. My wings continue to propel me toward the floating building, and I reach out with a single leg as I touch down at the ground set beneath the structure. It’s made up of sparkling glass tiles that sound out in delicate tones as my feet step on them. No longer using my wings, I begin walking forward, toward the gate of the building.

And of course, she’s there too.

She’s sitting on the steps of the small set of stairs leading up to the mansion, a crooked scythe resting on her shoulder. She wears a bored look on her face, her lips curled slightly in a dull frown and her eyes glazed over, as if daydreaming. I begin to approach her, and even as I draw near, she seems not to take any notice of me. I stand in front of her, and though I should be right in her sight, she continues to stare ahead with an empty face.

I’ll need to do something to catch her attention.

[ ] Call out to her.
[ ] Reach out and steal her hat.
[ ] Just take a seat next to her.
>> No. 30484
Silly distrustful anon, see how trusting is good now? On that note, I hope we'll be able to save that angel in the future.

Also, I'm a bit unsure about what to do here. I'm tempted to simply sit next to her and say 'hi there'.
>> No. 30485
[X] Reach out and steal her hat.
>> No. 30486
[X] Reach out and steal her hat.

I don't know if this is the best option, but their relationship is that of friendly antagonism. This just seems like the sort of thing he'd do to reaffirm their friendship.

If someone can give me a good argument for another option, I might be willing to change my vote.
>> No. 30487
[x] Reach out and steal her hat.

The only option. I can't think of a quicker way to catch a touhou's attention. It also seems the most intimate, and might be some sort of trigger to piercing her automaton behavior.
>> No. 30489
[x] Reach out and steal her hat.

I don't have any reason to believe this will provoke a reaction. I jut want to sit there and watch her vegetate.
>> No. 30491
>I did it for myself, and not for her. I did it, because there was an incentive for me to do it. What does that make me, compared to this person who offers their hand without asking for anything in exchange?
I don't know why, but I really liked this part. But it made me sad that he couldn't help her. Just like in real life, selfless persons are always the first to go...
[x] Call out to her.
>> No. 30492
[x] Reach out and steal her hat
[X] Call out to her
>> No. 30493
[ ] Just take a seat next to her.


Though it's a horribly tempting option, we don't know what state this Elly is in, and our first step shouldn't be to provoke her.
>> No. 30494
>And what I was given was a method to control it. No, not even to control it, but to understand it.
Bravo

[x] Reach out and steal her hat.
>> No. 30495
[ø] Reach out and steal her hat.

Lion, do you happen to have a higher quality version of phantasm.mp3, and if so, could yo please share it?
>> No. 30497
>I did it for myself, and not for her. I did it, because there was an incentive for me to do it. What does that make me, compared to this person who offers their hand without asking for anything in exchange?
>And what I was given was a method to control it. No, not even to control it, but to understand it.

Wow, I don't think I have ever been more affected by a story unlike yours Lion. The music that goes with the updates and the flow of the conversations that just hits me, with something that is simply indescribable.

I'll stop now and vote
[x] Reach out and steal her hat.

It seems that we have been the only person to actually try and get to know her, as a person and not a monster.
So whats the best way to get her attention?
Act like a normal ass towards her.
>> No. 30499
[x] Reach out and steal her hat.
[x] Ruffle her hair "Wake up, sleepy head".
>> No. 30500
[x] Reach out and steal her hat.
>> No. 30504
That phantasm.mp3 sounds like a Seihou arrangement. It is, right?
>> No. 30505
>>30484
>Silly distrustful anon, see how trusting is good now?
What seems silly is your statement, considering you are stating it after the results have been given. Especially so when the other choice had just as good arguments. Choosing "No." could have left us just as well off but now it's impossible to tell. They could have both been 'good' or 'bad', in the end it's up to the writer. It is important to respect someone else's decision when it is legitimate. Had the vote gone the other way I would expect the same from those people as well.

CYOAs are living and breathing beings that change when the writer and readers contribute their ideas and votes. Nothing is set in stone and only preparations can be made to guide the story in the direction desired. Choices that were thought to be bad previously can switch to something good when looked at by another perspective. Personally I don't enjoy thinking in terms outside the actual story but its influence is there whether I like it or not. If you all will forgive my rudeness I would appreciate it and will quickly move back to the story at hand.

-

Based on what we have gathered on Elly's state she seems mostly unresponsive similar to someone sleeping. That is how I view it anyway. So it will take more than just stealing away her hat. Calling out is the most pleasant option of waking someone when restricted with time. Getting some kind of response soon would probably be better because of the nature of this place and the situation as well.

[x] Call out to her.
>> No. 30506
>>30505
Well, I sure could have worded what I meant better. I do realize the argument made pretty good sense. But that's the problem itself.

We needed help. At this point, we had no mean nor the knowledge on how to stop Elly without killing her. The moment we would have woken up, Elly would have ripped us apart.

And then someone ask if it can give help. Just like that.

It's strange. It's illogical. Surely that being want to help for a reason, right? I'll refer to the snippet now to explain. My point is, if someone want to help, we ask why and there'S no reason, would it have been so wrong to say yes?

There's pride, but pride can also be a sin. I see nothing wrong with accepting help when we clearly need it. If it was for a personnal fight? Yes, I would do this myself. For saving a life? Screw pride to hell.
>> No. 30508
[X] Just take a seat next to her.
>> No. 30509
[x] Reach out and steal her hat.
>> No. 30511
[X] Reach out and steal her hat.
[X] "This isn't going to be enough to pay me back for all those beers, you know. The rest of you is coming with me too, Elly."

Come on, Elly.
>> No. 30515
>>30495
Just for you:

http://www.mediafire.com/?1p3p7o4n2oij03i

>>30441
I wish I was that talented.
>> No. 30516
>>30515
>Writes the two best stories on the site.
>Implies he isn't talented.

www. Thanks for the download link, though.
>> No. 30518
>>30515
Thanks, I appreciate it.
>> No. 30520
>>30516

Text is not music. But you are write about his stories.
>> No. 30521
[x] Reach out and steal her hat.
[x] "This isn't going to be enough to pay me back for all that beer, you know. The rest of you is coming with me too, Elly."

Jesus, she's going to be pissed with us. I mean, you know just how much she LOVES the idea of getting her ass saved by a human.

And now we're saving her existence.
>> No. 30522
[X] Reach out and steal her hat.
[X] "This isn't going to be enough to pay me back for all those beers, you know. The rest of you is coming with me too, Elly."
>> No. 30536
>>30521

Maybe. But that's preferable to losing her forever.

[x] Reach out and steal her hat.
[x] "This isn't going to be enough to pay me back for all that beer, you know. The rest of you is coming with me too, Elly."
>> No. 30538
[X] Reach out and steal her hat.
[X] "This isn't going to be enough to pay me back for all those beers, you know. The rest of you is coming with me too, Elly."
>> No. 30539
[X] Reach out and steal her hat.
[X] "This isn't going to be enough to pay me back for all those beers, you know. The rest of you is coming with me too, Elly."
>> No. 30540
>>30521
>>30536
"Stupid human! Why would you save me when you're not even on my route? It's lonelier out there than in here... Because now I have to watch you and Kana from afar."

/guilttrip
>> No. 30541
>>30540
Whoa there. While it's a dangerous possibility if we continue to spend more and more time with Elly (then again, Kana would get jealous before that), are you honestly telling us we shouldn't save her if we aren't trying to romance her? That write-in actually seems good to go for casual.

[X] Reach out and steal her hat.
[X] "This isn't going to be enough to pay me back for all those beers, you know. The rest of you is coming with me too, Elly."
>> No. 30542
>>30540
Wait are you really saying that living with a couple is worse then going nuts?
>> No. 30543
[X] Reach out and steal her hat.
[X] "This isn't going to be enough to pay me back for all those beers, you know. The rest of you is coming with me too, Elly."
>> No. 30553
[X] Reach out and steal her hat.
[X] "This isn't going to be enough to pay me back for all those beers, you know. The rest of you is coming with me too, Elly."
>> No. 30557
It's all okay because Kana is, secretly, the big bad.
That's what I think anyway.

>>30520
I don't know if you made that on purpose or not, but it was kinda good.
>> No. 30561
>>30536
Oh, definitely. I'm just looking ahead, and commenting on how cheesed she's gonna be.
>> No. 30609
>>30541
>>30542
I... I was just joking around.

I even thought that was possibly the most obvious attempt of mine at it, too. Goddamn.
>> No. 30610
>>30542
You know, actually, that does make sense.

Would you rather go to la-la-land or have to hear "pookie-pie" and "No, I love you more" several times a day, and catch them doing it on the dining table first thing in the morning... where you eat?

I can imagine Elly ripping out her hair and screaming for it all to stop.
>> No. 30612
>>30610
If they actually did that, Yuuka would bash some heads way before Elly feels like ripping out her hair.
>> No. 30648
File 129401548371.jpg - (515.67KB , 1500x1300 , 14284778.jpg ) [iqdb]
30648
(http://tindeck.com/listen/uwlp)

Taking in a deep breath, I let out a great big sigh, shaking my head. Really, now isn’t the time to be sitting around spacing out like that at all. She should really be more aware of her surroundings. She’s so troublesome. I walk on over to her, and reach out with a hand, whisking away the hat sitting on her head with one swift movement. I turn it over in my hand a bit, examining it closely.

“Nice hat,” I say, still holding it in my hand as I turn around, taking a seat next to the woman on the stairs leading into the great big mansion. “But you know, this isn’t even enough to cover for your room and board, much less the food.”

I turn my eyes away from the object in my hand, to the woman sitting next to me, hoping to have drawn a reaction -- any kind of reaction, whether it’s happiness and surprise or even annoyance and anger -- from her. At least then, I would know that she hasn’t completely lost herself here. That would be a great source of relief for me right now.

For a few seconds, she continues to stare ahead in a daze, her eyes unfocused and unblinking. Slowly, however, her head turns toward me, staring at me with those deadened eyes. Her pupils seem to appear to dilate, growing and shrinking as they struggle to focus on me. Finally, her eyes blink, at first at a slow pace, and the growing to a rapid one.

“...oh, it’s you,” a slurred voice issues out from her barely moving lips.

A wave of relief washes over me, and I begin smiling involuntarily. “Yeah, it’s me.”

She squeezes her eyes shut and shakes her head, like she’s trying to clear away a hangover. She brings her hands up to her eyes, rubbing them sluggishly. She lets them go limp, giving her head one last shake before opening her eyes and looking up at the sky, then, turning her body around to survey the area around her. Her expression is dull, and still seems heavily sedated.

“Hey,” she says, her voice slowly regaining vitality. “I was daydreaming, huh?”

“I guess you were.”

She bites her lip, remaining silent. “...I’ve been thinking.”

“That’s rare of you,” I joke.

She narrows her eyes and throws me a dirty look, but soon turns her head forward once again, relaxing her expression as she continues. “Ever since I came here, to the outside world, I’ve been thinking. For what purpose do I live?”

“That’s quite a philosophical question,” I say, placing my arms on my knees, the confiscated hat dangling off one of my fingers. “So, you’ve been thinking about something like that, huh? And what did you come up with?”

“The purpose for which I live...” she repeats to herself, her lips curling into a frown. “...No, the purpose for which I should live is clear. For me, and for all the other youkai, there’s really only one thing that we have to do.”

“And what’s that?” I ask with a dry tone of voice.

“Of course, it’s to kill,” she says in an equally unenthusiastic voice, still staring off into the scenery of endless space just ahead of her. She falls into silence for a few moments more, before slowly parting her lips to speak again, in a slow and deliberate way of speech. “To terrorize humans and to eat them and battle them. That’s what we youkai do. It’s in the instincts of every one of us.”

“Is it now?” I ask.

“Yup,” she says, nodding with a bitter smile. “It’s our way of preserving ourselves. Just as every other life form in this godforsaken world wants to survive, we youkai live and fight and kill to earn the fear of humans. Just as you humans strive to reproduce to preserve your own race. It’s a way of life that we all know from birth, and which no one ever questions.”

“And that troubles you?”

“It troubles me because it’s not the life I’m living,” she says, her frown turning into a slightly more vicious-looking scowl. “...Something went wrong somewhere. I’m sure it did. Something went wrong somewhere for all of us. Otherwise, the humans wouldn’t be so numerous in the world. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have become the ones to cower and hide from humans.”

...Of course, I suppose from her point of view, it wouldn’t make sense that squishy, weak humans like us could ever take the world from monsters like her. Even I, speaking as a human, find it incredible that humans were able to climb up to the top of the entire world when we had to contend with old, legendary man-eating youkai. Maybe we really are the scariest things around.

Elly shakes her head, and continues. “...We have our haven now, but all of us know. We’ve lost our place in the world. We’ll never again have the kind of fear and respect we had in older times. There are rules imposed on us that we can never break. We no longer have the freedom we had before. Some of us have accepted that, others never did.”

“And what happened to them?”

“All dead,” she says, weakly laughing. “Or at the least, they’ve disappeared into obscurity.”

“And... you?”

“I...” she hesitates, biting her lower lip again. “...I followed that way of life, since the earliest memory I can remember. I was born a youkai, and I lived like a youkai. Always alone, drifting aimlessly from places to places, killing anything that I came across, no matter if it was a beast, or a human or even a fellow youkai. I didn’t care. Killing was the one thing I was born knowing how to do. I just killed and killed and killed, and expected to be killed one day or another.”

“You lived expecting to be killed?”

“If I came across someone stronger than me, whether it was another youkai or a human youkai exterminator, I would be killed,” she says, lowering the scythe in her hand and placing its handle across her lap. She touches a finger to the surface of the blade, running it across the smooth metal surface. “That was all there was to it. Kill and kill until you’re killed. That’s the philosophy of a youkai who hunts.”

“...I suppose that never happened then, did it?”

“Actually, it did. Once, I picked a fight with a youkai who was much more powerful than I was. I thought that would be my end. But it wasn’t. I wasn’t killed. That made me angrier than anything that had ever happened to me before, so I went after that youkai again. I lost, even worse that time, but still, I wasn’t killed.”

The youkai she’s talking about, that must be...

“I kept following after her, and attacking her, and trying to kill her all the time, but no matter how badly she savaged me, she would never finish me off,” Elly continues, her scowl turning into a very bitter grin now. “...And you know what she said when I asked the reason why?”

I lift up a finger, pointing it up by my face as I raise my voice into a high-pitch, “Because it’s more fun like this!”

She laughs. “Yeah, something like that.”

That’s so like her...

“I didn’t understand at the time. The things I did, it wasn’t for ‘fun’ or anything like that. It was just something that I did. It’s just how I lived, and survived, so I couldn’t understand why she would let me live for a reason like that. So I just kept going after her and getting my ass kicked.

“...And somewhere along the way, I just... stopped. I don’t know if it was fear of her that held me back, but eventually I stopped trying to kill her all the time. Before I knew it, I was hanging around her. I don’t know why, or even how that happened. It just... did. One day, I just found myself giving up the life I had before and living within this mansion.”

“So this is where you worked before, huh?” I say, turning back to look up at the large doors leading into the magnificent building.

“That’s right, I was the gatekeeper here,” Elly says, looking down at her own reflection on the glass tiles at the foot of the stairs. “...Here, where there are no humans to terrorize, and no other youkai to fight, with hardly any trespassers to even guard the mansion from. I lived each day in comfort. Inactivity. But that’s not how a youkai like me is supposed to live. That’s not the kind of life I should have. It’s betraying my own nature and birthright. Maybe I’m just a relic of the past for feeling that way, but I have to go back to how I was before.”

She lowers her head, staring down between her knees.

“...When I saw how much the humans had taken over everything on this side, I almost lost it,” she says, her voice cracking up. “We existed for one purpose, and we were no longer capable of fulfilling that purpose. That’s what this changed world reminded me. It made me feel worthless and angry at everything. I’m sorry.”

What...

“I took all my frustrations out on you.”

...Come on.

“I was really horrible to you.”

Don’t be like this...

“You must hate me, but that’s okay. I’ll be gone soon anyway.”

The golden locks of hair on top of her head obscure her eyes from view, making her expression unreadable. But even so, I know that she doesn’t truly believe what she’s saying. What she’s saying right now isn’t her beliefs, but the beliefs that she’s expected to hold. She’s only echoing the sentiments of those in the past, born out of prejudice and racial pride. She’s not saying what she really feels at all. She's letting her own insecurity control her.

Why do I know this?

Because, at this moment, in this world that exists only for the two of us, I can understand her. I don’t know if it’s because of my own power, or if it’s because of the involvement of something or someone else, but right now...

We are connected.

But, how can I make it clear to her?

How can I convince her that she’s not right about herself?

[ ] (Make it a good one.)
>> No. 30653
[x] your individual personality as a youkai liked not having to use instinct to live.

feelings powers= psychology approach?
>> No. 30655
File 129402385229.jpg - (220.32KB , 754x992 , d8cb3e5f0ecd34f2d3ee7ecc2f0cbeda.jpg ) [iqdb]
30655
Happy new year!

[x] Stop trying to be what you're suppossed to be and start being what you 'want' to be. A youkai that hunts isn't the 'proper' life for a Youkai, it was the only one they had! But you're different... you don't have to bear this burden. There's a piece of heaven waiting for you. You've lived there for a long time, but do you really appreciate it for what it is? It means freedom. Freedom to be what you want and do what you want.
So please, Elly, be free. I just want to see you happy.

When Humans lost the paradise, they earned wisdom. Youkai had to give up their place in the world, but they obtained true freedom for it. A friendly Youkai is a miracle only brought by Gensokyo.
>> No. 30656
>What she’s saying right now isn’t her beliefs, but the beliefs that she’s expected to hold.
She just follows a guide on how Youkai are supposed to be. Without asking questions doing things that she is supposed to be. But what does she want, herself? Not as a youkai, but as a person.
>I just killed and killed and killed, and expected to be killed one day or another
What a sad, empty existence. Yuuka showed her something else and now it is up to us to get her back on track once again.

[x] Stop trying to be what you're suppossed to be and start being what you 'want' to be. A youkai that hunts isn't the 'proper' life for a Youkai, it was the only one they had! But you're different... you don't have to bear this burden. There's a piece of heaven waiting for you. You've lived there for a long time, but do you really appreciate it for what it is? It means freedom. Freedom to be what you want and do what you want.
So please, Elly, be free. I just want to see you happy.

It could use some minor improvements but conveys pretty much everything i want to say.
>> No. 30657
[x] Stop trying to be what you're suppossed to be and start being what you 'want' to be. A youkai that hunts isn't the 'proper' life for a Youkai, it was the only one they had! But you're different... you don't have to bear this burden. There's a piece of heaven waiting for you. You've lived there for a long time, but do you really appreciate it for what it is? It means freedom. Freedom to be what you want and do what you want. So please, Elly, be free.
>> No. 30659
[x]"Why did you start following her?
Well Elly, I think I know.
Wasn't it more fun like this?"

Wordy seems useless at this point, she's too zoned out. Laconic seems best.
>> No. 30660
[x] Stop trying to be what you're suppossed to be and start being what you 'want' to be. A youkai that hunts isn't the 'proper' life for a Youkai, it was the only one they had! But you're different... you don't have to bear this burden. There's a piece of heaven waiting for you. You've lived there for a long time, but do you really appreciate it for what it is? It means freedom. Freedom to be what you want and do what you want.
So please, Elly, be free. I just want to see you happy.
>> No. 30662
[x]"Why did you start following her?
Well Elly, I think I know.
Wasn't it more fun like this?"

Short and to the point, i like it.
>> No. 30666
[ ] I think you found something more important then hunting. Are you going to just let the others do what ever they like to Yuuka?
What do you want now?
>> No. 30672
>We are connected.

>But, how can I make it clear to her?

>How can I convince her that she’s not right about herself?

This isn't about Elly and Yuka, this is about youkai and humans, specifically Elly and the MC. She's baring her heart to him, and you think that changing the subject is at all an appropriate response? Her feelings of worthlessness are why she started following Yuka in the first place.

[x] "You think I followed you here because I hate you? Because I want you to go away?"
[x] "Humans have been asking 'why am I here?' for hundreds of thousands of years now. People have dedicated their entire lives to the question. I don't know the answer, and I don't think I'll ever know. The fact doesn't stop me from going on, having fun, and making friends with some really strange people."
[x] "I accept your apology, Elly, but I won't accept your reasons for giving up. If you have any pride as a youkai, then you have a duty to find a new way for your race to live in this world."

She doesn't see herself as being good at anything other than killing, which is far from the truth, as she's adapted better to living in human society than more than any of the others, the only one to find gainful employment, taking care of kids, and now saving the life of one.
>> No. 30674
[x] All of the above

I can't decide!
>> No. 30676
>>30672
FFFFFFFF... You're right!

Deleting previous vote for...
[x] "You think I followed you here because I hate you? Because I want you to go away?"
[x] "Humans have been asking 'why am I here?' for hundreds of thousands of years now. People have dedicated their entire lives to the question. I don't know the answer, and I don't think I'll ever know. The fact doesn't stop me from going on, having fun, and making friends with some really strange people."
[x] "I accept your apology, Elly, but I won't accept your reasons for giving up. If you have any pride as a youkai, then you have a duty to find a new way for your race to live in this world."
>> No. 30693
[x] "You think I followed you here because I hate you? Because I want you to go away?"
[x] "Humans have been asking 'why am I here?' for hundreds of thousands of years now. People have dedicated their entire lives to the question. I don't know the answer, and I don't think I'll ever know. The fact doesn't stop me from going on, having fun, and making friends with some really strange people."
[x] "I accept your apology, Elly, but I won't accept your reasons for giving up. If you have any pride as a youkai, then you have a duty to find a new way for your race to live in this world."
>> No. 30697
>>30657 here. Changing vote to
[X] >>30672
>> No. 30708
>>30704
...Which one are you referring to?
>> No. 30764
I don't feel up to writing anything, but it would be nice if the final product could bring up the massive parallels between the MC and Elly's lives. Mentioning that Yuuka gave the MC a purpose and giving Elly a purpose would also be good.
>> No. 30780
[x] "You think I followed you here because I hate you? Because I want you to go away?"
[x] "Humans have been asking 'why am I here?' for hundreds of thousands of years now. People have dedicated their entire lives to the question. I don't know the answer, and I don't think I'll ever know. The fact doesn't stop me from going on, having fun, and making friends with some really strange people."
[x] "I accept your apology, Elly, but I won't accept your reasons for giving up. If you have any pride as a youkai, then you have a duty to find a new way for your race to live in this world."
>> No. 30787
>>30764
It's not a bad idea, but it could get a bit long if we try to include that now. Perhaps we can save that discussion for a bit later?
>> No. 30802
I really dislike Kana's attitude. She doesn't seem to give a shit about anyone other than herself.

The teasing and withholding information aren't helping either.
>> No. 30808
[x] "You think I followed you here because I hate you? Because I want you to go away?"
[x] "Humans have been asking 'why am I here?' for hundreds of thousands of years now. People have dedicated their entire lives to the question. I don't know the answer, and I don't think I'll ever know. The fact doesn't stop me from going on, having fun, and making friends with some really strange people."
[x] "I accept your apology, Elly, but I won't accept your reasons for giving up. If you have any pride as a youkai, then you have a duty to find a new way for your race to live in this world."

>>30802
I suppose you've sort of got a point, but why are you bringing it up now?
>> No. 30809
>>30808
I just caught up with the thread and wanted to comment while it was still fresh. Sorry.

Besides, saying that sort of thing during a Kana-relevant vote seems like a good way to start a fight and ruin the thread. No thanks.
>> No. 30874
>>30809
Huh. That's actually some halfway decent reasoning, odd as it seems at first. Fair enough.
>> No. 30906
(http://tindeck.com/listen/uwlp)

I place a hand over my eye, the tips of my fingers held to my forehead as I stare down at the glass tiles at my feet.

I’m not a great speaker.

I’m not a psychologist either.

If it was possible, I’d leave a task like this to anyone but myself, because I wouldn’t know what to say at all at a time like this. I’d leave it to someone who knows what they’re talking about and isn’t just saying whatever comes to their mind. I’m not so arrogant as to believe that I, of all people, am the best person to be telling her how to live her life, when my own life has been such a mess so far.

But even so, I have to give it a try. I don’t have anyone to rely on but myself. No, even if I did, I still would want to do this myself.

Why?

Because of our connection here.
Because our hearts are connected.
Because right now, I understand her better than she does herself.

...No, it’s not because of any of that. The real reason is much simpler.

It’s because... she’s my friend, right?

Though she’s doubtless been vicious to me since the moment we met, since then we’ve been in each other’s company too long to be just acquaintances. We’ve talked together, ate together, helped the other when they were in need of it, and worried over each other, all during that time. Though she may have complained about being around someone like me and insulted me and threatened me, the fact is...

I enjoy having her around.

I enjoy those moments when we can just sit back and share a drink.

...That’s why I can’t let her give up on herself like this. I don’t want to lose her. That’s why I didn’t fire that gun at her when I had the chance. That’s why I stepped in between her and Meira. And that’s why I rushed to stop her, even when I thought I had no way to stop her, simply by myself, and knew that by doing so I would most likely be endangering my life.

She’s a friend, and I don’t want to hear her say those hurtful things about herself.

“...You’ve gotta be kidding me,” I mutter out in a low voice, shaking my head as I speak. “You think... I followed you here because I hate you? Because I want you to go away? Give me a break.”

A movement at the corner of my eyes tells me that she’s turned her head to look at me.

“Look, I’m not sure how well I can say something like this,” I begin with a dry voice, pulling back my hand to scratch the back of my head. “And... I’m not going to say anything clichéd like ‘you’re you,’ and I can’t tell you how to find meaning in your life or whatever, but come on, get a grip on yourself.”

My voice starts off weak and unsure, sounding unconfident even to myself. However, as I gradually continue to speak, the volume of my voice begins growing louder and surer. Like I said, I’m not a great speaker, so I’m just rattling off whatever’s coming to my head here, but I’ve gotta keep talking or I’m going to fall silent.

“We’ve been asking the question ‘why are we here?’ for as long as we’ve been able to think. Some people, they spend their whole lives trying to find the answer to that question, without ever learning it. I don’t know it either, and I probably never will. But, does it really matter? I mean, that doesn’t stop me from trying to enjoy the life I live now. It’s not something you should let bother you.”

I turn my gaze to her, biting my lip as I watch her for a moment. She stares straight ahead, with a kind of listless hesitation in her eyes.

“I don’t hate you. I accept your apology. And I’m not going to let you give up on yourself like this. You call yourself a relic, but can’t you at least try to change? If you really have any pride in who you are, then come on, find a new way for you to live.”

Her eyes turn to me, and her mouth opens as if to say something, though nothing comes from her lips. Raising the ribboned hat still held in my hand, I lift it over Elly, placing it on top of her head and mussing up her hair with the same hand. I do my best to smile at her as I do so.

“So... come on, don’t call it quits here. Let’s go home, yeah?”

I lift my hand away from her head, and she reaches up to secure the hat on her head. For a few, painful seconds, she is silent, and then, she returns the smile.

“...Yeah,” she says, nodding. “...Honestly. I’m still not really sure about whether it’s right for me to be living the way I was, but... I’m not going to let that bother me anymore. I don’t want to go back to those old days. I want to laze around all day and eat my three meals and sleep on a fancy bed in this big mansion, and if I want to do that, I need to stick with you all!”

“Y-yeah,” I say, grimacing for just a second. “You still need to find a way back home, right?”

“That’s right,” she says, her smile turning into a full-blown grin. With great gusto, she stands up, stretching her arms. “...Ack! I can’t believe I was thinking about stuff like that. Yuck. Doesn’t seem like me at all, does it?”

“Well, I did mention that, didn’t I?” I say with a grin.

“Yeah, but the way you did it was just ruuude.”

Snorting, I make to stand up myself when I catch a glimpse of something that stands out to me. A single, shining white feather, resting just next to where Elly was seated. Without thinking, I reach out and take it in my hand, clumped into a fist. I stand up, unclenching the fist and looking down at my palm. The feather is gone now. It’s disappeared.

“What are you looking at?”

“Huh?” I lift my gaze, and shake my head. “Nothing. Anyway...”

I reach out with a hand.

“Let’s go.”

She answers by grasping my hand.

---

Data transfer successfully completed.

Shutting down AutoTextureManager...

Now terminating connection...

---

Flames.

My vision is surrounded by the scarlet flames dancing around all over me. The blood-red aura that surrounds the both of us, licking at our flesh as it burns brightly. But even though I’m covered in those flames, I feel neither pain nor heat. The flames that tickle my skin don’t feel like flames at all. And, as I watch them, they die away, fading into the still air, extinguished by means I don’t know.

“Fucking ow...!”

The first thing I do is bring my hands to my forehead, which is burning with pain as my body rolls to the side. I flail about with my legs as I attempt to massage my aching forehead, feeling my eyes water up from the agony. One eye closed from wincing, I turn my head to the side, trying to get a good look beside me. Elly, lying on the shattered concrete earth, slowly rises, reaching behind her for her fallen hat and placing it on top of her own head. She looks to me.

Her eyes are back to gold.

Even through my pain, I feel relieved, and I feel like I can breathe a lot easier.

“Elly...” Kurumi’s voice comes out weakly, not far from where we are. “Elly... are you back to normal?”

“Huh...?” Elly looks to her, seemingly dazed. “Um, uh... yeah. Did... did I do that to you?”

“Hey, no problem,” the girl replies, though still sounding a bit faint. “I heal fast. I’m just glad you haven’t lost it.”

Still holding my poor forehead, I sit up on the ground, one knee pointed to the sky. I take in a deep breath, and breathe out the heaviest sigh I’ve ever felt, both out of relief and out of fatigue. I just want to go home and sleep now. Before I can relax, however, I hear footsteps approaching me, and I see a hand dart forward at me, roughly grabbing me by the front of the shirt and forcing me to stand up.

“W-what...?” I mutter out.

“What kind of trick did you pull just now?” a harsh voice asks me.

Focusing my eyes, I see the samurai woman standing in front of me, gazing at me with a look of stern disapproval. Feeling irritated, I grasp her wrist, trying to pry her hand off of me with a strong tug. “Lemme go.”

“I asked,” she says, narrowing her eyes, keeping her grip tight, “What kind of trick you pulled just now.”

...Trick, huh?

Come to think of it, what did happen just now?

What was that... where was I, until just now? When it was happening, I felt like I could understand what was happening around me, but now that I’ve come to my senses here, everything about that place feels hazy and confusing. Was I... was I inside Elly’s mind? No, that’s just stupid. Putting aside my yet-to-be-explained empathic power, it’s just ridiculous to think that a person’s mind is something you can walk around and interact with. There must be a different explanation for this. Something a lot less contrived... or maybe, even more contrived?

“I don’t know, okay,” I say, tugging again at the samurai’s arm. “Just let me go already.”

Meira stares at me coldly, but she relaxes the strength in her fingers, letting me go. I pat down the front of my shirt as I watch her run the back edge of her sword along her sheath, matching the tip to the opening and letting it slide inside up to the guard. She then turns her head in the direction of Elly, who still seems somewhat weak and wobbly as she helps Kurumi up from the ground.

“...Well, in any case, somehow, you seem to have succeeded in stopping her by yourself. Luck was on your side this time.”

Although not knowing how exactly I managed to do that is going to be a bit of a problem for me. Even that can’t put a damper on my relief right now, though. I’m just glad that this time, we seem to have made it out alright.

“Wha--?”

I feel disoriented and nauseous as a lurching sensation overcomes me. The sight around me appears to spin around, making me feel dizzy, and I squeeze my eyes shut because otherwise I feel like I’m going to hurl. I keep them shut until the sensation disappears, and even then, I wait for a few seconds before daring to open my eyes.

“This is...”

...The daycare.

“Hey, what the hell?”

“Fueeeh...?”

This is the playroom we were in, just before we were all shunted to that closed world. Looking around, I see Ellen and Elly, looking about themselves, both of them just as confused as I am. Were we... Are we back in the real world now? No, there isn’t anyone in this room besides us, so that means we aren’t back yet. Wait, wait...

“Ellen,” I abruptly turn to her. “Where’s the girl now?”

“Fuwah,” she jumps in surprise, her eyes wide. Suddenly, her face bores and expression of distress. “Oh! Um, um, after you told us to run away, we went to hide inside one of the buildings, but the scary man from before just appeared out of nowhere and...”

“And...?” I say, my heart pounding again.

“He grabbed the girl and disappeared,” Ellen says, her small hands clenched into fists, gripping the front of her skirt tightly as she directs her gaze down. “Um, it seemed like a highly advanced teleportation spell that a human shouldn’t be capable of on their own. I tried to trace its destination, but...”

What?

That, that can’t be! That is fucking bullshit! Damn it! Agh...! I barely manage to restrain myself from screaming as I bring my hands up to my head, wanting to tear at my hair. When did he... was it when he ran off...? But then, but then what the hell was the point of...

“There is no need for concern,” a voice comes from the hallway leading into this room.

(http://tindeck.com/listen/dsqu)

Muse, again.

The doll-like girl approaches us with light, almost silent footsteps, her dark cape trailing behind her. Held in her arms, cradled like a mother would her own child, is Usami Renko, still blissfully asleep and unaware of the changes in the world around us. Ellen stares at her in curious wonder, while Elly winces and almost takes a step back out of reflex. As for me, I can’t do much more than stare dumbfounded as she advances toward me.

“Here,” Muse says, handing me the child.

“Oh, uh...” I stammer, taking her. “You... saved her?”

She remains silent, apparently unwilling to neither deny nor confirm the question.

“What about that guy?”

“...Unfortunately,” she slowly and reluctantly begins, “I could no longer pursue him.”

Could it have been because... she broke off the chase to bring this child back?

“Goodbye.”

With an abrupt word, she turns around and starts heading out.

“H-hey, wait!” I call after her.

She stops without turning around. She doesn’t acknowledge my request with anything more than that. To be honest, even though her expression seems as deadened and emotionless as usual, I get the feeling she’s in a bit of a bad mood, for some reason. I was too preoccupied before to notice, but there’s an aura of cold fury about her. Anyway, I stopped her to...

[ ] Thank her.
[ ] Question her.
>> No. 30907
[x] Thank her.
>> No. 30908
[x] Thank her.

A bit of thanks goes a long way and well, it's the least we owe her for all that she's done.
>> No. 30909
[x] Thank her

There's bound to be more muse points soon.

She probably needs to recover from combat.
>> No. 30911
[x] Question her

Muse values knowledge, doesn't she? I think she'd rather be asked questions than stopped for something as pointless as thanks.
>> No. 30912
>>30911
Getting it, not giving it, and I'm not sure if we have much to give in return.
>> No. 30913
[X] Thank her.

She saved Renko from who knows what, and Elly from an uncomfortable conversation with Renko's parents as to the whereabouts of their daughter.

>"Um, it seemed like a highly advanced teleportation spell that a human shouldn’t be capable of on their own."
So the guy's not human. Considering whom you share a house with, that shouldn't be suprising.
>> No. 30914
>>30912
She seemed willing to answer questions the first time she showed up. She even intended to leave without getting any information in return... though that might have been a bluff, I don't think it was.
>> No. 30915
[x] "Don't hesitate to call on us; we owe you. Thank you very much."

Covering the important bits first, unless Muse is paying us back for something? ...That, or she's putting us in her debt for some later favor.
>> No. 30916
[x] Thank her, then question her

Fuck this false choice bullshit. Gattai da!
>> No. 30917
>Raising the ribboned hat still held in my hand, I lift it over Elly, placing it on top of her head and mussing up her hair with the same hand.
Brilliant!

[x] Thank her.
>> No. 30919
[x] Thank her.
>> No. 30921
[x] Thank her
>> No. 30922
[x] Question her.

Thanks are pointless to an existence such as Muse. Let's just get to the important bits.
>> No. 30923
[x] Thank her, sincerely.
>> No. 30925
[x] Thank her

She pulled our ass out of fire and even rescued Renko. We can at least say that before she leaves. She seems to want to leave, so now isn't really the time to question her.
>> No. 30926
[ ] Thank her question.
>> No. 30927
[x] Thank her.
>> No. 30929
[x] Thank her.

This will do.
>> No. 30933
[x]Run up to her and give her a hug.
[x]"Thank you."
[x]Feel her up.
>> No. 30937
>>30933
[x] MUSE ROUTE MUSE ROUTE MUSE ROUTE MUSE ROUTE MUSE ROUTE MUSE ROUTE MUSE ROUTE MUSE ROUTE MUSE ROUTE
>> No. 30938
I'm also amazed that you found a real arrangement of Enigmatic Doll.
>> No. 30941
Wherein Elly is confirmed for BRO and Muse proves once again that she is awesome.

[x] Thank her.

Do not harass the alchemical vampire.
>> No. 30944
[ø] Thank her.
>> No. 30945
A Muse route would be so much better and more special than a Kana route.
>> No. 30946
>>30945
You're only saying that because she's a Seihou.
>> No. 30956
[x] Thank her.
-[x] Invite her to stay at your house.

We have to reach 50, remember?
>> No. 30957
>>30956
We were told not to reach 50.
>> No. 30959
>>30946
I'm saying that because she's my *favorite* Seihou.
>> No. 30971
>>30957
Even with every PC-98 Touhou and every Seihou, I don't think that's 50.

Well, we'll just have to get some Deathsmiles, eXceed, Twinkle Star Sprites, etc. characters!
>> No. 30985
>>30971
>PC-98 Touhou

Was about to correct you about the Touhou numbers, but then I remembered the windows games aren't supposed to count.
>> No. 31006
>>30985
Who says the Windows characters aren't chilling in Gensokyo right now? It's not like anyone in this story can go check.
>> No. 31128
File 129559357037.jpg - (81.54KB , 460x631 , 3035310.jpg ) [iqdb]
31128
(http://tindeck.com/listen/dsqu)

“Uh... well,” I mutter, awkwardly rubbing the back of my neck. I know what I was just about to say, but when the moment came to say it, I seem to have lost my words. Taking a deep breath, though, I carefully exhale before speaking again, “...Thanks. For everything, I mean. You really helped us out today.”

Muse remains standing quietly, her back still facing us. Unmoving, like a statue, she stands there without uttering even a single word, staying like that for a few tense seconds that unnerve me for some reason. It makes me think I’ve said something to offend her, almost. Then, I hear a small intake of breath, and she begins to speak without turning to me.

“Your gratitude...” she begins, her small voice lacking passion, as is usual, “...is not something I desire or deserve. My actions were not meant to assist you. I was merely pursuing my own interests.”

“Is that so?” I say, shrugging my shoulders. “Even if your goal wasn’t altruism, you still ended up being a huge help, so just let me thank you for it. That’s okay, isn’t it?”

This time, she turns around. Her gray eyes cast a disinterested glance in my direction, and even though it’s the gaze of a child, I still feel a slight chill run through my body, though I do my best not to make it noticeable. Moving slowly, she begins walking toward me, her black cape dragging on the floor beneath her. Only a few feet away, she looks up at me, staring at my face with those hollow eyes.

“In that case,” she begins, her tone very punctual and business-like, her earlier foul mood appearing to have left her, “Would you say that you are indebted to me?”

“Huh?” I say, taken aback a bit. “Uh... sure, I guess I owe you one.”

She points toward Elly, who recoils back at the sight. “Then, can you give her to me?”

“What the hell?!” the person in question exclaims.

“That man from earlier, he injected a very curious substance into her system, did he not?” Muse continues, shifting her gaze just slightly toward the youkai woman. “Although she is no longer displaying any of its effects, there may yet be a residual quantity of the substance left within her. I would like to study that substance. It intrigues me.”

“She’s not really mine to give out, haha...” I say, looking at the girl with unease. Is she being serious?

“I see,” she says, not looking disheartened at all. She then shifts her arm, pointing that same finger at me now. “Then, may I have you instead?”

“Huh? Me?” I say, alarmed and taking a step away. “Why me!?”

“I would like to know why that man desired to acquire you.”

She begins to advance forward as she speaks, and I continue to retreat.

“Perhaps there is something special about you? There must be a reason why his objective was to bring either you or that child back with him; something that you share in common together with that girl. If possible, I would like to avoid involving children within this matter, so you are the only one I can turn to. As a repayment for your debt, would you offer yourself up for study?”

“Er, uh...” I say, not quite sure what to think. “Er... that is, what kind of studies?”

“Nothing too demanding,” she says, stopping and tilting her head slightly forward. “An assessment of your physical capabilities: strength, visual perception, reflexes, constitution; as well as your chemical makeup and possible magical properties. Perhaps a dissection would be in order as well?”

“D-dissection...?” I say, nearly dropping the kid in my arms.

“Just kidding,” she says with a completely straight face. “...that is the modern way to say ‘I am not serious’ in these times, is it not?”

I stare at her, my mouth hanging open for a bit. “Uh...”

“Am I mistaken?”

“No, no...” I say, shaking my head. “You just didn’t seem like the type to uh... joke around.”

“I have been spending the day observing over today’s society, to learn more about it,” she says, a rare glint in her normally dull eyes. “I must confess that I did not expect so much change and advancement within just a few centuries. I had thought that the nation of Yamato was an unremarkable one consisting of small fishing communities, but that appears to be an antiquated belief.”

Well no shit, it’s been a few centuries.

“Oh, uh,” I mutter out, seeing a chance. “...Then why don’t I show you around the city sometime? That way you can learn more about culture and stuff. I can repay you that way.”

“...I suppose that would be acceptable,” she says, nodding stiffly. “Although if you were to give yourself up for experiments, I would not be opposed to it.”

“Ahaha...” I say, laughing nervously. “That was a joke too, right?”

She looks at me without saying anything.

...well, I’d better watch my back around her.

“I will call upon your debt when I wish for it,” Muse says, clearing her throat in a haughty manner as she prepares to turn around, “I will hope that you will be able to stay alive to repay that debt. ‘til that time, this is farewell.”

“Ah, Mr. Leader!”

Just as the girl turns to leave, another woman runs into the room from the hallway leading outside, an expression of distress on her face. Kotohime, still dressed in that fake policeman outfit of hers, runs toward me without paying attention, nearly bowling over Muse as she bumps into her mid-run. The girl manages to stay on her feet, though she seems taken back by surprise, staring with slightly widened eyes at the newcomer.

“I’m sorry!” Kotohime says to me, “There was this loud ‘whoosh!’ and that strange man just appeared in front of me and disappeared with a ‘fwoosh!’ and it’s all my fault and... huh?”

She claps her hands together, seeing the child still sleeping in my arms.

“Oh, there she is. Never mind, then!”

Muse just stares up at her with morbid curiosity.

“Oh!”

Kotohime jumps, finally noticing the girl she’s just bumped into, gazing down at her. She freezes, staring at her face... and Muse just stares back at her, apparently equally interested, or maybe she’s just shocked that such a person could exist.

“Mr. Leader...” the ‘princess’ slowly says, turning her gaze to me again. And then, with a sudden movement, she springs forward, wrapping her arms around the girl and pulling her into a tight embrace. “This kid is really cute! Are you going to let her stay at your home?”

“Ah...” Muse gasps. Immediately, she tears herself away from the woman, distancing herself away from her with her cheeks flushing. “D-do not touch me so freely! And it is very rude to call me a ‘kid.’ I am a lady whose knowledge surpa--”

“So, is she going to stay with us, Mr. Leader?” Kotohime interrupts her, reaching out and petting her head.

Muse seems somewhat pacified, though she’s got a wince on her face. Has she... not yet figured out...? Anyway...

“Hey, hey,” I say, frowning. “Just what kind of a person do you think I am?”

“A person who invites strangers to stay in his home?”

Hey, that’s not true. I don’t--

“Fueh?” Ellen cocks her head to the side when she notices that I’m staring at her.

...well, shit.

I really doubt that she’d accept, but I could give it a try. In light of today's events, having her around would definitely be a big help. Then again, I don't know how much animosity there might be between her and Yuuka, especially regarding that thing they were talking about when they met...

[ ] Go ahead and ask.
[ ] ...better not push your luck.
>> No. 31129
[X] Ask where she HAS been staying up until now.
[X] If it's not somewhere decent/appropriate, offer.
>> No. 31130
[x] Ask where she HAS been staying up until now.
[x] If it's not somewhere decent/appropriate, offer.
[x] If she says no, at least exchange contact information.

Fuck yeah Muse. She doesn't seem to know any more than us, which is good, because we can lure her in with promises of knowledge.
>> No. 31131
[x] Ask where she HAS been staying up until now.
[x] Go ahead and ask.
Oh, how i love Kotohime. At least she will have someone to play with now. And it will be a fun scene to watch her being herself and Muse trying to figure out how to behave.
>> No. 31132
[X] Ask where she HAS been staying up until now.
-[x] Go ahead and ask.

Can't possibly go wrong!
>> No. 31133
[x] Ask where she HAS been staying up until now.
[x] If it's not somewhere decent/appropriate, offer.
[x] If she says no, at least exchange contact information.
>> No. 31134
[x] ...better not push your luck.

Didn't we assure Kana that Muse wouldn't be staying before?
>> No. 31135
[x] ...better not push your luck.

Seriously, we've already got enough people freeloading in our house. Muse is over 1000 years old, I am absolutely certain she already has a home to return to.
>> No. 31136
[x] Ask where she HAS been staying up until now.
[x] If it's not somewhere decent/appropriate, offer.
[x] If she says no, at least exchange contact information.
>> No. 31137
[X] ...better not push your luck.

Guys, do you really want to live with someone who openly admits they want to experiment on you? Sure, it starts with some physical tests but after that, IT'S NEEDLE TIME!
>> No. 31138
[X] ...better not push your luck.
[x] Try to get contact information though

I don't think having Muse over would go so well with most folks, but I think having a way to contact her would good.
>> No. 31139
[x] Ask where she HAS been staying up until now.
[x] If it's not somewhere decent/appropriate, offer.
[x] If she says no, at least exchange contact information.
>> No. 31140
[x] Ask where she HAS been staying up until now.
[x] If it's not somewhere decent/appropriate, offer.
[x] If she says no, at least exchange contact information.
>> No. 31141
>>31137
>Guys, do you really want to live with someone who openly admits they want to experiment on you?
Yes. Very yes.
>> No. 31142
>>31137
Is that some kind of trick question?
Beside
>she tears herself away from the woman, distancing herself away from her with her cheeks flushing. “D-do not touch me so freely! And it is very rude to call me a ‘kid.’ I am a lady whose knowledge surpa--”
She seems too tense anyway, why not lighten her up and show her there are other things to enjoy too.
Kotohime and Ellen just grew on me somehow, better spend some time watching Kothime and Muse doing ... stuff together in the break time. And most of all Yuuka could really need some help. She may not like her but if she dies everyone else dies too. So those are 2 good points to consider while asking if we should take her home. And maybe she can help the MC train.
>> No. 31144
[X] Ask where she HAS been staying up until now.
-[x] Go ahead and ask.

MORE MUSE IS NECESSARY TO ME
>> No. 31145
>>31137
>NEEDLE TIME

Words cannot express how okay I am with this.

[x] Ask where she HAS been staying up until now.
[x] If it's not somewhere decent/appropriate, offer.
[x] If she says no, at least exchange contact information.
>> No. 31159
>>31142
only downside is the high chance of Kana being pissed at such a development.
>> No. 31164
[x] Ask where she HAS been staying up until now.
[x] If it's not somewhere decent/appropriate, offer.
[x] If she says no, at least exchange contact information.

"I have a dream, that one day all non-humans will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the game from which they came, but by the strength and skill content of their danmaku."
>> No. 31165
[x] Ask where she HAS been staying up until now.
[x] If it is not somewhere decent/appropriate, offer.
[x] If she says no, at least exchange contact information.

I do not see any better course of action to take.
>> No. 31167
When you guys say "needle time", you mean, like, Kohaku needle time?

Now I'm imagining Kana and Muse as Kohaku and Hisui.
>> No. 31172
>Guys, do you really want to live with someone who openly admits they want to experiment on you? Sure, it starts with some physical tests but after that, IT'S NEEDLE TIME!

Look here:

>If possible, I would like to avoid involving children within this matter, so you are the only one I can turn to.

This implies that if necessary she will experiment on Renko. That's not cool, but we have no way to stop her if she decides to do so, except to remove the need in the first place.

>only downside is the high chance of Kana being pissed at such a development.

Depends. If the experiments put him out of commission for extended periods, that's more time for Kana to fuck with his head advance their relationship while he's still bed-bound.

[x] Ask where she HAS been staying up until now.
[x] If it's not somewhere decent/appropriate, offer.
[x] If she says no, at least exchange contact information.

Analysis of these mystery chemicals, greater understanding of the MC's powers, and possibly something who can tip the scales in the next Twins match-up. Also, I'm sure she's living under a bridge somewhere.
>> No. 31174
>>31167
Except that Kana's the Yandere and Muse's the Kuudere.
>> No. 31181
>>31174
When he said Kana and Muse are Kohaku and Hisui, he meant respectively.
>> No. 31185
>Kana
>Kohaku
Better give her that damn ribbon or this will end up in hell.
>> No. 31222
[x] Go ahead and ask.
>> No. 31229
[x] Ask where she HAS been staying up until now.
[x] If it's not somewhere decent/appropriate, offer.
[x] If she says no, at least exchange contact information.
>> No. 31251
[x] Ask where she HAS been staying up until now.
[x] If it's not somewhere decent/appropriate, offer.
[x] If she says no, at least exchange contact information.
>> No. 31363
(http://tindeck.com/listen/tbjn)

Contemplating over whether it’s really a good idea or not, I watch the scene before me. Kotohime continues to brush her fingers through the little girl’s silver hair with a wide, goofy grin on her face. Muse silently tolerates it, though her face is still looking a little red, and the way she winces every time Kotohime’s hand descends on her head tells me how averse she is to contact.

Still, I don’t get the feeling that she especially dislikes it.

“Hey, Muse,” I finally call out to her.

The girl looks in my direction again, reaching up to gently push away the hand so insistent on petting her head. Kotohime, looking just a tiny bit less enthusiastic, politely takes a step back while lowering her arms to give the girl some room while turning to look at me expectantly. Muse remains silent, answering me only by giving me her attention, so I take that as a sign to begin speaking.

“Your home isn’t in this country, right? Do you have a place to stay?”

She shakes her head.

“Then how about you--”

“No.”

Shot down so fast. Well, it’s just about what I expected, so I’m not surprised in the least to hear a refusal from her so quickly. I’m about to shrug my shoulders in resignation when I catch a glimpse of Kotohime’s eyes again. She’s still looking at me with those expectant eyes of hers. Well, I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to be a bit more persistent about it, even though I’m not hopeful.

“Hey, just hear me out for a second, okay?” I say to buy myself a few seconds to think. “I mean, you don’t have a place to stay, right? So why don’t you just stay with us? I mean, I wouldn’t mind.”

“I do not need it,” Muse says in a flat tone. “I told you before; I can make do with a minimal amount of rest each day. I do not require your accommodations.”

...well, of course she wouldn’t accept if the offer is laid out this way. It might take a bit more effort than I’m really willing to put out, but I can also word the offer in a way that she might be more tempted. After all, what she values above all is information, right? If I play it to that angle, I might be able to pique her interest, and maybe even get her to consider accepting.

“Consider this,” I begin, gesturing with my arm for more emphasis, the other tightening around Usami Renko’s body to hold her up, “If you’re with us, then that would be an opportunity to closely monitor me and Elly here, right? I mean, I’d rather you not try any experiments or anything on us, but if you stay with us, you might be able to find out something about me or that weird chemical through observation.”

“H-hey,” Elly interjects nervously. “I don’t want to be made into a lab rat!”

She goes completely ignored as I keep silent, ready to gauge Muse’s response. She stares at me with that same hollow look of hers, making it hard to read her expression, and so I try to “read” her using my power. I narrow my eyes, trying to kick my brain into gear as I try to focus it all on her, standing in front of me. But no matter how hard I try, I can’t feel anything but a faint and vague presence from her, certainly not enough to determine her state of mind...

Well, if she needs a bit more prodding to decide, then I’ll give it. I’ll appeal to her practical nature...

“Don’t think of it as a gesture of kindness or anything you need to repay. I just think it would be good for us to have you around. I mean, you don’t have a cell phone or any way for me to contact you if something comes up, right? So, this would be a lot more convenient for me.”

“A mutually beneficial arrangement is it?” she comments quietly.

“That’s right.”

She falls into silence again, staring straight ahead. Her expression remains frozen, and she is completely still for a few seconds more.

Finally, her lips part again to speak.

“I may... consider it.”

“Oh, that’s great!” Kotohime says happily, clapping her hands together.

Muse turns to her, her eyes slightly widened, surprised by the woman’s abrupt interjection. She still seems somewhat bewildered about Kotohime, and she’s not given a chance to assess her before the latter quickly reaches out and grabs her by the hand, leading her by it toward the exit of the daycare.

“Let’s go, let’s go~”

“A-ah...”

I watch as Kotohime drags Muse off, the poor vampire girl allowing herself to be pulled away. But she’s supposedly inhumanly powerful, so if she really wished to, she could easily break herself away from her, but she seems to be somewhat hapless against the antics of that oddball princess. I don’t know if it’s because of her social awkwardness, or if it’s because she finds Kotohime fascinating or what, but at least they seem to be getting along somewhat.

“Hey, is it really a good idea?” Elly asks, looking somewhat worried.

“It’ll work out,” I say, though I’m not all that confident to be honest. Securing my hold on the girl in my arms, I turn to the woman beside me, with a look of concern, “More importantly, are you still feeling alright? You don’t feel any of that nasty chemical still in you, do you?”

“Huh?” Elly blinks, and then shakes her head, “No... not that I know. I do feel a little tired, though.”

“Uh, well... if you’re feeling strange or anything, tell me, okay?”

“I told you I’m fine,” she says with a laugh at the end, placing a hand at her hip. She then reaches out with her arms, and takes the child from me. “Anyway, how long is this kid going to sleep? You’d think with everything that’s happened, she’d be awake by now.”

“Fuwah!” Ellen suddenly exclaims, gasping with a hand in front of her mouth. She hurries over to Elly, stepping in front of the sleeping child, and then extends her palms out. “She won’t wake up until I dispel the magic keeping her asleep. I’ll remove it now...”

I watch intensely as the witch girl pushes forward and back at the air with her palms, curious at seeing more magic, but unlike before, there’s no incantation, and no visible effects of there being any magic, either. I feel slightly disappointed as Ellen draws back with her hands on top of her apron, smiling wide.

“There, she should be awake within a minute.”

I nod, and take a look around me. We’re definitely still in the closed boundary... but just how long are we going to be stuck inside here--

Ah.

My stomach turns as a whooshing sensation washes over my body, making me feel nauseous and sick, with my vision turning into a blur. Once again, I close my eyes to lessen the disorienting feeling and keep them shut until the sensation goes away. Immediately following its departure, I can hear the sounds of people all around me, and I open my eyes.

I’m back in the real world. Finally, I can relax.

Just to make sure, I look around myself.

There’s Ellen, standing by my side, and Elly, facing me with Renko sleeping in her arms, although now the kid’s eyelids are fluttering, like she’s just about to wake up.

“Looks like we’re back,” Elly mutters in a low voice, looking to me. “...As much as I’d like to go home and take a nice long nap, I can’t just walk out now, so I’ll see you later.”

“Okay,” I nod, giving her a wry smile. “Hang in there.”

---

As Ellen and I approach the daycare’s exit, we walk by the receptionist’s desk, where the woman that greeted us on our way in is waiting, with a lump of white fluff resting in her arms. Ellen hurries over to the desk, and receives Sokrates from her with a wide smile. It seems he was transported to his original location as well. That works out conveniently for us; it’d be alarming to the people in here if one of us or the cat just suddenly went missing in a blink.

A bit too conveniently, actually.

Could it be because whoever’s jerking us around sending us to these closed boundaries wants to keep up the masquerade of normalcy? But... why bother? What would they gain from doing such a thing? After all, they’re almost certainly the ones also setting loose those monsters... and then there’s the group that that creep Sylphid belongs to as well. Is he really opposing the ones behind the monster attacks, or are they in league with one another? There’s still so much that I don’t know, and the answers never seem to want to present themselves clearly...

Pi pi pi pi pi!

I nearly jump as I hear the high-pitched ringing, almost forgetting that I’m carrying my cell phone. Reaching into my pocket, I withdraw it and glance at the screen. A new mail... is it a new death mail? Pressing in the keys with a nervous thumb, I see that the new message is from S, just like all the other previous mails, with no subject as usual. Highlighting it with the cursor, I press the confirm button to check the contents.

“Well done...” I mutter the text to myself.

That bastard... is he screwing with me?

Scowling, I jam the phone back in my pocket, striding toward the door leading out with Ellen hurrying to catch up to me.

---

When I head outside, I find Kotohime and Muse waiting for me, right in front of the door to the daycare. The former’s still holding fondly onto the hand of the latter, who still seems incredibly tense and awkward to even be near the woman, her gaze directed at her own feet to hide her blush.

A girl who acts too closely to others and a girl who acts too distantly, huh...?

“Say,” I start out first, before either of them can speak. “Where are Kurumi and Yuuka, anyway?”

“She told me to tell you that she went home ahead of us,” Kotohime answers with a smile. “And Miss Kurumi... well, I haven’t seen her, but I did see a highly suspiciously suspicious person in a suspicion-drawing outfit leave the area in a suspicious way. I suspect that may have been her.”

So they’ve already started heading back home, huh...?

“Well,” I say, clearing my throat. “Since today’s ‘mission’ went well, why don’t we have a little celebration?”

“A celebration...?” Ellen says, looking at me curiously.

“You know,” I say, shrugging my shoulders. “Like... we can have a little party back at home or something like that.”

Although I may not be rich, I can at least afford a one-day luxury like that.

“I think that would be fun,” Kotohime says eagerly.

“Par...ty?” Muse repeats the word slowly, staring at me peculiarly. “How many people will be attending? Have you already sent out the invitations? Rather, your home is too small to be hosting one, is it not? There is no dance floor, and the table is much too small to hold enough refreshments for even ten people...”

“Uh, it’s not that kind of a party.”

“Oh,” she utters, blinking once. “Then, what kind of a ‘party’ will it be?”

“Well, you’ll see, won’t you?”

She falls silent.

Now, if I’m going to host a party, I’m going to need to go to the supermarket to grab a few things. Should I have one of these girls accompany me?

[ ] Go alone.
[ ] Go with Kotohime and Muse.
[ ] Go with Ellen.
>> No. 31364
[x] Go with Kotohime and Muse.
This will be one hell of a shopping trip. Muse does not know much about the world and Kotohime is.... unique.
>> No. 31366
[x] Go with Kotohime and Muse.

I wonder if an option will come up to get Kana anything as well... I'm not sure how well she'll take things.
>> No. 31368
[x] Go with Ellen

Best option. Everyone else is a weirdo who wouldn't even know what to get for a small celebratory party, and going alone is bound to have us faltering and choosing beer. Sokrates will keep us level-headed and provide direction and guidance.
>> No. 31370
>>31368
>Everyone else is a weirdo
>implying Ellen is any better
>> No. 31372
>>31370
I think you missed the point. Read carefully.
>> No. 31373
[x] Go with Kotohime and Muse.
>> No. 31374
[x] Go with Ellen.
>> No. 31375
[x] Go with Kotohime and Muse.
Kotohime is the good kind of weird.
>> No. 31378
[x] Go with Ellen.

Ellen choices get picked so rarely. We might have spent more time with her cat than with her.
>> No. 31390
[x] Go with Kotohime and Muse.
>> No. 31401
void shopping(double& cashOnHand, int& houseMates,int index);

[x] Go with Kotohime and Muse.
-[x] shopping(wallet,6,index);

void shopping(double& cashOnHand, int& houseMates,int index){
cashOnHand-=rand()%index;
houseMates++;
return;}
// Index varies according to who goes shopping
>> No. 31402
[x] Go with Kotohime and Muse.
>> No. 31405
Sokrates or Muse? Difficult choice.
>> No. 31407
[x] Go with Ellen

fuuuwaaahh
>> No. 31409
>[ ] Go alone.
Skinny guy carrying a shit-ton of groceries by himself after having faced monsters just a minute ago.
>[ ] Go with Kotohime and Muse.
A rambunctious child and an ill-informed girl from a different century that doesn't deal too well with others.
>[ ] Go with Ellen.
A total airhead... and THAT CAT.

We lose no matter what we do.

[x] Go with Kotohime and Muse.

Craziest, yet safest option.
>> No. 31411
[X] Go with Ellen.
>> No. 31422
[x] Go with Ellen
>> No. 31433
[X] Go with Ellen.
>> No. 31434
[B] Go with Ellen.
>> No. 31436
[x] Go with Kotohime and Muse.

In the end, I can't resist Muse.
>> No. 31453
[X] Go with Ellen.

Let it be a suprise for Muse.

>>31401
Let's see, you didn't seed your PRNG, you don't check if the amount being spent exceeds cashOnHand, and there's a good chance of no money being spent. Also, if this is for yen, there's no decimals, so cashOnHand could be a uint or ulong.
>// Index varies according to who goes shopping
You should have named it maxSpendingAmount or something similar. Index is an overused variable name.
>> No. 31457
[X] Go with Ellen.
>> No. 31493
> Index is an overused variable name.
Especially given thats its not, you know, an index to anything.
>> No. 31705
File 129714497475.png - (71.48KB , 400x400 , 11579268.png ) [iqdb]
31705
(http://tindeck.com/listen/ndrw)

“Hey, Ellen?” I start, turning toward the girl.

She blinks, cocking her head in puzzlement. “Fueh?”

“You wouldn’t mind coming with me to the supermarket for a bit, would you? Since we’re having a little party and all, we need to buy a few things to prepare for it.”

“Um...” she deliberates for a moment, cocking her head to the other side, the movement of her body causing Sokrates to slip a little from her shoulder, its claws extended and clinging tightly to the fabric of the girl’s dress as the cat claws its way back up. “I wouldn’t mind, but can I get some magical components, too?”

“Uh...” I say, scratching my head. “I’m not sure what kind of magical components you could get from a supermarket, but sure, if you see something, just go ahead and grab it.”

She claps her hands together, smiling with joy. “Fuwaah... thank you!”

Was that such a big deal?

I turn to the other girls. “Anyway, go on ahead. You know how to get home, right?”

Kotohime smiles, and claps her hands together lightly, connecting the tips of her fingers together. “Of course. It’s obvious that responsible adults would know the way home, right?”

“In what way are you a responsible adult,” I say, completely deadpan.

“Well, to be a police officer, you’d have to be a responsible adult, right?” she says, raising a finger to the sky as if she’s pointing out something very obvious to a kid who’s clueless about the world. “Therefore, since I’m an officer of the law, I must be a responsible adult, which means I can get home just fine on my own!”

Let’s not argue with that line of logic.

Turning to Muse, I speak to her, “...And don’t go picking a fight with Yuuka, okay?”

“I would not do such a thing,” she says, looking up at me with unamused eyes. “It is more likely that she would attempt to start an altercation. Your warning is wasted on me and you would do better to tell her that instead.”

“Well then,” I say, placing a hand at my waist, “since you’re a mature and understanding person, if she tries to goad you into a fight, you wouldn’t fall for it, right?”

She raises her nose to the air, snorting. “Naturally.”

For a millennium year old vampire, she sure is easy to flatter.

“Well then, I’ll be there soon, so go on ahead,” I say, waving the girls goodbye as I walk away in the direction of the local supermarket, accompanied by a girl and her cat.

---

“By the way,” I say, slipping my hands into my pockets as we walk the streets together, looking over to the side, “what kind of magical components are you thinking about buying, anyway? I don’t think the supermarket has poisonous mushrooms, newts, eyeballs or any of that kind of stuff on sale.”

“What the object is doesn’t really matter,” Ellen replies, in a tone different from her usual everyday voice. Less ‘excitable, cheerful young girl,’ and more ‘knowledgeable teacher.’ “You see, magical components are mainly used by human practitioners of magic, or by magicians who don’t have a lot of magical energy of their own, and act only as ‘fuel’ for the spell. Even without it, a magician can still perform the spell, although he or she may be inconvenienced.”

“Uh...” I stare dumbly, trying to swallow the info she’s feeding me. “Okay, so you’re saying what you use as a component doesn’t matter?”

“Yes,” she nods energetically, almost dropping Sokrates again, who has to crawl its way back up to the girl’s shoulder again. “Everything holds a certain amount of magical energy within it. Of course, the components that hold the greatest amount of magical energy, or have a ‘link’ to the spell being performed are preferred.”

“A link?”

“Yes,” she nods.

“You mean like the memory erasing potion and the forget-me-not?”

“A good example,” she says, smiling. “Because forget-me-nots have a strong link with memories, when used in a potion that alters it, it greatly increases the chances of the potion turning out successfully.”

“That makes sense,” I say, nodding. “...So, basically, even the things you can buy at a supermarket can be used as spell components, just like when you used those spices to make that potion.”

“Right.”

She sure seems knowledgeable about magic... I guess she really is a witch, after all.

“Oh!”

Hearing an exclamation from behind, I stop, and turn around. A young woman with platinum gold hair and a pleasant expression on her face hurries over to us, slowing down to a walk just a few yards short of where we are.

“Hello!” she says, waving a hand as she steps toward us. “Do you remember who I am?”

“Nope,” I say.

“Ahaha,” she laughs, winking. “It’s not good to tell lies.”

“Who are you?”

“Ugh...” she draws back, looking hurt. “Did you really forget me already?”

“Hello, Rei. What are you doing out here?”

She instantly cheers up. “Oh, well, I’m just running to the store for a bit, to buy some more fabric. Alice was running out, so I thought I would go out and buy some more materials for her. Maybe a new sewing kit, too? Do you think she’d be happy if I did that?”

“Well, I can’t imagine her being unhappy about it.”

“Aha, sorry, that was a silly question,” she says, turning her attention to the girl next to me. “Oh... is she your daughter?”

What.

...Do I look that old?

“Oh, no, no,” I say hastily, while Ellen watches the two of us with a puzzled look on her face. “She’s, uh... she’s a relative. She’s my niece, from abroad.”

“Oh, of course,” she nods, winking again. “I was just kidding, by the way. So, are you planning to stop by our church later? And will you attend the sermon this Sunday?”

“I think I’ll pass on the sermon,” I say, getting the chills for some reason.

“I thought you’d say that,” Rei says, shrugging her shoulders. “So, what are you out here for?”

“I’m just heading out to the supermarket, for some groceries.”

“The fabric shop is in the same direction,” she concludes, stepping forward. “Why don’t we walk together part of the way? Or... would you mind?”

“Uh, that’s fine,” I say, nodding and turning around, the three of us beginning to walk together now.

Rei starts humming a tune I don’t recognize under her breath, as she walks alongside me. I glance over to her a few times, my eyes particularly drawn by the lock of hair sticking up from her head like an antenna. She seems like a normal person, but the church she goes to can’t be normal at all, and that Alice girl, who warned me to stay away from it, seems like she’s really close to this woman. Just what is their relationship...?

[ ] Bring up the topic of the girls at the church.
---[ ] Ask to know more about Alice.
---[ ] Ask to know more about Sara.
---[ ] Ask to know more about the two who always seem to be together.
[ ] Talk about something mundane instead.
>> No. 31709
[x] Bring up the topic of the girls at the church.
---[x] Ask to know more about Alice.
---[x] Ask to know more about Sara.
---[x] Ask to know more about the two who always seem to be together.
Who wouldn't want to know more about Alice.
>> No. 31710
[x] Bring up the topic of the girls at the church.
---[x] Ask to know more about Sara.

No chance of this winning but I must try~
>> No. 31711
[x] Bring up the topic of the girls at the church.
---[x] Ask to know more about Alice.
>> No. 31714
[x] Talk about something mundane instead.

No need for serious business all the time, this is fine too. If we are just regularly chatting about shit, onlookers will mistake us as just a young couple shopping with their daughter, and I am all down for that.
>> No. 31719
[x] "So, do you like Alice?"
-[x] "...like that?"

Jab~
>> No. 31722
[x] Bring up the topic of the girls at the church.
---[x] Ask to know more about Alice.
>> No. 31723
[x] Bring up the topic of the girls at the church.
---[x] Ask to know more about Alice.
---[x] Ask to know more about Sara.
---[x] Ask to know more about the two who always seem to be together.

All of the above.
>> No. 31724
[x] "So, do you like Alice?"
-[x] "...like that?"
-[X] pass it off as getting back at her for the Daughter comment.
>> No. 31732
[x] Bring up the topic of the girls at the church.
-[x] Ask to know more about the two who always seem to be together.
>> No. 31765
[X] Bring up the topic of the girls at the church.
---[X] Ask to know more about Alice.

While the MC would have no reason to connect the two Alices, the information might help us, the readers.
>> No. 31861
File 129766653532.png - (243.95KB , 600x750 , rei.png ) [iqdb]
31861
“Say, um, Miss Rei,” I begin awkwardly, not really knowing how to phrase the question on my mind. Quickly attempting to form some kind of a valid question before opening my mouth again, I turn to the woman walking by my side and ask her, “Can I ask you something?”

“As long as it doesn’t fall within the list of things you never ask a lady.”

“Exactly what kind of a relationship do you have with that Alice girl?” I ask, deciding to go for the direct approach.

She seems a bit surprised, her eyes widening a little. Then, she narrows her eyes, scrutinizing my face with suspicion, while her lips struggle not to break out into a devilish grin. “Hmm... why do you ask?”

“Well, uh...” I say, feeling embarrassed by her stare for some reason, “You two seem kinda close, so I was just wondering if, you know, there was anything there...”

Wait, what the hell am I saying?

“Ahh...” she nods understandingly, now no longer able to hold back her mouth from becoming a mischievous grin. “So are you interested in Alice? Or... maybe you’re interested in me instead?”

“Ahahaha,” I laugh, feeling it would be rude to say anything else.

“But, well, it’s not really anything special,” Rei says, shrugging her shoulders as she speaks in a very easygoing tone. “I guess you could say it’s like the relationship between a teacher and her student, or something close to that, since I’ve been sharing my beliefs with her. We’re not quite close enough to be siblings or anything like that, but there’s a kind of a mutual trust between us, I’d say.”

“I thought it was like that,” I say, nodding along.

“It’s only been six months since I’ve met her here, so I guess you could say that’s a bit of a progress,” she notes.

“Only half a year?” I ask, biting my lip.

“Yes,” she says with a nod. “That’s how long it’s been since we met in this city.”

Six months. She’s not normal, and she appeared only recently, which fits in with the pattern of the inhabitants from that other world. Since the time of appearance between Kotohime and A, Elly and Yuuka, and Kurumi are all different, it wouldn’t be unfeasible to assume that the time range between all of those displaced can be spread out in the last six months. But then, just what could have caused that? A disturbance in the space-time continuum? God, I hope it’s not that complicated.

Not willing to poke any further than that, I allow the conversation to ease into a silence, continuing to walk along the street without talking. The crowd around us is as thick as ever, and yet not a word is heard said to any of us; just the sounds of traffic and the overheard conversations of passing-by groups of students and friends. I wonder when the world became like this? That we would live our everyday lives, interacting with only the small social circles that we form. Thinking about that, I remember what Kotohime said, about how things would be nice if everyone’s hearts were connected. But, would that really be so great...? I don’t know.

“By the way, have you seen the news lately?” Rei asks, looking to me again.

At that moment, my heart sinks, deflating like a popped balloon; I’m almost certain she must be talking about Kurosawa. There’s no doubt that his death was reported on the news, and... and Rei knows that I was searching for him. She’s going to be suspicious of me. Who wouldn’t be, in a situation like this? She knows I was searching for a guy named Kurosawa, for reasons that I wouldn’t disclose to her, and if she also knows that he was reported to have committed suicide just a few days later, she’ll make some kind of a connection...

“What’s wrong?” she asks, looking concerned. “You look pale.”

“Oh, uh,” I stammer, touching a hand to my face as if to confirm what she’s said, “Nothing. It’s nothing. Anyway, what were you going to say?”

“Well,” she says, frowning in small dissatisfaction at my response, but continuing anyway, “You know about Icarus program, right?”

“Oh, the shuttle, right?” I say, my heart knowing relief again. So she wasn’t talking about Kurosawa... “Yeah, I’d read an article or two on it on the internet. It’s supposed to be the first manned voyage to Mars.”

“Well, this morning, they reported that they were able to make a successful landing,” she says with a bright tone. “Man finally made it onto the surface of Mars.”

“It’s about time,” I say, snorting.

“It’s amazing,” she says, smiling wide. “And just last year, construction of a base on the moon began. They say colonization of the moon can be expected to begin within the next decade. It feels like we’re really living in the future, doesn’t it? Mankind sure has come along a long way.”

“I don’t think we’re that great,” I say, fishing out a cigarette.

“That’s not true,” she says firmly. “Do you know the story of the Tower of Babel?”

“Tower of Babel?”

“It’s a biblical story,” Ellen suddenly pipes up, having kept silent up until now.

“That’s right~” Rei says, reaching over to pet the top of Ellen’s head affectionately, before drawing back. “Long ago, when all the people of the world spoke a common tongue, they united to build a single tower that would reach up to the heavens, so that all of humanity would be united at its top, instead of scattered throughout the world. When the Lord found out what they were doing, He destroyed the common tongue, and scattered their languages so the humans would be divided once more. Do you know why He did that?”

“Why?” I ask.

“It’s because He feared them. United in a single nation, under a single language, with a united purpose, He was certain that humans could achieve anything that they sought to do. And because He was afraid, He divided them, so that they could not unite. The collective will of humanity and what it can do when directed in a single direction is something that can frighten even the creator! Don’t you think that’s quite something?”

“Ahahaha...” I try to laugh it off again. “But, that story was written by us humans, right? It just seems a tad conceited of us.”

“Hmm...” she says, nodding slowly. “I suppose, but I still think that humanity isn’t something to scoff at. I’m sure there are people who would agree with me on that.”

“You’re kind of a weird Christian, aren’t you?” I ask, turning to her with a small grin. “I don’t know much about the religion, but isn’t it based around the one fact that humans are powerless before the might of God, or something similar to that?”

“That’s not something I agree with,” she says, shaking her head. “I believe even individual humans can have the power to change the world.”

...I guess that can be true, sometimes.

“How about you?” she suddenly turns the question on me, edging closer. “Do you believe that, too? Or, maybe, you believe that you yourself can be one of those individuals? If you put your mind to it, could you alone change the world?”

This question feels... familiar.

[ ] Maybe you can.
[ ] You’re just a drop in the ocean.
>> No. 31862
[x] Maybe you can.
>> No. 31864
[x] You’re just a drop in the ocean.

Nope. Humanities power lies in numbers and unity. It would be ridiculous to believe that a sole man can change everything. Hell, she even just said this with the Babel story.

Also, shit is about to turn another degree of real. A lunar base is sure to piss off the lunarians, and all hell will break loose.
>> No. 31867
[x] Maybe you can.
>>31864
That is untrue. There were many men who changed the world alone. It may be true that Humanities power lies in numbers but there are always individuals who are special. While it does not mean he will become a living god he sure is capable of great things.
>They say colonization of the moon can be expected to begin within the next decade.
Seems like a war is about to start.

The whole Babel story made me think. Could it be related somehow to what is going on? God fearing humans and that is why things happen?
>> No. 31868
>>31867
Also there are men that inspire humanity to move in certain directions.
>> No. 31869
Wouldn't being a drop of water in an ocean be good for an empath's abilities? He wouldn't be able to relate if he thought he was different.
>> No. 31870
[x] Maybe you can.
He's unique, but not irreplaceable
>> No. 31871
>“It’s because He feared them. United in a single nation, under a single language, with a united purpose, He was certain that humans could achieve anything that they sought to do. And because He was afraid, He divided them, so that they could not unite. The collective will of humanity and what it can do when directed in a single direction is something that can frighten even the creator! Don’t you think that’s quite something?”

Shinki confirmed for Satan.

[x] You’re just a drop in the ocean.

Nothing can be done alone. No man is an island.
>> No. 31872
[x] Maybe you can.
Guys? Didn't we say we would try (even if Yuuka left after asking)?
>> No. 31873
[x] Maybe you can.

I can't imagine being punished for being consistent.
>> No. 31876
[x] Maybe you can.

>This question feels... familiar.

Didn't Yuuka ask us a similar question, and we answered with a "no" of some sort? Or was it someone else?
>> No. 31877
[x] Maybe you can.
>> No. 31878
>>31876
>“F-fine,” I manage to finally blurt out after a few moments of deliberation. “But I’m doing this for me I-it’s not because of you, okay? It’s not for your sake. I’ll prove to you that humanity can solve the problems they create themselves!”
Nah, we went into tsundere mode. That conversation starts in thread 6, if anyone is interested in rereading it.
>> No. 31881
>>31869

Not exactly. What the MC said was that it was impossible for people to understand another, because everyone was different. However, empathy isn't just understanding others - after all, you could approach it logically, go through the history of someone's life, pin down motivations, and say that you've understood that person. And you'd be right because, on a logical, detached level, you would see why that person does what he does.

But that's not empathy. Empathy is understanding another person on an emotional level. It's being able to, in a sense, share feelings, being able to connect with others in spite of differences in what people have and what they've experienced.

>He wouldn't be able to relate if he thought he was different.

The MC isn't empathetic because he thinks that he's different from others, although that obviously plays a role. He's not empathetic because he doesn't try to understand others. To disagree with Rei is to just say that every human is the same - same, in the sense that no one would be able to effect a great change in the world.

By saying that, the MC is just grouping people again, and preemptively refusing to understand others. Even if most people could not change the world on their own, maybe some can - and the MC would have to be empathetic, would have to meet those people and talk and try to relate, before he could make that call.

Also, of note.

>“Prove to me that human achievements don’t always come at a cost to the world,” she says, unblinking and completely serious. “Prove to me that it’s possible for human efforts to not only stop the decay of the world, but reverse it. If you accomplish that, then I’ll congratulate you.”

And in thread 7 -

>…It’s not that I believe what she’s asking is impossible. Not for other people. Not for people who are greater than I am. But it’s because she’s asking me that I can’t answer her so surely. I’m not qualified to do anything like that. I don’t want to have to do something like that. It’s too lofty a goal for a nobody like me. I can’t save the environment or the world or whatever, it’s just not within my abilities to do so. I don’t have the knowledge, drive, or resources to pull off something like that on my own.

And then the MC says 'Yes' to Yuka anyways. She wants him to prove her wrong - not anyone else. Though the scope involves all of humanity, in the end, it's a specific, personal challenge. So even if we can't change the entire world by ourselves, even if we make use of empathy and connections to get others on board - we would need to start the change, and see it to the end.

And that's what Rei is asking. Can any one person, through his actions, through his decisions, change the world?

I think, by agreeing to Yuka's challenge, we've already started a change.

[x] Maybe you can.
>> No. 31883
[x] Maybe you can.
>> No. 31900
[X] You’re just a drop in the ocean.

True.
>> No. 31901
>>31881
This is a good post and you should feel good for making it.
>> No. 31903
>>31881
Thank you for bringing up points that i would have missed otherwise.
>> No. 32004
>>31861

just marathoned your story. I noticed you've captured a japanese manga's style very well- is this intentional?
>> No. 32031
[x] Maybe you can.

Sounds like Shinki's been listening to Sariel a lot.
...Still have no clue what's with him brainwashing them all or whatever's up with him making his base at the church. Hope that's not going to bite us in the ass.
>> No. 32061
[x] "I'm just a drop in the ocean... no, not even that. I'm a grain of sand in a drop in the ocean."
-[x] "Just a pathetic piece of shit who can do no good" smile and take another drag "Being nothing is great, isn't it?"

I like fucking with her.
>> No. 32067
>>32061

Let's NOT talk like that in front of Ellen. Actually really old or not, that just seems wrong.

[x] Maybe you can.
>> No. 32152
updates?
>> No. 32158
[x] "I'm just a drop in the ocean... no, not even that. I'm a grain of sand in a drop in the ocean."
-[x] "Just a pathetic piece of shit who can do no good" smile and take another drag "Being nothing is great, isn't it?"
>> No. 32162
[x] Maybe you can.
>> No. 32164
>>32152
One update, coming up.

---

...Geez, what’s with all these people expecting so much out of me these days? Figures, you get involved in just one supernatural dilemma or two, and people start expecting you to save the world or change it or destroy it or something of ridiculous scale like that. Yuuka was like that, too. She asked me if I, with my own power, could stop the “decay of the world,” as she called it, but what exactly am I meant to do?

But, I was able to save Elly, wasn’t I?

Even though I’m not sure how, that was something that even a loser like me could do. A loser like me, living with no real desires or goals, was able to focus on saving a friend, and did something that I’d never believe myself to ever do. I risked my life for someone I had known for only a week at most, and though it might have been stupidity or blind emotion driving me forward, I succeeded, somehow.

If I’m capable of that, then, shouldn’t I try to aim for something even higher, as well? I’ve discovered that I can do something that I’d never even have considered myself to be capable of, so doesn’t that also open up all of the other things that I’d believed to have been above me? Shouldn’t I... shouldn’t I at least try to reach for something, even if it’s something that’s beyond my own abilities? If you never try, then you never know if it was too big for you or not.

“...I suppose it could be possible,” I say, following my moment of consideration. “It’s really unlikely, but it just might not be completely out of my reach. I mean, who knows what could happen later in life, right?”

Rei gives me a bright smile. “That’s right. Life’s not enjoyable unless you’ve got hopes and goals to work toward, isn’t that how it should be? That’s why...”

She reaches over and snatches the cigarette held in my hand just as I bring a lighter to it, holding it up with a look of scorn.

“You shouldn’t smoke. It’s not a healthy habit.”

Rei hands the cig back to me.

“I’ve been thinking about quitting lately,” I say, though I still light the end of the cigarette, taking a long drag on it.

“You really should,” she says, nodding.

Before I’ve realized it, I find myself standing next to the supermarket, the sign on top of the building shining brightly in the quickly darkening air. I turn to the woman beside me, stopping in my steps as she and the girl accompanying me follow my lead and stop in front of the building.

“Well, I guess we part here for now,” Rei says, her hands folded on top of one another as she gives a small, polite bow. “I hope we’ll meet again. Maybe you can drop by the church sometime?”

“Yeah, maybe,” I say, holding up a hand for a small wave.

Giving me one last smile, she turns and begins to walk away from us, continuing down the street as we watch her depart.

“She seems like a nice lady,” Ellen suddenly pipes up.

“She does,” I say, taking one last drag on the cigarette held in my hand before tossing it to the ground and stamping the light out. Letting out a sigh as I shove my now free hand into a pocket, I turn and look up at the market’s logo again before facing the front set of doors. “Well, let’s go on in.”

“Yes,” she nods.

---

...Even though Ellen said she wanted more components for her spells and potions, she didn’t ask me for much during our time shopping. Mostly, she wanted some vegetables that I’d normally never even touch, much less eat. Our budget’s a bit tight, though, since I don’t have nearly as much money to spend frivolously considering that we have a household of six-soon-to-be-seven. I suppose that’s one of my flaws though; I never really plan ahead and just act spontaneously. It’s a bit too late to be lamenting that, though. I’ll have my monthly income coming in not too long from now, so we won’t starve, at the least.

I think I’m good. I got some snacks, beer, and some provisions for the coming weeks so we don’t starve. We walk out of the market, Ellen carrying a bag of groceries while I’ve got my arms full with a heavy sack of rice. Hefting it up with a groan as I try to find a comfortable way to lift it, eventually I settle for just carrying it over my shoulder.

“Fuwah... Are you okay?” Ellen asks, looking concerned.

“Y-yeah, I’m okay,” I say, securing the sack. My arms are just now starting to feel sore from carrying and running with that kid for so long, so I feel even weaker than I usually am. Still, I can make it back home, probably.

...

I struggle to climb the set of stairs leading up to my home, wincing as I switch the shoulder I’m carrying the rice with. I really am beat, after all that’s happened today. Ellen waits for me at the top of the stairs, and as I manage to climb up the last of them and breathe a little easier, she opens the door for me. I thank her briefly before heading inside, instantly feeling the warmth and coziness of my own home the instant I pass over the threshold leading into it.

“I’m home,” I say in an exhausted voice, lowering the sack to the ground with a heavy sigh of relief.

“Welcome back,” a voice greets me, and I look up to meet them. I hear the sound of the door shutting behind me, and the voice adds, “And welcome back to you too, Ellen.”

“Hey, Kana.”

“Hello!” Ellen greets back, taking off her shoes and heading further in while I stay, taking her bag of groceries with her.

“You’re still alive, master,” the maid before me says with an eerie giggle, her lips curled into a half-smile. “I was wondering what I’d do if it turned out that you died today.”

“Hey, that’s not something you say to someone when they’ve come home, now is it?”

“Oh, you’re very right, master,” she says, and twirls a gloved finger in the air. At the beckoning of her call, the sack of rice I plopped down on the floor lifts itself up into the air, and floats toward the maid, who hasn’t taken her eyes off me. “...And it seems you invited a guest over as well, right?”

“Uh, well, yeah,” I say, feeling awkward now. “Sorry.”

“What are you apologizing for, master?” Kana says, widening her eyes as if in surprise. “It’s none of my business who you invite to your own home.”

...And yet she always seems bothered.

“You’re planning a party, right, master?” she asks, smiling widely now. “Go ahead and stretch out your legs. I’ll have everything ready soon enough.”

Before I can reply, her form fades from view, although the bag of rice still flying in the air continues to move of its own accord, vanishing behind a wall, presumably soaring in the direction of the kitchen. Feeling just a bit stupid, I take off my shoes, shoving them with my feet to rearrange them, and step further into the house.

Now then, I’m finally back home...

[ ] Head to your room and rest.
[ ] Go find your ‘guest.’
[ ] Relax in the living room.
[ ] Is there anything you can do to help out at the kitchen?
>> No. 32165
[x] Go find your ‘guest.’

Is there more than one run planned for this?
>> No. 32166
>>32165
This is THP, we'll be lucky if this run ends.

[x] Is there anything you can do to help out at the kitchen?
>> No. 32167
[x] Go find your ‘guest.’
We did send them off. Let's see how our ´newest addition is faring.
Shouldn't it be time to buy a new house to make place for all the new touhous that we will pick up later on?
>> No. 32168
[x] Go find your ‘guest.’

Because a jealous Kana is best.
>> No. 32174
[x] Go find your ‘guest.’
>> No. 32178
[x] Head to your room and rest.

Today was a long day. He deserves to kick back and take it easy for a little bit. Everything else can wait till the actual party gets going.
>> No. 32180
[X] Head to your room and rest.

If we're alone, then it's more likely for Kana to come and visit us.
>> No. 32181
[x] Head to your room and rest.
>> No. 32182
[x] Go find your ‘guest.’
>> No. 32184
[x] Head to your room and rest.
>> No. 32185
>>32180
I thought she was busy in the kitchen.
>> No. 32186
>>32185

But she's a ghost. She could probably make a trip to us without anyone else noticing.
>> No. 32188
>>32186
Poltergeist, if we want to get technical.
>> No. 32194
[ø] Is there anything you can do to help out at the kitchen?
>> No. 32214
Errr... If you guys wanted to spend time with Kana, shouldn't heading to the kitchen be the obvious choice? Bedroom seems to have more chance of Kotohime wandering in in my opinion.
>> No. 32219
[X] Is there anything you can do to help out in the kitchen?

Kana Kana Kana Kana Kana Kana
>> No. 32220
>>32214

I completely missed that option.

Changing >>32180 to

[ø] Is there anything you can do to help out at the kitchen?
>> No. 32228
[ ] Is there anything you can do to help out at the kitchen?
>> No. 32229
[X] Is there anything you can do to help out in the kitchen?

You know Kana, your not really being that subtle.
>> No. 32231
I would like to remind Kana fans that to progress with her, the meaning of the story she presented us will have to be found.
>> No. 32233
[x] Is there anything you can do to help out at the kitchen?

Well, at least now he seems to be slowly realizing that Kana isn't too keen on all this company. Hopefully he'll manage to do something about that.

Hopefully.
>> No. 32235
>>32231
True that and finding a way to deal with the tension that's slowly building.
>> No. 32245
>>32165
No.
>> No. 32251
[X] Is there anything you can do to help out in the kitchen?

Coming home to Kana after a long day of work is a joy, and working with her is still a way to unwind.
>> No. 32256
>>32251
[X] Is there anything you can do to help out in the kitchen?
>> No. 32262
[X] Is there anything you can do to help out in the kitchen?
>> No. 32361
[x] Go find your ‘guest.’
>> No. 32379
[X] Is there anything you can do to help out in the kitchen?
>> No. 32380
[x] Head to your room and rest.
[x] Phone your mother.
>> No. 32381
>>32380
Secret Option. Talk to mother, gain more touhous.
>> No. 32386
>>32381
Yeah I think we have enough for now. We only have so much space and cash.
>> No. 32392
>>32381
>Secret Option. Talk to mother, gain more cash with which to pay for touhous.