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36008 No. 36008
[x] Explain yourself.

“You didn't leave us much choice,” You say, motioning back to the gate, “We needed to talk to your body guard one way or another. Had you checked your mail, you would have seen that there was a message from the Guild saying that we were coming.”

The man raises an eyebrow. “All I get is junk, you can't blame me for not checking more often. What do you want?”

You look down to the girl in front of you. “Youmu Konpaku?”

“Yes,” She says, not looking at ease at all with this situation, “Who are you?”

“Jack Steam,” You say, “That's Marisa Kirasame, and the youkai goes by Chen. May we come inside and explain?”

The man, cranky as ever, sighs. “Youmu, could you go grab that letter? I want to make sure these guys are telling the truth. Regardless, your youkai will need to stay outside.”

Youmu looks up to you, to the rest of your party, and then gives a firm nod. “I'll be right back.”

She heads down the path at a leisurely pace, while you just watch her go.

“Wait,” Chen says, “Why can't I come inside? It looks nice in there.”

“Exactly,” the man says, “And I intend to keep it that way.”

“She's not going to trash anything,” Marisa argues, “Well... I don't think so, anyway.”

“Yeah! What's the big deal?”

“I get enough youkai trying to break in,” The man grumbles, “I'm not about to invite one inside myself!”

You raise your hand, and sigh. “Look,” You say, turning to Chen, “Would you mind staying outside? We shouldn't be too long.”

“But---”

“The notice is coded for my eyes only. They are either well informed, or who they say they are.”

Youmu's returned by now, holding a rather impressive bundle of mail under one arm and the Guild notice in the other. Chen seems ready to argue again, while Marisa doesn't seem to care. The man just frowns, and rubs his forehead with his fingers.

“Fine. The youkai can come in. But, I swear, if you do anything funny...”

“Relax,” You say, “You'll be good, won't you, Chen?”

She nods “Yep! I just want to see.”

Marisa laughs. “Come on, let's get this over with already.”

The man, still rubbing his forehead, nods. “Yeah. Let's get this over with. Follow me.”

Youmu takes up a spot right next to the man's side, while the rest of you trail behind. This place is, indeed, very nice. Very modern. Definitely not up to the scale of that mansion in Rokford, and certainly without all the history... but it's clear that this man has quite a bit of money. There's plenty of expensive artwork around.

The man leads you all up to a balcony on the second floor. It looks out over another clearing, although judging by the stumps and fallen trees, this one is fairly recent. It's not groomed nearly as well, and the wall doesn't extend out to encircle it yet.

“Take a seat,” The man says, motioning around to a bunch of chairs scattered around, “Now, tell me. What are you here for? I seriously doubt the Guild is sending me more guards for free.”

“A recall,” Youmu says, plainly, “I am to return to the capital with them.”

You shrug. “That's pretty much it.”

“What about my contract?” He asks, “I've got her for another two months!”

“Unless we see fit to nullify it,” You correct, “Which, in this case, we are. You'll be refunded an appropriate amount.”

“... why?” Youmu asks, “I have a job to do here.”

“It's complicated,” You say, “We can explain on the way.”

“I can't go in good faith,” Youmu says, “And I think Mr. Takuni would appreciate the reason.”

The man does look incredibly angry. At least he's waiting his turn to speak. “Bah. It's probably some stupid political reason. I came out to the country to get away from all this, you know. At least youkai are kind enough to eat you, instead of running you around in circles until you die of old age.”

“You keep mentioning youkai,” You say, “Are they really an issue this close to town?”

“They're all over my land,” He says, “I've been trying to clear that spot for a year now, but they keep attacking anyone I hire. Now, they're trying to break into my house and get me while I sleep!”

“They're very good at covering their tracks,” Youmu says, shifting a bit, “And fast, as well. I have managed to kill a few, but there are many more.”

[ ] Offer a few hours of assistance. Even if it's fruitless, it'll make the old man happy.
[ ] Suggest he find someplace else to stay for a while. Fighting back legions of demons is more important.

>> No. 36010
[x] Suggest he find someplace else to stay for a while. Fighting back legions of demons is more important.
>> No. 36011
[x] Offer a few hours of assistance. Even if it's fruitless, it'll make the old man happy.

This guy is very wealthy, and seems to be a good client of the guild as well. We should make certain he has a continued positive impression of our organization, so he will always turn to us for any aid.
>> No. 36012
[x] Offer a few hours of assistance. Even if it's fruitless, it'll make the old man happy.
>> No. 36013
[x] Offer a few hours of assistance. Even if it's fruitless, it'll make the old man happy.
>> No. 36014
[x] Suggest he find someplace else to stay for a while. Fighting back legions of demons is more important.

No time for sidequestin', got a world to save
>> No. 36015
[x] Suggest he find someplace else to stay for a while. Fighting back legions of demons is more important.

He's got youkai running rampant on his land, and has probably had bodyguards fighting and killing them for months.

A few hours spent hunting isn't going to do much except burn a few hours.
>> No. 36016
[x] Offer a few hours of assistance. Even if it's fruitless, it'll make the old man happy.
I think there's more than meets the eye in this situation.
>> No. 36017
[X] Offer a few hours of assistance. Even if it's fruitless, it'll make the old man happy.

Perhaps the infestation's related to the current situation at the capital some how?

Only one way to find out!
>> No. 36018
[x] Offer a few hours of assistance. Even if it's fruitless, it'll make the old man happy.

Fuck the capital, there's an elusive group of youkai to track down.
>> No. 36019
[x] Suggest he find someplace else to stay for a while. Fighting back legions of demons is more important.

Pretty much explains it all. Fighting off certain doom is more important than this. And even if, it is not like a few hours will help the guy in the long run.
>> No. 36020
[x] Suggest he find someplace else to stay for a while. Fighting back legions of demons is more important.

I like this story's Chen.
>> No. 36021
[X] Offer a few hours of assistance. Even if it's fruitless, it'll make the old man happy.

Works for me~!
>> No. 36023
[x] Offer a few hours of assistance. Even if it's fruitless, it'll make the old man happy.

“How large is the group you've been using?”

“It has just been me,” Youmu says.

“Mercenaries are worthless,” The old man grumbles, “Tried those. You Guild folks do a pretty good job, but your rates reflect that.”

“Maybe we could offer some free assistance,” You say, “We really do need to get going, but an hour or two won't hurt anything.”

“One last hunt, and then I will leave,” Youmu says, “Is this fine with you, Mr. Takuni?”

The man leans back in his chair before turning to you. “It's better than nothing, which is what you could give me. I guess I'll have to take it.”

Youmu nods, and stands up. “Then, let's make use of this time, Jack.”

You, too, stand up. “Certainly. You up for a hunt, Marisa?”

“If we're having one,” She says, “I'll go. Might be a good way to blow off some steam. You said these guys are really difficult to track down for some reason?”

“Yes,” Youmu nods, “They tend to strike at night, and leave no tracks. They're also very quiet.”

By now, your 'host' has made his way towards the door. “Well, I'll let you all sort it out,” He says, “I've got some buisness to take care of. Leave your key on my desk when you leave, Youmu.”

Youmu nods. “I will. I'm sorry I need to leave so abruptly.”

“Yeah, well,” The man says, “That's how it goes.”

With that, he lets himself out, leaving the four of you up on the balcony.

“Pleasant guy, isn't he?” Marisa asks, a bit hushed, “Geez.”

“He has his reasons,” Youmu says, “Now, what is the reason for this recall? My letter says nothing, other than you'll be coordinating it for me.”

“War, basically,” You say, taking a peek over your shoulder to make sure that you are indeed alone. “Forces from Makai are probably laying siege to the capital as we speak. I'm not sure on the specifics, but I get the feeling we're going to be acting as a flanking force since they have us stopping at Vandenburg to group up.”

“Basically,” Marisa says, “Everything is going to shit.”

“That... sounds like a good description,” Youmu says, “But what about the Border? And the rest of the Guild?”

“We know they can get through the Border, but not how or when. And the rest of the Guild is spread out pretty thin across the empire. It's probably just a bunch of initiates, the Guildmaster, and her aides there right now.”

“And we have time to hunt youkai for a few hours?”

“To be honest,” You say, “Our timetable right now has us arriving in the early evening. I doubt we'd risk a night assault on a bunch of demons, so I figure we've got time.”

Youmu nods. “They would have a tremendous advantage if we struck at night.”

“We can talk about this on the way, though,” You say, “Let's go hunting.”

“Agreed.”

“So, we're going out there?” Chen asks, leaning over the balcony, “The forest?”

“Wait, you want to go hunting with us?” Marisa asks, “Isn't that, uh...”

“Just want to watch,” Chen says, “I want to see how you fight.”

“Have they made any demands or anything?” You ask Youmu, taking a gaze out into the forest, “Or is it just a pack of random feral youkai?”

“If they have made demands,” She says, “I haven't heard them. The ones I've stricken down have been feral, but I've always suspected they have a leader. Feral youkai wouldn't be this organized.”

“You have any trinkets stashed away in that coat of yours?” Marisa asks, “Sounds like the leader would be the one to hit, but you know how the expression goes.”

“Something about finding a youkai in the middle of a forest, right?” You ask, with a laugh. You've always preferred that to the needle and haystack one. “Yeah, I don't have anything.”

“Really?” Chen asks, “But, it says where it is.”

“What does?”

“Oh... you can't see it?” She asks again, “It's calling everyone to come help.”

You can see absolutely nothing out of the ordinary, although you're looking where she's looking.

“... why is there a feral youkai traveling with your group, anyway?” Youmu asks, “It's highly irregular.”

“Long story,” You say, with a chuckle. Then, you turn back to Chen. “What do you mean, 'calling everyone to come help'?”

“Um...” She pauses for a minute, “It's like... a road sign, I guess? But not really.”

Very strange. “And no one else is seeing this, right?”

“Right,” Marisa says, with a firm nod, “If she were a human, I'd say she's nuts.”

“If it were that simple,” Youmu says, “I would have followed this path myself.”

“So,” Chen continues, “We can just go straight to it! Well...”

She pauses for a moment.

“Wait. Are you going to kill it?”

[ ] Yes.
[ ] If it comes to that.
[ ] Not unless it attacks us.
>> No. 36024
[x] Not unless it attacks us.

Why kill a perfectly good prisoner? We can take it back to the train and have tea with Sakuya.
>> No. 36025
[X] If it comes to that.

Curiously despite the organization, wouldn't it behoove the youkai to consider finding another place to nest if their first choice ends up getting them killed after a few tries? They got to be pretty desperate to get inside the manse.

Maybe they fear the demons way more than death by Youmu's blade.
>> No. 36026
[x] Not unless it attacks us.
>> No. 36027
[x] Not unless it attacks us.

'cuz why not.
>> No. 36028
[x] Not unless it attacks us.

sure
>> No. 36029
[x] Not unless it attacks us.
A prisoner, yes. I don't think it will work, but whatever.
>> No. 36030
[x] If it comes to that.

If this thing comes at us, it's going to die. Chen has shown herself to be surprisingly intelligent for a "feral" youkai, so we shouldn't lie to her nor commit ourselves to any one plan of action.
>> No. 36031
[X] If it comes to that.

Works for me~!
>> No. 36033
[X] If it comes to that.
>> No. 36036
[x] Not unless it attacks us.
>> No. 36037
[x] Not unless it attacks us.
Pacifist.
>> No. 36040
[x] Not unless it attacks us.

Picking the option Chen is most likely to favor, since she's the person we'll be communicating through.

Epileptic tree time:

Ostensibly, Makai contracted the vampire to depopulate an entire city at the outskirts of the empire in order to bait Guild forces there. It seems absurdly excessive for what they could expect to gain from it, but the other resources in Rokford are useless to them, as the coming conflict will not be one of moving armies across a map, or a protracted siege, but a Trojan horse-style slaughter. In which case, they need to make the city as unguarded as possible.

Rokford was probably not a special case. All over the empire, Makai could have made contracts with power-hungry elements--Remilia just having been the most successful. Suddenly, you have a lot of other branch offices, big and small, not reporting in, or requesting additional resources (this haywire being the reason Youki had to answer the earlier telegram rather than an occupied Eirin) while Makai, doing all this by proxy, has its entire military might to bear on the capitol.

This place isn't nearly as valuable a target as Rokford if you look at it in terms of logistics or resources, but through the eyes of Makai's game plan, it's very valuable, because the attending Guild member is the daughter of the Guildmaster's personal assistant.

Possibility 1: The youkai are being used by Makai to harass this very wealthy man, who can afford to hire some of the best warriors in the Guild. The youkai are lead by an intelligent leader, but they make no demands--demands which this recluse could easily afford to pay--because they have been made greater promises by Makai, or because they are being extorted.

Possibility 2: The man is as suspicious as the youkai. He has this big manor in the middle of nowhere with no clear reason for his wealth, no apparent family or servants, and minimal contact with the outside world. He putting forth a lot of effort to clear land for an unknown use. It's a good enough excuse to tie up Guild personnel for a long whiel, and though he was ultimately unable to retain Youmu through the service period (and therefore the war), he's bought Makai a few more hours with this snipe hunt. His 'business' I imagine could be a report to Makai on the situation.
>> No. 36042
>>36040
Good Post, thanks for posting it. I don't like the lack of trust you're displaying, but considering the situation it's certainly warranted.
>> No. 36043
[x] If it comes to that.
>> No. 36053
[x] If it comes to that.
>> No. 36071
[x] Not unless it attacks us.

“Not unless it attacks us,” You say, with a shrug, “Even then, I'd like to avoid killing it if we can.”

“Why is that?” Youmu asks.

Marisa, of course, laughs at that. “That's what he does. I'll bet anything he's going to try and strike a deal with it.”

“Hmm,” Chen says, “Then, that's OK. But I can't show you for free.”

You raise an eyebrow. “Why not?”

“Because we can make a deal!” She says, “How about some fish?”

“See,” Marisa chuckles, “If this were me, I'd just blast her and make her tell me where to go.”

“I... guess that's fine,” You say, unable to help yourself from smiling a tiny bit. Maybe paying her in the first place was a mistake. “I'm sure you won't mind if I wait to pay you, though.”

“Nope,” She says, “'Cause I know where you keep the food anyway.”

“Come on, you two,” Marisa says, “Let's get this over with. It shouldn't take long at all if we've got a trail.”

“Just follow me,” Chen says, proudly, before leaping off the balcony. “Let's go!”

Youmu follows after her, with a very impressive leap. Although you guess her chances of landing so comfortably like that aren't exactly zero, you'd guess that there's some supernatural forces at work. She might not be a mage, but she's certainly got some kind of magic working for her.

“Let's, uh... take the stairs.” Marisa says, watching them with awe. “I don't want to break something.”

You laugh. “Yeah.”

You meet up with the rest of the group outside, and have Chen act as some sort of bizarre bloodhound. Most of the forest is pretty dense; if it wasn't for Youmu taking care of some of the more obnoxious plant growth, it would be a real pain to get through.

Chen seems to know exactly where she's going, and, after a long while, it's evident that your group isn't the only one to have follow this invisible path. Soon, you start to see things like footprints, bits of hair caught in the underbrush, torn bags... all sorts of rubbish.

Eventually, Youmu halts the group to examine a wooden box of sorts.

“I recognize this. It was stolen a few weeks ago.”

“That's a humidor, right?” Marisa asks, also taking a look.

“It is.”

“What would a youkai want with a bunch of cigars?” Marisa wonders, “Strange.”

You shrug. “Judging by the rest of the stuff around, it was probably an indiscriminate target.”

“Maybe,” Marisa says, “But all the cigars are gone.”

“We're almost there,” Chen says, “Let's keep going, ok?”

Youmu gives a nod. “Sorry. Yes, let's keep going.”

Another ten minutes or so brings you to a rocky ridge, surrounded by a clearing, in the otherwise flat forest. There seems to be a cave leading into the side of the rock at a downward angle – a perfect place for a youkai.

“This is it,” Che says, triumphantly, “We're here! Hello?”

“It's no wonder I couldn't find this place,” Youmu says, “There's a strange enchantment here.”

“I noticed it too,” Marisa says, “Not sure what it's for, but there's something fishy going on.”

You had noticed something odd, but had assumed it was just the old forest being a forest. “It's fairly weak, though, isn't it?”

“Subtle,” Marisa corrects, “I wouldn't call it weak.”

“Hello?” Chen asks again, “Hello?”

“Who are you talking to?” You ask, looking around.

“Dunno,” Chen says, “'Cause she's not answering. Helloooo? We're here to help!”

Ah... the one who laid this trail, then.

“Well,” Marisa says, looking towards the cave, “If I were a youkai, I know where I'd be right now.”

[ ] If the trail ends here, this is where you should wait.
[ ] It wouldn't hurt to look around the cave.
================================================
Sorry about no update yesterday, I planned to finish it at night but I passed out instead.
>> No. 36072
[x] If the trail ends here, this is where you should wait.

There could be an ambush. And if there's not, that might be someone's home. It's rude to just enter, you know? Wait quietly until we're greeted.
>> No. 36074
[x] If the trail ends here, this is where you should wait.

If this is where the trail ends, then there is probably some sort of greeting we will get before being allowed entrance into the cave proper. Since we're here to strike some sort of deal, ostensibly, than we should observe proper protocol.
>> No. 36075
[x] If the trail ends here, this is where you should wait.
Let's no be rude and wait until the other side is ready.
>> No. 36076
[X] If the trail ends here, this is where you should wait.
>> No. 36078
[x] If the trail ends here, this is where you should wait.
>> No. 36081
[x] If the trail ends here, this is where you should wait.
>> No. 36083
[x] If the trail ends here, this is where you should wait.
---[x]Not out in the open, though. Cover would be good.
>> No. 36086
[x] It wouldn't hurt to look around the cave.
>> No. 36089
Why do you think it repeatedly signals for help? It and its kind are likely in some mortal peril. You might thing think 'why bother then' but doing nothing while it happens wouldn't be good for Chen's loyalty.

If they were setting up a trap, they would at least have attempted to use some gesture readily understood by humans, or at least visible. This feral didn't even stop to make sure she it was followed, and Youmu admitted that it's a path she never would have found on her own. Since there is evidence of strong magic at work, I have hypothesize that this is the site of a deal with Makai, or some other power, by these youkai, and it is now turning very sour for them, probably because they'd no longer needed.

As far as concerns of trespass, they wouldn't have known that you're affiliated with the loggers or the owner of the manse. The only one it would recognize is Youmu. Since Chen's been known to play along, you could try to pass yourselves off as concerned strangers.

[x] It wouldn't hurt to look around the cave.
-[x] Have Youmu cover the exit, in case this is a trap.

Normally you'd have koakuma for rear guard, and Youmu's presence during the negotiations could make things nasty.
>> No. 36097
[x] If the trail ends here, this is where you should wait.

“And if we were youkai,” You say, looking towards Chen, “We'd be waiting outside yelling hello.”

“Yeah, I guess,” Marisa says, seeming to understand what you're saying, “I feel kind of awkward standing here like this, though.”

Chen, however, seems to have no qualms about it. She finally takes a seat on the ground, watching the cave entrance intently.

“We need to wait,” She says, “Just a tiny bit, though.”

You nod, and take a seat as well. “That's easy enough.”

The other two opt to stand. The birds continue to make noise, and the wind continues to blow... until, soon enough, you see something emerge from the cave.

A white rabbit.

“Oh!” Chen says, “There it is.”

“... that's the gang leader?” Marisa laughs, “Come on, you're joking, right?”

The rabbit sniffs the air, acting completely normal for a rabbit. It looks around to all of you, and then heads back inside the cave. Chen gives a rather out-of-place nod, and stands up.

“We need to follow it,” She says, “'Cause it said we should.”

This whole thing is getting stranger by the minute. Animal empathy, or something?

“After you,” Marisa says, with a laugh.

Although you'd rather not go behind Chen, that ordering does make the most sense. You let the cat lead you down into the earth.

The cave system is much bigger than it looked on the outside. Still rather narrow, but you count at least four different places you could have turned off before reaching your destination. Aside from Marisa using some sort of low-powered beam, there's also no light.

Until you reach your destination, at least. Eventually, the cave leads into a larger cave – and this one has been outfitted as a living quarters. There's light, furniture... hell, it's even got flooring in places.

“Damn,” Marisa notes, “Didn't expect to see this. This is one hell of a secret base.”

Multiple rooms, too, if the side passages with doors are any indication.

“I found it like this when I moved in. Whoever decorated it was awesome.”

Ah... and that, if you had to guess, would be your host sitting at the nearby table. A youkai, for sure; an overgrown rabbit, if the ears are any indication. She's in a rather simple, light pink dress, and her hair looks fairly filthy... but, she doesn't strike you as a feral youkai. Probably older. There's something intelligent about this one.

Chen, however, seems to know this thing.

“Tewi?”

“... Chen?” The rabbit laughs, “I thought you looked familiar. What are you doing here? What's up with the humans?”

“They're trying to help, um... that guy. With the mansion?”

Tewi clicks her tongue, and stands up. She turns towards Youmu. “Tch. I knew I recognized you from somewhere. That old geezer's bodyguard, right? I didn't think I'd be in a fight today.”

“It's OK,” Chen says, turning to you, “They said that you had to attack first. Right?”

“That's right,” You nod, “We come in peace, if you'll have us. I'm Jack, that's Marisa, and she's Youmu. You seem to already know Chen.”

Tewi turns towards you, now. “Sure, I've met Chen a few times. Dunno if you three have ever met her boss, but we go back a ways.”

“Let's get down to business,” You say, “I don't mean to be rude, but we came out here to chat about what's going on in the forest.”

“Right,” Tewi says, “You're helping that old coot out. What do you want to talk about?”

“About the attacks,” You say, “I'm wondering if there's any way that they could stop, assuming you're behind them.”

Tewi laughs. “No.”

The bluntness of the response causes you to miss a beat, so to speak. “... why not?”

“He deserves it. I was passing through the area,” She says, “And decided to put my head down in the forest here for the night. This was before that place of his was even built. Next day, I wake up to find him standing behind a row of guys with spears. He tells me to get off, and never come back.”

“He does own the entire forest,” Youmu notes.

“Nature owns this forest. Deeds and stuff like that are all trash,” Tewi says, “Anyway, I'm sticking around to show him a lesson. Most of the local youkai don't like him much either, so we all teamed up. Their brawn, my brains, right? Either he gets fed up and leaves, or we harass him until he dies of old age.” With a laugh, she adds, “So, I guess I might be gone in a few years. But not now.”

“And the looting?” You ask.

“Eh, not really my thing,” She says, “The guys I work with, though, seem to think I need gifts for organizing this whole thing. You should see some of the stuff they bring back.” A pauses. “Does that clear thing up for you?”

You nod. “I think so.”

“So, uh... that's it?” This rabbit woman asks, “I was expecting more. You don't have much for business, huh?”

[ ] (Write-in)
[ ] That's it.
================================================
Again, sorry for the delay. I'm in my hometown for a few weeks, and people I haven't seen in years keep showing up.
>> No. 36098
[x]Ask if she would accept a personal apology.

Venerable youkai, such as her, are usually incredibly prideful. From how she tells it, it seems she's really just sticking around to harass this guy because of wounded pride. If we can have the old dude apologize for this idiotic misunderstanding, it might go a long way to fixing this shit. Maybe. Or something.

The only alternative I could think of is blasting the shit out of her.
>> No. 36100
[x] Ask if she would accept a personal apology.

I like it.
>> No. 36101
[x]Ask if she would accept a personal apology.

I'd imagine if the old coot wasn't so stubborn and greedy, then perhaps they can work something out beneficial for both sides.
>> No. 36103
[x] Ask if she would accept a personal apology.
Worth a shot.

[x] This operation seems self-sustaining. Do you really need to stick around? Because Yukari might have a deal for you.

It's never too early to start recruitment attempts~ Fuck yeah Tewi.
>> No. 36104
[x] Ask if she would accept a personal apology.

So that old guy is being an idiot. Trying to find a deal that is good for both sides sounds like the best plan.
>It's never too early to start recruitment attempts~ Fuck yeah Tewi.
And so much this. Due that she was just passing by and knows Chen it should be possible to add her to the team. Make it happen.
>> No. 36105
[x] This operation seems self-sustaining. Do you really need to stick around? Because Yukari might have a deal for you.
>> No. 36106
Wait, wait, better idea.

[x] Ask if she and all the other youkai would accept a personal apology. Each and every one of them.

Let's see how he likes a small force of youkai showing up in his face, while his former bodyguard watches. That'll leave an impression, all right.
>> No. 36107
[x] How about an agreement?
-[x] He apologizes and let's you roam around in the forest, and you cease the attacks, the looting and let him come and go through the forest if he wants to.
>> No. 36108
[x] Ask if she would accept a personal apology.

“... hold on a minute,” You say, “So, there's no way you'd make a deal to end all this?”

Tewi laughs. “Maybe a really lopsided one. What were you thinking?”

“Wouldn't something like an apology suffice?”

“Mr. Takuni has done nothing wrong,” Youmu says, calmly, “This is imperial land, and he is abiding by imperial rule. He has nothing to apologize for.”

Chen shakes her head. “He made Tewi mad, so he's got to apologize.”

Tewi mostly ignores Youmu, speaking to you instead. “Maybe a reeeeally good one. It'd be great to see a stubborn old man like that on his knees, begging for mercy.”

“Do you think he'd do it?” You ask, turning towards Youmu.

Youmu... pauses, and frowns. “I am not sure. With me leaving, and no Guild aid available for a while... it's possible, but unlikely.”

“Come to think of it,” Tewi says, “I wonder if he even remembers me?”

“If he does, he never mentioned it to me,” Youmu says.

“I should really pay him a visit, then,” Tewi says with a grin, “That alone might be worth it. You guys want a drink or anything? I've got all kinds of great wine here. Takuni, was it? He sure knows where to get the good stuff.”

Marisa looks like she might accept, but you speak up first. “I'm afraid we're just passing through. This was just a detour.”

“Right,” She says, “Well, before you go, mind filling me in on what's going on?”

“With... what?” You ask, somewhat confused by the question. However, it doesn't seem like she's looking to you for a response. She's looking towards Chen.

“Something bad,” Chen says, “Boss wants me back in the capital. Jack's giving me a ride, because he's going to see Boss too. It's faster than running.”

Tewi smiles, turning to you. “It must be something big if she's getting humans involved. Might explain that ill wind last night.”

“I don't know,” Chen says, “Just that it's bad. Wasn't it something with demons, Jack?”

“Makai,” You say, simply, “They're invading. Laying siege to the capital as we speak.”

“Oh, that's what it is?” Tewi asks, sounding oddly upbeat after that revelation. Honestly, it sounds like someone just told her about a prank, rather than an apocalyptic invasion “Hah, that is big, isn't it? It explains a lot, too. Yukari loves that place.”

“So,” You say, trying to bring this conversation to a close, “You'll try to talk things through with Mr. Takuni?”

“Sure,” She says, “Then, I'm going to head to the capital. This sounds like a once in a lifetime show.”

[ ] Offer her a ride. Surely, she'll get there faster by train.
[ ] Continue.
===============================================
Just wanted to confirm that this is indeed what you wanted.
>> No. 36109
[x] Offer her a ride. Surely, she'll get there faster by train.

Fuck yeah it is. Although the idea of her arriving a dozen updates after we do, bearing a grudge against us for making her go by foot, is appealing too.
>> No. 36110
[X] Offer her a ride. Surely, she'll get there faster by train.

Works for me~!
>> No. 36111
[X] Offer her a ride. Surely, she'll get there faster by train.

And the lord didith say: "Why Not?"
>> No. 36112
[x] Offer her a ride. Surely, she'll get there faster by train.
>> No. 36113
[X] Offer her a ride. Surely, she'll get there faster by train.

We already got one feral youkai with us, why not bring the entire zoo while we're at it?
>> No. 36114
[x] Offer her a ride. Surely, she'll get there faster by train.
>> No. 36115
[x] Offer her a ride. Surely, she'll get there faster by train.
>> No. 36116
[x] Offer her a ride. Surely, she'll get there faster by train.

From a more pragmatic view, this immediately removes Tewi, the "brains" of this outfit, from the immediate premises. Even if things don't pan out with the Old Rude Fuck, this will give his estate a respite from youkai attacks. Or at least well coordinated attacks capable of lasting harm.
>> No. 36117
[x] Offer her a ride. Surely, she'll get there faster by train.
Tewi get.
>> No. 36118
[x] Offer her a ride. Surely, she'll get there faster by train.
Wasn't the main side effect of breaking a deal with makai bad luck?
>> No. 36122
[x] Offer her a ride. Surely, she'll get there faster by train.
>> No. 36123
It's that time again. I need another break to sort some things out. Everything should return to normal (daily updates) on Sunday if this goes as planned.
>> No. 36146
[x] Offer her a ride. Surely, she'll get there faster by train.

“Could you use a ride?” You ask, “We've got plenty of room on our train.”

“Oh, she can come?” Chen asks, before turning to Tewi, “You'll come, right?”

Tewi laughs. “You're a good man, Jack. Sure, I'll ride with you guys.”

“Then, it sounds like things are settled,” Youmu says, “Shall we be going?”

You nod. “We should get going, yeah. Chen, can you lead us back?”

“Um... maybe,” She says, “The path goes here, but not back.”

“I can lead you,” Tewi says, hopping out of her chair and heading for the exit, “You guys took the long way here, anyway. We can take the short way back.”

The trip back is very similar to the one out to this spot, only it takes half as long. It's quite a bit more overgrown as well, and you manage to scratch yourself up fairly good on the various plants along the way. Eventually, all of you arrive back at the clearing you left from in the first place, the mansion in plain view.

Tewi pauses at the edge of the forest, however. “Eh... you're sure he doesn't have any guards in reserve? It feels weird just marching in like this.”

“I was the last one,” Youmu says, before turning to you. “Jack.”

“Yeah?”

“I need to pack my things,” She says, “So, I shall accompany Tewi inside. Shall we meet back at the station?”

[ ] Actually, you kind of want to see this.
[ ] That sounds good.
>> No. 36147
[x] Actually, you kind of want to see this.

That was kind of smooth. Youmu was not strongly against it and just took things pretty good.

It would be a shame if something were to go wrong now.
>> No. 36148
[x] Actually, you kind of want to see this.

Right. Your things. This totally isn't a transparent excuse to kill Tewi for your bodyguard. and suspicion aside, I really do want to see this
>> No. 36149
[x] Actually, you kind of want to see this.
>> No. 36152
[X] Actually, you kind of want to see this.

It'll help just in case he goes full retard.
>> No. 36173
> It would be a shame if something were to go wrong now.

You just had to say it...

[X] Actually, you kind of want to see this.
>> No. 36175
[x] Actually, you kind of want to see this.

We're the ranking Guild member, so we're the one with the ultimate responsibility of resolving our account with the client.
>> No. 36181
[x] Actually, you kind of want to see this.

You look towards Tewi. “Actually, I'll accompany you both. I want to see how this goes.”

“Hmm,” Youmu says, “I would like to be present for this meeting, regardless. Shall we go now?”

“Fine by me,” Tewi says, with a grin, “I wonder if he's actually learned his lesson yet.”

“Eh,” Marisa says, “Would you mind if I sat this one out?”

You don't see any reason to deny her request, so you give her a nod. “Fine by me. Any reason?”

“My gut tells me it's going to be unpleasant. Plus, I've got a few things I need to check before we leave. I'll meet you all back at the train.”

“Check?” Chen asks, “Like what?”

“Mechanical stuff,” Marisa says, “Nothing major, but as long as we've got time I may as well look.”

“Can I watch?”

“If you want to,” Marisa shrugs, “It's not really all that interesting.”

“I want to.”

Marisa laughs, and turns to you. “I guess we'll both be back there. Good luck.”

The two of them head around the building, back for the front gate, while the rest of you head inside.

“Mr. Takuni is probably in his study,” Youmu says, “Follow me.”

You follow the little swordsman upstairs, and to one end of the main hall. She gives two solid knocks, waits a moment, and then gives another. There's a muffled 'hold on' from behind the door, and a bit of a wait. Soon, though, Mr. Takuni opens up the door.

“Youmu, Jack,” He says, somehow sounding even more worn down than before. Then, his gaze shifts to Tewi... and he freezes.

“Hi,” Tewi says, looking positively amused by this whole thing, “Remember me?”

The old man looks to the rest of you, back to Tewi, and back again... he seems at a loss for words.

“Guess so,” She laughs, “Say, you ready to apologize yet?”

He looks over you all once more, before finally coming up with something to say. Or scream, for that matter.

“Youmu, kill that thing!”

“I'm sorry, Mr. Takuni,” Youmu says, “Jack seems intent on settling this peacefully.”

The man glares daggers at you. “She's responsible for all this, right? Then why isn't she dead? First you come to tell me that I've been wasting my money on the Guild, then you bring this thing into my home?!”

[ ] It isn't fair to gang up on him like this. Take him aside to talk in private.
[ ] This man really needs to learn to shut up.
[ ] This is between him and the rabbit. Keep quiet.
>> No. 36182
[x] This is between him and the rabbit. Keep quiet.

Stay cool, guys. Tewi's got this.
>> No. 36183
[x] It isn't fair to gang up on him like this. Take him aside to talk in private.

This probably keeps him from being a retard hopefully.
>> No. 36188
[x] This is between him and the rabbit. Keep quiet.
>> No. 36189
[x] It isn't fair to gang up on him like this. Take him aside to talk in private.
>> No. 36190
[x] This is between him and the rabbit. Keep quiet.
>> No. 36191
[x] It isn't fair to gang up on him like this. Take him aside to talk in private.
>> No. 36193
[x] It isn't fair to gang up on him like this. Take him aside to talk in private.

All those years spent living there and not a damn thing learned from it all.
>> No. 36195
[x] It isn't fair to gang up on him like this. Take him aside to talk in private.

Senior member of the guild here. It's our responsibility right now to ensure client satisfaction. Besides, this is clearly going to get ugly if Tewi keeps egging him on.
>> No. 36196
[x] It isn't fair to gang up on him like this. Take him aside to talk in private.
>> No. 36197
[x] It isn't fair to gang up on him like this. Take him aside to talk in private.
>> No. 36199
[x] It isn't fair to gang up on him like this. Take him aside to talk in private.

“Let's step inside,” You say, motioning to his study. Remain calm. That's the key here. “And, you two... wait out here.”

Mr. Takuni looks like he'd sooner gouge your eyes out with his fingers than listen to you, but backs away from the door regardless. “Fine.”

Tewi looks like she's about to make another comment, but you manage to catch her gaze beforehand. She seems willing to defer to you for now. Maybe she wants to see how you handle this. Youmu seems indifferent, as always.

Either way, you step inside the study and close the door behind you, leaving those two in the hall. It's a thick door; even that yelling from before would be mostly muted outside.

“That youkai,” He asks, “What did she tell you?”

“That she was trespassing, and you forced her to leave,” You say, indifferently. “You have done nothing illegal under imperial law.”

“... then why in the hell would you side with her? I was perfectly within my rights.”

“I'm not siding with her,” You say, “I'm trying to broker the most reasonable solution here.”

“Oh, it's reasonable for me to grovel before some youkai because I ran them off of my own property now? Last I heard, the Guild was set up to protect people against that.”

“We're more for dangerous situations,” You shrug, “Where people are dying, or being forced to act as slaves. In this case, all she really wants is an apology. And, well, maybe for you to not run off random youkai sleeping in an unmarked forest at spear point.”

That last bit was a guess, since Tewi has said that the building hadn't started yet, but it seems to hit home. “We were just clearing out the place,” He says, “I just thought she was another feral one. Still doesn't give her any right to loot my place every night.”

“She was just organizing the other youkai you managed to upset,” You point out, “Turns out they were so grateful that they thought she needed gifts. And, they were bothering you already, so...”

“Yeah, yeah, I get it,” He says, “I get it. It'd be stupid to keep this up any longer. This isn't worth my time.”

It takes a great force of will to keep from agreeing with him. His attitude isn't uncommon; and, if he came from the capital, he'd fit right in with most of the people there. Still, intelligent youkai are something you welcome, not shun, when you're out in the countryside like this.

The man looks towards the door, then towards you. “Let's go out.”

You're not sure when you became a doorman as well, but it's just a small thing. You open the door. Tewi's leaning against the adjacent wall, while Youmu is standing much as she was before.

There's an awkward silence. Everyone seems to be waiting for everyone else to speak, before Mr. Takuni clears his throat.

“I'm sorry for running you off,” He finally says, “Probably shouldn't have done that.”

Tewi glances to you, as if to say 'that's all?', but nods regardless. “Just don't do it again, alright? That's the worst way to wake up in the morning.”

The man nods, and turns to Youmu. “I can take your key now.”

After settling the key matter, and with no more words, Mr. Takuni returns into his study and closes the door. You can't help but breath a sigh of relief.

“Well,” You say, taking a deep breath, “Let's go deal with your stuff, Youmu.”

She nods. “It shouldn't take long.”

The three of you begin walking, as Youmu's room is downstairs. It's... well, honestly it makes you a bit jealous. The room is huge, and it's only a guest room. You could probably fit your whole living room inside it.

While you wait, you decide to strike up a conversation with Tewi. She's wearing quite the smile, but you're curious how she took that.

“Was that good enough for you?”

She laughs. “It could have better, but I guess so. That was probably the hardest thing he's had to do in years.”

“I was surprised he apologized at all,” Youmu admits, between stuffing her bag “What did you say to him?”

Tewi responds before you can answer. “Not much, really. The truth. He basically just let the guy vent.”

“Were you listening in?” You ask.

“Eh, hard not to,” She says, playing with one of her huge ears, “These things aren't just for show, you know.”

“Ah, I... hadn't really though about that,” You admit, “That makes sense.”

“I probably should have told him where that cave was,” Tewi laughs, “Well, maybe he'll find it one day. There's a lot of loot in there still.”

“I think he won't miss it,” You say, “It doesn't even look like anything has been stolen, just looking around the place.”

“Yeah, he's quick to replace it all,” Tewi nods, “Not sure where he gets all the money, to be honest.”

“Investments,” Youmu says, “He has quite the sense for what businesses will succeed or fail. Also, I'm done.”

“Really?” You ask, “We've only been here a few minutes.”

“I travel light.”

You, too... but, you're usually only in a place for days at a time, not months. “Well, let's get out of here, then.”

“Certainly.”

Marisa's still outside by the time you reach the train, with Chen bouncing all around. Grabbing tools, taking close looks... that sort of thing.

“This is your train?” Tewi laughs, “Wow, I'm surprised it still moves.”

“We didn't have time to be picky,” You laugh, “It works, so that's what matters.”

“Oi,” Marisa says, when she finally notices you, “How'd it go?”

“Well enough,” You say, “We got the apology, but I think my ears are still ringing. That guy can be loud when he sets his mind to it.”

“Haha, I bet,” She laughs, seemingly in a good mood. You guess Chen hasn't been bothering her too much. “Well, we're ready to leave when you are. I just need to pop a few panels back on.”

“Good,” You say, “Let's get out of here.”

“Roger,” She says, before turning to a pile of parts on the ground “Hey, Chen? Grab all those for me, would you?”

“Sure!”

You just shake your head at the scene, and hop into the last car. Tewi and Youmu follow.

“So, I guess you'll both be staying back here,” You say, “It's not much, but it should be fine for the day and a half or so we have left to travel.”

“Are there other agents on board?” Youmu asks.

“One agent,” You nod, “And one, uh...”

[ ] Prisoner.
[ ] Unlicensed mage.
[ ] … well, it's complicated.
>> No. 36200
[x] … well, it's complicated.

I like Tewi by default, but your Tewi is an especially Tewi Tewi. Same goes for all your portrayals, which is weird, cause the setting is completely different from the norm.
>> No. 36201
[]...Prisoner. Unlicensed mage. It's complicated, okay?
>> No. 36203
[X] … well, it's complicated.

It is.
>> No. 36205
[x] … well, it's complicated.
>> No. 36206
[X] … well, it's complicated.

Works for me~!
>> No. 36207
[x] … well, it's complicated.
better leave out the part where she wants to kill him.
And hooray for Tewi.
>> No. 36210
[X] … well, it's complicated.
>> No. 36214
[x] … well, it's complicated.
>> No. 36215
[X] … well, it's complicated.
Like, what hasn't been complicated so far?
Just about every other action we take brings on some new aspect of complication.
>> No. 36216
>>36215
killing Flandre wasn't very complicated
>> No. 36217
Can Anon explain to me the logic behind how Sakuya is being treated in this story? It seems pretty bipolar to me.
>> No. 36218
>>36217

In a way, that makes sense, considering our MC is so schizophrenic that his magic revolves around it.
>> No. 36219
>>36217
Some want her as a prisoner, some want to win her over with kindness. It seems bipolar because it is bipolar.
>> No. 36220
[x] Prisoner.

We've been constantly told that she would sooner see us dead, and have had to take up preventative measures against this possibility from occurring. Sakuya sure as shit isn't our friend.
>> No. 36222
>>36220
Not yet. There is still enough time to accomplish this.

Dying a useless death after doing something that no one cares about, and is most likely only good for yourself, is not the way to go.
>> No. 36223
>>36222
This, depending on our choices, we might be able to convince Sakuya to live on and as a member of the Guild.
>> No. 36224
[x] … well, it's complicated.

You hesitate, trying to come up with a good one-liner to describe Sakuya to the new agent, but nothing good comes to mind. “... well, it's complicated. She's not Guild, but she'll be with us for the time being.”

“Another youkai?” Youmu asks, “I mean no offense, but you seem to draw their company.”

You laugh. “I've never really considered that an insult. But, no. She's human, although one raised by a vampire lord. We ended up killing her master on the mission before this, and she's with us to make sure we tell the absolute truth in our mission report.”

Tewi laughs. “Seriously? You guys took down a vampire lord?”

“Well,” You say, shrugging, “It was three on one, and we had a few lucky breaks. The fight could have gone either way.”

“Then, this curse you're carrying around,” Tewi says, “That must have come after. No way you would have gotten lucky with that storm cloud hanging above your head.”

Odd. You hadn't mentioned anything about that. Still, if she knows Yukari.

“You can tell somehow, huh?” You ask, “Yeah, that was after, and... mostly not my fault. Should I just tell the whole story?”

“It may be a good way to pass the time,” Youmu points out, “I'm also interested in what sort of leader I'm to be following.”

“Yeah,” Tewi nods, “I want to hear it too. Sounds like it might be a good one.”

“Well,” You say, “ Let's go check in with Patchouli first. She's the other mage I was telling you about. I can get you two introduced.”

“That sounds good,” Youmu says, “So it's just her and Marisa so far?”

“Unless you count Chen and Sakuya,” You say, making your way towards the door heading to the front car, “Sakuya being the complicated one. We're currently en route to picking up two other agents, and a pair of initiates.”

“I'll wait back here,” Tewi says, “Logistics really isn't my thing.”

“Sure,” You nod, before turning back to Youmu, “We also have another agent traveling to the west of us, picking up others...”

Along the way to Patchouli's cabin, you manage to give Youmu the basic info as to what the current plan is. Roughly, at least.

Patchouli seems to have had a much less exciting time than you. Or, at least, not exciting enough to make her look like she's been doing anything besides reading. The two koakuma watching her look positively bored... until they notice Youmu, at least.

“She's so cute!” One of them shouts, “Where did you find her, Jack?”

You laugh, mostly ignoring them. “Hey, Patchouli. We're back. Did Marisa fill you in already?”

“No,” Patchouli says, not showing any signs of playing a mark in her book to talk to you.

“Well, this is Youmu Konpaku,” You say, “She's the agent we were sent to pick up.”

“Patchouli Knowledge.”

“Ah, it's... a pleasure,” Youmu says, sounding a bit hesitant. You don't blame her. It takes a bit of practice to talk to Patchouli when she's reading like this.

“We've also picked up another youkai,” You say, “She goes by Tewi.”

That, however, causes the elementalist pause. She does a quick scan of the page she's currently on, marks her book, and promptly sets it aside.

“The rabbit youkai?” Patchouli finally asks, “Interesting. Where is she?”

“'The'?” You echo, “That makes her sound like someone important.”

“She's widely considered to be the origin of the lucky rabbit's foot myth, as well as the leader of all the rabbits in the world,” Patchouli says, “Showing her kindness is supposed to reward you with excellent luck, while the opposite also holds true. If we assume this isn't a pretender, of course.”

“... really?” You ask, not really all that surprised by the idea. Yukari probably wouldn't go 'way back' with someone who wasn't at least a little special. “Well, she's in the back car, if you want to go meet her. I guess she wants to watch what's unfolding at the capital.”

The train lurches a bit. You seem to be on your way; Marisa must have gotten things put back together.

“I would,” Patchouli nods, before turning to Youmu. “Youmu Konpaku, was it? Would you be related Youki Konpaku?”

“... yes, he is my father,” Youmu answers dryly, as if she's heard that question a million times.

“So,” You ask, offering a change of topic, “did anything happen while we were gone?”

“Nothing of note,” Patchouli says, “We were asked as to why we stopped by the owner of the yard, but he was easily satisfied by 'Guild business'.”

“Good,” You say, backing away from the door, “Well, let's head back to the back car, shall we?”

“Yes,” Patchouli says, “Let's.”

As you walk back, you peer into Sakuya's room. Yep, still there... although, now, it seems she has a book.

“Huh,” You say, turning back to Patchouli after you move past the window, “Did you give her that book?”

“She asked for something to read,” Patchouli says plainly.

“Ah.”

It's much easier to move between these rear two cars than it is to move between the engine and the first car – there's even a walkway. Both Chen and Tewi look your way when you enter. And, much to your surprise, Patchouli makes her way around you. Looking for a better view, you presume.

“Oh, there's the other one,” Tewi says, looking to Chen. “That's the boring one, right?”

Chen looks a little flustered at that. “I-I didn't say that. Patchy's nice.”

Tewi just laughs, “I'm Tewi, by the way. Nice to meet you.”

“Patchouli Knowledge,” Patchouli says after a pause, “It is nice to meet you, Tewi Inaba.”

“Hah, no need to be so dramatic. I wasn't hiding anything,” Tewi says, after a pause of her own, “I would have said who I was if you all had asked. Well, after what you did back there. It's no good if I tell someone up front that I reward kind people, is it?”

Patchouli turns back to you for a moment. “This bodes well for us.” Then, turning back to Tewi, she adds, “Do you intend to help the Guild, then?”

“Weeell...” She pauses for a minute. “... I dunno yet. I wanna meet up with that old crone Yukari and see what's going on, first. Knowing her, there's a lot more going on than meets the human eye. Uh, no offense.”

“I have heard this name mentioned a few times,” Youmu says, “And I seem to be the only one who doesn't know it. Who is Yukari?”

“Good question,” Tewi laughs, turning to you, “I shouldn't be the one to explain, though. Go on.”

“Let's keep passing this along,” You say, looking towards Patchouli, “You know better than me, anyway.”

“Not by much,” Patchouli admits, before running through almost the same thing she had said back in Rokford. Back when Yukari decided it would be a good idea to interrupt your fight, and bargain with your lives.

“Sounds about right,” Tewi says, nodding sagely. “You make her sound a bit more sinister than I would, though.”

Chen seems intent on watching you all intently – and who knows how much of this she's reporting back – but Youmu seems a little disturbed by the story.

“I... have heard of her, now that you've refreshed my memory,” Youmu says, “But it was in a tale I was told long ago. You've had dealings with this youkai?”

“Not quite,” You say, “Well, actually, how about I just tell our story?”

[ ] The whole thing, in gritty detail.
[ ] Tell the tale, but with some modification (Write-in).
================================================
>>36200
Ah, I appreciate the comments. If you ever do spot anything off, feel free to let me know before I get too carried away with it.
>> No. 36225
[x] Tell the tale, but with some modification (Flandre was coming right for us!).

Yeah, kinda don't want to mention killing Flandre in cold blood in front of Chen. Or Tewi. Or Sakuya, I can't remember if she knows the exact circumstances.
>> No. 36227
[x] The whole thing, in gritty detail.
>> No. 36228
[x] The whole thing, in gritty detail.
Honesty is a good policiy, I think.
>> No. 36229
[x] The whole thing, in gritty detail.
>>36228
I agree. He was truthfully until now and told things as they are. And somehow he even took things as they are.
>> No. 36230
[x] The whole thing, in gritty detail
>> No. 36231
[X] The whole thing, in gritty detail.
>> No. 36232
>Youmu points out, “I'm also interested in what sort of leader I'm to be following.”

Stabbing Flandre in the back was cowardly. It was also the correct command decision.

[x] The whole thing, in gritty detail.
>> No. 36237
[X] The whole thing, in gritty detail.
Having everyone believe that we're always truthful will be very useful that one time we REALLY need to lie.
>> No. 36238
[x] The whole thing, in gritty detail.
>>36237
You and I are of the same mind, good sir.
>> No. 36239
[x] The whole thing, in gritty detail.
>> No. 36242
[x] The whole thing, in gritty detail.

Quickly, you run over the events of the last few days in your mind, and try to organize them in a coherent way. This part is always a little difficult for you, since you have to stitch together at least a few different viewpoints on any given mission. It's much like trying to tell someone else's story, only you were beside them the entire time – not exactly, of course, but similar.

“Hey,” You say, turning to Patchouli, “Would you stick around and help me tell it?”

Someone on the outside is also good. They can help verify that you're not completely bonkers, and saying things just because that's what another you thought was correct.

“Yes,” Patchouli says, lazily hovering her way over to a nearby bunk. “That is fine. Shall I have the koakuma gather anyone else?”

You shake your head, making your own way over to a vacant bunk. “They've either heard it already, or been there to see it first hand. No need.”

“Very well, then.”

“Now, where do I start?” You wonder, “Maybe with our arrival in Rokford. You do know where Rokford is, right? It's north of here, along...”

First, the reasoning behind your deployment, then the arrival – and then, things start to get a little hazy. You've gone through a lot of mindsets in the past few days. The divination bit is fairly easy to remember doing, but hard to describe. All that preparation, but it's hard to do it justice when you're not a diviner yourself.

From your initial greeting by the residents of the bank, the invitation you received, to your first meeting with Sakuya... it all flows relatively smoothly. You even manage to get the point across with the divination bits, you think, with only minor interruptions to ask you to clarify something, or explain some reasoning. Then, you reach the bit about the contract you had made.

“... so, we made a deal with them. They'd lower their guard on the mansion and allow us inside, while we'd give them the remainder of the souls we found inside as soon as it was safe to do so. They also swore to consume them with haste.”

Tewi gives a low whistle at that point. “Damn.”

“You... what?” Youmu asks, “But, that would be many thousands of lives...”

She looks uneasy with the revelation, but hesitant to speak her mind.

“Tainted ones,” Patchouli explains, “They could not have been released back into the natural cycle in their current state due to the demonic nature of the magic involved.”

“They would have ended up in Makai, where they would have been eaten anyway” You say, “Marisa had suggested that we keep them stored, and work on a counter-magic to cleanse them... and stuck with it.” You give a sad laugh. “She'll hate me until the day I die for it, I think. But, it needed to be done. It gave us information we needed, and an element of surprise we wouldn't have had otherwise, and it saved them from a hell of isolation.”

“Was it difficult?” Youmu asks, quite frankly.

“Yes,” You say, flatly, “It was terrible. The choice was clear, after weighing in all the options, however. It was for the best.”

“... may I speak my mind?” She asks.

You shrug. “Sure. This isn't the military or anything, so feel free.”

Youmu thinks about it for a bit before speaking. “... I think,” She says, “That this was a terrible thing. I won't judge you for it, but I may refuse if you ask me to do something like this.”

[ ] “I understand.”
[ ] “As long as you'll still let me decide to do it, that's fine.”
[ ] “Even if there is no alternative?”
>> No. 36243
Oh. This. I forgot about this. Oh well, Marisa would have told them if we hadn't, and we'd be caught lying to boot.

[x] “I understand.”

Marisa and Youmu teaming up to kick Jack's ass would please me greatly. For maximum drama, we should stay on their good sides until we can fuck their principles as hard as we possibly can.
>> No. 36244
[x] “I understand.”
>> No. 36246
[x] “I understand.”
No need for discussion now. We can change her opinion when the time asks for it. Or just overrule it.
>> No. 36247
[X] “Even if there is no alternative?”

It's a question that bears asking.
And yes I know 'bear' looks odd there. I checked wiktionary already.
>> No. 36252
[X] “Even if there is no alternative?”

It at least shows that he's willing to try anything that would resolve a situation the best way possible.
>> No. 36253
[ ] “Even if there is no alternative?”

We don't always get to be the good guy, unfortunately.
>> No. 36257
[X] “Even if there is no alternative?”

There really were very few alternatives that wouldn't have lead to one or all of us dying horribly, a few points to consider:
- We had already divined that there was a bigger chance of some or all of us dying than none of us.
- The souls were dead and tainted already.
- We knew we were dealing with someone majorly powerful.

and that's just the initial situation, consider what we divined thanks to the contract we made:
- We saw the traps and that Sakuya only gave us one working code per trap.
- We saw the powers of both of the sisters.

What if we hadn't?

- We would have lost atleast one person at the door. (no idea if we could have scryed when inside the mansion, or if we'd gotten eaten by the two demons)

- Having lost someone at the door, we would have most likely died at the hands of remilia or would have been forced to take up Yukaris offer and break the contract with the demons.

- Even if we survived Remilia somehow, with or without Yukari's help, shit would have gotten real with Flandre if we hadn't known not to stay in her line of sight.

- Had we failed completely, the story would be over and the rest of the still living villagers dead or sharing the fate of the others in hell.

Really, our options were bad and worse when we had to deal with the souls, and by choosing worse we could give the biggest possible chance to the still living people from suffering the same fate, not to mention taking care of the people we were responsible for (namely marisa and patchy).

Being a leader can be such a bitch at times.
>> No. 36260
>>36257
I still think Taking Yukari's deal would have been better in the long run, though we were damn lucky that we did as well after refusing it as I thought Marisa was going to get badly maimed or killed for sure.
>> No. 36262
Heh. Jack is one cold motherfucker now that I get to read the whole situation in an abridged format.

Then again, shit was bad. No wonder Sakuya gets such bipolar treatment, though. Is it some kind of backlash versus how methodical Anon made Jack during that mission?
>> No. 36264
[X] “Even if there is no alternative?”
>> No. 36266
>>36262
Blame Anon for the bipolar treatment; sometimes the more reasonable folks (want Sakuya to join) win, sometimes the more vengeful folk (want her locked up or dead) win.

[x] “I understand.”
>> No. 36267
[X] “Even if there is no alternative?”
>> No. 36268
>>36262
Yet he's an overall nice fellow, just look at how he's acted towards the people around him.
Maybe his personality is somewhat affected by him being a schizo mage, and he radically adapts to the situation on a personal level too.
>> No. 36269
[x] “As long as you'll still let me decide to do it, that's fine.”
>> No. 36272
>>36266
Allowing Sakuya to join is reasonable how, exactly?

[X] “Even if there is no alternative?”
>> No. 36275
>>36272
I seem to recall Jack musing that the guild hires some of it's mages by befriending the shit out of them.
>> No. 36278
>>36275
This and the general implication that some Guild Members used to work less than legal jobs, possibly against the guild itself.
>> No. 36281
[x] “As long as you'll still let me decide to do it, that's fine.”

Because it says "I understand." But it also says "Don't get in my way."

Also, arguing over some perceived lack of consistency in Jack's personality (vacuous, in my opinion) is idiotic when the fragmentation of disposition would only serve to characterize him more.
>> No. 36282
[x] “Even if there is no alternative?”

“Even is there is no alternative?” You ask. It might be good to test the waters, here; getting a feel for who you're leading is always good. “In some situations, every option is terrible.”

“... it would depend on the situation, but yes,” She finally answers, firmly – although it takes her quite a long time to do so. “Even if there were no viable alternatives. Victory isn't the only thing that matters.”

“Dying in our upcoming fight because of poor information... that's not something I could have allowed, not with all those people left alive. It wouldn't have been fair to gamble with their lives, either.”

“Yes,” Youmu says, “I agree.”

“Huh?”

She smiles. “To believe that either of our views is 'correct' would be arrogant. I think even the Eiki herself would have a hard time with this one.”

You laugh a little “Yeah?”

“I just wanted to say that the decision itself was terrible,” She says, “And that I may not be able to follow something like that.”

Her way of saying 'I've got your back up until you ask me to start slaughtering innocents', then.You can get behind that. Tewi seems to be listening to all this intently, as well; and, when your gazes meet, she gives you a smile like only an ancient youkai can.

“Morality is fun, isn't it?” She laughs, “You humans are too hard on yourselves, I swear. It's fun to watch you squirm like this, though.”

“Oh?” You ask playfully, “What would you have done?”

“Who knows?” She asks, “I'll never be beating up vampire lords for killing off thousands of my own kin. Hard to put myself in those shoes, much less throw on the morality cap.”

“Logically, it needed to be done,” Patchouli states, “It provided us with invaluable information, and was the key to our success. I stand by Jack's position fully, no matter how unethical it may be deemed.”

You laugh a bit. Great – all the youkai are siding with you. That's not a good sign. Not if you ever want to tell stories after you retire at the pub, anyway. “I see where you're coming from, though, Youmu. I'll take it into consideration. Who knows how long I'll even be commanding you anyway – I've got two people above me I'm supposed to defer to once we reach our destination.”

“Thank you,” She says, “That's all I can ask.”

“So, how does Yukari fit into all this?” Tewi asks, “Aside from the body count, this isn't anything crazy yet.”

“Right,” You say, shifting your position a bit. “So, we struck the deal, however dubious, and got our information. Turns out that this Lady is...”

You continue onward, trying to keep the story as accurate as possible. Seems you've already lost Chen – she's staring absently out the window by now – but everyone else seems to be listening with interest. You go through the rest of the events leading up to the battle.

From getting the map, to finding out it was flawed, to finding out the flaw the next day. From the way you were able to get an even better feel for the tactics you were up against, and the scramble to get everything done you wanted to before the meeting.

Then, the mansion itself. Where you simply walk straight in through the front door, meet with the lady, and manage to get in the first shot. And where the Lady manages to outmanuver and outgun all three of you, utterly smash your shield, and send you all flying across the room.

“Then, everything just stopped,” You say, “All the dust blowing around the room, all magic crackling through the air, everything. Even Remilia was frozen there, claws extended at Marisa's chest. Marisa, too. Everyone, everything except for Patchouli and me. Then, well... Yukari appeared.”

Tewi laughs. “She loves dramatic entrances. Riding that crazy gap-thing, I hope?”

“Yeah,” You say, “She wanted to offer us a deal. We didn't get far enough do discuss what she'd give us, but she wanted to prevent us from completing our contract.”

“And that would explain your bad luck,” Tewi nods, “Play with fire, and you get burned, yeah?”

“That wasn't why the contract was broken. She was way too suspicious, and none of us take kindly to being toyed with like that.”

Tewi, of course, cracks up at this. “You told Yukari Yakumo 'no'?”

“She wasn't willing to tell us what was going on,” You shrug, “For all we knew, it could have been worse than what the Lady was up to. She doesn't have a great reputation, either. There were better alternatives.”

“So you trusted yourselves to beat a vampire who was kicking your asses?” She asks, “Strange choice.”

“We knew the vampire,” You reiterate, “Her abilities, strengths, weaknesses – Yukari was a complete unknown. The battle hadn't been lost yet, so we decided to fight until the end.”

“And, somehow, you survived,” Youmu says, “How?”

“Well,” You say, “After our little rest, Marisa managed to land a good solid blow on the Lady. We danced for a bit longer, and, after the Lady took a little too long killing me, Marisa managed to catch her in a devastating blast. It was easy enough to stake her after that.”

“And the souls?” Youmu asks, “They were still in the ceiling, but yet you didn't deliver them.”

“Right. I tried, but things didn't go as planned. See...”

Then, the second vampire. The explosion. Sakuya. Your jaunt through the rest of the mansion, and the subsequent possession in the basement. How they found you hours later, drawing runes and raving like a madman.

“So...” Tewi says, “You managed to feed Makai a bunch of souls anyway.”

“Not nearly as much as I would have,” You say, “And I'll be damned if I know the 'why' behind most of this. The rest isn't all that interesting. Basically, we've been on the tracks since then. Passed on our message to the Guild, got our orders, picked up Chen, some cargo... and then you two.”

“Thank you for the tale,” Youmu says, “It explains a lot. The best way to tell who a man is is through his actions, as they say.”

[ ] Maybe she would be kind enough to provide you with a story, then.
[ ] Some other way to pass the time (write-in).
[ ] Let's just get on with it.
===============================================
If it's not obvious, the last option is to move on to the next major event. Everyone is just killing time right now, and I'm not sure how much of it you want me to write.
>> No. 36283
[X] Maybe she would be kind enough to provide you with a story, then.

Perhaps Jack could pick up another skill temporarily through one of her stories.
>> No. 36286
[x] Maybe she would be kind enough to provide you with a story, then.
>> No. 36287
>You laugh a bit. Great – all the youkai are siding with you. That's not a good sign. Not if you ever want to tell stories after you retire at the pub, anyway.

He just does not know how lucky he is. Patchy and Tewi on your side, can't get better than that. And besides, he will die in a blaze of glory anyway. Counting on Tewi to tell his story even long after he died.

[x] Some other way to pass the time
- [x] Talk with Tewi. Maybe she has some stories about Yukari.
>> No. 36288
[x] Some other way to pass the time
- [x] Talk with Tewi. Maybe she has some stories about Yukari.

This seems the best way to spend time. By finding out what kind of person Yukari is Jack can better gauge what to expect of her.
>> No. 36289
[x] Some other way to pass the time
- [x] Talk with Tewi. Maybe she has some stories about Yukari.

She's the oldest. That means she has the best stories.
>> No. 36291
File 131385233357.jpg - (228.88KB , 600x742 , a1533642b4bf727652199b145852ee19.jpg ) [iqdb]
36291
>>36287
In a blaze of glory is the best way to die-or so the Protoss have thought me.

[x] Some other way to pass the time
- [x] Talk with Tewi. Maybe she has some stories about Yukari.
>> No. 36292
I like Jack, he's gone down the "those who fight monsters..." road without being EXTREME about it.

[x] Maybe she would be kind enough to provide you with a story, then.
>> No. 36293
Nothing tonight. I'll try to get this finished tomorrow.
>> No. 36296
> “Showing her kindness is supposed to reward you with excellent luck, while the opposite also holds true. If we assume this isn't a pretender, of course.”

Okay: 'guy who pisses off a Yokai who has power over luck, then does brilliantly in investments?' Any one else think there's something fishy going on?
>> No. 36298
>>36296
Are you implying that investment involves nothing but luck? That man won his fortune through skill, I assure you.
>> No. 36299
>>36296
it was implied he always does that, and Tewi doesn't seem to be holding a grudge over the matter now that it's resolved so odds are his life will go back to normal.

Still, Jack should treat her nicely.
>> No. 36306
And fail, of course. I can't write well on 4 hours of sleep, but I figured I'd give it a shot.

I'll definitely get something out tomorrow.
>> No. 36307
File 131397952082.jpg - (663.52KB , 750x1000 , bloodstained miko.jpg ) [iqdb]
36307
>>36306
Take as long as you like as long as you like taking long.

where is reimu hiding in this setting? wanna find that reimu
>> No. 36323
>>36296
Maybe because investing isn't gambling?

If you understand what you are doing, then you don't need luck.
>> No. 36335
[x] Some other way to pass the time
- [x] Talk with Tewi. Maybe she has some stories about Yukari.

You give her a nod. “It was no trouble.”

“I shall be going,” Patchouli says, looking to you. “Unless there is a reason for me to stay?”

“Nah,” You say, shaking your head, “I just wanted you to keep my viewpoints straight. Thanks.”

“That must be so odd,” Youmu wonders, as Patchouli makes her way out of this car, “Having many different personalities and views.”

“Eh,” You say, shrugging, “Not really. I've always been like this, so I don't know anything else. It would be more odd if I suddenly couldn't.”

“Ah,” Youmu says, “Yes. It would be difficult to train an ability like that if it didn't already exist. There aren't very many like you in the Guild, are there?”

“Two others, I think,” You say, “Unless we've picked up some new ones recently. I guess schizists tend to play society more than they play with magic. It's certainly easier.” A pause. “As long as we're on the topic, what do you do? Besides swordplay, I mean.”

“I specialize in cutting that which normally cannot be cut,” She says, “Ghosts, demons, strong youkai... those sorts of things. I also have a few personal 'enchantments', to use Guild terminology.”

You laugh. “Pardon me if I'm being rude, but that's pretty impressive for someone so young.”

She smiles. “I'm much older than you, I imagine. Since there is no need to hide it around you, I will say that I am only half-human.”

“And half-dead,” Tewi chimes in, “Guess you can't see her ghost half, though, can you Jack?”

“Half-ghost?” You ask, to which she nods. You've heard rumors that old Youki was only half human, too – but half ghost? That's a new one. “How does that even work?”

“One self,” She says, “Two bodies. It's not complicated.”

You laugh. “Well, when you put it like that. How about you, Tewi?”

“How about me what?” She asks.

“Abilities and the like. I'm curious.”

“That's like asking my age,” She scoffs, “It's something for me to know, and for you to guess at.”

“How about a story, then?” You ask, “I hear the best way to get to know a person is through their actions.”

“Well,” She says, “I've got one or two I could tell ya'. What kind do you want?”

“Something with some Yukari, if you could,” You say, “Maybe I can take care of two things at once.

By now, Chen seems to be watching all of you again, although... no, you shake that feeling off.

“Eh... let me think which one was better,” Tewi says, “I've got a few that fit that bill.”

“What about The Three Tribes?” Chen asks, “That was a good time, wasn't it? And a good lesson for my little Jack.”

You can't help but stare at Chen after an outburst like that. The speech was absolutely clear, and the smile she's wearing now... it's nothing like the one she usually has on. But, quickly, it returns to normal, and Chen just seems confused by your confusion.

“What?” Chen asks.

Tewi just laughs, of course. “Sure, if you say so. That was a good time.”

“Wait,” You say, “Was that...?”

“After all that name dropping, I'm surprised she didn't show up in person.” Tewi says, “Must be busy. So, anyway, the The Three Tribes story. Have you heard of it? Probably not, but I wonder if the humans have their own side of the tale.”

You shake your head. “Never.”

“Well, this one was before Gensokyo existed, really. Back when it was a few random warring human tribes, and youkai ran all over the place. How much history do you know?”

“Not much,” you admit, “Just about the founding and why the Empress is important.”

“What's the human version?” Tewi asks.

“This was a lawless land, full of barbarians and monsters,” You say, “Some group of adventures decided to lay claim to it, after having been chased out of their own country. The great barrier was set up by the royal line, and they founded Aegis as their base of operations. Eventually, they united most of the tribes and fought back enough youkai that civilization could begin.”

“Really?” Tewi laughs, “That's so twisted. Let's just say it was before the barrier was thrown up, then. Those adventurers you're talking about hadn't even shown up yet.”

You nod. “So, everyone was still running around in loincloths and using bows?”

“Pretty much,” Tewi says, “So, one day I was passing through the area where Aegis is now. I don't end up that far south very often, so I decided to stop by Yukari's shack to see what she was up to. Back then, normal humans came to visit her sometimes. I guess they don't really do that anymore.”

“She lived around the capital, then?”

“Lives,” Tewi says, “Up on that mountain to the south. Hell of a place to reach, though. You can't search for it. Either you know the path, or you wander around blindly until she decides to show it to you.”

“Ah... the cursed one?”

Although the area around the capital is mostly flat, the city itself lies nestled up against and around an old mountain. It's somewhat legendary for killing everyone who attempts to climb it. Not that that's true, of course – many people make it to the top yearly – but you've never heard reports of anything like a thousand year youkai living on it.

“It's not actually... well, hmm. It might be by now,” Tewi says, thinking about it for a minute, “Anyway...”

She continues with the set and setting bit. Apparently there's a few buildings tucked away under her spell, set up along a cliff facing north.

Tewi happened to visit on the same day as one of the local humans, although he had been wandering the mountain for a few days before Yukari allowed him to find his way up. A sort of 'test of will', she said; if someone is willing to search for days, they'll usually have an interesting problem.

The visitor was a younger male, not older than twenty.

“So, he shows up asking for the witch on the mountain,” Tewi laughs, “And when Yukari says that he's found the right place, he collapses. This was before she had the whole crew together, so she asked me to help keep the poor guy alive. I owed her a favor, so it wasn't a big deal. So, the next day, he finally recovers enough to talk. First thing he does is thank us both for saving him, then lays out his problem.”

Two tribes that lived near the base of the mountain had been feuding for months now, and his tribe happened to be on the losing side. They were in danger of being wiped out completely. The man himself was the son of the chief, and he was sent up by his father to beg the witch to help his tribe.

“Yukari just kind of gives the guy this look,” Tewi says, “Like she was looking past him, into his whole tribe. Maybe the whole country. Then, she says 'I can help. What will you give me in return?'”

The man came with a bag of trinkets and such, and offered them all. But, Yukari refused all but one. She said he would need to perform action. He would need to sing her praises. Bring the whole tribe together. She came up with a three night ritual for him to perform, and said that they would be able to fight back after they had done so.

“He didn't question it one bit,” Tewi says, “And, after giving him some food to make it back, he left. So, I looked to Yukari, and called her bluff. 'What's your angle?' I asked, 'I can't see how that ritual helps you at all'. She turns to me, smiles, and says, 'I only wanted this idol. Isn't it cute? Besides, it wouldn't be right to demand anything if I'm not going to help him.'”

“So, she took his thing and sent him away, after lying to him,” You say, “How nice.”

Tewi laughs. “That's what I thought. She invited me to stay, though, and said we'd be able to get a good view of the battle since they usually fought within view of the place. So, four days later, a few hundred men from each side show up. They end up charging down into a low spot big enough to fit both armies, when they both suddenly stop.”

“What happened?” Youmu asks, after Tewi hangs for dramatic pause. “Why did they stop?”

“Because a third tribe, from the south, had decided to expand,” Tewi says, “And these two were right in their path. They were surrounded by a huge army, somewhere close to a thousand if I had to guess. The third tribe demanded they both surrender.”

She pauses again, so you prompt her for more. “And...?”

“What, the suspense getting to you?” Tewi laughs, “Alright, alright. So, they both surrender. Both their tribes get conquered, and sucked into the third one. Peacefully. So, I ask her what that was all about. Joked with her on how she'd broken her promise to that poor guy, even after he offered his tribe's fortune to her.”

“Can I tell this part?” Not-Chen asks, startling you a bit. Doesn't this Yukari woman have anything better to do than creep you out? “This is where it gets good.”

Tewi rolls her eyes. “No way. If you want to tell the ending, you gotta tell the story. Do you know how hard it was to remember all that?”

[ ] Ask Chenkari for her ending.
[ ] Wait for Tewi continue.
================================================
>>36296
The man was investing entirely in business. Tewi could have stripped his fortune pretty quickly, but that would have affected a lot of unrelated people as well.
>> No. 36336
[X] Wait for Tewi continue.

The less that's left out the better.
>> No. 36339
>Not-Chen

[x] Wait for Tewi continue.
Let the storyteller finish.
>> No. 36340
[x] Wait for Tewi continue.

I don't even like Tewi, and this Tewi amuses the crap out of me.
>> No. 36341
[x] Wait for Tewi to continue.
If Chenkari has anything to add, Chenkari can wait for Chenkari's turn. Chenkari. chenkari

oh god Empress Reimu. I don't even care that I'm jumping to conclusions this is the best mental image
>> No. 36343
[X] Wait for Tewi continue.

I'd rather have Tewi's version.
>> No. 36344
[x] Wait for Tewi continue.
CHENKARI WAITS
>> No. 36349
[x] Let Tewi continue.

“Anyway,” Tewi continues, moving a bit to come between you and Not-Chen, “She says she didn't break her promise. The guy asked for his tribesmen to be safe, and that's what they got. The ritual was just go give them the morale to fight back, or something. The way she explained it, if they weren't ”

“She just pulled the right strings,” You muse, “And everything fell into place.”

“And, you know what?” Tewi says, “Two years later, the big tribe ended up fighting an even bigger tribe, a real nasty bunch, near there. The locals helped 'em win. And a few generations later, they signed up with those adventurers that made this place what it is today.”

“How did the man feel about the dupe?” Youmu asks, “Did he ever find out?”

Tewi shrugs, “I went by the village later that night, and he was crying his eyes out. Don't think he took it too well.”

You turn to Chen, but by now that look is gone. That look is gone from her eyes. Does she even realize what's going on, you wonder?

“Of course,” Youmu says, “Their lives may have been safe, but he had failed to keep his tribe alive in name.”

“But,” You say, “She did save them.”

“She did,” Youmu nods, “But, couldn't she have done something more direct?”

“Eh,” Tewi says, “Back then? Probably not. Now? Yeah. But old habits die hard, I guess.”

You laugh a little nervously. “I can't say I know what to take away from this little story.”

“She's got a good heart,” Tewi says, shrugging, “And she doesn't do things without a reason. Like she said, though, you might not end up with exactly what you want. Maybe a few other things, too.”

Although the idea crosses your mind to ask for her again, to have her speak through Chen like she's been doing, you don't – instinct tells you that it won't work. She's just... well, honestly, you have no idea what she's doing. Probably best to not even try to get inside a head like that.

“... yes,” Youmu agrees, “To say things in the most positive light, at least.”

“A good tale, none the less,” You say, “It might get told a few more times.”

“Oh, no doubt,” Tewi laughs, “She likes that one. Guess it makes her nostalgic or something.”

[ ] Pass the time with X (write-in)
[ ] Continue.
================================================
Same deal as before.
>> No. 36351
[x] Pass the time with Sakuya
>> No. 36352
[x] Youmu storytime

We passed up on a story from her earlier. Why not get it now?
>> No. 36353
Moral of the story, have someone you don't care about make deals with Yukari. Run the fuck away if she directly wants to deal with you.
>> No. 36354
>>36353
Moral of the story: Let Yukari explain herself next time.
>> No. 36355
[x] Pass the time with the koakuma

Can't be the only one who wants to spend some time with them.
>> No. 36357
[x] Continue

Let's just go already.
>> No. 36358
[x] Youmu storytime

I'd like to hear a story from Youmu.

>>36354
This as while Yukari didn't provide the exact results, she did save the tribe in number.

Pretty silly how people are prone to treating Yukari like the devil.
>> No. 36360
>>36358

As her power lets her do just about whatever she wants, it's easy to put her in a malacious roll. If not, then there has to be something even more powerful than her or have her depowered or something.

Besides, in this case, we didn't know what her intentions were at the time.
>> No. 36363
[x] Youmu storytime

Sounds interesting enough.
>> No. 36364
[x] Youmu storytime
>> No. 36372
>>36360
I doubt she'd have wanted to screw over Gensokyo. It reeked far more of the moronic Yukarihate that lingers on the site.
>> No. 36374
[x] Continue

The Plot needs to move.
>> No. 36376
Yesterday got eaten by Deus Ex: HR. I get the feeling that the same is going to happen today. Expect something tomorrow.
>> No. 36377
>>36376

Hooray!
>> No. 36382
I take it back. Update tomorrow. Since it's going to be huge anyway, throw more suggestions like the last vote my way and I'll see how many of them I can fit in.
>> No. 36383
[x] Ask Sakuya about Flandre.
I'm curious about how she was regarded.
[x] Stories from everybody
[x] Card games.
Always a good way to pass time.
>> No. 36384
>>36383
>[x] Ask Sakuya about Flandre.

This.

Also,
[x] Get Marisa's opinion on where you're most likely to find the tracks obstructed along your itinerary.
[x] See Patchouli. You need to establish succession of command in case you should fall or be incapacitated. Even if she is a youkai.
[x] Ask Chen if she's bothered at all by being used as Yukari's sock-puppet.

Even if you're relying on coded messages, anyone tapping into the lines would still know what station messages are being called in from and where they're meant to be received. The only reason the telegraph lines may not be cut yet is that gives Makai a reasonable fix on your position, so they can guess at what your orders are, and also where they might send their spies/assassins to greet you.

As for why talking about this with Marisa is so important, trains need a lot of room to brake in case an obstruction is spotted, and having her take it slow around the corners is better than the whole thing derailing.

Considering this group, at half its current number, killed two vampires that quickly depopulated a town of thousands, it's plausible for them to go to extreme lengths to make sure you can't link up with a larger Guild force.

Patchouli thing needs to be stated for a few reasons: Mission seniority, reliability, doesn't let her emotions or honor get in the way of her decisions, often superior magical ability, and usually coming to the same conclusions as us, even if not by the same methodology. The decision to make Patchouli our possible replacement might jaw with Marisa if it's mentioned to her, and because there seems to be a moratorium on officiating youkai mission leaders.
>> No. 36385
[x] Stuff.

You reach for your watch out of habit, to check the time... but, it's still broken. Hopefully, you'll be able to find a watchmaker once you make your final stop.

“Well,” You say, “How about you, Youmu?”

“Me?” She asks, “What do you mean?”

“I want to hear of some of your exploits,” You say, “We've got plenty of time to kill.”

“Ah,” She says, “I'm a bodyguard, as you already know. I don't have many interesting tales. Things only become 'interesting' if you fail, and I can't say I've done that yet.”

“Not even any close encounters?”

She thinks for a moment. “Hmm. Nothing particularly close. As I've said, I do my job well. There was one from a while ago that you might like, though. It was unique because I was guarding a prisoner, not a customer.”

“Ah, I've heard that they do that on occasion,” You nod, “Contract out to local law enforcement to keep dangerous criminals safe from even more dangerous ones.”

“Do you remember The Shredder?” She asks, “Actually, it would be better to ask if you've heard of him, wouldn't it?”

You laugh. “Sure, he was a serial murderer and some kind of cult leader, right? That was fifty years ago, though.”

“That's right,” She says, “He had managed to convince his followers that, if he were captured, they would need to free him - at any cost to themselves. Ah, what was his reasoning? Something about him being an incarnation of some ancient god, I believe.”

“I'm not sure,” You say, “All I've really heard was about how gruesome his murders were. How he literally shredded his victims with his hands after they were dead.”

“He was a half-youkai,” Youmu says, “His mother was a feral youkai, and his father a chef.”

“A feral youkai? Odd.”

Odd, because one of those would sooner eat a man than give birth to one of their children. You've never heard of something like that, but... you know that in the reverse case, the human woman usually aborts the child. It never ends well when they don't.

“I'm not sure of the details,” Youmu continues, “But he ended up with a good mix of feral traits – strength, speed, claws, and a taste for blood. An unfortunate man.”

“Didn't they end up catching him out in the west somewhere?” You ask, “I seem to remember something about that, too.”

“Yes,” She says, “However, due to a variety of circumstances, he needed to be returned to the capital. I happened to be working in the area at the time, to guard the local mayor, so they gave him an equivalent number of initiates and assigned me to guard the prisoner.”

“While his entire cult was after him.”

“Yes. It made for an interesting journey. Although we made no stops, no fewer than 25 cultists managed to attack us on our journey, usually two or three at a time. The interesting thing was,” She says, “That they were all possessed.”

“By what?”

“The prisoner's half youkai nature also included control over spirits,” Youmu says, “At least, murderous ones. His followers hadn't been brainwashed as we had been lead to believe. It was fortunate – or intentional, I am still not sure – that the Guild assigned me to the case. Only two of them lost their lives.”

“How about the man himself?” You ask, “It couldn't have been a good feeling, having to guard someone like that.”

“He was quite insane,” Youmu says, shaking her head a bit, “A madman at his worst. I tried not to spend much time around him. He passed what little time we did spend together talking about the ways in which he would kill me.”

There's a bit of silence, so you try to keep things moving. This is not a pleasant mood. “Why did they need him in the Capital, anyway? If I remember right, he was executed.”

“The Guild had a few... well, I'm not sure exactly. A few things they wished to learn from him first.”

“Oh,” You nod, “Yeah. It's never a goo d idea to dig too far into stuff like that.”

“I think that it may have been about how he even came to exist,” Youmu says, “Or perhaps his spirit ability. I've always had the hunch that they used him to destroy his cult remotely.”

“I imagine that the cultists weren't much of a match for you, though,” You say, with a laugh, “It seems like it wouldn't be difficult to deal with them.”

“Not quite,” Youmu says, “As their spirits removed their combat inhibitions. They were able to attack with all their strength, and not worry about how badly they may have been injured. It's difficult dealing with such opponents, especially when you are trying not to kill them. I suffered a few injuries, but nothing serious.”

“So,” You ask, “That's it?”

She smiles. “I said I didn't have many interesting stories. Bodyguards don't usually have to deal with things like what you had to in Rokford.”

“Fair point,” You say, “So, you've never been on any heavy combat missions?”

“No,” She says, “This is the first.”

The first... and she's been serving as a swordman for fifty years, at the very least? Not something you'd choose to do.

“Don't you get rusty?” You ask, “It seems like you'd lose your skills if you never use them.”

“I spar frequently with my father,” She says, “And what other mages practice physical arts. More rarely, I spar with other mages – however, those fights usually end quickly.”

You laugh. “I bet.”

“We could play,” Chen says, breaking her silence. “Do you want to play?”

She doesn't seem to be looking at you, but Youmu. “Hmm,” Youmu says, “If you would like. This area is a bit small, though.”

“We could go on top! Lots of room up there.”

Youmu looks up. “Interesting idea. A bit unsafe, but not if blows are properly held.”

“Whoa, hold on,” You say, “You two are going to go duke it out on top of the train?”

“Is that a problem?” Youmu asks, “We will just be playing.”

“Yeah,” Chen says, “Not really fighting!”

“If you think it's safe,” You laugh, “Go for it. I'm going to be mad if we need to stop the train to go dig someone out of a ditch, though.”

“You should watch,” Youmu says, “You may pick up a few things.”

“... hmm,” You say, “Actually, that might be interesting. I'll see if anyone else wants to.”

“Hah, you're all nuts,” Tewi says, “Have any of you ever fallen off of a train before? It sucks. I think I'll just stay down here.”

It turns out, however, that everyone else is interested. Mostly because they can all fly to some extent – although, in Sakuya's case, you'd guess it's because she would have no trouble catching a speeding train. With the koakuma duo at the wheel of the train, even Marisa joins in. A good fight to get everyone's blood pumping, then. The more you think about it, the more you like the idea. Something to boost spirits a bit.

Everyone gathers on top of the cars. Although the autumn air is especially cold at this speed, it's nothing to terrible. You make sure to stay far out of the way – although you'd manage something to catch yourself if you got hit in an errant blast, it's still not a pleasant thought.

Youmu is very good at this. To your untrained eye, her style seems flawless... even though she's only using her tiny body to fight. You can only imagine what she would be like if she had drawn her blades. Chen, surprisingly, looks similar. She seems to be very good at pulling her punches. You wonder how often she gets to play like this.

Those two bounce around for a long time, trading dodges, until an honest mistake from Chen causes her to be pinned to the train. She struggles to get free, but Youmu holds fast... and, in a few seconds, Chen surrenders.

Marisa goes next. This battle ends up being very interesting to watch. Marisa sticks mostly to low-powered beams, things that won't damage Youmu or the train very much, while Youmu sticks to dodging. The fight isn't very fair for either side, because of the restrictions that the arena provides. Youmu can't reach Marisa, while Marisa can't go with her usual style. Having a train after all this is pretty important.

Because of the length of the match, you end up trading comments with Sakuya about it. The hopelessness of the fight, admiration of both fighter's styles, things like that. Eventually, it shifts to comparisons between their two styles, and Remilia's style. And then, to Flandre.

“I... well,” You say, in response to a direct question as to how that part of the fight went, “We didn't get to see much of her style. She wasn't lucid enough to fight with us.”

Sakuya looks a little disappointed at that. “Yes... her illness is to blame. I'm sorry you weren't able to see her on one of her good days. I think you would have liked her, had you accepted our offer.”

“She had good days?”

“She was quite creative,” Sakuya says, “Did you come across any of her paintings?”

“I... can't say I looked at who did the paintings I saw,” You say, “It's possible.”

“She was also very sweet,” Sakuya says, showing a bit of sadness... but a hint of happiness, too. You're more shocked at the emotion than anything. “The Lady was loving, but she had difficulty showing it sometimes. The little Lady had no such trouble.”

About then, Marisa lands. It's difficult to make out what they're saying, and she heads back to near where you are.

“You're up,” She says to Sakuya, “I'm beat. She's too fast for me to hit.”

“Yes,” Sakuya says, standing up and heading over to the second car.

“Now, this should be fun to watch,” Marisa laughs, “Or not watch, I guess. I wonder how she'll deal with time stops?”

“Guess we'll find out,” You shrug, “Let's watch.”

Indeed, she doesn't deal with them at all. The entire fight is spent vying for space, at least that's your best guess. Sakuya keeps popping in and out of time, fighting with... well, not knives. Small buttons, or something. Stones? You've got no idea.

Youmu ends up resorting to her sword for this match, to slash the projectiles before they hit her. They dance all over the car, back on to yours, back to the other one... and, eventually, they end up in the rear corner. Both of them with their blades out, aimed at each other.

A stalemate. The situation makes you a little nervous, but they soon lower their blades.

Patchouli, like you, opts out of sparring. Personally, you don't do so well on your own. Enough to manage, but you're more of a team player – the match wouldn't last long. Patchouli... well, you honestly want to see that. But it seems like she'd have trouble pulling her blows, as well. Something like what happened to Marisa.

By now, it's almost dark anyway. You all have managed to kill a good chunk of time.

Dinner, and then cards, come next. Marisa always seems to have one more game for you to try. Even though Youmu and you are both playing, the hands are really between Marisa and Tewi. Honestly, you'd believe it if they both came out and said they were cheating.

Finally, about the time you're considering going to try and catch some sleep, you notice lights. The next town? Sure enough – the train, which is now being driven by Patchouli's guidance, begins to slow down.

“Ha... guess that's that, then,” Marisa says, tossing in her cards for this final hand, “Well played, rabbit.”

Tewi grins, doing the same. Seems she's won this game. “Well played? Nah, I'm just lucky.”

“You are both frighteningly good,” Youmu says, “I'm glad we weren't playing for money.”

You pull out your telegram from this morning, and take a look at who you're supposed to be picking up here. Two initiates, and one Agent. A cleaning mission. You don't recognize any of these names, though.

Select teams (Staying or Going):
[ ] Jack
[ ] Patchouli
[ ] Marisa
[ ] Youmu
[ ] Tewi
[ ] Sakuya
[ ] Chen
>> No. 36386
>>36384
Totally didn't see this before I finished writing. Noted, though. I'll add it in at some later point.
>> No. 36387
Select teams (Going):
[x] Jack
[x] Patchouli
[ ] Marisa
[ ] Youmu
[ ] Tewi
[x] Sakuya
[ ] Chen
Sakuya and Patchy need more fresh air.

>>36384
Good post is good.
>> No. 36388
[x] Jack
[x] Patchouli
[ ] Marisa
[ ] Youmu
[ ] Tewi
[x] Sakuya
Well, you have a good point. Let's keep exchaning the parties.
>> No. 36389
Select teams (Going):
[ ] Jack
[x] Patchouli
[ ] Marisa
[x] Youmu
[x] Tewi
[ ] Sakuya
[ ] Chen

It was never stipulated that Jack must needs go himself. I'm curious as to how the recruiting would go should he opt to stay on the train.
>> No. 36390
[x] Jack, Patchouli, Tewi, Marisa
>> No. 36391
[x] Jack, Patchouli, Tewi, Marisa
>> No. 36393
>>36389
I like that idea. Split the team in two so that you have the first team with patchys view and the 2nd with jacks view. Alternated scenes between the two teams because the last time it was only Jack and not a view on what the others did. Many interesting things could happen.

[ ] Jack
[x] Patchouli
[ ] Marisa
[x] Youmu
[x] Tewi
[ ] Sakuya
[ ] Chen

The train time was good to get a better group feeling. If you put so many different people together they must first learn to work together and trust each other for when the situation calls for it.
>> No. 36394
[x] Jack, Tewi, Marisa
>> No. 36411
Select teams (Going):
[x] Jack
[x] Patchouli
[x] Tewi

[ ] Marisa
[ ] Youmu
[ ] Sakuya
[ ] Chen

“That your shopping list?” Tewi asks.

“Huh? Oh, yeah. Something like that.”

The contact address is at the Oldenwood Inn, although you know absolutely nothing about the place. Or this town in general, really.

Marisa lets out a pretty big yawn as you stand up. “Well, we should get this over fast. Want me to go with you?”

“Actually,” You say, “I've been thinking about something. You'd be able to read the rail charts we've got stashed up front, right?”

“Huh?” She asks, “Yeah, but it's pretty much a straight shot from here on out. What do you need?”

“Well, if you could check them over for likely ambush points,” You say, “It would be appreciated. Places where you could do more than just derail the train if you wanted to.”

“Heh... you think Makai would hit us in particular?” Marisa asks, “The whole Guild is on the move.”

“Maybe not in particular,” You say, “But it would make sense to attack Guild forces before we group up. Even with the coded messages, they probably know we're coming.”

“Alright,” Marisa says, “How long do you think this'll take?”

“No clue,” You say, with another shrug. “All I've got is an address to an inn. Youmu?”

“Yes?”

“Think you could stay here and keep watch over things? You've been doing enough late-night patrols lately. There's probably some spare lanterns around somewhere.”

She nods. “Of course. I'll keep the train safe.”

Chen seems to be asleep, already – she must have gotten bored watching you all play at some point – so she's out. You look to Tewi.

“Whoa,” She says, suddenly realizing what you had in mind, “I'm not some Guild lackey, you know.”

You laugh. “I thought it might be better than watching Marisa read over charts.”

“Well... you do have a point,” She says, slowly standing, “It'll give me a good chance to judge the new guys. See what I should do with them.”

“Wait,” Marisa says, “You've been doing that luck stuff with all of us?”

“Sure,” She grins, “It's kind of my thing now.”

“... should I take out some extra insurance when this all settles down?”

Tewi laughs, not giving out any hints that you can see.

“Right, let's go grab Patchouli, too,” You say, before turning to Youmu, “We should be back... well, no. I shouldn't commit to anything.”

Marisa laughs at that. “Well, good hunting. I'll see what I can work out from those charts.”

Patchouli doesn't bother to look up from her book when you ask, instead opting to float around with her nose buried in the thing. She also leaves her two koakuma behind, as support you'd guess.

This town... well, you can tell that there isn't much of a nightlife. Aside from a few isolated lamps at the train station, the entire place is dark.

“What time is it, anyway?” You ask Patchouli, as you take your first steps out into the street.

“Fifteen minutes before midnight.”

“Hmm,” You say, “Well, at least the moon's bright enough.”

Indeed, within a few minutes your eyes get used to the night, and you can see well enough to make out where you're going. No idea where to find an inn, though.

“Hey, Tewi.”

“Yeah?”

“Any loud gatherings going on? Like a pub fight or something? I'll admit that I've got no idea as to where I'm going.”

“Hold still for a minute.”

The three of you do. It takes close to a minute for her to respond.

“Yeah... maybe,” She says, “Well, it's probably not a party. But there's people awake over that way. I think.”

“Thanks,” You say, “Let's go that way, then.”

“Traditionally,” Patchouli says, closing her book, “The town inn would be built at that end of town. This template seems pretty standard.”

Of course, when you follow her gaze, you find that it doesn't agree with where Tewi suggested. Not that you buy much into her logic, since you thought they only set up those types of towns in the west. Near identical places, stamped over the landscape at strategic locations. Guess it's possible they did something similar in the north, though.

“Yeah,” Tewi admits, “I never said that was the inn you'd be looking for.”

[ ] Investigate the disturbance. Even if it's not the inn, it might be interesting.
[ ] Patchouli seems confident in her guess. Head that way.
>> No. 36412
[x] Investigate the disturbance. Even if it's not the inn, it might be interesting.

Mystery vote! If nothing else, we can ask directions.
>> No. 36413
[x] Investigate the disturbance. Even if it's not the inn, it might be interesting.
allright.
>> No. 36415
[ ] Investigate the disturbance. Even if it's not the inn, it might be interesting.
>> No. 36416
[x] Investigate the disturbance. Even if it's not the inn, it might be interesting.
>> No. 36419
[x] Investigate the disturbance. Even if it's not the inn, it might be interesting.
It might even be a fight!
>> No. 36422
[X] Investigate the disturbance. Even if it's not the inn, it might be interesting.

Works for me~!
>> No. 36424
>“Yes,” She says, “However, due to a variety of circumstances, he needed to be returned to the capital. I happened to be working in the area at the time, to guard the local mayor, so they gave him an equivalent number of initiates and assigned me to guard the prisoner.”

Sounds like they had to catch the 3:10 to Youmu.

[x] Investigate the disturbance. Even if it's not the inn, it might be interesting.
>> No. 36427
[X] Investigate the disturbance. Even if it's not the inn, it might be interesting.
>> No. 36428
Nothing today because I feel horrible. Update, tomorrow, etc.
>> No. 36437
[x] Investigate the disturbance. Even if it's not the inn, it might be interesting.

“Well,” You shrug, “I think it's worth checking out. Let's go see.”

Along the walk, you keep hearing all kinds of animals – however, they're very careful to stay out of sight. Eventually, you can make out some kind of faint banging and shouting in the direction you were heading.

“That's what you heard, right?” You ask Tewi.

“Yeah,” She says, “That's, uh... probably not what you're looking for, though.”

“Why not?”

“It's some guy begging to be let back into his house,” She says, “Something about how his wife is wrong, and he's not sick.”

“Sick?”

“Dunno,” She shrugs, “He's pretty hysterical.”

“It's never easy, is it?” You mutter, trying to mask your anxiety a bit. “Maybe we can help, regardless.”

“Heh,” Tewi says, “Do what you want.”

Patchouli, by now, has marked her place in that book of hers and come back into the real world. She doesn't seem concerned either way, so you press on.

“... yeah, I hear what you mean.”

Sobbing, or at least what sounds like it, seems to be waiting for you just around the corner of this block. However, when you turn to check for Tewi, she seems to have vanished.

So, instead, you turn to Patchouli. “Where'd she go?”

Patchouli shrugs.

“Huh.”

She's probably off doing her own thing. You continue onward, and quickly see the source of the sound. Sitting in front of a shoddy looking duplex is a man, curled up with his face burred in his arms. Something seems wrong with his neck, too. It's hard to tell exactly what in this lighting, but it seems... swollen?

“That seems... unnatural,” Patchouli says to you, rather loudly. Loudly enough to startle the man.

“Get away!” He yells, trying his best to turn away without getting up, “Get out of here!”

“What's happened to you?” You ask, startled by his reaction, “We're mages, maybe we can help.”

“I'm seriouAAAAAAGH!”

You've got no idea what's going on, but he seems to be in some serious pain with the way he's clutching his head.

[ ] Get in close for a better look. You need to know more if you're going to help him.
[ ] Too many unknowns. Keep your distance.
>> No. 36438
[X] Too many unknowns. Keep your distance.
>> No. 36439
[x] Get in close for a better look. You need to know more if you're going to help him.

We're mages! Surely we can deal with a little infectious disease?
>> No. 36440
[x] Too many unknowns. Keep your distance.

There is a limit to altruistic stupidity. Coming closer to an ill person screaming for you to keep away would definitely cross that border.
>> No. 36441
[x] Too many unknowns. Keep your distance.

Odd. It'd be best to keep our distance. You know, in case he explodes.
>> No. 36442
[X] Too many unknowns. Keep your distance.

Holy schmuck bait, Batman.
>> No. 36443
[x] Too many unknowns. Keep your distance.

Lesson: Treat Tewi like an anti-radio.
>> No. 36444
[X] Too many unknowns. Keep your distance.

Either Left 4 Dead or Silent Hill, take your pick.
>> No. 36445
File 131476292956.jpg - (16.75KB , 400x273 , fuckfuckfuck.jpg ) [iqdb]
36445
[X] Too many unknowns. Keep your distance.

damn it
>> No. 36446
[x] Get in close for a better look. You need to know more if you're going to help him.
Sounds like someone needs some iodine.
>> No. 36447
[X] Too many unknowns. Keep your distance.
>> No. 36448
[x] Get in close for a better look. You need to know more if you're going to help him

Need to see the details, find what's really wrong with him.
>> No. 36449
[x] Get in close for a better look. You need to know more if you're going to help him

Need to see the details, find what's really wrong with him.
>> No. 36450
[X] Too many unknowns. Keep your distance.
>> No. 36451
[X] Too many unknowns. Keep your distance.
>> No. 36452
[x] Too many unknowns. Keep your distance.
[x] Ask Patchouli to get a koakuma in close for a better look. You need to know more if you're going to help him.

She's already on it.

But leaders gonna lead.
>> No. 36457
[x] Too many unknowns. Keep your distance.
Yeah, no.
>> No. 36463
[x] Too many unknowns. Keep your distance.

Still, you have no trouble heeding his words. You take a few steps back, your mind grinding away at various possibilities. There is no automatic response for this. Patchouli, however, wastes no time setting up her defenses. By the time you look to her, you see that she's already poofed in a few koakuma.

The man himself continues to scream in pain for a few seconds before settling back down to his old, sobbing state.

“Shall we do something?” Patchouli asks, as you continue to think.

“... is this something you recognize?” You ask.

“No.”

The man looks to you two again, and ceases all noise. You can see that there's something wrong with his face, too. Lumps, or sores, or... something, you can't quite make it out in this light. It's all swollen, regardless.

Somehow, even with his face like that, he manages a grin. “I said leave.”

Whatever this is, it seems to be affecting his speech. He's slurring. You've never run across this, either. Taking another few steps back, you ---

--- prepare to give Patchouli cover. He's preparing to lunge, or lumber over, or something.

“Stay where you are,” You say, “I'm not sure what's going on here, but it seems dangerous.”

“Yeah,” The man says, standing up. “Hah! Dangerous. HahahaaaAAAARG!”

And, indeed, he lunges... straight into your barrier. However, he's much stronger than one would expect. Not youkai-strong, but this man could easily shatter bones with simple blows.

“Shall I attack?” Patchouli asks, calmly.

“Subdue,” You say, deflecting another full body tackle, “If possible.”

“Yes.”

The flash of light that follows is blinding. By the time your eyes re-adjust, you can see that the man has fallen to the ground. He's still breathing, you think – although the only thing you can actually say is that he's still moving.

“Good shot,” you say, “Although I guess he wasn't much of a foe.”

“The shot wasn't mine.”

“Huh?”

A third voice echoes out from far behind you. “Yeah, that was mine. Are you two OK?”

Turning around, you see three figures in the darkness on the other side of the street. Two... well, you're not sure if they're children, but they're definitely smaller than most adults. They seem to be wearing matching black, hooded robes. The third is clad in a very bright, white overcoat of sorts. Odd, since you catch a Guild insignia glinting on her collar. That uniform is definitely breaking code. This must be who you're looking for.

“Rikako Asakura?”

“That's me,” She says, “Look, let's talk back at the inn. The streets aren't exactly safe right now.”

[ ] Shouldn't you do something about this man, first?
[ ] You've got no problem with that.
>> No. 36464
[x] You've got no problem with that.

Fuck yeah Rikako. I wonder who her initiates are, if anyone.
>> No. 36466
[x] Shouldn't you do something about this man, first?

Instead of leaving him on those people's door step?
>> No. 36467
[x] Shouldn't you do something about this man, first?

Interesting
>> No. 36475
[X] Shouldn't you do something about this man, first?

He's still human, right? He could just be possessed by a Makai demon.
>> No. 36476
[x] Shouldn't you do something about this man, first?
It is unsanitary to leave zombies lying around.
>> No. 36479
[x] Shouldn't you do something about this man, first?
Yeah. He'll just wake up and attack someone I guess.
>> No. 36480
[x] Shouldn't you do something about this man, first?
>> No. 36482
[X] Shouldn't you do something about this man, first?
>> No. 36486
[x] You've got no problem with that.

The man has already been neutralized. Any other concerns will be addressed at whatever headquarters they have established.
>> No. 36497
[x] You've got no problem with that.

He's not the sentimental type.
>> No. 36498
[ ] Shouldn't you do something about this man, first?
>> No. 36499
[X] Shouldn't you do something about this man, first?
>> No. 36501
[x] Shouldn't you do something about this man, first?

“Uh, what about him?” You ask, finally dropping your barrier, “Do you plan to just leave him there?”

“Do you want to move him?” She asks, “It's transmittable by contact, you know - and acidic enough to eat through clothes. He'll be out until morning, so I don't think he'll be hurting anyone.”

“That's right,” One of the hooded figures says, “He probably won't.”

Yes, seems like it's a boy. Probably around 12 or 13 – young, regardless. You'd take a stab at the name but both of these initiates have ambiguous ones.

“Let's get moving,” Rikako says to the two initiates behind her, “We've got to finish this patrol before we head back to the inn.” Then, she turns back to you. “Do you two want to stick with us?”

“Sure, we'll follow. What's going on here, anyway?” You ask.

“I'll explain when we make it back,” She says, “Best to keep it down. They're attracted by noise.”

You shrug. Fine by you. The only real threat from these things, that you can see, seems to be from a surprise attack – and you'll be able to hear them coming if no one is making any noise. Well, little noise. Seems you've found a kindred spirit, as far as keeping your coat stuffed with things goes. There's the distinctive clink of glass vials every so often from Rikako, while your own trinkets bump up against one another from time to time.

The rest of the patrol only takes another fifteen or so minutes, zigzagging between buildings and alleyways. Eventually, Rikako actually moves to enter a building – the inn, you notice, after actually paying attention to the sign. She knocks, but not continuously. There's a few knocks, followed by a pause, followed by another few. You count ten in total.

There's a pause where everyone waits, and part of you wonders if anything will happen. Patchouli drops her koakuma, too, which is probably for the best. The door does finally open, however, and all of you hurry inside. There was furniture in front of the door, and it seems like they had to move it before your group could enter. All six of you – it seems that, at some point, Tewi managed to get behind you.

“Sorry about that,” Rikako says, “We can ta--- who's that?”

“Eh,” Tewi says, giving a dismissive hand wave, “Don't mind me.”

Rikako gives you a suspicious look, but you just smile and nod. “That's Tewi,” You say, “I can explain the rest later. I'm Jack Steam, and that's Patchouli Knowledge.”

“I figured that's who you were,” Rikako says, “Well, if we're going to talk business, let's head downstairs. I've got some things to tend to.”

By now, the initiates have removed their hoods. One boy and one girl, probably about the same age. If looks are any indication, they're probably siblings. All of you begin walking towards some staircase that leads into a stone basement

“Do you need us?” The girl asks, “'Cause I'm tired.”

“Wait just a little longer,” Rikako says, before turning to you, “I assume you came by train? It's the only logical way for you to get here.”

“That's right,” You say, careful to watch out for low hanging beams and such, “And I assume you got the message about the recall?”

“That's right. Oh! I never introduced these two, did I? Well, he's Makoto. And she's Kyou.”

You smile, trying your best to gauge them. Makoto seems... distant. When you look him in the eye, he shows nothing. Almost like he doesn't realize it. Kyou, on the other hand, looks away.

“Well, it's nice to meet you both,” You say, right around the time that you enter the basement proper, “What schools do yo--- oh, my. What is all this?”

What you see down here causes you pause. A huge mass of glass, wood, metal... you seize up for a moment. Patchouli, however, has no issues.

“An alchemical laboratory,” She says, simply, “Interesting.”

“You like it?” Rikako laughs, “It's all I could bring with me from the capital.”

“It is quite well equipped,” Patchouli notes, floating closer to examine it, “Then, you are an alchemist?”

“I prefer Scientist. Alchemy has this sort of... magical connotation to it. I don't really do magic. Anyway,” She says, tending to something set up on a workbench, “I can't go with you. I'd have to throw away all the work I've done towards a cure.”

“Cure for what?” You ask, “I'm still not sure what's going on here.”

“Right,” She says, nodding, “Right. Sorry. There's a disease going around – an unnatural one, I might add – that drives the victim mad over the course of a day. Transmittable by contact with the ooze that the infected give off. Seems that it needs to be fresh though, straight from the source.”

You turn to Patchouli. “Could you send a koakuma back to warn everyone?”

“Yes,” She says, summoning one with a small puff of smoke. “Get going.”

They look at each other for a moment, before the koakuma heads upstairs. Hopefully, it knows enough to stay out of sight. Something tells you the locals wouldn't take kindly to a demon showing up during all this.

“Anyway,” Rikako continues, “It basically makes the victim stronger and crazy. The swelling seems to act on certain areas of the brain, and the disease itself seems to add a bunch of muscle tissue for no reason. It kills the victim after a few day.”

“So, that man was infected with this disease?”

“Yeah,” She says, “We're the second team to show up here. The Guild decided to bring me in when they realized they'd need to wipe out the town to get rid of it. I've been working on an antidote, and it's almost done... but it'll take until morning for me to see if it's working or not.”

“You mentioned that this was unnatural,” Patchouli says, “Is a youkai responsible? If this is as I think it is, destroying the source would be faster and more certain.”

“Probably,” Rikako says, “Either a youkai or some kind of cursed something-or-other. I figured we'd deal with that after we got the antidote. That's why I can't go. If I leave now, I'll lose three day's work. I don't think this town will last another week.”

“The circumstances at the capital are far more severe,” You say, “This recall wasn't issued lightly.”

“Whatever it is,” She says, “I don't think one scientist will make much of a difference.”

[ ] Keep trying to reason with her. There is a bigger picture.
[ ] Offer to work with her
- [ ] Wait until the antidote is complete.
- [ ] Attempt to find the source.
[ ] Maybe a direct order would be more effective.
===============================================
Yeah, sorry about missing yesterday. I was working on a side-project for one of my classes, got absorbed, and by the time I realized how late it was I already needed to go to bed.
>> No. 36502
[x] Offer to work with her
- [x] Attempt to find the source.

I don't give a damn about the capital. Waste time, get bitches.
>> No. 36503
[x] Keep trying to reason with her. There is a bigger picture.
Sure enough, the lives of many are more worth as the lives of a few.
>> No. 36504
>>36503
It's not that simple.

Rikako can definitely make a difference for the few.
She has a chance of making a difference for the many, and other people will be helping the many no matter what she does.

But there's no option to simply leave her behind (and I don't want to leave her behind), so... whatever.
>> No. 36505
[x] Maybe a direct order would be more effective.

I actually feel bad about this one, but I get the feeling that every moment we waste before getting a move on will make the inevitable situation at the capital harder to deal with. The way the author keeps presenting the choice to solve other problems first reeks of shmuck bait.
>> No. 36506
[x] Offer to work with her
- [x] Attempt to find the source.
Time to save everyone again.
>> No. 36507
File 131501121041.jpg - (116.07KB , 500x280 , tumblr_lb5gfk2RZf1qb9icao1_500.jpg ) [iqdb]
36507
>She has a chance of making a difference for the many

Yes, she has. What good are the saved life of the few if the many die because the help came too late? In the end the few would be doomed if things don't work out.
>> No. 36508
[x] Offer to work with her
- [x] Attempt to find the source.

Might be a makai branch causing trouble/testing a bio-weapon.
>> No. 36510
[x] Offer to work with her
- [x] Attempt to find the source.

Works for me~!
>> No. 36511
>>36505
How is the capital being harder to deal with a bad thing? This is a story. Adversity = good.
>> No. 36512
[x] Keep trying to reason with her. There is a bigger picture.
>> No. 36515
[X] Offer to work with her
- [X] Attempt to find the source.

An unnatural disease possibly caused by a youkai? Yamame~.
>> No. 36516
[x] Maybe a direct order would be more effective.

I don't give a shit about whatever malady is effecting this town. She's been ordered to return with us, and that's exactly what she's going to do.
>> No. 36517
[x] Maybe a direct order would be more effective.

It sucks for this town, but I really feel like half the capital is going to get slaughtered because we're too busy sidequesting at every stop.
>> No. 36519
>“Whatever it is,” She says, “I don't think one scientist will make much of a difference.”

You're in the midst of a highly contagious, deadly plague that generates acid-spitting, super-strong zombies. A mad alchemist, who boarded herself up alone, with her two homunculi initiates, doesn't seem to think too much about Guild regulations, or their urgent cables, and is dismissive of how much she might contribute to actual combat.

Getting her to come with you either requires: 1) Further exposure to the disease, as well as combat with youkai powerful enough to have created it (could be both Yamame and Medicine)), or 2) Waiting all night to create a cure, somehow safely administering it to everyone still alive in the town, likely having to search homes and knock them out to do it, and then you're still not assured of it working.

It sucks, but with or without her, you need to get going.

[x] Maybe a direct order would be more effective.
-[x] Even if she does decide to stay anyway, she'll stay alone; you won't leave two initiates in a dangerous situation under the command of a rogue agent.
>> No. 36520
In before Makai teleports a zombie army to the capital at the worst possible time.
>> No. 36521
>>36517
As opposed to dealing with all the things ignored but worse when we get there?
>> No. 36522
[x] Offer to work with her
- [x] Attempt to find the source.

Let's bust some zombie heads up.
>> No. 36523
[x] Offer to work with her
- [x] Attempt to find the source.

You think for a moment, mulling over a few options. A direct order might be more effective... but, no. Maybe you could solve this indecent as quickly as possible.

“You know,” You say, “We've probably got more than enough firepower to take care of a youkai. Would you be up for a hunt?”

“The problem is finding the thing, not killing it,” Rikako says, “Makoto there is a diviner, but even he can't pick up where it's hiding.”

“That's because it isn't in town,” The boy says, “I can't see very far.”

“And,” Rikako continues, “You'd be in for a huge fight out there. We've been keeping the town pretty clean, but it's really bad once you start going around the outskirts.”

“Still, it seems to be the fastest way to take care of this,” You say, simply, “Shouldn't take more than a few hours if we're not physically searching the entire countryside.”

“Well, I'm sure everyone here would appreciate it,” She says, “But, are you sure you can be wasting time like that? What's this recall all about, anyway?”

“Makai seems to have found a loophole in the 'no physical presence unless summoned' rule,” You say, “The capital is under siege as we speak. Probably.”

As usual, that garners a look of disbelief from everyone.

“You mean demons?” Kyou asks, after a few moments, “Real demons?”

“Yes,” You say, trying your best to be gentle about it, “They've been setting up distractions for the Guild for past few months. If I had to guess, I'd say they set this one up, too.”

“I had the same though,” Patchouli says, “It wouldn't take much to persuade a disease-manipulating youkai to do something like this.”

“Ugh,” Rikako says, “That's... well, diabolical. You're serious about all this, right?”

“I'm afraid so.”

“Look,” She says, “I can't ask you to stay in good faith if that's what's going on. Wouldn't it be better if you just took these two with you, and got there as quickly as you could?”

[ ] No. If you want to break Makai's back, you'll need to gather as many straws as you can.
[ ] Actually... she might be right. A few hours may not be worth the extra firepower.
================================================
Sorry if this seems like double-voting, but >>36504 makes a good point. There was a "forget about her" option at one point, but it looks like it vanished when I was toying with the wording on the votes.
>> No. 36524
[X] Actually... she might be right. A few hours may not be worth the extra firepower.
>> No. 36525
[x] No. If you want to break Makai's back, you'll need to gather as many straws as you can.

I want my damn side quest.
>> No. 36526
[x] No. If you want to break Makai's back, you'll need to gather as many straws as you can.

If this is introduced to the capital at any point during the invasion, bad things could/will happen.
>> No. 36527
[x] Actually... she might be right. A few hours may not be worth the extra firepower.

If we have too many named characters around, they'll either be expendable or not get enough time in the spotlight. I'd love to be wrong abbout this.
>> No. 36529
[ ] No. If you want to break Makai's back, you'll need to gather as many straws as you can.

Though my reasoning has less to do with the situation there, and more to do with the situation here. Rule number one of dealing with zombie apocalypses, and similar infections, is: you do not fuck around and let this shit snowball. This could be even more disastrous tham the invasion, seeing as how the demons only have a very short window to pipe in troops and the infection here generates "reinforcements" (so to speak) from every victim.

If it's already at critical mass... well, shit, we're a talented schizist with two wielders of hideously excessive firepower behind us. Worst comes to worst, we can go nuclear on this town well before the guild could, because you do not fuck around and let this shit snowball.
>> No. 36530
[x] Actually... she might be right. A few hours may not be worth the extra firepower.

Voting for what the writer wants.
>> No. 36531
[X] Actually... she might be right. A few hours may not be worth the extra firepower.

She seems to have this shit under control.
>> No. 36532
[x] Actually... she might be right. A few hours may not be worth the extra firepower.

I'd rather not have to wait so long that we're left laying siege to our own city walls.
>> No. 36533
[x] No. If you want to break Makai's back, you'll need to gather as many straws as you can.
>> No. 36534
[x] Actually... she might be right. A few hours may not be worth the extra firepower.

Enough screwing around. Seriously.
>> No. 36537
[X] No. If you want to break Makai's back, you'll need to gather as many straws as you can.

Containment, yo.
>> No. 36538
[X] No. If you want to break Makai's back, you'll need to gather as many straws as you can.

Containment, yo.
>> No. 36539
>>36537
>>36538

Goddamn errors. Won't even let me delete one.
>> No. 36540
[X] No. If you want to break Makai's back, you'll need to gather as many straws as you can.
>> No. 36541
[X] No. If you want to break Makai's back, you'll need to gather as many straws as you can.

I have to agree with >>36529. We can't be sure this is contained, or that Rikako's antidote will work. Saving the capital won't mean much if a zombie horde shows up two weeks later and if the worse case scenario where we're sieging an occupied capital occurs, we don't want that horde creeping up our rear lines. Ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure.
>> No. 36546
[x] No. If you want to break Makai's back, you'll need to gather as many straws as you can.
>> No. 36548
>>36541
it's just that these things were clearly set up as a distraction that would lure manpower away from the capital...
which is exactly what it is doing now that we stop here at the village to deal with this.

I have a feeling that while we do have time to gather SOME allies, we don't have the time to solve every single problem we discover on the way to the capital.
And this isn't even the final stop we're making, and i figure we're going to be running into local problems at every stop we make.
And besides those, there are whatever random encounters we run into while moving, like some demon having gnawed away a part of the railroad.
>> No. 36555
See >>36554 for updates, as this thread is in auto-sage.