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21787 No. 21787
[Pull the ribbons out from your pocket, letting them dangle between your fingers.]
["I'll say this: Sometimes a gift is more beautiful when it's still in its wrappings."]

How in the name of all heaven and hell are you supposed to answer this? If you tell the truth and reveal you turned Meiling away, it will almost certainly be considered as an insult to Remilia herself. But at the same time, if you tell an outright fabrication, you know that there’s no way you could keep your facts straight on such short notice, in which case you’ll either look like a fool or be forced to tell the truth anyways on top of being discovered as a liar. And you doubt you have the skill to change the subject without actually answering the question. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Sure, it seemed easy enough to say no to Miss Meiling, but can you do the same to Remilia Scarlet herself?

You have to lean towards truth, no matter what you do. Deception and lies aren’t going to get you anywhere in this mansion, where your host and her assistants can watch every move you make, and they might as well be a death sentence right now. But it has to be a soft truth, an easy truth, something you can slowly sink into depending on what Remilia asks next. You have a gut feeling that even if she wasn’t the mysterious girl in the basement, she probably knows the truth about what happened with you and the gate guard; otherwise, why would she summon you so quickly? You have to play this just right. You have to be ambiguous; say phrases that could be taken either way, and let Remilia trip herself up on her own assumptions long enough for you to get a firmer foothold in this conversation. Just…where to begin?

You stuff your hands into your pockets calmly, looking as nonchalant as possible for the moment. “Ah yes, my ‘prize’. I must say I wasn’t expecting a prize of such…exotic origin. Is this how you treat all your guests, or just the special ones?”

She smirks, but still keeps her eyes on the book. “My ways are my own, young man. I give to each what I think they deserve. Do you doubt that you deserved such a gift?”

“What man can truly say what they deserve, Miss Scarlet? I’m no philosopher; how could I know? But…” You trail off, thumbing the silk ribbons in your pocket. An idea strikes you, and you pull them out, letting the tails dangle loosely through your fingers. Remilia glances at them out of the corner of her eye, intrigued, and finally sets down her book.

“I'll say this, miss: Sometimes a gift is more beautiful when it's still in its wrappings."

She finally looks at you in the eyes; a sharp and penetrating stare. Your gut starts to freeze up, and you can just feel that the interrogation is on its way.

“But it appears that the wrappings have been removed. Could it be that you were not satisfied with the unspoiled beauty of the unopened gift?”

What to say, what to say, you’ve got to answer quick. How can you make this double-sided, what words do you have to use? You’re thinking by the seat of you pants now, and your words start to lose some of their grandiose.

“It’s tough to see a gift under the Christmas tree Christmas Eve and wait until the next morning to open it. But it’s not Christmas yet, miss.”

She tilts her head slightly, barely detectable if you weren’t watching her at the time, but that fraction of a centimeter says everything. Despite being over a head shorter, she’s trying to look down on you. And with that face, she might almost be able to succeed.

“Father Christmas comes early every once in a lifetime, you know. He comes to bring joy and happiness to all the eager children who want their wishes granted just once a year. He is a busy man, but just one time in a hundred he grants his kindness just a little early. Now what kind of selfish Scrooge would keep the good Father waiting? What kind of person would scorn such an act of compassion and good will? It’s that kind of selfishness that gets your stocking stuffed full of coal.”

Now she’s adding threats. Brilliant. Just another indicator that you’re on the knife’s edge here. One false step either way sends you hurtling into the abyss, while indecision will only make the blade sink deeper into your feet. She’s good at this; she knows just where to lay her traps. You’re slowly getting backed into a corner, being forced into either answering the way she wants or blatantly insulting her.

You try and deflect the statement yet again, never certain if you’re gaining ground or merely sidestepping into oblivion. “Selfishness, or patience? It’s no sin to wait, Miss Remilia. Good things come to those who wait, you know.”

She’s standing right in front of you now, gently brushing the hanging ribbons from your hand, but still not touching you directly. It’s nerve-wracking to have her grill you like this while she’s so close. You can smell fresh perfumes and elegant fragrances radiating from her like light from a candle. It’s almost intoxicating.

She gives you a little half-smirk, half-frown as she pull the ribbons out of your hand. “And good things come to those who don’t wait, too. Do you think you’ll somehow mystically gain something by waiting until every opportunity passes you by? Sooner or later you have to take what you can get, otherwise you’ll start to lose what you already have.

“You can’t get very far in life by being patient. You have to do things, take chances, be adventurous. If you had been patient back in your old life, what would have happened? You would have led a boring, sad little existence while your true destiny passed you by. No, you took a chance. You acted on what you believed in, what you wanted to do. And here you are.”

She loops one of the ribbons around her absurd hat, tying it with the very same bow that Meiling was tied with. “That’s what I’d really like to see from you, young man. I want you to be yourself, remember? I want you to do something unexpected, something that you’ve always dreamed of, but were too afraid to try. I want you to reach for the stars, and I want you to grab them tight. And…” She lowers her voice to a whisper, and draws your head closer to hers.

“And I want to be the one to help you. I want you to find your dreams, because…because then maybe it means I’ll be able to find mine as well.”

That last sentence, just that single last phrase, was the first time today that Remilia hasn’t sounded arrogant. For those few seconds, she sounded…sad, normal, just a little girl with big wishes. The moment is all but gone in an instant, and she suddenly snaps out of her dreamy thoughts and returns back to where she once was. But for that one tiny piece of time, you could tell that despite her ego and her mansion and her elegance, she was still just another lost soul with unfulfilled hopes.

“I know you have it in you to be great, young man,” she says. “All you need to do is be true to yourself, and don’t let anything stop you. Come now, what do you really want to do? Patience? What is patience?”

[ ] No time for patience, she wants an answer! Better make it a good one! (Once again, a good write-in is critical here!)

====================

>>21765
>Waaaaaaaaaait a minute...could this be a suppressor?
The answer is no; it would be too big for that. The phrase “a small log” is pretty vague, but at that moment I could not think of anything better. The approximate dimensions are 30 centimeters long and 7 centimeters in diameter.

>> No. 21793
[ ] "You can be assured, Miss, that I let nobody stop me from being true to myself, regardless of what is set before me."
>> No. 21795
[ ] "You can be assured, Miss, that I let nobody stop me from being true to myself, regardless of what is set before me."
[ ] "Or who."
>> No. 21796
[ ] "You can be assured, Miss, that I let nobody stop me from being true to myself, regardless of what is set before me.
[ ] "Or who."
>> No. 21797
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21797
>>21787
>>Come now, what do you really want to do?

[X] What do I want to do? Honestly? Mistress Scarlet, I want to find answers; answers that I will find on my own terms.

These answers will not come by improvident fate; they will not be ordained by the future; they will not be ordered by cold, calculating logic; they will not be determined by impartial concepts of jusitce. I want, and I will, find answers that reveal the absolute truth, and I will lay it bare for all under the heavens.

That is what I want.

Spoilers for meta-knowledge.

Heh heh, even though this will not win, it was cathartic to express my view of this CYOA. Good on ya U.N. Owen! I sincerely hope you enjoy the accolades you deserve on this site by the end of all this.
>> No. 21800
>>"You can be assured, Miss, that I let nobody stop me from being true to myself, regardless of what is set before me."
>>"Or who."

Ask yourself, is that really the sort of response she would be satisfied with?

She asked us an honest question about what we want, and seems to want to help us attain or achieve whatever it is, even if only to affirm that there's hope for her own dreams and desires to be fulfilled. We dodged the bullet regarding Meiling, but as we clearly did not want what Remilia had offered us, now she would like to know what it is we DO want. Some honesty might not be a bad idea.

So, what is it that we WANT? What is it we hope to gain from poking around in places we clearly aren't meant to see? Of what use do we intend to put the tools and items we have found? And what of the increasing number who are placing hope in us for one thing or another? Is the fulfillment of them going to help us towards our own goal, or are they perhaps the goal themselves?

If what we say here is truly "critical" then we would do very well to not rush and to put some serious thought into our reply. Her saying to "be true to yourself, and don’t let anything stop you" appear to be words of encouragement, not an expression of doubt about our ability to do so. She asked a good question, and she deserves a good answer.
>> No. 21802
>“I know you have it in you to be great, young man,” she says. “All you need to do is be true to yourself, and don’t let anything stop you. Come now, what do you really want to do? Patience? What is patience?”

[x] "Patience is hope, what you may call quiet desperation for happiness in a life that divorced you from means to achieve it. This may mean nothing to you, who lives for want of nothing but an escape from the soul-crushing tedium."
[x] "However... to the one I met in the basement, one who called you 'sister', patience, or should say Hope, is a very real and sustaining force, the lack for which I fear would not allow that one to go on."
[x] "But to answer your question Miss Scarlet, I don't have time to fantasize over rescuing princesses from dungeons, slaying evil dragons, or escaping the machinations of the capricious gods, not when there is so much work to be done right in front of me. Everyone wants to change the world, and perhaps I will, but I can't see that this place is not as good a starting place as any other."

Yeah, I went there. She seems to be opening her heart to us here, so I think we should return in kind.
>> No. 21803
[X] "I want to find my destiny. I think it might be nearby."

Anything longer than ten or twenty words shouldn't really be considered here.
>> No. 21804
[X] "I want to find my destiny. I think it might be nearby."
[X] "I already checked under my bed, and in the back of my drawers. I'm running out of places, and fast!"
[X] "But be clear on this, Miss. You'll never find me yellin' 'olly olly oxen free'."
[X] "Wherever that cheeky li'l minx is, I'll find it on my own, no two ways about it."
>> No. 21805
[X] "Life doesn't like shortcuts, a robber might gain money faster than the merchant, but does that make the robber the happier of the two? Most likely not, and most likely he'll end up dead sooner than most."

[X] "Now if you truly want to give me what I wish, take time, learn to truly know me, and give me a truly proper gift. I promise to do the same in return, miss Scarlet, and hopefully we both will get what we need, instead of what we want."

I try, but i've never been good with words.
>> No. 21812
>>21797
>Good on ya U.N. Owen! I sincerely hope you enjoy the accolades you deserve on this site by the end of all this.
Such accolades will not fall on deaf ears, I assure you.

>>21800
>If what we say here is truly "critical" then we would do very well to not rush and to put some serious thought into our reply.
And you shall have the time to do it, as well. I am not planning another update until late this evening, so by all means think hard, and choose well what you shall say.

>>21803
>Anything longer than ten or twenty words shouldn't really be considered here.
No, no, certainly not. Longer write-ins give me more subject matter with which to write, and it helps flesh out the underlying motives and feelings behind the character’s actions. Now, if you can say all that you want to say in a single sentence, by all means do so. But if you simply cannot express the emotion you wish to convey with fewer words, then there is nothing wrong in writing something bigger.

Additionally, there is something more to be considered…
There is a special secret to be found here if you give Remilia a specific type of response. I have given you a hint within Remilia’s dialog, and the answer lies buried somewhere within a previous segment of the story. It is completely possible to answer correctly without deciphering the hint, but if even one or two people can find what I am looking for, you shall be rewarded.
>> No. 21815
>I want you to reach for the stars

REACH FOR THE STARS, KAIJI-KUN!!

>“I know you have it in you to be great, young man,” she says. “All you need to do is be true to yourself, and don’t let anything stop you. Come now, what do you really want to do? Patience? What is patience?”

[x] You remember what she and Nathaniel exchanged at the dinner table. "What was it you said before? 'Patience is a virtue...'"
[x] Unless she does so, finish the rest of the rhyme.
[x] "It's cute, but a farmer's son has his own aphorisms: 'Between the peony and rose, plant squash, spinach, turnips, and tomatoes.' 'You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not smashing it.' And my favorite, 'Patience serves as a protection against wrongs as clothes do against cold, for if you put on more clothes as the cold increases, it will have no power to hurt you, so in like manner you must grow in patience when you meet with great wrongs, and they will be powerless to vex your mind.'"
[x] "Now between being patient and being selfish, I'll admit that sometimes I'd rather face not eating, than face licking the plate clean and admitting when I'm greedy, but I'll also tell you now that I am capable of expressing a wider array of emotions than laughter, anger, and 'let's fuck'."
[x] "But of all this, your words now confuse me the most, Remilia Scarlet. Why would the Emperor seek to help the Slave?"
>> No. 21821
>>Patience? What is patience?”
>>'Patience is a virtue...'"

Innnnnnnnteresting...
>> No. 21824
Posting here because old topic was in autosage by the time I woke up.

>>21621
>That is not dead which can eternal lie.
>And with strange aeons even death may die.
Where's this from, again? I'm thinking either Lovecraft or from Frankenstein. Although, to be honest, I remember it only because it was in the OP of Monster Princess.

...

Wait a second.

>Princess
>Monster
......hmmmm.

...Son of a bitch, now that I've though on that for a few seconds, that series had a Flandre, too. Admittedly, she was an adorable loli cyborg maid with an extremely limited vocabulary, but still.

And thinking on it further still, that show was about a vampire-ish-but-not-really-a-vampire princess who kept a boy around as a servant, and had to grant him a mote of her lifeforce, periodically, in order to keep him alive.

And that sounds rather kinda like what >>21695 and >>21699 were suggesting.

>>21772
>Remilia, what were you thinking?!
I'm guessing something along the lines of "Win against me, will he?!"

>>21765
>suppressor
You mean a silencer?
>> No. 21826
>>21821

"Catch it if you can..."
>> No. 21828
>>21815
Heh heh. Good catch on the 'patience is a virtue' bit. Just one thing on the slave comment:
>>20781
>>The Citizen can do anything. Can be anything. It can create. It can use. It can destroy. But its choice is its own. Unlike the Emperor, it does not destroy a nation when it fails. Unlike the Slave, it does not destroy a nation when it succeeds. It is the jack-of-all-trades, neither weak nor strong. But it’s mediocrity is it’s greatest strength. The world is made of the average and the plain, the boring and the run-of-the-mill. Both the Emperor and the Slave dream of holding the world in their hands…but the world already is held within the hands of the Citizens.
>>You calmly draw out a card from your hand and place it onto the table. It is a Citizen…just like you. You don’t care what symbolism you might have thought of before; you’re no Slave. No Slave could walk away from his home and into the unknown. No Slave could live a life of peasantry and dine like a king the week after. You are a free man, a “Citizen” of the world.
Her perspective of us as a slave isn't what matters; our own understanding that we are a citizen, with all the freedom and power that entails, is what's important.

Just re-read all out dialogue with Remilia. A couple things that stand out:
She loved it when we got her to laugh with the joke on Meiling's expense.
She hates for us to pretend to be a gentleman. She is also thoroughly interested in our rustic perspective, probably because she doesn't know a lot about it. It's probably why she chose Meiling as a gift: since she doesn't understand what a farmboy like ourselves might enjoy, she decided to go with something any young man, regardless of upbringing or status, would no doubt dream about.

As an aside:
>>20150
>>“More than rumors, dear Meiling,” Remilia responds haughtily. “Doctor Eirin’s Hourai Elixir is very real…very real and very useless. Who wants the monotony of living forever after life has lost it’s fun? No, you’ll not see me sipping any of that foul stuff. There are ‘better’ ways to live.”
Yet another bit of gloss on whatever it was we found downstairs.

>>21787
[X] You remember what she and Nathaniel exchanged at the dinner table. "What is patience? You said before: 'Patience is a virtue...'"
[X] Unless she does so, finish the rest of the rhyme.
[X] "As for what I want to do? Hmm... if you had asked me not five days ago, all I could've told you that I was 'pursuing my dreams,' but not what those dreams were. But after coming to this mansion, having seen and experienced such incredible things, I now know that there are things that I need and want to do here. And all things considered, I could use all the help I can get."
[X] "And thank you for the gift, Remilia, but I think you should get to know me a little more before bestowing such a, ah.... hmm.... Anyway, for now your sentiments are gift enough."

Looking back, our motivations for leaving home are vague as vague can be. All that means it's up to us to decide what the dreams we choose to pursue, and the mansion gives us more than a few. What do we need to do: survive, figure out the creatures in basement, stop whatever seems to have this mansion "cursed." What do we want to do: figure out Nathaniels part of all this, play with Cirno, talk to Patchouli, comfort Meiling, figure out the connection of the spectacles to Sakuya. Well, that's my interpretation, and tasks will slide from one category to another as the story goes on, but that's my answer.

And yeah, I used her first name. If we get to do what we want, then getting on a first name basis is part of my agenda. Don't know if Remilia merrits this level of trust, but I was moved by her last few statements.

Anyway, I don't think any one choice is going to win, but the votes will result in a collective understanding. Kinda like the way blankfag does it for RAN.
>> No. 21841
[X] You remember what she and Nathaniel exchanged at the dinner table. "What is patience? You said before: 'Patience is a virtue...'"
[X] Unless she does so, finish the rest of the rhyme.
[X] "As for what I want to do? Hmm... if you had asked me not five days ago, all I could've told you that I was 'pursuing my dreams,' but not what those dreams were. But after coming to this mansion, having seen and experienced such incredible things, I now know that there are things that I need and want to do here. And all things considered, I could use all the help I can get."
[X] "And thank you for the gift, Remilia, but I think you should get to know me a little more before bestowing such a, ah.... hmm.... Anyway, for now your sentiments are gift enough."
>> No. 21843
[x] You remember what she and Nathaniel exchanged at the dinner table. "What was it you said before? 'Patience is a virtue...'"
[x] Unless she does so, finish the rest of the rhyme.
[x] "It's cute, but a farmer's son has his own aphorisms: 'Between the peony and rose, plant squash, spinach, turnips, and tomatoes.' 'You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not smashing it.' And my favorite, 'Patience serves as a protection against wrongs as clothes do against cold, for if you put on more clothes as the cold increases, it will have no power to hurt you, so in like manner you must grow in patience when you meet with great wrongs, and they will be powerless to vex your mind.'"
[x] "More illuminating than those pithy words was first-hand experience in situations where patience was necessary. Patience kept me on my feet out in the 20 below, when falling asleep would've meant my death. Patience kept me from giving into the terrible drive of hunger and gorging myself on the food stores I had so carefully rationed. Patience kept me from drinking my own urine, at a point where I had not a single drop of sweat to give to the hot noon sun, in the dog days of summer yesteryear."
[x] "Patience may be the Slave's only ally; it is easy to see then why the Emperor fears it so."
>> No. 21844
Many, many apologies on my part, but the length of the upcoming segment has stretched longer than I anticipated, and I simply cannot complete it tonight, lest my fingers become lethargic and my mind ceases to give me the words I wish to write. I promise to have it completed before my first class tomorrow at nine A.M. (Eastern American Time).
>> No. 21846
>>21844
At the very least, pouring through our dialogue determined where the 6.23% of our Bad End came from.
>> No. 21847
>>21844
Probably for the best; the site seems to be enjoying its time of the month and thoroughly freaking out at the moment.

Despair that our notion of whether Remilia's past nugget of knowledge regarding patience was substantiated or not. Only time, unfortunately, will tell at this point.
>> No. 21858
>>21815
>What was it you said before? “Patience is a virtue...”
Secret phrase discovered. Destiny of magic unlocked…

====================

[“Patience is a virtue, catch it if you can…”]
[Compilation vote]

You don’t have any fear or anxiety to cloud your emotions anymore, not right now. All it took was that one little phrase from Remilia to see that somewhere in her being she’s just trying to help, albeit in a very self-centered way. What she’s asking you is not a demand, not an interrogation, not a death threat; it’s just a question, an honest question that deserves an honest response. All this double-talk and metaphoric speech makes your head hurt; you just want to directly speak what’s on your mind. You know what you want to say, and you’re not concerned anymore about how you should say it. The words simply flow from your mouth naturally, just like gripping a plow or swinging a scythe. You step back slightly from Remilia, giving you enough space to emphasize what you’re about to say.

“What do I want? It’s not just what I want, what do I need? I just, I don’t really know. I guess, what I need right now is…patience. What is patience, Miss Scarlet? Patience is a virtue, and I want to catch it if I can. It’s seldom found in a woman, but it’s almost never found in a man. And yet…I, I want to try. My pop once told me, ‘you get the chicken by hatching the egg, not smashing it.’ Life is just like that egg, Miss Remilia. It has all these little parts that take time to grow. If you rush it too much, all you’re gonna get is a ruddy mess.

“Now I know that you can’t always wait. And I know that you don’t always have to. But fate doesn’t like shortcuts, I don’t think. A thief gets richer faster than a farmer; believe me, I know. But I know the good feeling a hard days’ work gets you, and I’m not going to trade that feeling for a handful of gold. And in the end, I bet it’s the thief who’s life ends first.”

Remilia herself has even taken a small step back to give you your space, looking genuinely interested in what you’re telling her. You don’t know whether she’s offended or not, but you’re not going to stop until everything you have to say is said. She asked you what you want, and you are going to tell her in full.

“There’s a whole lot of things I want,” you continue. “I want all my questions answered, for one. Questions about my life, my future, this mansion, this ‘Gensokyo’. I want to find them by myself, but at the same time I want someone else to give them to me. I want to have some sort of a purpose for living, something that I can aim for and walk down the path towards. I want to know how I got here, and how I’m supposed to get back, or if I ever will. I want to know what I’m supposed to do within these walls, why some higher power decided I should be here instead of back home in England. I want to discover my destiny, no matter how close or far it hides.

“I want to be treated with more honor than you give me credit for. I want you to realize that I’m capable of more emotions than happiness, sadness, and bestial lust. I want Hong Meiling to be treated better than some kind of female-shaped piece of meat that you throw to any stray dog who passes you by. I want you to show a little patience yourself, and get to know me better before bestowing me with any more of those kinds of ‘gifts’.

“I want it all, Miss Scarlet, and I want to get what I want. But I want to wait. I want to be patient. I want my destiny to play out in it’s own good time. And until my day comes, I am content to live life at a normal pace, taking it slow, and enjoying the simple things my patience rewards me with, no matter how trivial they are. That is what I want to do.”

You fold your arms confidently and stand firm, watching Remilia’s every move. For all you know, you’ve just pissed her off royally and will be a twitching heap within the next ten seconds, but at least you’ve finally gotten all that weight off your chest. Funny that the one person you finally start to open up to is the one person who probably cares the least. Elegant Remilia, Arrogant Remilia, Selfish Remilia…what does she really care about your feelings?

This girl in front of you, this woman, this Remilia Tepes-Scarlet, moves towards you, hands folded behind her back. Every step she takes is filled with dominance and power, proving that within these walls, she is the mistress, the queen, the empress. By the time she reaches you, she’s begun to float in the air, so that you and her are at eye level. Her face betrays nothing, not an ounce of emotion to speak of. She stares into your eyes for an age within an age, your entire existence revolving around her piercing stare and your immobile response.

“How dare you speak to me like that.”

You wait for the strike that never comes. She waits for a moment or two more, then slyly gives you a quick kiss on the cheek. Though only for an instant, her lips were like a hot cup of sweet tea after a cold day of hauling wood in the snow, so vibrant and full of life. She smiles.

“Thank you.”

You don’t understand it. You can’t understand it. There’s nothing [i]to/[i] understand. Why? What is there to thank?

“For what?” you ask.

“For passing.”

She alights back on the ground to make you more comfortable. “I suppose I owe you an explanation, don’t I?”

You nod calmly. “I’d like that, miss.”

She motions her hand towards you casually. “Come, walk with me.” You follow her direction, and the two of you walk through the mountains of books, Remilia only slightly in front, leading the way and motioning with her hands as she explains.

“I’ve been inviting strangers into my house for more than five years now, and over time you start to get bored with doing the same thing over and over again. Bring them in, have them for dinner, play a game or two, there’s no fun in it. Oh, I get lots of enjoyment listing to all the fascinating stories they have to tell, but even that gets old after a while. So…I start to test them.

“Harmless tests, really. Just a little something here and there, something out of the ordinary to see how different types of people react. And even then, you can’t imagine how similar people really are once you start watching them. Doesn’t matter if they’re a peasant, pie-baker, or priest, sooner or later you find out just where their true colors lie. Maybe it’s gold, maybe it’s women, maybe it’s power, but nineteen times out of twenty they’ll crack before the first day is out if I push them the right way. I’ve no desire to entertain people who show no interesting qualities whatsoever.”

You think you understand now, though that doesn’t make it any less odd. “And me?”

She wiggles a finger at you playfully. “You’re that five percent, that person who doesn’t do what you’d expect. I thought I had you down: just a simpleton with no elegant experiences in a world out of his league. Polite, but ultimately crushed when exposed to a tempting situation beyond his comprehension. Turning down Meiling surprised me, but I didn’t know for sure until just now. You’re a hard man to place, little farmer, and those are the kind of people who I like to keep around.”

(That’ll do, pig…)
>> No. 21859
(…that’ll do.)

“That’s all well and good, and I’m honored to be one of the select few you hope to meet, but that still doesn’t justify what you’ve done to Meiling.”

“Don’t you worry your little sheep-herding head, now; this was all done with Meiling’s cooperation. Poor girl really does like to get emotional at times, but she’s tough where it really counts. I told her to leave your presence immediately once she was convinced you were going to try something “risqué”, and in all likelihood you’d have been out the door before the sun set tomorrow. Honestly now, do you really think you could have stopped her?”

You remember vaguely the sonic kick Meiling nearly delivered to Cirno, and nod your head with a grin on your face. It’s starting to make sense now. The secrecy, the dinner, the card game, the gift-wrapped gate guard, all merely decoys to get you to lower your guard. Not exactly what you’d call “considerate”, but in retrospect it’s quite a brilliant plan.

Before you realize it Remilia has led you to a large open clearing in the center of the bookish monoliths. Six long shelves circle the area in a hexagon pattern, creating what you think might be a central hub to the entire library. Within this open area are piles of books stacked both on the ground and on numerous tables and desks, obscuring most of the floor space. Cushions and chairs of every kind are arranged neatly just where they need to be to be effective. You suspect that there’s enough material just within this clearing to investigate for an entire day without even touching a single page of text here, and that’s not even including what must be the millions of books on the shelves.

Weaving her way though the stacks of literature, Remilia leads you to a large chair where you find Patchouli pouring over a floppy soft-cover book, still wearing the same clothes as before, a cute pair of reading glasses resting on the tip of her nose. Off to the side you notice that red-haired maid from before, sorting through some papers on a desk. Now that you have the time to actually look at her, you notice that she, like Remilia, has a pair of black wings sprouting from her back, though this girl’s are much smaller. She’s also not dressed like the other maids: A long black dress over a white-sleeved shirt, which hardly looks like a uniform at all.

Remilia taps on the spine of Miss Knowledge’s book, who glances up at her unenthusiastically.

“He passed,” Remilia states. “Let him have it.”

The librarian sets her book down and places her glasses on top of the cover. She now looks at you, and places a hand on a stack of seven books resting on a small end-table next to her chair.

“Have it? What this all about?” you inquire, not sure what the two women have in store for you.

Miss Scarlet flashes you a mocking little smirk. “Why, your real prize, of course. You don’t think I’m going to let you walk away empty handed, do you? Not when you’ve shown to be such an interesting person. No, you deserve something useful, something powerful, something that a strapping young explorer needs if he’s going to be strolling about Gensokyo alone. Patchouli, if you would…”

She taps the stack of books twice, causing them to levitate through the air. She waves her hands in an abstract way and moves the books into an arc between you and her. You can see that each book looks about the same: thick leather exterior, simplistic binding, cover filled with a single word done over in dozens of languages. Each bears a tinted symbol in the center, which you think corresponds to the titles of the books, elemental in nature: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, Sun, and Moon.

The librarian begins to speak, like a professor to her student. “Magic. An unquantifiable force which permeates Gensokyo and upholds its continued existence. From the insignificant blade of grass, to the savage hound who stalks the night, to the gods of life and death themselves, everything created within the border carries the spark of the mystic within it. The amplitude deviates widely, the application to a greater extent, but this is ultimately an insignificance.

“You, cultivator of earth, similarly hold the force of the mystic in your soul. Gape not, doubt not; rarely is it uncommon for an outsider to possess abilities unknown to himself. I have surmised that the dense weave of the reality of Gensokyo has drawn the possession of your inherent trait to the foreground by merely standing on its ground, breathing its air, sleeping under its sky. What you possess is ability. What you lack is training.”

As she continues to instruct, she causes each book to glow in turn, drawing your attention to it.

“The sign of Wood. Life and awakening. Growth and healing. Like the sprout which becomes the elder tree, this magic develops as life develops, carrying the great power of nature.

“The sign of Fire. Change and movement. Passion and curiosity. Like the tiny flame which becomes the massive blaze, this magic burns as the soul burns, carrying the great power of the inferno.

“The sign of Earth. Foundation and constancy. Steadfastness and reserve. Like the pebble which becomes the towering mountain, this magic is firm as the will is firm, carrying the great power of the land.

“The sign of Metal. Wealth and abundance. Technology and advancement. Like the miniscule cog which becomes the amazing machine, this magic is rich as the mind is rich, carrying the great power of the forge.

“The sign of Water. Silence and purification. Serenity and compassion. Like the stream which becomes the raging river, this magic flows at the heart flows, carrying the great power of the sea.

“The sign of Sun. Activeness and offense. Boldness and strength. Like the ray of dawn which becomes the light of the world, this magic shines as the day shines, carrying the great power of the cosmos.

“The sign of Moon. Passiveness and defense. Caution and contemplation. Like the waxing crescent which becomes the full sphere, this magic glows as the night glows, carrying the great power of the stars.”

She finally gets up out of her chair, and physically takes a hold of the moon book, presenting it to you. “I see much caution and contemplation in you, young one. I see the intelligence of one who will test the waters rather than foolishly jumping in. I see patience, and I see calm. Yours is the sign of the Moon.”

You nervously take the book from her hands, the emblem of the crescent moon twinkling in your hands. It feels normal, just like an ordinary book. Is this the power of magic?

Patchouli does not sit back down, but instead continues to speak. “All talent is derived from skill within, and skill without. A great man is great because he was born with greatness, and gained greatness though his own actions. Souls cannot choose what power they are born with, but they can choose what power they will achieve. This is the essence of the magic; half is destiny, and half is free will. It is you who must take the second portion for yourself. It is to you the fate of the second sign rests.”

You think hard on all the words she had just told you. Magic…skill within and skill without. You hold the power of magic locked within you, so she said, and these books must therefore be the key to the lock. Your patience becomes the sign of the Moon. What of you embodies the rest? Do you pick whatever you want, or do you match the personalities of the signs with your own?

[ ] The sign of Wood. Life and awakening
[ ] The sign of Fire. Change and movement.
[ ] The sign of Earth. Foundation and constancy.
[ ] The sign of Metal. Wealth and abundance.
[ ] The sign of Water. Silence and purification.
[ ] The sign of Sun. Activeness and offense.
[ ] Choose no sign. You are the Moon, and the Moon alone.
>> No. 21862
>>21859
A thorough round of applause you receive from me, for you have deciphered the hidden message. Truthfully, I was not trying very hard to conceal it, and someone probably would have discovered it without my little hint in >>21812, but in all honesty I have been longing to write this scenario ever since you turned down Meiling. As for the magical addition? Mmm, just a little something I wanted to give to you if you managed to show some thought and hard work, and you have exhibited both thus far. Consider it a “prize” from me to you. Don’t go squandering it, now.
>> No. 21863
[X] The sign of Fire. Change and movement.

If our goal is to solve the mysteries within this mansion for the better, then the element of change and movement is appropriate for us.

We seek to alter our surroundings, our journey would not have been possible if not for our desire for change.

Constant movement, it's how we were, exploring the mansion, seeking something new every time, change, yet again.

We cannot be still, but we are not reckless. We take heed of every option before taking our desired path. Again, fire seems to be the force the drives us.
>> No. 21865
[X] The sign of Fire. Change and movement.

>>21863
you have my axe.
>> No. 21867
>>21863

Are you me from the future?
[X] The sign of Fire. Change and movement.
>> No. 21872
>“The sign of Wood. Life and awakening. Growth and healing. Like the sprout which becomes the elder tree, this magic develops as life develops, carrying the great power of nature.

Sounds more fitting to "patience" and meshes a little better with your farming background. You seek to harm no one in your journeys, though the earth itself gives way before your growth.

Fire would be more appropriate if you were following a Slave (or in Mr. Nathaniel's terms, "destroyer") characterization.

[木] The sign of Wood. Life and awakening.

Strength and flexibility are Wood Attributes. Warmth, generosity, co-operation, and idealism are Wood qualities. In traditional Chinese medicine, Wood is associated with patience and altruism.
>> No. 21873
File 12246918409.jpg - (280.29KB , 630x810 , 1a3b05c87e25e0e43dcfd5f27173ce40.jpg ) [iqdb]
21873
>>21859
I understand what's going on even less now. All the theories and notions have been turned on their ear. I love it. Keeps me coming back for more.

I wonder how Nathaniel was tested, and if he was presented with the same reward. I can kinda guess what he picked if he was.

Aaaanyway, thoroughly tempted by "Earth" and "Wood" since Patchouli addressed us as "cultivator of earth." In this I'm reading that either our connection to the fields or our ability to create a nourish life have garnered enough affinity to grant us this latent ability.

I like the notion behind "Fire"; that we should align ourselves with what is most likely to aid us in our mission of change somethign about this mansion. But, it's not too consistent with our past actions. It's right there in the description: "Passion and curiosity." If we had behaved with the passion that fire embodies, we probably would've tried jumping Meiling.

I like the moon choice ultimately. All of our best decisions have been when we've displayed "Caution and contemplation": asking to prank Cirno instead of agreeing to banish her, winning E-Cards, turning down and comforting Meiling, answering Remilia just now. On top of this, the constant introspection of what is happening and what it could all mean. All of these have displayed aspects of the other elements, but they are united by our contemplative nature.

So yeah, I like the sentiment behind "fire," but I agree with Patchy's assessment that "moon" is more consistent with our character. My opinion is that good things come from making decisions that are informed by prior experiences.

That, and us being a farmboy makes think of playing Harvest Moon.

[X] Choose no sign. You are the Moon, and the Moon alone
>> No. 21875
>>21873

She's offering for you to choose a second sign here. Do you mean to say the protagonist is so devoid of character that none of the other elements fit him?

>Patchouli does not sit back down, but instead continues to speak. “All talent is derived from skill within, and skill without. A great man is great because he was born with greatness, and gained greatness though his own actions. Souls cannot choose what power they are born with, but they can choose what power they will achieve. This is the essence of the magic; half is destiny, and half is free will. It is you who must take the second portion for yourself. It is to you the fate of the second sign rests.”

Patience is an active waiting. Passive waiting is only laziness. The choice here is what you wish to become, not what you are.
>> No. 21876
[x] The sign of Wood. Life and awakening

Picking it because it also seems to have the potential to "Change", but it's different from Fire in that the change brought by Fire is not always a good thing...
>> No. 21877
[x] The sign of Wood. Life and awakening
>> No. 21878
File 122469336449.jpg - (97.84KB , 546x885 , 1319412.jpg ) [iqdb]
21878
>>21875
Different strokes, different folks. You're reading and interpreting the story differently than I. Which is fine; that's why we vote on these things.

And don't think that none of these are immune to being construed as negatively as they can be positively.

Didn't really need to respond, but I like posting cool pictures from Pixiv.
>> No. 21882
[x] The sign of Wood. Life and awakening.
>> No. 21883
True enough, we are cautious. Except when we are not. We keep a poker face at the table only to play the winning card. We demure from Meiling only to go gallivanting off into the basement. Even now, it seems that we are playing footsie with the mansion just as much as it is with us.

[X] The sign of Sun.

And, well, you know how Anon is. This fits best.
>> No. 21884
>>[ ] The sign of Water. Silence and purification.

Would be my vote, silence fits well with the moon's patience and ultimately we are trying to "purify" this mansion of all those dark secrets we found so far(and probably will find).

Too bad I am too late...
>> No. 21885
[x] The sign of Wood. Life and awakening.

Mainly motivated to pick this because I feel that our farmer wants to find things out himself: Awakening. Fire's curiousity aspect is in line with our actions but I don't feel that we are particularly passionate. It contrasts our patient nature. We value life at our own pace so Wood just feels right. To be honest, I was surprised to find that we were the Moon. I thought for sure we were Wood or Earth.
>> No. 21886
File 122469668414.jpg - (23.18KB , 393x600 , TreeMoonLight.jpg ) [iqdb]
21886
A tree standing in the moonlight, waiting for the sun to rise.

[x] The sign of Wood. Life and awakening
>> No. 21887
[x] The sign of Wood. Life and awakening.
>> No. 21894
[x] The sign of Wood. Life and awakening

lolk. This seems to fit the best.
>> No. 21896
>>21873
>I understand what's going on even less now. All the theories and notions have been turned on their ear.
I tell you, everything you think you know is wrong. Black becomes white, up becomes down, and short becomes long. Everything you might have once thought was so important simply doesn’t matter anymore. Everything you’ve known is wrong; there is nothing left for you but to simply forget your assumptions and play along. All you need to understand is this: Everything you know is wrong.

>>21885
>To be honest, I was surprised to find that we were the Moon. I thought for sure we were Wood or Earth.
This is the result of my quest to evaluate every vote you have made. After tabulation and analysis, I have decided that thus far, you have displayed very many Moon-like traits. It was very difficult to choose the guest’s primary trait, I must say. As you have analyzed, Fire fits in well with his desire to explore and change his life, which is prevalent in the many questions and adventures he has partaken in the mansion. Earth was another high contender as well, for when push came to shove in many tough situations, you would stand firm, neither advancing nor retreating, developing a solid base to rest upon. However, in the end I chose the Moon, for this reason: whenever an important juncture felt close at hand, you were rarely ever hasty to act. When mounting suspicions manifested into possible danger, you held back and considered the consequences of rash actions. When conversing with another person, you were polite and considerate, never rising to hasty words unless you were justified in doing so. After reading several other CYOA’s, I must say that my hopes were grim at first, fearing hasty actions and impulsive thinking. However, you have persevered and been intelligent in thinking thinks through, which makes this a most enjoyable experience for us all.

I shall return with more words either late tonight or early tomorrow morning. Until then, good sirs…
>> No. 21898
[X] The sign of Fire. Change and movement.
>> No. 21900
[x] The sign of Wood. Life and awakening

Anon said it himself: I want to have some sort of a purpose for living, something that I can aim for and walk down the path towards.

The Wood sign will awake the rest of his destiny...
>> No. 21902
>>21896
Agreed entirely, when I first skimmed the post and missed Patchouli assigning it to us my initial thought was "Oh, we'll be Moon. Wait, where is it in the choices?"

The story isn't quite as unpredictable as all that, but still good.
>> No. 21905
>>21896
>Everything you know is wrong.

Everything I know is wrong? Yet, since I now know it to be so, that would make it right. Best to wait and see.
>> No. 21907
>>21896
Heh... super special Bad End where we're forced to consume the Hourai Elixir and end up chained in a room next to a noisy ice machine while Remilia stops by every day to remind us?
>> No. 21913
>>21907
Why a noisy ice machine?
>> No. 21914
>>21913

Because our clothes didn't fit the dress code.
>> No. 21921
>>21914
Out of all the possible torture methods and devices, why a noisy ice machine?
>> No. 21922
File 122475396323.jpg - (22.78KB , 298x300 , BadHairDayCover.jpg ) [iqdb]
21922
>>21905
>>21913
>>21921

ITT: We don't get the reference
>> No. 21928
[x] Sign, sign everywhere a sign. Blocking out the scenery, breaking my mind.
>> No. 21933
[x] The sign of Sun. Activeness and offense.

I think the most hasty decision Anon has maded ended with him getting icicled. Sure we made friends with Cirno, but somehow I feel we could have befriended her anyways since she wanted to play with us, not hurt us. Thus I am shying away from fire. Somehow I don't think we can draw on its power very much. Cept maybe as a light in dark places.
Kinda wanted earth or wood. Earth and Moon = Tank. Voting Sun to see what the reaction would be. C'mon, fate points towards the moon, and we turn towards the sun! Rebel against that which fate has chosen for us! Farmers know the worth of daylight. The moon does not shine without the sun!
>> No. 21937
[The sign of Wood. Life and awakening]

Pondering the situation carefully, you come to a realization. These books, in one way or another, are somehow going to teach you how to use and cast magic. You don’t even know the first thing about it, and it’s probably going to be bloody difficult to understand. This choice can’t just be about what you want to try and learn, it has to be about what you’ll have the simplest time learning. But what would be the easiest for you? Do you even have a leg up on any one over the other?

Fire, perhaps? Change and movement? Your life has certainly been changing and moving well enough over the past week, and curiosity has been a staple for you in this mansion so far. You might not exactly be passionate like Fire is, but hey, nothing’s perfect. How about Earth? You at least know a little about earth and ground itself, from plowing the fields every season. Also, before all of this happened, your life was pretty constant and reserved, just like Patchouli said the sign of Earth was.

No, no, stop. This isn’t helping. You said that is isn’t about what you want, it’s about what you know, what you’re comfortable with. Despite all your movement and curiosity, you don’t actually know where you’re going, why or how you’re moving and changing. There’s got to be something here that you know about…

That’s it. Wood. Nature. Growth. Like it or not, you’re just a farmer, but if there’s one think you can do and do well, it’s farming. You know when to plant what, how much water they need, the best pattern for high yield, the harvesting window…it’s the life you ran away from, but it’s also the only one you’ve ever had. If the sign of Wood has even the slightest thing to do with the growth of crops and plants, you have a feeling that you might just do all right. And if there’s one thing that’s close to the top of your “want” list, it’s to awaken. Maybe as an adventurer, maybe as a magician, or perhaps just as a normal guy who knows his place in life, but you want to grow into the man you will become for the rest of your life, and if that’s not going to happen within this mansion, you doubt if it ever will.

You slowly move your hand over to the book of Wood, looking at the green leaf symbol on it’s cover. Though you’re picking up a book from midair, it doesn’t feel nearly as unnatural as you thought it might. Acknowledging your choice, Patchouli moves the remaining five books back to the end table, then hands you a bundle containing a paper pamphlet and three cards, eerily similar to the ones you found in that mysterious envelope.

“The rules of engagement,” Patchouli explains, sitting back in her chair.

You look at the title of the pamphlet. “The Spell Card System: A Newcomers’s Approach.” There are dozens of bullet points lining the edges, and a few pictures describing different sections of what the paper calls a “spell card.” It doesn’t take more than a few seconds for your suspicions to be confirmed; those mystery cards you carry with you are definitely spell cards.

“Thank you, miss, thank you very much, for all of this,” you say as you turn to Patchouli, then Remilia, not entirely sure who should receive the bulk of your gratitude. “But, umm, what’s all this about spell cards and...what’s it say on the sheet here, daan-mack-uh, I guess?”

Remilia rolls her eyes sarcastically. “Dahn-mah-koo. I guess you could call it a sort of game we play here in Gensokyo with magic. Apparently someone realized that with every man, woman, and child possessing superhuman power, the country would be torn apart before very long. So instead of solving conflicts with violence, we’re supposed to solve them with meaningless light shows instead. Some of us still have a hard time adjusting to the rules; the idiot Cirno, for example. It’s all there on the sheet, I don’t want to explain it all. But that reminds me…”

She taps the two books in your hand, then starts a new train of thought, sounding very mischievous. “As you have so astutely suggested, little Cirno needs to be taught a little lesson. Now I’d like nothing better than to sweep the mansion steps with her hair as a broom, but since we just so happen to have a budding young magician in the house now, I’m thinking humiliation. Tomorrow, I want you to challenge her to a game of danmaku, and I want you to win like you’ve never won a game before. I want to see the look on her face when she finds out that the Scarlet Devil Mansion can train someone in one day to fight better than she can after decades!”

You want to reassure her that you’ll be able to take the pest out, no problem, but you’re not going to display such an act of foolish self-confidence after so recently impressing her with your intelligent caution. You make you doubts known to her.

“Not to be rude or anything, Miss Remilia” you explain, “but I’m not exactly a very quick learner, and I highly doubt magic is the simplest thing. I’m not so sure that I can live up to such high expectations in just a day.”

“Oh, pish posh, worried over a little something like that? I’ll get Sakuya to help you; you’d be surprised just how fast you can learn with her as your instructor. Sakuya!”

You hardly noticed the maid’s presence amidst the distracting piles of literature and other miscellany. Or was she really not there just a second ago? The fact that all this magic makes you rethink even the simplest of things is really starting to get annoying, as if it wasn’t already.

“I want you to teach this fine young man the better parts about our little game of danmaku tomorrow,” Remilia commands. “Make it simple, but make it strong. I want him to have an easy time with Cirno, but we don’t need to tax him up to the level of a lunatic just yet. I trust you can do it?”

“Certainly, Mistress. Cirno will not know what she has coming for her.”

Remilia nods, then looks at you over her shoulder. “Well, hate to leave you like this, but I fancy a moonlight stroll tonight. Don’t stay up too late, now, you’ll need your wits about you for tomorrow!”

The little mistress and her maid weave back out of the maze of books, leaving you satisfied, but more than a little anxious. Looks like tomorrow is going to be just as “fun-filled” as today was.

[ ] Ask Patchouli for directions out of the library; go back to your room and sleep
[ ] Ask Patchouli for directions out of the library; go to a different place (specify destination)
[ ] Stay here, try and talk with Patchouli
[ ] Stay here, try and talk with the red-haired girl
[ ] Stay here, look around the place; wasn’t Nathaniel working in the library?
[ ] Browse the shelves for something interesting
[ ] Find a good place to read your magical tomes (specify possible location)
>> No. 21939
[X] Stay here, try and talk with Patchouli
>> No. 21941
>but we don’t need to tax him up to the level of a lunatic just yet.

oh ho

[x] Stay here, look around the place; wasn’t Nathaniel working in the library?

There's so much we need to know from him to properly frame our interaction with Remilia just now. Did he win his game of E-Card? Did he pass a similar test? Was he offered magic as we were? If so, which elements?
>> No. 21947
[ ] Stay here, try and talk with Patchouli and the red-haired girl.

>>21941
There's the chance that he DIDN'T get such treatment and bringing it up would just send him into another rant about "Justice". I'd rather talk to Patchy and Koakuma.
>> No. 21951
File 122477683594.jpg - (131.38KB , 470x656 , 1219104988573.jpg ) [iqdb]
21951
>>21937
>>You look at the title of the pamphlet. “The Spell Card System: A Newcomers’s Approach.” There are dozens of bullet points lining the edges
>>dozens of bullet
That was a pun, right?

[X] Stay here, try and talk with Patchouli
[X] Browse the shelves for something interesting

Time to start asking some reference questions: "How would I go about identifying currency of different nations", "What is your borrowing policy?", "Any suggestions about magic or danmaku?", and "Do you know how great your robes would look on the floor next to my bed?"
God I love cute librarians. And it's fun to get lost in libraries and check out random books. Maybe not the best idea when there's a very real chance of getting lost lost or finding a book that will break our mind/steal our soul/possess us, but... yeah.
>> No. 21952
>>21947
>There's the chance that he DIDN'T get such treatment

But that's exactly what we need to confirm.
>> No. 21968
[x] Stay here, try and talk with Patchouli

I know we're supposed to wait for Sakuya's lesson and all but I think now is a good time to learn a little about magic and a little about the librarian. Like what sign was she born with. In before "Hey there sweet thing. Whats your sign?"
>> No. 21970
[x] Stay here, try and talk with Patchouli
[x] Ask Patchouli about the red-haired girl
[x] Browse through your magical tomes
[x] Browse the shelves for something interesting
Might as well try to talk with Patchouli and learn a bit more about her and what she does at the library.
And while we're at it, we can ask if she has some advice for us about magic.
>> No. 21987
[x] Stay here, try and talk with Patchouli
[x] Browse through magic tomes in bedroom
Getting to know yet another member of this Mansion would be helpful in piecing things together. At the very least, gaining more knowledge on the subject of magic from an expert may make things easier to understand.
Miss Scarlet did say that we would need to be focused tomorrow. Contemplating what we know and making sure we are prepared for tomorrow's events seems in line with her subtle warning.
Besides, all we learned from today's events need to be sorted out before we take on anything else new.
>> No. 21989
[x] Stay here, try and talk with Patchouli
[x] Ask Patchouli about the red-haired girl
[x] Browse through your magical tomes

I like the little red-haired girl.
>> No. 22017
[ ] Stay here, try and talk with the red-haired girl
>> No. 22023
Long homework and distracting socialization does not a quick update make. A momentary loss, to be rectified right at this moment.

EDIT: Either my internet was severely incapacitated, or this site was. In either case, I apologize for the posting confusion, and will hence re-upload this segment.

========================================

[Stay here, try and talk with Patchouli]
[Ask her about the red-haired girl]
[Browse through your magical tomes in your bedroom]

You never really got a chance to talk to Patchouli much during dinner, and perhaps now that it’s just the two of you she might speak up a bit more. In any case, maybe she’ll give you a couple pointers on how best to learn magic.

There’s a small armchair sitting not far from where you stand now, so you scoot it over next to Patchouli and sit down. She’s still absorbed in her book; you can’t tell if she acknowledges your presence anymore or not.

“Umm, hello again, Miss Patchouli,” you say. She glances up at you for a second or two, but says nothing.

“I’d like to thank you again for giving me these books. Was this your idea, or the Mistress’s?”

“Mistress’s,” she replies flatly. Great, she’s doing that minimal words thing again. There must be a way to get her to open up; if Nathaniel did it, you should be able to as well. Then again, he’s been here over a week; maybe all it took was time.

“Who’s that girl over there, the one with red hair? Is she a maid? I’ve never seen here around before.”

She glances in the girl’s direction, still sorting through books and papers in the distance. “Not a maid. Library assistant. Remains here, with me.”

“She have a name?”

Patchouli doesn’t answer right away, but after a while responds. “Koakuma. Little imp.”

You nod. Little imp? Was that an insult, or just an affectionate nickname? “Does, um, does she act like the others maids and such? I mean, they’re all kind of skittish and don’t talk much, it’s kind of weird, really.”

“Whimsical. Carefree. Often mischievous. Belief is difficult. Trust is manageable.”

Sounds like a rather odd type of person to have as a librarian’s assistant, but you decide to let the matter go. You can always talk to this “Koakuma” later if you want to see for yourself. You decide to change the subject to something a little more relevant.

“So, umm, how hard is it to learn this magic here?” You tap the covers of the books in your lap for emphasis. “I’m not really that good at learning or anything, and I don’t have a clue how any of this works. I mean, I don’t even know if I can do magic at all. Is it simple?”

That question actually gets her to lower her book into her lap. As if she didn’t fit the “reserved bookworm” stereotype before, now she’s got those little reading glasses on too; kind of cute, though, sitting there all quiet and calm. She thinks for a while before responding.

“Simplistic, not simple.”

You don’t exactly understand. “What is that supposed to mean?”

“Those books?” She points to the tomes of Moon and Wood in your hand. “Trifles. Theories. Inspirations. Real magic is here…” she points to your forehead, “…and here,” pointing to your heart.

“Focus. Magic is focus. Focus of mind…Focus of spirit. Read to learn. Think to understand. Focus to do.”

Using so few words, it sounds so simple. But it can’t possibly be. This is something so powerful and complex it doesn’t even exist in the real world. So-called “magicians” you’ve read about are always old and decrepit, spending their whole lives to unlock the secrets of the cosmos. How can you hope to understand in so short a time as you’re being given? Perhaps if you could see first-hand…

“Umm, well, could you, give me an example? Could you show me how it works?”

In response, she closes her eyes and whispers audibly. “Bowl of iron. Twenty centimeter diameter, ten centimeter depth. Unpolished.”

And suddenly, there it is. One instant there’s nothing, the next, an iron bowl rests in the ground, exactly as she described it. She continues with another phrase.

“Soil of earth. Brown. Rich. Soft. Fill to the brim.” And yet again, rich brown dirt appears in the bowl from nowhere.

“Now you.”

Wait, what? You? Do what? “Me? What am I supposed to do?”

“Focus. Think of wood. Think of life. Imagine a plant. Visualize it. Describe it. Understand it. See it.”

This makes no sense to you, but you do as instructed. Like her, you close your eyes and try to picture a plant in your mind. How about...keep it simple, just a daisy. You try and remember what a daisy looks like. Tiny white petals, delicate stem, bumpy yellow center. You speak each detail as you picture it in your mind.

“Uhh, a daisy. White petals, yellow center, two leaves, stem is, umm, ten centimeters tall.”

“Now, create it.”

Trying to stay focused, you ask, “How?”

Patchouli’s voice grows a little more firm and fills with the slightest bit of resolve. “It is not here. You make it here. You see it here. In the bowl. In the soil. You create it.”

This feels so absurd, so stupid. Eyes still shut, you imagine the floor of the library, the bowl in front of you. You place the daisy you visualized into the imaginary bowl. Now the daisy is there, serene, doing nothing, just daisy-ing meekly. You don’t feel any different. Are you supposed to “reach inside yourself” and draw out some sort of power? You pour will and resolve into your thought, forcing your dream to become reality. You think you might be chanting under your breath, “create it…create it…create it…it is there…is it there…it is right there…right there…create…create…CREATE!

You open your eyes and feel energy surge through your body like lightning. You stare down at the bowl of dirt, hopefully.

There is nothing there.

You expect a sigh or a “tsk tsk” from Patchouli for you actions, but she remains emotionally void. You look at her dumbly, not really sure what to say.

“Futile,” she replies. “Needless.”

You sink your head in defeat and confusion. “I can’t do it, can I? I’m hopeless, right?”

The way she’s never disturbed by anything, the way she just sits there, uncaring, unwavering…how can such a person exist? How can you interact with someone like this, who seems to show no human emotions whatsoever?

Fortunately, she doesn’t leave you hanging for very long. “Your attitude. Incorrect. Your actions. Unnecessary. Your problem? Belief.”

(It’s just…)
>> No. 22024
(…like magic.)

Seemingly in mockery of your actions, she conjures a levitating ball of fire in front of her without a word or thought. You try to ignore your envy. Come on, this is stupid to think like this! She’s been doing this for decades, you’ve done it for, what, a minute? You think this is going to be easy? Like this will be some kind of fairy tale where the hero becomes great due to sheer charisma and will? Of course you’re going to start off horrible! But still…you hoped that you would feel at least something when you tried to make that daisy. Are the ladies of this mansion just pulling your leg for fun?

Patchouli rests her chin in her hands, seemingly mesmerized by the burning flame. You try and follow suit, studying the moving orange tongues dancing in place. After a few seconds, however, you find that your gaze unconsciously shifts to Patchouli’s violet eyes. Heavy-lidded and tired, but so extremely deep. If you tried hard enough, you could probably see the entire world contained in those eyes. For once, looking at the eyes of another doesn’t send chills up your spine. It feels calm…quiet…passive. You hardly even realize that she’s talking to you again, nor that she’s actually using full-length sentences.

“Belief. Those who assume they shall fail will fail, even when they succeed. They engage in a situation expecting defeat, despite any inclinations of the fortitude of their hope. They fail to believe they can achieve victory; the battle is lost before it has begun. This is the pitfall of magic.

“Assumptions. You are young, yet already believe much about the world. You believe in kinematics, in thermodynamics, in chemistry, in biology. You believe a rock will fall when dropped, a cart will roll when pushed, a flame will extinguish when smothered, and a plant cannot grow without a seed. You cannot imagine that these things will not happen, because they do, they always have, they always will. You fail to believe there are alternatives. This is the power of magic.

“Focus. Focus on every detail, every component of what you wish to create. To create something real is complex, as life is complex. Your focus must be equally complex. Stray from the path, and you fall. Sit on the path, and you stagnate. Follow another’s path, and you still fall. You must find your own path. Decipher from the knowledge presented to you the way in which you will learn most efficiently. Magic is infinite in form, as one’s personality is infinite. Find your personality, and you shall find your magic.”

As her meandering words make there way through the fire and into your mind and soul, you finally start to understand what she’s saying. Magic is the creation of things that don’t exist right now. Whether that thing is giant like a ball of fire or strike of lighting, or small like a flower blooming, you are creating something from nothing. Your mind is the only tool you need; focus enough, believe enough, and you can create whatever you want. But that’s why you should match the magic’s element to your personality. The better you mesh with this mystic power, the easier it is to use it for a beginner like you.

You smile as the librarian warmly though the lapping flames. “Thank you, miss.”

And amazingly, she smiles back. “You are welcome, sir.”

No words pass between the two of you for the rest of your time together. You open of your book of Moon and begin to browse through it’s pages. Like Patchouli mentioned, there’s a lot of theory and explanation rather than instruction. Techniques used to concentrate your mind and block out distractions, the origins of the moon’s magic itself, beginners exercises, very rudimentary stuff. You’re content enough right now merely to read and not practice, not until you think you understand better.

The minutes slowly drag into hours, yourself barely aware of the passage of time. Your eyelids slowly droop and your vision becomes blurry as you strain to focus on the words written in your tome. Before much longer your head bobs sleepily, and you calmly sink back in your comfortable chair, glad to welcome the peace which sleep brings.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The End Of The Second Day
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


========================================

Well then, that day took longer than I might have expected, but I am most certainly glad that it did. I shall take a small break from voting, and return with a new dawn soon, hopefully tomorrow morning.

Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Update: I have just finished watching the second arc of this delightful show. At my approximate speed of two episodes a week, I may yet complete it before the New Year. Whether I complete this story before then as well remains to be seen.
There is just so much substance for me to consider in this anime, I do not even know where to begin. I am amazed at how fast the tone can switch from cheery to suspicious to complete insane horror. This all on top of the fact that I am constantly bombarded with possible personality traits for different characters in my own tale, with (no surprise here) Flandre Scarlet of course being the most prominent. I do not want to lose sight of my vision for this troubled girl, but at the same time, I will be buggered if I am not sorely tempted to borrow a point here and there to make her all the more interesting.

And then, of course, there is also Silence of the Lambs. I will just leave it at that.
>> No. 22025
File 122491175497.jpg - (423.16KB , 1200x800 , 053e8ec7cec01db403e1c414f9be7505.jpg ) [iqdb]
22025
>>22024
I love this Patchouli.

This may also be the incentive to finally sit down and watch Higurashi and try to soak up the themes behind the violence and torture. I'm an absolute wimp to such themes, but the underlying story seems intriguing.
>> No. 22029
>>22025
I feel sorry for you
In some of my favorite scenes (one specifically comes to mind with myon and shion) are also the most gruesome. The gore isn't what makes them great (who really enjoys something because it's bloody and whatnot? really I equate watching pure gore to watching grass grow) but rather quality and intensity of it, the scene was electrifying and really well done! Again, I feel sorry for you and those bothered by gore as you'll never really be able to enjoy that part of it.
>> No. 22037
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Dawn Of The Third Day
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Compared to the odd things that have happened to you in your sleep recently, this nightly period of unconsciousness is fairly uneventful. You have only one dream that you can remember, and it’s just about as boring as can be. In it, you’re back home in the village, going to the blacksmith to get your short sword sharpened. As you wait and watch him grind the blade against the tough sharpening stone, his daughter comes in. You remember her being quite pretty, if not for the fact that she always seemed to be covered in sweat and coal dust from helping out in the forge. She begins talking to her father about something or other, just some simple domestic affairs, nothing you’re very concerned about.

Suddenly, the conversation takes a turn towards the absurd, as dreams are wont to do. The two people in the room are still positioned and talking as before, but the words they speak are completely out of context for the situation. They move and motion strangely, completely at odds with the words coming out of their mouth, and seem to even switch voices with each other, making it almost impossible to discern who is saying what when.

“Visited the shrine tonight.”

“Oh? And what would prompt you to do such a thing?”

“Wanted to see if that miko could bring Yakumo out of hiding for a little chat about our mystery guest.”

“I see. And?”

“I had to pad the request with a ‘donation’ to get her to move, otherwise she told me she would just ‘consider it.’ Amazing how the girl has all the power in the world and still bows down to anyone with money. Anyways, seems I was in luck; the old woman was awake at the time, and little Hakurei managed to sweet-talk her down from God-knows-where she lives.”

“Forgive me for intruding, but are we not trying to avoid external interference with them in particular?”

“Save your worries until after I tell you the rest. Miss Hakurei told me that there hasn’t been a significant breach in the border for over two weeks, and Old Lady Yakumo said she definitely isn’t doing any little experiments ferrying people across, at least not right now. So either she’s lying, the boy is…or we have a situation even the ‘great’ Yukari Yakumo cannot explain. In either case, she said she might send someone over to investigate the matter. Even hinted that she might be coming personally to see.”

“Yu-Yukari? Yukari Yakumo is coming…here?!”

“She was bound to come eventually; I’ve told you this before. Might as well be in my time rather than hers.”

“But are we…I mean, will there be any problems?”

“You just handle the guest. Let me handle the Yakumo.”

The blacksmith hands you back your sword, oblivious to the conversation which just took place. You sheathe it and walk out the door, falling down the front steps as you do. The world fades to black as you continue to tumble endlessly into infinity…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You rub your eyes and roll around in your bed. Bed? Didn’t you fall asleep in the library? Yes, this is definitely your room. You really need to stop falling asleep where others have to carry you back to bed.

As you get up and stretch, you notice a number of things on your dresser that you didn’t put there: your two magic books, the “Spell Card” pamphlet with the three cards wrapped in it, and a silver breakfast tray. The wonderful smell of eggs and bread quickly fills your nostrils with pleasure, drawing you to the tray, where a rich omelet and buttermilk biscuits have been prepared for you, along with a small pot of tea. There’s also a handwritten note, which reads thus:

The Mistress wishes us to get an early start. Eat quickly, and meet me in the foyer. Bring your books and cards. Dress comfortably.
Ms. Izayoi


The mention of her name makes you instantly pad yourself over, hoping that whoever brought you back to your room didn’t notice any of the compromising things in your pockets. Good, they’re all still there, just as they should be. You take a biscuit and chew it thoughtfully as you ruminate on your thoughts.

That dream…what was it about again? The details fade from your mind quickly, even as you reach to grab them, like catching water with a sieve. There was a shrine with money, and the girl Miss Yakumiko wanted to border the problem with…no, no, that can’t be right! Mr. Hakurei was talking with sweets in his mouth, and God knew where the experiment was being investigated—NO! Focus! It’s no use; the dream is nothing more that a swirling mess of worthlessness now.

Yakumo. You remember that word again. “Yakumo” was definitely in your dream. And from what Remilia said at dinner, it definitely has something to do with how you might have got here. There was another word too, what was it…Yuri? Kayuki? Kairii? You though it was used at the same time as Yakumo. Could Yakumo be the name of a person?

You eat the omelet and biscuits with gusto, draining the teapot at the same time. Sakuya said to meet her in the foyer as soon as possible, but perhaps she wouldn’t mind if you took just a little more time for yourself first.

[ ] Go and meet Sakuya right now
[ ] Keep Sakuya waiting a while; clean up your room and write in your journal, etc.
[ ] Keep Sakuya waiting a while; go visit a different location first (specify destination)

Also, what should you wear?
[ ] Wear the clothes you have on now (Tough pants, simple shirt, and pocketed jacket)
[ ] Wear something more fitting for “magic” (Soft pants and shirt under a long robe)
[ ] Wear something simple (bland pants and boring shirt)
[ ] Wear something different (specify ensemble)

Also, what should you take with you?
[ ] Just the books and cards
[ ] Be a rebel; take nothing!
[ ] A special combination of items (specify what; take into account your clothes’ holding space)
>> No. 22041
Aah, I really love this Patchouli.

> Ms. Izayoi
> The mention of her name makes you instantly pad yourself over
Oh my.

[x] Go and meet Sakuya right now
[x] Wear the clothes you have on now (Tough pants, simple shirt, and pocketed jacket)
[x] Just the books and cards and whatever we are carrying anyway
>> No. 22043
>The Dawn Of The Third Day

FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF-
>> No. 22045
[x] Go and meet Sakuya right now.
[x] Wear the clothes you have on now, but leave the jacket (Tough pants & simple shirt).
[x] Just the books and cards.

Don't want anything in our pockets to get broken.
>> No. 22051
>>22024
UN Owen: Savor every minute of the opening theme, and do not skip it once, ever (This somewhat applies to the second season's opening song, as well, but it can't hold a candle to the first.).

It is some beautifully chilling stuff, and once you get into the second season, you will not be as confused and entranced by it. So treasure, revel in, and enjoy every last wonderful second of mindfuck and music, because it is a one-way street that you won't be able to come back down.


Also... Your theory on magic is rather interesting. It is somewhat similar to that found in The Dresden Files (urban fantasy series so crammed full of win your eyes will bleed from all the awesome in it.).
>> No. 22052
{X} Go and meet Sakuya right now.
{X} Wear the clothes you have on now, but leave the jacket (Tough pants & simple shirt).
{X} Just the books and cards.
>> No. 22053
[x] Go and meet Sakuya right now
[x] Wear the clothes you have on now (Tough pants, simple shirt, and pocketed jacket)
[x] A special combination of items (specify what; take into account your clothes’ holding space)
Put the letter and special cards back in the diary. Use the armoire to put the items we are not bringing in an article of clothing that doesn't stand out.
Bring along the pocket watch, set of books, spellcards, master key, and glasses. The watch and glasses will come in handy, and won't raise too much suspicon. Sakuya knows that we were given the watch, books, key, and cards.
>> No. 22054
>>22037
[X] Go and meet Sakuya right now
[X] Wear something different (tough pants and simple shirt)
[X] Just the books and cards

I wanted to bring the throwing knife as well; we'd be well served with a small, concealable weapon. But without a proper sheath and the promise of vigorous activity we're likely to end up stabbing ourselves.
>> No. 22056
[x] Go and meet Sakuya right now
[x] Put on a robe and wizard's hat.
[x] The books and cards and that item that chills whenever Sakuya manipulates time.

Yeah, forgot what it was.
>> No. 22059
[x] Go and meet Sakuya right now.
[x] Wear the clothes you have on now, but leave the jacket.
[x] Just the books and cards.
Time to get pwned hard by Sakuya.
>> No. 22063
[x] Go and meet Sakuya right now
[x] Wear the clothes you have on now (Tough pants, simple shirt, and pocketed jacket)
[x] A special combination of items (specify what; take into account your clothes’ holding space)
Put the letter and special cards back in the diary. Use the armoire to put the items we are not bringing in an article of clothing that doesn't stand out.
Bring along the pocket watch, set of books, spellcards, master key, and glasses. The watch and glasses will come in handy, and won't raise too much suspicon. Sakuya knows that we were given the watch, books, key, and cards.

Supporting this because keeping the spectacles with us will give some insight into Sakuya's power (not that we already don't know, but it is a good thing to keep with us anyway).
>> No. 22064
[x] Go and meet Sakuya right now
[x] Wear the clothes you have on now (Tough pants, simple shirt, and pocketed jacket)
[x] A special combination of items (specify what; take into account your clothes’ holding space)
Put the letter and special cards back in the diary. Use the armoire to put the items we are not bringing in an article of clothing that doesn't stand out.
Bring along the pocket watch, set of books, spellcards, master key, and glasses. The watch and glasses will come in handy, and won't raise too much suspicon. Sakuya knows that we were given the watch, books, key, and cards.
>> No. 22065
File 122497562441.jpg - (95.92KB , 776x617 , 56b7f02bbc4190a22207d4e213fbd2b009ccabbf.jpg ) [iqdb]
22065
>>22063
I considered the spectacles, but couldn't convince myself. Without knowing how rigorous the training will be, I didn't want to risk breaking a valuable tool.

Whatever, that little detail is not nearly as distressing as the lack of Sakuya and her scarf. Love that scarf...
>> No. 22066
[x] Go and meet Sakuya right now
[x] Wear the clothes you have on now (Tough pants, simple shirt, and pocketed jacket)
[x] A special combination of items (specify what; take into account your clothes’ holding space)
Put the letter and special cards back in the diary. Use the armoire to put the items we are not bringing in an article of clothing that doesn't stand out.
Bring along the pocket watch, set of books, spellcards, master key, and glasses. The watch and glasses will come in handy, and won't raise too much suspicon. Sakuya knows that we were given the watch, books, key, and cards.
>> No. 22067
>>22063
I have a slight modification to make; we should keep the watch and spectacles in our pants pockets if possible, as the jacket adds extra bulk to us that may make it harder to graze (or, at the very least, it trailing behind our movements will get it damaged, and that's no good).
>> No. 22070
>>22067
Personally I'd keep the watch, but explaining the spectacles might be a bit hard.
>> No. 22072
[x] Go and meet Sakuya right now.
[x] Wear the clothes you have on now, but leave the jacket.
[x] A special combination of items (specify what; take into account your clothes’ holding space)
Put the letter and special cards back in the diary. Use the armoire to put the items we are not bringing in an article of clothing that doesn't stand out.
Bring along the pocket watch, set of books, spellcards, master key, and glasses. The watch and glasses will come in handy, and won't raise too much suspicon. Sakuya knows that we were given the watch, books, key, and cards.
>> No. 22073
[x] Go and meet Sakuya right now.
[x] Wear the clothes you have on now, but leave the jacket.
[x] Just the books and cards.

KISS
>> No. 22075
[x] Winning vote
PLUS:
[x] Write down brief notes about yesterday in the diary; an outline, more than anything as you've no time for a full update at the moment. Use vague language regarding the chained prisoner and the unseen girl. Make no mention of the things you took, except maybe in code/oblique references.

[x] Do not bring the ALREADY FRAGILE glasses to fucking SPELLCARD TRAINING. Leave them carefully put away with your other secret goodies.


>>22037
>The two people in the room are still positioned and talking as before, but the words they speak are completely out of context for the situation. They move and motion strangely, completely at odds with the words coming out of their mouth, and seem to even switch voices with each other, making it almost impossible to discern who is saying what when.
That always used to happen to me when I fell asleep listening to the radio. My confusion at the dialogue in my dream becoming songs woke me up in the morning out of more than a few dreams.

>she might be coming personally to see.”
>“Yu-Yukari? Yukari Yakumo is coming…here?!”
Anybody else have sudden flashbacks to the dialogue in the opening of Return of the Jedi?
...
Guess that makes Remilia just a Citizen, after all, huh?
>> No. 22082
[Go and meet Sakuya right now.]
[Wear the clothes you have on now, but leave the jacket.]
[Put the letter and special cards back in the diary. Use the armoire to put the items we are not bringing in an article of clothing that doesn't stand out.]
[Bring along the pocket watch, set of books, spellcards, master key, and glasses.]

It’s tempting, but you think better of making her wait. She said she wants an “early start”, and you doubt it’s very early anymore after the late night you pulled. What time is it, anyways? You check your watch, which startlingly reads 10:47 already. Blast it all; no time to waste now.

You feel comfortable enough in the clothes you’re wearing right now, but the jacket is a little restrictive, so you stash it in the armoire. You’d like to hide your plethora of possessions better, but you just don’t have the time now, and stash most of them in random pockets of pants, or just leave them in the jacket. You keep with you the pocket watch (always good to know the time), the master key (just in case), and the broken spectacles (any time spent with Sakuya might be a good time to reveal more about their power). The special magic cards you found earlier go back into your diary, you pick up your prizes from last night, and then you’re out the door and down the hall.

You never manage to make it to the foyer; Sakuya runs into you just as you come out of the stairwell.

“Pardon me, but you were running late. I thought it best to check on your status,” she explains. “Let’s not waste any more time; follow me.” She seems a bit more laid back than before; is that a good thing or a bad thing?

You walk behind her through a large portion of the first floor, well away from the central foyer. Maids scuttle about their tasks like little mice as they see their chief walk before them, definitely intimidated by her presence. Eventually she stops at a solid pair of locked double doors. As she withdraws the silver key to unlock them, the spectacles chill your pocket again. Is she manipulating time again, or is this just a warning? Her back is turned to you, so you decide to risk putting the glasses on, hanging your head low to possibly avoid detection. Fortunately she doesn’t turn around as she swings the doors open and steps inside. You try and position yourself in such a way so that you can see most of the room before you, getting the best possible view for when (or perhaps if?) time should stop here. Sakuya spins around and closes up the room, time screeching to a halt just as you hear the door latches click.

Once again you are completely immobile save for your foggy left eye. From what you can see with your right, you appear to be in some sort of armory, or perhaps more like a training room. The room is large and open, the ceiling rising about five meters in height. Lined against the walls are racks containing weapons made of both wood and metal: knives, swords, axes, spears, quarterstaffs, and plenty that made no sense at all to you, as if someone just decided, “Hey! Let’s twist a piece of metal up like this, sharpen it, and call it good!” Other wall mounts contain armor ranging from small pieces of leather and cloth up to half and full-plate mail. The room is well-lit, and the floor is slightly padded, possibly so that it won’t hurt so much when the trainees keep getting decked repeatedly.

Through the haze of your magical looking-glass, you see Sakuya as that same blue-white blur, moving towards your position. She stands right in front of you, whispering something indistinguishable to herself, or perhaps even to you. Though it’s impossible to discern specifics, you think she might be rifling through your pockets. The experience is disconcerting to say the least; not just because of the violation of personal privacy, but also because you can’t feel a thing that’s happening to you, despite the fact that you can see it. After a short while Sakuya exits the room, leaving you with nothing but your thoughts for almost a quarter of an hour. Haunting fears and dangerous questions fight to take control of your mind, but you shove them back into the abyss from whence they came. You know that you can’t stop the uncertainty and terror from taking control of you forever, but you’re determined to do it for as long as you can.

Eventually the blur of Sakuya returns, aligns herself in her original position next to the door, and brings the workings of time back to their normal flow. You are surprised to find that she has “mysteriously” changed her clothes in an “instant”. Rather than her customary maid’s outfit, she instead is wearing royal blue suit pants and white oxford shirt underneath a sharp tan vest with silver buttons. An elegant silver chain protrudes from her vest pocket; you think it might be a watch chain. Even with this change of clothes she still embodies sharp protocol and refinement as before, perhaps even more so considering how much you can relate to this more masculine style of dress.

She looks at you sternly. While she remains relatively chill, her demeanor of servitude and politeness has been stripped away, replaced with only a hard, uncaring resolve. You can tell that she is trying to impose upon you the fact that for right now, she is the one in charge, and she will not be catering to your every whim.

“Very well then,” she instructs coldly, “you are here to be trained. Mistress Remilia wants you able enough to ‘humiliate’ Cirno in a game of danmaku, and it has fallen to me to teach you how. Since you have no experience and hardly any knowledge, I will start with the core foundations.

“First, the aim of a danmaku duel is not to kill nor harm, but merely to defeat. This system was created for the sole purpose of preventing the wanton destruction of Gensokyo, replacing actual power with theoretical power. You seek only to show that your skill is superior to your opponent’s. In this way, dominance is established without resorting to needless physical violence.”

She holds her hand out in front of her, and from thin air conjures up a shining knife. As you look at it, however, you realize that it’s not a knife at all. It seems to be a contained, knife-shaped image made of almost-tangible light, this one tinted blue.

“This will be your weapon,” she explains. “A single bullet alone means little, but a curtain of hundreds can be devastating. It causes only minimal wear to inanimate objects, and combatants experience no adverse effects save for slight pain.” The bullet flies from her hand in a straight line, dissipating into nothingness at the end of the room.

(Hold Shift…)
>> No. 22084
(…for focused movement.)

“The rules of engagement are simple. No physical combat of any kind; only danmaku bullets. Both combatants prepare in advance a number of bullet patterns they wish to perform, which they name and create beforehand. These patterns are then bound into a physical contract called a “spell card”. You must declare before the battle begins how many spell cards you will use. Getting hit by bullets weakens your own spell card, while hitting the opponent weakens theirs. When your last declared spell has been defeated, the duel is over, no exceptions.”

As she continues to talk, she begins to create intricate patterns of knife “bullets” in the air, the light blades weaving in and out like dancers in a ballroom. The sight is mesmerizing and beautiful to watch. “One’s ability in such a duel is based not on power, but on creativity and intelligence. Brute force shows no thought, no strategy, and no skill. A focused mind is everything with danmaku: it creates an untouchable defense, and an impassible offense. Those who show great focus will show great intelligence, and those who show great intelligence will show great skill.

“Because danmaku is not directly based on one’s power with magic, it can be learned and trained independent of your other magical talents so long as you possess a mystic spark within you. I have neither the time nor the knowledge to teach you anything about Patchouli’s elemental “Signs”, so we will forego that portion of your instruction in favor of more immediate concerns.”

She looks at you like a drill sergeant looks at a greenhorn soldier. “Cirno is an idiot…but she is not incompetent, and she is not a pushover. You are here to beat her without incident. Success may garner the appreciation of Lady Remilia. Failure will certainly garner her disdain. Questions?”

[ ] You may ask only one question before training begins (write-in response)

========================================

>>22075
A good vote, but I am afraid too late.

>Anybody else have sudden flashbacks to the dialogue in the opening of Return of the Jedi?
I was about to put yet another tally on my infamous list of “Things U.N. Owen Was Not Trying To Reference But Did Anyways,” but I have since realized the futility of the endeavor. Practically any situation in any story can be paralleled to a similar situation in another story almost to perfection. No matter what I may try and do (or not do) to make my tale original, it is inevitable that such a situation has been done before tenfold.

Additionally, just a minor note here. My knowledge of the physics of “danmaku” and the Spell Card system are practically non-existent. Please bear with me as I try to describe them as best I can, and I apologize for any blatant deviations from canon. If such a deviation is discovered, please alert me to it, and I shall explain, debate, change, or retcon the error as need be.
>> No. 22085
>Success may garner the appreciation of Lady Remilia. Failure will certainly garner her disdain.

And not just the Mistress' disdain it seems.

[x] "If danmaku is harmless, what was I impaled by?"

Considering she implied either party is going to get hit multiple times, I would be very fucking concerned in his shoes.
>> No. 22086
[x] "If danmaku is harmless, what was I impaled by?"
>> No. 22087
>>22085
This is a very nice boat, I support its venture.
[X] "If danmaku is harmless, what was I impaled by?"
Though there are probably better options to be had if thought is put here, this seems very appropriate.
>> No. 22088
[x] "If danmaku is harmless, what was I impaled by?"
>> No. 22090
[x]If danmaku is truly harmless, then why would inanimate objects show ANY deterioration when subjected to it?

>>22082
>It causes only minimal wear to inanimate objects
>> No. 22095
uh, guys?
>So instead of solving conflicts with violence, we’re supposed to solve them with meaningless light shows instead. Some of us still have a hard time adjusting to the rules; the idiot Cirno, for example.
>> No. 22096
>>22095

Which begs the question: What assurance do you have that it won't happen again?
>> No. 22097
>>22096
Absolutely nothing. But as it was phrased, it was a dumb question to ask because it's already been answered.
>> No. 22098
>>22097
>But as it was phrased, it was a dumb question to ask because it's already been answered.

Not to my satisfaction, it hasn't.
>> No. 22103
>>22098
Here's the answer.
Cirno is an idiot.
>> No. 22104
["If danmaku is harmless, what was I impaled by?"]

Oh, you’ve got questions, all right. Attack patterns bound into a piece of paper? Bullets made of light that cause “almost” no damage and “almost” no pain? Magic that isn’t based on magic? You don’t doubt that Sakuya is explaining the situation as best she can, but that still doesn’t mean it’s explained enough for you, a man who only just heard of the existence of magic a day and a half ago. But the biggest question is this: if all this world’s combat is to be solved by “harmless” danmaku duels, then why were you drawn to Death’s doorstep from a single accidental barrage of shots from Cirno? It certainly didn’t feel like “only a slight pain” to you.

“Yes, actually,” you respond. “If danmaku is supposed to be so harmless, how do you explain me getting nearly impaled to death by Cirno? If I’m going to be fighting her, I want a little more assurance than that.”

Sakuya answers the question with a very bored tone. “As I have said before, Cirno is an idiot. She believes that she is the strongest in Gensokyo, despite all evidence to the contrary, and will go to great lengths to try and prove it. This mode of thought begets no creativity or intelligence, the essential components for danmaku. As such, the fairy is prone to ‘forgetting’ that combat in Gensokyo should be danmaku-based, and attacks directly with her power of cold manipulation. What you saw on the front lawn was not danmaku, but a brute-force attack with real consequences. If you remember correctly, I believe I told you to wait inside.”

“So…I wasn’t impaled with danmaku? Those were real icicles?”

In response, Sakuya sweeps her hand upwards and creates an arc of bullet-knives that instantly shoot towards you. You’re so taken aback you have no time to dodge, and the entire arc hits you face on. You expect a burning pain, or perhaps dozens of pins and needles all over you, but the only thing you can feel is a small pressure on your skin, like someone poked you twenty times in different places.

“I trust you notice the difference. Make no mistake, however; if you are fool enough to get hit by hundreds, even thousands of these, you are going to feel it.”

You feel a little more secure about the dilemma, but you’re still feeling nervous about it. You ask her again, “Do I have any guarantee that CIrno won’t ‘forget’ that our duel is danmaku-based right in the middle of it?”

“Technically? No. Realistically? Yes. Nearly every inhabitant of Genoskyo, no matter how dangerous or power-hungry they are, will honor the rules of danmaku once the duel has begun. Failure to do so will result in the harshest of punishments from the proper authorities, and no matter how stupid Cirno may be, she is well aware of that fact. Also, I will be paying very close attention to this fight, and if I see the slightest hint of a tangible icicle flying in the sky, I will drag you out of there kicking and screaming if I have to. If you are severely harmed in any way, I can say with relative certainty that Remilia will kill Cirno in rage, beat me senseless for not protecting you, and throw you out of the mansion for your repeated foolishness. Are we clear?”

You have half a mind to say no, but you can tell Sakuya isn’t in the friendliest of moods right now. “Yes, Ms. Izayoi, we are clear.”

“Then we shall begin.”

You both move to the center of the room, standing about ten meters from each other. Sakuya stares you down intently. You never really noticed this before, but you think she’s actually taller that you. Is it because of the different clothes she’s wearing, or did you just blindly assume that women are shorter than men? In either case, she is definitely the one in charge right now.

“Patchouli has made you aware of the basic principals of conjuration, has she not?” Sakuya demands.

“Yes, but I couldn’t-“

Sakuya cuts you off quickly. “Then conjure up a bullet. A simple white sphere. Right now.”

You try to remember how magic is supposed to work. See what you want to do, focus on it, believe that you can make it happen. You think of a glowing white sphere the size of an apple.

You whisper to yourself, “White bullet of danmaku. Perfect sphere. Five centimeter diameter.”

Despite all your concentration, nothing happens, as before. You open and close your eyes several times, trying to reset your focus, but there is no change. You just can’t feel it.

Sakuya pokes you with another danmaku knife. “Concentrate. Try again. And this time, none of this worthless chanting about your thoughts.”

“But isn’t that how magic works? Don’t you need incantations for the spells to take effect?”

Another bullet hits you. “Focus. Magic is focus. Amateurs use words and gestures to focus their thoughts by using something they can focus on, but it is not required. I am not here to train an amateur. I am here to train a competent. Again.”

You shake you head and re-visualize the white bullet in your mind. It’s right there; you can see it right before you if your eyes are closed. You feel like you could reach out and touch it if you just stretched out your hand. You can do this, you have the power, you have the spark! You’re focusing, you’re concentrating, you’re visualizing, everything should work. Why doesn’t it work? Why does nothing happen? What are you missing?

Sakuya begins pacing around you in a wide circle, slowly decreasing the radius. Her words are prying and inconsiderate, slowly ruining the focus you try to maintain. You wonder if she knows that she’s actually hurting you rather than helping you right now.

“Magic is simple. Your imagination holds endless power. The forces of nature yield before one who is confident in his or her own abilities. Forget physics. Forget biology. Forget what you assume is right. You still cling to reality, to the explainable, to reason. What you seek is impossible. You must become the master of what you seek. You must go beyond the impossible. Kick reason to the curb. Fight against the destiny you once had. Embrace the future. Embrace the present.”

“You’re not helping,” you comment through clenched teeth. “I can’t concentrate.”

She refuses to relent. “And when you fight Cirno? When you feel pressure on all sides, crushing your bubble of inner-peace? Will you be able to concentrate then?”

“Please be quiet. I’m just a beginner.”

“The world does not care about beginners. The weak will be challenged along with the strong. Those who cower behind a shield of incompetence will never go anywhere except backwards.”

(Two steps forward…)
>> No. 22105
(…one step back.)

“Please just shut up.”

“Anger makes you unfocused. Those who fight in anger lose their intelligence, their creativity, their skill. A true fighter is the eye of the storm, the circle of calm amidst a torrent of aggression.”

“I said, shut up.”

“You must look past what you do not like. Ignore what does not affect you. Does a farmer reap crops by thinking about the rows to the right and to the left? Does he plant seeds this year thinking about the seeds he will plant in a decade? No: he focuses only on the crops right in front of him, on the task at hand.”

She’s wrong. You know she’s wrong. What does a housemaid know about the field? You’re not a master of agriculture, but you know more than she does. It takes foresight. It takes patience. It takes peripheral vision. You have to be aware of the entire field, not just one row. You must plan out how each row affects each other. You must plan out which crops should be rotated from year to year, and which should be kept. Every step is important, and you must keep in mind what happened before to realize what will happen after, and what is happening now.

As you answer her, you picture the words in your head, understanding every last syllable of what you say, forcing the picture into her mind as well.

“Do you know how to farm? How to plant? How to tend? How to weed? How to harvest? My experience is my plow; my mind is my scythe. From an empty field I take a seed. Some see food, others see trash. I see the future; I see life. From a speck of nothing I plant this life. I tend it. I grow it. I awaken it. In it’s own time it bears fruit, a hundred times what it began as.”

You hardly notice Sakuya’s smirking expression. You hardly notice her shift into a position ready for a quick sprint. You hardly notice the glowing mass of green and silver in front of you, shaped like a stalk of wheat. All you notice is a picture of yourself in your mind, scything the fields in the autumn air.

“And when it is my time, I harvest it.”

You sweep your arm across your body, and are only vaguely aware of what is happening. A blur of silver-green powder erupts from in front of you, scattering in every direction. Sakuya is a twirling series of dives and spins as she deftly navigates through the specks of color. The light fades from view, and you step out of your monologue, suddenly aware of the gravity of what you have just done.

Sakuya claps thrice on her palms in some small display of acknowledgement. You can see clusters of red and blue knives begin to float next to her as she returns to a ready position.

“Very well. Now…we may continue.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Choose up to three:
[ ] Wood Sign, 「Field of Green」
[ ] Wood Sign, 「Nature Walk」
[ ] Wood Sign, 「Sprout’s Awakening」
[ ] Moon Sign, 「Silver Sickle」
[ ] Moon Sign, 「Waxing Crescent」
[ ] Moon Sign, 「Silent Night」
[ ] Harvest Sign, 「First Harvest」
>> No. 22106
File 122512692239.jpg - (61.74KB , 494x615 , 1201026536639.jpg ) [iqdb]
22106
>>22105
That was pretty cool.

[X] Harvest Sign, 「First Harvest」
[X] Moon Sign, 「Silent Night」
[X] Wood Sign, 「Sprout’s Awakening」

I wish I had pictures of pants-suit Sakuya.
>> No. 22107
[ ] Wood Sign, 「Field of Green」
[ ] Moon Sign, 「Silver Sickle」
[ ] Harvest Sign, 「First Harvest」

Haha, that was pretty fucking cool.
>> No. 22109
Nice.

[x] Wood Sign, 「Field of Green」
[x] Moon Sign, 「Silver Sickle」
[x] Harvest Sign, 「First Harvest」

Are we going to have a chance to write-in new spellcards at a later point? I like how Dr. Q did it in his /other/ story.
>> No. 22110
[X] Wood Sign, 「Field of Green」
[X] Moon Sign, 「Waxing Crescent」
[X] Harvest Sign, 「First Harvest」

I take it "Harvest Sign" is the combination of Wood and Moon and thus obligatory as well as our strongest spellcard.
>> No. 22113
[X] Wood Sign, 「Field of Green」
[X] Moon Sign, 「Silver Sickle」
[X] Harvest Sign, 「First Harvest」
>> No. 22115
[x] Wood Sign, 「Sprout’s Awakening」
[x] Moon Sign, 「Silver Sickle」
[x] Harvest Sign, 「First Harvest」
These seem quite appropriate for a farmer. It also matches quite nicely with our spiel earlier:
<i>“Do you know how to farm? How to plant? How to tend? How to weed? How to harvest? My experience is my plow; my mind is my scythe. From an empty field I take a seed. Some see food, others see trash. I see the future; I see life. From a speck of nothing I plant this life. I tend it. I grow it. I awaken it. In it’s own time it bears fruit, a hundred times what it began as.”</i>
>> No. 22118
[x] Wood Sign, 「Sprout’s Awakening」
[x] Moon Sign, 「Silver Sickle」
[x] Harvest Sign, 「First Harvest」
>> No. 22119
>>22109
>Are we going to have a chance to write-in new spellcards at a later point?
If you wish, you may even write them in now if you desire. However, within this story, combat is not the primary source of conflict, and danmaku is not the primary source of combat. As such, I do not know how many more spell card duels you may encounter, but it may not be very many. Better to write in your ideas now while you know they will count. As far as custom spell cards go, let your imagination run free, but be considerate of this man's power and skill with danmaku. Nothing too complex, and nothing deviating too far from his comfort zone of Moon and Wood.

To tell you the truth, this choice is not an immediate one, and the vote will remain open up until the start of the duel itself. I merely wanted to post what I had written and take a break for a while, but I did not want to leave you without something to vote upon.
>> No. 22120
[x] Wood Sign, 「Sprout’s Awakening」
[x] Moon Sign, 「Silver Sickle」
[x] Harvest Sign, 「First Harvest」

These three mess well together.
>> No. 22124
[x] Wood Sign, 「Nature Walk」
[x] Moon Sign, 「Waxing Crescent」
[z] Harvest Sign, 「First Harvest」

>> No. 22125
File 122513950833.jpg - (298.25KB , 800x600 , 6e915be01b5edc179a0772d78301b85f.jpg ) [iqdb]
22125
>>22106
Found one, kinda.

Just poking around all the stuff about the moon on Wikipedia is cool as hell. The real definition of a blue moon, the names of the full moons for the different months, the mythology, black moons, etc. I'm pretty pumped that this is our base stat.
>> No. 22126
File 122514114196.jpg - (89.34KB , 850x767 , sample-b4fe23f7e7caa28b848e2f37c7c6f036.jpg ) [iqdb]
22126
>>22120

Agreed

Also, excellent placement of a Gurren Lagann quote.
>> No. 22129
File 122514248958.jpg - (194.50KB , 1024x520 , 1211988468489.jpg ) [iqdb]
22129
[x] Wood Sign, 「Nature Walk」
[x] Moon Sign, 「Waxing Crescent」
[z] Harvest Sign, 「First Harvest」
I agree strongly with this selection. Also, U.N.Owen, I like your explanation of the danmaku system, well done!
Also, have another picture of Sakuya (and others) in suits.
>> No. 22130
Hmm, for a future Last Word or maybe just a Final Spell Card...

Equinox, 「Harvest Moon」

Not for use now, of course, but hey, everyone needs a trump card or two.
>> No. 22131
[x] Wood Sign, 「That one tree from Evil Dead」
[x] Moon Sign, 「Dawn of the Final Day -24 hours remain-」
[x] Harvest Sign, 「Reap the Whirlwind」

awesome.png
>> No. 22132
[x] Harvest Sign, 「First Harvest」
[x] Moon Sign, 「Silent Night」
[x] Wood Sign, 「Sprout’s Awakening」

These are good names.
>> No. 22133
[x] Harvest Sign, 「First Harvest」
[x] Moon Sign, 「Silent Night」
[x] Wood Sign, 「Sprout’s Awakening」
[x] Equinox, 「Harvest Moon」
>> No. 22135
[x] Harvest Sign, 「First Harvest」
[x] Moon Sign, 「Silent Night」
[x] Wood Sign, 「Sprout’s Awakening」
>> No. 22136
Hey, UN Owen: did Sakuya see that we had the glasses on? Or if we're not allowed to know the answer to that directly, From what we could tell, did it look like she either glanced up at our face or peered at it, or showed any signs of shock and surprise while looking at us, or rifling through our pockets?

=====

Anyhow, I'm worried about those glasses. a full, working, intact pair would be much nicer to have, but there is a problem in doing that: We don't know who we can trust in this mansion.

...At least, aside from two people: The mystery voice (who isn't, at least, Remilia), and maybe Flandre... the smarter and playful Flandres, at least.

So, I'm thinking we need to go back down and talk to her... converse with her, riddle with her, endure more taunting, whatever. She is the only person that we both know how to contact, and that knows we are doing things/going places we shouldn't.

We need to start somewhere, and SmarterFlan is our only solid starting point, assuming she doesn't fuck us up for bothering her or barging into her room again.

And with our luck, we'll knock on her door when one of the other mansion residents is inside.

...perhaps we ought to just leave a note, but as long as we can talk to her, it'll do. We need to figure out --from her-- who can be trusted (Sakuya, Patchouli, Meiling, Koakuma, maybe Nathaniel) to what degree (Not at all, a bit, some, a lot, completely), and in what respects: (willingness to keep secrets from the others (and also from Remilia), willingness to share information, willingness to aid and assist our Quest To Find Out WTF Is Going On Here, etc.)
I'd shy away from asking her any important questions, as she may not take too kindly to that. Definitely don't ask who she is, as she seems to be hiding any further knowledge of herself of her vampiric nature (as exhibited by her yanking away the annotated books. Then again, maybe she just really liked those ones.)
But she seems to be someone who is apparently willing to indulge us if we can make it worth her time. Let's give it a shot.

>> No. 22140
[x] Wood Sign, 「Sprout’s Awakening」
[x] Moon Sign, 「Silent Night」
[x] Harvest Sign, 「First Harvest」
>> No. 22144
>>22125
And now I am going to have to read that same page in detail for more inventive moon inspiration to better enhance the story. I do not know whether to feel thankful or resentful. However, this Sakuya is probably the closest of the three pictures given to what my mind’s eye was thinking when I wrote the segment.

>>22126
Excellent. I was hoping someone would catch that quote. And I have been looking for this picture of fedora-hat Sakuya for quite some time now. Thank you.

>>22131
>Moon Sign, 「Dawn of the Final Day -24 hours remain-」
Tempting me can be a very dangerous thing to do. But you’ll not sway me this time. I shall leave that to another.

>>22136
>Hey, UN Owen: did Sakuya see that we had the glasses on? Or if we're not allowed to know the answer to that directly, From what we could tell, did it look like she either glanced up at our face or peered at it, or showed any signs of shock and surprise while looking at us, or rifling through our pockets?
Ach! I plumb forgot to add that portion in! You are certainly entitled to know, and I shall make it known: Sakuya saw the glasses upon your face easily, and you put them away shortly after time restarted. Sakuya did not press the matter, but then again, you did not press the matter of her “instantaneous” wardrobe change either. As for her expressions, your view of the time-stopped world is extremely horrible. You can make out vague shapes, colors, and relative positions, but to you, Sakuya’s face is nothing but a skin-colored blotch on top of a blue-colored blotch. Be glad you can even tell that she rifled through your pockets.

My writing shall continue tonight, but an update is not necessarily guaranteed afterwards.
>> No. 22147
>>22105
>>[X] Wood Sign, 「Field of Green」

~moar tiberium~
>> No. 22152
File 122516416872.jpg - (6.39KB , 178x160 , The_Majora's_Mask_Moon.jpg ) [iqdb]
22152
>Moon Sign, 「Dawn of the Final Day -24 hours remain-」

I could so see U. N. Owen writing this despite the absurdity of it; probably some kind of mind-screw psychological tactic. Just think: on top of some crazy danmaku patterns, you add in an illusion of the moon slowly getting bigger and bigger as the spell card goes on. It doesn't actually do anything, but seriously, could you concentrate on holding shift for focused movement when you have to stare at that? (image so very related)
>> No. 22155
I like "Equinox 「Harvest Moon」" as Farmanon's Last Spell, especially since Last Spells rarely us the "sign" appellation.

I suggest "「Feast of the Hunter's Moon」" as the Last Word over any that have been suggested thus far, as the names for Last Word spellcards are always fully contained in corner brackets.
>> No. 22158
hmm Wood + Moon... 「Flowering Night」
take that Sakuya!
>> No. 22159
[X] Wood Sign, 「Field of Green」
[X] Moon Sign, 「Silver Sickle」
[X] Harvest Sign, 「First Harvest」
>> No. 22161
>>22144
>Sakuya saw the glasses upon your face easily, and you put them away shortly after time restarted. Sakuya did not press the matter, but then again, you did not press the matter of her “instantaneous” wardrobe change either.
...I think we're going to have to be veeeery careful with using the glasses from now on.
She may put two and two together, and then an unfortunate accident may just happen to befall them.

On a related note, that pocket watch is one we found while poking about in our room, or was given to us by the mysterious voice, right?

Maybe one item complements the other: Let's click the watch next time we feel the glasses grow cold.

Also, an inventory check of ourselves (after danmaku practice is over and Sakuya is out of sight) and our room is definitely in order. Perhaps we should also start cycling our diary's location, and write in it, too. We have not Updated Our Journal.

And that thing about approaching Smart Flandre is also probably a really good path to consider about pursuing
>> No. 22174
Tenetive Choices:
[Wood Sign, 「Sprout’s Awakening」]
[Moon Sign, 「Silver Sickle」]
[Harvest Sign, 「First Harvest」]

You found it. You found the way to focus. It’s so simple now that you have it, you wonder how you missed it before. Magic is the seeds you sow with you mind, and your concentration is the water and sun that makes them grow. Some seeds fall on the rocks, others in the weeds, but the more you focus, the more seeds will fall into the good soil. Creating danmaku is now as simple as reaching your hand into a sack of seeds and scattering them on the wind. You can do this. You can learn how to duel. You can win!

Unfortunately, Sakuya is convinced to prove you wrong, and reality seems to be siding with her. It’s one thing to create danmaku. It’s another thing to harness it into something useful. And it’s a completely different thing to try and dodge someone else’s attack while trying to achieve said harnessing.

Sakuya is merciful enough to start out a little easy on you, but she yields no quarter when it comes to practice sparring. While you try and focus on maintaining your magical “bag of seeds”, she deftly sidesteps your novice shots and strikes a dozen hits every time you miss without effort.

“You’ve proven to me that you can shoot,” Sakuya jabs after what must be your thirtieth failed attempt at hitting her. “But any fool can find the trigger of a gun. You need to start hitting something with it.”

“It’s a little difficult when I can barely focus on your return fire,” you replied, getting a little frustrated.

“That is why you need to learn how to fire subconsciously; shoot danmaku as simply as breathing. Do not waste your time with your own bullets. Waste you time on your opponent, and on her bullets.”

It’s easy to say that when she’s had how many years of practice with this? You grit your teeth and keep trying to improve, even just a little bit. With each series of ten or twenty volleys you begin to get just an iota better. Your spread of green shots becomes more concentrated, more symmetrical, easier to handle. Your mind begins to link together single bullets into small clusters, and then small clusters into larger curtains, so that you can finally start to manage firing an entire wave of danmaku with just the subconscious command, “Shoot”.

You quarry, however, remains as elusive as ever. Despite your improvement, Sakuya knows exactly where to move to avoid your shots. It doesn’t matter if you throw one bullet or a thousand, it only takes a split second for her to realize where she needs to dodge, or how she can thread through your curtain of fire and sustain the least number of hits. And then there’s her danmaku. Every time she notices your patterns tighten, she amps up the intensity of her assault. What started as a single or double wave of knives has turned into crisscrossing spirals and arcs that seem to have a mind of their own. Despite the lack of lethality from these bullets, it’s not difficult to realize that you shouldn’t get hit by them. Their contact provides just enough pressure to know that you’re doing something wrong without being extremely detrimental, but after what feels like hours of training, the ten of thousands of hits begins to take it’s toll on your body. Your muscles ache and groan, and discomfort floods your body with every additional failure to dodge, not to mention all the running and jumping you’ve been doing.

You eventually try to sit down for a rest, but after even five seconds, Sakuya is peering over you like a wolf.

“What are you doing?” she inquires harshly.

“Just, just resting…for a bit,” you reply, breathing heavily.

“Do you think you can beat Cirno yet?”

“Why? Is she going to be as tough as you?

“That is irrelevant. You are not going to receive a rest until you earn it, and I see nothing deserving from you yet.”

You sigh dejectedly. “Look, I’ve gone from a no-talent farmer to being able to shoot light from my hands like a bloody firework all in one morning. I’m not trying to brag, but I think I’ve at least made some decent progress for a beginner.”

“A bloody firework?” Sakuya repeats sarcastically. “Boy, do you even know what danmaku can do?”

She walks far away from you and turns around. With a flourish she works a pattern of knives that is beyond dizzying; it’s downright hypnotic. A double spiral of extremely dense knives fly out horizontal with her at the center, while similar spirals arc out over her head. As the knives reach the walls they suddenly bounce off and angle away into a new pattern, intertwining with the newly created knives in ways that even a weaver would gape at. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, a ballet of dancing blades that pirouette with a rhythm that nearly creates it’s own music. She walks towards you again, weaving in and out of the rows of knives with such ease that you wonder if she’s not just willing the knives not to hit her.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” she asks you when she returns. “And that’s not even a spell card. Danmaku is as much art as it is a weapon. One who can fight and win is good. One who can win with skill is better. But one who can win with beauty? There is no judge of beauty but when put into a battle. If you can prove that you have enough skill to create something graceful, and yet use that grace to succeed with ease, then you are well on your way to learning what danmaku truly is. Now, stand up, and show me that you care enough to continue! You will not leave this room until I am satisfied with a performance worthy of defeating a brash fairy.”

Her words may not have inspired you to the extent she might have aimed for, but they were enough to get you back on your feet. You return to your training as before, continuing to make marginal improvements. You begin to see the patterns of gaps in the knives, and realize the value of falling back to dodge through the cracks. Your shots begin to become more well-defined, more structured. You start to realize the value of multiple curtains aimed in different places, trying to predict Sakuya’s movements, and placing your shots in her escape paths. You still can’t concentrate on more than a few separate barrages at the same time, but it’s becoming easier to control them and shape them with each engagement. First a cone, now a wave, now two beams; you keep trying to find the best pattern to try and hit her.

“Not good enough!” she yells amidst the distorted air currents caused by the thousands of tiny projectiles swarming between you and her. “Think three dimensionally! Cut off the opponent’s escape! Force them to be caught in your web rather than evade it! Give them no loophole to crawl through!”

“I’m trying!” you yell back, failing to sidestep an interlaced knife arc for what must be the thousandth time. How long have you been at this? Two hours? Four? Eight? You can’t tell anymore whether your muscles are crying in protest from all your frenzied movements, or if the “slight pain” of danmaku is finally getting to you. Between the salvos of the blades of light you manage to take quick glances at yourself. The shoulders and arms of your shirt are stretched thin and fraying, and your pants look like you fell into a patch of thorns. Guess that “minimal wear” is finally starting to catch up with your clothes.

(A hero’s clothes…)
>> No. 22175
(…are not invincible.)

After another few segments of eternity—hours or minutes, you can’t tell—Sakuya finally stops shooting and calls you to a halt. A button or two on her vest has come undone, and her hair looks a little frazzled, but otherwise she’s as prim and proper as she was when she entered the room.

“Passable,” she says unenthusiastically, looking down at you as you lean over to catch your breath. “Your tactics are showing moderate possibility for success. I doubt much more practice will improve you today in that regard. But you’ve only come halfway.”

Halfway?! You make some noise that’s a combination of a groan and a sigh. “What do I have to do next?” you ask resentfully.

“Spell Cards,” she answers calmly. “Your strongest and most creative attacks in a danmaku duel. Unlike common shots, these patterns are pre-planned to create an inescapable web of beauty and efficiency. In using them, you need no longer focus on how or what you will fire; you may only use the strategies sealed in the card until that card is defeated.”

“So…how do I go about creating one of my own?”

She points you over to your pile of books you brought with you. Grabbing them, you return to her position quickly. She draws out one of the blank cards from the pile and hands it to you.

“With a card in your hand, picture a pattern in your mind, as simple or as complex as you wish. Take in every detail, every color, every shape, every movement of every bullet you wish to be present. Give this pattern a name and a sign, something meaningful, and yet something enchanting. When you are ready, imprint it onto the paper, as if you were shooting into the depths of the card itself. The effectiveness of the spell is based on your inherent skill and comfort with danmaku; no matter how creative you may be, no matter how intricate a pattern you may imagine, only a master can produce a masterwork spell. I would recommend you start with something simplistic.”

You stare into the card. Apart from a brown border, both sides are completely black, black without casting any glare to speak of. Picture a pattern in your head, huh? Something meaningful, huh? Rummaging around the clutter of thoughts in your head, you stop on the act of sowing seeds across a newly-plowed field. The seeds then seem to shoot up out of the ground instantaneously. It’s as good a thought as any. You can see how to make such an image into a danmaku pattern: A cloud of green leafy bullets tossed outwards, growing in size and gaining more leaves the further they travel. You picture the cloud, visualizing yourself “sowing the seeds” of danmaku. A bit too dense, though; you thin out the spread a little, making it easier to handle. You know exactly when each seed will sprout a new leaf, and you can see them twirling in the wind happily. When you think you’ve got it all memorized in entirety, you concentrate hard, hold your palm up to the paper rectangle in your hand, and literally shoot into the card.

”Wood Sign: Sprout’s Awakening!”

And like clockwork, everything seems to mesh together. You don’t actually shoot any danmaku, but as you look at the card, you can see that one side shows a magically-animated image of the bullet pattern you imagined, while the other shows the description of the card in a golden hand, magically altered to mimic your own handwriting:

Wood Sign, 「Sprout’s Awakening」. A seed is scattered upon the wind with care, growing in size as it is nurtured. This magic scatters many seeds.

Sakuya looks over your shoulder at the moving image of green bullets, and actually flashes you a momentary smile.

“Heh. Not bad for a first try. Seems you might do all right after all.”

“Thanks,” you answer courteously, still looking over your handiwork, your very own spell card. You still find it hard to believe that you got this far in just one session, though you guess it must be nighttime again by now. So much for fighting Cirno today, then.

“I recommend you create two more cards for the fight. While it is not a written rule, it has become generally polite for both duelists to fight with the same number of cards, and Cirno has often been using three.”

“Forgive me for asking,” you inquire, “but why would anyone agree to a duel when their opponent has more spell techniques than them?”

“Intelligence and creativity,” she replies, using those same words yet again. “Sheer number of cards does not equate to additional power. A truly skilled warrior can fight his or her opponent on even ground, or even at a disadvantage, and still emerge victorious. Remember, danmaku is not about conquest, but about a display of skill and dominance. I myself have seen a woman using only two spell cards fight and win against another using ten. Tell me then, who is the one with more skill?”

You think for a while before answering. “I don’t doubt that the woman with two possesses more skill in battle, but I think there’s more to consider than that. Declaring two cards when your opponent declares ten can show power and skill, but it can also show arrogance and delusions of grandeur. If you’re trying to prove your ability to another, why not use everything you have rather than holding back?”

Sakuya sighs. “That answer is more complex than you might think when it comes to Gensokyo, and now is not the time for it. I think, for now, we may end our training for today. Feel free to entertain yourself as you wish, and I will call on you once Cirno arrives to ‘play’.”

You nod and gather your things, but there’s no way you’ll be fighting Cirno today any more, right? Does she mean tomorrow, or does she expect you to fight in the dark?

“I appreciate all your training, but isn’t it a little late for me to be trying to fight Cirno any more today?”

Sakuya looks behind her shoulder at you skeptically as she reaches for the door handle. “What are you talking about? How long do you think we’ve been in here?”

You get out your pocket watch to demonstrate. “Well, we started at like eleven o’ clock, right? And by now it must be…” You look at your watch face, spinning it upright to read the time. “…Eleven twenty-nine! We’ve been in here over twelve hours!”

Sakuya rolls her eyes at you. “Eleven twenty-nine, A.M. We’ve been here only half an hour, young man. Don’t think you’ll be getting out of your fight with a poor excuse like that. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have other work to be doing.”

[ ] Stop her before she leaves. Try and talk with her (specify topic and/or questions to ask)
[ ] Stop her before she leaves. Ask her if she needs any help with anything.
[ ] Stop her before she leaves. Ask her to keep training with you some more.
[ ] Let her leave. Train by yourself for a while & make more spell cards.
[ ] Let her leave. Go somewhere else (specify destination)
[ ] Something unexpected? (Write-in your choice)

[ ] You may still vote for, or create, possible spell cards for the upcoming duel

========================================

>>22152
What did I just finish telling you about temptation? You’ll need more effective tactics than that to get that infernal moon into the pages of my story!

>>22158
Oh ho! A discovery most interesting!

>>22161
That pocket watch was found in the suit which Sakuya left for you to wear to dinner.
>> No. 22182
[X] Stop her before she leaves. Ask her if she needs any help with anything.

Only to be promptly shot down, I'm sure (maybe literally) but it's nice to ask.
>> No. 22186
[X] Let her leave. Train by yourself for a while & make more spell cards.
>> No. 22189
Taking some that I've seen now...

Lunatic Modo spell cards? They're all Wood + Moon mixes.

Growth, 「Flowering Night」
Equinox, 「Harvest Moon」
Festival, 「Feast of the Hunter's Moon」
>> No. 22192
>>22152
You know, now that I think about it, that would work with the rules we've been given. Our patterns are to have intelligence and creativity, and I recall one of Mokou's spellcards taking advantage of an illusion to make it more difficult to pass.

I'd call it pretty creative for someone to create the illusion of a falling moon as a background for their pattern, and also at least somewhat intelligent. I don't remember the time frame offhand, so how widespread would the knowledge of the moon's actual size be around now?

Actually, we could have it play on the moon's patience aspect, and make it a time-out card. Just when they think the moon is going to hit, time out. That aside, what would the actual pattern look like? I'm thinking a series of large bullets which themselves shoot waves of slightly smaller bullets, and break apart in doing so - chunks of debris, as it were. From the moon itself, or simply from the riots of people who know their last day has come? This could get interesting, and having thought about it this far I'm starting to want to see it in action.

Cut the -24 hours remain- and it's a legitimate card, rather than a reference.
>> No. 22195
I haven't fleshed this idea out, and it might apply a little more to a combination of fire/wood, but Ragnarok 「Yggdrassil's Fall」 sounds pretty awesome.
Several other ideas:
Eclipse sign 「Planetary Alignment」,
Forest sign 「Midnight Clearing」,
Waxing Gibbous 「Man-in-the-Moon」, and
Summer Night 「Strawberry Moon」
for some Spellcard name ideas of the now.
>> No. 22196
These are pretty cool, but I think we need to think along the lines of a 1800s farmboy a bit more.
>> No. 22197
Oh, one in honor of his hostess.

Lunar Sign, 「Blood Moon」

The Blood Moon is the alternative name for the Hunter's Moon
>> No. 22198
[X] Stop her before she leaves. Ask her if she needs any help with anything.
>> No. 22199
>>22189
>>22197

Argh. I keep forgetting to vote.

[x] Let her leave. Train by yourself for a while & make more spell cards.
>> No. 22200
>>22197
I throw my full support behind this. Since I forgot to vote earlier:
[X] Stop her before she leaves. Ask her if she needs any help with anything.
Otherwise,
[X] Let her leave. Train by yourself for a while & make more spell cards.
[X] After all this training, you'll probably need a replacement of clothes to be remotely presentable. Return to the room and get new clothes.
>> No. 22205
I throw my full support behind this. Since I forgot to vote earlier:
[X] Stop her before she leaves. Ask her if she needs any help with anything.
Otherwise,
[X] Let her leave. Train by yourself for a while & make more spell cards.
[X] After all this training, you'll probably need a replacement of clothes to be remotely presentable. Return to the room and get new clothes.
>> No. 22206
I finally read up and i dare to say that you created a Masterpiece that i truly enjoy to read.
>> No. 22208
[ ] Let her leave. Train by yourself for a while & make more spell cards
>> No. 22209
[x] Stop her before she leaves. Ask her if she needs any help with anything.
Otherwise,
[x] Inventory check
[x] Let her leave. Train by yourself for a while & make more spell cards.
[x] After all this training, you'll probably need a replacement of clothes to be remotely presentable. Return to the room and get new clothes.
[x] Write in your journal.
>> No. 22221
Today was not a rather proactive day for me, and as such I have made very little progress on the story as of late. I would blame my poorly-scheduled Wednesday, but as I am the person who scheduled it, I have very little basis to complain upon. I hope for another update tomorrow morning, but tonight is definitely a closed book. Apologies.

>>22196
This statement could in fact be applied to nearly every choice you make without much detriment to accuracy.

>>22206
Always a joy to see others enjoying my humble work. I hope only that I may continue to live up to your expectations. Thank you for you consideration; I appreciate it highly.
>> No. 22226
[Stop her before she leaves. Ask her if she needs any help with anything.]
[Otherwise, Inventory check]
[Let her leave. Train by yourself for a while & make more spell cards.]
[After all this training, you'll probably need a replacement of clothes to be remotely presentable. Return to the room and get new clothes.]
[Write in your journal.]

Wait, only a half-hour? That can’t be! There’s no way you’d lose track of time by such a margin! You’ll allow that oftentimes hard work and tedious physical labor can feel a lot longer than it really is, but you can tell that it is impossible that you’d overestimate your training time by a factor of over twenty. This can’t be right…is Sakuya messing with time or something again? Making an entire day of training pass by as if it were only half an hour? But it that’s the case, then why haven’t your glasses been chilling you for the entire danmaku session? This makes no sense anymore.

Before she is entirely out of sight you call her back on a whim. If she was kind enough to give you all this “free time” to train with, you should at least try and repay the favor.

“Yes? Something else?” she asks.

“I was wondering, do you need an extra set of hands with whatever you’re doing? You spent an awful lot of effort teaching me, no matter how long it may have taken. I feel it fair I should try and repay the favor. Is there anything you need help with?”

She looks at you strangely, a blend of annoyance, indifference, and perhaps compassion, if such a blend is possible. She answers with a fairly complex response.

“I remember asking Mr. Nathaniel near that very same question the day after he arrived here. He told me that, ‘no matter how pure or good one’s intentions are, there are some things you simply do not know enough about to be of any assistance. In time, and with a better knowledge of my work, perhaps, but not as of now. You may help me now by not helping. You may help be later by understanding.’ I believe I will say the same to you. Good day, sir.”

As she walks out the door and down the hallway, you can feel the spectacles in your pocket pulsing on and off with cold, a second at a time between equal pauses, growing fainter and fainter until you can’t feel anything anymore. What was that all about?

Well, she told you to create at least two more spell cards, and you feel a lot more comfortable practicing danmaku without anyone around to watch, so you train by yourself for a little while, just about until noon. You experiment with different patterns, seeing which ones look the best or are the most effective with maintaining simplicity for your concentration. You’ve already got down pat how to shoot different colors and shapes; everything about manifesting danmaku is actually pretty simple once you manage to pass that first barrier of belief.

After a little bit of thought, you finally settle on two more patterns that you think are worthy enough for spell cards. The first uses a slender curved beam of silver honed in of the opponent, which creates trails of white windy bullets as it sweeps by. You decide to name this one Moon Sign, 「Silver Sickle」. The second is really a combination of the other two: a field of green and gold stationary bullets, which scatter in all directions at they are hit by a sparse volley of whirling silver crescents. You experiment with names for a while before deciding that you don’t have to stay true to the “sign” of your magical tomes, and call the last spell Harvest Sign, 「First Harvest」. You’ve got a whole slew of ideas for attacks that seem immensely complex and overly devastating, but Sakuya told you to keep it simple, and for now, that’s what you’re going to do.

It doesn’t take long for you to get bored with your practice. Whether or not the session with Sakuya only took a half-hour, it certainly felt like twelve to you, and you could do with a break for a while. You haven’t updated your journal in a while, right? Perhaps it’s time to hold up inside your room for a spell and prepare yourself mentally for the rest of the day.

Walking back to your room alone makes you realize just how far out of the way this sparring room really was, among other things. How long did Patchouli say the Scarlet Devil Mansion was on the outside again? You can’t remember right now, but it wasn’t over a hundred meters, you at least know that. From the amount of hallways you’re walking just to get back to your room, you wouldn’t be surprised if the interior measured half a kilometer from end to end. Just how did someone manage to even build a house this intricate?

Returning to the safety of your room, you lock the door securely and rest your spectacles on your forehead. Those little glasses…what should you do with them? They’re a definite boon, even for just alerting you to when Sakuya is using her power, not to mention the little insights you get when you’re actually wearing them. But at what cost? You’re helpless while starting into the time-frozen world, whereas Sakuya is not. She can easily observe you from every angle, taking all the time she needs, and you guess that’s exactly what she did do when you first entered the practice room. She probably went through your pockets, looked you over thoroughly, she probably even saw the glasses on your face. Does she know what they do? Does she know you know? You have a feeling that if you get too foolish in using them, someone sooner or later is going to figure out their function, or at least figure out that you think they’re important. And then where will you be? Everyone here seems to have a life full of secrets; it might be the only way to get by in Gensokyo. Hide your true self, your true feelings, so that everyone underestimates your real knowledge and skill. You’ve got quite a few secrets yourself; is it better to keep them as is, add more, or reveal them all and hope for clarity in your life?

(Think…)
>> No. 22227
(…before you act.)

For now, at least, you should keep the glasses close, even if you don’t gaze through them. Until the time is right and you’ve made up your mind, you don’t want anyone to discover just how much you think you know about this mansion, and since Sakuya is the main threat in exposing you with her time-powers, you’d better stay prepared if you can. Before you add more of your thoughts to the pages of your journal, however, you think it best to review your worldly possessions and decide just what the best course of action is for them.

From before you have:
+A traveling pack. Stitched strong, but currently empty.
+A compass. It’s crudely made, but very trustworthy.
+A coin pouch. Contains all the money you own…plus a strange Yankee coin.
+A fountain pen. Discovered earlier in a pare of spare pants. Writes with a deep red ink.
+A blank page from your diary. You’ve sketched a map of the basement on this.
+A ring holding three keys. They unlock several secrets in the basement.
+A silvery gleaming key. It’s the master key to the mansion!
+A small silver pocket-watch. Tick tick tick. It reads 12:09.
+Three mystical cards. Perhaps they hold some hidden power.
+A letter opener. Long and thin, almost like a knife.
+A pair of broken spectacles. They seem to grow cold when Sakuya meddles with time.
+A comb. Smooth and polished, good for looking like a gentleman.
+A thick diary. Already it’s pages begin to fill with adventures.
+An open envelope. “For when thy need arises.”
+A scrap of paper. “Use them once…use them well.”

Newly acquired you have:
+A vial of pearly liquid. “Batch 3, 698-072441-H, 50 mL. Yagokoro, Eirin.”
+A compact lockpick set. Too bad you don’t know how to use them…
+A shiny automatic lighter. Lights the way in darkness.
+A stick of dynamite. Easy to use: light fuse, run away.
+A throwing knife. The blade shines with a silver hue.
+A strange angular pistol. Why do you feel like this is something from “the future”?
+Two magical tomes: The Sign of Wood, and The Sign of Moon.
+A pamphlet on “The Spell Card System: A Newcomer’s Approach.”
+Three danmaku spell cards:
1) Wood Sign, 「Sprout’s Awakening」
2) Moon Sign, 「Silver Sickle」
3) Harvest Sign, 「First Harvest」

You’re surprised at just how much you’ve managed to pick up over the last day and a half. If you’re going to be holding on to so much stuff, you had best organize it better to cover all your bases. You decide to sort everything into three categories: things that the residents already know about or shouldn’t care about, things that you’re skeptical on, and things should definitely be kept a secret.

The first set of items can just be left out in the open, since it doesn’t matter if they’re seen or not. You decide to put the bulk of them onto the dresser, and soon it is filled with assorted junk: the compass, coin pouch, pen, mansion key, pocket-watch, comb, magic books, pamphlet, and spell cards. It isn’t hard to pick out your “secret” items, and these go on the bed for the time being: the three-key ring, three mystic cards, diary, mysterious letter, mysterious note, and everything you found in the basement.

It’s those four things in the middle of the road you’re not certain about. The letter opener and pen are harmless enough, but they weren’t exactly left out in the open when you found them. The basement map isn’t technically suspicious, since you were given the key to go down there after all, but you don’t feel particularly right about it either. And then, of course, there’s the time-seeing spectacles. You’ve already worried enough about those things for now.

For now, you decide to err on the safe side of caution. Everything except that on the dresser you decide to hide in various places around the room: under seat cushions, within pockets of clothes, behind furniture, in your mattress stuffing, etc. You reluctantly admit that nothing would probably be safe from Sakuya, which is while you’ll need to be careful around her for now. Remembering how tattered your clothes are right now, you quickly change into a new pair of dark blue pants and cream-colored shirt, and put your coat back on for good measure.

Satisfied with your new appearance, you take out your diary and begin to write. Everything new and everything old, things you thought that didn’t matter which now do, or things that don’t matter anymore. Suspicions and fears, fears and suspicions. You realize just how compromising the pages of this book could be if anyone who is even remotely an adversary of yours were to read it. Out of everything you own so far, this diary is perhaps the most controversial. Is there really even a safe place to put it without fear or discovery? Should you keep it with you, or leave it hidden? Either way there’s a possibility of it being found, or worse, just simply disappearing from your sight like your old adventuring tools from before you arrived. You’ve got to have a good plan for that book if you want to keep it secure.

Absentmindedly you stare out the window for a while, looking at the inner grounds of the mansion. So quiet and tranquil; no one at all disturbing it’s peace. The fountains in the center of the grass continue to babble and splash playfully. Just looking at the view calms your senses.

Wait. That’s not right. The fountain on the left isn’t splashing at all. There’s still jets of water shooting out, but it’s just, not moving. You look closer, wonder if it could possibly…yeah, there she is. Cirno’s head is poking out of one of the top marble bowls of the fountain, surrounded by solid shimmering ice. That fool, doesn’t she know what’ll happen if she gets caught inside the mansion grounds again? What’s she playing at? Should you try to warn her? Or perhaps is this a good time to preemptively start the duel between you two?

[ ] Get Cirno’s attention by shouting [specify phrase to say]
[ ] Get Cirno’s attention by signaling [specify how]
[ ] Get Cirno’s attention by shooting danmaku at her [Optional: shout something while doing so]
[ ] Keep watching Cirno, but don’t do anything else
[ ] Ignore Cirno for now; do something else [write in your action]

How do you wish to treat Cirno?
[ ] You are a concerned friend who wishes her no harm, either from you or from another
[ ] You are a cheerful friend who wants to have fun and play a “game”
[ ] You are an indifferent who just wants to do as he is instructed by Remilia
[ ] You are a duelist who wishes for victory, and your opponent is before you.
[ ] You are the exterminator. Cirno is a pest to be eliminated!
[ ] You are something different [write in your attitude]

What should you do with the diary?
[ ] Write-in only
>> No. 22228
Hmmmm, gonna wait a bit until i vote
>> No. 22230
[ ] Keep watching Cirno, but don’t do anything else
[ ] You are a concerned friend who wishes her no harm, either from you or from another but also you are a duelist who wishes for victory, and your opponent is before you.
[ ] put the diary back where you initially found it

it hasn't been disturbed yet and its not likely it'll be disturbed in the near future, but if Sakuya finds it hidden under our bed it becomes suspicious
>> No. 22231
[X] Keep watching Cirno, but don’t do anything else.
[X] You are a concerned friend who wishes her no harm, either from you or from another.
[X] Hold on to the diary.
>> No. 22233
[X] Get Cirno’s attention by shooting danmaku at her
[X] You are the exterminator. Cirno is a pest to be eliminated!
[X] Leave the Diary there.
>> No. 22234
[x] Get Cirno’s attention by shooting danmaku at her
[x] You are the exterminator. Cirno is a pest to be eliminated!
[x] Hold on to Diary.
>> No. 22235
File 122539676130.jpg - (61.58KB , 480x640 , 543a027ea0f6cc2ddb1a6ed83a69fc70143cd39e.jpg ) [iqdb]
22235
>>22230
You have my vote.

Hiding the diary will definitely seem suspicious, it would be best to put it back where you found it.
>> No. 22236
[ ] Keep watching Cirno, but don’t do anything else
[ ] You are a concerned friend who wishes her no harm, either from you or from another but also you are a duelist who wishes for victory, and your opponent is before you.
[ ] put the diary back where you initially found it
>> No. 22237
[X] Get Cirno’s attention by shooting danmaku at her.

[X] You are a concerned friend who wishes her no harm, either from you or from another - however, you have also accepted the responsibility of challenging her, and you won't cut her any slack. While engaged in a danmaku duel, there can be no room for anything in your mind but victory. It is only a game, but games should be played to their fullest.

[X] Leave the diary in its usual place, where you found it. We have no evidence that any of the mansion's regulars wish us ill, save perhaps Nathaniel, and keeping secrets from the likes of Sakuya is both impossible and unnecessary. Everyone already knows what cards are in the deck, and a good player can already guess which are in your hand. The element of surprise comes from how you play them, when the time comes.

Good writing as usual. Not really a fan of the "You feel like it would be wise to do X, Y and Z" stuff though.
>> No. 22238
These write-ins are silly. Trying to have it both ways just makes it hard for him to write.

[x] Get Cirno’s attention by shooting danmaku at her. [Optional: shout something while doing so]
- [x] "Pew! Pew!"
[x] You are a cheerful friend who wants to have fun and play a “game”.
[x] Put the diary back where you initially found it.
>> No. 22239
[x] Open the window, get Cirno’s attention by signaling at her with your free hand. Call out if necessary.

[x] You are a concerned friend who wishes her no harm, either from you or from another.

[x] Hide the diary in the mattress.
>> No. 22243
[x] Get Cirno’s attention by shooting danmaku at her
[x][Optional: shout something while doing so]Eye'm da strongest!

[x] You are a cheerful friend who wants to have fun and play a “game”

[x] Leave the Diary there. The best way to hide something is to put it in plain sight.
>> No. 22244
[x] Open the window, get Cirno’s attention by signaling at her with your free hand. Call out if necessary.
[x] You are a cheerful friend who wants to have fun and play a “game”.
[x] Put the diary back where you initially found it.
>> No. 22246
File 122540806951.png - (86.91KB , 200x150 , 1225406640988.png ) [iqdb]
22246
[x] Get Cirno’s attention by shooting danmaku at her
[x] You are a duelist who wishes for victory, and your opponent is before you.
[x] Put the diary back where you initially found it.
>> No. 22250
>>22246
>Trolling.png

Long had I assumed that my automatic rage upon seeing these would be gone, it turns out I am wrong.
>> No. 22264
‘Twill be a long day for me before I hold free time in my hands, what with classes, painting my domicile’s stairwell, and assisting in the setup for a convention, therefore have patience, as the next update may be delayed for some time. I will strive to write and post some time tonight; however tomorrow morning is much more likely.

>>22237
>Not really a fan of the "You feel like it would be wise to do X, Y and Z" stuff though.
I believe this is actually a subconscious fall-back plan I follow without realizing it. When I am experiencing slight writer’s block, or when I feel that nothing important should happen or is happening to the character, I tend to stumble into thought contemplation and interior monologue to take up time and space, more as a transition period than anything else. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not, and I dislike it just as much as you when it does not.

>>22238
>These write-ins are silly. Trying to have it both ways just makes it hard for him to write.
Not necessarily. Very often in life a person with have conflicting opinions about a situation, and his or her response to it can be mixed with actions from both modes of thought. It makes the person more realistic, more dynamic, perhaps even easier to relate to. There are certain combinations which are not plausible, but in this case I see no real trouble with mixing “concerned friend” and “duelist”. >>22237 described it quite well.

Now, if the votes were to mix “You are a concerned friend” with “You are the exterminator,” that would be silly.
>> No. 22288
[Get Cirno’s attention by shooting danmaku at her]
[You are a concerned friend who wishes her no harm, either from you or from another, but you are also a duelist who wishes for victory, and your opponent is before you.]
[Put the diary back where you initially found it.]

If you’re going to be fighting Cirno anyways, it might as well be now while you’re prepared to do it, on your own terms rather than someone else’s. You quickly put your diary back into your traveling sack (best place to hide something suspicious is right out in the open, right?), and open your window. Now, how to get her attention…She probably won’t see you if you signal for her, and shouting might alert someone else...How about danmaku? It’s a long ways away, but you think you can aim your shot well enough. You hold your finger up and point at Cirno, trying to focus your aim. When you think you’re as ready as you can be in this crazy world, you fire off a short stream of silver bullets, which scatter all around the fountain. You can’t tell whether you hit her or not, but it certainly got her attention. She looks around rapidly, trying to find the source of the barrage, and you’re pretty sure she spots you.

What follows is perhaps one of the most comical modes of “sneaking” you’ve seen in your life. Cirno erratically hops downwards into the lowest fountain bowl, still trying to remain elusive, then quickly makes a mad flying dash for the nearest gazebo she can find. You see her disappear for a few seconds, then notice her head poking out from the structure’s roof. She darts from there to a bench, then to another gazebo, then finally out of sight against the mansion wall, looking just like a child trying poorly to hide from her parents.

Finally you see her head poke down from above your windowsill, staring upside-down at you. She’s got a satisfied little grin on her face, and combined with the way her hair and ribbon tails dangle haphazardly, it’s quite an amusing look.

“Hi Mr. Stupid! That was pretty cool, you know? When did you learn to danmaku like that?”

“Just this morning, actually,” you reply, trying to sound humble. “I guess I’m a pretty quick study like that. If you want, I could show you what I’ve learned so far. Care to duel?”

She curls a finger over her lips and screws up her eyes, thinking hard for such a simple question. “Nah, danmaku’s not that fun. You have to concentrate and think ‘n stuff, I’ve got too much energy for that! I’d rather fight for real, so I can show people how strong I am!” She flips back around and perches on the window’s ledge like some kind of little bluebird. “Not against you, though. You’re not like other people here, you get hurt too easy. Friends don’t hurt friends, right?”

No danmaku? This is going to be a problem. You want to just be considerate and treat her like a friend, but at the same time, Remilia is expecting you to humiliate her in battle. Let’s face it: Remilia’s wrath is probably a lot more terrible than Cirno’s wrath, and Miss Scarlet is the one controlling your fate right now. Sooner or later you just know that it’s going to come down to a choice between her and Cirno. You just wonder how long it’ll be before that time comes.

For now, you just play along with the conversation. “So I’ve heard, Cirno, so I’ve heard. Are you new to this ‘friendship’ thing?”

More troubled thinking from the little fairy ensues. “Umm, not really, I guess. I mean, Miss Letty and I get along okay, ‘cause us icy people gots to stick together, you know? And Daiyousei is nice to me, too, we play a lot together. But, umm…” she trails off, looking into your eyes innocently. “You’re the first person who didn’t get angry at me.”

You think you know what the answer is, but you ask the question anyways. “Angry? How do you mean?”

She fidgets with her skirt at she talks; you notice the simple pattern of white triangles on the bottom. “Lotsa people get angry at me. I just wanna play jokes on people, you know? Funny things to make people laugh and stuff. But I don’t think people like it very much. They always yell and chase me away, like I’m doing somethin’ wrong! So, yeah, you didn’t do that.”

You nod your head and remain silent for a while, thinking. How long can you keep this conversation going like this? It’s only a matter of time before one of the outdoor guards notices Cirno in the open window, or before Sakuya comes barging in to spoil the mood like she did last time. Maybe you should just flat out tell Cirno that you’re just here to duel her. Except…she’s true. You don’t have anyone else here who is true and open to you, who isn’t trying to hide anything or act all mysterious around you. Cirno may be a childish idiot (so they say), but for all her stupidity she’s willing to be your friend. Why? You were a complete stranger, why should she choose you? You’re nobody! You’re a risk to her, trying to sneak into the mansion like this, why take the risk?

“Cirno,” you say, sounding very serious in an attempt to get her to do the same. “Why do you want to be my friend? This mansion is dangerous, and you don’t even know me. I could be a real bad guy, you know. I could just be waiting for you to lower your guard, and then bam! You’re on the floor, dead.”

She folds her arms across her chest, confidently. “You, trying to kill me, the strongest? I don’t think so! I’d like to see you try!”

“How about now, then? Danmaku, outside, a three-card duel, right now. If I win, that means I’m stronger than you; that means that I could kill you for real if I wanted to.”

She rolls her eyes as you indignantly, like she’s so above you. “That’s sooo wrong! Why does everyone keep thinking that? Danmaku’s nothing like fighting for real! All you do is shoot a bunch of pretty lights as each other, that’s not being strong! Being strong is being strong! You gotta do things for real!”

Suddenly she claps her hands together excitedly, reminding you once again how much like a child she really is. Come to think of it, she and Remilia really aren’t that different in personality; Remilia just acts more refined sometimes. You wonder if the two of them could actually just work out their differences once they see how much alike they are.

“Ooo! Ooo!” Cirno exclaims, “I’ve got an awesome idea! How about we play a joke on Mrs. Remmy? You can do danmaku, right?”

Has she forgotten already? “Yes, Cirno, I can do danmaku,” you answer sarcastically.

She fails to pick up your sarcasm, and continues. “Great! Right, so you duel me and stuff, and make sure Mrs. Remmy’s watching, okay? And I’ll let you win real easy, so she thinks you got me good. I’ll even act all mad and stuff, like I really didn’t expect to lose! But then, tomorrow, I’ll come back acting all ready for revenge and show her just how strong I really am! Like, I’ll freeze the whole house and walk in all mysterious, like that one lady always does! Whatdya say?”

[ ] What do you say? Write in your response!

========================================

Apologies for the brief update and lack of voting options, but I am still slightly pressed for time today. I will endeavor to make it up to you in the future somehow.
>> No. 22291
[X] Rape the bitch.
>> No. 22296
[x] "...that sounds totally awesome."
>> No. 22298
File 12255632796.gif - (82.96KB , 485x213 , spathi-council.gif ) [iqdb]
22298
[x] "...Yes, you are the strongest. I won't deny this. But therein lies the crux of the problem."
[x] "You is singular. You may be the strongest, but what you're going to do would imply taking on the entire mansion. The people here are as numerous as they are strong. Were this not the case, I might have replied to your plan with less uncertainty."
>> No. 22299
>>22291 No.
Postponing real vote until I come up with a better idea along the lines of a warning. If Cirno goes along with her plan (with or without us) she will certainly get killed. As a friend, we have to warn her about that.
>> No. 22301
I wonder if we could guilt her into danmaku? "I learned danmaku just so I could have a match with your", "I'd hate it if my first match wasn't against my only friend here", or "Trying to freeze the whole mansion could hurt someone; that's not a very funny joke." I don't know if the sentiment is correct or not, but it feels like we need to protect her from herself right now. I'm also probably slipping into "big brother" mode (thank you Kira); part of that is keeping her safe, trying to teach her what's responsible, and most importantly, how to execute a proper prank. I'm trying to think up something amusing using humiliation, not unlike with Meiling and Sakuya during dinner: harmless but effective.

Not bringing up "the strongest" stuff. The more we say it the more she believes it, regardless of whether we're agreeing with her or trying to prove her wrong. That's probably how a ➈ brain works.

Still pondering about what to write-in, but I wanted the thought process out there.
>> No. 22303
>>22299
>Postponing real vote until I come up with a better idea along the lines of a warning. If Cirno goes along with her plan (with or without us) she will certainly get killed. As a friend, we have to warn her about that.

Except fairies do not die when they are killed. If that were the case, the residents would've removed this "pest" a long time ago.

I think Cirno would be hurt more if we got into trouble over this than if she did.
>> No. 22304
[x] "Cirno."
[x] "'Being strong is being strong' might've been true where I'm from, but here, it's not the case. Strength for the sake of strength becomes pointless when everyone is strong. That's why, out here, true strength lies in skill, finesse, and beauty! That's why, here, danmaku is strength!"
[x] "You want to show Remilia how strong you really are? Then beat me! Duel me in danmaku and win!"

Let's paraphrase what Sakuya told us earlier ago. I'm trying to channel the spirit of Kamina here.
>> No. 22305
>>22301
>Not bringing up "the strongest" stuff. The more we say it the more she believes it, regardless of whether we're agreeing with her or trying to prove her wrong. That's probably how a ➈ brain works.

I would think she has more invested in the idea that she is the strongest than in being your friend. Trying to "fix" that part of her is a fool's errand, and will only ruin your friendship.
>> No. 22306
File 122556693921.jpg - (269.53KB , 800x600 , 1417194.jpg ) [iqdb]
22306
Distressing lack of Cirno pictures!
>>22305
Well, she said that we were the first friend that didn't get mad at her, so I think we are in a slightly better position to navigate her out of the dire straits she finds herself in with the SDM residents.
>>22303
Should probably try to find out for sure if faeries respawn in this story.
>>22304
Awesome! When all else fails, speak the universal language of Burning Passion.
>>22301
Must prank Nathaniel. Dude has it coming.
>> No. 22307
Passionate speeches aren't really our thing in this story. Going along with the plot hook seems more in character.

>Like, I’ll freeze the whole house and walk in all mysterious, like that one lady always does!

Yukari?

[x] "Who is this 'one lady' Cirno?"
[x] Bring your voice to a whisper, "Sounds good Cirno. I'm going to fight with everything I've got so it looks real, and as far as the prank is concerned I want you to surprise me with the details, just in case my cover gets blown by the enemy."
[x] "Shall we begin now?"
>> No. 22309
>Going along with the plot hook seems more in character

It's more in character to exploit Cirno's stupidity and then let herself get knee-deep in shit when it's well within our ability to prevent it here and now? Did I get that right?

Are you trolling?

At least the passionate speech is doing something right in that it's trying to convince Cirno that there might be other ways to prove she's the "strongest". I thought that's one of the reasons why we picked Wood: Growth and awakening.
>> No. 22310
>>22309
>It's more in character to exploit Cirno's stupidity and then let herself get knee-deep in shit when it's well within our ability to prevent it here and now? Did I get that right?

I fail to see how we'd be "exploiting" her anymore than she's doing so to us to achieve her own ends of pranking the mansion residents, and considering how Sakuya appears she is barely able to control her to the point where she's physically threatened you for your interaction with her, I doubt the residents could do anything about her even if they tried.

And there's nothing to prove you can do anything about her behavior, as Meiling, Sakuya, and Remilia have all said: Like most fairies, Cirno's mischief is incorrigible. It's sheer hubris to assume you can change her behavior when so many have failed and so many times.

If you're going to act adversely to her, then instead of lecturing, think of a way to "prank" her back, like you suggested at dinner earlier. You have perfect setup: Act like you're in her confidence, then when she plans on getting her "revenge" by icing the house later, you'll have told the residents and laid a trap. Your actions can easily be explained to Cirno as "getting her back" for impaling you with ice shards later, and that after this bit of humiliation, you'll be even.
>> No. 22313
File 122557815838.png - (574.60KB , 1000x1500 , 1833818.png ) [iqdb]
22313
>>22288
[X] "What's this? The Strongest of Gensokyo, Cirno the great ice fairy, is afraid to have a danmaku duel against a human who only learned it this morning? What's wrong, are you that scared you'll lose?"

Logic: simple taunting. For every retort or counter-argument she can give, we can spin that she's trying to avoid danmaku: "It's not real fighting, just stupid lights!" "Whatever you say miss scaredy-fairy."
Simple? Yes, but this is Cirno. I think relatively simple psychology will work. If our E-Cards experience tells us anything, this anon knows how games are played and won. This isn't too different from getting a fool or a drunk to rise to a challenge. Furthermore, if we can upset her enough, then she really will be invested in the duel, and we can fulfill Remilia's request. If we beat her; hey it's just danmaku. I'm tempted to throw in that if we win she has to help us with a prank of our own. Good to have Cirno's help in the future, and it's an opportunity to teach her what a proper prank looks like.

I'm not down with Cirno's plan, mostly because it's Cirno's plan. The duel is going to be watched by Remilia and Sakuya. Their combined perception will reveal even the slightest flaw in the duel/performance. We may be good actors, but I wager Cirno's acting abilities are... not. Combined with a possible lack of adequate danmaku on Cirno's part, Remilia will probably be pissed.
>> No. 22315
>>22303
>Except fairies do not die when they are killed.
There are worse fates than death.

>>22310
>It's sheer hubris to assume you can change her behavior when so many have failed and so many times.
And it's sheer cowardice to not even try.

>our actions can easily be explained to Cirno as "getting her back" for impaling you with ice shards later, and that after this bit of humiliation, you'll be even.
That's insane and she'd hate us. We are not getting revenge on Cirno.
>> No. 22316
>>22313 has a good point. Knowing Cirno's personality, she will be more responsive to taunting than a passionate speech.

[X] "What's this? The Strongest of Gensokyo, Cirno the great ice fairy, is afraid to have a danmaku duel against a human who only learned it this morning? What's wrong, are you that scared you'll lose?"
>> No. 22317
>>22304
This speaks to me, seeing as I personally do believe in skill and finesse, moreso than sheer strength or number.
[x] "Cirno."
[x] "'Being strong is being strong' might've been true where I'm from, but here, it's not the case. Strength for the sake of strength becomes pointless when everyone is strong. That's why, out here, true strength lies in skill, finesse, and beauty! That's why, here, danmaku is strength!"
[x] "You want to show Remilia how strong you really are? Then beat me! Duel me in danmaku and win!"
I still do think this is missing something; Victory in an all-out Danmaku duel will undoubtedly fulfill Remilia's request, but if Cirno tries some grandiose (by her scale) prank later, she could seriously regret it.
>>22315 Agreed on all accounts, good sir.
>>22313 Not at all a bad idea, and it is nearly undoubtable that this would get Cirno to danmaku with us, but it lacks the potential to lead to growth and awakening, two elements that we have chosen to embody and perhaps plant in others.
>>22309 thank you of reminding me of this element of our choosing, as it has proven pivotal in my vote.
tl;dr - Let us lead Cirno along the path of Growth and Awakening, if we can.
>> No. 22318
>>22315
>There are worse fates than death.

Apparently there aren't, at least for Cirno, or else she would've been subjected to such a long time before you entered the mansion, and considering that the master of the mansion seems to be a bit of an expert on "fates" I'd defer to her experience.

>And it's sheer cowardice to not even try.

Acting in a realistic sense of one's capabilities is not cowardice but wisdom. You seem to have forgotten that the protagonist is of the wood and moon elements and not of sun or fire.

>That's insane and she'd hate us. We are not getting revenge on Cirno.

While I don't think Cirno has it in her to hate anyone, if you want her to dislike you, then acting like a stick-in-the-mud as you suggest is probably the fastest way.
>> No. 22319
You guys are thinking about this too hard.

[X] "What's this? The Strongest of Gensokyo, Cirno the great ice fairy, is afraid to have a danmaku duel against a human who only learned it this morning? What's wrong, are you that scared you'll lose?"
>> No. 22320
[x]"But I practiced so hard just so I could have a real danmaku fight with you." "Can't you just stay ahead of me enough not to get hit?"
[x]"If you take me seriously and win, I'll help you pull an even better prank instead of you freezing where I'm living."
[x]"Hey, if I win, how about you act like a maid and I'm your master for a while?"
We need to coax her into a duel with her head still on. Making her angry by taunting her may lead to a repeat of our icy sleep. Showing her that we wanted to play with her badly may make her think if she is acting like a real friend. Putting a bet makes things more interesting and leads to her helping us either way. Hopefully reminding her that we live their and we would like to help pull a better prank will divert her from her original prank. Us winning would also delay her plans for freezing the mansion hopefully.
>> No. 22321
[x]"But I practiced so hard just so I could have a real danmaku fight with you." "Can't you just stay ahead of me enough not to get hit?"
[x]"If you take me seriously and win, I'll help you pull an even better prank instead of you freezing where I'm living."
[x]"Hey, if I win, how about you act like a maid and I'm your master for a while?"

Oh god, Cirno Maid. We get our own Fairy Maid in the Mansion.
>> No. 22322
[x]"But I practiced so hard just so I could have a real danmaku fight with you." "Can't you just stay ahead of me enough not to get hit?"
[x]"If you take me seriously and win, I'll help you pull an even better prank instead of you freezing where I'm living."
[x]"Hey, if I win, how about you act like a maid and I'm your master for a while?"
>> No. 22324
Cirno-maid is way too tempting to pass up.

[x]"But I practiced so hard just so I could have a real danmaku fight with you." "Can't you just stay ahead of me enough not to get hit?"
[x]"If you take me seriously and win, I'll help you pull an even better prank instead of you freezing where I'm living."
[x]"Hey, if I win, how about you act like a maid and I'm your master for a while?"
>> No. 22325
>>22288
>Miss Scarlet is the one controlling your fate right now.
So that makes Nathaniel Colonel Mustard, and Patchy is Professor Plum. Sakuya is Mrs. White.
>> No. 22326
[x] "But I practiced so hard just so I could have a real danmaku fight with you." "Can't you just stay ahead of me enough not to get hit?"
[x] "If you take me seriously and win, I'll help you pull an even better prank instead of you freezing where I'm living."
[x] "Hey, if I win, how about you act like a maid and I'm your master for a while?"

This is good in a lot of ways.
>> No. 22327
>>22325

What, are we Reverend Green?
>> No. 22328
[x] "But I practiced so hard just so I could have a real danmaku fight with you." "Can't you just stay ahead of me enough not to get hit?"
[x] "If you take me seriously and win, I'll help you pull an even better prank instead of you freezing where I'm living."
[x] "Hey, if I win, how about you act like a maid and I'm your master for a while?"

Too perfect.
>> No. 22330
[x] "But I practiced so hard just so I could have a real danmaku fight with you." "Can't you just stay ahead of me enough not to get hit?"
[x] "If you take me seriously and win, I'll help you pull an even better prank instead of you freezing where I'm living."
[x] "Hey, if I win, how about you act like a maid and I'm your master for a while?"
so moe~
>> No. 22331
["But I practiced so hard just so I could have a real danmaku fight with you. Can't you just stay ahead of me enough not to get hit? If you take me seriously and win, I'll help you pull an even better prank instead of you freezing where I'm living."]
["Hey, if I win, how about you act like a maid and I'm your master for a while?"]

Freezing the whole house sounds like a recipe for disaster to you. “Strongest” or not, if Cirno tried some hair-brained stunt like that, there’s no way she’d be able to face the wrath of the entire mansion by herself. You’re all for encouraging her and strengthening the new friendship between you, but a bold and reckless prank like this isn’t the way to do it. You’re the sign of the Moon, right? A Moon is passive and contemplative, thinking his actions though and erring on the side of caution.

You can’t agree to her plan, but you shouldn’t outright reject it either. And on top of all this, you’re supposed to be triumphing gloriously against Cirno in a duel, not faking a victory that Remilia would probably see a mile away as some kind of trick. No, you need to deflect her question. You need to bring this discussion back to danmaku.

You speak to Cirno kindly. “Well, that sounds nice and all, but I’ve been practicing really hard all day just so I could have a legitimate danmaku duel against you. I don’t want to cheat or have anyone take it easy on me; I want to see just how good I am. Can’t friends just play for fun without having to trick other people in the process?”

Cirno tilts her head childishly, and answers with reluctance. “I guess so…But I really want to get Remmy good one of these times. You know, I don’t think she takes me serious! I bet she doesn’t think I’m strong at all! I just wish there was a way to get her to see, is all.”

“Well, how about this,” you suggest. “How about, if you win, I have to follow you around and act like you’re my master for a while; but if I win, you have to follow me around and act like I’m your master for a while. Either way, we’ll be together, and then we’ll have plenty of time to think about how to get Remilia to take you seriously, okay? Wouldn’t that be better than doing something foolish like freezing the whole mansion?”

She thinks about the proposition for a while, and you in retrospect do the same. You really didn’t want to add in the whole bit about you being her servant, but you wanted to make it fair for Cirno if you lost. But will Remilia allow such a thing to happen if you lose? Sakuya said you’ll “certainly garner her disdain” if you fail; how far will her disdain go?

“Mmm, all right, that sounds pretty fair!” Cirno agrees energetically, and shoots out her hand towards yours. “It’s a deal!”

You grasp her hand warmly and shake on it. “All right, it’s a deal.”

“But if you lose, I’m gonna make you wear a funny hat and you’ve gotta call me ‘Miss Cirno, The Strongest of Gensokyo’ all the time!”

You grin at her, and return the sentiment. “And if you lose, I’m gonna get Ms. Sakuya to dress you up like a maid, and you’ll have to do all my work for me!”

“Pfft! Like that’ll happen,” Cirno jabs arrogantly. “Come on, let’s go outside, I wanna win!”

You agree, but realize you’ve encountered a snag. Exiting the mansion via the front doors requires Sakuya to open them for you, not to mention that Cirno’ll be tagging along, and she’s not exactly supposed to even be here right now. But unlike Cirno, you can’t just fly out the window to the grass below.

“Umm…How?” you ask curiously, explaining the situation to Cirno.

“Oh, that? That’s easy! Come on, I can fly you out the window myself; it’s no problem for The Strongest! Just hold on to my hand tight!”

Even coming from a normal person this plan sounds debatable, and coming from Cirno…But there’s no other option, so you take her hand and squeeze yourself out the window, still balancing with a foot and a hand on the frame.

“Are you sure about this, Cirno?” The drop doesn’t look that high; you’d probably survive if you fell from this height.

“Come on, Mr. Stupid, you worry too much!” And with that, she jerks you off of the building and into the air.

This definitely doesn’t feel like flying at all. There’s no otherworldly weightlessness, no sensation of the wind in your hair or freedom in every dimension. This is like hanging for dear life from a tree branch swaying in the breeze. Cirno seems to fly pretty well by herself, but right now it feels like she’s struggling just to stay aloft. In the end all she manages to do is sink slowly downwards to the ground, which deposits you safely on mother earth, if not exactly gracefully.

“Ugh!” grunts Cirno, dusting off her hands. “You’re way too heavy, Mr. Stupid! You should exercise more and lose some weight!” Excuses, excuses, but you don’t have the nerve to tell her that maybe she’s not “that” strong physically. It’s time to get down to business.

You’ve got no idea how the formalities of a danmaku duel work, or if there’s any special rules Sakuya forgot to tell you about, but you have a feeling that Cirno won’t be technical enough to call you on any mistakes you make. You rummage through your pocket and pull out you three spell cards, fanning them out before you.

“Cirno, I hereby challenge you to a duel of skill at danmaku! Three spell cards a piece, any order, no rematch, all results final. Do you accept the terms?”

Cirno flutters into the air and also procures three icy cards from…somewhere. You don’t see any pockets on her, where was she keeping them? “Three cards, no whining!” she replies with resolution. “I accept!”

(Heaven or Hell…)
>> No. 22332
(…Let’s Rock!)

Cirno wastes no time in starting off the match. In a flash the spell cards are out of her hand and she shoots a loosely-packed cone of icicle-shaped danmaku at you, coming fast. It’s too big to dodge around, so you take your chances and step inside the attack, grazing the bullets on both sides of you without much incident. You just manage to stuff your spell cards back into your pocket before another cone comes at you, but you’re ready this time. You dash close to the ground and avoid the entire attack, then finally begin your assault, deciding on a wide cylinder of emerald and silver bullets to start.

You can tell that fighting Cirno is leagues apart from fighting Sakuya. Whereas Sakuya was calm and collected, always using just the right knives in just the right places to run you into the ground, Cirno is brash and erratic, blasting danmaku in all directions. She doesn’t use mind games or subtlety in the slightest. There seems to be only one strategy for her: shoot everywhere, and shoot more at Mr. Stupid. But for this simplistic approach, there’s a big catch: she’s flying. Everything you learned about dodging and aiming from Sakuya now has to be applied upwards rather than straight ahead. Her attacks aren’t too hard to dodge for the most part, certainly easier than what you ended with against Ms. Izayoi, but the angle plays tricks with your perception, causing you to make foolish mistakes you wouldn’t have made if those waves of danmaku were coming from the ground. You duck down to avoid a stream of white spheres, and realize too late that they were aimed at your chest in the first place, causing you to eat every last one of them. A weaving arc of pearly blue would have curved harmlessly around you if you would have sidestepped rather than backed up.

Despite your shortcomings and your fatigue from this morning’s harsh regiment of training, you can tell Cirno’s brash actions aren’t suited for danmaku. She tends to try and dodge your entire attack rather than dexterously weaving through the gaps, but this leaves her wide open for a counter-attack, and you can take advantage of it every time. She’s skittish and she hardly ever stops moving, but she’s extremely predictable. It’s just like Sakuya said: she has power and speed, but no finesse, no creativity.

You begin to wonder how long until you should start using your spell cards. Sakuya said getting hit weakens your spell cards; does that mean that they’ll break if you don’t use them first? But at the same time, you enjoy the variety that comes with not declaring a card. When should you use them…now, or later?

Defense. You’ll use them defensively. Once your card is declared, all you have to worry about is Cirno’s shots, not your own. The hardest shots from Cirno are going to be her own cards. Thus, you’re not going to declare until she does, no matter what.

Fortunately you don’t have to wait long. After ten or twenty more seconds of back-and-forth from the two of you she hops back and holds a card in front of her. A strange barrier appears around her, dissipating your shots as they hit. She grins and looks at you mischievously.

“Ice Sign, 「Icicle Fall」!”

That’s all you needed. Before she starts shooting, you’ve already got your first card in hand, ready to counter.

Determine the order of cards you will use; first, second, and third (the first card will be used right now):
[ ] Wood Sign, 「Sprout’s Awakening」
[ ] Moon Sign, 「Silver Sickle」
[ ] Harvest Sign, 「First Harvest」
>> No. 22333
[1] Wood Sign, 「Sprout’s Awakening」
[2] Moon Sign, 「Silver Sickle」
[3] Harvest Sign, 「First Harvest」

This layout is good for now.
>> No. 22334
[1] Wood Sign, 「Sprout’s Awakening」
[2] Moon Sign, 「Silver Sickle」
[3] Harvest Sign, 「First Harvest」

Sounds like a good order to do things
>> No. 22335
[1] Wood Sign, 「Sprout’s Awakening」
[2] Moon Sign, 「Silver Sickle」
[3] Harvest Sign, 「First Harvest」

Imo, this is the best order.
>> No. 22336
>>22327
You mean Mr. Green? I initially discarded this idea when I was listing them the first time, but come think of it, our chosen sign of magic was Wood...
>> No. 22337
[1] Wood Sign, 「Sprout’s Awakening」
[2] Moon Sign, 「Silver Sickle」
[3] Harvest Sign, 「First Harvest」

No objections.
>> No. 22338
>You grin at her, and return the sentiment. “And if you lose, I’m gonna get Ms. Sakuya to dress you up like a maid, and you’ll have to do all my work for me!”

This.

[x] Wood Sign, 「Sprout’s Awakening」
[x] Moon Sign, 「Silver Sickle」
[x] Harvest Sign, 「First Harvest」

You better not lose this fight.
>> No. 22339
Since I simply find this more suited to icicle *fall*, the time of harvest and thus when sickles are used,
[X] Moon Sign, 「Silver Sickle」
[X] Wood Sign, 「Sprout’s Awakening」
[X] Harvest Sign, 「First Harvest」
Holding off on Harvest Sign, since it is liekly our strongest spellcard.
>> No. 22340
[x] Wood Sign, 「Sprout’s Awakening」
[x] Moon Sign, 「Silver Sickle」
[x] Harvest Sign, 「First Harvest」
Since we are using them defensively, we should start with Wood Sign. Let the growing bullets deter her attack pattern. When she uses another sign, Moon sign is good in recovering lost ground. The homing lasers will allow us to follow her movement patterns and try to intercept her. We should save Harvest Sign for last as our trump card. She knows about the sickles now, but might not expect the hail of bouncing bullets added to the mix.
>> No. 22341
[x] Wood Sign, 「Sprout’s Awakening」
[x] Moon Sign, 「Silver Sickle」
[x] Harvest Sign, 「First Harvest」


'It's like growing my own victory!'
>> No. 22342
File 122569286924.jpg - (146.83KB , 524x722 , 900f933ece9f56f49a98debb4815a615.jpg ) [iqdb]
22342
I hope that there will be a Cirno route, or at least some way to build her into one.

She gets way too less love around here.
>> No. 22343
>>22342
RaAN in /others/?
>> No. 22344
>>22343

There is no Cirno route there.