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23271 No. 23271
[Continue talking to Patchouli.]
[Ask about Voile Library]
[Ask about books from the outside world and how she obtains them.]
[Ask her how she feels about the SDM and how long she's been around.]

“Would you mind if I talked to you a little longer and learned a little more from you, Miss?” you ask the librarian. Since you’re both already sitting down together, now’s as good a time as any to talk with her, since you’ve never really gotten a chance to.

“Certainly,” she replies softly. “Knowledge is important. Continue.”

You ask her a simple, unimportant question, but one that’s been bugging you a little. “Well, all these books…These millions and millions of books. I haven’t even dreamed that so many books could exist in the same place at the same time, let alone that such a place would actually exist. How in the world did you manage to find them all?”

“Patience,” she answers simply, picking up a thin paper-backed book and flipping through it casually. “Years of patience. Years of perseverance. Years of dedication. But,” she continues as she looks upwards to the ceiling so high up it seems not even to exist, “not all are mine. Remilia’s collection is equally vast. I have spent but some four score years acquiring my written wealth; Remilia has spent five times that long and more. This hall holds as many of her possessions as mine.”

Wait, okay, so four score is eighty, five times that is…four hundred, right? Remilia is over four-hundred years old?! It’s madness. No mortal being should ever live that long, not even a magical one. That kind of knowledge, that much experience…how could anyone endure so long? And yet, look so young? Seems there’s a flavor of magic for everything in Gensokyo.

“Four hundred years, that’s…wow, that’s quite a stretch,” you comment. “I could swear she doesn’t look a day over ten years. Magic is powerful, I reckon. But, I guess I phrased the question wrong. I meant, how did you get all the weird books? Like, books about England or world history or Latin or anything like that. Isn’t Gensokyo supposed to be cut off from the world or something?”

“Mmm, I understand. My acquisitions were before Gensokyo. Before the mansion. A long story short: I found a friend in Remilia Scarlet long ago, and decided to stay in her mansion, bringing my possessions with me. This was long before either her or I had even heard of the word ‘Gensokyo’, back in Europe. Yet, one day in Anno Domini nineteen hundred ninety-eight, we woke up to a different sky, with no given explanation. And here we sit. I am still clarifying the details of the transfer, so I will not bore you with my speculations.” Patchouli leans back and rubs her temple wearily.

So, more answers that little sense, but at least better than unanswered questions. The Scarlet Devil Mansion “magically” wound up in Gensokyo sometime in 1998, and Patchouli and Remilia were friends before than, back in Europe itself. From that perspective, this place seems to lose a lot of it’s mysticism for you. Europe…something you can visualize, something you can relate to. Patchouli herself must have wandered the entire Earth looking for books, for decades upon decades. But if she’s not from Gensokyo, then how does she stay so young? A witch, perhaps? And Remilia…If you would have been a great trader or explorer before now, mightn’t you have even met Remilia by chance? She’d be old enough to still be around in your time if she’s over four hundred now, sometime after 1998. The date still chills you, though you still haven’t found the direct answer to the ominous question: “What year is it?”

You’re feeling a lot more comfortable around Patchouli now, and you think she might be as well: her sentences are getting longer more frequently. Cirno seems a little bored (she’s twirling her hair with a dull look on her face, at least), but it’s high time you’ve had a decent conversation with someone who is actually willing to give you straight answers, even if the wording is a little cryptic. You continue to talk about little things, like the size of the library and how many books it holds, why she chose hexagons for shelves and why the shelves are different sizes. It seems that the library (you think it might be called “Voile”; she mentioned the word once or twice in reference to it) is all completely mobile. The shelves can move up and down with the flip of a switch, the small hexes can rotate on their own axis, and the entire room itself can turn together if Patchouli wishes (this explains all the mysterious grinding noises you heard before). She says it helps with organization, but you can’t possibly fathom how.

Eventually you come to a topic which Patchouli is finally hesitant to talk about, coming out of nowhere so fast it feels like hitting a brick wall after all the progress you’ve made with her so far.

“So just what’s your relationship with Remilia anyways?” you ask curiously. “I mean, you two don’t seem to have personalities I would see in two friends. She’s all elegant and, I guess kinda snooty, and you’re a lot more laid back and contemplative. I’m sorry if I seem blunt, but I’m just curious is all.”

She doesn’t speak for what feels like the longest time. Her eyes seem to grow a little fuzzy as you look at them, as if she can’t focus on what to think about. Finally she answers in a monotone voice.

“I am her friend. I enjoy her library. That is all that matters.”

It’s a decent answer, though not something you’re entirely satisfied with. You feel like there might be something more, but if she was this hesitant to just say this much, it’d be prudent not to press—

(Dun, dun…)

>> No. 23272
…dun!)

A sickening crack of splintering wood. The sound of groaning timbers as a heavy weight gives way. The rustling of dust and debris falling from the sky. Your eyes shoot up to where your ears hear the sounds, and notice a giant truss of wood falling from the ceiling high above, flopping like a broken arm through the air. There’s still a little more time before the impact, enough for you to see…oh, what the…no. No! The board is going to fall right on top of Nathaniel and his work table in naught but three second’s time. You instinctually emit a warning shout, but he’s already noticed the danger. Except, he’s not running. No, he’s…He drapes a black sheet over his table as fast as lightning, then jumps onto the table itself. Looking straight up at his impending doom, he grabs something out of his coat. What is that, a, a revolver? Is he insane?!

You hear the loud crack of a gunshot, followed a split second later by the even louder roar of an explosion, echoing throughout the hundreds of bookshelves of the library. The timber splits into a flurry of smaller fragments as pieces fly out of the orange-yellow cloud of gaseous fire. The wood scatters through the piles of books, their actual collision blocked just centimeters away by a silvery-white haze of force, suspending the pieces in midair. Dust hits your eyes, blinding you, and your lenses tear up with irritation as you turn away.

You feel like your ears will never again hear the peaceful, serene quiet of this library, this “Voile”. Even after the explosion and scattering ashes have long since ceased, the ringing memory of the sounds still haunt your subconscious. Patchouli’s hand glows with a silver aura, levitating the broken wood in a thousand different places. Nathaniel crouches on the table, seemingly shielding the surface with his own body. You can see a sliver of wood at least ten centimeters long sticking out of his shoulder like a rusty nail. Everything is, everything is…nothing makes sense. Whe…wher…ho…what?

The man gingerly steps down off the table, one hand clutching his weapon, the other lifting the corner of the sheet to peek underneath. He seems to breathe a sigh of relief as he scoops a few things under the sheet into his pockets, and walks towards you and Patchouli. He’s wearing his glasses again, with a magnifying attachment to the right eye, and weird loops around his ears. Combined with his unkempt appearance and now-filthy clothes, he looks just like some kind of mad scientist-type who just had his latest experiment blow up in front of him.

“I saw it,” he says seriously to Patchouli. “They’re getting desperate. I’m getting to them, I think. It’s still safe, though.” he concludes, patting the pocket where he just scooped the unknown items into. “They’re getting sloppy.”

Patchouli takes her free hand and runs it across the wooden spike in Nathaniel’s shoulder. Whispering something under her breath—perhaps a spell, perhaps just a stunned comment—the splinter slowly slides out, causing him to inhale sharply. After a few seconds of her concentration the wound stops bleeding, though the red open flesh remains. He rolls the shoulder gently, testing it, then looks directly at you with eyes made of pure iron determination.

“I need to talk to you. Now. Alone. It can’t wait any longer.” His right hand still holds that silver revolver tight at his side, but it’s not pointed at you…yet.

This, does not, look good.

[ ] Write-in only.

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

I hope none will complain about me making a new thread. Though the old one is not yet auto-saged, it might as well be.
>> No. 23276
I am going to wait for someone to make a glorious Write in.
>> No. 23277
[x]“Very well, but either you disarm yourself first or Cirno comes with us.”
>> No. 23278
[X] "And I to you." Proceed as the man desires.

I, for one, am willing to trust in Flandre and in Cirno's interpretation of her words, and to side with Mr. Nathaniel. No more need be said.
>> No. 23279
[X] Go with Nathaniel, but only on the condition that Cirno comes with you, even if she has to wait outside.

I'm all for having Cirno come along with us just in case. I am not, however, too keen on telling a man with a revolver loaded with explosive bullets who previously made it clear he would have no qualms about killing us to disarm himself. Least of all after someone/thing apparently just tried to kill him. He probably isn't going to take the view that we are in any position to tell him what to do.

On the bright side, we can take some slight comfort in the knowledge that we aren't the only ones whose lives are in grave danger here. If anything Nathaniel might have it worse, since something clearly doesn't like him very much and seems to be actively trying to kill him, whereas with us most of the things we've encountered that could likely kill us would probably only do so by accident or while in a fit of insanity where they don't really know what they're doing. Sure, a horrible death is a horrible death any way you slice it, but at least we don't have to worry about things killing us out of malice yet.
>> No. 23283
>>23279
I believe letting Cirno in on the conversation will actually be more of a risk than a benefit. She provides us with no real physical security - if Nathaniel is going to attack us, her presence will hardly dissuade him. If he indeed has sensitive information for us, allowing Cirno to hear it opens the possibility of Sakuya coercing it out of her, putting both her and ourselves at considerable risk.

The man said alone, trust him or don't. No point in halfways.
>> No. 23284
[X] "And I to you." Proceed as the man desires.
>> No. 23286
[X] "And I to you." Proceed as the man desires.
>> No. 23287
>>23272
[X] "And I to you." Proceed.

Ya know what? Fuck being intimidated by this guy. Enough is enough. We have witnessed the upper echelons of potential annihilation in this mansion. He has a (potentially magic) gun. La-dee-fucking-da. We played a board game with a being that is destruction incarnate. Being scared of this guy does not compute after spending an afternoon with Ms. Flandre.

Character development. Experience points. Emotional exhaustion: no matter how you slice it, after what we've gone through and surviving, we are better for it.

Bring it Nathaniel: you're going to have to dig deep to top the shit we've seen today.
>> No. 23290
[X] "And I to you." Proceed as the man desires.
>> No. 23291
[X] "And I to you." Proceed.

Nathaniel, we just played Risk with two insane vampire/dragon children. Fuck you and your gun.

Though it wasn't all bad, Cirno and her "icyland" was adorable.
>> No. 23395
[X] "And I to you." Proceed as the man desires.

>>23287
This man has a compelling point.
>> No. 23404
["And I to you." Proceed as the man desires.]

You’ve had it with secrecy and suspicion when it comes to Nathaniel. You’ve run your brain into the ground for a day and a half second guessing yourself about him, and even now you’re still nowhere nearer to a conclusion than you were when you first saw him. This has to end. Enough with the questions. You want answers.

“And I to you,“ you reply coldly. You still don’t trust him, but you’ve stopped caring. You have seen your own life reflected in a barrage of ice which pierced your body right before your eyes. You have faced death at the hands of vampires drenched in madness. You have been dragged through time and space into a world not your own for heaven’s sake! So this man has secret plans. So he has a revolver that seems to shoot explosions. So what? What more could he possibly do to you that hasn’t already been done, short of outright killing you, and even that doesn’t really scare you anymore. Bring it on, Mr. Nathaniel, bring it on.

He brushes some of the sawdust and grit out of his hair with his left hand, and looks at Cirno. “Has she been with you all day?”

“Ever since lunchtime.”

He frowns and scratches his sooty chin. “Then this may concern her as well. Patchouli, I’m calling in a solid you owe me.”

The librarian, who has just finished moving the wood chips…somewhere, at least you can’t see them anymore, looks at him oddly. “You only have two left. I trust you are aware of this.”

“Quite,” he answers directly. “But this is important.” He leans over and whispers something into Patchouli’s ear. She nods, then places a hand on Cirno’s mouth.

“Do not speak,” she instructs. Cirno’s head nods just a smidge, and Patchouli utters some incantation under her breath. For maybe a second or two you thick you can see a wave of air, or something like it, waft off of Patchouli’s fingers and onto Cirno’s face. She does the same to Nathaniel, and then you. You feel nothing, nothing at all save Patchouli’s weak fingers on your lips. They’re not soft, but not tough, either. It’s like, well, like an old person’s wrinkled hands, but without the wrinkles, if that’s even possible. Patchouli nods to Nathaniel, and he breathes a weary sigh.

“Patchouli has placed a kind of eavesdropping ward on us,” he explains. “The only people who can hear us speak right now are us three. Not even Patchouli can hear us right now.”

“How do I know you’re telling the truth?” you ask boldly. “She could just be pretending to ignore us.”

Nathaniel picks up a book off of a nearby pile and holds it up. “Miss Patchouli, five seconds after I stop talking, I am going to shoot this book with my gun. If you can hear me, I would suggest you stop me quickly; we all know how you dislike the needless destruction of your books.” He waits exactly five seconds, then without warning he pulls his revolver up and pulls the trigger.

Click. No bullet in the chamber.

The heck was that? Does Nathaniel have no sense at all? You can’t stop yourself from confronting him about it. “What is your problem?!” you shout at him. “What are you trying to prove?!”

“Nothing. I’ve already proven it.” He motions to Patchouli, who is looking at the three of you peacefully from her nearby chair, a book in her lap, and a dull expression on her face. She couldn’t care less about what just happened. He looks at you sternly. “Now we can waste our precious time bickering over little things like this, or we can actually talk about something meaningful. I prefer the latter. Follow me.” He walks over to a table next to the black-draped one, takes his coat off, and sets his gun down on the table.

You finally have time to notice the gun in detail, and what a magnificent gun it is! The barrel, chamber, hammer, stock, everything seems to be made out of a shining pearly-silver metal, except for the pale golden hand grip. It’s a bigger gun than most, but not quite the largest handgun you’ve ever seen (it comes quite close, though). You can easily see three distinct things that set it apart from other revolvers you’ve seen, aside from its color. First, there appear to be not one but two barrels stacked on top of each other, both the same size. Second, the revolving chamber is gigantic in comparison to normal guns, through the curving contours of the weapon mask its size well. And third, the angel. Placed, or perhaps carved near the back of the gun is the likeness of a beautiful female angel with six wings. Two run along the entire top length of the weapon, two fan out near the hammer, and two curve downwards towards the grip. The way she’s intricately carved, you can’t tell if she’s merely resting on the gun, if she’s guiding the gun, or if she is the gun. Her eyes are two brilliant sapphires looking straight down the barrel. It’s a gun that radiates beauty without sacrificing any functionality; a true weapon.

Nathaniel polishes his glasses, returns them to his face, then calmly sits down in a nearby chair. You follow suit, and though it seems Cirno wants to keep standing, he assures her that he’d rather she be comfortable, to which she responds by hovering in the air a meter above the floor and stretching out like she’s laying on the grass.

“So,” he begins with a voice full of purpose, “I know you’ve got a lot of questions. And, I’ve got a lot of answers. And believe me, I want to give them to you. But…” he stares at you deeply, “I can’t trust you yet.”

“Likewise,” you reply bitterly.

He ignores your comment and continues. “At this point in my life, sir, there are only five things I care about. Two are private matters The third is this gun.” He holds up the revolver for you to see more clearly, while he looks at it tenderly. “Seraphim. My little guardian angel. She’s young still, but passionate and true. I never thought heaven would grant me such an angel, but there you have it.” He places “Seraphim” back down on the table, then reaches into his pocket. “The fourth is this.” You see Cirno float forwards to get a better look. It seems to be the unfinished remnants of a golden pocket watch, with more tiny gears and latches than you can fathom. He quickly returns the item to the safety of his pocket and leaves his hand there. “It’s nothing now, but when it’s fixed and complete, it will be one of the greatest watches in the world. This is the one I keep talking about.” He leans forward and rests his elbows on his knees.

“And the fifth…is Equitas.”

You freeze up a little. He said the name. You suspected beyond a reasonable doubt before, but his actual words bring a new meaning which still stun you. He is looking for that sword.

“I won’t drag you around anymore; I’ve no time for that now. Equitas is justice, and justice is Equitas. It’s what I’ve been looking for ever since my first morning here. Equitas is a sword. My sword. A white sword with a red dragon guard; you’ll know it when you see it, there’s none like it in the world. I lost it…no, no lies. It was stolen from me, the very first night I took my eyes off it. I don’t know who took it, but it’s gone, and I want it back. I need it back.

“I’ve looked everywhere. Upstairs, downstairs, bedroom, closets, kitchen, game hall...any moment I could spare away from my watch I was searching. I know it’s close. I can feel it, but I just can’t find it.”

He wipes some sweat and soot off of his brow feverishly. “Whoever took it must be watching me. They must know I want to find it. They must be keeping it from me. But you…they’re wouldn’t be watching if you went looking for it.”

Folding his hands together, his voice seems to have taken on a much more sorrowful tone. “I want to trust you, friend. Oh how I want to trust you. And I want you to trust me. But…I can’t. Not yet.”

(Who…)
>> No. 23405
(…can you trust?)

Cirno suddenly flies into Nathaniel’s face, all manner of maid-ism gone from her. “Why not, huh? Why not trust Mr. Stupid? He’s all lost and confused too, you know? He got his stuff taken and stoled just like you! He’s no sneaky-man, he’s no spy-guy! He’s my friend,” she stuffs her thumb into her chest, “why can’t you be his friend too?”

He shrugs his shoulders. “It’s this mansion. I can’t trust anything in this mansion. Now, I know you probably think I’m a horrible person; some kind of mad scientist or manipulative enigmatic maniac, but I’m not, and I’m sorry that I came on that way. I’m sorry. I’m a nice guy normally, I’d help out anyone who needs it without asking questions under any other circumstances. There’s enough injustice in this world without people having to hesitate on whether or not to help a friend in need. But this place?” He raises his hands up and looks around at the books, though you can tell he’s signifying the entire mansion. “I can’t think straight in this place. I’m second guessing my second guesses, I’m question things I’ve never questioned in my whole life, I can’t even trust if my socks are the same from morning to evening! Truth is, I’m…afraid.”

He lowers his head, and his voice trembles. “I’ve seen horrible things in my life, sir, worse than most. I’ve had to stare down death in the face more times than any man ever should. And yet, I can’t shake it. I can’t shake the fear I have of this place. It’s like, like…I don’t know. And the worst part is?” He stares you right in the face, and you think there might even be tears in his eyes. “I don’t know if you’re a part of it or not.”

That’s his reason? He thinks you’re part of the plot against him? This is ludicrous! This is meaningless! This is…

…This is exactly the same thing you’ve been thinking all along. That it’s not you, it’s the mansion. Nothing feels right, nothing sounds right, everything always seems to have hidden levels upon levels. You can’t trust anyone. You can’t even trust yourself. Cirno was right: Nathaniel seems to be in the exact same position you’re in.

“So that’s why,” he explains. “That’s why I can’t trust you. That’s why I can’t confide in you. That’s why I can’t give you the answers you want, the answers I want to give you. It’s a slim chance, it’s such a slim chance, but if you’re a fake, if you really are part of it, then…then trusting you will damn be beyond death. I don’t want any more false faces or false promises or pretty words. I want Equitas.

“You want me to help you? You want to trust me, and have me trust you? Find my Equitas. I don’t care how, I don’t care where, I don’t care why. Get him back into my hands, and I’ll answer every question you have rattling in your brain as best as I possibly can; I’ll help you with all I’ve got. That’s all I ask. Bring my Justice back to me.”

[ ] A delicate situation must be handled delicately. Write-in only.
>> No. 23409
[X] Inform him of just the facts, that you have found Equitas, and you know where it is, but that actually getting is going to be...difficult, to say the least.
[X] Inquire as to how, should you succeed at retrieving it, Nathaniel expects you to deliver it to him without alerting whoever took it and wants to keep it from him.

Eh, best I can think of.
Trust or no, he should be told that we at least know where it is, but that actually getting it will be difficult. As he clearly doesn't give a damn about anything beyond us getting it back to him, there's no need to go into specifics about Adam and Flan.

What might be of interest to him, however, is how we are to go about actually getting it back to him. If whoever stole it from him doesn't want him to have it, and is watching him to make sure he doesn't find it, it won't do him any good to have them know that he once again possesses the very thing they took from him in the first place. At the very least, there would be no guarantee that they wouldn't just steal it from him again, but this time put it somewhere even we couldn't get to it.

Perhaps we could share with him something of what we care about, much like he just did. Or perhaps we could see about getting something more than just the promise of answers for our trouble, since understanding what's going on won't really make a difference to us if we're dead. Then again, as valuable as answers and a allies are in this place, perhaps wanting more than that might be a bit greedy of us.
>> No. 23411
Oh Nathaniel; so willing to completely respond to all of our fears and concerns with a concise summary of our sentiments, only to command us upon what should be acheived before we can acquire what we desire most for no reason at all.

Oh no: you can't trust us, but you're telling us exactly what needs to be done before you can. Really? Without even a shadow of intimation as to what part of our character and behavior lends itself to this request?

I'll revisit this when I'm not sleep deprived and more than a bit tipsy. There's an infinite loop of trust and paranoia going on here; I'd like to base the decision on something more concrete than speculation on motives.
>> No. 23412
[X] "... and what would that prove? If I am able to return it, you will claim that confirms me as being allied with those who took it from you in the first place, and I should shortly find your justice between my own ribs. You are right, I have seen it, and I have seen enough with it to convince me that you are likely not a part of whatever's happening here, but I've no desire to lose my life to your paranoia."
>> No. 23413
[x] Sigh. "Trust him."

Curious - Flandre seem compelled to take our glasses. Maybe she knew there was something about Equitas as well, and it was stolen for that reason? It's obvious how it can be used to slash people up, but maybe it has something more to it? Hm, can't think too well at the moment.
>> No. 23415
[X] "This sounds like the sort of thing that's going to end with me getting punched in the belly!"
[X] "I don't like being punched in the belly."
[X] "Good luck and all that!"
>> No. 23418
[X] "... and what would that prove? If I am able to return it, you will claim that confirms me as being allied with those who took it from you in the first place, and I should shortly find your justice between my own ribs. You are right, I have seen it, and I have seen enough with it to convince me that you are likely not a part of whatever's happening here, but I've no desire to lose my life to your paranoia."

This sounds like the only true good option. He is already insane like Flandre and Adam, no need to power him up any more. Who knows what he is up to. First we need answers, then we will find out if we can really trust him.
>> No. 23420
>>He is already insane like Flandre and Adam, no need to power him up any more.

Why do you say that? The guy is, as far as I can tell, in basically the exact same boat as we are, except he's been on it for a little bit longer than we have. Considering how on-edge and paranoid we're becoming due to our experiences here, why should it be surprising that he's even worse-off than we are? Why is it so hard to believe that he is in as much danger being there as we are? Hell, we just saw what was apparently the result of SOMETHING actively trying to either destroy his work, kill him, or both. At least if Flan was to blow us up, it probably wouldn't have been intentional or out of malice.

He's scared, confused, and uncertain who or what he can trust in this place, and for good reason. The fact that he called in something as valuable as a favor from Patchouli just so he could speak to Cirno and us like this is already a considerable investment in someone he isn't certain he can completely trust. The fact that he is relying upon us to do something that he cannot, thus putting us in a position to either do what he asks or betray him, even more so. You worry about him putting the Equitas through our chest the second we hand it over to him, but what guarantee does he have we won't do the same to him first, or something even worse?

Of course, the fact that he has a gun that makes things blow up makes worrying about getting a sword through the torso seem kind of trivial, if not downright stupid.

If you're really worried about trusting him, despite what Miss Scarlet and Cirno said, consider that up to the point where we're standing before him with his sword in our hands, we have all the leverage. We're the ones to decide whether to get the sword or not, we're the ones to decide whether to rat him out to the one who claimed to have "found" the sword and put it where we found it in the first place, and we're the ones to decide whether we take it to him or not. So long as we hand it over to him without incident, there is absolutely no reason for him to suspect us. I mean, really what purpose would giving the sword back to him serve for whoever first took it from him?

If you're REALLY desperate, or things go bad, just consider how we could put to use some of our gains from Flan and Adam's room. We have a gun with no bullets, but if someone doesn't know that it could be used to bluff with. More than that, though, we have dynamite and a means of igniting it. If it comes down to him pointing his gun at us and demanding the sword or he'll turn us into a fine red mist, we could pull the dynamite and lighter out and threaten blow ourselves up along with the sword and most likely him. That's a worst-case scenario, though, so hopefully things won't come to that.

We need all the trustworthy allies we can find here, and I see no reason to think Nathaniel doesn't need the same. As-is, we're both in a position to give something the the other needs or wants, and cannot get themselves. He wants his sword, we want answers, and we both need allies. If we're going to trust each other, someone has to make the first move. As we are apparently in the best position to do so, it may as well be us.
>> No. 23429
>>23420
Yeaaah the problem with that is that he is a smart guy. Too smart to really believe that fetching a sword means we're on his side. He's testing us. Who's got access to the sword? Whoever took it away from him.
So... yeah, "Sure I'll get it BRB" isn't really going to work out here.
>> No. 23431
>>23420
I wouldn't be so fast to trust him just like that. He has his own reasons for being here, i would not trust him.
I know it's far fetched, but i would put my money on Remilia. It's pure insanity, but that is what is needed here.
>> No. 23432
Something doesn't quite add up here, I can understand why either Flandre or Adam would take the sword, considering Adams apparent love for dragons (he reads about them, apparently IS one, and he seemed to enjoy merely holding the damn thing), but it doesn't seem probable that either of them would actively try to kill him in such a round about way.

Flandre atleast would just annihilate him, without thinking about it that much.

I think we need to ask him about the clock and the sword both, because if the sword isn't the reason they're trying to kill him, there has to be another reason. The clock might be a clue.

[X] Tell him about you meeting the two vampires in the basement, and about the sword. Make a note that it wouldn't seem probable that they'd try to assassinate him, instead just annihilating him.

[X] Ask about the sword and the clock.

Offer a bit of goodwill, perhaps he'll be a bit more open and specific in return. And i know i'm pushing it, we don't really KNOW that Adam wouldn't try to assassinate him, but i find it unlikely. Though it's only a gut feeling...
>> No. 23433
>Of course, the fact that he has a gun that makes things blow up makes worrying about getting a sword through the torso seem kind of trivial, if not downright stupid.
It's a symbolic sword in the ribs, not necessarily a literal one. "If I give Nathaniel what he wants, will he just kill me afterwards, either with the sword or with his bloody gun?"

[X] Inquire as to how, should you succeed at retrieving it, Nathaniel expects you to deliver it to him without alerting whoever took it and wants to keep it from him.
-Good point in the latter half. Although I don't think we should tell him we found the damn thing immediately.

[X]Tell me more about the sword. Tell me more about how you lost it. How do you know it's still in this mansion? Is there any significance to the dragon guard you mentioned?
-I don't feel like trying to fill in specifics. We should know HOW he lost the sword, why he wants it back so much, and what's so special about it. His gun is obviously special, even without having looked at the sword it should be obvious the sword is special too; particularly the dragon guard since another dragon does seem drawn to it.
>> No. 23434
>>Something doesn't quite add up here, I can understand why either Flandre or Adam would take the sword, considering Adams apparent love for dragons (he reads about them, apparently IS one, and he seemed to enjoy merely holding the damn thing), but it doesn't seem probable that either of them would actively try to kill him in such a round about way.

I think you're missing something very important here.
Adam and Flandre are not the ones who took the Equitas, nor are they intentionally trying to keep it from Nathaniel, going so far as to try to harm him. They are merely the ones in current possession of it, and seem to have no clue as to where it came from or who previously owned it. We asked about this when we saw it again, remember?

>>“So, uhh, Miss Flandre?” you ask carefully, trying to just make small talk with her and get a feel for conversation with an insane vampire. “Umm, where did you, get that sword? It looks really nice.”

>>“Oh, that?” she replies happily. “Big Sis’ gave it to me as a present! She said she just found it lying around with a bunch of other stuff and said I could play with it! All the other stuff was really boring, but this looks so pretty. It’s even got a little dragon on it, see?” She pokes at the ornate crossguard of the sword, and you nod compliantly.

Now, Flandre may be nuttier than a fruitcake 99 times out of 100, but she at least seems to be honest. If she says Remilia gave it to her after finding it "just lying around" then that's the story as Flan understands it.

I don't know about you, but I seriously doubt that Remilia just "found" that sword the way she said she did, nor that she simply gave it to her little siblings just because she thought they needed a toy to play with.

Without any more information or evidence, there's no way to be certain, but I think it boils down to one of two scenarios:
A - Remilia either is responsible for the sword being taken, or knows who is, and for whatever reason is intentionally trying to keep it from Nathaniel by placing it somewhere he could not get to it.
Or,
B - Remilia doesn't have a clue, may very well have simply found it, and someone else entirely is responsible for taking it and is using this situation as an effective way to keep it from Nathaniel's grasp.

Remilia might be a player in all of this, or she might be an unwilling pawn, but there is at least one other party involved, here. Remember:
>>“I saw it,” he says seriously to Patchouli. “They’re getting desperate. I’m getting to them, I think. It’s still safe, though.” he concludes, patting the pocket where he just scooped the unknown items into. “They’re getting sloppy.”

The fact Nathaniel refers to his unseen antagonists as "they" and "them" implies there are more than one of them, or at least he thinks there are but isn't certain. Whether "they" are at all connected to his missing sword or not, who knows, but between his sword someone clearly doesn't want him to have and his watch someone clearly doesn't want him to repair, it seems unlikely that the two are completely unrelated.

Flan and Adam, at the very least, I think are completely innocent here. Whoever made that attempt on Nathaniel in the library was obviously attempting to use a means that would look like an "accident". Even if they were brazen enough to do it with Patchouli present and watching, that's still way too subtle for the likes of Flandre, and possibly Adam as well. Whoever is trying to stop Nathaniel for some reason either doesn't want to operate openly, or cannot. That raises the question, then, of who "they" are hiding from, and why.

But that's a different (albeit related) can of worms, much like whoever is helping us and also avoiding doing so openly.

With all of this subterfuge going on, is it any wonder we and Nathaniel are paranoid?
>> No. 23441
>>23434

Completely forgot that flandre said that, should have checked...
...as for the other points, it does seem to point to either Remilia playing some incredibly twisted game with Nathaniel and us, OR yukari is doing that.

Then again we don't really know how far we can trust Nathaniel either, while i'm all in for him being as innocent as he sounds, there are a few things we just don't know about him yet, the sword being one of those things.

One other thing would be this mysterious "them", assuming Nathaniel is right, and there are multiple entities trying to kill him, and have tried before as well, i'd find it rather unbelievable that the mistress of the mansion wouldn't know about them.
>> No. 23445
>>there are multiple entities trying to kill him, and have tried before as well, i'd find it rather unbelievable that the mistress of the mansion wouldn't know about them

She probably knows. She probably can't do anything about it either. I don't know how that works, but her passionate little plea when we finally confronted her about Meiling and "what we really want" involved a request to help her find what she wants as well. There's something controlling/influencing the mansion, and the residents are powerless against it. The only way to free themselves is through the aid of an outsider; not just anyone, though. Someone with the intellectual fortitude, skill, luck, that extra 'spark', to survive the rigors of whatever force is at work. Nathaniel has this potential, which is why "they" are trying to kill him, but without Equitas he is incapable for some reason. This lends credence to the aforementioned theory that Remilia may very well have found Equitas lying around after it had been stolen from Nathaniel by this mysterious "something." Apparently, we have this potential as well (go figure), and it's only a matter of time before we're targetted as well. Well, in all honesty, we probably already have, but I'm pressed to find specific incidents.

It's telling to me that Nathaniel said that this paranoia is due to "the entire mansion" - the place, and not "these people/things/monsters" - the residents. Instead of motioning toward the library (and the mansion), he could have indicated Patchy or Koakuma to implicate the people living here permanently. Nope; the mansion. Even we thought it; it's the mansion that is messing things up.

God, that theory came out of no where...

As much as I don't want to (I've been at pretty hardcore anti-Nathaniel since the bathroom), I'm inclined to trust Nathaniel. Cirno's appraisal, Flandre's advice, and that even though he says he can't trust us he has already displayed alot of it by telling us all of this information. Even absent the promise of answers, this showing deserves some kind of reciprocation. Besides, like someone pointed out, it's a loop between trust and paranoia: convince yourself of one and it becomes the other, ad nauseum. If a line is going to be drawn, I'll err on the side of compassion and understanding. Yes, quite aware that got our jugular opened up by Adam last time, but that was a naive choice for someone we had never met before and had far too little interaction with.

Just because we're the moon doesn't mean we have to constantly be passive, just informedly cautious and reasoned in our decisions.

[X] Fine, let me see what I can do about your Equitas. But please, for the sake of my own paranoia, please town down your theatrics.

I want to help, but we already have enough going on in this mansion putting us on edge without all of his unnecessary dramatics.
>> No. 23469
[x] Fine, let me see what I can do about your Equitas. But please, for the sake of my own paranoia, please tone down your theatrics.
>> No. 23472
Maybe we should ask him what he did before coming here, such that he carries around a sword and a rocket pistol or something.
And has "stared death in the face more times than any man ever should."

Somehow I do not think he was an accountant or anything.

>>23404
>Nathaniel picks up a book off of a nearby pile and holds it up. “Miss Patchouli, five seconds after I stop talking, I am going to shoot this book with my gun. If you can hear me, I would suggest you stop me quickly; we all know how you dislike the needless destruction of your books.” He waits exactly five seconds, then without warning he pulls his revolver up and pulls the trigger.
It occurs to me that this proves nothing.
Knowing Patchy's meticulous attention to detail, she has been keeping track of the shots fired and already knew he was empty. Thus, she did not bother reacting.
>> No. 23479
>>23472
There's a bit of a problem with your theory, I think.
Knowing whether or not the gun is empty would require the observer to know exactly how many bullets the gun is holding and exactly how many times the gun had been fired without being reloaded. Unless Nathaniel has only ever reloaded or fired the gun while Patchy was present, there should be no way for her to know whether the gun is or is not loaded unless she saw it fired the maximum number of times in one sitting. Otherwise, how would she know Nathaniel had not fully reloaded the gun since the last time she saw him with it?
>> No. 23484
Assuming for a moment that she is set on eavesdropping, she might also reason that:
- Being able to eavesdrop is worth destruction of a single book.
- Nathaniel doesn't consider himself a destroyer. They likely discussed philosophy before, so Patchouli might assume it likely that he wouldn't really destroy a book of his informational benefactor just to prove a point.

It is likely that she assumes the latter anyway, seeing that she didn't react at all to him (not) shooting the book. Actually, shouldn't she act surprised on seeing him draw his gun and clicking it at one of her precious books?
>> No. 23485
Anyone else wonder what Nathaniel could possibly have done to earn TWO (if not more) favors from Patchouli in the first place?
>> No. 23498
>>23485
I have a good guess

>>19954 (Way back in thread 2)
>“Ah! How about those chess games with Patchouli? Still trying your best, I hope?”

>Nathaniel chuckles and shakes his head. “Miss, even if I spent all my time and power at that board, ‘trying’ is the highest I could ever hope for against such an opponent as Miss Knowledge. As it rests, she has won thirty games to my two, and I doubt I’ll muster another win in my time here.”

>“But you did get those two wins before, didn’t you?”
>> No. 23499
File 122766129655.jpg - (14.46KB , 480x359 , 1202560399086.jpg ) [iqdb]
23499
>>23485
...if you know what I mean...
>> No. 23501
>>23498
Seems odd for her to have made a bet with him, but I suppose it's plausible. The numbers match up, if nothing else.
>> No. 23502
>>23501
Actually, they don't.

>>“You only have two left. I trust you are aware of this.”

Counting the one he called in just now, that's THREE favors she owed him.
>> No. 23503
>>23502
I think she meant he had two left at that moment, and after she did the silence thing he would only have one.
>> No. 23504
>>23503
Even if that's the case, the phrasing makes it sound as if he's had at least one other favor prior to this one. You generally don't hear anyone say something along the lines of "you only have ___ left" if that quantity was the most they ever had. I could be wrong, though.

Of course, it probably doesn't really matter either way how he earned those favors so much as the fact that he has them at all.

Still, it is fun to speculate.
>> No. 23509
>>23498
Good catch, but she said two remaining, so there were at least three to begin with. My theory is that his E-card reward was Patchouli's services.
>> No. 23512
[Various write-in combinations pertaining to trusting Nathaniel]
[Tell Nathaniel you found Equitas, where it is, who has it, etc.]
[Inquire as to how, should you succeed at retrieving it, Nathaniel expects you to deliver it to him without alerting whoever took it and wants to keep it from him.]

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, they say. And you suppose that a nervous shift a few centimeters forwards could still be considered a step. Nathaniel hasn’t quite won you over yet, though he seems to have gotten a little more sympathetic to you. He’s in the same boat as you, it seems. Maybe even worse, if “they” are trying to kill him and “they” are getting desperate. You might as well venture out into deeper water and show just a smidge of trust in him.

“I…I know where Equitas is,” you reply.

His head shoots up, though the sad look in his eyes remain. “You, you do?”

You nod seriously, and continue. “It’s in the basement. Corner room in a small dead-end. Big old oak door, looks centuries old. It’s a big bedroom. The sword is hanging on display in the clothes closet though the door on the left.”

He wipes he eyes off and starts twiddling his thumbs in anticipation. “Just like that? Hmm…there’s a catch, of course?”

You nod again and hold up your fingers, ticking each one down separately. “Four, actually. First, the basement door is locked; mansion key opens it up, and you don’t have one if I recall. Second, the bedroom door is locked, and not even the mansion key opens that one. I got in…” You pause for a moment and choose your words carefully, trying not to reveal your secret keys. “I got lucky that time. Third, it’s guarded. No spells or traps, though, just two kids. Fourth, the kids like the sword; seems to be one of their favorite toys. I doubt they’ll be letting it go easily.”

He considers the information carefully, running a hand through his sawdusted hair. “I take it these are no ordinary ‘kids’, then?”

You chuckle and decide to answer with a light heart for a change. “Meh, they’re okay. Vampires, both of ‘em. Remilia’s younger brother and sister. The boy seems to be half-dragon or something. Oh, and they’re completely insane, that too. I think the sister can blow things up by pointing at them, but that’s all speculation , really. Standard stuff considering the rest of the mansion.”

Nathaniel has started pacing back and forth between you and Cirno, who has started to occupy herself with reading a book with a picture of a fairy on it, though she seems to have made little progress on it; whether because she’s distracted by you, or because she can’t read it, you don’t know. The enigmatic engineer shakes his head and mumbles to himself, talking to you at the same time.

“Flandre Scarlet, the Scarlet Sister. Yes, Patchouli mentioned her once. But a brother…didn’t mention that. Why not, I wonder? Problematic, not impossible. Unless—no, no, that’d be impossible, no chance in the world, why’d I even think it?”

You try and get a question in sideways. “Any chance you have a plan for how I’m supposed to get the sword to you without getting ripped to shreds by the kids, and without alerting whoever stole it in the first place?”

He looks at you curiously. “Wha? Oh, simple. I’ll be coming with you. You don’t really expect me to force you through all this by yourself, do you?”

“But, I thought…you said, “place Justice in my hands” and all that, didn’t you?”

He waves his hands in denial, or perhaps embarrassment. “That was before. You’ve proven yourself trustworthy enough to tell me where it is, and I see no lie in your eyes. Equitas is my sword, and it’s only fitting that I should take care of him myself.”

You consider his words. Is he flip-flopping on you? He was pretty adamant before when he wanted you to literally give the sword to him, as if you’d present it to him on a silver platter at dinner or something. And now he’s saying he’s going to climb into the lion’s den with you for it?

“What’s so special about that sword anyways?” you ask demandingly. “That watch, too. I mean, they’re just, things, right? They’re not worth obsessing your life over, are they?”

He points an unwavering finger at you as he keeps walking around. “No. No, they are more than things. I have wandered from place to place for years, never having a real home for more than a month or two. I don’t have houses or furniture or the comforts of modern life. What I have are my creations. The things I make, the things I engineer, these are how my home is defined from place to place. Stay on the road for five years without ever calling anywhere ‘home’ and you’ll begin to understand where I’m coming from.

“The sword, the watch, and the gun…these are my greatest creations, my life’s work. I created Equitas literally from the ground up. I mined the ore for the blade, smelted it, forged it, hammered it, sharpened it, polished it. I carved the crossguard myself for days, weeks, every scrape of the chisel my own, and no other’s. I searched the earth for the pommel’s ruby with the sweat of my brow and the blood of my body, cut it to absolute perfection. No man could lay a greater claim to his sword than I to Equitas. If I can own nothing in this world, not even the clothes on my back, I will always cling to these three, the greatest children a father could ask for.

“And yes, they are more than mere metal and crystal,” he adds adamantly, really getting into his words now. “Magic flows in them of the kind I doubt many could replicate, and certainly not easily. Equitas is not just named justice, he is justice. His blade grows sharp to smite chaos, and dull when he strikes the just. No unlawful creature who runs from justice can defend against his razor’s edge. Not with tenfold shields, not with infinite regeneration, not with all the magic in the world. A blade of evil’s bane, Equitas is my oldest friend, and my most trusted ally. I will not leave him here while I still drawn breath, not even if Hell itself stands against me.”

(Here…)
>> No. 23513
(…is justice.)

It sounds cheesy, but you can feel that he’s telling the truth. You doubt a person could lie well and still speak like he spoke about his creations. And what he said about Equitas smiting injustice despite all defenses, that’s certainly a powerful weapon when fighting evil. Makes you wonder just what his true profession is when he’s not being an engineer.

“All right, all right, tone it down,” you comment, motioning him to take a seat and calm down. “Really now, you don’t need to be so dramatic all the time. It’s things like that which made me suspicious of you in the first place. Remember the bathroom?”

He closes his eyes and squints hard. “Yes…yes I remember. I have my reasons, but I’m sorry about the drama. Can’t help it sometimes, but I’ll try to keep it in check, I guess.”

You sigh and lean back in your chair. “So, what now? You’re coming with, great, great, but that still won’t get the sword away from our little psychotic vampires, now will it? Any ideas?”

He hmmms and ahhhs for a good ten or twenty seconds to himself, then answers with a neutral tone. “No, not yet. It’s going to take some planning. You can get into the basement at least, right?”

“Yeah, got the key right here.”

“Good, good. Hmm…would Little Miss Flandre just open the door if you knocked on it?”

Would she? It sounds so stupid, but at the same time, it’s both polite and efficient. It eliminates suspicion and allows for friendly conversation. “You know, I think she might. Sakuya mentioned something about ‘playing tomorrow’ with them before she kicked me out, so—“

He interrupts you abruptly. “Wait, wait, Sakuya was there? She kicked you out?”

You nod, and hear him utter an oath under his breath.

“God, why? Why, why God why?” He returns “Seraphim” to the holster on his side and begins pacing again. “What was her tone with you? Angry? Serious? Friendly?”

You try to remember what she was like. “Umm, no, she was pretty calm and neutral. Didn’t seem to care one way or the other.”

He snaps his fingers. “Not good. Sakuya’s, well, she’s going to make things difficult. The less people who expect you and me down there, the better. Chances are if she saw you down there once, and expects you to return, she’ll be watching that room closely. I doubt she’ll do anything overt to us, but I’m sure you can understand that it’s not the overt things we need to be concerned about here.”

You nod, understanding all too well what he means. “No excuses for her then, eh?”

“No. She can see though anything. I just wish…Wait, you said ‘playing tomorrow’? Does Flandre expect you back, then?”

“Mhm, I believe so. And even if not, I don’t think she’d mind a surprise visit from ‘Kitty’ too much.”

“That’s it, then.” Nathaniel rubs his palms together as he sits back down. “Tomorrow, earlier maybe, you’ll lead me down to Flandre’s room, introduce me as a new friend or something like that. If we play it right—I still don’t know how her ‘insanity’ will make things—I’m sure an opportunity should present itself. Do you know why exactly Flandre likes my little Equitas so much, may I ask?”

That question takes a little pondering. Why did she? Adam, too? “All the other stuff was really boring, but this looks so pretty. It’s even got a little dragon on it, see?” That’s about all you can remember her saying. It’s even got a dragon? Odd choice of words, unless the dragon is important. That’s got to be it. A stuffed dragon is her “favoritest”. She loves Adam because he’s more than a brother, he’s a dragon. She was even reading about dragons, sketching them too. That’s the key.

“Dragons,” you reply on the coattails of your epiphany. “She likes dragons. She reads about them, surrounds herself with them. Equitas’ crossguard, that’s gotta be the reason she likes it so much.”

He nods peacefully. “A girl after my own heart, it would seem. I can work with this. Yes. Just give me a few hours to work this out. We can do this. All right, umm…tomorrow morning, let’s say nine o’ clock. Meet me here, and come prepared for anything. If we can make this happen, I’m all yours. Oh, and speaking of which…” His voice becomes serious again. “You gave me information, so it’s only fair to give you some. Ask me one question, any one question, and I will answer it as truthfully and as completely as I know how. No holding back. And believe me,” he adds with an odd look in his eye. “I know a lot more than you might expect.”

[ ] One question. One answer. Ask, and ye shall receive.

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

Apologies, but no commentary tonight. My evening must be reserved for riotous times with movies such as Wayne’s World, and Wayne’s World 2.
>> No. 23514
File 122766891138.png - (127.90KB , 905x650 , 519d77c31c0567e4ceb213c0c5868e29.png ) [iqdb]
23514
>>23513
[X] How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?

I'm gonna ponder this one a bit. In the meantime, party on write-fag.
>> No. 23516
This is hard, so many questions. Only one thing to do.

>>“I saw it,” he says seriously to Patchouli. “They’re getting desperate. I’m getting to them, I think. It’s still safe, though.” he concludes, patting the pocket where he just scooped the unknown items into. “They’re getting sloppy.”

[x] "Tell me who "they" are"
>> No. 23517
[x] "What was the meaning behind that little exchange with Miss Ran Yakumo?"

Go on Nathaniel. Answer it completely. Translation, and the meaning behind it. This question carries Farmanon's curiosity alongside Anon's metaknowledge. I dunno what we would do if he tells Farmanon a bold faced lie though.
>> No. 23518
[x] "How exactly did you get into Gensokyo. With details please."

This could be helpful in finding out how we got in ourselves.
>> No. 23521
[X] "If we are to be allied, why only one? If not, why even one?"

More theatrics, more jerking us around? No, come on.

(For those who wish to play along with him anyhow, I'd suggest "What is the question you most wish I'd ask, and its answer?" But I would really prefer to see if we can get some wholehearted cooperation out of the guy.)
>> No. 23522
>>23521
I think it's more like Owen is giving us a reward for doing something important, which if asked correctly will bring us closer to the truth.
>> No. 23523
>>23521
Now, don't be like that.
He is offering a perfectly fair exchange here. We told him everything we could about one thing, in this case his sword, and in return he is offering to tell us everything he can about one thing, whatever it may be.

Quid Pro Quo, Clarice.

[x] "What can you tell me about this 'they' you mentioned?"
>> No. 23524
[???] Does Sakuya really pad?

Just kidding, let's go with
[x] "Tell me who "they" are"
>> No. 23530
[x] "What was the meaning behind that little exchange with Miss Ran Yakumo?" (and what's Ran/Yukari goal in this story)

[x] "Tell me who "they" are" (Same here)

Both questions are very important to my sense, they pretty much explain who our ally/enemy + everyone goal in that case.
>> No. 23534
>>I will not leave him here while I still drawn breath, not even if Hell itself stands against me.

Might be a figure of speech, might have meant it literally. With a sword named Justice, and a gun named Seraphim though...
>> No. 23548
[x] "What was the meaning behind that little exchange with Miss Ran Yakumo?"

I think this is one of the things we just can't figure out without help, even translated it's still rather cryptic.

And about this mysterious "they", i think we'll meet them eventually anyway, knowing their identity wouldn't help us much.

Also:
>No unlawful creature who runs from justice can defend against his razor’s edge. Not with tenfold shields, not with infinite regeneration, not with all the magic in the world.

That bit is worrisome to say the least. Would it work against the vampires of this mansion?
If it's truly as powerful as he makes it out to be, I wouldn't wonder if multiple entities would be out to kill him, if only to get that blade out of his hands and destroyed.

...which, of course, does make giving it to flandre a rather good idea.
>> No. 23551
I think he's exaggerating a bit about his sword; he does have a bit of a flair for the dramatic after all.

Come to think of it, the whole concept of Equitas just seems odd. He says it strikes down only the evil and unlawful, but who exactly is deciding what counts as evil and unlawful? Both are human constructs and very open to interpretation.
>> No. 23552
[x] "What was the meaning behind that little exchange with Miss Ran Yakumo?"
>> No. 23561
[X] "What was the meaning behind that little exchange with Miss Ran Yakumo?"
>> No. 23564
>>23551

it reeks of the goodkind's sword of truth, where good and evil are decided upon by the one who wields it. lamest ending ever btw.
>> No. 23574
[x] "What can you tell me about this 'they' you mentioned?"
>> No. 23626
[x] "What can you tell me about this 'they' you mentioned?"
>> No. 23666
["What was the meaning behind that little exchange with Miss Ran Yakumo?"]

Finally! A chance to have answered one of your really deep questions answered in full. No suspicion, no guessing, just straight answers. There’s so much you want to ask, but with the still-tentative line of trust between you two, you’re pretty sure he’s going to stick hard and fast to the rule of one.

You debate back and forth, back and forth between two specific questions: who “they” are, and just what he said to Ran Yakumo during lunch. Either one could open up huge insight into the current situation in the mansion, and you know he’s got the answers to both. Knowing the identity of “them” might finally reveal just who or what is behind all your bad feelings around here, but at the same time, that foreign conversation is just as important. Miss Ran is someone with contacts on the outside, someone who could ferry information, items, and even aid back and forth. If Nathaniel was asking her for something, it might give you a clue as to just what his true plan is here. And right now, you deem that just a tad more important than actual identities of unknown people.

You clear your throat and speak your question clearly. “What was the meaning behind your little conversation with Miss Ran Yakumo during lunch?”

Nathaniel ponders for only a second or two before vocalizing what you hope will be a fully-fledged answer.

“As you may have guessed, what I spoke to Miss Ran was in Latin. Poor, broken Latin, I’ll admit, but Latin nonetheless. I told her, ‘Fate’s evil will soon destroy all.’ She responded with the phrase, ‘Fate is weak when many are strong.’ To which I responded with, ‘No. Fate destroys all with enough time.’ Her next phrase was a question. She asked me, ‘What help do you need?’ The answer I gave her was, ‘Only the slave will free the slave. Please, I beg of you. Watch, but do not yet act.’

“Now, these words are of course meaningless to you without explanation, so I will try to give one to you. What I am about to tell you is, unfortunately, only half of the story; there’s still too much at stake for me to tell you everything just now. But I’ll tell you what you need for now.” He leans forwards and motions you all closer, dropping his voice even though the eavesdropping ward should still be in effect.

“Friends, we are in the middle of a game.

“This game has been playing out within the walls of the Scarlet Devil Mansion for generations upon generations, over three hundred years at least. Every soul who enters the mansion becomes a playing piece in this insidious game, whether they like it or not. I still don’t know who is pulling the strings—I have my speculations, but that’s another question for another day—but there is no doubt in my mind that a chessmaster watches over all of us with a careful eye.

“The rules, as far as I can tell, are as follows. Once you enter the mansion, the game begins. You win the game if you can escape with your life. You lose the game if you die. I can only assume that subtlety and wit will gain you points, while overtness and idiocy will lose you points. Allies are allowed, but a person’s true rank and allegiance will forever be unknown to you until the game is over. Besides that, how you play is entirely up to you.

“Now perhaps people like Remilia and Sakuya and Patchouli are merely added obstructions in the path of the player, or perhaps they too are trapped within the fate of the game, always seeking but unable to win. I still don’t know for sure, but what I do know is that I don’t like this game, and I want out as soon as I possibly can. Which brings us to my discussion with Ran.”

Nathaniel take a short break to catch his breath and think his next words through. He can see that you’re still riveted to his words, so he doesn’t wait long to move along.

“First: Fate’s evil will soon destroy all. The ‘fate’ I mention here is the unknown force which controls the mansion’s game. I can only assume that the game is being played out for a very specific purpose, and if it isn’t stopped, destruction can be the only outcome of a game where losing is penalized by death.

“Second: Fate is weak when many are strong. Now, these are Ran’s words, not mine, so don’t take my interpretations at face value. But anyways, Gensokyo is full of insanely strong creatures. Things that can control the elements, things that can never die, things that can bend the will of your mind itself. You’d expect that such a person wouldn’t have to worry about something silly like being trapped in a mansion. How can ‘fate’ possibly control someone that strong, hmm?

“Third: No. Fate destroys all with enough time. Here is the insidious nature of the game. This game is subtle, unobtrusive, almost non-existent. Even the strongest people in the universe might miss the fact that they are playing in a game of death once they cross the threshold. And perhaps, just perhaps, all their power won’t be worth a nickel once they get too far in. You can feel it; I know you can. An invisible weight, moving down slowly, day by day, so slight you almost don’t know it’s there. It crushes you, squeezes you, forces you inwards more and more. All the magic in the world can’t fight against an opponent who you don’t even know exists.

“Fourth: What help do you need? Miss Ran is the shikigami, the loyal servant, of one of the strongest youkai Gensokyo has ever seen: Yukari Yakumo. Aid from Ran is essentially aid from Yukari herself, and that’s saying something. For Ran to take something seriously enough to offer aid without a request for it is a very big deal.

“Fifth: Only the slave will free the slave. Please, I beg of you. Watch, but do not yet act. This one is tricky, but please bear with me. I want to get out of here. I’ve been here long enough to know that coming here in the first place was a mistake. I’m willing to accept the help of just about anyone to get out right now. But the catch is the game. Now, I don’t claim to know the exact rules, but I can only guess that the longer you stay here, the more the game seeps into you, controls you, weakens you. Ran, however, could be an exception. If my analysis of the rules are correct, Ran joined the game by staying for lunch, and then immediately won it by leaving without incident. If so, she is free, and all praises to her. But if she comes back again? If she were to help us directly by re-entering the mansion? The game would begin anew for her, and perhaps fate will not be so kind in her second round. I don’t want her caught up in this if I can help it. She is free. We are not. We are already slaves to this game, this unseen chessmaster. The only people that can truly help us are those already trapped with us, the other ‘slaves’ to the game. We have to win, but if we drag others into this in the process, we’d be better off dead.”
>> No. 23667
He leans back in his seat and wipes his brow nervously. “That’s all I can think of at the moment; I’m sure I missed some essential piece that answers everything, but hey, I’m only human. I’m suspect I’ve done little more than create ten questions for every one I’ve answered, and if so I’m sorry. I didn’t say the answer would by simple, or believable, just the truth. Let those who have ears, let him hear.”

[ ] His answer could use some clarifying. Ask him to clear up some specifics (specify questions to ask)
[ ] This sounds too far-fetched. Force the real answer out of him, using any means (specify the “means”)
[ ] Nate’s done more than enough for you today; let him be. Leave the library and go… (input destination)
[ ] Nate’s done more than enough for you today; let him be. Stay in the library and do… (input next action)
[ ] Too much, it’s, it’s not possible! Not, n-not…n-no…n-n-nnnnnn……
[ ] Write, write, write the write-in.

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

I will be out of town for Thanksgiving all of today and Friday, and will not have Internet access during this time. Thus, you will have to wait until Saturday morning for the next update, unfortunately. Also, I started writing the update back when the Ran Yakumo question hit five votes, despite the fact that the “they” question has more votes now.

I wanted to write more for this segment, but the family needs to be out the door soon, and I can’t spend any more time writing now. Apologies.
>> No. 23668
[x] Nate’s done more than enough for you today; let him be. Leave the library and go… (To Remilia's Room)

We have to start somewhere, talk to Remilia. Plain and Simple.
>> No. 23670
[ ] Too much, it’s, it’s not possible! Not, n-not…n-no…n-n-nnnnnn…… hhhhhhhhhgggggg.
>> No. 23673
>the game
>> No. 23676
[x] Nate’s done more than enough for you today; let him be. Leave the library and go… (To Remilia's Room)

Yep! Let's stop talking to Nathaniel, time to get some REAL answers from Remilia. (Better ask nicely through -_-')
>> No. 23685
[ ] Nate’s done more than enough for you today; let him be. Stay in the library and study magic.

Nate begged us to be caution with our actions. Going to Remilia and asking her would be the opposite of that. Let's stay here and get a firmer grip on this new found power. We'll need it.
>> No. 23686
[ ] Nate’s done more than enough for you today; let him be. Stay in the library and study magic.
>> No. 23687
[x] Nate’s done more than enough for you today; let him be. Stay in the library and study magic.
>> No. 23688
[X] Nate’s done more than enough for you today; let him be. Stay in the library and study magic.

I'd still like to look into some history, firearms, and maybe even a bit on dragons and vampires, but that might be best saved for another time.
>> No. 23697
>You win the game if you can escape with your life. You lose the game if you die.

No, Mr. Nathaniel, that is why you will die. You cannot win if you're only trying to survive.

It reads like the rules to his "game" are merely the logical consequences of surrounding yourself with ancient, insanely powerful monsters terrified of nothing but their own boredom, codified by a severely obsessive, manic-depressive genius with far too much time on his hands. Poor soul, he was just too high-strung.

Mr. Nathaniel's views on things change nothing for us, though it does make him seem more sympathetic. We should help him simply because he asked our help and that it's the right thing to do, but that doesn't mean we should lower our shield of incredulity. We should trust him, but this shouldn't preclude the possibility of him simply being wrong.
>> No. 23699
>>23697
True, but don't forget that this explanation is, by his own admission, only half the story. He may very well have good reason for believing in this "game" and the "rules" he thinks it goes by, but the evidence for it is among the information he deems still too sensitive to share with us just yet.
He's been there longer than we have, and has probably seen more than enough to convince him of what he told us.

Still, even if he isn't completely right about this, I don't think he'll be completely wrong, either. At worst, I think this might simply be a case of him misinterpreting the situation, and coming to the conclusion he has due to not possessing some of the final crucial pieces of the puzzle. He has enough to go on to assume he knows what it is, but without those final bits he can't truly see the full picture for what it is.
>> No. 23701
Poor Nathaniel, you can't win THE GAME
>> No. 23728
[Nate’s done more than enough for you today; let him be. Stay in the library and study magic.]

A secret game of life and death? What Nathaniel just told you checks out with how he’s been acting, and it explains his interaction with Ran as well as you could have expected, but it’s more than a little hard to swallow. Something this far-fetched shouldn’t just blindly be taken at face value, and certainly not from someone who’s shown a history of being secretive and shady. Nevertheless, it just proves all the more than you should be cautious around this mansion. Whether Nathaniel knows the whole story or not, he can’t be basing all his explanations on nothing. Looks like you’ll just have to wait until tomorrow to, hopefully, get the full answer from him.

“You’ve kept your word, Nate,” you reply. “I want to thank you for answering my question. I guess, for now, we just wait until tomorrow, then?”

He nods wearily. “Time is all we need now. And that’s something neither of us can change at the moment. And no, thank you for listening. You don’t know how long I’ve wanted to say those words out loud.”

Cirno points to Patchouli energetically. “What about her? She seems to trust you okay.”

He shakes his head and responds with a downcast tone. “No. She’s agreed to neither help nor hinder me unless I deserve it, but that is not trust. Nothing’s certain in my life right now.”

You decide it would be best to let Nathaniel be by himself for a while, maybe start working on whatever it is that will get Flandre to give him Equitas. You gently ferry Cirno away from the engineer and walk over to Patchouli. Tapping her on the shoulder to get her attention, you tell her, “We’re done now, Miss Patchouli.”

She shakes her head and points a finger at her ear. “The ward,” she says. “I cannot hear. Do you wish to remove it now?”

You nod, and she looks at you, Cirno, and Nathaniel in turn, assumedly to remove the anti-eavesdropping spell. Everyone’s hearing returned to normal, you decide to ask Patchouli about some more magic of your own.

“Excuse me, but do you have any spare books on Wood Sign and Moon Sign? I really don’t want to walk all the way back to my room to get mine.”

She nods and floats over to a far-away pile, returning with two books very similar to yours, though much less ornate. “If you have questions, ask,” she comments, handing the tomes to you.

Thanking her, you pick out a comfortable spot equidistant from both Patchouli and Nathaniel, and begin to study the books intently. You haven’t tried to manifest any true magic (if danmaku doesn’t count) since the time you were told about magic at all. Hopefully, with your new knowledge, you’ll do better this time. You snuggle into a large blue cushion the size of a berry bush, and pour over the mystical words contained within the pages of literature.

Your progress, if it can be called that, is extraordinarily slow, bordering on non-existent. You read and re-read the beginning chapters of both books several times, intently studying all the basic exercises for focusing your mind and clearing the unwanted noise from your thoughts. In one page you are a rock in the middle of a desert at night, the next you are a single drop of water in the ocean, or a leaf on a giant oak, or a single star in the night sky. There are dozens of different techniques to achieve calm and concentration, and you try them all to no avail. No matter how many times you visualize a simple flower or weed or even a blade of grass, nothing ever manifests itself in real life. You attempt to try some of your own techniques, like remembering the times when you were waking through your harvested fields on a brisk November afternoon, but it fares no better that the ideas in the book.

To try and break the tedium, you start alternating between attempting real magic and attempting danmaku. You study exactly how your body and mind feel when you release the streams of bullets from your fingers, seeing if there’s anything you can use to help you. Danmaku just feels so natural to you now, it’s as simple as walking or talking now. Granted, you still have to focus, but there’s no real effort involved, just a simple point-and-shoot mentality to shower the library with barrages of green and gold and silver.

After what must be at least an hour, you roll over to Cirno, who seems to have found a book of her own that she pours over with more interest than you’d expect. Curiously you ask, “Hey, what’s that you’re reading?”

“Oh, this, sir?” she replies. “It’s called Thermodynamics for Beginners: An Elementary Approach. Ms. Patchy told me I might like it; said maybe it’d make me stronger or something like that. At first I was all really excited, you know? But now it’s all really boring and I don’t understand any of it. Sometimes I wish they’d make books which just give you all you need right away, because this is all stupid words and stuff I don’t get. Not enough pictures, either.”

Thermodynamics for Cirno, eh? From what you remember, she can control ice or something like that. If she could really get a handle on stuff like heat transfer, you’d expect that title of “The Strongest” might carry a lot more weight. Too bad just the mention of a word like “thermodynamics” makes your eyes glaze over, or you’d try and help her out.

“Hey, Cirno? How exactly do you make ice appear and all that? ‘Cause I’m trying to do some magic, and it’s just not working for me.”

She tilts her head funnily at you. “Ice and stuff? I dunno, I guess I never really thought about it too much. I just think like, ‘Hey, I want there to be some ice here!’ And then the ice just kinda shows up. That’s all I know, it’s always been real easy for me. Whatchya havin’ trouble with?”

You shrug your shoulders. “It’s hard to explain. Like, I know you have to focus and think about what you want to do—I get that part fine—but whenever I try and make it happen, it doesn’t work. I just feel like it’s not there. It’s really weird, because I did the same thing with danmaku, but now I can do that no problem.”

Cirno scratches her head, causing her maid’s bonnet to go lopsided. “Mmm, you’re losin’ me. Maybe you should talk to Ms. Patchouli, she probably knows a lot of stuff about things.”

“Ehh, I guess. It’s better than sitting here wasting time, I guess.” You pick up both elemental books and try to find Patchouli, who has since moved the last time you saw her. She’s now sitting behind a large writing desk covered with stacks of papers, all crammed with words and diagrams penned in a very tiny hand. A similar sheet of paper rests under her gaze at the moment, and she’s busily writing away much faster than you’d expect from someone of her questionable stamina.

“Umm, excuse me, Miss Knowledge?” you ask meekly. She finishes her current paragraph and looks up at you, her deep violet eyes magnified by a thick pair of writing glasses. She doesn’t answer, but you’ll easily settle for an acknowledgement of presence.

“I was wondering if you could help me with this. I just can’t seem to get any magic to manifest for me. Is there any trick that I could use, or something like that?”

“Danmaku?” she asks vaguely.

You think you know what she’s asking, and shake your head. “No, no, I’ve tried that. I can manifest danmaku just fine, see?” You throw out an appealing helix weave of silver intermixed with gold, change it up into a wide-spreading scatter shot, then focus everything into a single tight beam of bullets before you stop. “That’s no trouble. But I don’t get why I can’t make so much as a blade of grass. I believe; I know that physics doesn’t matter when you’ve got magic. But…I can’t do it. I just don’t feel anything. Nothing at all. What am I missing?”

(Stop!)
>> No. 23729
(…continue.)

This question takes far longer for a response than you expected. Patchouli eventually looks away from you and starts “pacing” around you two meters above the floor, whispering to herself every few circuits, and looking at you more than once. Eventually she settles back onto the ground and holds a pale hand to her chin. “I may have…been mistaken.”

Your spirits fall almost instantly. “You mean, I don’t have any magic within me?”

“No. Not about your spark. About your proficiency. I assumed elemental; it is the most common in humans. But perhaps not. Perhaps,” she says this more to herself than to you, “perhaps you are an abstract.”

“An abstract?” you ask, intrigued. “What’s an abstract? Besides the obvious, I suppose.”

“One with an ill-defined ability. Something unquantifiable. Though all magic is as such, this is more so. Compare and contrast Cirno.” She motions over to the ice fairy in the distance, who seems to be reading upside down now. “The manipulation of the property of cold. On the surface, simple. At its core, complex. But in her hands? Squandered.” Patchouli shakes her head and looks down. “Such a waste. If only…but that is wishful thinking. Unnecessary now. Now is about you.”

She spreads her hands out wide, with each fingertip rested on its twin on the other hand. “You could be anything. You could be strong. Weak. Narrow. Wide. The only thing you cannot be, is nothing. There is a solution, if you wish to know it.”

A solution? A way to find out what you really do? This is…wait. Is this what Ran was talking about before? Is Patchouli considering that “delving” thing? You take a stab at guessing.

“Ran Yakumo mentioned ‘delving’. Is that what you mean?”

“Ah, you are aware. Good. Makes things simpler. Now…” she trails off, and you think you can see just a little blush in her cheeks as she smiles. “I will not brag, but neither will I lie. My skill is stronger than hers in this regard. My results will be clearer. My consequences, not as dire. If you wish, I shall attempt.”

[ ] Decline; you’re not that concerned. Stay in the library and… (write-in your action)
[ ] Decline; you’re not that concerned. Leave the library and… (write-in your action)
[ ] Accept, but ask her to only delve as far as she “safely” can
[ ] Accept, but ask her to stop if she might be risking permanent damage
[ ] Accept, and tell to not stop no matter what until the matter is solved
[ ] Accept. Let her choose the method; she’s the expert after all.

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

I will be retuning back to college Sunday morning, and will not be back on-line until Sunday night. I may attempt an update later tonight if enough votes are present, or I may simply wait and spend my lengthy car ride writing instead. However, considering the enjoyment I received from finally sitting down and reading Klayman’s “SCIENCE!” adventure over Thanksgiving, I am quite partial to writing today, and spending tomorrow’s road trip reading CYOAs I have missed from joined this site “late”, as it were.

If any of you have suggestions for stories I should read, please enlighten me. I have either read or am reading everything on /sdm/, but aside from that I have read nothing but Hungry Youkai’s “A Different Place” and as stated above, Klayman’s “SCIENCE!” “Retrospective and Astronomical Narraration” is currently on my list, but additions would be appreciated.
>> No. 23730
[ ] Accept, but ask her to stop if she might be risking permanent damage
>> No. 23731
[X] Accept. Let her choose the method; she’s the expert after all.
>> No. 23733
[x] Accept, and tell to not stop no matter what until the matter is solved

here goes nothing
>> No. 23734
[X] Accept. Let her choose the method; she’s the expert after all.
>> No. 23735
[X] Accept. Let her choose the method; she’s the expert after all.

I doubt Patchy would do anything to risk damaging us or our abilities permanently. Just look at how she felt about Cirno and the wasted potential of her power. I can't see her being too pleased if she was the one responsible for destroying the potential of someone else.
>> No. 23736
[x] Accept, and tell to not stop no matter what until the matter is solved

What could possibly go wrong?
>> No. 23737
[x] Accept. Let her choose the method; she’s the expert after all.

I trust Patchouli to know what she's doing when it comes to magic.
>> No. 23738
[X] Accept. Let her choose the method; she’s the expert after all.

I'd suggest reading: Scorn's story in /forest/, HY's EoSD, and maybe YAF's This Shrine 1 on the side.
>> No. 23739
[X] Accept. Let her choose the method; she’s the expert after all.
>> No. 23740
[x] Accept, but ask her to stop if she might be risking permanent damage

We could still try reading other books until we find one that works, or something else that won't blow up our head. This isn't a last resort situation yet.
>> No. 23741
Read WUIG and MiG to understand the start of it all, plus to understand all the SNOW END and THE LAKE and UNLIMITED EGG WORKS jokes. Even if you don't like them, as the style of "modern" CYOAs is quite different from the original WUIG. Read Gensokyo Academy because it's good (updates fucking where).

>>23738 Seconding these as well.
>> No. 23742
File 122799122688.jpg - (450.18KB , 1754x1240 , 122443431221.jpg ) [iqdb]
23742
>>23729
Saged and spoiler'd since it's CYOA recommendations that reads like a power level post.
Just about every CYOA is worth reading in my estimation. A good start was that writer appreciation thread; good summaries of some of the main stories. Good call on RAaN, it's certainly one of the best. Be sure to read the threads and discussion as well; it really set the bar for anon's deductive and decision making abilities. Give Gensokyo Man's 'You Wake Up in Gensokyo" and Kira's 'Misadventures in Gensokyo' and 'School Days' a once over. They deserve the credit for starting the whole movement, and it gives you plenty of insight as to why anon is so prone to despair and expecting the worst. Scorn's forest LA deserves a read as well (working on it myself) since he started the Limited Adventure idea. Personally speaking, some of the more enjoyable reads have been Harker's 'Contemplations Under the Moon and Stars' (Casey Mills is possibly the most likable protagonist ever, and the in-jokes sweeten the deal), QWL's 'Resonant With Vivid Tones' (very cleverly executed, and the technical side information lends a lot of depth), Norseman's 'Gensokyoland Saga' (the poetry of Sigurd's speach is art), Patchwork's 'Hakugyokuro LA' (moe, sex, and purely enjoyable characterization), Tetrominon's 'Youkai Mountain Limited Adventure' (no offense, but he offers the best damn description of the danmaku system, and Cu is a damn fine protagonist), Snake's 'Gunman in Gensokyo' (all write-ins, all great), EZMode's 'Flight of the Lost Soul' (deceptively fun concept; if you don't feel good about yourself after the Alice part, there's something wrong with you), all of Dr. Doujin's and Scorn's side stories (self-explanatory), and most of Angry Desu's stuff (Suika Wright, Skittles, and Touhou Persona). As soon as the semester is over, there are a bunch of stories (SotUY, TAiG, SHaG, and 'A Shikigami's Life') I want to plow through.
>> No. 23745
[X] Accept. Let her choose the method; she’s the expert after all.
>> No. 23746
Read everything. I know that's no small task but as a literary critic, I genuinely believe that, though it be about magical girls and riddled with badly-written porn, we are creating a new genre, something fresh that has literally never been done before.

Or maybe we're just writing fanfiction about pretty girls who wear elaborate dresses while flying around shooting colourful bullets, I don't know. Read it all.
>> No. 23747
[x] Accept. Let her choose the method; she’s the expert after all.
>> No. 23749
File 122800114585.jpg - (754.05KB , 4245x1200 , Anons United.jpg ) [iqdb]
23749
>>23729
>If any of you have suggestions for stories I should read, please enlighten me. I have either read or am reading everything on /sdm/, but aside from that I have read nothing but Hungry Youkai’s “A Different Place” and as stated above, Klayman’s “SCIENCE!” “Retrospective and Astronomical Narraration” is currently on my list, but additions would be appreciated.

Well, if you're taking suggestions, I'd say Blankfag's Ran on /others/ and HY's SDM LA on /here/ should be the two stories on top of your list. After that, you should really read WUIG, MiG and the Forest LA. These five are a must.

Now, for the rest, I recomend these, based on personal opinion:

/th/ - A Different Place, Touhou: Taste the Rainbow, Something's Happening at Gensokyo, Flight of the Lost Soul, Gensokyo Academy:School Days (also by Kira), Gunman in Gensokyo.
/at/ - nothing to see here, keep moving.
/eientei/ - Resonant with Vivid Tones, only. Gave up reading the first LA (Deluge of a Lunar Fantasy) on thread 14 and haven't read the rest.
/forest/ - Scorn's Forest LA and Norseman's Gensokyoland Saga. That's all you need to see there. Just a quick note: the Forest LA has a side-story, Captain Rex Anonymous. I count them as one single story, since CRA is a dream in FLA that seems to be related to the protagonist's powers. However, the rest of the anons, and even Scorn, seems to count them separatedly. Also, Scorn tends to lose count of his threads, so it's a pain to follow the story without losing the right thread.
/border/ - Hakugyokuro LA, Aria of Deception, A Shikigami's Life, not necessarily in this order. Just be careful to not read Border Crossing.
/shrine/ - The first two runs of This Shrine and Collaboration of Missing Numbers. I read Spirit Within only until thread 05, but it's not bad.
/sdm/ - The already mentioned HY's SDM:LA (now called Expectation of Sanguine Disorder) and that new story, A Scarlet-Stained Memoir oh, wait, that's your story. Well, enjoy the memories of writing it then. Let's see, there is SDM LA:Hacked Modo if you want to just have a few laughs and rest your head from all the serious stuff. Afterthough~ is also good, need to catch up with the newer updates.
/youkai/ - Tetro's Youkai LA and Klayman's SCIENCE!. There is one or two other stories there too, isn't there?
/others/ - Retrospective and Astronomical Narration, already mentioned but just to make sure you will read it. Then there is Touhou Persona by Angry Desu. Spirit of the Underground Youkai, if you want a story about jealousy moe and the cast from Touhou11. Calling All Valiant Explorers and The Lanlord of Mayohiga had a good start, currently waiting for updates. Text Adventure in Gensokyo and Old West Touhou seem to be pretty popular/good, but I haven't checked them yet.

Go here for a list with all the CYOAs
http://z4.invisionfree.com/touhouvn/index.php?showtopic=81
It also has the deleted threads of old age or that were pushed off.

Stay sharp U.N.Owen, come back only after you can tell all the protagonist's names on this picture. Or, like, if you write another update for your story.
>> No. 23750
{X} Accept. Let her choose the method; she’s the expert after all.
>> No. 23751
>>23742

I agree with this guy about reading GM's and Kira's works. It's important for the writers to know and understand how and why Anon thinks that BAD ENDS lurk around every corner.
>> No. 23753
File 12280099303.jpg - (43.17KB , 400x533 , 1210566607700.jpg ) [iqdb]
23753
>>23749
>>The Lanlord of Mayohiga had a good start
I knew about Explorers, but Landlord was a unexpectedly fun read. Business casual Yukari is surprisingly awesome. Good call.
>> No. 23759
[Accept. Let her choose the method; she’s the expert after all.]

Whereas Ran seemed hesitant and flakey when she talked about magical delving, Patchouli talks about it like it’s no big deal. Ran said before that she’s “no expert” on delving; it appears you’ve found one of the experts she was talking about. The risk is worth the potential gain in your mind, and it seems like the risks will be a lot less this time around.

“If it’s no trouble, Miss Patchouli,” you say, “I’d really like to find out just where my spark actually lies. If anything else it’ll at least tell me why studying these wood books and moon books aren’t doing me any good. You know what you’re doing, right? You can find people’s sparks, right?”

You manage to get another little smile out of her with that remark. “Else I would not offer,” she responds shyly. “Very well, I shall begin. Please, remove your coat and shirt.”

You pause for a moment, and notice Cirno snickering a little. “Umm, I don’t want to be rude, but why?” you ask hesitantly.

“The heart and the brain,” the librarian responds enigmatically. “For humans, these are the organs which are most linked to life. The mystic spark of magic resides within the life of the being itself. To search for the spark, one must search though life. It is easier when physical contact is established.”

You shrug your shoulders and nod reluctantly. Turning away for no good reason you hang your thick coat on a nearby chair and slip off your shirt (at least she doesn’t want you to take off your pants too). You’ve got nothing to be ashamed of, really; your torso is lean and tough, without an ounce of fat to be seen, though not exactly muscular. The skin is well-tanned and rough, and several old scars bring back “fond” memories of the mistakes you’ve made in the past. It’s a far cry from perfect, but a farmer isn’t looking for a perfect body anyways, and you’ll settle for the body that years of hard manual labor gives you. You try to avoid eye contact with Patchouli as you stuff your hands into your pockets. Cirno seems to still be giggling in the distance and muttering something you can’t make out.

“Sitting, standing, or laying down?” Patchouli questions. “Which are you most comfortable with?”

“Mmm, well, umm, what’s the easiest for you?”

“I am competent with any of the positions. However, laying down will simplify things the most.”

“Well, okay, we’ll do that then.” She leads you over to a table far away, almost on the edge of the central hex. Tenderly clearing off the books from the table, she conjures up a soft green covering for the hard wood which looks suspiciously like thick forest moss. She pats the table, and you lie down nervously. This feels so much like so kind of medical examination it’s not even funny. Well, at least Patchouli isn’t wearing a pure white smock and mask; that’s a step in the right direction.

“There is no need to relax,” Patchouli explains matter-of-factly. “Muscular tension and mental aggravation are meaningless for this examination. In fact, a hypothetical study of mine shows signs that increased emotions may actually improve the percentage accuracy of the results.” She rolls up her sleeves and places a delicate hand on both your forehead and left-side chest. Her touch is much more soothing than you would have expected in this situation. For several minutes that’s all you feel, however. Patchouli shifts her fingers around here and there, finding a better position, but always keeping all five fingers in a circle.

“How long does this usually take?” you ask, hoping this won’t mess up the test any.

“The time varies,” she answers, sounding more than a little distracted. “My shortest test achieved positive results in only forty-seven seconds. The longest was approximately one hundred ninety-five minutes. There is no indication of any single subject’s expected duration that I have discovered yet.”

You deem it best not to ask any more questions, and reserve yourself to waiting. It’s unlike any procedure you’ve ever experienced or even heard of. You can’t feel a single thing except for Patchouli’s cold fingers on your skin, and the library is silent except for the occasional grinding of the moving bookshelves. Cirno is watching the two of you from above, but her expression isn’t one you can decipher right now. Well, at least she’s caring enough not to fly off somewhere else.

You can’t tell the exact time—maybe fifteen minutes?—but after a while Patchouli starts talking, maybe to herself, but perhaps also for your benefit. Her fingers begin to make seemingly miniscule adjustments, and her eyes shift about behind her glasses.

“There…found you, little one. Now, now…deeper in, focus down, no, no, wrong technique, hmm…” She looks at you as she continues talking, though her eyes keep losing interest in your face from time to time. “I’m close now. My assumption was correct: definitely not elemental. An abstract, no doubt, but not one of the fringe ones. Further, further…no, back, shift hemisphere. It has to do with living beings, not inanimate matter. Closer, focus…mmm…focus…it’s a one-way transfer it seems, from others to you. In, in, no, out. Focus deep. Hrrmm…one of the five primary senses, I believe. Most interesting. A little more. Bring it in. Shift for focus. Move in…closer…slower…almost, almost…There! Aaaannd, pierce!”

(Ow…)
>> No. 23760
(…that hurt.)

You feel an uncomfortable sensation tweak at your entire body, as well as “tweak” at your thoughts. It’s not exactly pain, just a…pressure, a sharp pressure, kind of like getting hit by a danmaku laser. Patchouli removes her hands and rubs them together as she steps back, seemingly none the worse for wear.

“Well, did you do it?” you ask hopefully. “Do you know what I’m capable of?”

She nods. “Yes, to within I would estimate a ninety-five percent accuracy. You are, in a very crude definition of the term, a scryer.”

“Wait, I’m a what now?”

“A scryer,” she repeats calmly. “One who can see things beyond their own eyes, though I believe your ability is very specific. If my analysis of your spark is correct, you can see through the eyes of other sentient creatures when you focus upon them. This is, of course, not an exact definition, nor is delving an exact science, so I would suggest trusting your own judgment rather than my assumptions on this matter.”

You have a hard time understanding just what she’s saying. A scryer, right? So you can see through the eyes of others? Sounds pretty weird to you; would you still be able to see with your own eyes? What happens to the other person’s eyes? Do they know you’re “scrying” when you do it? You begin to ask Patchouli all sorts of these kind of questions, but she stops you before too long.

“Peace, peace,” she replies, gesturing a hand at you to calm down. “Delving does not garner such specific responses as that. If you wish to answer these questions, I can only suggest that you practice, and analyze your results. You know what to focus on, so focus. Now then, Sakuya has just informed me that dinner is almost ready for you and Nathaniel, so the remainder of this conversation will have to be put off until later.”

“Wait, Sakuya?” you ask. “When was she here? I didn’t see her come in or anything.”

Patchouli hands you a scarp of paper. Sure enough, it reads:

Please inform our two guests and our new maid that dinner will be served in five minutes. You are of course welcome to join us. The Mistress, however, has other matters to attend to tonight.

You inwardly curse your bad luck. The spectacles, those marvelous little glasses, are gone, now held within the hand of Flandre, and knowing her they’ve already been reduced to powder. You never really understood them perfectly, and they weren’t even yours, but you feel like a piece of you is gone without them to warn you of Sakuya’s tampering with time. And at the same time, another part of you wishes you had never even put them on in the first place, and would never have known just what things Sakuya was meddling with behind you back, or even right in front of you. Oh well.

[ ] Grab your clothes and go down to dinner. Might as well bring Nathaniel with you.
[ ] Grab your clothes and go down to dinner. Don’t worry about Nathaniel; he can take care of himself.
[ ] Grab your clothes, but do something else before dinner. You can afford to be a little late, right? (Write in your action)
[ ] 100% Pure write-In

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

Thank you for such prompt voting when it was requested. Also, thank you all for your CYOA recommendations; not just for me, but for the others who were silently wondering. Reading material is always something I search for, and whether bad or good, information is always useful. I hope to be both entertained and enlightened by the best of them. As for the worst? Well…at least I’m a pretty good speed-reader.

>>23746
This is so full of truth it hurts.
>> No. 23762
>>“Sitting, standing, or laying down?” Patchouli questions. “Which are you most comfortable with?”
>>“Mmm, well, umm, what’s the easiest for you?”
>>“I am competent with any of the positions. However, laying down will simplify things the most.”
Bow chicka wow wow~

>>One who can see things beyond their own eyes, though I believe your ability is very specific. If my analysis of your spark is correct, you can see through the eyes of other sentient creatures when you focus upon them

Like hearing conversations in our sleep, right?

Anyway, gonna play some vidya while I ponder this vote.
>> No. 23764
[X] Grab your clothes and go down to dinner. Might as well bring Nathaniel with you.
>> No. 23767
[x] Grab your clothes and go down to dinner. Don’t worry about Nathaniel; he can take care of himself.

Nathaniel probably doesn't want to present anything that would suggest a change has taken place in your relationship with him.
>> No. 23771
[x] Grab your clothes and go down to dinner. Don’t worry about Nathaniel; he can take care of himself.

Nathaniel's got his watch to obsess over, leave him to it.
>> No. 23772
[ ] Grab your clothes and go down to dinner. Might as well bring *Patchouli* with you, if she free of course.

Why not! She can explain a little more about this weird ability of yours on the way to the dinning room and enjoying Patchy presence for dinner at the same time.
Sound like a Win/Win situation to me.
>> No. 23773
[x] Grab your clothes and go down to dinner. Don’t worry about Nathaniel; he can take care of himself.
>> No. 23774
[X] Grab your clothes and go down to dinner. Don’t worry about Nathaniel; he can take care of himself.
>> No. 23777
[x] Ask Patchouli for some books on scrying.
[x] Grab your clothes and go down to dinner. Might as well bring Patchouli with you, if she's free of course.

Surprised she didn't give us any books in the first place.
>> No. 23778
[x] Ask Patchouli for some books on scrying.
[x] Grab your clothes and go down to dinner. Might as well bring Patchouli with you, if she's free of course.

Needs moar Patchy.
>> No. 23779
[x] Ask Patchouli for some books on scrying.
[x] Grab your clothes and go down to dinner. Might as well bring Patchouli with you, if she's free of course.

Patchy is Love, she alway helping us and look like she even enjoying doing so. Let's invite her!
>> No. 23780
[x] Grab your clothes and go down to dinner. Might as well bring Nathaniel with you.
[x] While dressing, ask Patchouli about scrying. "Do scryers need any tools to perform their magic. Like a crystal ball or something?"

or perhaps glasses? Maybe we can test it with any pair of glasses?
>> No. 23793
[X] Ask Patchouli for some books on scrying.
[X] Grab your clothes and go down to dinner. Don’t worry about Nathaniel; he can take care of himself.
>> No. 23825
[x] Ask Patchouli for some books on scrying.
[x] Grab your clothes and go down to dinner. Might as well bring *Patchouli* with you, if she free of course.

Hopeful second vote is hopeful.
>> No. 23830
[x] Ask Patchouli for some books on scrying.
[x] Grab your clothes and go down to dinner. Might as well bring Patchouli with you, if she's free of course.

A scryer, now that's something I didn't really expect out of all the choices of magic available. I'll be waiting patiently to see how this will unfold.
>> No. 23831
[x] Ask Patchouli for some books on scrying.
[x] Grab your clothes and go down to dinner. Might as well bring *Patchouli* with you, if she free of course.
>> No. 23832
[x] Ask Patchouli for some books on scrying.
[x] Grab your clothes and go down to dinner. Might as well bring *Patchouli* with you, if she free of course.

Teach me Patchouli-sensei~!
>> No. 23833
[Ask Patchouli for some books on scrying]
[Grab your clothes and go down to dinner. Don’t worry about Nathaniel; he can take care of himself.]
[Might as well bring Patchouli with you, if she's free of course.]

The immense strain Flandre and Adam put on your body has made you hungrier than you would have expected, though it seems like not so very long ago since you ate lunch. What time is it anyways? Hmm, 6:35 by your watch; so maybe it’s later than you thought. Might as well grab your shirt and coat; no sense waiting any longer. Except, oh right, your clothes are back by Nathaniel.

“Umm, Miss Patchouli, I was wondering,” you begin, trying to sound unimposing. “Do you want to come down to dinner with me? I don’t think Nathaniel’ll be coming down, and it’d be a shame to waste the food, you know? I mean, unless you’ve got some library stuff to do; I’m just asking, is all.”

Patchouli floats back towards the center of the hex as she thinks, and you decide to follow her. Your mind is still busily thinking about your supposed power of “scrying”. You never would have expected to have such a sub-standard ability. Something to do with plants or farming or earth, sure, but seeing through the eyes of others? It doesn’t sound like anything that would embody your personality; too sneaky and suspicious for you. But still, no sense looking a gift horse in the mouth, so you might at well start understanding just what you can do with it. And if there’s a good place to start, it’d probably be in a book.

“By the way, do you have any books on scrying or anything?”

In response, Patchouli releases another mote of purple-red light, which whizzes off somewhere unknown, returning about twenty seconds later with Koakuma in tow (or perhaps “a” Koakuma? Twelve of the same person still doesn’t make any sense to you). You manage to hear the hushed instructions passed between them.

“All the books on magical scrying and related subjects we have printed in English, to be placed on my primary desk by the time I return from dining. I will look them over later,” Patchouli commands. Koakuma manages to bat her long eyelashes at you behind Patchouli’s back as her little head-wings flutter her away into the vast collection of books.

“So you will be coming, then?” you ask hopefully.

She sighs deeply. “Perhaps. Perhaps Remilia is correct. Perhaps I should participate in social activity more.” It’s odd; she seems so very reluctant to do something as simple as leave the library for dinner. Maybe there’s something in her past which caused her to become so very anti-social. Or, who knows, maybe it’s just her personality. With all these books around to read, you wouldn’t be surprised if she just forgets that anything outside the library doors even exists.

As you worm your way back into your garments, you ask Patchouli, “So, scrying. How does it normally work? Like, are there tools or something you have to use, or what?”

“On average, yes,” she replies casually. “A focus such as a mirror or pool of water; any reflective surface would suffice. However, I do not think you to be average. You should need no aids besides your own mind. Once this barrier is passed, you will be able to directly view what another is seeing, as if you were seeing it with your own eyes. Koakuma will gather appropriate books for you; they will be ready after dinner.”

All of your possessions now intact and in their appropriate places, you decide to take one last look at Nathaniel before leaving. He’s dusted off the black table he was working on before, but it doesn’t look like he’s working on the watch, or even anything close. What does he have there, a giant block of red metal or something? You decide to pay it no mind for now; he can take care of himself…hopefully.

“Well, Cirno, shall we be going?” you ask the little fairy maid light-heartedly. She returns back to the ground, straightens her bonnet and apron, and makes a futile attempt to brush the combined filth from the exploding Risk board and the exploding support beam off of her dress before donning a determined face and looking back at you.

“Yes, master sir. If you’ll just give me the map, I’ll lead the way for us.” She bows deeply.

You can’t help but crack a smile at her, and you graciously hand her the library map. A more pessimistic portion of your brain is debating whether or not she can even read the map, but you pay it no mind. As the three of you walk out of the central hex, Patchouli slows down long enough to pick up a small book from a seemingly random stack, then rejoins you, though it takes a visible effort for her to catch up. Perhaps you should slow down a bit; she’s already short of breath, and a slight cough punctuates her deep breathing. All from just a little hurried walking? You tap Cirno on the shoulder and motion to Patchouli; hopefully she’ll get the message.

Though slow, the trek to the dining room is uneventful. With Patchouli’s questionable constitution you deem if best to not tax it further with talking, and ask her no questions. Cirno predictably gets your party lost on the way out, and it takes Patchouli’s guiding hand to trace the path to the exit. She tries to make up for it later by holding the dining room door open for Patchouli and you; not exactly a fair trade, but then again, it’s Cirno. At least she’s trying.

Sakuya is already pouring the wine as the three of you enter, but it appears that there are only two spots set at the table. Shouldn’t there be three in case Nathaniel shows up? You decide not to worry about it and seat yourself as Cirno sets your wine glass near your plate; seems to be a red wine this time.

“I must say you two look positively filthy,” Sakuya comments, giving a particularly piercing glare to Cirno. “What have you two been doing all afternoon? Not destroying the gardens, I hope.”

[ ] Ignore the question; it’s probably just meaningless chit-chat anyways.
[ ] Give a vague and light-hearted response (write a specific phrase if you wish)
[ ] Give a vague answer that insinuates foul play on your part (write a specific phrase if you wish)
[ ] Give a vague answer that insinuates foul play on someone else’s part (write a specific phrase if you wish)
[ ] Tell the truth. An old beam cracked in the library, sending dust everywhere. Leave out Flandre, though.
[ ] Tell the truth, both about the library and about Flandre. She knows you were there anyways.
[ ] A more specific write-in, perhaps?

Also:
[ ] Talk to Patchouli during dinner. About? (write-in your questions)
[ ] Talk to Sakuya during dinner. About? (write-in your questions)
[ ] Talk to Cirno during dinner. About? (write-in your questions)
[ ] Talk to no one during dinner, unless they direct conversation at you.
[ ] Something different?

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

I have returned to my place of learning without incident, though also without as much progress reading other CYOAs as I would have wished. Hopefully I may now return to my more regular schedule of approximately one update per day.
>> No. 23835
[X] Tell the truth. An old beam cracked in the library, sending dust everywhere. Leave out Flandre, though.

[X] Talk to Patchouli during dinner. -She mention something about her lack of social skill back then, ask some question about that.

[X] Talk to Cirno during dinner. -Her first day as a Maido come to a end, ask her how she feel about it.

And maybe...

[X] Talk to Sakuya during dinner. -Ask Sakuya about her day etc etc and try figure what she was planning back then with Cirno and all that shit.
>> No. 23836
[x] Give a vague and light-hearted response:
- [x] "It was nothing, really. Today we witnessed Flandre invade Poland, followed by a failed assassination attempt on Mr. Nathaniel, the plot orchestrated ostensibly by termite nationalists."
- [x] Redirect the question to Cirno if she presses you on it.

[x] Talk to Cirno during dinner. About?
- [x] Her duties for tonight:
- [x] She is to prepare a set of clothes for you and draw a bath for your immediate use after dinner.
- [x] She is to collect the books Koakuma brings in and leave them in your room.
- [x] After you finish your dinner and bath, she will have her own meal and draw a bath for herself.
- [x] She will have free time for the rest of the evening, provided that the Head Maid can find no additional task for her to perform.

[x] Talk to Patchouli during dinner. About?
- [x] What should you do with the elemental books that were given to you at Remilia's request? Should they be returned directly to the library or to Remilia personally? Or does that risk being seen as rebuffing Remilia's charity?
- [x] Ask her about the scope of Cirno's elemental control of cold. She mentioned in passing that it was a power "squandered" on her, but you want to know more.

[x] Talk to Sakuya during dinner. About?
- [x] About sleeping arrangements for Cirno. As she is your personal valet, would it be more appropriate for her to take a bedroom near your own or does propriety demand she reside in the servant's quarters?

Technically, Cirno is your female valet ("gentleman's maid") which actually ranks as a fairly high position among house staff. While she must still report to the Head Maid, she takes precedence in the servant hall equivalent to your own. In fact, the fairy maids are obliged to call her "Miss Cirno".
>> No. 23837
[x] Give a vague and light-hearted response:
- [x] "It was nothing, really. Today we witnessed Flandre invade Poland, followed by a failed assassination attempt on Mr. Nathaniel, the plot orchestrated ostensibly by termite nationalists."
- [x] Redirect the question to Cirno if she presses you on it.

[x] Talk to Sakuya during dinner. About?
- [x] About sleeping arrangements for Cirno. As she is your personal valet, it would be more appropriate for her to sleep in the same room as her master.

[x] Talk to Patchouli during dinner. About?
- [x] What should you do with the elemental books that were given to you at Remilia's request? Should they be returned directly to the library or to Remilia personally? Or does that risk being seen as rebuffing Remilia's charity?
- [x] Ask her about the scope of Cirno's elemental control of cold. She mentioned in passing that it was a power "squandered" on her, but you want to know more.

This sounds good
>> No. 23840
File 122815506586.gif - (71.51KB , 480x480 , flutterwingsflandre.gif ) [iqdb]
23840
Unexpected jubilations! I have just realized that this morning’s post marks my one hundredth update of A Scarlet-Stained Memoir! To somewhat celebrate this momentous occasion, here are a few random statistics of the story so far:

+ Begun on September 1st, 2008, and has been running constantly for 91 days since
+ Currently contains approximately 128,875 words (this number includes the list of voting options and chosen votes)
+ Using 12-point Arial font, single spaced, with only quarter-inch margins on the sides and half-inch margins on the top and bottom, the text file takes up 214 pages
+ Average words per post: 1,289 words
+ Average words per day: 1,416 words
+ Longest update thus far: Post #66, with 2,701 words

As a small bonus for staying with me through one hundred updates, I’ve decided to write a short little something for you; probably just two to five posts long, nothing big, just something to fill in the time while I’m waiting for votes. This would have no bearing on ASSM whatsoever, and isn’t even limited to being within the Scarlet Devil Mansion if you don’t want it to. However, I have absolutely no idea what I should write, so I’m leaving the decision to you. Post whatever ideas you think would make for a good short story: characters, plot, setting, genre, anything. The sky is more or less the limit here, but remember that if an idea sounds far too crazy, it probably won’t get considered.

This is not a vote. I’ll look over the ideas you give me, and choose the one I find the most interesting. Convincing arguments or compelling potential will of course draw my eye. So please, brainstorm away, and let us see what kind of tale we can spin together.

One hundred updates…here’s to one hundred more! Picture possibly related.
>> No. 23842
>>23840
Congratulations! I hope that you won't run out of steam in the near future. Too bad that the votes are slow in the last time.

I want to be Flandre's pet, or some story with Flandre. More love for her in general. Whatever it is, love, hate, abuse, just something with Flandre.
>> No. 23844
>>23840 WOW YOU ARE AWESOME, MAN!
>> No. 23853
>>23840

Luna Child trying to steal coffee beans from the SDM!

Her infiltration starts by cutting off all sound and using her special Snake in the Box cardboard box!
>> No. 23856
>>23840
>takes up 214 pages
That is a lot of pages.
>As a small bonus for staying with me through one hundred updates, [...]
You're rewarding us for paying attention to free entertainment. If you weren't already my favorite writefag, I'd have a new one.
>> No. 23858
[X] Tell the truth. An old beam cracked in the library, sending dust everywhere. Leave out Flandre, though.

[x] Talk to Patchouli during dinner. About?
- [x] What should you do with the elemental books that were given to you at Remilia's request? Should they be returned directly to the library or to Remilia personally? Or does that risk being seen as rebuffing Remilia's charity?
- [x] Ask her about the scope of Cirno's elemental control of cold. She mentioned in passing that it was a power "squandered" on her, but you want to know more.
>> No. 23859
>>23840
>Post whatever ideas you think would make for a good short story: characters, plot, setting, genre, anything. The sky is more or less the limit here

Well, how about that reward with Meiling, but instead of being kicked to death, the characters actually do it?

Well, I had to try. How about a small slice-of-life story with Koakuma(s) as the protagonist(s)? That was a very interessing cute, little devil(s) you wrote, you know?

Or, something involving Satori or Yukari and their respective pets. Or how the protagonist being Flandre's pet, her nice little kitty.

>>23856

The guy is a machine. 214 pages is easily a book, and if it weren't fanfiction about magical little girls he could become famous. Scrath that, if Howling could do it, so can he too.
>> No. 23860
>>23840
Ha ha, oh wow. I crunched the first run of SDM: LA and the total with the same format: 290(-ish) pages. I didn't even realize you'd covered that much ground; the single (technically double) posts once a day really add up in a mind blowing kinda way. Anyway, congratulations are in order! Many kudos, and thank you for such an epic story. I'm excited that I was in on the ground-level for this one. Seriously looking forward to much more.

Story idea: the tale of an anon who becomes mute due to a fluke in his accidental crossing of the border. In an effort to regain his voice, he proceeds to travel Gensokyo in the hopes of gathering a reality-bending amount of faith from the residents by melting their faces with his trusty six-string.
>> No. 23868
[x] >>23836 unless it is a bad idea.

...Does being a scryer mean that we can't use anything in those Moon and Earth books? Or should we maybe look up things vaguely related to scrying in them?

Perhaps scrying could be used as a bridge for telekinesis, clairaudience, or telepathy or something.

>>23749
ITC we completely ignore Contemplation Under Moon and Stars, the story that only, you know, completely redeemed that entire board.
(No offense to you, QWL; I like RwVT, but I don't think it caught on as widely as CuMaS did initially.)
>> No. 23869
>>23859
Bam.
>Slice of Life-y thing with all 12 Koakumas. (Koakumae?)
Yes, I know this is not a vote, but this sounds extremely good.
>> No. 23870
Already voted, but

> Or, something involving Satori or Yukari and their respective pets.

sounds interesting.
>> No. 23876
[x] Give a vague and light-hearted response:
- [x] "It was nothing, really. Today we witnessed Flandre invade Poland, followed by a failed assassination attempt on Mr. Nathaniel, the plot orchestrated ostensibly by termite nationalists."

[x] Talk to Patchouli during dinner. About?
- [x] What should you do with the elemental books that were given to you at Remilia's request? Should they be returned directly to the library or to Remilia personally? Or does that risk being seen as rebuffing Remilia's charity?
- [x] Ask her about the scope of Cirno's elemental control of cold. She mentioned in passing that it was a power "squandered" on her, but you want to know more.

and for the reward... General Cirno's Last Stand: Remember Icyland
>> No. 23879
>>23869
>>Orgy thing with all 12 Koakumas. (Koakumae?)
>> No. 23883
[x] Give a vague and light-hearted response:
- [x] "It was nothing, really. Today we witnessed Flandre invade Poland, followed by a failed assassination attempt on Mr. Nathaniel, the plot orchestrated ostensibly by termite nationalists."


[x] Talk to Patchouli during dinner. About?
- [x] What should you do with the elemental books that were given to you at Remilia's request? Should they be returned directly to the library or to Remilia personally? Or does that risk being seen as rebuffing Remilia's charity?
- [x] Ask her about the scope of Cirno's elemental control of cold. She mentioned in passing that it was a power "squandered" on her, but you want to know more.

A small exerpt Wherein Nathaniel and Farmboy are swapped with the medic and the Heavy respectively. Preferably referring the mansion as the enemy base and having to leave with the Intelligence.
>> No. 23887
[x] Give a vague and light-hearted response:
- [x] "It was nothing, really. Today we witnessed Flandre invade Poland, followed by a failed assassination attempt on Mr. Nathaniel, the plot orchestrated ostensibly by termite nationalists."

[x] Talk to Patchouli during dinner. About?
- [x] What should you do with the elemental books that were given to you at Remilia's request? Should they be returned directly to the library or to Remilia personally? Or does that risk being seen as rebuffing Remilia's charity?
- [x] Ask her about the scope of Cirno's elemental control of cold. She mentioned in passing that it was a power "squandered" on her, but you want to know more.

I cast my vote for the Koakuma story.

Suddenly, Koakuma, a dozen of them.
>> No. 23889
>>23879

You know, I was gonna write-in that right after Pathouli said the protagonits could 'use' them, but U.N.Owen updates before I could.
>> No. 23891
I was looking up a bunch of Thermodynamics stuff, and there IS a book called Thermodynamics for Beginners.
I had thought about seeing if we couldn't read it, then condense it down to usable ideas for Cirno. Maybe like a bedtime story, in a weird way. Also, some of the chapters are online.

I also found this:
>"The British scientist and author C.P. Snow had an excellent way of remembering the three laws:

>1. You cannot win (that is, you cannot get something for nothing, because matter and energy are conserved).
>2. You cannot break even (you cannot return to the same energy state, because there is always an increase in disorder; entropy always increases).
>3. You cannot get out of the game (because absolute zero is unattainable)."

...And said "holy fuck, Nathaniel lives." And then I saw "Snow" and there were more bricks.

And lastly, there was this, which nicely summarizes the 3 laws.
http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/6e.html
>> No. 23894
[x] Tell the truth, both about the library and about Flandre. She knows you were there anyways.
Why bother lying. If we lie to Sakuya there might be unforseen consequences.

[x] Talk to Patchouli during dinner. About?
- [x] What should you do with the elemental books that were given to you at Remilia's request? Should they be returned directly to the library or to Remilia personally? Or does that risk being seen as rebuffing Remilia's charity?
- [x] Ask her about the scope of Cirno's elemental control of cold. She mentioned in passing that it was a power "squandered" on her, but you want to know more.

Also, I'm torn between General Cirno's Last Stand: Remember Icyland and something involving Koa. Both sound good.
>> No. 23897
>Well, how about that reward with Meiling, but instead of being kicked to death, the characters actually do it?
>Well, I had to try. How about a small slice-of-life story with Koakuma(s) as the protagonist(s)? That was a very interessing cute, little devil(s) you wrote, you know?

Both sound good to me.

Also, Bandwagoning >>23836's votes.
>> No. 23899
>>23891

Cirno is bound to get odd thoughts in her head from that book. I'm just waiting for her to embellish an anecdote about the sorcerer named "Maxwell" and his demonic familiar.
>> No. 23900
[Give a vague and light-hearted response]
["It was nothing, really. Today we witnessed Flandre invade Poland, followed by a failed assassination attempt on Mr. Nathaniel, the plot orchestrated ostensibly by termite nationalists."]
[Talk to Patchouli during dinner. About?]
[What should you do with the elemental books that were given to you at Remilia's request? Should they be returned directly to the library or to Remilia personally? Or does that risk being seen as rebuffing Remilia's charity?]
[Ask her about the scope of Cirno's elemental control of cold. She mentioned in passing that it was a power "squandered" on her, but you want to know more.]

You’re feeling pretty good right now, so you decide to respond with what hopefully with be received as a joke.

“No, no gardens, Ms. Izayoi,” you respond. “Flandre just invaded Poland, not to mention the rest of Eastern Europe, and we were caught up in the aftermath. This was followed by a failed assassination attempt on Mr. Nathaniel, using the library’s stockpile of wooden artillery. I suspect a plot by the Termite Nationals, but you never really can tell with those extremist groups, can you?”

“Mmm, yes, so I’ve heard,” she responds enigmatically, dishing out portions of what looks like a fluffy meat casserole topped with cheese. “Best not to speak of things like that, you know; someone dangerous might overhear.”

You shrug your shoulders, but make no verbal response. You don’t want to take the joke so far that Sakuya starts pressing you for the real story, and simply reserve yourself to eating your dinner, which is quite delicious. You’re in no real rush, and Patchouli never seems to be, so you try to start up a new conversation, which will hopefully fare better than the one you had with her during last night’s dinner.

“So, Miss Knowledge, forgive me for pressing, but I’m curious. Cirno’s manipulation of cold. You mentioned it a little before, but if you wouldn’t mind sharing a little more…”

“Squandered,” she comments, giving no regard to the fact that Cirno is standing only a meter away, well within ear shot. “Yes, her abilities are quite lower than the potential maximum. Such a pity that one of the great elemental forces rests within the small mind of a fairy.”

You almost don’t believe what you’re hearing. Does she have no tact at all? No restraint? Watching Cirno is almost painful right now. She looks like she wants to burst out in a rage and freeze everything in sight, or perhaps even break out in tears, but she seems unable to do either due to threatening glares from Sakuya, who seems to be holding something behind her back, out of sight to all but her and Cirno. The fairy manages to grind out a reply that sounds extremely forced.

“I, would like it if, if you, wouldn’t talk about me, like that.”

Patchouli is unfazed, and continues her indirect assault. “The manipulation of cold seems, on the surface, to be a simple thing. Turning liquid water to ice, or water vapor to ice, these are expected results for an amateur. But control over an element holds countless possibilities, possibilities which I fear a fairy cannot comprehend.”

“Please, Miss Knowledge, could…Could you talk, about s-something else?” You can tell Cirno is really trying to hold in her emotions now, and any second she could break. You try and interrupt Patchouli’s explanations, but to no avail; she seems to have dropped into one of her zones of philosophical recitation again.

“Cold. The concept of cold itself. In other terms, a lack of heat, or thermal energy. This is linked then to entropy. In theory, manipulation of cold could not only manipulate the energy itself—or lack thereof—but could directly control objects that themselves are “cold”, with greater control being attained as entropy increases. Reduction of an area’s ambient temperature, transfer of energy from thermal to kinetic, possible control over thermal equilibrium, perhaps instant nullification of external energy so long at it contains a thermal component. I have speculated hundreds of uses and techniques for cold manipulation, but without direct testing, of course, they remain theories. A fairy might hypothetically learn such techniques, but their minds are immature, childish, non-responsive to advanced thermodynamic concepts. Thus, ‘squandered’ is an appropriate word to use in this situation.”

That did it. A tear drips from Cirno’s eye, which she quickly brushes away. “Ms. Izayoi, I need t-to, to leave for a moment. I should, umm…I should make a b-bath for, for my master, yes. Please excuse m-me.” She spins around and tries her hardest not to run as she exits out the door.

“Oh, perhaps I’ve done it again,” Patchouli comments, her voice betraying not the slightest bit of emotion.

You find it hard to hold in your own emotions after that display. Patchouli should have known that talking like that around Cirno was going to start something. She might as well have called her an idiot directly to her face! You assume that Cirno’s heard similar words before, but right now? When she’s trying to prove how brave she can be in a strange place she’s uncomfortable with? You’re amazed that she managed to make it out the door with even a semblance of composure left. And Sakuya; what was her problem? Was she silently threatening the fairy again if she tried something foolish within Remilia’s house? You wish you had never brought the topic up; how could you have been so stupid, thinking that you could talk about Cirno’s abilities behind her back, or even right in front of it?

The rest of the meal continues in relative silence, Patchouli perfectly content to not start a conversation herself, and you too shaken to do likewise. The meal seems to have lost it’s savor; the wine no longer sweet and refreshing. It isn’t long before you simply can’t stand it any more. This was supposed to be a cheerful meal with some good, friendly discussion with Patchouli, who you thought might finally be opening up to you just a little. But with just one comment, it all went to shambles. You should find Cirno soon; she probably needs someone to talk to right now, and you’re all she has in this mysterious place.

“Forgive me for leaving before the meal is over,” you apologize, “but that bath sounds awful good to me right now. Ms. Izayoi, excellent meal as always.”

She gives you a small bow. “No trouble at all sir; it’s what I’m here for. Please take care of yourself.”

So as not to appear unconcerned for Patchouli’s presence, you decide to ask her a quick question before you leave. “Umm, about the books I was given last night…Should I still keep them? I mean, since, you know...Do I really need them now?”

Her response is flat, but at least she looks at you as she says it. “Many libraries contain books which contain information that are in all practical regards useless to the reader, but this does not make the book itself useless. Knowledge is always a boon, even if you do not think it means anything at the moment. Keep them; they are a gift, and are yours to hold.”

You nod in recognition and leave the dining hall. Now to find Cirno…but where would she have gone? She said she was drawing a bath for you, but that could have easily been a front to simply get out of the room quickly. Short of following a nigh-invisible trail of tears (as if you could even hope to track that well!), it looks like you don’t have many leads.

[ ] Maybe she really is drawing you a bath. Look around the washrooms for her.
[ ] She knows where your room is, right? Perhaps she’s waiting for you there.
[ ] The library would probably have good spots to hide and cry in. Give it a shot.
[ ] Would she…would she have gone into the basement to be alone?
[ ] Look around randomly, listening for the sound of tears.
[ ] There must be something you haven’t thought of… (Write-in option)
>> No. 23902
Well then, first thing’s first:

>>23876
>General Cirno's Last Stand: Remember Icyland
This, this, for the love of all that is good and awesome in the world, THIS!! I was hoping for something fun and exciting, and you have exceeded my expectations with this idea. I’ve already started visualizing how I can write it, and it’s looking pretty epic in my head. I would estimate that this will be written within a week or two, but since A Scarlet-Stained Memoir takes precedence over this, it could be longer. Rest assured, though, that I will try and make this bonus story one worthy of remembering.


>>23842
I have ample steam stored up, and I do not plan to lose it. I have needed a driving force to keep me writing for over a year now, and somehow the voting styles of this board’s CYOAs simply clicked for me. Perhaps I’m subconsciously trying to rectify the horrible attempt I made with my first book by writing both better and more consistantly here, who knows.

>>23844
Maybe not awesome enough to merit full caps, but I appreciate your compliment. I’m really not that awesome, though; there’s lots better than me here. For instance, I just started reading RaAN, and good gravy is “Blankfag Ran” a writer! I’ve only gotten through the first thread, and I’m already hooked tight.

>>23856
>You're rewarding us for paying attention to free entertainment.
There’s plenty of good “free entertainment” out there that no one pays any attention to, you know. It really means something for you fine folk to have stuck with me this long.

>>23859
>How about a small slice-of-life story with Koakuma(s) as the protagonist(s)?
Mmm, now there’s a good idea. I’ve already chosen a different story topic, but perhaps I’ll let this idea simmer on the back burner in the meantime.

>>23860
Slow and steady wins the race, as they say. But, in all honesty, I think the majority of my updates are longer than average for this site, so it’s not that hard to cover the same ground in less time. And thank you very much for your compliments. Guitar-wielding mute who bends reality with epic shredding? I doubt I would do it the justice it deserves.

>>23879
>Orgy thing with all 12 Koakumas. (Koakumae?)
You talk to Dr. Doujin about this kind of stuff; not me. I have heard he’s hijacked threads with his unique H-scenes more than once before, but I wouldn’t know what he’s up to these days.

>>23883
>A small excerpt wherein Nathaniel and Farmboy are swapped with the Medic and the Heavy respectively.
If only I had ever played Team Fortress 2 I would jump on this plot like wildfire. However, I wouldn’t dare do a disservice to the fine people at Valve by mistreating their iconic characters with my lack of intricate knowledge of such things as “CRY SOME MOAR!” Also, why not Nathaniel as the Engineer?

>>23889
See two paragraphs above. Also, I find it amusing that I could actually cut a voter’s write-in short with an update, considering how slow I am in comparison to other writers.

>>23891
This is a good post. I can’t think of anything else to say but that.

>>23899
The less I know about this the better. I think.
>> No. 23903
[X] Maybe she really is drawing you a bath. Look around the washrooms for her.

I'm thinking she's in the basement, our room, or a washroom.

Assuming she could get down there again, the basement would be relatively quiet and a decent place to be alone, and it was down there where she received those words of encouragement from Lucid Flandre.

Our room could be possible, if she expected us to come after her, wanted to be found, and knew we would come back there eventually.

Finally, a washroom would be quite likely, as she would probably not want to risk punishment for saying she was doing something and not doing, and the sound of running water would certainly cover the sound of her crying.

The library seems doubtful, as I can't see her going to the domain of the one who put her in this state, no matter how many places to hide it might offer.
Searching randomly is certainly an option, but in a mansion that large and with no clue as to where she would have gone, it could take a long time to find her.
>> No. 23904
LOL! Patchouli REALLY need to train these socials skills of her.

[X] Maybe she really is drawing you a bath. Look around the washrooms for her.

Cirno said she will do so, but if she not here then...

[X] The library would probably have good spots to hide and cry in. Give it a shot.

We order her to bring us some books about scrying back then, no?
>> No. 23905
FUUUCK

Patchy is loev, but that was just cold.
>> No. 23907
[ ] There must be something you haven’t thought of…
[ ] ... You're a 'scryer' right?

We've already explored a good amount of the mansion, so all we need is a peek through her teary eyes and hope that hint is enough to find her.
>> No. 23908
File 122819822364.jpg - (174.11KB , 715x1000 , 2205622.jpg ) [iqdb]
23908
>>23905
Agreed.

>>23900
[X] Scrying; seeing through another person's eyes. This should work; this will work. Think of Cirno's personality, all the time you've spent with her. Focus on what she must have felt: confusion, anger, embarassment, frustration. Focus. Visualize. Understand. Focus

Use an emotional moment in an attempt to understand our (potential) abilities DO WANT CIRNO NOW. LETTING OUR MAID CRY IS
FORBIDDEN. WANT. CIRNO. NOW.

...

Oh man, so glad I had nothing to do with that vote. I would feel like so much shit I'd burn through my top shelf booze selection in a hurry. This Cirno is getting dangerously close to usurping GM's version in my personal estimation.

>>23902
>>This, this, for the love of all that is good and awesome in the world, THIS!!
Well alright, maybe tonight is salvageable after all.
>> No. 23909
[X] There must be something you haven’t thought of…
[X] ... You're a 'scryer' right? Scrying; seeing through another person's eyes. This should work; this will work. Think of Cirno's personality, all the time you've spent with her. Focus on what she must have felt: confusion, anger, embarassment, frustration. Focus. Visualize. Understand. Focus

Good idea. But if this doesn't work...

[X] Maybe she really is drawing you a bath. Look around the washrooms for her.
>> No. 23912
[X] There must be something you haven’t thought of…
[X] ... You're a 'scryer' right? Scrying; seeing through another person's eyes. This should work; this will work. Think of Cirno's personality, all the time you've spent with her. Focus on what she must have felt: confusion, anger, embarassment, frustration. Focus. Visualize. Understand. Focus

Good idea. But if this doesn't work...

[X] Maybe she really is drawing you a bath. Look around the washrooms for her.

Copypasted for being exactly what I wanted to vote as well.
>> No. 23913
[x] Scrying option
Backup plan:
[x] Maybe she really is drawing you a bath. Look around the washrooms for her.

I don't think she would lie about that. She's supposed to do it anyway, and she's been very responsible so far, although Sakuya's threats have a lot to do with it.

>>23908
I already like her more than GM's version. She has a lot more personality in this story, we're seeing more sides of her than just the typical mindlessly enthusiastic and headstrong ⑨.
>> No. 23914
Notably the original write-in had Cirno not be present for that bit. The intention I'm guessing was less to attempt chitchat with Patchouli than to glean information to better aid the fairy in the development of her ability, but because of the way it came out here she'll now have shut herself off from relying on others. How indelicate of you, Anon.

[x] Maybe she really is drawing you a bath. Look around the washrooms for her.
[X] ... You're a 'scryer' right? Scrying; seeing through another person's eyes. This should work; this will work. Think of Cirno's personality, all the time you've spent with her. Focus on what she must have felt: confusion, anger, embarassment, frustration. Focus. Visualize. Understand. Focus.

The strongest said she would be drawing you a bath, so that's what the strongest will be doing, even if she's bawling all the while. Whether the water warmed to your comfort or you arrive to find the bathtub encased in a solid block of ice is a different matter.

More importantly, I doubt should would have stuck around after she was done. But this was not a waste, Patchouli said any reflective surface would do, whether it be the mirror or the bathwater, and a steam filled room should be the perfect environment in which to block out your senses and focus, doubly so since you'd be in a place she'd recently been in.
>> No. 23917
File 122821118785.png - (16.30KB , 608x224 , Maxwell's_demon.png ) [iqdb]
23917
>>23902
>The less I know about this the better. I think.
It's not a bad thing at all.

From Wikipedia:
>"The Second Law of Thermodynamics forbids (through statistical improbability) that two bodies of equal temperature, when brought into contact with each other and isolated from the rest of the Universe, will evolve to a stable state in which one of the two has a significantly higher temperature than the other. The second law is also expressed as the assertion that in an isolated system, entropy never decreases.

>Maxwell conceived a "thought experiment" as a challenge to the second law. [He] imagines two containers, A and B. The containers are filled with the same gas at equal temperatures and placed next to each other.

>Observing the molecules on both sides, a little "demon" guards a trapdoor between the two containers. When a faster-than-average molecule from A flies towards the trapdoor, the demon opens it, and the molecule will fly from A to B. The average speed of the molecules in B will have increased while in A they will have slowed down on average.

>Since average molecular speed corresponds to temperature, the temperature decreases in A and increases in B, contrary to the Second Law of Thermodynamics."

But seriously, someone could make a bedtime story out of this. And once it's in her head in a shape she can deal with...

>>23914
Good point.

[x] Scrying option
Backup plan:
[x] Maybe she really is drawing you a bath. Look around the washrooms for her.

Or combine the two, whatever.
>> No. 23918
[X] There must be something you haven’t thought of…
[X] ... You're a 'scryer' right? Scrying; seeing through another person's eyes. This should work; this will work. Think of Cirno's personality, all the time you've spent with her. Focus on what she must have felt: confusion, anger, embarassment, frustration. Focus. Visualize. Understand. Focus
>> No. 23919
>>23914
Notably, the original write-in also made the mistake of assuming a certain situation, and relying upon previous parts of the write-in to establish that situation, which can have unintended consequences when either events don't play out as expected or parts of the vote are altered or omitted.

Besides that, it completely ignored certain factors that should have been considered. For starters, there's no way to know if Koakuma will come up with a couple books for us, or a couple hundred, and the fact that Patchy specifically said she would look them over when she returned from dinner was so she could sort out the ones she thought would help us most and spare us the back strain of trying to carry back more books than we needed. That, and she probably would appreciate knowing what books we were checking out from the library before we took them. Unlike those others we received, these would probably not be a gift.

Besides that, for all of her determination to do well, Cirno is still rather inexperienced as a maid and so it might be a tad unreasonable to give her so many things to do in such a short period of time like that, especially if for all you know you would have the poor girl attempting to haul several dozen heavy books back to your room.
>> No. 23939
>>23917
You are now imagining a mini-Koakuma as the 'Demon'.
>> No. 23944
[…You're a 'scryer' right? Scrying; seeing through another person's eyes. This should work; this will work. Think of Cirno's personality, all the time you've spent with her. Focus on what she must have felt: confusion, anger, embarassment, frustration. Focus. Visualize. Understand. Focus.]
[If that doesn’t work, maybe she really is drawing you a bath. Look around the washrooms for her.]

You find a chair in the main foyer and sit down to think for a bit. Where would Cirno have gone? Couldn’t be the basement, she doesn’t have a key. Probably not the library, she might get lost again, or worse, get bugged by Koakuma. Maybe she wasn’t lying when she said she was going to draw you a bath. Except, how many washrooms are there in this mansion? Ten? Twenty? A hundred? It could take all night to try and find her if you start looking randomly, and there’s no telling how much time you have before the damage done to her is irreversible. If you only had a clue, an inkling, something, anything at all would do.

Wait. You do have something. Your magic. “Scrying”. Patchouli said that you should be able to see through the eyes of others with it. If Cirno’s in a place you can recognize, you should be able to tell by seeing what she sees. But will it work? Are there any side effects? Will she feel violated or something like that? After all, from what you’ve heard so far, “scrying” sounds like just a fancy, magic-y way of saying “spying” to you. But right now, that doesn’t matter. Cirno needs a friend right now, and as soon as possible. You don’t have time to second guess yourself; you’ve wasted plenty of time in this mansion by doing that already. You’ve had enough with being “passive” and “contemplative” like the Moon. Patchouli was wrong anyways, come to think of it; you weren’t an elemental magician at all. All that talk about signs and properties don’t mean anything anymore. You are yourself, not what some book makes you out to be.

You close your eyes and slow your breathing. You’re practiced these techniques dozens of times before, even if they never did anything for you yet. Calm. Quiet. There’s nothing else to think about except you and your target. See it. Visualize it. Focus on it.

Cirno. That little, brash icy fairy. In the real world she’d barely be ten years old if she wasn’t magical. The short, blue hair. The crystalline wings. The Strongest. She tries so hard to show everyone her strength. Even if she goes about it the wrong way, she means well at heart. She just wants to have fun and be taken seriously. Has anyone ever cared about what she’s really like? About what she must be feeling every day? Anger. Hope. Confusion. Courage. Embarrassment. Optimism. Frustration. Happiness. Sadness. Solitude. How could such a complex soul be ignored, passed off as a simple child with a big head and delusions of grandeur? And how could it have been so simple for you? She’s just a little girl…And yet, so much more.

You don’t feel any change. No surge of power or magical aura. There’s no shining white light of hum of energy to signify that anything happened. You simply open your eyes, and see something else. Every other sense is still yours; you can hear your own soft breathing, feel the chair cushion on your back. But your eyes…your eyes are not your own. You can see a blurry pool of water inside a large white bowl; a tub, perhaps? Your view is marred by the rippling of water, perhaps tears. Everything goes black for a few seconds, then the sight returns, much clearer this time. Chunks of ice float in the water, looking like miniature icebergs in a foggy arctic sea. A small finger pokes one of the icebergs and spins it around the tub. The water appears to still be flowing out of the tap, and before too much longer it might start flooding over the edge. The eyes you view the world through pan left away from the tub, and you can instantly recognize the area: the washroom you met Nathaniel in last night, the one closest to your room. A pile of wet clothes lie to the edge of your view, which is the last thing you can remember before your sight goes unfocused and your eyes return to where they should be: inside you own head.

So, this is how scrying works, is it? Didn’t seem like Cirno knew you were looking at her, and hopefully she didn’t feel anything weird; at least you didn’t. The absence of sound is kind of odd, but Patchouli only ever said anything about other’s eyes, not other’s ears. Anyways, you don’t want to waste any more time, and quickly hustle upstairs to the fateful bathroom.

As you stand outside the room, you hesitate. The door is open just a crack, but not enough to see anything or anyone inside. You can’t hear anything from inside either, but you’re positively sure that this is the right room; you doubt that conversation with Nathaniel will ever let you forget everything about this room. Why are you stopping, then? The ice fairy probably needs someone to talk to, a shoulder to cry on…perhaps even a face to yell at. But you know a tender situation when you see one, and you’ve made too much progress with Cirno in just a day or two to mess it up now.

[ ] Open the door and step inside. She can’t wait any loner, and neither can you.
[ ] Just try and peek inside without going in.
[ ] Knock on the door and alert her before going in.
[ ] Knock on the door and alert her, but don’t go in unless she allow you to.
[ ] Knock on the door and alert her, but don’t go in until she herself opens the door for you.
[ ] Just wait outside the door for her; she should be alone.
[ ] Never mind. This is an altogether bad idea. Go somewhere else (specify destination)
[ ] Maybe all these ideas are altogether bad. A write-in, then?

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

>>23908
>This Cirno is getting dangerously close to usurping GM's version in my personal estimation.
Oh dear; I’ve heard that GM’s Cirno is quite famous and even legendary. For a greenhorn nobody like myself to surpass that greatness…either it would be very good, or very bad.

>>23913
>I already like her more than GM's version. She has a lot more personality in this story, we're seeing more sides of her than just the typical mindlessly enthusiastic and headstrong ⑨.
No one ever seems to give Cirno any justice. I merely try to rectify that.

>>23917
Well now, this makes quite a bit more sense. Thank you kindly.

>>23919
This first paragraph has hit the proverbial nail on the proverbial head. It actually came as a surprise to me when I was writing this scene. One minute I’m counting the votes, the next I’m writing down the character’s dialog, and the next my fingers have a brain of their own and realize thirty seconds before I do that, “Squandered?! Cirno’s still in the room, you inconsiderate twat!” And it’s all downhill from there, as it is said. But it makes for a good plot twist, now doesn’t it?
>> No. 23947
> A pile of wet clothes lie to the edge of your view, which is the last thing you can remember before your sight goes unfocused and your eyes return to where they should be: inside you own head.

Hm...

[x] Knock on the door and alert her, but don’t go in unless she allow you to, or after having given her enough time to get dressed, in case those clothes are hers.
>> No. 23952
File 122826542932.jpg - (455.39KB , 700x1159 , 289406.jpg ) [iqdb]
23952
>>23947
Good catch. Actually, from that description, we don't even know if Cirno was in the bathtub or not. If there are little glaciers floating around in the tub and "A pile of wet clothes," this may be bathtime for Cirno

I'm torn between giving her some alone time and wanting to comfort her right away. On the one hand it would be good to let her calm down and enjoy some alone time for the first time today, but on the other I don't want her to start mulling over Patchouli's speech too much and actually believing it. In her lucid little moment, Flandre knew what Cirno is capable of, and that she'd come to her own when she met that special person. Just because she can't now doesn't mean she never will. Despite all expectations she's been a perfect maid for us in order to impress Remilia. I don't doubt her potential if she wanted to prove Patchy wrong.

Gonna ponder over a write-in while I do some homework. Have some crying Cirno.
>> No. 23953
>>23947
[x] Knock on the door and alert her, but don’t go in unless she allow you to, or after having given her enough time to get dressed, in case those clothes are hers.

You stole that from my mind! Damn you!
>> No. 23954
[x] Open the door and step inside. She can’t wait any longer, and neither can you.

Now is the time to act paternally, to hug her and tell her that everything is going to be all right, not to be wasting your time on a propriety that is likely only projected by you in the first place. You'd only serve to provide her time to further attempt to conceal her emotions as she continues to play at being the "perfect maid".
>> No. 23955
[X] Knock on the door and alert her, but don’t go in unless she allows you to, or after having given her enough time to get dressed, in case those clothes are hers.

To paraphrase our gracious author, This has hit the proverbial nail on the proverbial head.
>> No. 23956
[x] Knock on the door and alert her, but don’t go in unless she allow you to, or after having given her enough time to get dressed, in case those clothes are hers.

I still like GM's Cirno more
>> No. 23957
[X] Knock on the door and alert her, but don’t go in unless she allows you to, or after having given her enough time to get dressed, in case those clothes are hers.

Seems a clear enough choice.
>> No. 23960
[X] Knock on the door and alert her, but don’t go in unless she allows you to, or after having given her enough time to get dressed, in case those clothes are hers.
>> No. 23961
[X] Knock on the door and alert her, but don’t go in unless she allows you to, or after having given her enough time to get dressed, in case those clothes are hers.

Poor Cirno ;_;
>> No. 23962
>So, this is how scrying works, is it?

So this is scrying power, eh?
>> No. 23964
>>23944
>For a greenhorn nobody like myself to surpass that greatness
You've already written a lot more than GM ever did, and much higher quality. WUIG was fun and fast-paced, but it was mostly fluff, really.
>> No. 23967
>>23964
>But, how did you get there? Suddenly, your stomach starts to roil. The more you think about it, the more sick you feel.
Honestly, just about everything but that line is fluff. That's the first time Anon bothered to ask himself "How the fuck did I wake up in Gensokyo, anyways?". There's really no story behind it, it's just like a tour through Gensokyo. Not that it's necessarily a bad thing, especially considering how damn popular it became.
>> No. 23968
>>23967

For those of us who are uninformed...where could we find this "GM"'s story?
>> No. 23970
{X} Knock on the door and alert her, but don’t go in unless she allows you to, or after having given her enough time to get dressed, in case those clothes are hers.
>> No. 23971
File 122828509378.jpg - (72.21KB , 640x800 , 1896122.jpg ) [iqdb]
23971
>>23968
Check /th/ for the sticky, it has the archives. Anyway...
http://bloodyshovel.oddwebsite.com/Ehs%20folder/YWUIG.html
Threads 1 - 54
http://www.sentrygun.com/touhou/threads/WUIG_40-59.zip
Threads 40-59
Number 38 got her a one month ban on /jp/ for "Fanfiction", 39 was on random phpbb made for it, and then anon decided to raid take residence in Doujin Style's new-ish image board.
>> No. 23973
>>23952
I can't help but think that Patchy was trying to --in her own well-meaning but badly-executed way-- goad Cirno into proving her wrong, purely out of desire to see her talent be put to fascinating physics-breaking uses.

After all, why else would she have voluntarily given Cirno the Thermodynamics book?

I think Ms. Knowledge has taken an interest in the little fairy, and just doesn't know how to deal with her very well, as her social skills are, as mentioned before, pretty rusty from being cooped up in the library with little contact from others.

We should encourage Cirno to prove Patchy wrong, and show that she CAN pull off at least some of this stuff, and understand what she's doing. We'll do this by showing her that being The Strongest sometimes means being it emotionally, as well. She ought to be more open to it via that approach.

>>23944
>No one ever seems to give Cirno any justice. I merely try to rectify that.
...So the retrieval plan involves Cirno transporting Equitas? Interesting.
>> No. 23974
>>23973
>...So the retrieval plan involves Cirno transporting Equitas? Interesting.
Goddammit, I smiled. And then groaned.
>> No. 23975
>>23973

Cirno already was the strongest emotionally...at least, before Sakuya got her grubby paws on her.

Then Cirno was confused, unsure of herself and worst of all, aware of her weakness.

It's that self awareness that's causing her to react badly to Patchouli, she's like a child who thought she was all that when she learnt how to walk and then finds out there's running, jumping and skipping right after it. Learning that she isn't the strongest and why she isn't made a large dent in her ego but one that she really needed to hope to gain higher levels of power.

Still, that dent in her ego also means that she's more susceptible to her past failures and her uncertain future.

tl:dr She's not quite the same fairy we knew before, she knows she's not the strongest but still hopes to be it. But that hope is on shaky legs and very far off into the distance, right now it could use some support.
>> No. 23980
Slowpokin' it up

>Also, why not Nathaniel as the Engineer?

Because the Heavy and Medic go together like tea and biscuits, and the Engineer is a much more defense-oriented class.
>> No. 24006
[Knock on the door and alert her, but don’t go in unless she allows you to, or after having given her enough time to get dressed, in case those clothes are hers.]

A pile of wet clothes…you seem to remember that they looked vaguely blue. Could they be Cirno’s? If so, you’ve got no desire whatsoever to barge in on her naked, not when she’s probably already feeling vulnerable. But still, you don’t want to leave her alone. You nervously tap on the door, soft enough to be polite, but loud enough to be heard.

“Eee! Umm, who is it?”

“It’s me,” you reply. “Can I…I mean, do you want me to come in?”

Cirno’s reply is hurried, but doesn’t seem all that sad, simply distracted. “No, n-not yet. I’m, I’m not dressed yet. Hang on…” There’s a sound of shuffling and squeaking from inside the room as Cirno puts her clothes back on, and soon she allows you inside. You slowly push open the door and walk in, hands in your pockets, and look around. The room is steamy and smells of hot bathwater, but Cirno herself still seems rather dirty. Her hair is matted and tangled with sawdust, and her exposed arms are still sooty, but her maid uniform at least is clean, if sopping wet. She tries to straighten out her hair and put the white lacy bonnet back on her head, but she doesn’t make much progress, and in the end you decide to lean over and help her with it. It’s a pity your comb is still back in your room, else you’d take a shot at combing the rat’s nests out of her sky blue locks. After you’ve done the best you can, you step back and give Cirno her space; don’t want to seem too pushy, just close enough to let her know you’re right there.

“You’re all wet,” you say, decided to start the conversation in a roundabout way.

“Yeah, umm, I tried to wash out my uniform in the sink with soap n’ stuff. That’s how you get clothes clean, right?”

“I guess. My parents usually washed all my clothes for me; I doubt I’d do any better than you at it.”

You both share a silent smile before continuing the conversation. “So…are you all right? You didn’t seem too good back in the dining room.”

She wipes her eyes. “I’m a little, a little better now. I…I was crying for a while, alone, but I think I’m okay.”

“…You want to talk about it?”

“I, umm, I dunno. I guess if you want to.”

Great, making you decide again. Well, you don’t think that it’s right for her to just bottle up her emotions. If she’s feeling scared, she should know you’re there for her. “I’m sorry,” you apologize, drooping your head. “I didn’t think Patchouli was going to act like that. I, I didn’t know what I was thinking. I was just curious.”

She doesn’t answer for a few seconds, and just sits there glaring at you, then turns her head away from you as she mutters, “…Mr. Stupid…”

Okay, you deserved that; you probably deserve a whole lot more than just that. She picks up her head and looks at you, cool blue eyes full of weariness, but still full of optimism at the same time. “I forgive you,” she replies quietly. “Stupid people make stupid mistakes all the time, that’s why they’re stupid. ‘Cause I guess if it was a smart mistake, then it wouldn’t be a mistake!”

You can’t help but grin. For all her immaturity, the words of a child can be extremely profound sometimes. She holds out her hand. “Friends again?”

You want to simply bypass the handshake and hug her tightly right now, but something inside of you holds you back, and you merely take her hand. “Friends again.”

It’s Cirno’s turn to surprise you, and out of the blue she wraps her arms around your legs, hugging them tight. You almost fall over from the sudden impact, but manage to keep your balance, though her position prevents you from hugging her back. She lets go after not too long, and you sit down on the ground, making talking a little easier.

“You sure you’re okay, then?” you ask.

“Mhm, yeah. I was real upset at first, like I wanted to freeze Miss Patchy’s mouth shut! But…yeah, that’d be bad, and Miss Sakuya was…Anyways, after I cried a lot, I started thinkin’. You know, Patchouli’s right, I guess. I know I’m pretty dumb and stuff; I can’t do math or science or hard stuff like that, and I won’t be able to do any of that stuff she was talkin’ about in like a million years! But I, I wanna try. Strong people gots to try real hard to be strong, so The Strongest gots to try even harder!” She thinks for a little while before adding, “And if I could learn how to be a maid, maybe I could learn how to be a, a whatchyamathingy, a Theremo-Dryer Automatic!”

Her mispronunciation is simply too cute to try and correct, so you leave it be. Leaning against the porcelain tub, she seems to remember something. “Oh yeah, this tub’s for you, I made it myself! I think it’s a little too hot, that’s why I tried to freeze it colder. That works, right?”

You nod. “I thought you said you didn’t know anything about thermodynamics.”

“Nuh-uh!” she retorts bossily. “I know a little! Like, if you put a cold thing in a hot thing, the hot thing gets colder! And, ummmmm…well, okay, I guess that’s it.” Cirno pouts.

“I’m sure the tub will be just fine,” you reply kindly. “Thank you, Cirno.”

She slips her glasses back on, and stands up very straight. “You are most welcome, master-sir. Is there anything else I can get for you?”

You play along. “Why yes, Miss Cirno, there is. Could-“

Your words die away as you notice blood on the inside of Cirno’s left arm, and your face instantly grows grim. “Cirno, your arm. You’re bleeding! What happened?”

She glances at the red drips and quickly draws her arm behind her back. “Oh, nothing. Just a scratch, I just bumped a…a sharp desk is all.”

The lie is a poor one, and you’re not fooled for a second. You crouch down and coax her arm out from behind her. Lining the interior of her arm near the sleeve are six jagged cuts, four of them still bleeding profusely, and obviously none of them accidents. Cirno looks away from you in embarrassment.

“Cirno,” you ask sternly. “How did you get these? Was Sakuya ‘warning’ you again?”

“No!” she denies quickly, shaking her head. “No, that was just, just that one time. She’s been okay to me after that.”

“Then how?”

She remains silent for what must be close to a minute, looking around at seemingly everything in the room except your concerned eyes. The tension remains despite the delay, even if she was hoping you’d lose interest by stalling. You’ve begun to feel a certain sort of responsibility for Cirno. It’s true that she, being magical and a native of this land, is far more capable of defending herself than you could. But for all her abilities, she’s just a child, a naïve child, and one who can be easily taken advantage of. It was you, and you alone that agreed for her to serve you as a consequence for losing that now-fateful danmaku duel. You are responsible for her predicament. And if someone, or something is causing her harm…

“I…I did it to myself.”

(Oh…)
>> No. 24007
(…snap?)

“Wait, what?” You don’t believe what you just heard. She must have misspoken!

“I said I, I cut myself. It was me.”

You stagger backwards, if such a movement is possible while sitting. “W-Why?” you ask frantically.

She subconsciously rubs her arm, smearing blood all over her hand. “I think I’m…I, I think I’m dying,” she says weakly, her bottom lip quivering.

You don’t know how to respond. Dying? But she looks perfectly healthy! She hasn’t show any symptoms, no coughing or pale face, nothing! You stare at her dumbly, mouth slightly open, completely taken aback by this dizzying statement.

Cirno seems to be on the verge of tears, but her voice is strong as she asks you a question. “Do you, know about fairies in Gensokyo?”

You dully shake your head, still unable to speak. Cirno continues.

“We’re all pretty small—I’m one-a the big ones—but we’re really magic-y. We can all fly and shoot danmaku and do cool stuff, and it’s really fun. But like, we heal in no time, too. Like this one time, Daiyousei, she’s my friend, she flew into a prickly bush and she was all poked and red and bleeding. But all the cuts and stuff went away in just a few seconds, like it was nothing! And even if some bad monster eats a fairy or they die or something, they just come back again good as new, like magic! So I’m s’posed to be like that too. Except…” she trails off and sniffs away a wayward tear, “except it hasn’t been working for me for a while. I still heal fast, but it’s weird, like sometimes it takes all day, and sometimes it takes a few minutes. That’s why…” She trails off again, and you decide to risk a question to make her feel a little more comfortable.

“That’s why you want to test it? You want to make sure?” you guess.

She shrugs her shoulders. “I know, it sounds really stupid. Why would you cut yourself, how stupid is that? But I’m…I-I’m…” She can’t hold it any more. She slumps down and holds her hands to her eyes, bawling uncontrollably, now smearing the blood to her face as well. She manages to look up at you for a few seconds, and her visage nearly breaks your heart on the spot. A river of tears glisten on her cheeks and chin, causing the residual redness to mix in and create the illusion that she’s crying blood. Her eyes…could there be a more pitiful pair of eyes in all of Gensokyo, in all the world, in all of history? Amidst the loud sobs and weeps you can make out only a single, pitiful sentence.

“I-I-Iye d-don’t-t waaann-nt too dii-hi-hi-hi-iiee!”

[ ] Write-in only…

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

This segment goes out to all of you who wondered when or how you would learn about the regeneration of fairies, and ultimately fueled by that single fateful voter who questioned why Cirno wasn’t healing her injuries instantly. I hope you enjoy your possible exposition.

>>23952
>Have some crying Cirno.
Likewise.

>>23973
>...So the retrieval plan involves Cirno transporting Equitas? Interesting.
Oh, so just because you know the Latin translation, now you think everything’s a metaphor for something else? Way to analyze yourself into a downwards spiral of loose-ends. I shall now end my attempted sarcasm…here.
>> No. 24008
FFFFFFFFFFF
[X]Hug her, try to calm her down somehow.
>> No. 24012
[X]Hug her, try to calm her down somehow.
>> No. 24013
I'm thinking this is all somehow part of Nathaniel's aforementioned game. If fairies can regenerate instantly and death is of no consequence, then the game is basically moot to her.

I have no idea what to do right now, but I would really like to question the fairy maids that maintain the mansion later. Ask about the state of their regenerative properties.
>> No. 24014
>>24013
>then the game is basically moot to her.
Then what's Snacks?

Also, I've got nothing. I'm utterly at a loss as to what to write in. So I guess...
[x]Hug her, try to calm her down somehow.
>> No. 24018
[X] Hug her, try to calm her down somehow.

Not sure if now would be the best time, but it would be a good idea to find out more about this problem, and when Cirno first noticed she wasn't healing like she used to.

If it was prior to the mansion, then perhaps this is something like what was mentioned by Siki in PoFV and how sometimes even nature will die.
If it was after coming into contact with the mansion, and especially after her beginning a maid, then there is almost definitely something wrong with this place, and Nathaniel's little "game" is something we should probably be worried about.
>> No. 24019
[X] "You're not going to die. You'll be just fine. I promise."
>> No. 24021
[X] Get down on your knees, look into her eyes and smile gently.

"I won't let you die Cirno. That's a promise."

----

Short and to the point, this should make her feel better as we try and figure out a way to find out what's happening to her.

Could Eiki have been right...?
>> No. 24023
>>24007
I'm having a tough time wrapping my head a full six cuts. I thought I understood these characters, but I've been (pleasantly?) surprised this time. Can someone reconcile Cirno's personality, her observations regarding regeneration, and doing that much? I can only make any two of those make sense at a time; not all three. Help an anon out, this is important.

My initial explanation was basically >>24013 but then I started kicking it paranoia style:
>>But like, we heal in no time
>>But all the cuts and stuff went away in just a few seconds
>>I still heal fast, but it’s weird, like sometimes it takes all day, and sometimes it takes a few minutes
TIME! We know Sakuya messes with the ebb and flow of time within the walls. The varied regeneration rate makes sense: areas less messed up by her ZA WARUDO = quicker regeneration.

I'm leaning towards this because I'm only accepting Nathaniel's explanation of THE GAME as half the truth. I'm pretty sure there is something malevolent manipulating the mansion and its residents, but I doubt it's a game (or at least a game that can be 'won'). Ran's quick ingress and egress simply doesn't compute, even with Nathaniel's half-baked exuse. Whatever it is, it's more selective. However, this theory presents the distinct possibility that it's trying to get us through Cirno, which would suck, but no more than CRAAAAAAAAAAWLING IN MY SKIIIIIIIIIN Cirno.

[X] Try to calm Cirno down
A must; some of the nice write-ins so far would probably go a long way
[X] Treat her wounds
At least clean them and get a clean cloth on them
[X] Check time
Harker option, but practical. I know it's after dinner, so if it's late enough we have a reasonable excuse when we
[X] Take her back to your room
She's wandering around in a filthy, soaked maid outfit. We're little better. Forego the bath for now and head to our room. Use the bell in your room to get Sakuya to get you a new maid outfit, or if it's late enough some sleepware for Cirno. No, she will not leave with you Sakuya, you know her size already. And it's my fault as an incompetent master to let her come to such a disheveled state; I have much to learn.
>> No. 24025
>>24023

Wut he said >:L, couldn't have typed it better myself. The less Cirno is out of your site, perhaps the better for her safety and our own
>> No. 24031
[x] "Don't worry Cirno. Humans get hurt really easy, so we have to become experts of sorts on avoiding death. Stick close to me, and you'll do just fine."
[x] Tell her how you found her just now, by looking through her eyes. It doesn't matter if she gets trapped, hurt, afraid, and alone; you will be able to find her.
[x] Treat her wounds, and describe what it is you're doing as you do it.

She likely doesn't know anything about staunching bleeding or the risk of infection. While the argument that this is an effect of Sakuya's time fuckery is compelling, this could also more dangerously be a sign of a more global loss of fairy-like attributes. The way she talks about it makes it sound as if this has been going on for some time, not just in the mansion. So it may be that Cirno is overdue to ascend to the next karmic rung. Another possibility is that this is a somatic symptom of fairy depression--as a creature created from belief, self-doubt might indeed be fatal to her. It's definitely something to ask Patchouli about.
>> No. 24034
[X] Get down on your knees, look into her eyes and smile gently.

"I won't let you die Cirno. That's a promise."
>> No. 24040
>[X] Take her back to your room

If you know what I mean.
>> No. 24044
[x] "Don't worry Cirno. Humans get hurt really easy, so we have to become experts of sorts on avoiding death. Stick close to me, and you'll do just fine."
[x] Tell her how you found her just now, by looking through her eyes. It doesn't matter if she gets trapped, hurt, afraid, and alone; you will be able to find her.
[x] Treat her wounds, and describe what it is you're doing as you do it.
[x] Ask when this started
[x] Ask Patchy if this could be something Cirno is doing to herself or if it's Sakuya or just what the hell is going on here.

I can't tell if Cirno was cutting herself because LOL EMO or if it was to test her regenerative abilities.

>>24025
> Wut
> >:L,
> (lack of period)
> couldn't have typed it better myself.
...More like can't type at all. Get the hell off of here and go back to Gaia.
>> No. 24045
I want to say something like "Friends don't let friends die." But that may end with her dying for us in the end. And I'd probably kill myself if she died for us cuz we said something like that.
>> No. 24050
[X] "Don't worry Cirno. Humans get hurt really easy, so we have to become experts of sorts on avoiding death. Stick close to me, and you'll do just fine."
[X] Tell her how you found her just now, by looking through her eyes. It doesn't matter if she gets trapped, hurt, afraid, and alone; you will be able to find her.
[X] Treat her wounds, and describe what it is you're doing as you do it.
>> No. 24053
>>24050

Is it really such a great idea to tell the strongest that we saw through her eyes to find her...while she wasn't wearing her clothes?
>> No. 24054
>>24044

It happens when you get two days of no sleep along with nothing but coffee and fumes to keep you running. So long as you understand what I meant, that is all that matters.
>> No. 24055
[X] Hug her, try to calm her down somehow.

I like a few of the other choices better, but this is the only one that stands a chance of winning and doesn't involve telling her things best left for later. I trust her and everything, but telling her we looked through her eyes right now seems dumb and insensitive.
>> No. 24056
[Hug her, try to calm her down somehow. Offer some encouraging words.]
[Treat her wounds, and describe what it is you're doing as you do it.]
[Other things…?]

If she didn’t need a shoulder to cry on before, she definitely needs one now. You shuffle closer and wrap your arms around her shaking body, letting her bury her face in your shoulder as she falls against you, losing all cognizant muscle strength. Your coat is soon soaked in her tears and blood, but you could care less right now; you’re already filthy, anyways. Words escape you. You’ve never quite had someone fall on you like this; what are you supposed to say? “Don’t worry”? “It’ll be all right”? “You’re not going to die”? You find yourself speaking words like this to her, even though you’re not sure if you believe them. You fear they might be lies, every one of them, but then what is worse? A lie that draws a smile, or a truth that sheds a tear?

“Shh, shh, don’t worry, don’t worry, I’m right here,” you whisper to her. “It’s gonna be all right, you’re gonna be just fine, shhh.”

“Y-Y-yoouu don-n-n-know thaahat! What if-f-f I-hi-hi n-never get, g-get better?! I doohhn’t know-ow what’s, w-whats going oh-hon! I’mm-m sc-kared!”

You stroke her hair gently, trying desperately to come up with something, anything that you can use to console her, but what can you say to a magical fairy when she thinks she’s dying despite the fact that such a thing shouldn’t be possible?

“I…I don’t know what’s going on either, Cirno. I’m scared too. Just, just take it easy, shh, there’s a good girl. We can get through this…It’s not that bad.”

There’s nothing else to be done except let her cry herself out of tears. She eventually worms her way into your lap, and you rock her back and forth like a newborn babe. You should be asking yourself why you’re getting so close to someone you only met two days ago, but there’s never been any time to worry about something stupid like that. Everything’s been moving so fast and so slow at the same time…it’s like the passage of time simply doesn’t matter in this house. Relationships can be created within just a few chance meetings over twenty-four hours, and yet a simply five second question could go on for days without being answered. Live in the moment; it’s all you can do right now.

“I, I can’t c-cry,” Cirno eventually sniffles, peeking up at you with red eyes. “I’m s’pposed ta protect you…s-s’pposed ta be strong. St-strong people can’t…can’t cry-y. But, I just…”

“No, no, shh, don’t think like that,” you reply softly. “We have to stick together. If you protect me, who protects you? We have to look out for each other, both of us. We can’t do it alone, Cirno. It can’t just be you or me.”

“B-b-but, I haff ta…I haff ta…”

“Look, there’s lots of ways to be strong. But being strong and being smart go together. If you’re hurt bad, would it be ‘strong’ to keep fighting anyways? No, that’d just be stupid! Being strong sometimes means you have to look out for yourself, too. And what happens if your strength isn’t enough? Would you fight if you can’t win, or should you run away and wait until you can win? Do you get it?”

She doesn’t know how to respond, but tries anyways. “I, well, I guess…Not really. I never really can figure out all that smarty-stuff. But, I guess, thanks anyways. I jus’ wish…Flandre said I’ll find who I’m looking for some day; I jus’ wish I knew who she was talking about…

“People keep trying to understand me,” she muses, looking sadly at the melting ice chunks bobbing in the bathwater. “I know you’re tryin’ real hard, and you’re one-a the best friends I’ve ever had, but…No one ever really gets it. Even I don’ get it. I don’t understand things like other people do, but I still can. It’s just, just really hard. I’m a, well, I guess I’m a weirdo. I’m not the other fairies, but I’m not like people either. I just wish…oh, I don’t even know any more.”

You dry the tears from her eyes with your shirt sleeve. “Come on; we should get those cuts taken care of.” You lead Cirno over to the closet and find some clean towels and rags. Wetting one of the towels, you clean away the old blood from her arm tenderly, then put pressure on the cuts with another. A thought strikes your head: Cirno should know what you’re doing. If she was right, and fairies heal instantly, then she wouldn’t know anything about bandages or cleaning wounds. You talk to her as you staunch the bleeding and tie a thin rag around her arm.

“It’s not so bad, Cirno; us humans get scrapes and cuts all the time. You’ll just have to be a little more careful from now on. If you ever get hurt again just remember: put pressure on the cut, clean up the blood, then wrap something tight around it so your body can heal it better. If anything really bad happens, just come to me, and I’ll help you with it. I don’t want you getting hurt while I’m around.”

She sniffles a bit and manages a weak smile. “Hey…I’m supposed to say that.”

You smile back at her. “So, umm…” What are you supposed to say now? You’ve barely been managing to keep up with events as they’ve been happening; what’s the correct response for a slowly-recovering fairy who’s being faced with the prospect of death for the first time? Cirno, bless her soul, decides to start the conversation for you.

“I’m, uhh, I’m sorry if I scared you,” she apologizes weakly.

“It’s okay; I’d be a lot more scared than you’d be in your situation,” you console.

“I, I remember this one time, a while ago. This one old scary lady came up to me, and she was all lecturing me and stuff. She said somethin’ like, uhh, I think it was like, “even nature dies.” Fairies are a part of nature, I think, so I guess…well, I guess nobody lives forever.”

A little sadistic voice in the back of your head almost makes you want to say, “Nobody expect the people with that Hourai Elixir; they’re immortal.” Instead, you just nod your head and remain silent.

“So, uhh, how’d you find me?” Cirno asks out of the blue. “I mean, this is a pretty big place, after all.”

Great, just had to be that question, didn’t it? Well, you told yourself a while ago that you’d trust Cirno with your secrets; no sense keeping this one from her too. You remind her of what Patchouli did to you back in the library, what “scrying” is supposed to mean, and how you used it to find her.

“So, like, you could look though the eyes of anyone anywhere?” she asks.

“Well, I don’t know; I’m still new to this whole magic thing. Maybe with practice.”

“Heh. Pretty cool.”

You can’t help yourself. “Hey now, I think your ice power is pretty cool too.”

She punches you playfully, and it actually stings a bit. “Come on, that was stupid. That was something only a Mr. Stupid would say.”

“Can’t help it; it’s who I am,” you reply as you shrug your shoulders.

The two of you share a momentary laugh, then Cirno runs over to test the bathwater. “You should prolly take a bath now; I told Sakuya that’s what I’d be doin’, didn’t I? The water’s just right, too.”

[ ] Accept her offer. Ask her to wait outside/guard the door
[ ] Accept her offer. Ask her to go do something for you, or even for her (specify what)
[ ] Accept her offer, but ask her to stay in the room. She still shouldn’t be alone.
[ ] Politely decline; let her take a bath instead. Wait outside/guard the door.
[ ] Politely decline; let her take a bath instead. Go somewhere else while she bathes (specify destination)
[ ] Politely decline; let her take a bath instead. Stay in the room, though; she still shouldn’t be alone.
[ ] In here, you can write!
>> No. 24057
And thus begins, and ends, the great “THP IS DOWN!” Scare of 2008. I would apologize for my lack of an update during this time, but obviously there was nothing to be done about it.

Current progress on my gift-story, codenamed “Cirno’s Last Stand”: 4,205 words. I’m not even halfway done yet, so by the time this is finished, expect some kind of gargantuan, eight-post novelette. I didn’t plan on it being this long when I started, but events spiraled out of hand. I hope to have it finished late next week, but it’s still too early to count my chickens just yet.
>> No. 24058
>>24057

Actually, This happens all the time.
>> No. 24059
[ ] Accept her offer, but ask her to stay in the room. She still shouldn’t be alone.

I have no regrets.
>> No. 24063
[ ] Accept her offer, but ask her to stay in the room. She still shouldn’t be alone.
Or
[ ] Politely decline; let her take a bath instead. Stay in the room, though; she still shouldn’t be alone.

...wow, this is akward.

We probably shouldn't keep too far away from Cirno, lest Sakuya get a hold of her.

Letting her take the bath however...Sakuya might find out somehow and then punish Cirno for making her master do something for her, not to mention Remilia getting wind of you being peeking in on Cirno bathing (c'mon, you know it'll happen).

So I'll go with
[x] Accept her offer, but ask her to stay in the room. She still shouldn’t be alone.

Since we don't want to make Cirno a liar after all...and I can't think of any valid excuse not to take a bath (beyond Cirno being there, but tell that to Sakuya) after the day we just went through.
>> No. 24065
Hmm... I'm wondering if we get scry backwards - instead of seeing out of another's eyes, have someone else see out of your eyes. I don't see us thinking of this out out of nowhere, but it might come up as a way to call of help when there's no other option left.

I could also see simply making another person see out of another persons's eyes entirely, but I don't see the skill/scenario popping up for that to be feasible.
>> No. 24066
>She punches you playfully, and it actually stings a bit. “Come on, that was stupid. That was something only a Mr. Stupid would say.”

Okay. I've decided. When all this is said and done, we take the fairy, and fly far, far away (with the theme to Brazil playing gently in the background).

[x] Accept her offer. Ask her to go do something for you, or even for her (specify what)
[x] Fetch a clean set of clothes for you (or pajamas, if you're sleepy).
[x] Ask if she has clean clothes to change into herself.
[x] Tell her to relay a request to Sakuya that you want your attendant's sleeping quarters moved vacant room adjacent to your own, for your convenience.
[x] Tell her also to tell Sakuya that you request that she notify you personally in the event disciplinary action is required for your attendant.
[x] If you can scry where Sakuya is, tell Cirno where she can find her.

A bath drawn by the strongest fairy, that would be the strongest bath. It's important that you keep Cirno doing maid-like things, so that it doesn't look to Sakuya that she's just causing more trouble for you. That last bit is basically a message to Sakuya coded in polite language: "I am taking responsibility for her and her future indiscretions."

You can't tell her directly not to harm Cirno, as that would be seen as usurping her position as Head Maid, who is responsible for discipline of the entire House Staff. However, if Sakuya really is secretly rooting for you from the sidelines, this should serve to show that you're taking good care of your charge.
>> No. 24068
[ ] Accept her offer, but ask her to stay in the room. She still shouldn’t be alone.

Can't stop from choosing this one, embarassed Cirno mais is the best Cirno and maid.
>> No. 24072
[x] Accept her offer, but ask her to stay in the room. She still shouldn’t be alone.

Also,

>>24056
>makes you want to say, “Nobody expect the people with that Hourai Elixir; they’re immortal.”
>Nobody expect the

NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION
>> No. 24073
>>24072
This is what I get for only proofreading things once.

And yet, it almost still makes grammatical sense.
>> No. 24074
>melting ice chunks bobbing in the bathwater
>"The water’s just right, too."
If we're getting a bath first, we better heat it up. Can't afford to get hypothermia, now.

>>24066
>fly far, far away
>the theme to Brazil
...No.
>> No. 24075
>>24074

Those ice chunks are melting for a reason.
>> No. 24079
>[x] Accept her offer. Ask her to go do something for you, or even for her (specify what)
>[x] Fetch a clean set of clothes for you (or pajamas, if you're sleepy).
>[x] Ask if she has clean clothes to change into herself.
>[x] Tell her to relay a request to Sakuya that you want your attendant's sleeping quarters moved vacant room adjacent to your own, for your convenience.
>[x] Tell her also to tell Sakuya that you request that she notify you personally in the event disciplinary action is required for your attendant.
>[x] If you can scry where Sakuya is, tell Cirno where she can find her.

At first I liked the look of this, but then it occurred to me that this is basically a slight against Sakuya, and we don't want poor Cirno getting knifed.

[x] Accept her offer. Ask her to go do something for you, or even for her (specify what)
[x] Fetch a clean set of clothes for you (or pajamas, if you're sleepy).
[x] Ask if she has clean clothes to change into herself.
[x] Tell her to relay a request to Sakuya that you want your attendant's sleeping quarters moved vacant room adjacent to your own, for your convenience.
[x] If you can scry where Sakuya is, tell Cirno where she can find her.

This much seems safe.
>> No. 24083
[ ] Accept her offer, but ask her to stay in the room. She still shouldn’t be alone.

The most save AND dangerous choice at the same time. Fufufufu!
>> No. 24084
[X] Accept her offer. Ask her to go do something for you, or even for her (specify what)
[X] Fetch a clean set of clothes for you (or pajamas, if you're sleepy).
[X] Ask if she has clean clothes to change into herself.
[X] Tell her to relay a request to Sakuya that you want your attendant's sleeping quarters moved vacant room adjacent to your own, for your convenience.
[X] If you can scry where Sakuya is, tell Cirno where she can find her.
>> No. 24092
[x] Accept her offer, but ask her to stay in the room. She still shouldn’t be alone.
>> No. 24096
File 122858766661.jpg - (24.02KB , 400x563 , 82036.jpg ) [iqdb]
24096
>>“People keep trying to understand me,” she muses, looking sadly at the melting ice chunks bobbing in the bathwater. “I know you’re tryin’ real hard, and you’re one-a the best friends I’ve ever had, but…No one ever really gets it. Even I don’ get it. I don’t understand things like other people do, but I still can. It’s just, just really hard. I’m a, well, I guess I’m a weirdo. I’m not the other fairies, but I’m not like people either. I just wish…oh, I don’t even know any more.”

This is just so awesome, so much insight into her character. Her intellect is caught somewhere between fairy/youkai (which ZUN repeatedly points out is a completely alien type of reasoning) and human. Maybe more like a human's intellect in a fairy body? She can reach conclusions like a human would, but the thought process is probably completely different. Trying to explain things from the bottom up with her is difficult (probably bordering on impossible) since the way we go about understanding something isn't the same for her. Giver her something to achieve, though, and she pulls through. Compare her behavior as a maid and her attempts to understand thermodynamics. For the latter, she was given a beginner level book and was baffled. For the former, she has Sakuya as an example of what needs to be acheived and has performed remarkably. Her observations have been very clever, but she can't explain how she reaches them. I think it's because of the disconnect between the process and product. Even she knows how she got there doesn't make sense, which is why she can be so frustrated.

tl;dr - she's not dumb, she just thinks different. Pic related