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24946 No. 24946
["Cirno, didn't Flandre give you something? I think it belongs to someone else, to someone in front of us."]
[Don’t just stand there; do something! Show Adam the picture and tell him Nathaniel/John is down there as well. Just like last time but without the problem of Cirno being dead.]

You’ve seen this happen before. Adam and Cirno talk for a little while, Cirno reels in disbelief, and Adam begins to strike. It’s happening just like last time. But you’ve got the trump card: you know what it will take to make Adam come to his senses and possibly even disobey Flandre. That picture Cirno holds, the one with Adam, “Isaac”, “John”, and the unknown dragon-man, that is the thing that will save Cirno’s life. And this time, you’re here early enough to do this right.

“Cirno, that picture,” you whisper to her, probably loud enough for Adam to hear, but it doesn’t matter now. “Didn’t Flandre give you a picture? A picture with four people on it? I think it really belongs to someone else, someone who’s right in front of us.”

Cirno’s reply is nervous, and she’s still focusing on Adam rather than you. “That, that one? Th-the one with the Mis-ster Eye-zac?” She draws the picture into view with a trembling hand, Adam’s cold eyes and steel hand still prepared for the impending slaughter. Inching closer to Adam, she holds the picture out to him like it’s a poisonous snake in her hands. “Does this…Does this belog to you, Mister Adam sir?”

Adam looks very confused, and tweezes the photograph from her with two iron fingers. There’s barely enough light for you to even see that there’s a picture at all, but you’ve seen through Adam’s eyes; you know that he can see just fine in the dark.

“T-This…This is, this is…” Adam doesn’t even know what to say; he’s just holding the picture, dumbstruck. “F-Flandre gave, gave you this Cirno?”

She nods her head seriously. “Uh huh. She said that cool man, that Isaac guy on the right, he’d be the one to make all my dreams come true. I guess you kinda look like the kid in that picture too. Do you…know, Mister Isaac?”

Adam slumps to the ground, shaking his head in either denial or disbelief. “I…I don’t, I know, but I…when did, how…h-h-how? I can’t…I don’t…But I want to…why did I…why do you?”

You take this opportunity to “hit his weak point” so to speak, and walk up beside Cirno. “Adam, Nathaniel…no, John is here. You remember John? He’s in this mansion, in these caverns, trapped in a metal room somewhere. If we wait too long, I think he might try to kill himself or something. We have to save him. Can you…will you please help us?”

He looks at you, and you think he has tears in his eyes. “John…here? In the mansion? Playing the game? No…no, no, no…nononononogetoutofmyhead! GET OUT OF MY HEAD! FLANDRE! GET YOUR LUNATIC RED EYES OUT OF MY HEEAAAAAAD!!” He thrashes about like mad, slashing at the air and punching the wall in an insane rage; just like that time back in Room 101. You’re already prepared for this, and have stepped back to give him a wide berth. If this happens like last time, he’ll be running off like a madman within seconds; you’d rather that not happen. In a mood like this, there no telling what he’ll do if he’s not controlled. He didn’t end up killing you last time, but the circumstances have changed; who’s to say he won’t this time, or Cirno again, or even Nathaniel/John? You need to keep him here. Try to calm him down.

“Adam, Adam, it’s okay!” you reaffirm in a loud voice, trying to get over the din of his slashing and crashing. “Calm down, you won’t be helping anyone unless you calm down!” You thankfully remember what Adam told you the first time you met, and remind him of his words. “Flandre…remember how she told you to control your feelings? Control your emotions? Get a hold of yourself, just take it easy!”

“Flandre…Flandre!” The name seems to have sparked something within him, and he’s no longer moving with wild abandon. He kneels on the ground, clutching his head, speaking to…himself, maybe? It almost sounds like he’s talking to Flandre.

“Get out of my head…I’m not you, you’re not me…stop it! Sss-ththtop it! John…why’d you have…I, I know, but why? I, I remember…Equitath…so that’th why. You want…no, not enough! Th-s-th-stop it. You’re sick, I know, I know you know, but I can…I can…wish? With for what? Pleath, pleath, I have to thave…John…Isaac…who, who am I? My…name. You, thole, my name! Give it back! GIVE IT BAAAACK!!”

He rips his plated claws across the ground, digging grooves into the hard-packed dirt. It’s like he’s possessed by a demon that he’s trying to exorcize by himself. He writhes on the ground, shivering madly. “Say my name,” he chants to himself, then to you and Cirno. “Thay my name…Thay my name…tell me my name.”

“Adam,” you speak firmly. He shakes his head and continues squirming. No?

“My name…thay, thay my…my name. My…mmmm-m-m-my, my...mine…nnn-name…” This keeps up for what must be minutes, and no matter how many times you say “Adam”, “Scarlet”, “John”, “Nathaniel”, “Isaac”, or anything else you can think of, you never seem to find “my name”. Eventually he rolls onto his hands and knees and looks at you, heaving and shivering, but definitely much more calm.

“Where…where ith John?” he implores to you desperately. “Where ith John, where ith…my friend?”

“I don’t know,” you reply, deciding not to use what he said wasn’t “his name” for the time being. “He’s in a small room behind a heavy metal door. It’s somewhere in these tunnels. That’s all I know.”

“I have to…to find John. Have, have to thave him. Wandering, wandering wanderer. Have to thave him.”

Looks like you’ve got no choice but to look for “John”, which is what you’ve been trying to do anyways. Adam looks stable for the time being, and he’s got his lisp back, but you’re still extremely uncertain about what’s going on with his mind. You pick up your assorted items and weapons, returning them to your person once again. Time to do some exploring, perhaps.

[ ] Let Adam look for “John” alone, while you and Cirno wait right here.
[ ] Let Adam look for “John” by himself, while you and Cirno look for John in another direction.
[ ] Ask Adam to stay with you and Cirno as you all look for “John” as a group.
[ ] Ask Adam to stay with you and Cirno as you rest for a while. Maybe get some answers out of him? (specify discussion points)
[ ] A different plan of attack? (Write-in)

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

I don’t have much time to talk right now (family outing impeding within minutes), so I will just leave this here for now. Commentary later today.

>>24877 & >>24878 & >>24879
These are awesome, and I thank you much for showing them to me.

>> No. 24947
[]"Your name... is it Equitas?"
>> No. 24952
[X] Ask Adam to stay with you and Cirno as you all look for “John” as a group.

Answers can wait for after we find Whatsisname and get him out of his game.

>>24947
And what makes you think it might be?
>> No. 24953
[]"Your name... is it Equitas?"
[] Ask Adam to stay with you and Cirno as you all look for “John” as a group.
>> No. 24954
>>24952

Not >>24947.

But I guess I can somewhat understand that reasoning. If Adam knew Nat, or John. John knows Adam. It's speculation but the carved dragon on the hilt could represent Adam. Then depending on how close the two were, because I remember John saying he did have a friend with the same lisp, could have named his prized sword after his close friend he lost.

Then again that is more speculation on my part, if we had only asked him the name of his friend when he brought it up... Then again I can't remember if Flan mentioned Equitas' name with Adam in the room.
>> No. 24955
[-] Ask Adam to stay with you and Cirno as you all look for “John” as a group.
>> No. 24956
>>24954

Two problems with that:

First of all, Adam KNOWS about Equitas. He knows it's Nathaniel's/John's, and he knows he came down here for it.
>>>>John…why’d you have…I, I know, but why? I, I remember…Equitath…so that’th why.

If the sword was made AFTER Adam wound up here, there would be no way for him to know it was Nathaniel's, would there?

Secondly, even if the dragon on Equitas is meant to represent anybody, would it not be equally likely that it represents the dragon-man in the photograph? At the time that photo was taken, Adam didn't have many of the notable features he has now, such as his wings, so even if he's a "dragon" now, what's to say he was when he was with Nathaniel/John?

Besides, Adam is clearly asking to be called by his name because he can't remember what it is. If it was as simple as the sword being named after him, don't you think that would have triggered something in him long before now? That if he could remember enough about the sword to know who it belongs to, the he might also remember whether or not it was named after him?
>> No. 24958
>Gotcha!.png

Goddamnit! I 'FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF'd before I even start reading the update.

Still...

[]"Your name... is it Equitas?"
[] Ask Adam to stay with you and Cirno as you all look for “John” as a group.

Might as well give the wild guess a try.
>> No. 24959
[] Ask Adam to stay with you and Cirno as you all look for “John” as a group.

I don't think this will result in much, probably will take enough time for Nathaniel go big boom before we find him. And I refuse to call Nathaniel John, no matter what.

And I also have to inquire about the source of the OP's pic.
>> No. 24960
File 123031636986.jpg - (139.37KB , 480x640 , 390730.jpg ) [iqdb]
24960
>Pleath, pleath, I have to thave…John…Isaac…who, who am I? My…name. You, thole, my name! Give it back! GIVE IT BAAAACK!!
>“Say my name,” he chants to himself, then to you and Cirno. “Thay my name…Thay my name…tell me my name.”
>no matter how many times you say “Adam”, “Scarlet”, “John”, “Nathaniel”, “Isaac”, or anything else you can think of, you never seem to find “my name”

Just like with Nat, "Adam" is probably not his real name, although given the context, he probably lost his real name when he became Flandre's brother. If you've been around a while, this isn't unlike Scorn's 4N0n story, so you can appreciate the trauma of being forced to lose your name. It's pretty crushing when something so intimately linked to the notion of self is taken by force.

Speed seems to be of the essence in this game for some reason, so motoring out with Adam in tow seems like an intuitive solution. However, Nat's game seems to be a little more forgiving in terms of time frame given the larger candle he has to play with. I think we should try to scry Nat. First, it'll be a good test to see if we can still scry with only one eye. Second, it can be a gauge of how far along Nat is in his game; if he has made a decision, how much candle is left, etc. Finally, if his vision is searching around, he may have been near enough to hear Adam's ranting and screaming. If it looks like he noticed, we could be close enough to help. If not, we've got some ground to cover. Or not, I dunno if these catacombs would echo sound or dampen them.

[X] Try to scry Nathaniel.
[X] Try to calm Adam; get him focused on the task at hand.
[X] Ask Adam to stay with you and Cirno as you all look for “John” as a group.

My notion was to comfort him, but you can't hug with razor-fisted arms. Adam knows how the games work (he knew about our eye as being a part of it) but he's currently a mental wreck. He'd be helpful, but as it stands he's in no condition to help anyone. I think a focus on a single task (finding John) is what he needs to calm down. Basing this on the aforementioned 4N0n psychology: it was single-minded commitment to escape that let him tolerate the torture. I think he'll deny us anyway, but it's worth a shot.
>> No. 24961
[x] Ask Adam to stay with you and Cirno as you all look for “John” as a group.
>> No. 24963
[X] Try to scry Nathaniel.
[X] Try to calm Adam; get him focused on the task at hand.
[X] Ask Adam to stay with you and Cirno as you all look for “John” as a group.
>> No. 24964
[X] Try to scry Nathaniel.
[X] Try to calm Adam; get him focused on the task at hand.
[X] Ask Adam to stay with you and Cirno as you all look for “John” as a group.
>> No. 24966
[X] Try to scry Nathaniel.
[X] Try to calm Adam; get him focused on the task at hand.
[X] Ask Adam to stay with you and Cirno as you all look for “John” as a group.

Seems like a rational course of action ...
>> No. 24967
[X] Try to scry Nathaniel.
[X] Try to calm Adam; get him focused on the task at hand.
[X] Ask Adam to stay with you and Cirno as you all look for “John” as a group.
>> No. 24971
>>24864 & >>24876
I thank you for your consideration; I was indeed reading Random and Astronomical Narration (I believe that was the title, anyways), and words cannot express how much I was enjoying it. “Blankfag Ran” is a marvelous writer, and when I read his words, I see him doing the things I try to do and fall short of.

>>24958
>Goddamnit! I 'FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF'd before I even start reading the update.
No no, everything is perfectly fine. There is nothing wrong with that picture. Nothing to see here, these aren’t the red herrings you’re looking for, move along, move along.

>>24959
>And I refuse to call Nathaniel John, no matter what.
O Nathaniel, Nathaniel! wherefore art thou Nathaniel?
Deny thy author and refuse thy name;
What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Nathaniel would, were he not Nathaniel call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title.

>And I also have to inquire about the source of the OP's pic.
I believe the picture is from the doujin “Children’s Folk Tale”, which I think is a subset of something called “Rumiac World”. You should be able to download it from the Touhou Wiki, though I myself haven’t read it, so I can’t confirm.

>>24960
>If you've been around a while, this isn't unlike Scorn's 4N0n story, so you can appreciate the trauma of being forced to lose your name.
Hmm, I remember reading that short; it was quite interesting, though I’ve forgotten most of it. Perhaps I subconsciously borrowed an idea, eh? Wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened.

>>24870
>Blankfag gave up and left the site for good.
Ahh, what dark days are these at the Touhou Project boards! Hungry Youkai taking an indefinite leave of absence, Ranmila/”Blankfag Ran” removing his stories and dissipating like cold mist on a warm morning, bans and rumors of bans circulating throughout the boards and channels…and here I thought Christmas was supposed to be a happy time.

It’s times like these which makes me wonder whether or not I should engage in the “board politics”, which, though some may deny or ignore, are inexcusably present. This is an actual community, and though many may choose to live out their days in peace and enjoyment, life is never so kind or so just as that. I cannot dismiss the effects of recent goings-on on THP, but I often wonder if joining in on the debate wouldn’t just cause more problems than it solved. I don’t know much about what happened on this site before I came here, and I don’t know much about what’s going on right now, so I just keep thinking that I’d only be a stick in the mud, sputtering philosophical nonsense but ultimately solving nothing and only making a fool of myself. How dearly I would wish for my words to bring some semblance of peace, but I have the feeling that these matters are simply not my place to deal with. Please, disregard this paragraph if you like (hence the spoilers). If you wish to say something, either in criticism, information, or accord, by all means say it, but I do not wish for this thread to become a heated pool of debate and drama.

As for the status of A Scarlet-Stained Memoir in the near future…It is, of course, the Christmas season, and my family will be taking a holiday vacation soon. I’ll be able to finish the next update by tomorrow morning, but after that I’ll be gone all day Saturday, and I’ll be leaving Sunday afternoon until Wednesday afternoon for Kentucky, with no chance of an Internet connection (unless I wish to shell out $10 at the hotel for a day of access, which I think is a waste of money). Therefore, I’ll give you the scenario:

Tomorrow’s update will end with you being able to ask any number of write-in questions, all of them prime material for several paragraphs’ worth of answer a piece. During my vacation I’ll try to write a large update answering as many of them as I can depending on how the votes swing. It is no substitute for daily updates, but it is at least something. In the meantime, you can read my Cirno-based short story if you haven’t done so (it’s on /sdm/; should be easy to find). It’s been receiving high praises, which means I must be doing something right.
>> No. 24975
>>24971
"John" really just doesn't have that same spark to it.
>> No. 24977
[X] Try to scry Nathaniel.
[X] Try to calm Adam; get him focused on the task at hand.
[X] Ask Adam to stay with you and Cirno as you all look for “John” as a group.

Also a good time to see if our scrying ability has suffered any.

I hope not.
>> No. 24983
[Try to scry Nathaniel.]
[Try to calm Adam; get him focused on the task at hand.]
[Ask Adam to stay with you and Cirno as you all look for “John” as a group.]

“All right Adam, let’s find John,” you reply, repositioning the strap of your rifle-bow to a more comfortable position. “Let’s stay together; wouldn’t be very good for anyone to get lost in the dark all alone, and I personally don’t want to fight any more of those awful fairy creatures alone.”

Adam nods and returns to his feet. “Fatht, though. We have to move fatht. John…John playing the manthion game…We have to thave him now!”

“Just…let’s not lose our head, Adam. Nobody’ll be saving anyone if we don’t think things through. Are you sure you’re all right? Maybe you should rest for a while; you were acting pretty strange back there.”

“I’m fine, mithter. I can…manage,” he answers slowly. “I’ll be better if…when we find John; I promith.”

You don’t want to push Adam too far after his last little outburst, but he definitely seems to be all right now, and if the John he knows is anything like the Nathaniel you know, you wouldn’t exactly put it past him to do something crazy like trying to live through an exploding pack of dynamite any second now. Though…you can always double check, right? Gathering together what focus you can manage, you try to scry for Nathaniel and make sure he’s all right.

You can…you can see again! Well, okay, technically you were never blind, but as you look through Nathaniel’s eyes, the right half of your world returns into sight. Incredible…even without an eye of your own, you can still see through the eyes of others. Suddenly losing one of your own eyes doesn’t seem so bad if you still get perfect vision through the eyes of another. You wonder…if you grew strong enough in magic, perhaps you could just grow a new eye!

No, no time for foolish thinking right now. Nathaniel, right…his view is different now. He views the table from a much higher vantage point—standing up, perhaps—and a pile of charred ropes and leather straps lie strewn on the floor and across a metal chair similar to the one you were bound in. The chalice of blood is knocked on the ground, the red liquid pooling into a horrid lake, and the pearly vial is nowhere to be seen, while the odd clear-green water remains untouched. The candle still has a considerable amount of wax left. He doesn’t appear to be looking around or searching for anything as far as his eyes are concerned. So…he seems to have gotten loose, but he’s nowhere nearer to getting out of the room as far as you can see. At least he’s still alive; that’s all you came to see.

“Okay; lead the way, Adam. You probably know these tunnels better than me. But remember, let’s keep together.” The vampire nods and sets the pace to a brisk trot, not quite a run but not far from it either. Cirno trails behind you in the air slightly, always looking over her shoulder at the darkness behind you. Hopefully you’ve taken care of all the monsters in this tunnel by now, but knowing Flandre, she might still have an ace up her sleeve she has yet to play. Then again, Adam might have been the ace, and in your hands you feel just a little bit calmer, if not exactly safer. At least if he turns on you, you’ll be able to see it coming; better than being taken in the darkness by who knows what.

Though these tunnels are rather long, they don’t seem all that complex. There’s very few forks in the paths you take, and so far you haven’t run into any dead ends yet. Small consolation, really; a dead end is what you’re looking for, and with all these passageways looping together it leaves more room for getting disoriented. Adam appears at least to know where he’s going, and never falters in his steps even a little. Nathaniel…”John”…boy do you have some questions for him when you meet again—

The sound. The sound you didn’t want to hear. The sound you were fearing you’d hear ever since you laid eyes upon it. Your ears pulse with the distant sound of exploding rock and twisting metal, exactly the sound a stick of dynamite would made as the flame reached the end of the wick. Nathaniel…you idiot!

“Wath that…?” Adam asks, his question trailing off in uncertainty.

“It’s Nathaniel,” you confirm, voice hard with a blend of fear, despair, and annoyance. “That wasn’t far away; MOVE!!”

Adam shoots off into the dark with a speed you didn’t think possible, and you break out into a flat-out run in the same direction with Cirno right at your heels. Stupid…stupid…stupid! You suspected, but never dreamed he was that crazy! Detonating a sevenfold bundle dynamite only two meters away…how could he possibly expect to survive that?! All your planning…all your questions…worthless.

With the sound of the explosion still fresh in your ears and mind, it’s not hard to find the source of the blast. A turn left down a three-way passage and a light grade downwards bring you to a dead end, blocked by a struggling Adam who’s heaving at an iron door he can’t seem to open. A pack of equipment lies off to the side of the tunnel, Equitas resting peacefully on it’s top. If…wait a minute, if the dynamite exploded, why isn’t the door blown down?

“I can’t…unnnhh, I can’t get it open!” Adam grunts, putting all of his small weight into the door. “Flandre…Flandre’th way thronger than me, thee mutht have done thith on purpoth!” You hear a muffled voice from behind the door, and notice a tiny hole in the rock of the wall, next to the door hinge, or where the door hinge should be at least. It sounds a lot like Nathaniel, but how could he still be alive?!

“That voice…I, I know that voice…that ‘lithp’…who’s out there?!”

“John! John, it’th me! John, I can’t get the door open!” Adam cries, beating at the metal with his hands in vain.

There’s a pause, then a reply. “I’m working on it. Stand back from the door; I’m gonna try to blow the other hinge off.”

“Nathaniel?! Is that you, you idiot!? You’re going to kill yourself!” At the moment you don’t really care that he tried to blow up a stick of dynamite in his face; you care that’s he’s going to do it again.

“Trust me; I’ve got this under control,” he answers. “Seriously, you might want to move back.”

(Light fuse…)
>> No. 24984
(…run away.)

You find yourself doing what he says as Cirno and Adam do the same. There’s a dead silence for a few seconds, followed by another explosion your ears really don’t like this time. The door leans awkwardly on its corners, the hinges removed, and Adam wastes no time in dragging it off to the side and looking into the room. His wings block your view, so all you see is him running forwards and tackling Nathaniel to the ground as he wraps his arms around him, crying. It’s hard to make out just what the two are saying, but you try anyways.

“John! John, it’th me!”

“You…how…this is, impossible…this has to…”

“Pleath, pleath remember me! Thay my name, pleath! Tell me what my name ith!”

“Glish…Glish, what happened to you? What did…what did they do to you?

“That’th…that’th it. Glith…Glith…I, I-I-I, I remember…what did…what I…John…”

Glish? That’s certainly an odd name to have, but…It sounds familiar, have you heard it before somewhere? The two sit there in each other’s embrace for a good minute or two, whispering to each other, Nathaniel stroking Adam’s (or is it Glish’s; this double-name stuff is really getting on your nerves) hair and wiping the tears from his eyes. After a span Nathaniel stands up and looks to you and Cirno, a hand delicately holding onto Adam’s metal gloves.

“Hey, farmer,” he says casually. “See you’ve lost an eye. You okay?”

“Hey ‘John’,” you reply edgily. “See you’ve gained a little brother. You okay?”

He hugs Adam in response. “Well, I guess you could call him that if you wanted to; we might as well be after all we’ve been through. Equitas…where’s my sword?”

You lead him to the sword and backpack, and he quickly snatches up his weapon and looks at the pommel. Now there’s something you didn’t expect: with a firm hand he unscrews a secret compartment on the gold band surrounding the ruby, and shakes out…it looks like a small gear made out of pure crystal to you. Wait a minute…he hid the final piece of his watch inside his sword? Setting the sword aside, he reaches into his pocket and pulls out that infamous watch of his, wrapped in a fine silk cloth that he pulls back. With a delicate hand he inserts the gear into it’s proper place, then returns to the room he was in, withdrawing a set of watch-making tools from his pocket and fiddling around with the final details of his repair on the ground.

You tap your foot impatiently. “Nate, not to be rude or anything, but…can you do this later? We don’t have the time for this right now; Flandre could be after our blood right now!”

He answers, but does not look up. “Time? No, no…we have time. I have the time for this…we need more time.”

No matter how much you push him, he doesn’t get up, and you are forced to wait patiently next to Cirno for several minutes while he finishes his watch, Adam sitting in the corner patiently. After all this, Nathaniel is still obsessed over that watch. For the love of all that is holy, what’s so important about it?!

Nathaniel finally stands up and holds the finished product in his hands, turning it over and over, inspecting every detail. For once you get a good look at it, and are more than impressed with the craftsmanship. It’s primarily gold, but the watch-face is rimmed with a carved silver band, and the face and numbers shine with the purest colors of ebony and ivory, written in Roman numerals. There’s a smaller face of time towards the bottom that might count seconds, and…wait, that’s different: the watch has three, four, five, six hands? Three are black, one silver, one ruby, and one emerald. What’s more, there is not one but three winding mechanisms on the top, the center one a litter larger than the other two. The back of the watch is adorned with a strange angular symbol: a triangle which then splits into three smaller triangles, which splits into nine smaller still, and so on and so forth into infinity. The empty triangle in the center houses a symbol which you’ve seen before: the Greek letter “Omega”.

Nathaniel clips a gold chain to a loop on the watch, and pauses with his fingers on the center wheel. When he speaks, there is great emotion in his voice, though he speaks only to himself, or perhaps to the watch itself.

“Five years. Five years it’s been since I saw you last, old friend. Once, I called you the Messiah’s Diadem…You were supposed to save the country, save the world, keep balance and justice throughout the land. And instead…instead you stole it from me. You destroyed me so that I could realize the truth.

“I was once a fool. I learned too much, but knew too little. You showed me the world. You showed me why I would never be able to save it. Why I would be forced to become the man no one would remember. Yes…I know too much now.

“You, who were the beginning, shall now be the end. As you have lay dead for an age, now you shall be born anew. I christen you Revelation, for you have opened my eyes once more to the future I must follow.”

He sets the current time with his old watch, then winds “Revelation” into service. He places a hand on Adam’s cheek, nodding to him reassuringly, then holds his watch hand out to you.

“Both of you; hold onto my hand,” he instructs. Cirno does as Nathaniel suggests, but you hesitate.

“What are you doing?” you ask first, as skeptical of him now as you’ve ever been.

He closes his eyes and sighs. “I am doing what I swore on my shattered life five years ago to never do again. I am going to make time wait for me.”

Time waits for no man…you’ve heard this phrase before. Time is something no one can stop. And yet, Nathaniel is saying that he can. You don’t like it, not one bit, but you find yourself touching a finger to his wrist anyways. He situates a fingernail on a small latch off to the side and pulls it outwards, changing absolutely nothing from what you can see. Well, not quite; the black hands on the watch, which were once ticking normally from what you could tell, have now stopped.

He drops his hands and sits down in the chair, rubbing his forehead. You decide to make yourself comfortable leaning against the wall, and Cirno fashions a little block of ice out of air to sit down on, offering to do the same for you, which you politely decline.

“I told you that I’d answer every question you had,” he finally says, looking at you with tired eyes and holding up his “Revelation” for you to see. “We have time now, so ask away. I don’t care how much you ask or what you do, I don’t care how absurd the questions may seem; I don’t want there to be a barrier of misinformation between us anymore. I’ll try to answer everything understandably and truthfully, but I can’t promise that you’ll understand quite everything. And remember…I know a lot.”

[ ] Ask, and ye shall receive. There is no question limit.

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

As stated last night, I will be out of town from Sunday afternoon until Wednesday afternoon, and I have no time to write either today or tomorrow before I leave. However, any votes made before 1 P.M. Eastern American Time (10 A.M. server time, or 6 P.M. Greenwich Mean Time) will be counted, and most likely any question that gets more than a vote or two will be written about. This may finally be the time where you get to find out just how wrong you were about everything…or just how right.
>> No. 24985
Holy dick dancing Jesus on a shark. Did Nate just stop time or something?
>> No. 24986
[X]Let John know about Sakuya and her similar ability.
[x]Enquire upon the following topics:
{X}Who are you? Really.
{X}Why'd you give us fake names?
{X}Did you recieve anything akin to "wishes"?
{X}What's up with that watch?
I can't think of anything else.
>> No. 24987
[X]Let John know about Sakuya and her similar ability.
[x]Enquire upon the following topics:
{X}Who are you? Really.
{X}Why'd you give us fake names?
{X}Did you recieve anything akin to "wishes"?
{X}What's up with that watch?
{X}What was the game Flandre made you play?
{X}What happened to that theory of a deadly game you play just by entering the mansion? Any changes?
{X}Who are the people on the photograph? Specially Isaac, who is he?
{X}What will you two do now?
{X} Need to find a way to recover the spectables. Ask for help.
{X}How does an engineer make such magical items?

There must be more questions to ask, but I haven't thought of them yet.
>> No. 24988
In case it wasn't abundantly obvious:
>Flandre scuttles back from you and holds the dragon up in front of your eyes. “Glish. That’s his name. He’s my little Glish, he’s my favoritest.”

>>24984
[X] Let John know about Sakuya and her similar ability.
[X] Inquire upon the following topics:
{X} Who are you? Really.
{X} Why'd you give us a fake name?
{X} Did you really come here to fix Revelation?
{X} Did you recieve anything akin to "wishes"?
{X} What's up with that watch?
{X} What was the game Flandre made you play?
{X} How did we arrive in Gensokyo?
{X} Who has been giving me all of these strange warnings about how dangerous the mansion is? Furthermore, where do these special items keep arriving from?
{X} How did Remilia test you after you arrived at the mansion?
{X} What do you know about Yukari Yakumo?
{X} What interest does Remilia have in our well-being?
{X} What is keeping Cirno's fairy regeneration from working properly?
{X} What happened to that theory of a deadly game you play just by entering the mansion?
-[X] Who's playing it?
-[X] Did you know about before coming here?
-[X] Do the residents know about it?
-[X] Are the residents in danger from it?
-[X] How is it related to chess?
-[X] Why is Sakuya keeping track of the "situation" and its "deterioration"?
{X} Who are the people on the photograph? Specifically Isaac; who is he and why would Cirno want to meet him?
{X} What will you two do now?
{X} Need to find a way to recover the spectables. Ask for help.
{X} How does an engineer make such magical items?
{X} Users, Creators, and Destroyers: who's what in this mansion?

Just a rephrasing of some questions for some specifics and adding every single question I've had that Nat might even know about in the slightest. That and Enquire irked me a little. I have more, but I'm late for a day trip. May add more when I get home.
>> No. 24989
[?] For starters... What is going on here? Flandre's game, the Mansion's game, the naming game...

[?] You spoke of misinformation... have you given me any information before that wasn't true? Trying to draw conclusions from half-truths isn't going to help me help us right now. Clearly you are more than an engineer.

[?] How much of that preaching upstairs was an act? Did you suspect this would happen?

[?] (Tell him about Sakuya's list.) Does it mean anything to you?

[?] Speaking of Sakuya... isn't this time magic? Would she be able to act if time is stopped? Would you be able to act she did something similar?

[!] I had a pair of broken glasses that reacted to time magic. I believe its in her possession. Through it I could see what occured during stopped time. I couldn't move but if one knew time magic...

btw Owen, I am glad I trusted you with the Cirno's Last Stand idea. I've got a ton more ideas for a CYOA (or even a short story) but I could never muster the guts to write such a thing. Even if I did, I would always have this nagging doubt that my ideas have no merit. But after seeing two great writers fall into despair and leave thier readerbase while you wrote such a masterpiece for us, I've been inspired to pick up a name and a pen. Thank you, and happy holidays! Look for me around New Years! (I am probably setting myself up for failure by giving myself a deadline.)
>> No. 24992
[X] Let John know about Sakuya and her similar ability.
[X] Inquire upon the following topics:
{X} Who are you? Really.
{X} Why'd you give us a fake name?
{X} Did you really come here to fix Revelation?
{X} Did you recieve anything akin to "wishes"?
{X} What's up with that watch?
{X} What was the game Flandre made you play?
{X} How did we arrive in Gensokyo?
{X} Who has been giving me all of these strange warnings about how dangerous the mansion is? Furthermore, where do these special items keep arriving from?
{X} How did Remilia test you after you arrived at the mansion?
{X} What do you know about Yukari Yakumo?
{X} What interest does Remilia have in our well-being?
{X} What is keeping Cirno's fairy regeneration from working properly?
{X} What happened to that theory of a deadly game you play just by entering the mansion?
-[X] Who's playing it?
-[X] Did you know about before coming here?
-[X] Do the residents know about it?
-[X] Are the residents in danger from it?
-[X] How is it related to chess?
-[X] Why is Sakuya keeping track of the "situation" and its "deterioration"?
{X} Who are the people on the photograph? Specifically Isaac; who is he and why would Cirno want to meet him?
{X} What will you two do now?
{X} Need to find a way to recover the spectables. Ask for help.
{X} How does an engineer make such magical items?
{X} Users, Creators, and Destroyers: who's what in this mansion?
>> No. 24993
>>24989
>(I am probably setting myself up for failure by giving myself a deadline.)

Probably. And before you start posting, you better have the important parts already written to start a CYOA.
>> No. 24994
[X] Let John know about Sakuya and her similar ability.
[X] Inquire upon the following topics:
{X} Who are you? Really.
{X} Why'd you give us a fake name?
{X} Did you really come here to fix Revelation?
{X} Did you recieve anything akin to "wishes"?
{X} What's up with that watch?
{X} What was the game Flandre made you play?
{X} How did we arrive in Gensokyo?
{X} Who has been giving me all of these strange warnings about how dangerous the mansion is? Furthermore, where do these special items keep arriving from?
{X} How did Remilia test you after you arrived at the mansion?
{X} What do you know about Yukari Yakumo?
{X} What interest does Remilia have in our well-being?
{X} What is keeping Cirno's fairy regeneration from working properly?
{X} What happened to that theory of a deadly game you play just by entering the mansion?
-[X] Who's playing it?
-[X] Did you know about before coming here?
-[X] Do the residents know about it?
-[X] Are the residents in danger from it?
-[X] How is it related to chess?
-[X] Why is Sakuya keeping track of the "situation" and its "deterioration"?
{X} Who are the people on the photograph? Specifically Isaac; who is he and why would Cirno want to meet him?
{X} What will you two do now?
{X} Need to find a way to recover the spectables. Ask for help.
{X} How does an engineer make such magical items?
{X} Users, Creators, and Destroyers: who's what in this mansion?

KING OF QUESTIONS, etc.
>> No. 24996
[X] Ask what his game was, and what happened to that vial of white stuff?
[X] Who are you?
[X] Why are you here?
{X} Who are the people on the photograph? Specifically Isaac; who is he and why would Cirno want to meet him?
[X] What's the other half of the story to this "game" you couldn't tell us about last time?
[X] Tell him everything about the list you saw from scrying Sakuya, ask if he can make sense of any of it.
[X] Tell us everything you know about the residents of the mansion, who to trust, who to not trust, etc.

[X] What do we do now?
>> No. 24997
Oh boy. Next update is gonna a be such a wall. Be ready to write the longest update U. N. Owen. Heh, wonder how will it be organised? If the questions qill be answered on the same order of the write-in, it will be chaos.
>> No. 24998
File 12304062007.jpg - (310.87KB , 965x600 , 1224887769995.jpg ) [iqdb]
24998
[X] Let John know about Sakuya and her similar ability.
[X] Inquire upon the following topics:
{X} Who are you? Really.
{X} Why'd you give us a fake name?
{X} Did you really come here to fix Revelation?
{X} Did you recieve anything akin to "wishes"?
{X} What's up with that watch?
{X} What was the game Flandre made you play?
{X} How did we arrive in Gensokyo?
{X} Who has been giving me all of these strange warnings about how dangerous the mansion is? Furthermore, where do these special items keep arriving from?
{X} How did Remilia test you after you arrived at the mansion?
{X} What do you know about Yukari Yakumo?
{X} What interest does Remilia have in our well-being?
{X} What is keeping Cirno's fairy regeneration from working properly?
{X} What happened to that theory of a deadly game you play just by entering the mansion?
-[X] Who's playing it?
-[X] Did you know about before coming here?
-[X] Do the residents know about it?
-[X] Are the residents in danger from it?
-[X] How is it related to chess?
-[X] Why is Sakuya keeping track of the "situation" and its "deterioration"?
{X} Who are the people on the photograph? Specifically Isaac; who is he and why would Cirno want to meet him?
{X} What will you two do now?
{X} Need to find a way to recover the spectables. Ask for help.
{X} How does an engineer make such magical items?
{X} Users, Creators, and Destroyers: who's what in this mansion?
{X} Is there any way that I can heal/regenerate my eye?
{X} Who are those people in the picture?
{X} How did Glish come here?
{X} How many times have you been in this game?
>> No. 24999
>“I was once a fool. I learned too much, but knew too little. You showed me the world.

FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF
>> No. 25001
File 123041096047.jpg - (596.74KB , 1709x865 , 2422414.jpg ) [iqdb]
25001
>>24993
Hey now, no need to be testy with a new write-fag. You gotta let them prove they're worthy of apathy.

>>24997
>If the questions will be answered on the same order of the write-in, it will be chaos
Oh god I hope not. I think there's a flow to be found in them: Nat's past, coming to Gensokyo, entering the mansion, experiencing THE GAME, etc. with miscellaneous questions working in where convenient ("Oh, you know a lot about magical beings and how messed up this mansion is, why is Cirno's regen broke?")

>>24988
Adding some things to my vote

{X} Who were "they" that time in the library? Who is watching? Who took your Equitas?
{X} Who's your friend in Gensokyo?
inb4 Rinnosuke
{X} How did you actually get into Gensokyo?
>{X}How does an engineer make such magical items?
-[X] Why would you need such items?
>-[X] Why is Sakuya keeping track of the "situation" and its "deterioration"?
{X}(Tell him about Sakuya's list.) Does it mean anything to you?
I like PoorMan's version better.
{X} "A rift in the sun saves one"... does that phrase mean anything to you?

Anyway, was doing some reading from just after our danmaku duel. So many great question oppotunities. That "rift in the sun" thing was Ran's last little off-the-record question to us during her investigation. Seems rather odd, and it reaks of red herring, with no question limits anything goes. U.N. Owen gets no vacation.

I actually can't ask all the questions I want to because they all relate to Flandre. Nat only knew of her presence in passing. The only people with the knowledge of what Flandre's problems are and potential solutions are the residents proper, and maybe Adam/Glish. I'm sure we could field Flandre-based questions and hope Glish answers, but the post would have been phrased differently if that were the case.

Also, depending on what information we get about Isaac, I think there's a distinct chance we were looking through his eyes during the "blue angel" dream.
>> No. 25005
[X] Let John know about Sakuya and her similar ability.
[X] Inquire upon the following topics:
{X} Who are you? Really.
{X} Why'd you give us a fake name?
{X} Did you really come here to fix Revelation?
{X} Did you recieve anything akin to "wishes"?
{X} What's up with that watch?
{X} What was the game Flandre made you play?
{X} How did we arrive in Gensokyo?
{X} Who has been giving me all of these strange warnings about how dangerous the mansion is? Furthermore, where do these special items keep arriving from?
{X} How did Remilia test you after you arrived at the mansion?
{X} What do you know about Yukari Yakumo?
{X} What interest does Remilia have in our well-being?
{X} What is keeping Cirno's fairy regeneration from working properly?
{X} What happened to that theory of a deadly game you play just by entering the mansion?
-[X] Who's playing it?
-[X] Did you know about before coming here?
-[X] Do the residents know about it?
-[X] Are the residents in danger from it?
-[X] How is it related to chess?
-[X] Why is Sakuya keeping track of the "situation" and its "deterioration"?
{X} Who are the people on the photograph? Specifically Isaac; who is he and why would Cirno want to meet him?
{X} What will you two do now?
{X} Need to find a way to recover the spectables. Ask for help.
{X} How does an engineer make such magical items?
{X} Users, Creators, and Destroyers: who's what in this mansion?
{X} Is there any way that I can heal/regenerate my eye?
{X} Who are those people in the picture?
{X} How did Glish come here?
{X} How many times have you been in this game?
>> No. 25007
[x] Let John know about Sakuya and her similar ability.
[x] Inquire upon the following topics:
[x] Who are you? Really.
[x] Why'd you give us a fake name?
[x] Did you really come here to fix Revelation?
[x] Did you recieve anything akin to "wishes"?
[x] What's up with that watch?
[x] What was the game Flandre made you play?
[x] How did we arrive in Gensokyo?
[x] Who has been giving me all of these strange warnings about how dangerous the mansion is? Furthermore, where do these special items keep arriving from?
[x] How did Remilia test you after you arrived at the mansion?
[x] What do you know about Yukari Yakumo?
[x] What interest does Remilia have in our well-being?
[x] What is keeping Cirno's fairy regeneration from working properly?
[x] What happened to that theory of a deadly game you play just by entering the mansion?
- [x] Who's playing it?
- [x] Did you know about before coming here?
- [x] Do the residents know about it?
- [x] Are the residents in danger from it?
- [x] How is it related to chess?
- [x] Why is Sakuya keeping track of the "situation" and its "deterioration"? Tell him about the list.
[x] Who are the people on the photograph? Specifically Isaac; who is he and why would Cirno want to meet him?
[x] What will you two do now?
[x] Need to find a way to recover the spectables. Ask for help.
[x] How does an engineer make such magical items?
[x] Users, Creators, and Destroyers: who's what in this mansion?
[x] Is there any way that I can heal/regenerate my eye?
[x] How did Glish come here?
[x] How many times have you been in this game?

So, as I pray, "Unlimited Question Works."
>> No. 25008
>>25001
>Hey now, no need to be testy with a new write-fag. You gotta let them prove they're worthy of apathy.

Yeah, I know. It's just that we had so many people starting to write and leaving before the third thread that I always get a bit suspicious. And now that we have lost 3 valuable writers, I just don't want to lose any more of us. ;_;

[X] Let John know about Sakuya and her similar ability.
[X] Inquire upon the following topics:
{X} Who are you? Really.
{X} Why'd you give us a fake name?
{X} Did you really come here to fix Revelation?
{X} Did you recieve anything akin to "wishes"?
{X} What's up with that watch?
{X} What was the game Flandre made you play?
{X} How did we arrive in Gensokyo?
{X} Who has been giving me all of these strange warnings about how dangerous the mansion is? Furthermore, where do these special items keep arriving from?
{X} How did Remilia test you after you arrived at the mansion?
{X} What do you know about Yukari Yakumo?
{X} What interest does Remilia have in our well-being?
{X} What is keeping Cirno's fairy regeneration from working properly?
{X} What happened to that theory of a deadly game you play just by entering the mansion?
-[X] Who's playing it?
-[X] Did you know about before coming here?
-[X] Do the residents know about it?
-[X] Are the residents in danger from it?
-[X] How is it related to chess?
-[X](Tell him about Sakuya's list. Specially Luna Dial theory.) Does it mean anything to you?
{X} Who are the people on the photograph? Specifically Isaac; who is he and why would Cirno want to meet him?
{X} What will you two do now?
{X} Need to find a way to recover the spectables. Ask for help.
{X} How does an engineer make such magical items?
-[X] And why he you need such items?
{X} Users, Creators, and Destroyers: who's what in this mansion?
{X} Is there any way that I can heal/regenerate my eye?
{X} Who are those people in the picture?
{X} How did Glish come here?
{X} How many times have you been in this game?
{X} "A rift in the sun saves one"... does that phrase mean anything to you?
>> No. 25014
[X] Let John know about Sakuya and her similar ability.
[X] Inquire upon the following topics:
{X} Who are you? Really.
{X} Why'd you give us a fake name?
{X} Did you really come here to fix Revelation?
{X} Did you recieve anything akin to "wishes"?
{X} What's up with that watch?
{X} What was the game Flandre made you play?
{X} How did we arrive in Gensokyo?
{X} Who has been giving me all of these strange warnings about how dangerous the mansion is? Furthermore, where do these special items keep arriving from?
{X} How did Remilia test you after you arrived at the mansion?
{X} What do you know about Yukari Yakumo?
{X} What interest does Remilia have in our well-being?
{X} What is keeping Cirno's fairy regeneration from working properly?
{X} What happened to that theory of a deadly game you play just by entering the mansion?
-[X] Who's playing it?
-[X] Did you know about before coming here?
-[X] Do the residents know about it?
-[X] Are the residents in danger from it?
-[X] How is it related to chess?
-[X](Tell him about Sakuya's list. Specially Luna Dial theory.) Does it mean anything to you?
{X} Who are the people on the photograph? Specifically Isaac; who is he and why would Cirno want to meet him?
{X} What will you two do now?
{X} Need to find a way to recover the spectables. Ask for help.
{X} How does an engineer make such magical items?
-[X] And why he you need such items?
{X} Users, Creators, and Destroyers: who's what in this mansion?
{X} Is there any way that I can heal/regenerate my eye?
{X} Who are those people in the picture?
{X} How did Glish come here?
{X} How many times have you been in this game?
{X} "A rift in the sun saves one"... does that phrase mean anything to you?
>> No. 25015
[x] Wall
>> No. 25027
Very well. The polls are now closed, and I'm out the door. You may await my return on Wednesday patiently; don't party too hard while dad's away, now.

You have seen posts, and you have seen walls. But the common posts of U. N. Owen are walls in their own right. What, then, will his walls be like?
>> No. 25029
File 123049473550.jpg - (121.82KB , 600x626 , Brace for Impact.jpg ) [iqdb]
25029
I think i'll just leave this here.
>> No. 25031
>>25027
FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF
The Chinese Wall
>> No. 25036
>>25031

I was thinking more along the lines of the Great Wall of China.
>> No. 25037
>>25008
>lost 3 valuable writers
Wait, what? Who's the third?
>> No. 25038
>>25037

Dunno which three he's referring to, but I can think of at least GM, Kira, Zakeri, HY, and Blank.
>> No. 25040
>>25038
>and now
He's refering to the bit of drama that apparantly happened recently; Zakeri got tired a long time ago, and GM is just lazy. The other 3 are probably what he was talking about.
>> No. 25042
>>25038
Shit, Kira quit?
>> No. 25043
>>25040

Has Kira officially stopped writing or has he just been lazy?
>> No. 25049
>>25042 >>25043

I'd guess so, since he said GASD stoped because people kept derailing it's threads with trolling and cries of Kira = Despair. But this was on the second "Why was YAF banned again?" thread, which appears to have been deleted.

Dunno if he will ever come back and write again, but I think this time it's highly unlikly. Too sad what happened, I was kinda hoping for Yuugi and Satori to show up on GASD.
>> No. 25050
>>25049 >>25008

Oh yeah, Kirin also seems to have left the boards, for unkown reasons. First he/she said the stories wouldn't continue, and now I can't find the threads anymore.
>> No. 25052
>>25050
Yeah, that's kind of getting annoying. Can we make the retention time for threads "when it falls off the boards?"
>> No. 25054
>>25040

According to someone from this thread >>/th/72218 it appears Blankfag will write for those interessed in his story, but where he will write is another question, still unanswered.
>> No. 25061
>>25050

Between HY/ broken english Sakuya tripfag and (the equally broken english) Kirin, I hate the fact Kirin left.
>> No. 25071
A happy new Year Owen! I hope you enjoy yourself and write a bit on the side for us.
>> No. 25076
File 123077739532.jpg - (251.48KB , 600x550 , wallsofwalls.jpg ) [iqdb]
25076
Disclaimer: The next post may very well have some information which feels like shark-jumping to close-minded people, and I am prepared to take some heat for it regardless. Also, because of the length of the segment, I may have taken a bit too many liberties with the main character’s actions. I assure you I have only the story’s best interests in mind, and I ask you to have faith in me as the story continues on its journey.

I would like to wish you all in /sdm/ and on Touhou Project a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year. I don’t know what these last four months would have been like without you.

7,513 words, by the way. Show me a voter-imputed post that’s longer than this, and I’ll show you a writer who’s wrists hurt. Picture related dot-jay-peg.
>> No. 25077
[Question the unquestionable!]

This is it. This is it! It’s the hour you’ve been waiting for ever since you stepped inside those fated doors of the mansion. The time when you finally have the chance to speak your mind, to ask everything that’s been burning inside your head for what feels like years, though it’s really only been days. What’s with the watch? Did he receive any wishes? How did he get here? How did you get here? Does he have anything to do with Yukari Yakumo? How’s his view of a “mansion game” now? Why is Cirno dying? Why, what, who, how, when, where…no. Focus. Eyes on the prize, here. If you want some good answers, you’d better organize your thoughts. Let’s get the more pressing stuff out of the way first: him.

“You,” you state firmly. “Let’s hear about you. Just who are you? Why did you come here? What’s your real name, and why’d you give me a fake one? Why are you in some picture with Adam and a dragon-type man and some guy called Isaac?”

“Me…?” His response is halfway between a statement and a proverbial question. “Well, me…where to begin. That’s a lot of questions all at once; I’m only human after all, I can’t keep everything straight. Let’s start with something baseline first: my name.

“Well, you’re right. Nathaniel is not my real name, at least I don’t think it is. Truth is, I’ve changed my name so many times over the years, I don’t even know which one is the right one anymore. My friends call me John, but I doubt that name’s any more correct than any other. Call me whatever you want. Nathaniel, Nathan, Nate, Nat, John, I don’t really care.”

“Why don’t you just go by John, then? Just pick one name and stick with it. Why’d you have to go and give us all a fake name?”

“I told you, Nathaniel isn’t exactly a ‘fake’ name. It’s just a name. A name in and of itself is meaningless. It’s just something you use to connect to a face, or a person, or the person’s personality. Am I really ‘Nathaniel’? Am I really ‘John’? No; I’m just me. What I do and who I am has nothing to do with what you call me to get my attention. I change my names around to help remind me that I am who I make of myself. People shouldn’t remember me for my name, if they remember me at all. They should remember me for what I do. Do you understand?”

You shrug your shoulders and mumble. “Mreh, whatever suits you. Still seems weird to me, but if it works for you, then yeah, I get it. Who is ‘you’ then? Can you tell me that?”

He folds his fingers together under his chin and his eyes look inwards and outwards at the same time as he looks around the room, sometimes at you, but most of the time just into the darkness. “I was born in some little backwoods village in a country far from here or England; the name wouldn’t mean anything to you even if I said it. My parents died when I was too young to remember much of anything, the least of which was my own name. Stayed in the orphanage for years, but my real home was where all the tradesmen lived. Blacksmith, watchmaker, carpenter, craftsman, tinker…I was always hanging out in their shops, watching them work and doing simple jobs like sweeping the floors and cleaning up rubbish while I saw them work. Spent a fair bit of time at the historian’s place, too; he had the largest library in the area, though it really was pretty pitiful compared to any proper one. Eventually ended up helping them make stuff, then started making my own stuff, too. It just came naturally to me, all the knowledge I needed to invent things. By sixteen I was the most well-known engineer in the entire region. I was smart, I was wealthy, I was well-cared for, life was good. But after that…” he trails off and spins his watch around in his fingers. “Well, that’s a story that would take days to tell. I hit the road after that; left everything behind except for Equitas. Seraphim wasn’t born yet back then, and Revelation…like I said, another story for another day. Been traveling ever since. Never stay in one place for more than a few months these days; maybe a year if I’m really lucky.

“That was who I was five years ago. Who I am now…” He asks Adam/Glish for the old picture and flips it so you can both see it. “Now, I am a Wanderer.”

You don’t know how to explain it in words, but he most definitely capitalized the “W” on that word. “And pray tell, Mr. John Nathaniel. What is a ‘Wanderer’?”

He ‘hmms’ to himself for a while, wording his response in his mind. “Do you know how Gensokyo is sealed off inside its own little pocket-world?” You nod. “Well, it’s not the only one. Dozens, probably hundreds upon hundreds of pocket-worlds exist. It’s not that hard to imagine if you think about it; there could probably be thousands of worlds within worlds, but if you never see them, would you ever know they existed? Would you have believed two weeks ago that Gensokyo existed, for example? I was born in one of these other pocket-worlds, and I didn’t believe it either; I even came from a world with magic in it and I didn’t believe. As to how I got here, that’s kind of hard to explain. It’s…umm…well, have you ever gotten hopelessly lost? You’re just walking around without a clue in the world, no idea where you’re going? And then suddenly, you end up finding some place interesting by chance? It’s kind of like that, only you find yourself in a different world instead. With practice, you can kind of control it a little, but even after five years I still fail one time out of three, and I’ve still got no clue as to why or how it works. Am I making any sense at all?

“A little,” you reply truthfully. Different worlds, traveling between them…Sounds far-fetched to you, but what hasn’t these days? If Gensokyo can exist, why not other worlds too? And if you yourself was pulled into Gensokyo out of Earth, who’s to say a single person couldn’t do it by themselves? But that does raise another question…

“All right, so, I’m assuming you ‘Traveled’ or ‘Wandered’ or ‘Journeyed’ into Gensokyo or something, am I right?” Nathaniel nods his head. “Right, right, that’s great for you, but what about me? How did I get here? Could I be one of these ‘Wanderers’ too?”

“No.” he replies definitely, fiddling with something in his pocket nervously. He definitely seems to be on edge about something. “No, you’re here because…well, because I brought you here.” He flips something metallic towards you and you miss the catch, forcing you to pick it up off the dirty ground.

It’s a coin. The coin. That golden Yankee eagle-type coin you found in your coin pouch one evening. One difference, though: this one is dated 1902, clearing any doubt in your mind that he might have stolen the coin from you somehow. They’re different coins, but, but, but…but…how?! This coin must, has to mean he gave the first one to you; there’s no other explanation! But…HOW?!

Nathaniel continues to talk. “Wandering is not an art, and it is not a science. It’s barely even a skill you train. It follows no set in stone rules. But there are trends, trends that I’ve learned to use. And one of those trends is that if you insert something impossible into a person’s life—say, a coin that won’t exist for fifteen more years—there’s a good chance that person, whether he likes it or not, will end up Wandering to the one who gave him that impossible object. Distance, time, space, worlds itself won’t matter. The universe doesn’t exactly like paradoxes, you see, and whenever one is in danger of occurring, it’s much easier to let something absurd happen than to let something impossible happen. Thus, you find yourself, here. In Gensokyo. In the year 2008. With me. The one who gave you that 1901 American Double-Eagle.”

(Brick One complete…)
>> No. 25078
(…placing Brick Two.)

2008. 2008?! At long last, you know what year it is. You know how you got here. And most importantly…you know that it was no accident. In a burst of mindless rage you draw your small throwing knife and hold it up to Nathaniel’s neck, your hand shivering with anger. This man…this man ruined your life! He’s the one responsible for everything! This Wandering power…he used it to draw you to a world you couldn’t possibly survive in. You’ve lost an eye, are in danger of losing your life and Cirno’s too, and all because of him.

“Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t just kill you for ruining my life,” you demand coldly. Adam has stood up and is ready to do something, but Cirno is once again standing in his way. “You dragged me here to this crazy place without my permission or my knowledge. Give me one, good, reason!!”

Nathaniel makes no motion to remove the blade, and merely looks at you with hazel-gold eyes. “I’ll give you five. One, because you’re not amoral, and you’re not irrational, both of which you’d have to be to kill me right now. Two, because I still haven’t answered half the questions I’m sure you have. Three, because you and Cirno alone can’t stand against the entire mansion, and Adam won’t help you if I’m dead. Four, because I didn’t ruin your life, I gave you a new one, full of adventure, exactly like you wanted. And five, because in killing me you would lose a man who is not your enemy, only to gain three real enemies of your own, one of whom is standing only two meters away. Put the knife down.”

The man does know how to make a convincing argument, if a rather blunt one. You return the knife to your belt, but keep it within easy reach should the need arise. Answers or no answers, Nathaniel is still a precarious person for you to be around, and if he had the power to bring you here, who knows what other plots he’s planning.

“These are The Wanderers,” Nathaniel comments, proffing the picture for you to see again. “Four different people from four different worlds. For one reason or another, we’ve lost our homes as well as our worlds, and rather than settle down someplace new, we’ve decided to keep wandering around, seeing what the universe has to offer, and helping out where we can. We’re friends, family, allies, brothers-in-arms, what have you. It’s a relationship you can’t exactly understand in just one conversation. We used to do everything together: travel, converse, fight, laugh, cry…we were inseparable. Times change, of course; it’s rare to see more than two of us in the same place now, but we keep in touch.”

He points to the dragon-man in the background. “Stephen. Of us all, I know the least about him. Don’t know what his actual race is, don’t know where he came from, don’t know his past, don’t know how old he is, I don’t even know his real name; we just call him Stephen out of habit. He claims that he knows everything about his past and such, but as far as we know he hasn’t told a soul, least of which is me. He’s got dragon’s blood in him, no doubts there, but as for what else he’s got? Beats me. He’s our defender: he knows how to take a punch, and knows how to give one. If you think that I talk your ear off about justice and judgment, you should talk to him; he’s all about keeping the peace, but he’s a lot more calm about it than I am. He’s the one that told me about Gensokyo, by the way. I know he’s been here more than a few times; he might actually be a native, but I tend not to think about it too much.”

Next, he moves to Adam. “Glish. Glish is actually his real name, believe it or not. Funny story, really. We called him ‘Glitch’ at first, off of the phrase, ‘A glitch in the system.’ But when he was younger, well, he couldn’t pronounce it; always came out ‘Glish’. We all ended up liking that better, and it stuck. Of course, now—“ he looks the boy whimsically, “—he grows up into that lisp of his, and can’t even pronounce that. We still love ‘im, though,” he adds, ruffling his hair. “Anyways, dragon: yes, Glish is a real dragon. Born that way, still is that way. Stephen found him alone and abandoned somewhere in a small world that we’ve confirmed has absolutely no dragon population. We’re still working on that. Didn’t always look like a human, of course. We’re working on that, too. Long story short: nobody understands dragon magic, not even dragons. The wings though…that’s news to me. Care to explain, Glish?”

He’s very reluctant to answer, and when he finally does his voice is naught but a whisper. “Flandre Thcarlet, thee…long time ago, I lotht count how long. Anywayth, I Wandered to Genthokyo one night by acthident, and thee found me lotht in the foretht. Took me in, played with me forever, we had a lot of fun. Tho much fun thee, th-th-thee…Thee thaid thee alwayth wanted a little brother. Thee didn’t…didn’t g-give me a choith. Bit my neck and thucked my blood away. Then thee bit herthelf, mixthed her blood with some thtuff in a bottle, made me drink it off her thkin. Thee called it…umm…’baptithm of blood’ or thomethin’.”

“Baptism,” Nathaniel whispers to himself. “Smart girl; seems that ol’ VanHelsing was right after all.”

“VanHelsing?” you ask curiously. “Another friend of yours?”

Nate shakes his head, smirking. “No, no, not even. Dr. Abraham VanHelsing is a fictional character in a popular novel; written 1897, so you wouldn’t know it. Dracula. He was a vampire hunter or sorts; theorized that a vampire has to do more than merely drink its victim’s blood, but must also make the victim drink its own blood to create spawn. Seems Flandre Scarlet has done her homework. You holding up okay, Glish?”

“Kinda,” the boy answers, twiddling his thumbs. “Thee kinda controlth my brain when thee’th not paying attantion, but motht of the time thee’th an okay thithter. I want to go back, but…I thhould thtay with her. Thee needth help.”

“More than you might expect, Glish.” Nathaniel continues his explanation to you. “Me, I’ve told you about, soooo…Isaac.”

“Yes, about Isaac,” you interrupt. “Cirno said, umm, well, Cirno, you explain it.”

Cirno stands up and inches a little closer to Nathaniel. “Mr. Nat, sir? I…Since forever, I’ve always wanted to be stronger. Even the strongest ever! I always tell everyone I’m already The Strongest, but no one believes me. No one takes me serious. I think that the only way for people to take me serious is to get stronger. But I don’t know how, and no one…no one else knows how either. But Miss Flandre, she…she showed me this pitcher. She said that this Mister Isaac guy knows how to teach me. She said he’s comin’ for me, and one day he’ll make all my dreams come true; I’ll, I’ll finally be The Strongest for real! So…I just wanna know…where is he? What’s he like?”

(Brick Two complete…)
>> No. 25079
(…placing Brick Three.)

Nathaniel reaches over and ruffles Cirno’s hair playfully, smiling. “Well, Cirno, I’ll tell you this. If there’s one person who knows how to make people be more awesome, It would have to be my good friend Isaac. He’s a person that can control ice, just like you, and dang is he amazing at it. But the thing is, he’s not just good, he’s cool. Or at least, he thinks he is. He’s all about appearance, you see. He likes to add in a little extra flair, do crazy things that make him look all the more awesome. And the thing is, he’s just skilled enough to pull it off. He’s kind of a jerk and self-centered, and boy does he have a big ego, but when he cares about something, he really cares about it. I think I could see you two getting along pretty well. As for where he is, though…” he thinks about this answer for a while. “I saw him a few weeks ago, and he said he was ‘planning something big’. He wouldn’t tell me what it was, though.”

Her face lights up. “Do you…do ya think he’s comin’ to get me?! Do ya?!”

“Could be. You can never tell with that guy.”

She pulls at your shirt like a little sister wanting to show you something new and exciting. “Mr. Stupid! Mr. Stupid, did you hear?! Nat in the Hat says I’m going to be The Awesomest! Isn’t that great?”

You nod and smile at her, though inwardly you’re skeptical. Flandre couldn’t possibly know that Isaac was “planning something big” just a few weeks ago if he was in some other far-off world. You don’t deny that she’s probably heard of Isaac’s powers and personality before from Glish, and made the correlation between him and Cirno, but a possible quest to rendezvous with her for a teaching session of “how to be more awesome”? Far too unlikely for your tastes; Nathaniel must just be being nice.

He returns to a more serious tone. “So, I’ve told you the who, now I guess you’d like to know some of that what. What am I here for? I’ve never lied about that: I am here to fix Revelation. It’s been broken for almost five years, and I finally decided to let the past be past. Stephen swore to me that if I was going to fix one of the greatest watches in the world, I would need the books of one of the greatest libraries in the world. Tell me now, was he wrong?”

You answer his question with one of your own. “Did you really need the books? Look, I don’t really care if that watch was handed to you on a cloud by God himself; at the end of the day, it’s a watch, right? Gears and cogs and springs, right? Why Gensokyo? Why the Scarlet Devil Mansion? Why these books? What’s here that isn’t anywhere else in some other world that you can ‘Wander’ to, or whatever?”

“Would you rather I explain it to you in a very boring way, or show you and make you hold that knife up to my neck again?”

“Let’s start with the words and go from there.”

“Fair enough. Revelation is, to put it bluntly, a magical watch. My first great creation, so to speak. What it does is not so different from what Miss Izayoi can do: it manipulates time. Not nearly as completely nor as powerfully as she can, of course, but manipulation nevertheless. There’s lots of technical jargon I won’t get into; I don’t understand all of it myself, at least not anymore. Normally, it can only slow time down, and must be charged on a one for one basis. For example, if I wanted to slow time down to one-tenth its normal speed, I would need to charge Revelation ten seconds of normal time for every second of one-tenth speed I experience, and so on and so forth. What we are doing now is an augmentation I regret making, but had no choice on: for a cost, I can stop time completely, for as long as I want.”

“What’s the cost?” you wonder aloud, expecting some answer like “blood” or “my soul.”

“Age,” he replies simply. “I continue to age while time stands still. If I bring others with me, I have to age for them as well as myself. When it’s just me, just for a few hours, seems harmless, right? But if I try to change something that takes years…? Or if I try to bring an entire army with me…?” He trails off, almost regretful for saying anything at all about the “cost” of stopping time.

“Why?” you ask him, not caring much about prying into his life’s work; he did say you could ask anything at all, didn’t he? “Why’d you make all this? A watch that can control time? A sword that destroys injustice? What kind of engineer are you? And how? How could these kinds of things possibly exist? How could anyone possibly go about literally making, from scratch, a pocketwatch that alters time itself?!”

He doesn’t answer right away, and you have to prod him with a few more “Whys” and “Hows” before he starts talking again. “The world I lived in integrated magic into the common life just as must as technology, probably a little too much. Whereas your country might have created a gunpowder rifle, my country created a longbow that would shoot fireballs, or icicles, or bolts of lightning. You created lightbulbs, we created ever-burning torches. Magical supplies were rare, but no less rare than, say, a gemstone or a gold nugget. If you knew just what kind of world I lived in, you’d realize that my inventions weren’t all that amazing.

“I was…young. Foolish. Full of knowledge that I could understand but didn’t actually know. Full of optimism and gusto. I thought…I thought that I could be a hero. Someone who would save the world by destroying all the evil and chaos in it. I was going to use my knowledge to save everyone by creating wonders of the world…

“All I’ll say is, I failed,” he concludes. “There’s some things that even I don’t understand yet…How could you? But anyways…Revelation took me an entire year—over five thousand hours of work—to create. Back then I didn’t really keep very good notes, you see. So when it broke, I was at a rather large loss. I needed every textbook on watch and magical tech repair I could get my hands on, and this library of Voile was the only place I could think of that would give me a shot. There was…another option I had considered, but that was nothing but a joke.”

He should know better than to pique your interest like that; you inquire further. “Another option? Do tell, good sir, do tell.”

“Fine. Sakuya Izayoi? Well, Stephen told me about this rumor. She has a watch, see: the ‘Luna Dial’ I heard it was called. The rumor is that she uses the Luna Dial to control time. The similarity between it and my Revelation is obvious, so I thought I’d give it a shot. Remember my E-Card victory? Well, for my prize, I asked to borrow that Luna Dial. The maid, of course, was very reluctant, but Remilia practically yanked it out of her pocket and gave it to me. And you know what? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Oh, it’s a magnificent watch, no doubts there, but not a whiff of time-alteration within it. And what’s more, I’ve got a feeling she suspects me of creating a duplicate based on the rumor. Joke’s on her, of course; I know that the watch doesn’t control time, and she knows that, but she doesn’t know that I know.”

“What about right now? If she can control time can she…can she sense that you’re, I guess, ‘stepping onto her territory’ or something?”

(Brick Three complete…)
>> No. 25080
(…placing Brick Four.)

“Ahh, now there’s something I really couldn’t tell you. Time is a horrible thing to think about if you focus on it too much. Perspective, existence, relativity and what-not…No, there’s too many variables to say for sure. Knowing my luck she’s just waiting for me to flip this lever again to rip my apart, but maybe we’ll get lucky and she doesn’t know a thing. In either case, we’ve got the trump card.”

“And that is?”

He begins rummaging through the sack of supplies waiting for him outside the door, and pulls out a pair of gold-rimmed glasses, which he passes to you. You recognize them as the same pair he’s been wearing periodically throughout the mansion.

“Made those with a few spare supplies and some help from Patchouli. They’ll let you experience whatever time alterations someone around you is experiencing if you wear them; or at least, you’ll get to see and hear it. They’ll grow cold a few seconds before the alteration takes place as well; that was actually an unintended side-effect, I don’t know why it happens. But…you already know how they work, I expect,” he adds, winking at you.

Did he…? “Did you…?”

“Yes,” he interrupts slyly. “Your pair was a test run that kind of, ‘broke’ during the testing process. Didn’t know quite how to integrate hearing into them at first, and I got a little greedy. These are much better; you’ll get a clearer view as well as being able to hear everything that happens as well. Still no movement, but cut me some slack; I made these in like a day and a half.”

So…he was responsible for your spectacles after all. Makes you wonder just how much else he’s been helping you along the way. “Well, thanks for the new pair, at least. The blurry vision was really getting on my nerves. But listen; have you been…doing anything else for me behind the scenes? Like leaving me hints or clues or anything?”

He scratches his chin. “No, not really. I mean, I wrote “CAUTION” on the bathroom mirror a few times, but other than the spectacles, I pretty much stayed out of your hair. Why, someone else been helping you?”

“I’m asking the questions here, Mr. Nathaniel, not you,” you rebut, more than a little on edge at the moment. “Perhaps I should be a little more specific. Do you know anything about a ring of three keys to the basement?”

“No, I do not.”

“How about an envelope with three cards in it?”

Now that he reacts to. “Three cards,” he replies calmly. “So, you’ve got them too. Past, Present, and Future, right? ‘Use them once, use them well.’ I don’t know who’s been giving them, but I know what they do. Care to know?”

So he’s got the “Three Wishes” as well, does he? Seems like his theory about a mansion game might be carrying a little more weight. That is, if he’s not lying about not knowing where the cards came from. “If you’re offering, I’m willing to listen. Let’s hear it.”

“First Wish, 「Fate of the Past」. It does exactly what you’d expect it to do: it sends you back in time. Supposedly you go back to some important part of your life, some place where it all went wrong, and you’re given another chance to make it right. You keep all your memories and experiences, but your body is the same as is was in the past.

“Second Wish, 「Fate of the Future」. A little more abstract, this one. A voice tells you—kind of shows you too—what your immediate future within this mansion is going to be like. But it does more than that; it tells you what you have to do in order to get what it calls ‘your true future’. Who you have to talk to, what you have to possess, where you have to go, things like that. How it knows? Who can say; I sure can’t.

“Third Wish, 「Fate of the Present」.” For this statement, he removes a card from his pocket and starts tapping it on his leg; you see that it is in fact the same card he’s talking about. “I can’t say for sure, since I haven’t used it yet, but I can guess. What I think is, it somehow fixes the worst problem you have in your life right now, or perhaps it can fix the problem of someone else as well. That’s speculation, though, so don’t quote me on it.”

“So,” you muse out loud, fingering the two cards in your own pocket subconsciously. “You’ve used Past and Future already. How’d that work out for you? What’d you use them on?”

He’s about to talk, but catches himself and thinks for a moment. “Thaaat’s…a bit of a different topic. I’ll answer it, but I’m going to have to answer a lot more along with it. Is there anything else about me you want to ask about? I don’t want to be getting too side tracked until you’re satisfied with a particular topic.

“Fine then. What do you know about Yukari Yakumo?”

“Ahh, back to the Yakumo, are we? Well, let’s see…She’s old, might be as old as Gensokyo itself even. She’s also insanely strong; her power has something to do with weird teleportation or something, I’m not too sure about what exactly it is. Ran Yakumo is her servant, and Chen Yakumo—you haven’t met her yet—she’s Ran’s servant. She...dang it, I’m sorry, but I just don’t really know a whole lot that I haven’t already told you. Stephen gave me a little crash course about Gensokyo before I came here, but even he doesn’t seem to know too much about her. Seriously, talk to Ran if you want to know about Yukari, not me. Sorry.”

“Fair enough; I was just asking;” you reply, snapping your fingers inwardly. With all this talk about “worlds” and “Wanderers”, you would have bet money on the chance that Yukari and Nathaniel were somehow connected. Of course, a simply lie of feigning ignorance would be all it would take right here to shut your idea down. How you hope he isn’t lying about all this…

“Umm…here’s kind of an odd one. Does the phrase, ‘A rift in the sun saves one,’ mean anything to you?”

“Rift in the sun? Hmm…well, I don’t know if this’ll help, but my friends and I use the word ‘rift’ in a different way than others. To us, a ‘rift’ is a tear in the boundaries between two worlds, and practically anyone can just walk right through before it closes. It’s much more reliable than just Wandering is, but considering how much time it takes to find one, even if you know what you’re looking for, we hardly use them anyone. But a rift to the sun? Well that would just be stupid, wouldn’t it? It’d kill you if you went through it. No idea why a rift in the sun would save one. Maybe it’s a metaphor? I’ll have to think about that one a bit.”

“Okay, next question: What was the game Flandre made you play down here?”

(Brick Four is complete…)
>> No. 25081
(…placing Brick Five.)

He grows very serious at this one. “Some game for a child, I’ll say that first. I was strapped to this chair, but my hands were free. There’s a candle and three drinks on the table. Flandre comes in and explains the rules: the door will not open unless it is dynamited from the inside, or opened from the outside. The blast of a sevenfold bundle will kill me at this range; she makes that extremely clear. The three liquids are my three options. Option one is vampirization. One of the liquids is a chalice of her blood, and she drinks mine to ‘begin the ritual’ as she put it. If I drink it, I become a vampire, strong enough to survive the dynamite, but then I’m her brother, forever under control. Option two is immortality. One of the liquids is something called the Hourai Elixer: grants absolute immortality, no strings attached, other than the fact there’s no antidote. If I drink it, I become strong enough to survive the dynamite, become strong enough to survive anything, but then I have to endure the hell of living forever until Judgment Day, and who knows when that’ll ever come. Option three is luck of the draw. She won’t tell me what the third liquid is. Could be plain water, could be poison, could be metal-eating acid, could be some kind of teleportation juice…she won’t say. It might save me, it might kill me, or do anything else in between. That’s the chance I take for trying to use it. Of course, there’s a fourth option: wait for one of you three to save me instead.

“I ended up going with option number five: Use the candle to burn through my bindings, pour the blood on the ground, use the edge of the cup to cut up the dynamite into little pieces, then blow up each one individually to snap the door hinges. I was halfway there when you showed up. Thanks for saving me, by the way.”

“You’re…welcome, I guess?” So much for going to save his life from a lose-lose situation. “Last question about ‘you’, I think. Remilia supposedly likes to test people; see if they’re interesting or something. How did she test you?”

He taps his thigh a few times as he contemplates his answer, and his face grows more serious still. “Now would be a good time to change the subject, I think. I suspect a lot of the rest of your questions are going to be about the mansion, right?”

“More or less” you reply, mentally going over the list of questions you drew up in your mind. “Might as well let you hear ‘em if we’re going to switch topics.”

“Don’t bother,” he answers, cutting you off politely. “This’ll be easier if I just start talking, and then I’ll fill in the blanks for you afterwards. Fair?”

“Fair.”

He stands up and starts pacing around the room, his left hand always tight around his Revelation. “Where to begin, where to begin,” you hear him mumbling to himself. He eventually starts talking in a louder voice and motioning with his hands, though it doesn’t look like he’s addressing anyone specific in doing so.

“It’s…I don’t know how much of this any of you will believe, but I swear to God that it’s the truth. I know you want explanation, but…Sometimes people hate the explanation they’re given so much, they won’t believe it, even if it makes sense. I don’t know what you’re going to make of it, but…here goes everything.

“The game I told you about? The deadly mansion game? It’s not just some unseen force that’s controlling it; it’s a person…A person named Remilia Scarlet.

“No one’s told you this, but Remilia has a magic power of her own: the manipulation of fate. She can pull the strings of people’s fate, get their lives to change ever so subtly. It’s such an abstract power that no one really understands it except her, and that’s what makes her so powerful…so dangerous. She could be manipulating anyone. Anywhere. A little pull here, a little push there, to move their lives just in the direction she wants them to go. She can draw people to her, or push them away. She can make her enemies friends, and her friends enemies. Given enough time, she may even be able to control the life of a person outright, get them to dance on her strings like a puppet.

“Can you imagine what a mastermind with the ability to control fate itself could do, given enough time? Fate doesn’t quite work fast enough to change things instantly, but in the long run? A person could change the lives of a family, slowly force them to tear each other apart. She could alter the tide of a war, change the social atmosphere of an entire country…get the entire world to worship her as her slaves. All it would take is time…Time, and the ability to not get caught.

“Remilia’s been manipulating the lives of everyone inside this mansion for over three hundred years…probably for her entire life. I didn’t lie before: the object of the game is to leave. And what makes it a game is because she doesn’t want you to. She manipulates your fate. Tries to get you to stay inside the mansion, stay close to her, where she has control over you. It’s your willpower against her fate-power. Like I said before, fate doesn’t work instantaneously. It takes time. But every day you stay here is more time for your fate to change. And if you don’t try to escape, don’t try to figure anything out…then you’ve already lost; you’re already her slave.

“This game is just a test for her. A test to see how strong she really is. She invites anyone she can find, all different kinds of people from all across everywhere. She finds out what makes them work. What motivates them to do things. And then she pulls the strings of fate which makes them lose that motivation. The more people she experiments on, the more she learns, and the stronger she gets.

“Think I’m lying? Look at the evidence all around you. All those maids she has; they receive no pay, no vacations, no benefits except for a few meager meals and a place to sleep. Why would fairies, who are known for being energetic and flighty, stay in a dour place like this, unless something was stopping them?

“Hong Meiling. She’s looked down upon, mistreated, sent to guests as a prostitute—yes, the same thing happened to me too—why would she stay? Her job is horrible; it’s not even a job. But…she says she does it to obey Remilia. She’s already under her thumb completely. She fights back, but Remilia is already too strong for her to escape.

“Patchouli Knowledge. She’s extremely smart, extremely talented in offensive magic, doesn’t care about grand mansions or socializing of any kind. Why would she be friends with a childish, grandiose, stuck-up little girl like Remilia? The library caused her to come here, and the fate caused her to stay. She’s anemic, asthmatic, and has poor eyesight due to an iron deficiency. Why won’t she go and see a doctor? I’m sure Doctor Yagokoro could cure her in under a day without any trouble at all. She won’t because she can’t. Remilia draws her fate inwards. Into the library. I have a suspicion that if Patchouli even fought Remilia in a fair fight, Patchouli would win. And fight she would if she ever woke up to see just what had happened to her. That’s why Remilia keeps her in the library. Keeps her weak. So she can’t resist. Can’t think. Can’t do anything except sit around and read and write; exactly what her inner self is content to do.

(Brick Five is complete…)
>> No. 25083
(…placing Brick Six.)

“Sakuya Izayoi. She’ll follow any order that comes out of that vampiress’s mouth to the bitter end, no matter how demeaning it is, and she’ll do it with a smile on her face. The perfect, elegant maid. No one with even one ounce of self-respect could be the perfect servant, the perfect slave. And what’s more…I think she used to be a vampire hunter. There’s signs: silver knives, devotion to duty, physically agile, suspicious knowledge…Now, why would a vampire hunter serve a vampire, possibly for decades, after she’s probably had hundreds of chances to stab a knife into Remilia’s heart? Fate. It is now her fate to serve Remilia unquestioningly, forever.

“You and me. We’re nothings to her. Crawling ants. Why would she care about us enough to let us stay here? Wouldn’t she have more fun holding grand balls and inviting rich aristocrats here instead? And why would there be so many secrets here, so much mystery? Why would she be so intent on making sure that you don’t go outside without an escort? Why would she have a master martial artist guard a gate that gets no visitors? She’s keeping us here. Keeping us in the dark, until she’s changed our fate to suit her better.

“Even Cirno.” The fairy sits up straight on her icy seat where she hears her name. “Remilia hates her. Hated her for years. Calls her ‘a blight on my beautiful little island of peace.’ She wants to kill her, but she can’t; fairies don’t die like you and I. So, she did what she always does: changed Cirno’s fate. Cirno’s fate is now to die, once and for all, by the hands of Remilia. She’s mortal now, and she’ll stay that way until we do something about it.”

“That’s a lie.”

“What?”

“I said: That’s, a, lie.

The knife is back in your hand and at Nathaniel’s neck. Adam’s faster than Cirno this time, though; before you even see him coming he’s rammed into you and pinned you against the wall, the knife nowhere to be seen. He doesn’t have a claw to your neck, fortunately enough, but the pressure against your arms and chest is plenty real. This doesn’t stop you from talking, and talk you do.

“You expect be to believe that? Do you actually expect me to believe that?! That everything is magically, conveniently Remilia’s fault? That you somehow know the secret, evil plan of the mistress of the mansion, that you know what she’s doing, how she’s doing it, and who she’s affecting? You would have been found out days ago in if you were really snooping that deep! Why aren’t you chained up? Why aren’t you dead? No. If this so-called game really exists, you’re just another part of it. Either that…or this is all one lie after another, and the only person manipulating anything is you.

“Glish,” Nathaniel reprimands in vain. “Let him go.”

“He’th accuthing you,” the boy replies, shoving his form against you fiercely. If you tried, you think you could probably shove him back; he’s not really that big. “He’th calling you a liar and an evil mathtermind. Why thhould I—“

“He’s doesn’t know,” he interrupts, checking his watch despite the fact that time isn’t moving. “He wants to know, but he doesn’t know. Maybe he doesn’t want to know.” He keeps talking to Glish, even though his statements are definitely directed towards you. “Maybe he doesn’t want to know the hell I’ve been through. Maybe he doesn’t want to know that I used 「Fate of the Past」 to go back three months in time because I lost the game. Maybe he doesn’t want to know that I used 「Fate of the Future」 to find out that the only way I was going to win the game was to bring this unknown man into Gensokyo, into the mansion to help me somehow. Maybe he doesn’t want to know that I went back in time to before I had ever entered the mansion, and I could still feel Remilia pulling at me from halfway across the world. Maybe he doesn’t want to know that once you’re in this game, you can’t win unless you break the rules.

“Maybe he doesn’t want to know what I did when I lost the game the first time. Maybe he doesn’t want to know how I was too busy fixing my watch to feel Remilia’s temptations pulling at me. Maybe he doesn’t want to know how I agreed to stay in Gensokyo after Revelation was done and try to see what things I could help fix. Maybe he doesn’t want to know how she was smart enough to convince me that Gensokyo was rotting, and that she would have to use her powers of fate to steer the land back on course. Maybe he doesn’t want to know the kind of world Gensokyo became because I helped her. Maybe he doesn’t want to know how much of my dignity I sacrificed to find out what I did before I turned back the clock for a second chance.”

He walks up to you, Glish finally letting go of you so that you face each other, man to man. “Suspicion is good. You’ll need it in life, and especially in Gensokyo. Skepticism is good too. It gives you a strong spine, and makes you your own boss. But I’ve had it with you. There’s a time when you can’t just test the waters any more, and I’m telling you right now that we’re at it. If you want my help, you have to trust me, more than just a little bit. Every word I’ve told you down here is the truth; I swear before God that it’s the truth. But if you’re going to drag your heels like this, I can’t go any further. You’re going to have to make a choice. Believe that Remilia is behind this, or don’t. Everything I’m trying to say revolves around this one belief. I’m coming from a future where I’ve seen first-hand what Remilia is capable of, and I’m telling you that it isn’t going to be good. I believe that Remilia is evil, and that she is manipulating the fates and lives of everyone around her. What do you believe?”

[ ] Write-in only.

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

>>25071
>A happy new Year Owen! I hope you enjoy yourself and write a bit on the side for us.
I think I might have possibly written something that could be called “a bit.”
>> No. 25084
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25084
>>25083
I was looking forward to this so much I was sure this would probably disappoint. I'm wrong and loving it.

Happy New Year U.N. Owen; this is an awesome way to end 2008. Time to crack open the bubbly and consider a write-in.
>> No. 25085
[ ] So what, we kill her? Throw her into the sun or something? Really, I'd love to know how the hell you figure we have any hope of getting out of here alive aside from being told that, somehow, i'm important to it. Or maybe Cirno is important and i'm only here to bring here here. Or maybe Adam is important because I came here so Cirno came here so Flandre gave her that photograph. Throw me a goddamn bone here!
>> No. 25086
[X] I believe you're little better. Who are you to play chessmaster?
>> No. 25088
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25088
>>25083
>I believe that Remilia is evil, and that she is manipulating the fates and lives of everyone around her. What do you believe?

This smacks of the situation when Remilia asked us what "patience" was: a relatively big deal that would benefit from some retrospection.

>>25085
I agree with the emotion whole-heartedly. Was really hoping Nat would become more sympathetic after this, but not so much: we help you get your sword back, fix your watch, and reunite you with a friend long since missed. You spin a marvelous evidence-less tapestry of improbable explanations (replete with unsubstantiated assumptions and heresay evidence) that we are somehow foolhardy (beyond redemption, no less) for not believing because it's on his oath to God. Well, gee wiz, he dun told us that this is the truth! He can't be lyin' at all!
...
At least Remi ain't alone in trying to fuck with people's fate for no good reason. "A story for another day..." my ass. Ah, my old smoldering flames of hatred toward Nathaniel, I haven't had reason to stoke you in so long!

What occurs to me is that we got an answer to the "who", "what", "where", "when", and "how" of the situation (Remilia, THE GAME, Gensokyo, at least 3 centuries, and fate hax), but not all of the "why." Why is she testing her powers and subjecting people to an insidious game? To see the upper limits of her abilities? Probably, but that isn't a good answer. Ever. Just because you can lay waste to the world 100 times over doesn't mean you should just to prove you can I'll have good reasoning for that as soon as the Accelerator arc ends in To Aru Majutsu no Index. Remi's little plea to help her find what she wants may be just that: she wants a definitive answer (or maybe even a clear question that can be discretely answered) regarding the extent of her powers. In her mind, finding the upper limits of her fate hax means wresting control of Gensokyo from the absolute forces of this dimension: Hakurei and Yakumo. Maybe that's not the case; maybe

I've got an alternative notion that this is a chess game for control of Gensokyo being played by Remi and Yukari: banking this on her insistence in making Ran stay for lunch and play the game, chess allusions, and the dream sequence displaying much anticipation on Remi's and Sakuya's(?) part regarding a visit by Yukari. Manipulation of boundaries and fate are comparable, with immediacy being the only discerning factor making boundaries slightly favored (but still trumped by the ability to invoke miracles in this anon's opinion). Mysterious keys would make sense with borders being involved. I'm leaving this notion on the back-burner since it relies very heavily on knowledge of what Yukari is capable of. If Nat had gotten all monologuey regarding Yukari I'd go with this, but absent Anonymous level knowledge suffused with PCB and wiki info, this is too meta at the moment.

So anyway, if this is the extent of his knowledge and he doesn't know why the game is being played by Remilia beyond for the lulz, he get's half of my belief. The real clincher for me is this line:
>Maybe he doesn’t want to know that once you’re in this game, you can’t win unless you break the rules.
[X] "If what you say about Remilia's powers are true, I can believe that this is a game to find out about what she can do. But... I don't know why such a game should be played at all, so I will not brand her evil; I refuse to until I know why. What I believe then, 'Nathaniel', is that you are going to help me change this game at the most basic level. Winning won't be about survival of some disposable game pieces. No... winning will be by proving your motives are just.

No better way of breaking the rules than to change how you win. We're going to Calvinball the living fuck out of the Scarlet Devil Mansion.

It's actually kinda lonely on Remi's perspective: she has to force people to be around her and has to keep the person that wants to be with her the most away from her. Former is easy(-ish): even vampire's want to be loved. The latter is kind sketchy: why doesn't Remi use hax for Flandre to be fated to get well mentally? Well hey! There's a good reason for trying to max out your fate hax ability: save your hydrogen bomb of a little sister from crippling madness so you can live happily ever after? But is there another way by relying on the strength of others? I wonder... I wonder~
>> No. 25092
>Maid of Fate – Queen

>Nathaniel, Clockwork Engineer – Bishop? 9 full days plus previous. No sign of control. One wish. No sign of escape. Suspicions intolerable. Threat level: Extreme.
Action: Continue plot undermine. Increase assault on fail-safes. Direct confrontation an option.

>Unknown, Mystic Farmer – Pawn/Knight? 2 full days. Slight sign of control. Three wishes. No sign of escape. Suspicions manageable. Threat level: Low.
>Action: Unchanged.

>Cirno, Fool of Fools – Pawn. Half-day plus previous. Moderate signs of control. Wish-null. No sign of escape. Suspicions budding. Threat level: Low.
>Action: Unchanged.

>Luna Dial theory confirmed red herring.

>Rounds: Lead, silver, and explosive confirmed. Two unconfirmed.

>Deterioration confirmed. Level unconfirmed.

>Speculation: Cannot continue on as before. Situation drawing to a close. Uncertain for first time in three years. Could end poorly. Remilia growing suspicious? The twins are talkative; unlike them. Attachment to the new guests, perhaps. Shame, really. Other situations manageable, but---

I'm a bit skeptical that this is all Remilia's doing. This passage seems to suggest that she is in the dark about something. Sakuya has a large part to play as of yet ...
>> No. 25093
[x] "I believe you enough.
[x] "But I don't believe I can help you in the way you expect. Unless your future card revealed a flaw that I can start with, I have nothing and--see less than when I started.
[x] "All that matters is I get [us] out of this mansion safe and alive. And get Cirno back her thunder, so to speak."
[x] "That's what Flandre's perverse game made me think of - I'll walk over whatever corpse lies on that path."

Eh, with or without that last sentence. Not completely happy with it; however, I am getting strong "Know thyself" vibes from this. Broke-up my reply for potential dialogue exchanges rather than us belting out a run-on wall, but that is not necessary.

One note for tonight: is it just me, or was Nathaniel's puzzle much more exploitable than our own?

Happy New Year, U.N.Owen.
>> No. 25094
Here, made this since it seems it would be useful at this point. (Although it's more or less just short and snarky at points rather than being of geninue help.) Even only skimming and typing in short phrases, it took hours. Probably won't be able to finish this until sometime Friday.

***Thread 01***
A Fork in the Road/DAY ONE
LAAAKKKKEEEEE
Strange Woman and her offer
Nice Boat
Sleeping on the Job (Meet Meiling, sorta)
Strongest vs Sleepiest (Meet Cirno)
Food, Shelter, and Fainting.

Fancy Accomadations/DAY TWO
Meet Sakuya
Protagnist Hygiene and Other Improbablities, Don't you mean redrum?
Breakfast/Meet Nathaniel
Frigging Chance Cards (Bankruptcy Fake Bad End)
Asking Questions
This is exactly why I always stay inside, Anon gets a name/Meet Rumia
Girl Fight! Girl Fight!, How not to graze
A Forbidden Teary Reunion
***Thread 02***
It's probably not Santa (Warning and Keys)
Searching the Room (Get Letter, letter opener, broken spectacles)
More Hygiene? Madness!
Getting to know the ladies better, He's not a big fan of Shiva (Creator, User, Destroyer Speech)
We're a fence sitter!
Big dinner (Dan-jo dan-jo! Jo-dan jo-dan..., Meet Remilia)
How to Be A Bum by R. Scarlet
If it's the latter, then can I watch?
Thanking, Cirno Discussion, When in doubt blame Yukari
She'd make a fortune on the game show circuit (Meet Patchouli)
She's doing WHAT in public now? In front of a total stranger?, Pranking a prankster
A Game perhaps?
***Thread 03***
E-Card it is (get another Key)
Sticking around, questions with no answers
Rules explanation, spectacle fun
Part one of the long long game thing
Cold glasses, It's because Charisma is his dump stat
Funny Money
***Thread 04***
Part Two, you win - sort of
~Exploring~
Jackpot Winner!
...or not?
Opening the letter (Three Cards GET)
Sending her off
Basement Diving
***Thread 05***
Basement Diving (cont) (Meet Mysterious Person)
It's a TRAP! (Bad End 1)
Thave Big Thither Thcarlet!
What You Leave Behind, Further Exploration
Read a book, read a book, read a motherfucking book
Do we take the precious thing(s)?
Greeting a predator (Get a shitload of stuff)
Examining Spoils, Call to the Library
***Thread 06***
Unwrapped Gifts
Explaining how you're a Crazy Moon Person
Hope you're not referring to your other head for this one, Danmaku Primer
It's like a cuter, better grammar'ed Yoda
Holy shit that was a long day

Dream of blacksmith and Gaps, Early Bird Start/DAY THREE
Perfect and Elegant Drill Sergeant
Spell Cards
Inventory Check
It's how you say 'Hello' in Gensenkyo
Danmaku Fight START
>> No. 25095
Six posts. Six fucking posts. Dear God, Owen could have saved millions of people on the Middle Ages with this wall.
>> No. 25096
>>25076
>E-size wall

So Owen only has two types of walls? The gi-fucking-gantic wall and cute, adorable wall?
>> No. 25097
Sweet jesus, what a WALL Owen.
I am going to wait for a good write in this time. And i still have to read up the whole thread and half of the last.
>> No. 25098
Wall of walls.
>> No. 25099
>>25098
Happy new Year HY, glad that you are still around.
>> No. 25100
Magnificent owen, simply magnificent.

>>25092
Indeed Remilia seems to be kept in the dark, and i think the "signs of control" here refer to how much the fate hax is affecting him/her.

Also, it could be that Sakuya herself is trying to undermine remilias fate hax, like Nathaniel said, "no one is a perfect servant", that is unless they're acting.

Also, "9 full days plus previous" seems to say that Sakuya atleast knows about Nathaniel from before he used the past-wish.

When you think about it, the only person who could go against fate manipulation is the one who can manipulate time: modifyint the past to change the future.

Then again, i wonder how Yukari fits in all of this. She must know of Remilias power, which is probably why she doesn't want to visit. But why would she allow this dangerous vampire to come into gensokyo in the first place then? and why not drive her away? she clearly is strong enough for that.

oh well, we're going to need a lot more on the write in, but let's start with this little information:

[X] Tell Nathaniel about your scrying on Sakuya.
[X] Tell Nathaniel about how the glasses affected Flandre, and ask if he knows why they would affect her so.
>> No. 25101
>But why would she allow this dangerous vampire to come into gensokyo in the first place then?

because wouldn't it be far, far more fun to watch such a pathetic existance as Remilia's collapse under it's own proverbial weight? Far more entertaining, at least, than to simply make her leave via force. Let the SDM tumble down around her and let her know, most importantly, that it was all her own fault~

Or something.
>> No. 25102
Not sure about the rest, but this seems important:
[x] Tell Nathaniel about your scrying on Sakuya.
[x] Tell Nathaniel about how the glasses affected Flandre, and ask if he knows why they would affect her so.
>> No. 25103
[X] "If what you say about Remilia's powers are true, I can believe that this is a game to find out about what she can do. But... I don't know why such a game should be played at all, so I will not brand her evil; I refuse to until I know why. What I believe then, 'Nathaniel', is that you are going to help me change this game at the most basic level. Winning won't be about survival of some disposable game pieces. No... winning will be by proving your motives are just.

I like the vibes that this is giving, and it fits part of my ideology. But also...

[X] Tell Nathaniel about your scrying on Sakuya.
[X] Tell Nathaniel about how the glasses affected Flandre, and ask if he knows why they would affect her so.

>Maid of Fate
She clearly has a large role in this 'game', though whether a saboteur or orchestrator is as of yet undetermined.
>> No. 25104
[X] Tell Nathaniel about your scrying on Sakuya.
[X] Tell Nathaniel about how the glasses affected Flandre, and ask if he knows why they would affect her so.
>> No. 25105
[x] Tell Nathaniel about your scrying on Sakuya.
[x] Tell Nathaniel about how the glasses affected Flandre, and ask if he knows why they would affect her so.
>> No. 25106
[x] "I believe you enough.
[x] "But I don't believe I can help you in the way you expect. Unless your future card revealed a flaw that I can start with, I have nothing and--see less than when I started.
[x] "All that matters is I get [us] out of this mansion safe and alive. And get Cirno back her thunder, so to speak."
[x] "That's what Flandre's perverse game made me think of - I'll walk over whatever corpse lies on that path."

I think that all we should want is to escape regardless of the consequences.
>> No. 25107
[x] "If what you say about Remilia's powers are true, I can believe that this is a game to find out about what she can do. But... I don't know why such a game should be played at all, so I will not brand her evil; I refuse to until I know why. What I believe then, 'Nathaniel', is that you are going to help me change this game at the most basic level. Winning won't be about survival of some disposable game pieces. No... winning will be by proving your motives are just."
[x] Tell him you used your first card as well, to save Cirno's life.
[x] Tell Nathaniel about your scrying on Sakuya.
[x] Tell Nathaniel about how the glasses affected Flandre, and ask if he knows why they would affect her so.

If his suspicions are correct, then he is being manipulated as he speaks, still; his time manipulation certainly makes him no less immune to Remilia's power than the maid's, and what he's experienced and became to believe in now is only what she'd planned for him to experience and believe in the first place. According to his theory, his suspicions themselves are just a part of her manipulations, and are therefore in and of themselves suspect.
>> No. 25108
If we talk to Remilia about this and ask her to let us go, would she let us?

In one way or another, I still want to know, why only the people who enter her mansion? She could envelop all of Gensokyo, but why only in the mansion?
>> No. 25109
>>25108

Probably simply a matter of hard limits on the scope of her powers. Even if we know she can keep people in, she's proven to be less than effective at keeping unwanted guests out (i.e., Cirno). Another more obvious reason is that she'd have to know the person first before she'd decide to manipulate said person's fate.

Honestly though, Nathaniel's theory is just too pat to be the whole story. I imagine that he's still playing at his childhood dream of being the hero who saves everyone from the all-powerful and decidedly evil mastermind. Good luck in ever convincing him of that, though; his theory is essentially unfalsifiable and by now he's become far too emotionally invested in it to reconsider.
>> No. 25110
[x] "I believe you enough.
[x] "But I don't believe I can help you in the way you expect. Unless your future card revealed a flaw that I can start with, I have nothing and--see less than when I started.
[x] "All that matters is I get [us] out of this mansion safe and alive. And get Cirno back her thunder, so to speak."
[x] "That's what Flandre's perverse game made me think of - I'll walk over whatever corpse lies on that path."
>> No. 25115
Ugh, another write-in selection?

I always have trouble with those...

Here, this one looks good~

[x] "If what you say about Remilia's powers are true, I can believe that this is a game to find out about what she can do. But... I don't know why such a game should be played at all, so I will not brand her evil; I refuse to until I know why. What I believe then, 'Nathaniel', is that you are going to help me change this game at the most basic level. Winning won't be about survival of some disposable game pieces. No... winning will be by proving your motives are just."
[x] Tell him you used your first card as well, to save Cirno's life.
[x] Tell Nathaniel about your scrying on Sakuya.
[x] Tell Nathaniel about how the glasses affected Flandre, and ask if he knows why they would affect her so.
>> No. 25117
[X]What happened to Gensokyo, in your last time here?
>> No. 25118
["If what you say about Remilia's powers are true, I can believe that this is a game to find out about what she can do. But... I don't know why such a game should be played at all, so I will not brand her evil; I refuse to until I know why. What I believe then, 'Nathaniel', is that you are going to help me change this game at the most basic level. Winning won't be about survival of some disposable game pieces. No... winning will be by proving your motives are just.]
[Tell Nathaniel about your scrying on Sakuya.]
[Tell Nathaniel about how the glasses affected Flandre, and ask if he knows why they would affect her so.]

What do you believe? Frankly, it’s hard to tell what you believe right now. Nathaniel’s explanations…they’re good, but it seems that they’re both too good and not good enough at the same time. They explain too much, and yet not enough. Short and simple, you still don’t trust him. From the moment he threatened you with a razor you’ve never fully trusted him, and he still hasn’t done anything here to change your mind. What he’s saying might be true—it makes sense, at least—but you refuse to believe it’s the whole story, and you’re not passing judgment until you’ve heard everything, from everyone.

Right now, you just want to get out. Get out of this room, get out of these tunnels, get Cirno off of this island and away from all these hostile people. Perhaps it might be extremely difficult if what Nathaniel says is true, but it’s a lot easier that trying to put your full trust and belief in this enigma of a man.

You clear your throat and answer him back. “If what you say about Remilia’s powers are true, then I can believe this is a game for her to find out just what she can do. But…I believe you’re missing something, something important to all this. Until I know for certain why this game should be played at all, I will not brand her evil; I refuse to until I find out why.

“What I believe then, Mr. ‘Nathaniel’, is that you are going to help me play this game by changing it at the most basic level. You said that ‘you can’t win unless you break the rules,’ right? Well, it’s time to start breaking some. I’m sick and tired of following other people’s commands and ‘taking their word for it’. You say you win by escaping? By living or dying? No; I believe that winning isn’t going to be about survival of disposable game pieces anymore. You’ll win by proving your motives are just.”

He backs up from you and lets you brush yourself off, then sighs. “So optimistic. That’s the way it’s going to be, is it? No…that’s the way it has to be. It’s the way it’s always been. I had hoped…but no matter. You’re willing, even if you’re not committed. It’s a start, at least.” He rummages through the pack and begins to affix things to his person. Seraphim goes into a shoulder-holster on his left, and a few speed loaders dot his belt. He sheathes Equitas to his side, slings the rest of the pack onto his shoulders, then turns back to you.

““Do you know what the word integrity means? It means doing the right thing when no one is watching. Doing the right thing even when you won’t get a reward for it. Doing the right thing even when no one cares whether you do or don’t. Doing the right thing even when everyone will hate you for it. Why? Because it’s just right.

“I try to care about the people I try to help, I really do. But…Well, you should know my personality doesn’t win friends, even if it influences people. That’s why I’ve given up on caring about what people think about me. I don’t care if you hate me; I don’t care if you want me to suffer for the rest of my life. Maybe you’ll thank me for this some day, maybe you won’t; at least I’ll know that I did my best.”

“It seems that I’ll only win you over by walking the walk, though. So be it. Glish and I will help you out of these caverns, first of all. I’ll give you support if we need it, whatever it is you decide to do. Not exactly what I had it mind, but…well, it’s my fault for bringing you here in the first place, and I should be the one responsible for getting you out of this mess. Sound fair?”

You think for just a moment. “Not at fair as I’d like, but you can’t always get what you want, so fair enough.”

“Know this, though,” he adds, looking very sternly at you. “I will defend for you, I will even attack for you, but I will not negotiate for you. You want to confront Remilia or anyone else about all this, you’ll be the one doing the talking, not me. You believe she might have a good reason for doing all this, I do not. As long as we disagree about that, ultimately there will come a time where we’re going to part ways. Are we clear?”

“As clear as we’ve ever been.”

“Clear as mud, then. Come on, let’s move.”

“Hold it!” You bring him back to facing you, and you cross your arms in frustration. “We still haven’t finished talking.”

Somehow, Nathaniel manages to roll his eyes without actually rolling his eyes. “Of course, of course. Ask away.”

“It’s not what I’m asking you this time; it’s what I’m telling you. See, turns out I’ve got some magic in me after all…”

You explain you him briefly, giving him only the bare necessities, how you discovered you could scry and how it works. You try to keep just who you scryed on to yourself, and he thankfully doesn’t press you on the matter. With this baseline established, you begin to tell him about Sakuya’s strange note you managed to catch a glimpse of. He seems to close his eyes in…some emotion you can’t make out, as you tell him what details you can remember about the piece of paper.

“So, the maid’s keeping some of her own notes as well,” he muses, probably to himself but loud enough for you to benefit as well. “Suspicions, wishes, durations, yes, yes, that all makes sense. Chess pieces, hmm…could just be a ranking system, could have philosophical significance too. Control of course refers to the fate manipulation. ‘Luna Dial red herring’ is probably her thinking I think the Luna Dial is important. Rounds, mmm, most likely referring to Seraphim; it carries those types of bullets, sure enough. That last paragraph…mmm…” Nathaniel trails off, and you verbally try and prod him.

“Yes? The last paragraph, what does it mean?”

He smiles contentedly, ever so slightly. “It means…she isn’t completely lost. More I dare not say.”

(Ellipses…)
>> No. 25119
…dot dot dot.)

“There’s one more thing, too,” you add, remembering that odd situation with Flandre and the spectacles. “Back when I was in Flandre’s room, she wore the old spectacles, the ‘test’ pair as you called them. After she wore them, she suddenly became completely sane and completely intelligent, if only for a minute. Any idea why?”

He thinks about this one for a minute. “Well, just wearing them shouldn’t do anything to anyone. But considering Flandre…if she actually saw though them, as Sakuya stopped time, I expect the experience might rattle her brain a bit, perhaps enough to do what you described. Make sense?”

You nod. “I suppose you can never tell what’s going on in an insane person’s brain.”

That phrase…it seems to stop him in his tracks. He says nothing, but you can tell he’s thinking about something important. It takes a while, but he brushes it aside and rests a hand on the pommel of Equitas, turning an eye towards you once again.

“Well, you the boss now, Mr. Farmer. What’s the plan?”

[ ] Stay here; clear up this situation just a little more.
[ ] Move out in a single group of four (choose the configuration of the party; front guard, rear guard, etc.)
[ ] Split up into two groups of two; you’re still keeping together while increasing your chance of success (choose who goes with who)
[ ] Send out a scout first & scry the scout to get directions for the rest of you (choose the scout if it isn’t you)
[ ] Perhaps there’s a better way to tackle this… (Write-in)

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

I’d say something about things, but, well, then I would be saying something about things, and we can’t have that, now can we? If I seem a mite distracted right now, it’s because I am. Apologies.

>>25094
A summary! Now that’s a novel idea, I must say. Good plan; I look forward to the rest of it.

>>29095
>>29096
>>29097
>>29098
You brought the doom upon yourself; there were approximately 23 separate questions I had to answer. You cannot just answer those in character with anything else but a mountain of letters and punctuation marks.

>So Owen only has two types of walls? The gi-fucking-gantic wall and cute, adorable wall?
Wall-E is superior to all other types of walls. There’s a wall where you speak nothing, but say more than any amount of words possibly could. I’m still working on that one.

>>25115
>Ugh, another write-in selection?
I don’t exactly like doing too many forced write-ins, but when I deluge the reader with information like this, I know that there’s no way my suggestions can encompass everything the voters want to vote, so I figure, why bother?
>> No. 25123
[x] Put the glasses on and keep them on; there's no reason to maintain the charade anymore.
[x] Do a quick scrying of the other residents of the mansion before you set off.
[x] Move out in a single group of four
- [x] Glish is on point
- [x] Cirno second
- [x] You third
- [x] Nathaniel takes up the rear

Adam is a melee fighter and has the strongest regenerative ability and so can take a few accidental icicles if Cirno is off target. We also need to keep an eye on him in case he gets possessed again. Cirno is probably safer than either you or Nathaniel even if she is losing her fairy regeneration, but I don't trust her perception to spot an enemy from the rear, not compared to someone as meticulous and attentive as Nathaniel.
>> No. 25126
The thread be bonkers. Only way i can even open it is to select "Last 50 posts".

anyway, this seems good:

[x] Put the glasses on and keep them on; there's no reason to maintain the charade anymore.
[x] Do a quick scrying of the other residents of the mansion before you set off.
[x] Move out in a single group of four
- [x] Glish is on point
- [x] Cirno second
- [x] You third
- [x] Nathaniel takes up the rear
>> No. 25127
File 12309282681.png - (237.14KB , 512x512 , 2533865.png ) [iqdb]
25127
>>25119
[X] Put the glasses on and keep them on; there's no reason to maintain the charade anymore.
[X] Do a quick scrying of the other residents of the mansion before you set off.
[X] Move out in a single group of four
- [X] Glish is on point
- [X] Cirno second
- [X] You third
- [X] Nathaniel takes up the rear

I see no fault in this logic at all.

>That’s why I’ve given up on caring about what people think about me.
That's it. That 'integrity' spiel was rubbing me the wrong way something fierce, but now I know why I don't like him. He's doesn't trust us; he never has, and if he doesn't care what we think about him, he will never acknowledge any trust we put into him. He wants our belief and faith to help him accomplish what is right to him. On top of that, he'll do whatever he wants regardless of the consequences as long as it's in the pursuit of what he thinks is right. He brought us here against our will just so he can win the game. He danced pretty handily when we stuck a knife to his throat about him bringing us here: 2 reasons related to how people around us would respond, 1 about our personality, 1 making the assumption we need his aid, and 1 semantic game claiming this is the kind of adventure we were seeking. Apparently him winning, regardless of how it effects people around him, is the right thing to do. A one-sided and forceful implementation of ideals without the prospect of negotiation? Those types always make the best villains... Huh.

Too convenient. Too easy to not trust him, hate him, want to try our best to undermine him. The key to winning the game is actively trying to keep any progress from being made. Just according to keikaku, Miss Scarlet? As soon as we're alone I want Cirno's take on all this.

As an aside, I have no idea where the story is going to go from here. The paranoia is going to go through the roof, though, with every substantial decision being wracked with free will vs. fate manipulation. No sarcasm at all: this will be awesome.
>> No. 25128
[X] Put the glasses on and keep them on; there's no reason to maintain the charade anymore.
[X] Do a quick scrying of the other residents of the mansion before you set off.
[X] Move out in a single group of four
- [X] Glish is on point
- [X] Cirno second
- [X] You third
- [X] Nathaniel takes up the rear

Indeed, this seems tactically sound. The suspense and mystery deepens even further. This is my favorite story on the boards, and I look forward to reading how this turns out.
>> No. 25129
>>25127
hmmmmmm

[X] Put the glasses on and keep them on; there's no reason to maintain the charade anymore.
[X] Do a quick scrying of the other residents of the mansion before you set off.
[X] Move out in a single group of four
- [X] Glish is on point
- [X] Cirno second
- [X] You third
- [X] Nathaniel takes up the rear
>> No. 25130
Thread is ok now.
>> No. 25131
I wonder if we can get a monocle due to the singularity of out optical receptors.

[X] Put the glasses on and keep them on; there's no reason to maintain the charade anymore.
[X] Do a quick scrying of the other residents of the mansion before you set off.
[X] Move out in a single group of four
- [X] Glish is on point
- [X] Cirno second
- [X] You third
- [X] Nathaniel takes up the rear
>> No. 25132
>See, turns out I’ve got some magic in me after all…”

>You explain you him briefly, giving him only the bare necessities, how you discovered you could scry and how it works.

Uh. We already explained it to him. That's how we knew Flandre was awake. And then we had to prove it with the "how many guns am I pointing at Cirno's head" game
>Oh, that’s right. You never told him about your power. Is it…No. It’s not worth it to lie, or even say nothing. He should know; might come in handy sometime. “It’s because…well, it seems that coming to Gensokyo unlocked some magical power in me or something. In any case, I can see through the eyes of whoever I focus on, so I looked through Flandre’s eyes to see if she was awake, and she was.”
>> No. 25133
>>25132
Bollocks. I completely forgot about that; my humblest apologies. There's so many loose ends running about in this story I can't always remember which ones I've tied. I thank you for pointing out my error. Fortunately it doesn't affect the story too much. You may read that section thus:

“It’s not what I’m asking you this time; it’s what I’m telling you.”

You explain to him briefly about Sakuya’s strange note you managed to catch a glimpse of while scrying. He seems to close his eyes in…some emotion you can’t make out, as you tell him what details you can remember about the piece of paper.

>> No. 25142
[x] Put the glasses on and keep them on; there's no reason to maintain the charade anymore.
[x] Do a quick scrying of the other residents of the mansion before you set off.
[x] Move out in a single group of four
- [x] Glish is on point
- [x] Cirno second
- [x] You third
- [x] Nathaniel takes up the rear
>> No. 25143
[Put the glasses on and keep them on; there's no reason to maintain the charade anymore.]
[Do a quick scrying of the other residents of the mansion before you set off.]
[Move out in a single group of four: Glish is on point, Cirno second, you third, and Nathaniel takes up the rear]

If you’re going to be doing anything remotely “adventurous”, the first thing you need to do is get those new and improved glasses on your face, and onto your nose they go. You don’t need to worry about hiding anything anymore; everyone around you already knows about the glasses, and you need every trump card you can get right now. There’s no chills or other odd problems coming from the glasses right now, but it’ll most likely only be a matter of time.

“Hold on for just one more minute,” you announce. “I’m going to scry the mansion residents one last time; see just what’s going on up there.”

Nathaniel fiddles with his Revelation for a few seconds. “Wait; time’s still stopped, so you won’t get any movement from them. Let me just spin things back to normal here…” Just like when Sakuya manipulated time, you feel no odd leap in your perspective or jolt in your soul, just the normal passing of life. “All right, we’re good now, go ahead.”

You end up spending just as much time focusing on your targets as observing them. Meiling’s still on the mansion side on the gate, pacing back and forth. Patchouli is still sleeping. Koakuma is still impossible to pin down. Sakuya, however, is walking next to Remilia down some random hallway in the mansion, the two obviously talking to each other, but about what you can’t tell. Flipping between the two, you managed to make out their facial expressions. Sakuya is, as always, very businesslike and emotionless, while Remilia keeps smirking as she talks, though there seems to be a hidden seriousness to her face beneath the childlike playfulness. Perhaps one day you should invest in some lip-reading skills if you’re going to keep this up…

“Nothing very exciting, unfortunately. Or perhaps fortunately?” you explain. “Meiling’s inside the gate, just standing there guarding it. Patchouli’s out of the picture as far as I can see; I think she’s sleeping. Sakuya and Remilia are somewhere in the mansion, just talking to each other. By the way…where does this tunnel even come out, Glish?”

The boy is distracted by something, but he looks at you nevertheless. “Oh, wha? Umm, well, the main entranth that me and Thithter uthe ith a thecret, but there’th another way out. I think it leadth up into the garden or thomthing like that, it’th been a while thinth I’ve been up there.”

“Can you find it?”

“Thure, no problem. I’ve been down here lotth of timeth.”

Everything’s starting to come together. Good. “All right, here’s the plan. We stick together. Glish, you’re first; you know these tunnels the best, and you can see in the dark. Cirno, you’re behind him, and I’m behind you. Nate, you’re rear guard; here, take the torch, me and Cirno have danmaku for light.”

As you get into formation, Cirno brings up an important point. “Umm, what about Miss Flandre? What’s she doin’ right now, huh? Shouldn’t you ‘cry her too; she’s important, right?”

In your haste you completely forgot to scry the little sister, never having exactly placed her in the same group of “mansion residents” in your mind. You move to focus in on her eyes, but a cold, metallic hand on your arm stops you. It’s not confrontational, just…preventative.

“Don’t. Pleath,” Glish asks you from out of the blue, his red-green eyes showing sadness in the torchlight. “I, I don’t know what thith thcrying stuff doeth, but I don’t want you to uthe it on my big thithter. I…I don’t like it, it’th meththing around with other people’th mindth. I don’t want her getting worth than thee ith now. Pleath.”

You pat the hand comfortingly, though you quickly pull back as you realize the jagged construction of the steel glove will soon poke holes in your palm if you keep that up. “Don’t worry, Glish. I’ve done this plenty of times, and the person I’m scrying doesn’t even know they’re being scryed on. It doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t even do anything at all. Flandre will be safe, I promise.”

“Are you thure? Are you one hundred perthent, abtholutely thure? Thithter, thee…Her mind can get hurt from the thimpletht of thingth. If there’th even a little chanth thomthing can go wrong, I…I don’t want you to do it.”

You’re about to tell him that you are in fact quite sure, but your conscience catches you as the words are rolling down you tongue, yet to fly off. The truth is, you can’t be absolutely certain nothing will go wrong. You’ve scryed people plenty of times now, but you still don’t know how or why it works. The damage you may be causing could be subtle, ever so subtle, even if the recipient doesn’t feel a thing. And if it’s Flandre…Glish is right. Combining her enigmatic mental state with your enigmatic mental power might be a recipe for disaster; there’s no telling how she might react from one scrying session to another.

You smile weakly back at the boy. “Thanks, Glish; I almost got caught up in the moment there. Sorry.”

He smiles back, also weakly. “Don’t worry; you didn’t do anything wrong…yet.”

Having wasted more time that you’d have liked already, your intrepid band moves out into the darkness, cutting away the black air with the aid of fire and bright globes of magic bullets. It seems so very foolish, sneaking around like this after you’ve already eliminated so many ravenous fairy-beasts, but you’ll be taking no chances. One single survivor, and Cirno might…You want to stop thinking about the past that never happened, but you can’t. You can’t because, because it did happen. To everyone else, it’s just a story that was told, perhaps even less than that, but to you, who held Cirno’s limp body in your arms, who spoke to her in her last minutes…You’ll never forget what happened, even if the past itself was rewritten to prevent it.

(I could think of something to write here…)
>> No. 25145
(…but that would take time.)

The tunnels are silent as the grave, the thick quiet broken by no crumbling rocks or dripping stalagmites, only your slow-moving feet and the occasional rustle of you clothes. These caverns…who carved these caverns out? They’re far too regular and simple to be naturally occurring; someone or something must have dug them out. Perhaps you should ask Glish about that; anything to break this uncanny silence.

“Hey, Glish?”

“Yeth? Thomething wrong?”

“No, nothing wrong, except that It’s too quiet down here; I just wanted to say something. Where did these caverns come from?”

“Mmm, I think Thithter made them a long time ago; uthed her magic power to blow up the rock or thomthin’ like that. Thee thaid it’th a fun playground to run around in; I guethh it ith when it’th jutht me and her. Nobody elth to get hurt, nobody elth to bother uth, jutht me an’ her. Hey, John?”

The man behind you swivels his torch around, as if he was looking backwards. His voice is hard, yet very, very soft. “There’s something following us.”

“Something?” Cirno whispers questioningly, any possible fear covered with naïve attitude. “There’s a lot of somethings around. Is it something we don’t like?”

“Not…sure,” he answers, the flickering flame revealing that his face keeps turning from the darkness behind him to the people in front of him. “It’s doing a good job of staying back. I caught a glint of eyes a few times, though. I think…I don’t think it likes the light. Glish, what’s down here that you know of?”

When you’re all whispering like this, trying to remain as undetectable as possible, you realize just how important Glish’s lisp can be. Whereas the rest of you keep hissing like a noisy snake with every “ess” a word contains, his inability to pronounce the sound correctly mutes his words and makes your ears strain to hear him.

“Well, I’m…not thure. Thometimeth Thithter’ll bring one of the fairieth from upthairth down here and play gameth with them if thee getth bored with me, or if I’m fatht athleep. Thee doethn’t alwayth bring them back up, though. Exthept…they wouldn’t be thneaky like thith. Thee doethn’t alwayth tell me what thee’th doing in thecret. I don’t think thee alwayth knowth herthelf. It…It could be anything.”

An “mmm” is all Nathaniel replies with, and you can hear the metallic “shheeeen” of a blade being drawn out of its sheath. You don’t like this. Some kind of mystery beast following you, some secret experiment of Flandre’s that even her own brother doesn’t know about? Or is Nathaniel just being paranoid again? Wouldn’t be the first time…

“Somebody…Cirno or Farmer, I don’t care, shoot some danmaku back here. I need more light,” Nate requests.

“My name’s not Farmer.”

“Thanks for volunteering.”

Reluctantly you release a volley of multicolored circles out behind Nathaniel, revealing from the darkness…nothing. The light travels backwards five meters, ten meters, twenty meters, but there’s nothing to be seen, and in a tunnel this narrow, “it” couldn’t possibly be hiding.

“You sure you’re not just chasing shadows, old man?” you ask him playfully, more than a little resentment in your voice.

“It was there; I’m positive. And I’m probably younger than you, so you can cut that crap out whenever you feel like it.”

“Twenty-four?”

“Twenty-one.”

“Thut up, pleath; both of you,” Glish reprimands, of all people in the world to do so. “I’m trying to conthentrate up here. It’th getting harder to see; the tunnel’th a lot darker down in thethe partth.”

You’re happy to oblige him if it means not dealing with Nathaniel for a while. Sure enough, the passageways seem to be much darker the further you get. And not just seems, as it turns out. Shooting a few volleys of danmaku upwards, you discover that the ceiling, walls, and floors have changed from the common earthy grey-brown to a very dismal black, devoid of any luster whatsoever. The simple change in rock seems to bring with it a change in atmosphere as well. The mobile danmaku lanterns you and Cirno have been creating cast less light, the torch behind you growing dimmer and dimmer as the rock eats up more and more of the illumination. The silence somehow grows ever more oppressive than it did before, practically assaulting your eardrums with a pure lack of sound. You speak, and it seems as if the darkness even tries to choke out your very words with its lack of cheer.

“So, umm…what’s everybody’s favorite color?” you quip, trying to lighten the mood, if even just a little bit.

“Gold,” Glish replies instantly, not caring to turn around.

Cirno isn’t far behind in voicing her opinion. “Mmm, I think…that one blue, the blue the sky gets on a really blue day? That kind of blue.”

“Nice way of putting it, Cirno. What about you, Nat?”

He doesn’t answer you; perhaps he’s taking Glish’s words a bit too much to heart. “Come on, it’s just a conversation starter. Better to talk about something insignificant than nothing at all; this place gives me the creeps.”

Still no answer. Come on, even for Nathaniel that’s a little cold. Granted, he’s been astounding you with finding new ways of getting on your nerves every hour like clockwork, even if he claims he’s not trying to. You turn your head in an attempt to interface a little better with the strange man.

He’s not there.

There’s no torch behind you anymore. You feel around with your free hand. Nothing. There’s no one behind you.

“Nathaniel?”

A wave of danmaku resolves the matter quickly. He merely moved back a little too far…so far, in fact, that he’s disappeared from view, no matter how bright you fill the air, and even that’s a difficulty in this pitch black hole. The heck is this? Where’d he go? He was right here; he was right here!

“What’s wrong?” Glish asks, turning backwards. Cirno, who already had her head turned, quickly understands the situation.

“He’s…he’s gone,” she says, the naïveté of her personality waging war against the astonishment of her voice. “He’s…not, there anymore.”

[ ] Keep moving forwards anyways; same configuration
[ ] Keep moving forwards anyways; a different configuration (specify who goes where)
[ ] All of you stop; be prepared for anything
[ ] Move backwards as a group; same configuration
[ ] Move backwards as a group; a different configuration (specify who goes where)
[ ] Send a scout back to look for Nathaniel (specify who)
[ ] Write-in (Write-in)

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

>>25127
>As soon as we're alone I want Cirno's take on all this.
How about now?

>As an aside, I have no idea where the story is going to go from here. The paranoia is going to go through the roof, though, with every substantial decision being wracked with free will vs. fate manipulation. No sarcasm at all: this will be awesome.
Yes...into the heart of darkness...

>>25128
>This is my favorite story on the boards, and I look forward to reading how this turns out.
This means a lot to me, when there's so many other good stories around as well. Thank you very much.
>> No. 25146
I suppose Flandre didn't like Nathaniel cheating his way out of her game. Glasses didn't react so it's not Sakuya, though i don't recall the glasses reacting to Nathaniels time stop, though that might be because we were in it.

Either way, it's either Flandre kidnapping him, or him lying to us about the glasses and either Sakuya getting him, or himself getting him.

When in doubt, scry:
[X] Scry Nathaniel and if that doesn't help, scry Flandre.
>> No. 25148
[X] Scry Nathaniel.

Unless immediate action is required:

[X] All of you stop; be prepared for anything, and wait a bit. He might come back.

If he doesn't, try to find him:

[X] Move backwards as a group; a different configuration (Front: Farmer, Rear: Adam)

Keeps Cirno safe and Adam pointed in the darker direction. He has better eyes.
>> No. 25150
[x] Scry Nathaniel, and if that doesn't help, scry Flandre and Sakuya.
[x] Keep moving forwards anyways; different configuration.
-[x] Adam first
-[x] You second
-[x] Cirno last, flying backwards and holding your hand

I'm guessing this is some sort of power play on Nathaniel's part, either an escape attempt or maybe an effort to make us more paranoid.
>> No. 25151
[x] Scry Nathaniel, and if that doesn't help, scry Flandre and Sakuya.
[x] Keep moving forwards anyways; different configuration.
-[x] Adam first
-[x] You second
-[x] Cirno last, flying backwards and holding your hand

Paranoia starting now, one after the other disappearing.
It's like And then there were none
>> No. 25152
[X] All of you stop; be prepared for anything
[X] Scry Nathaniel, and if that doesn't help, scry Sakuya.

We told Adam/Glish we wouldn't scry Flandre, and he does have a point about not knowing just what sort of effect it might actually have on her. If we keep moving, we might just find ourselves steadily losing people until we're all alone. If we stay still, we might have a better chance of seeing something coming for us.
>> No. 25153
[X] All of you stop; be prepared for anything
[X] Scry Nathaniel, and if that doesn't help, scry Sakuya.

It's probably worth noting that we already did scry Flandre once, just before we went down to the basement. A bit after we did that she decided to put us in this fucking game thing. The sudden burst of sadism on her part could be unrelated, but I'd rather not fuck with the possibility right now unless it's absolutely necessary to survive.
>> No. 25154
[x] Scry Nathaniel, and if that doesn't help, scry Flandre and Sakuya.
[ ] Move backwards as a group; a different configuration (specify who goes where)
-[x] Adam first
-[x] You second
-[x] Cirno last
[x] Take off Cirno's ribbon and use it as a safetyline between all three of you.

I don't particularly like the idea of holding Cirno's hand...what if suddenly she dissapears too...and we're still holding her hand?

>.>
>> No. 25156
>>25153

>It's probably worth noting that we already did scry Flandre once, just before we went down to the basement. A bit after we did that she decided to put us in this fucking game thing. The sudden burst of sadism on her part could be unrelated, but I'd rather not fuck with the possibility right now unless it's absolutely necessary to survive.

That may be due to that comment on dragons we made earlier.
>> No. 25157
>It's probably worth noting that we already did scry Flandre once, just before we went down to the basement.

Patchouli explicitly stated that it worked only in a single direction when she was determining our ability. The only reason to not attempt it is to not break Adam's trust, but considering his friend's life is at stake I think he'll forgive us.
>> No. 25158
[x] Scry Nathaniel, and if that doesn't help, scry Flandre, Sakuya and Remilia. Lie to Adam if necessary.
[ ] Move backwards as a group; a different configuration (specify who goes where)
-[x] Adam first
-[x] You second
-[x] Cirno last
[x] Take off Cirno's ribbon and use it as a safetyline between all three of you.

Remilia may be having a small talk with him while Sakuya is guarding the door.
>> No. 25160
I just realized something.
Sakuya's distributing the Fate Cards. And, she can tell when they are used.
>> No. 25161
>>25160
slowpoke.jpg
>> No. 25162
>>25157
It working only in a single direction I think means you just don't have to worry about them being able to see through your eyes while you're seeing through theirs. That's hardly the same thing as a guarantee that you're not having any effect on them by spying through their eyes.
>> No. 25163
>It working only in a single direction I think means you just don't have to worry about them being able to see through your eyes while you're seeing through theirs.

No, this is something she ascertained before she knew exactly what the ability was. She was talking to herself at the time; it had to have been about the magic itself.
>> No. 25164
>>25163
Ahem.
>>Closer, focus…mmm…focus…it’s a one-way transfer it seems, from others to you.
>>Hrrmm…one of the five primary senses, I believe.

All I get from that is exactly what our power is, a transfer of someone's sight to ourselves. Nothing at all about what effects it does or does not have on the person being scryed. Patchouli even states as much shortly afterward.

>>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.

All she stated was what our power did, no more, no less. Anything beyond that regarding specific side-effects, we're left to figure out on our own first-hand.

Adam's worry about what effect it might have on Flandre, as far as I can tell, seems perfectly valid as long as we don't know with complete certainty that scrying doesn't have SOME effect on the target.

Besides that, if Adam is worried about it I would not be so quick to dismiss it. He did, after all, once warn us about not agreeing to anything Flandre asks or suggests without knowing EXACTLY what you're agreeing to, and just look where not doing that landed us.
>> No. 25166
>>25164
>All she stated was what our power did, no more, no less. Anything beyond that regarding specific side-effects, we're left to figure out on our own first-hand.

I'll concede the point. But I still don't see why you'd hamstring yourself by not using the sole saving grace you have in the most dire of circumstances. For all we know Adam's vision is being borrowed by Flandre (or maybe even under direct control) and that is why he doesn't want us using our ability on her.

>Adam's worry about what effect it might have on Flandre, as far as I can tell, seems perfectly valid as long as we don't know with complete certainty that scrying doesn't have SOME effect on the target.

Then why did we scry Cirno in order to simply where she ran off before? Was that irresponsible of us, because it could have some unforeseeable consequence that Adam now mystically portends?

>He did, after all, once warn us about not agreeing to anything Flandre asks or suggests without knowing EXACTLY what you're agreeing to, and just look where not doing that landed us.

Yes, and I'm still bitter about the matter, since I didn't vote to do it. However, Adam murdered Cirno during the interim for reasons not yet understood, so pardon if I'm not exactly keen on relying on his good-will.
>> No. 25168
File 123104336710.jpg - (151.78KB , 571x800 , 1169670483635.jpg ) [iqdb]
25168
>>25166
>>Then why did we scry Cirno in order to simply where she ran off before? Was that irresponsible of us, because it could have some unforeseeable consequence that Adam now mystically portends?

The key difference is that between Cirno and Flandre, only one of them ISN'T a highly unstable, unpredictable, and dangerous psychotic with the unstoppable ability to destroy anyone and anything practically at will and a fondness for sadistic "games" of life-or-death.

Scrying might not have any noticeable effect when used on anybody else, or perhaps it does and we simply haven't used it enough to notice, but the fact of the matter is that as far as Flandre is concerned what effects should or should not occur kinda goes out the window. I think what happened when she looked through those glasses is pretty much proof of that.

If something could have such a drastic, if brief, effect on Flandre to render her completely coherent and sane, for all we know something could just as easily trigger a similar shift, but in the opposite direction.

If Adam's worries about his sister's well-being aren't a good enough reason, how about the chance that scrying her could quite possibly cause something to snap inside her psyche, sending her into full-blown Berserker mode, with us and Cirno at Ground Zero?
>> No. 25169
>He looks at you, and you think he has tears in his eyes. “John…here? In the mansion? Playing the game? No…no, no, no…nononononogetoutofmyhead! GET OUT OF MY HEAD! FLANDRE! GET YOUR LUNATIC RED EYES OUT OF MY HEEAAAAAAD!!”

As far as I can tell, scrying might or might not have side effects. Though in Flandre's case, she can do something similar with Glish. If she can do that, what makes us think she won't be completely unaware if we do scry on her? Leaving behind the whole worry of side effects, the possibility of her sensing us could not possibly be good for our health.
>> No. 25171
>>25154

Forgot to mention but when I said ribbon I pretty much meant taking whatever we could find to act as a safety line...

Forgot that Cirno was wearing her maid outfit...she does have one of those back ribbons right?
>> No. 25173
>>25079
Hold on, hold on.

So far, Nathaniel always wanted to be a hero, believed strongly in the idea of justice and saving people, came from a world where magic was integrated with modern life, was an engineer and a tinkerer, made his own damn sword, made something that created his own little world based on his own rules for it where time stands still, and is a really firm believer in how Fate will fuck you over?

Jesus, Owen.

You've gone and done it again. Why not just call him Archer and be done with it?
(In before we graft Nathaniel's eye into our socket.)

>>25085
>Throw her into the sun or something?
Well, a rift in the sun DOES save one...

On an unrelated note, why not have Cirno drink the Hourai Elixir?
Easy fix for that pesky lack of immortality, huge confidence boost for her.
>> No. 25174
>>25173 here. I forgot to add:

>>24984
>The back of the watch is adorned with a strange angular symbol: a triangle which then splits into three smaller triangles, which splits into nine smaller still, and so on and so forth into infinity.
How the did nobody else catch the Sierpinski's Triangle here?
(I'm never the one who catches any of the neat math/science references. Seriously, math geeks in the audience? You should be ashamed right now.)
>> No. 25176
>>25168
>The key difference is that between Cirno and Flandre, only one of them ISN'T a highly unstable, unpredictable, and dangerous psychotic with the unstoppable ability to destroy anyone and anything practically at will and a fondness for sadistic "games" of life-or-death.

That doesn't have anything to do with it, since as you admit, we're entertaining the notion that anything could be a side-effect of the magic. Maybe something bad? Maybe something good? We don't know! In fact, given how the magic glasses seemed to knock her into a lucid state for reasons neither we nor Adam could grasp, we have more evidence to suspect it might be a good thing, not a bad one.

Maybe you haven't noticed but Flandre has already shown herself as ready to take Cirno's life vicariously in her present state, so why you think the idea of a change is a bad thing I have no idea. Honestly, I'd rather deal with a wantonly destructive Flandre trying to kill us, waking up the entire mansion in the process, than the sadistic Flandre who tortures her victims first and then kills them in secret, or abducts them for further torture.
>> No. 25177
>>25173
>On an unrelated note, why not have Cirno drink the Hourai Elixir?

Nathaniel had it. Or he left it in the cell. Only reason for going back there in my mind.

>>25169
>Though in Flandre's case, she can do something similar with Glish. If she can do that, what makes us think she won't be completely unaware if we do scry on her?

That's why you call it "similar" and not the same. We've used the ability on multiple mansion residents, including the highly unstable and mentally sensitive Adam, with no apparent effect on them, unlike Flandre's ability.
>> No. 25179
File 123108029263.jpg - (9.33KB , 150x180 , SeriousShirou.jpg ) [iqdb]
25179
Ahh, so much discussion, yet still no vote consensus. Oh well, it must be due to the vacation season; I expected as much. Still, I often wonder how many people read the story yet don’t vote...No matter, I will start writing with what I have.

>>25154
>...what if suddenly she disappears too...and we're still holding her hand?

I refer you to >>25151: >Paranoia starting now

>>25173
Because he doesn’t have a bow and arrow. Obviously.

Picture related, because he’s Shirou.

I am getting this statement in before you start calling the protagonist Shirou and assuming Nathaniel is him from the future somehow. As if I’d sink that low.
Thus, the reason you hate Nathaniel so much is because he reminds you of yourself, and subconsciously you’re trying not to become like him. I am the red of my herring…

Picture not related, because he’s not Shirou.
>> No. 25182
>>25179
>No matter, I will start writing with what I have.

Hooray!
>> No. 25183
>>25179
UBW was the best route, i played it at least 5 times jesus christ.

But yeah, that would be kinda predictable. I was thinking along those lines too, but figured Owen wouldn't make something like this.
Absolute no love for Nathaniel here
>> No. 25184
>Still, I often wonder how many people read the story yet don’t vote...

This is my one of my favorite stories on the boards, but I only vote if I strongly believe my opinion is correct and if my vote isn't already winning. Not just for this story, mind you, but for all stories.
>> No. 25186
>>In fact, given how the magic glasses seemed to knock her into a lucid state for reasons neither we nor Adam could grasp, we have more evidence to suspect it might be a good thing, not a bad one.

No, we don't. The only evidence that is of, is the fact that her mental state can be drastically shifted from her present one to another. Just because that particular incident shifted it in a positive direction doesn't mean every such shift would be the same.

>>Maybe you haven't noticed but Flandre has already shown herself as ready to take Cirno's life vicariously in her present state, so why you think the idea of a change is a bad thing I have no idea.

And in case you haven't noticed, that was all a part of her "game". Yes, Flandre was perfectly willing to send Adam to kill Cirno for her, but that's because the fairy had chosen to try to come and save us and Nathaniel, rather than leave and save herself, despite being told she would have to fight a lot more than just the few monstrous fairies she'd face if she chose to leave. As willing as Flandre may have been to kill Cirno, she was just as willing to let her go.

As insane and willing to harm or even kill any of us as this Flandre is, she at least gives us all a relatively even chance of getting out alive. She's crazy, but not so much that she doesn't at least have rules that even she follows. A completely insane and berserk Flandre, on the other hand, would have no rules. She would just be a pure, unbridled force of death and destruction, and if she were to go off, the first targets of hers would almost be whoever is closest to her at the time. Namely, US.
Why you fail to see how that sort of change could be a bad thing, I I have no idea.

>>Honestly, I'd rather deal with a wantonly destructive Flandre trying to kill us, waking up the entire mansion in the process, than the sadistic Flandre who tortures her victims first and then kills them in secret, or abducts them for further torture.

Yes, I'm sure you would. For all of the five seconds it would take for her to break through your pitiful defense of arrows and danmaku and tear poor Cirno's throat out before turning her attention to you.

We might get a "go back to the last choice" option when we die, but if Cirno buys the farm this time around, especially if it happens before the choice that kills us? We've already used our "second chance" at saving her already. Don't think we'll be so lucky as to have another.
>> No. 25191
[All of you stop; be prepared for anything.]
[Scry Nathaniel, and if that doesn't help, scry Sakuya.]
[If scrying and waiting yields nothing, move backwards as a group: Adam first, you next, Cirno last.]

Just the time for this kind of thing to happen. As if putting up with his self-justified preaching wasn’t bad enough, now Nathaniel just up and disappears on you. You’ve got more that a hunch that this could just be another scheme of his, or perhaps an attempt to escape, and you wouldn’t feel too remiss at just pressing on without him. But still, better safe that sorry; if it’s something else, then you’ve got a real problem on your hands.

“Hold up. Everyone, hold up!” you whisper as loudly as you dare. “We need to figure this out. Glish, come over here; can you see anything?”

His wings make shuffling past you difficult, and you hear the soft scraping of flesh on stone as he works his way to the other side of your intrepid band. “It’th dark…really dark,” he mutters in a troubled tone. “I got good eyeth, but thith, thith is too black for me. Can thomeone thoot thome light over here pleath?”

Cirno aids the vampire by firing a few soft white lasers down the edges of the tunnel, looking like burning lines of oil in the blackness. You can see Glish hunch over and squint his eyes, but after a good ten seconds he shakes his head. “Nothin’. There’th no one here but uth.”

Brilliant. Just bloody brilliant. “Be prepared for anything,” you warn. “This might just be one elaborate prank, but if ‘it’ got him, ‘it’ can get us too. Keep me covered, I’m going to scry.” You can feel Cirno’s hand grab yours, a comforting presence in this emotionless sea of rock and stone. You squeeze it for affectionate support, and she squeezes back even harder, never letting the pressure go.

Nathaniel, Nathaniel…wherefore art thou, Nathaniel? The old words of a man long dead and too far away to care about bounce through your head as you search through the chaos of your magical spark to find Nathaniel’s eyes. Blackness, blackness…where is he? Your world is empty without the flame he held in his hands, and you keep waiting for the moment when that torch he holds will spring into your eyes through his.

A thought crosses into your mind, and you hope it’s not correct. “Cirno, are you shooting any danmaku right now?”

“No, why?”

“Do it. Right in front of my face, so that I can see it.”

You wait a few seconds, but nothing happens. You wait a few more seconds. Nothing happens.

“…Cirno?”

You can feel your entire body relax when you hear her return your question, afraid for the briefest of moments that she too had been stolen from you. “I’m right here, shooting right here, Mr. Stupid! Are you…are you all blind now, instead ‘a just half-blind?”

You don’t respond; you’re too busy understanding the situation. You didn’t miss making the connection into Nate’s eyes, no, you’re looking into them right now, and he can’t see a bloody thing. No torch, no faint wispy movements in the corner of an eye, no ominous glint of ‘its’ retinas…nothing. The fact that you’re not seeing danmaku right now means he must still be alive, else you wouldn’t have made the connection at all, but…what’s happening to him? Why isn’t he using Revelation to just time-stop his way out of the problem? Why isn’t he firing his Seraphim? The heck is going on?!

Time-stop…Revelation…Sakuya. If there’s someone who could ferry people away in an instant, it would be Sakuya. Perhaps she did sense that Revelation being used after all, and isn’t too happy about it. Hmm, inherent-powered time maid versus hand-crafted time hero—waaaaitaminute. You’re wearing the time glasses, aren’t you? You would have sensed Sakuya coming long before you realized Nathaniel was missing, either from the chilling rims or from the sudden inability to move. If it was her, she would have had to sneak up without using time powers, and you seriously doubt that’s the case. Unless…unless Nathaniel was lying, and the glasses do nothing at all, in a simple but effective effort to lull you into a false sense of security around him. They didn’t seem to do anything when he returned time to normal, did they? Gah, your mind never seems to get any peace around here; might as well scry Sakuya anyways, while you’re waiting for Nathaniel to come back, if he’s even trying to.

Quite expectedly, the maid is still walking down the mansion hallways with her mistress, the expression on Remilia’s face hardly changed at all from a few minutes ago. No luck there…who else to scry? If it’s a matter of strange goings on in these tunnels, then Flandre would be a likely suspect, so—

You promised Glish you wouldn’t. Not unless you were absolutely sure it was safe. You’re should honor such a simple wish. Except…Sometimes the safety of one has to be sacrificed for the safety of many. When it’s a matter of life or death, with limited options, can’t you break just a little trust for the good of those you love? Scrying Flandre right now could tell you whether or not she’s the one sneaking around here right now. Perhaps Glish could talk some sense into her, calm her down or something. But still…you just can’t be sure. Flandre’s mind is beyond all comprehension, beyond all logic. She was sparked to action by something as insignificant as seeing through your old spectacles, and look at where that’s landed you now! If you forced your eyes into hers, even when it worked once the first time, can you really say nothing will happen? And should you really break Glish’s trust? And for what, to save Nathaniel? The person you trust less than even Sakuya or Remilia?

(Perhaps the only one you can trust…)
>> No. 25192
(…is yourself.)

“Nothing,” you reiterate to your companions. “No leads. No ideas, no nothing. Nathaniel’s vision is pitch black, he could be anywhere down here. It’s not Sakuya’s doing, and it’s not Remilia’s. Glish, you sure that this isn’t Flandre?”

“It’th not. I…I’d feel it if it wath her. Thith ith thomething different.”

As much as you hate having to save his skin, you really don’t have any other options. Better to solve this problem now than to let it fester until something even worse comes out of it. Plus, even if Nathaniel isn’t the greatest guy in the world, he’s still an ally, and quite a valuable one at that if he keeps his word (you laugh inwardly at the statement). You grip your knife in your left hand firmly, the right prepared to draw either pistol or bow at a moment’s notice.

“Nothing for it, then,” you sigh, shaking your head. “We’d better go back and look for him. Glish, you’ll be out in front; I’ll provide the light. Cirno, you got my back?” You feel another squeeze on your hand and a quiet “mhm” from the fairy. The presence of her hand sparks an idea.

“Wait; we should try and tie ourselves together, in case anything happens to us. Does anyone have any rope or ribbons or something so we don’t get too far apart?”

You hear Cirno and Glish padding themselves around, looking for any kind of bindings on their person as you do the same, using danmaku for light. You catch a glance at Cirno’s tattered maid uniform. Though elegant, it seems to be a single garment, without any separate ribbons or bows. Either that or they were torn out during the battle between you and the vampirized fairies. If only she was wearing her normal clothes, that ribbon around her hair would…Well, no sense wishing after what you can’t get. That cord around your rifle-bow…that would work just fine, if it weren’t for the fact that someone would have to carry the weapon, and with Adam using his claws and Cirno focusing ice with her hands, you’d be at a rather annoying loss. The only other thing you could think of would be…

“I, uhh…I think I got something we can use,” Cirno says, putting some soft cordlike loop into your hand. “It’s, well, it’s not very big, so we still need somethin’ to tie you and Mister Glish together.”

You thread the cord through one of your belt loops. Whatever it is, it seems to be fairly study and a little stretchy, but the way Cirno holds it, you can tell that she’s right: it’s probably only fifty centimeters long at most, close enough for you to barely feel the brush of Cirno’s wings as she turns backwards to view the tunnel with laser-light danmaku once again. The afterglow of the lasers is enough for you to get a good look at…oh. So that’s what she found for a cord. Poor Cirno, reduced to sacrificing her own underwear as a rope to keep the two of you together. You watch in a mixture of emotions as Cirno ties the other side of her own bra tight around her wrist, the garment damp with sweat and a little blood that soaked through her dress.

Something else to tie you and Glish together. Well…you guess that you’re eye really isn’t bleeding that much anymore. Cringing more than a little bit at the pain, you unwrap the coil of thick gauze from your head and hand one end to the boy, tying the other end to another belt loop as you feel the sodden ball of blood and cotton fall from the hole in your head. Linked by the fabric of your bodies and the blood of your hearts…You chuckle a little at the symbolism.

Testing the cords and relatively satisfied with their strength, you act once more as the unofficial leader of your group of three. “All right, try not to make any sudden movements, or else our links’ll snap. If anyone sees or hears anything, let the other two know. Remember: we’re not here to fight, we’re just going to get Nathaniel and then get out. Glish, lead the way.”

The going is slow, but sure. You feel the gauze tense and slack as Glish inches forwards, led on by as peaceful a curtain of yellow bullets as you can make. Cirno alternates between shoving up close to you and testing the limits of the bra’s suppleness, as if she can’t decide whether to be afraid or to be “The Strongest” who isn’t afraid of anything, and certainly not the dark. Between fear, anticipation, and uncertainty, the only thing which remains constant is the hope that, provided he isn’t behind this completely, Nathaniel had better darn well thank you for sticking your neck out like this.

Whispers…you begin to hear whispers in the dark. On the walls? Inside your head? Waking dreams? Paranoid thoughts? The beginnings of insanity? They sound female.

“…little Bo Peep, little more sleep, little lost sheep…”

“Dead…all dead, all destroyed, all dark…”

“So many I killed…So many I ate…so many I drank…”

“…taste of blood…The taste of death, of life, of love, I love to taste, to waste, to wait…”

“…Run and run, run and fun, run for fun…fun for one, one more son, son no fun…”

“…I spy a spy, my eye I spy, no eye to spy the spying spy, why no eye for spy, why? I spy with my little eye…”


And then three things happen at the same time. First, you hiss at everyone to stop, that you hear someone’s voice close-by. Second, there’s a sharp report of a gun being fired in the distance, followed quickly by a second report, from the same gun by the sound of it. Third, your hip is yanked backwards as the lifeline between you and Cirno is pulled tight. She yelps in terror.

“Yah! Mr. Stupid! Mister—ooaaww, my arm! Mr. Stupid, hel—ppffggghh!”

Your knife is instantly at the ready as your right hand tosses forwards a violent web of danmaku. The abyssal rock eats up nearly all the light, but you can make out what you need to make out. Cirno, her body off kilter, her mouth closed off by a black, chaotic appendage, and her left shoulder fresh with new blood. A dark shape behind her, features indistinguishable, trying to absorb the fairy into the blackness beyond.

[ ] Reach out and pull her back!
[ ] Attack the shape with your knife!
[ ] Draw your pistol. At this range, you can’t miss!
[ ] Loft the rifle-bow. At this range, you can’t miss!
[ ] Continue your danmaku assault. Blind this thing!
[ ] Alert Glish. Have him deal with this now!
[ ] Something else! Hurry! (Write-in)

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

>>25183
I’ve never actually played the game, or whatever it was originally. Watched the anime once a while ago, and that was some fun times, I must say. But no; I have made no intentional references to Fate/Stay Night. I’ve made so many unintentional references already, adding some under my own power would just ruin the mood.

>>25184
I can relate to that. No hard feelings; I understand how difficult voting can be sometimes.
>> No. 25193
[x] Reach out and pull her back!
[x] Alert Glish. Have him deal with this now!
>> No. 25194
[X] Continue your danmaku assault. Blind this thing!
[X] Alert Glish. Have him deal with this now!

In Scarlet Devil Mansion, darkness attacks you?
>> No. 25195
[x]Attack the darkness by casting Magic Missile
>> No. 25196
>Unless…unless Nathaniel was lying, and the glasses do nothing at all,

The glasses! They do nothing!
>> No. 25197
[x] Reach out and pull her back!
[x] Alert Glish. Have him deal with this now!
>> No. 25198
>“Yah! Mr. Stupid! Mister—ooaaww, my arm! Mr. Stupid, hel—ppffggghh!”

Not again, she isn't going to die on us again.


[x] Reach out and pull her back!
[x] Draw your pistol. At this range, you can’t miss!
Reach out with one hand, get her closer and fire into the darkness with the other hand.
[x] Continue your danmaku assault. Blind this thing!
Blind it and attack with
[x] Loft the rifle-bow. At this range, you can’t miss!
and finish it with
[x] Attack the shape with your knife!
Best into the skull.
>> No. 25200
[x] Reach out and pull her back!
[x] Alert Glish. Have him deal with this now!

inb4 crazy alpha fairy vampire.
>> No. 25201
I really do think it would be wise to try to blind the thing, assuming this is what Nathaniel thought he saw and he was right about it being averse to light.
Light that thing up like the Fourth of July.
>> No. 25203
[x] Reach out and pull her back!
[x] Alert Glish. Have him deal with this now!

mai imouto!
>> No. 25204
[x] Reach out and pull her back!
[x] Continue your danmaku assault. Blind this thing!
Reach out with one hand, get her closer and fire into the darkness with the other hand.
[x] Pull back and throw your knife at the shape.
As soon as we have Cirno back we need to get out of striking distance, assuming it's strikes aren't limited to the range of darkness. If it isn't solid, and is just darkness, then the knife will go through it.
>> No. 25206
It's Flandre brand Rumia, right?
>> No. 25207
>>25206
Hm, come to think of it Rumia was with Cirno earlier. I suppose Rumia could have been worried about what happened to her friend, tried to break into the SDM to investigate, and that could have lead to her getting thrown down here as Flan's plaything.
>> No. 25208
[x] Reach out and pull her back!
[x] With your other hand, draw your pistol. At this range, you can’t miss!
>> No. 25209
>>25207

I don't think it's Rumia, since at least in fanon she's a top-tier srs bzns youkai, one who even Flan should have trouble with. Rather, I'm guessing this is actually Yukari, spiriting you off to chat somewhere in her characteristically boorish manner.
>> No. 25210
File 123113856892.jpg - (88.40KB , 480x640 , 327651.jpg ) [iqdb]
25210
>>25209
>in fanon she's a top-tier srs bzns youkai, one who even Flan should have trouble with.

By the same fanon, that's really only true if she is sans-ribbon (although Patchwork's suppressed-personality version has struck a chord with me recently). I got the notion from the first "time to leave" post but decided not to wax theoretical since the unusual light absorbtion seemed to be due to the stone of the cave rather than her ability. But absolute darkness, light absorption/nullification,...
>Thometimeth Thithter’ll bring one of the fairieth from upthairth down here and play gameth with them if thee getth bored with me, or if I’m fatht athleep. Thee doethn’t alwayth bring them back up, though. Exthept…they wouldn’t be thneaky like thith.
... makes sense since she's a youkai (not a fairy), and that creepy-as-Hell lullaby (child-like rhyme + eating people). To me, this all screams "Hey it's Rumia!"

Which, if true, sucks for me because she is one of the few Touhous that consistently defy characterization. Most characters lend themselves to some form of consistent interpretation due to canon and excess amounts of fanon. Rumia tends to scale from sub-Cirno dolt to Yukari-level omnipotence.
>> No. 25211
File 123113964131.jpg - (69.96KB , 478x787 , th012.jpg ) [iqdb]
25211
>>25209
I doubt it's Yukari, either. Her usual M.O. doesn't typically involve strange creatures dragging their victims into the darkness one-by-one while wounding them in the process.

Assuming that voice is from whatever that thing is, it's probably something that lives down there, possibly a toy/experiment/playmate of Flandre's, that was stirred by the sudden increase in activity in the tunnels, although the fact those gunshots sounded distant means that if whatever grabbed Nathaniel is the same as what has Cirno now, there's either more than one of them, or it's one thing that's basically EVERYWHERE.

That, or Glish was wrong about it not being Flandre, and he simply can't sense her properly because she released her Control Art Restriction. Watch out for dogs, Mr. Kitty.
>> No. 25212
>... makes sense since she's a youkai (not a fairy), and that creepy-as-Hell lullaby (child-like rhyme + eating people). To me, this all screams "Hey it's Rumia!"

It was made pretty clear when she was introduced earlier in the story that Cirno was good friends with Rumia. Rumia eats humans because she thinks that's what she is supposed to do as a youkai, so why would she be attacking a fairy let alone one of her friends? And if it were that easy for Flandre to get new playmates, then why hadn't she done so to Cirno and Rumia ages ago?
>> No. 25220
File 123116626131.png - (108.41KB , 500x600 , 2115148.png ) [iqdb]
25220
>>25212
>why would she be attacking a fairy let alone one of her friends?
>Thometimeth Thithter’ll bring one of the fairieth from upthairth down here and play gameth with them if thee getth bored with me, or if I’m fatht athleep. Thee doethn’t alwayth bring them back up, though.
We're in a good spot to know what her games do to people.
>if it were that easy for Flandre to get new playmates, then why hadn't she done so to Cirno and Rumia ages ago?
Because they're friends Rumia would be near the mansion more looking for Cirno in the last day or so. I think Cirno's been our maid for a day and a half or so. It also makes for an interesting plot point.
>> No. 25222
[Reach out and pull her back!]
[Alert Glish. Have him deal with this now!]

No time for anything fancy! You reach out with your free hand and grab a hold of Cirno’s arm as she sinks deeper and deeper into the darkness. You can feel the force of this chaotic adversary pulling against you, tugging at Cirno’s body in one direction while you tug in another. It’s like trying to pull a pig out of molasses: you make progress, but it’s so slow and so slippery that it feels like you’re actually losing ground. Your grip slides from her elbow to her forearm, to her wrist, to her hand. No, NO! You’re not letting go! You’ve lost her once, you’re not losing her again, not again!

Dropping your knife to the ground you wrap both your hands around her arm, repositioning and strengthening your grip. The demons of the abyss pull back, refusing to sacrifice what they’ve stolen from you. Something “black” begins to creep around your fingers; you don’t know how else to describe the feeling. No no no nonono, it won’t take her, and it won’t take you! You’ve come too far for this now! The darkness has already claimed one of your eyes forever, and that’s all it will claim tonight!

“Glish! Help!”

The gauze ribbon between you slacks for an instant, then tightens so hard without snapping it must only hang by a single thread now. You hear a ear-splitting sound as Glish vocalizes something halfway between a shout and a roar, and suddenly the world is filled with red. Red light, no, red…fire? The ebony tunnel mixes with the cherry fire to bathe the caverns in sickly blood-red light. You feel the “blackness” slide off of your hands, and the tension against Cirno slowly diminishes against the flames. Glish is nothing but a formless shape, obscured by his wings, grunting and slashing at “it” with reckless abandon as the red inferno encircles him. No, wait; that can’t be fire. Too red, too…unnatural. Danmaku? Danmaku. You can see it now. It’s not fire, but a hundred-hundred individual candle flames, each perfectly shaped and flickering on its own as it levitates in the air around him.

The whispers in the night return, somehow audible in your head despite the tumult Glish is now making. Do they speak near you, about you, or to you? The rhymes…the rhymes…

”…Light! The light I fight, the night I like, I don’t like the nightlight, to fight the right and write the right of light and night and knight of night!”

“She speaks, he speaks, she speaks to me, to three…to thee? A friend, a friendly friend I end? Defend and mend the end to befriend the friend I fend…?”

“…but the meat. The sweet! The sweets I eat, and meat I meet, and greet, and treat, and eat and eat so sweet…The feat to meet and feed on feet, to knead the need and feed the feed and greed I need…”


The words poke at you, snap at you, mock you with their sing-song voice of play and death. What is this? Who’s here, inside your ears, inside your head? Insanity…you’re insane, going insane. It’s been creeping up on you, chipping away at your mind day by day, hour by hour. Asking questions with no answers, seeing shadows where there is no object to cast them, seeing through the eyes of others with a power that shouldn’t exist, that doesn’t exist! You’re digging your own grave; no, you already dug it; no, you’re already dead, and this is hell. The hell of fighting to save Cirno, to fail, again and again, of always trying, never saving, ever dying…The hell of Nathaniel, trying to get you to believe him and only driving the nails of his own coffin deeper, never answering, ever questioning…The hell of never knowing what to believe, who to believe…

Cirno shakes your torso as you somehow find yourself on the ground. “Mr. Stupid! Stop doing this, it’s annoying! Get up already, it’s okay, Mr. Glish saved us, it’s all right!”

Light…Glish is still surrounded by that burning danmaku, turned away from you, body tense. The crimson glow of the fire casts the world in an eerie light, making Cirno’s uniform appear black and the smeared blood on her clothes non-existent. Once she sees that you appear to be cognizant she gives your face a less-than-playful slap.

“Stop playing games, stupid! This is real life stuff!”

Her palm against your cheek smarts, but it does just what was intended: it brings you back to reality. You bring yourself to your knees, Cirno steadying your shaky movements as she and you together get you back on your feet. You smile at her affectionately, though in this light you’re not sure if she’ll see it.

“Thanks Cirno, I needed that. I was…I was thinking too hard again, being too serious and all that. Keep hearing voices inside my head; not sure what to make of it.”

She screws up her face at you. “Voices? Like remembering things people said a long-long ago? Or like that little angle sitting on your shoulder? Wait, no…I mean an angel?”

“It’s no angel; I can tell you that much,” you reply somberly, looking towards Glish.

What…just happened? The darkness…the darkness attacked you?! An intangible concept, just a lack of light, given physical form? It took Nathaniel? It’s all around you down here, no escaping it…you’re trapped in a world of death. Light…light overcomes the darkness. Drives it back. Hurts it. As long as you have light, you’ll be safe. But…even Nathaniel had light, and it still ate him. Two shots, two shots from a gun. Nathaniel’s gun? Seraphim is no ordinary gun. A hand-crafted gun, a re-engineered gun…a magical gun? It shoots explosions, but what else could it shoot? Could you attack the darkness with a magical missile fired from that gun? If darkness can attack you in this world, surely the reverse is possible…right? Danmaku. Fire danmaku. Glish’s danmaku; a dragon’s danmaku. Only those with “sparks” can manifest danmaku. Is all it takes the blood of a vampire, the blood of a dragon, or is there something…else? You can’t stand all these questions; you have to have at least one answered.

(All this thinking…)
>> No. 25223
(…one day it’ll get you into trouble.)

Grabbing your knife off the ground once again (more so that no one slices their foot on it than as a weapon, really), you address the boy. “Glish, Adam, whatever your name is. You can use danmaku. If you’ve got the spark, then—“

“Speed,” he replies without letting you finish. “I can manipulate my own speed. I sacrifice my own energy to move quicker, attack quicker, react quicker. Dragons are fast…vampires are faster…and I’m the fastest.”

A sentient creature that can move as fast as he wants. A fighter with that kind of ability…he’d be untouchable. Impossible to defend against, impossible to attack. You remember back, years ago, when you were first learning how to fight with a sword from one of the old souls in the village who still believed that “guns and cannons do not a warrior make.” He placed great emphasis on speed during combat. The strongest, most terrifying bull in the field will fall to a single small dog who knows how to attack with speed and precision. Such is just as true fighting man against man. And when magic exemplifies such a strategy to the highest levels attainable…

Wait. Speed? Sssssspeed? Not “thpeed.” He said “speed.” The lisp…no, no…he’s lost it. At a time like this, with the darkness creeping in, to be sitting next to one who is practically Flandre herself. Your grip on the battle knife tightens subconsciously.

“Cirno? Cirrrnoooo…are you there?”

A voice…a voice from the darkness. The voice, the one from your head. It grows closer, crooning softly…apologetically?

“Cirno? I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m really sorry; I didn’t see you! You know I can’t see anything, just like you! Where are you?” You’ve heard this somewhere before. Not in your head, no; long before. Years ago? Days ago? Where, where did you hear it?

Cirno inches towards Glish, peeking out cautiously from behind one of his wings. “R-Ruumi? Is that you?”

You see the faintest outline of a face and a body in the darkness ahead of you, a shadowed hand shielding its eyes from the light of Glish’s flaming bullets. Ruumi…Rumia?! That girl with Cirno two days ago? The heck is she doing down here?!

What you can see of Rumia’s face turns upwards into a smile. “You really are here! I thought you were just one of those yummy other thingies that are always down here. So hungry…I’m so hungry…do you have anyone I can eat? Please?” You think she might turn to see your face, and her tone of voice changes to one not unlike Flandre during one of her more sadistic moments. “Him! Ooo, ooo, he’s a human! Can I eat him, please? So hungry…I wanna eat someone!”

[ ] This is the heart of the darkness! Blind her with danmaku!
[ ] This is the heart of the darkness! Attack her with a weapon! (choose one or several to use)
[ ] This is the heart of the darkness! Send Glish to deal with her! Let’s hope he obeys…
[ ] Well, if it’s for the greater good…Here’s hoping that she doesn’t like how you taste.
[ ] Meet her halfway. “How about if I just give you a sample?” (choose what of yours she can eat)
[ ] You’ll be no one’s dinner tonight! Refuse her, but do not assault her unless she does first.
[ ] Try and reason with her diplomatically. Cirno can help too; she’s her friend, right? (describe your compromise/argument)
[ ] Another plan of action? (Write-in)

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

>>25194
It’s more likely that you think. Gensokyan Reversal, go!

>>25195
What’s this? A shady and underhanded yet situationally relevant reference to the Dead Alewives? Sure; I’ll give it a shot.

>>25196
Three unintentional references to popular culture? This must be a record in obliviousness for me.

>>25206
>Flandre brand Rumia
Rumio’s! The new breakfast cereal that bites back! New from FlanCo Food & Drug.

>>25209
>spiriting you off to chat somewhere in her characteristically boorish manner.
I’m going to have to use the word “boorish” now if Yukari ever makes an appearance in my stories. I don’t use that word nearly enough. Much appreciated.

>>25210
>Which, if true, sucks for me because she is one of the few Touhous that consistently defy characterization. Most characters lend themselves to some form of consistent interpretation due to canon and excess amounts of fanon. Rumia tends to scale from sub-Cirno dolt to Yukari-level omnipotence.
You’ve basically described a part of my view on Flandre Scarlet. I seem to be one of few who go the “Yukari-level omnipotence” side…in a certain manner of speaking. More on that later.
>> No. 25224
>[X] Another plan of action? (Write-in)

Adam/Glish is "crazy" - either possessed by Flandre or simply insane. We need to snap him out of it, quick, because he's a hell of a lot more dangerous than Rumia at her worst.
Last time, the name "John" did the trick. Maybe this time?

[X] "Where is John, Rumia?"
>> No. 25225
We need more friends who don't want to kill/torture/eat us. Would help if they're mentally balanced, too.

[x] Try and reason with her diplomatically. Cirno can help too; she’s her friend, right?
[x] "Rumia, have you seen John?"

This is where I'm a bit conflicted. I'm going to ignore the question of Rumia eating you, as long as you respond, since Cirno should be able to sway Rumia. On one hand, we might be able to deter Rumia to leave us alone by commenting that we've hacked your way through a lot of "yummy things" and most of them are probably still lying behind you, on top of the ones still running around the tunnels. This, however, might not not settle well for Cirno who at least tried to express that she didn't want to hurt Flandre's feral fairies. On the other hand, saying anything that does not involve giving her something to nibble might make her less inclined to believe that we're not just trying to distract her. And I think having lost an eye is enough for now, thank you; giving her something of you to nibble on might lead to worse things.

How about promising to prepare a good meal for her (banquet, if we want to sound lavish) if she can help us get out of these tunnels in one piece? Rumia may really like these dark tunnels despite their lack of sustainable food source, however, so this will be tricky anyway.

Glish ... uhm ... if the 'John' comment does nothing for him, there's not too much we can do anyway except for finding him.
>> No. 25226
>“She speaks, he speaks, she speaks to me, to three…to thee? A friend, a friendly friend I end? Defend and mend the end to befriend the friend I fend…?”

EX-Rumia! Need to find that ribbon else we are stuck with 3 batshit insane monsters down here.

[x] Feed her one of the dead Vampire Fairies/Fairy-beasts

Should be plenty of them around.
>> No. 25228
>>25224
>>25225
Rumia shouldn't even know who John is, and considering her inability to actually see anything, asking her might be a moot point.

Anyway, we have Glish going all Flandre on us, Rumia being generally deranged, Cirno bleeding on us, and Nathaniel disappearing on us...
...all we really need is for the cave to crash down on us and this would be perfect.

[X] Try and reason with her diplomatically. Cirno can help too; she’s her friend, right? Lead her out of here so she can get more food, besides we're Cirnos friends too.
[X] While talking, try to see her better for more details. Bite marks, for example.
[X] If you can persuade her, ask if she's recently ran into anyone she couldn't eat.
[X] Check Glish, remind him of the need to find John in hopes of rattling him back to his senses.

MetaKnowledge: By trying to see more details, i want to see if her ribbon is there as well, but our hapless farmer cannot know of it's significance, so i go with the other alternative, bitemarks. Perhaps Cirno will notice something as well.
>> No. 25229
>>25228
The "John" comment was more for Glish to hear than for Rumia to understand.
>> No. 25230
>>25229
Worst case scenario would be catching Glish' attention, rumia saying that it might have been one of the yummy things she just ate followed by Glish going all mental on everyone present.
>> No. 25231
[X] Try and reason with her diplomatically. Cirno can help too; she’s her friend, right?
[X] Mention there are a lot of tasty things left back in the tunnels that she can eat, instead.
[X] Ask Rumia where John is.
>> No. 25232
[x] Meet her halfway. “How about if I just give you a sample?”
[x] Tell her where she can go find your missing eye.

Hell, part of me just wants to see her eat that right in front of the farmer.
>> No. 25234
[X] Try and reason with her diplomatically. Cirno can help too; she’s her friend, right?
[X] Ask Rumia where John is.
[X] Mention there are a lot of tasty things left back in the tunnels that she can eat, instead. Inform her that she can't eat the human back there though if there one (Nathaniel) because he's a friend.

We can't really give her a sample, she might come back for more if we happen to be really tasty >.>
>> No. 25235
>>I don't know if we want to mention that there's another human down here, lest we be caught up in a race with Rumia to find him before she eats him.

From what Nathaniel said, whatever he saw seemed to dislike the light, and then when we attempted to scry him all we could see was darkness, meaning either he was unconscious (which clearly he wasn't if he could fire his gun) or was basically in total darkness.

In other words, I think she already knows.
>> No. 25236
>>25234
>>.>

ಠ_ಠ
>> No. 25237
[x] Stay silent. The question was addressed to Cirno after all.

Come on, Cirno. You should be able to solve this. Prove to us at least that you're capable of outsmarting a Rumia.
>> No. 25238
[x] Stay silent. The question was addressed to Cirno after all.

Yeah, switching to this. Cirno should know how to handle her friend a hell of a lot better than we do.
>> No. 25239
[X] Try and reason with her diplomatically. Cirno can help too; she’s her friend, right?
[X] Ask Rumia where John is.

It's not Rumia I'm worried about. Adam/Glish could snap at any moment.
>> No. 25242
[ ] This is the heart of the darkness! Blind her with danmaku!
[ ] This is the heart of the darkness! Attack her with a weapon! (Riflebow, go get her!)
>> No. 25243
[x] Stay silent. The question was addressed to Cirno after all.
>> No. 25244
[X] Try and reason with her diplomatically. Cirno can help too; she’s her friend, right? Lead her out of here so she can get more food, besides we're Cirnos friends too.
[X] While talking, try to see her better for more details. Bite marks, for example.
[X] If you can persuade her, ask if she's recently ran into anyone she couldn't eat.
[X] Check Glish, remind him of the need to find John in hopes of rattling him back to his senses.

I see no problems with this ...
>> No. 25245
>Adam/Glish could snap at any moment.

Given his lack of a lisp, he already has. If he's going to tear Rumia a new asshole for (presumably) murdering his friend, then all the more power to him, but I'd rather we skedaddle in the meanwhile; no matter who the winner is, they're liable to be hungry afterwards.
>> No. 25247
The rest, shorter despite the same number of threads - alot of discussion, I guess?

Danmaku Fight Continued/Thread 07
Beating up a little girl, Meet Ran
Even in Fantasy Land there is still paperwork
Looking around, Talking with Nathaniel
Too Estoric for a Game Show
It's Engrish but with Latin, Moe Meido Fairy Fetish
Meeting Your Maid
Let's take her to a secluded spot where no one can overhear, Meeting Adam/Thread 08
Playing games (Meet Flandre)
Kitty! Kitty! Kitty!
Thound Advithe
Risk Takers, Sword Equitas Justice, She also does 'Scorched Earth'
I guess simply wearing them make you smarter after all
Out of the Basement and into the Library (Meet Koakuma... again? Not sure)
It's just like a Harem Anime!
More talking with Patchy, Things Fall Apart/Thread 09
Talking with Nataniel (Sword, Flan and "The Game")
End Conversation, Study Time
Playing Doctor, Envy of Perverts
Dinner Again, Maxwell's Fairy and Nerds are Jerks
Spying, a Girl and a Bath
Emo Cirno
Hug time
That Cirno-Coat-Tent Scene/Thread 10
Join the Loli Side, Sneaking Peeks on the Notes
Diary, Bedtime

Blue Angel Dream/DAY FOUR
Reversed Wake-Up Call, I Wonder if he does laptops too?
He's No Randi
Sound Advice, Flandre's (Piano) Forte, The Best Laid Plans...
Don't even mention Bigfoot, Boys and their toys
...NEVER listen, Room with a view
You're No Houdini, They're kinda busy too/Thead 11
Resistance is Futile, Hesitation, Bye Bye Eye
A Brisk Pace May Help Burn Fat
Fading Blue
Save/Reload Solves Everything
Hurry! Hurry! (But loot first)
Grinding for XP, but...
Skipping the Boss Fight?/Thread 12
Searching for John, Reunion
Bricks in the Wall - Giant Block of Text which I won't even begin to break down at the moment
A more things...
Double-checking, A Grue?!
Horror Movie Hijinks, Ties that Bind
But You're Already Beaten Level 2...?
>> No. 25248
>[x] Try and reason with her diplomatically.

Eh, I don't thint that will work, with or without Cirno. To her, humans are just food.
>> No. 25249
>>25248
There was a long thread and discussion about this going on in Scorn's Thread long ago.
Something about not being able to humanize Rumia, ever.
Just either get her to respect or fear you.
>> No. 25250
Y'know, I just realized something...

Cirno wears a bra?
>> No. 25251
[Try and reason with her diplomatically. Cirno can help too; she’s her friend, right? In fact, maybe you should just stay silent; the question was addressed to Cirno after all.]
[Ask Rumia where John is.]

Looks like you’ve finally run into a youkai that actually wants to eat you like the stories say. You never thought it was going to be like this though, with the creature smiling happily and talking right next to you as if you’re just a candy in Cirno’s personal candy dish. If anything, it’s almost worse than just having Rumia flat out run at you and try to bite your head off. And that phrase…”Anyone I can eat,” like she’s been saying it all her life, as if people and animals are on the same rung of the food chain for her. Gensokyo…A world where the girls are cute girls, the women are cute girls, and the man-eating monsters are cute girls. And unless you’re extraordinary lucky (as you seem to have been thus far), you’ll never know the difference until you’re already dead. What kind of creator makes a world like this?!

Regardless, you’ll be no one’s dinner tonight, no after all you’ve been through. But how to convince Rumia of that…hmm. They say violence is never the answer, but three on one when you’ve got Glish…well, no, he’s probably “Adam” right now, and who’s to say he’s your ally at the moment? He could just as easily backhand you with those claws as Rumia in a fight down here, not to mention that Rumia seems to have the entire network of tunnels under her thumb. Hungry…so hungry…if she eats humans, what about all those fairies you cleaved your way through to get here? She mentioned “those yummy other thingies that are always down here,” perhaps she’d be placated if you told her where to find all she could eat?

It wouldn’t work. It couldn’t work. Rumia looks normal, seems normal, but the way she talks, it almost reminds you of Flandre, or of what a wolf would say if it could talk. She’s a predator, you’re the prey; why would she walk away from a meal staring her right in the face? How do you tear away a beast from it’s meal once the thought is in its mind? Reason with it?

All these plans, all this thinking…it whizzes by within seconds inside your head, too fast for you to work out all the kinks. With Glish and Cirno together blocking Rumia’s path to you, you feel just a little safer when Cirno begins to “negotiate” with her by herself.

“I told you last time, I found ‘im first, Ruumi! Besides, he’s my friend now too!” Cirno shouts, slowly but surely nudging Glish/Adam away until she’s directly in front of him. “I thought we agreed a long time ago! Friends don’t let their friends get eaten! Remember how all those times we saved Misty?”

Rumia whines back at her, nearly shouting. “But, but I’m hungry! We got lotsa friends, why you gotta keep this one? The foods down here always taste the best! Pleeeease?”

“Nuh-uh! Go eat somethin’ else, Mr. Stupid’s offa-menu!”

“Can I just have a little taste? Ooo, how ‘bout his arm, they grow back, right? Besides, he’s got two! C’mon, Cirno, we been friends forever, why you gotta be so frumpy all tha’ time?” Rumia suddenly lunges forwards, the darkness seeming to move with her advance. Cirno tries to block her, and they both end up on the ground instead. With the black-clad youkai closer to Adam’s light you can see her features much better now. Her white shirt and black jumper are rough and ripped in more than a few places, and brown stains litter the clothing where once blood seeped into the fabric. Her hair is a tangled bird’s nest of blonde strands, the only redeeming factor about it the beautiful red ribbon off to the side, set with a large circular stone in the center. The eyes in her head…they remind you of the Flandre you first met in the darkness of her room who knows how long ago. Blood red, bestial, wild and untamed, yet possessing just enough humanity and sentience to make you think twice before striking her down like a dog.

Rumia jumps up into the air and tries to shove past Adam to you, but Cirno grabs a hold of her leg and pulls the girl back to the ground, freezing her foot in the process. You can only look in astonishment as the two girls roll around in the ground and air, yanking at each other’s hair and clothes as they yell at each other, the sight so similar to a schoolyard brawl that you would laugh if not for the fact that they’re fighting for possession of your life.

“Hungry! Please, I want food, need food! Just a little, just a taste!”

“Stop it! He’s my friend! My friend!

“I’m your friend too! Friends help friends!”

As Cirno’s face rolls into view, you can see tears flying off her cheeks. She’s, she’s crying. But why? Crying because you’re about to get eaten? Crying because she doesn’t know if she’ll live or die by the end of the day? Or crying, because she’s forced to fight a dear friend for the sake of another dear friend?

“You’re…you’re not my friend any more if you touch ‘im!”

Rumia stops in midair, one hand tangled in Cirno’s hair, the other reaching out towards you in futility. “Buh…what?” she utters in confusion.

“I said, if you touch him, we’re not friends anymore!”

It’s Rumia turn to have tears well up in her eyes now, though the drops don’t fall quite yet. “Whuh, why? We’ve been…I bet we’ve been friends for longer than he’s been alive! How long ago you meet him?”

Cirno firmly replies, “Three days.”

“And, and…” Rumia stutters, wiping the water from her eyes and the hair from her face. “Y-you’d give me up for him?”

Cirno stands up and tries to straighten her uniform more properly (a losing battle). She looks Rumia square in the face and responds.

“You’re a great friend, Ruumi. You play with me and don’t care ‘bout all my missed-steaks. And yeah, we’ve been friends since fur-ever! But, but…Mr. Stupid, he, he tries to talk to me. Tries to listen to me. Tries to make me feel better. I…I, nobody’s ever tried to do that before. Well, okay, Miss Letty does, but that’s not the same. I jus’ wanna be The Strongest, you know? And Mr. Stupid, I guess he made me realize thaa’ you don’t gotta beat up everyone to be strong; there’s other strongs too. So…so if you wanna eat him, even a little bit, I’m gonna stop you.”

Rumia remains silent for what seems to be years, not moving, not even breathing. The black void behind her seems to compliment her mood, and creeps up around her like a warm blanket, comforting her. Those voices…why do those voices keep coming back? She’s not moving her lips, and yet…

(Out of my head…)
>> No. 25252
(…Rumia, get out of my head!)

”…end the friend? The no-friend end? To bend and mend and fend the friend who defends and fends the friend I want to end…”

“…Icy meat, spicy meat, nice to meet you, ice to greet. Spicy dicey, Icy nicey, roll the dicey roll and roll and whole of soul in a bowl with the ol’ spicy nicey meat…”

“…Woe and oh to the so and so, the ho and the so, to sow with a hoe and a shovel and a rake, rake and bake, bake a pie, bake and take to make them quake and shake…”

“…spider’s web? A spider beside her, beside me, in a tree for thee? A web of thread, black thread for the head, black and back and back I go, to and fro, sow and sow…”


“…Is that so?”

That last phrase she spoke out loud, for all to hear, in the same ominous, childlike tone as the whispers. Except…you’ve got a feeling, no matter how crazy, that you’re the only one that can hear them. Adam continues to say nothing, off in his own little world, tapping his hands against the walls like he’s playing the piano. Cirno folds her hands in front of her and remains motionless, an immoveable object despite her petite size.

You can’t stand it. You have to say something. But what else is there to say? Cirno said all that needed to be said to Rumia, as clear as crystal. You’re her friend, and she’ll defend you if you’re in danger, even against another of her friends. But you can’t stand the silence, the darkness, the emptiness. You have to say something. And the only thing you can think of is…

“Rumia. Where is John? You must have found him; I know you did. Where is he?”

Though your mind isn’t what it used to be right now, asking about John seems to make some sort of sense. It steers the conversation where you want it to go without being too off-topic, and maybe the mention of John’s name will even snap Adam back into “Glish”. Rumia’s face is once again cloaked in shadow, but you just know she’s smiling like a demon when she replies.

“Oh…so that’s what the name of my dinner is.”

And suddenly, she’s gone. The tunnels are black and without sound in both directions. You curse Rumia’s name both inwardly and aloud, though the latter is only loud enough for you yourself to hear. She knew…she had him all this time, and yet she was greedy enough to try and grab you for dessert. Is he…already dead, then? One usually would eat dinner before dessert, but if Rumia was put off by either Seraphim or Equitas, then maybe…

Cirno tugs at Adam’s arm futilely. “Glish, c’mon we gotta go! We gotta save Mr. Johnathaniel from Ruumi!”

He shakes his head and mutters something; to himself, or to you? “Mmm, almost…no, no, but it’s close. More crescendo, I think. Put in a moving line, yes…return to melody here, maybe a triplet…”

He’s hopeless. Not antagonistic, fortunately enough, nor is he off-the-wall insane, but hopeless nonetheless. Trapped within his own mind, under the illusion that he’s at a piano, composing some grand score. There’s no telling if he can even hear you right now, let alone listen to any sort of reason.

[ ] Stay here with Adam/Glish. Try and snap him out of it! (state the methods you wish to use, and what you will do if you’re successful)
[ ] Stay here with Adam/Glish. Maybe if you wait he’ll cool down on his own. Talk with Cirno in the meantime. About…? (state topics and/or questions)
[ ] Follow the tunnel down the direction you last saw Rumia.
[ ] Follow the tunnel down the opposite direction, the direction Nathaniel disappeared from.
[ ] How are you supposed to solve this…? (Write-in)

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

>>25226
>EX-Rumia! Need to find that ribbon else we are stuck with 3 batshit insane monsters down here.
Who said I was using Ex-Rumia? Did I say that? I’m pretty sure I didn’t. I forget little things like that, though...

>>25228
>Anyway, we have Glish going all Flandre on us, Rumia being generally deranged, Cirno bleeding on us, and Nathaniel disappearing on us......all we really need is for the cave to crash down on us and this would be perfect.
Rocks fall, everyone dies. Except for Farmer, because then you won’t be able to rewind time with the magic of Bad End. But look on the bright side! At least then Nathaniel would be out of your hair!

>>25232
>Hell, part of me just wants to see her eat that right in front of the farmer.
And then there’s the other part of you. The part that realizes if she eats your dead eye and likes it, she’ll eat the other one too. What’s that? You say there is no such part of you? There is now.

>>25247
More witty summary! Jubilations! And yes, I believe that as the story went on, it began to get more votes, thus less segments per thread. Me writing every single update as a double-post due to length restrictions may also be a contributor.

>>25249
I’m sure that Rumia would be quite humanize-able if an author tried; one might even be able to do a story where the protagonist weans her off eating people like an alcoholic is weaned off drinking. I can instantly see a scene where Rumia stashes corpses behind a bookshelf and secretly gorges herself when the protagonist isn’t looking. Protagonist enters the room, sees the scene, Rumia looks up innocently.

“You told me that you quit.”

>>25250
It comes free with the maid uniform. It’s a package deal. What savings!
>> No. 25253
>>25249
Actually, I think the options were to get her to either respect or ignore you, thought it has been awhile.

Still, that applied more to Scorn's version, and the righteous indignation route some wanted to take regarding her diet. Of course, this one doesn't seem any more reasonable, and judging from the voice she's putting in our head, running quite a bit higher on the "crazy" scale.

How is she (or we) doing that, anyway?
>> No. 25254
[x] Follow the tunnel down the opposite direction, the direction Nathaniel disappeared from. (take Cirno with you, of course)

I think we can leave Glish to his own devices for now. Besides, we made specific points about how we had no way of controlling him if he goes off the deep end. And it sounds like the "John" thing working the first time was freebie.

We don't know if Nathaniel is unconscious or just stuck roaming around inside a part of Rumia (that's odd language to need to use). From a meta-knowledge standpoint, if he's still in the tunnels, it's probably better for him to be unconscious since that would means Rumia could possibly just hover right over and past him by accident. If he's still in the tunnels, though Rumia's comment suggest she may have already run into him; the question is why we didn't hear certain sounds that we should have.
>> No. 25255
>How is she (or we) doing that, anyway?

"I'm hungry,
Cirno..."

You cannot grasp the true form
of Rumia's attack!

Farmer could not stop crying.
Adam is feeling strange.
It did not work on Cirno.

Farmer
Bash Goods Auto Fight
Scry Defend Run Away
>> No. 25256
>What kind of creator makes a world like this?!
ZUN.jpg
>> No. 25257
[x] Follow the tunnel down the direction you last saw Rumia.
[x] Tell Cirno to stay with Adam

Let's change to Insane Mode.
>> No. 25258
[x]...sniff Cirno's bra. Maybe that'll give you some ideas...

And now for my serious vote...

[x] Stay here with Adam/Glish. Try and snap him out of it!
[x] Remind him of the photo and that John is going to die like the last time we got him out of it.
[x] If successful, head over to where John dissapeared with Adam and Cirno. Keep a tight formation and run hand in hand.
[x] If uncessful, scry John once more.
>> No. 25259
[ ] Stay here with Adam/Glish. Maybe if you wait he’ll cool down on his own. Talk with Cirno in the meantime. About… Rumia and her other friends while you mend Cirno's wound.
[ ] Scry Rumia
>> No. 25260
>>25259

Even if she weren't our current baddy du jour, scrying Rumia is pretty pointless because she likes bathes herself in darkness...and she can't see in the dark -_-;;
>> No. 25261
It may be worth noting that, according to PMiSS, Rumia's darkness abilities don't work during a new moon. Considering some of our danmaku is sort of moon-based, there may be some way for us to exploit this.
>> No. 25262
[x] Tell Cirno that you're proud of her for sticking up for you.
[x] Stay here with Adam/Glish. Maybe if you wait he’ll cool down on his own. Talk with Cirno in the meantime. About… Rumia and her other friends while you mend Cirno's wound.
[x] Scry Rumia and Nathaniel again.

There's no point moving just yet, as we can't see in the dark without Adam. Luckily Rumia can't either, so Nathaniel stands a pretty good chance if he's still conscious. I don't think we should try to "snap Glish out of it", because there's the possibility that he's using some kind of technique to calm himself down.
>> No. 25263
>>25262

[x] Tell Cirno that you're proud of her for sticking up for you.
[x] Stay here with Adam/Glish. Maybe if you wait he’ll cool down on his own. Talk with Cirno in the meantime. About… Rumia and her other friends while you mend Cirno's wound.
[x] Scry Rumia and Nathaniel again.

Mm, your logic is sound. Since Rumia can't exactly see through her darkness, speed isn't exactly paramount here. And not disturbing Glish right now would be a good idea if your assumption is correct.
>> No. 25264
>>25263

On the other hand, inactivity caused us to lose Cirno a while back...
>> No. 25265
>>25264

Yeah, under clearly different conditions. Not every terrible event has a lesson to be learned from it.
>> No. 25266
File 123129328362.jpg - (107.71KB , 480x640 , 334712.jpg ) [iqdb]
25266
>>25251
>“You’re a great friend, Ruumi. You play with me and don’t care ‘bout all my missed-steaks. And yeah, we’ve been friends since fur-ever! But, but…Mr. Stupid, he, he tries to talk to me. Tries to listen to me. Tries to make me feel better. I…I, nobody’s ever tried to do that before. Well, okay, Miss Letty does, but that’s not the same. I jus’ wanna be The Strongest, you know? And Mr. Stupid, I guess he made me realize thaa’ you don’t gotta beat up everyone to be strong; there’s other strongs too. So…so if you wanna eat him, even a little bit, I’m gonna stop you.”

Too incredible; Cirno's growing up right in front of us. Wondering over this puts me in the wrong frame of mind to strategize about survival and rescue. I think I'll restart Dead Space; that'll get me nice and sufficiently paranoid/frightened.
>> No. 25267
>>25266
>Too incredible; Cirno's growing up right in front of us.

I know. What she did just now was touching and makes me feel kinda of bad that the Farmer didn't have any interior monologue showing this.
>> No. 25277
[Tell Cirno that you're proud of her for sticking up for you.]
[Stay here with Adam/Glish. Maybe if you wait he’ll cool down on his own. Talk with Cirno in the meantime about Rumia and her other friends while you mend Cirno's wound.]
[Scry Rumia and Nathaniel again.]

Leaving “Adam” alone right now seems like the best choice in your opinion. Insane people rarely listen to reason, of even follow reason for that matter. And while showing him the picture of “The Wanderers” seemed to work before, you’re not so optimistic that it’ll work again, not if he isn’t in the right mindset for it. You don’t want to leave him to his own devices right now either, though, so the only option is really to wait here and hope he’ll stop composing soon. And as for Rumia’s comment about Nathaniel, well…He’s a grown man, he can take care of himself.

“Thanks for sticking up for me back there, Cirno,” you compliment, taking a seat on the ground for now. “I couldn’t have said anything even close to what you said. You really saved my skin.”

You’re too tired to make any danmaku right now, and Glish’s has long-since faded, but Cirno helps out by floating a single light-blue orb above your heads like a miniature moon. “She woulda ate more than your skin, you know; she eats all of everybody,” Cirno comments, looking at the light above. “But ‘yur welcome. It’s like Ruumi said: friends help friends. An’ even though I like Ruumi, well, she don’t die that easy; you do.”

Is this the same Cirno you met three days ago? Before it was all “The Strongest” and prank after prank, never learning, never caring. And yet, she’s talking about friendship, about standing up for what you believe in, about life and death, even about how physical strength isn’t the only way someone can be “strong”. Where did she learn all this from? It couldn’t have been from you, could it? All you did was correct her a little, steer her the right way. It’s not like you sat her down and taught her all about life. Or, who knows, maybe you did; you’re brain’s not exactly an ally of yours at the moment. She’s…she’s growing up, right before your eyes (well…eye). In the midst of all this fear and doubt, all this death and destruction, she’s learning about the world in a way you wish you still could. It’s so simple, so easy, and yet, so real, so true. She’s taking all this better than even Nathaniel or you possibly could, and still managing to find the time to fight and remain optimistic on the side. Is this merely a result of the rumored fate of Remilia, creating these emotions just so they can be cut down, or is it something…more?

“What’re we gonna do now?” Cirno asks you urgently. “Ruumi’s gonna get Johnathaniel and eat ‘im, but Adam’s still broken, and we don’t know the way outta here! We gotta do somethin’, right?”

“Well…maybe not,” you reply, trying to sound assuring even though you’re not. “Nathaniel, he’s a pretty tough guy. You think he could take on Rumia in a fight?”

“Dunno. She’s not really that strong, but she’s queen of darkness or something, you know? She can do anything she wants without light and stuff, make it so you can’t see her coming! ‘Cept, well…” she wiggles closer to your ear and whispers. “Iz’ a secret, but she can’t see in the dark either!”

Wait, what? “Wait…what? So you’re telling me that a youkai of darkness doesn’t even have night-vision?! How stupid is that?”

“I know, isn’t it?! Ya’d think she could, but she can’t! I think maybe that’s why no one takes her serious, even though she can be real scary and eats people, like, like a monster or som’in!”

So much for the “unstoppable man-eating monster” archetype; perhaps things aren’t as hopeless as you once thought. Nathaniel might last a while simply slashing his sword with wild abandon, then. That is, unless he’s already dead. Such an odd person for Cirno to be friends with, though; you wonder what other kind of people she hangs out with when she’s not fighting for her life in the bowels of a vampire-infested mansion.

As you keep talking with her, you pick up the discarded ribbon of gauze that finally fell free from you and Adam. You consider tying it back between you, but soon realize a far better use for it: bandaging Cirno’s bleeding shoulder. You try to wipe away the blood and get a better look at the wound before wrapping it up. Wait a minute, this isn’t a bite or claw mark at all; too small, too round. And is that…how did that…a bullet? It’s not in very deep, so you delicately pluck the object out of her flesh. Definitely the deformed remains of a bullet, but how the devil did it get into Cirno’s shoulder?! You surreptitiously check the pistol at your belt: yes, the single bullet is still chambered and ready to fire. And the only other person with a gun around here is…

The uncertain hatred returns. Nathaniel. Somehow, in the confusion of Cirno getting attacked, she got hit by one of Nate’s two wayward shots. Or was it wayward? The gears in your head begin to turn once more. The shots sounded distant, but in these tunnels where echoes abound, the far can seem near, and the near far. He could have seen your danmaku nearby; he might have even seen the silhouette of Rumia as she grabbed for Cirno (that is, if it really was Rumia herself which did the grabbing). He could have simply shot and missed. But why only two shots? Missed…anyone can miss in the darkness. Anyone can miss period. But Nathaniel…Nathaniel isn’t just anyone. He could have been aiming for Rumia, or…he could have been aiming at Cirno. He could even have been aiming at you. That man…that bloody frustrating, no-good enigma of a man!

(Just desserts, Mr. Nathaniel…)
>> No. 25278
(…wouldn’t they taste good?)

You try not to let the agitation of your thoughts affect your voice as you continue to discuss Cirno’s inner circle, asking who else she hangs around with.

“Well, hmm, there’s Rumia; you met her, right? She lives kinda near the lake—that’s where I hang out—so sometimes we play together for fun. Then there’s Misty, except her real name’s Mystia Lorelly, I think. She’s a kinda bird youkai, she gots wings and claws like them. She’s a really good singer, too! This one time, this one time she tried to teach us all to sing, but that didn’t really work. She’s nice, I guess, but I don’t see her all that much anymore; she’s busy selling things, I think. Umm, who else…There’s Miss Wriggle, I guess; she controls bugs and stuff like that. Then there’s Daiyousei, she’s a fairy like me! She’s kind of like my older sister or somethin’ like that; she’s always nice to me. Ooo, I almost fur-got Miss Letty! She’s real nice; she’s the only person who ever tried to teach me things and tried to care about me. She can control snow and stuff too, jus’ like me!”

“But, I mean, why are you friends with a person like Rumia? Do those kind of arguments happen often?”

“No! No, I mean not really. I guess…well, all the mean youkai eat humans like they say they’re s’posed too, but a lot of ‘em don’t anymore. Like China? She’s a youkai, but she don’t eat nobody! But Rumia, I guess she thinks she has to, like it’s her job to eat people or something. Weird job, I think. I never thought it was very nice, but I never had to worry about her eating one of my friends until today, so I guess…I guess I never really thought about it all that much.

“Maybe the reason we’re friends is ‘cause no one else’ll be friends with us,” she laments, looking down at her dirty bare feet. “Everybody jus’ looks the other way and never takes us serious. I, I know we’re not that strong, but you’d think that shouldn’t matter, y’know? Like people should actually be even more friendly ‘cause we can’t hurt ‘em if we tried! I dunno, my brain kinda hurts whenever I think about—“

“I’ve got it! Just, just wait right there, I gotta get my piano! Ooo, Flandre’s gonna be so happy!”

Adam suddenly spins around, blurts this non-sequitur to the both of you, and immediately dashes away the direction Rumia disappeared in before you can even say a single syllable. No explanation, just “whoosh!” Okay then; looks like you won’t be making any more plans with him in it. At least it’s one less thing for you to worry about…you think.

“That was…weird,” Cirno comments, staring off into the distance at where Adam used to be before the darkness ate him up. “I wonder if he’s done with his sins-phony now?”

“Not sure,” you answer, wondering if he even was composing a “sins-phony”. “I wonder if we should go after him?”

“Well, he told us to wait right here, so maybe—“

Gunshots. More than two this time; the tunnels echo with a new gunshot every few seconds. Five…sixseveneight, nine…you lose count, but they’re most definitely coming from behind you, where Nathaniel disappeared to. Why do these things keep happening to you?! The only thing you can immediately think to do is scream at no one in particular.

“DANG IT WILL YOU STOP INTERRUPTING HER?!”

Once your head cools down a little, you quickly focus your thoughts. Gotta find out the situation…scrying, yes, gotta scry. Nathaniel and Rumia, what can they see? Precariously enough, both of them see the exact same thing: complete darkness punctuated by a brief burst of light, you yourself hearing the sound of a bullet a spilt second later.

[ ] Follow the tunnel down the direction you last saw Rumia and Adam.
[ ] Follow the tunnel down the direction of the gunshots, and probably Nathaniel.
[ ] Wait right there, like Adam said.
[ ] Whatever you do, you should probably do it quickly… (Write-in)
>> No. 25279
[x] Follow the tunnel down the direction of the gunshots, and probably Nathaniel.
[x] If you find Rumia, you and Cirno will challenge her to a spellcard duel.

Nathaniel for all his gadgets and powers doesn't have danmaku. That means that when his torch went out, he cannot see and is firing blindly. Rumia however, will have to accept our challenge. Someone remind me what our spellcards are? >>25261 made a very good point here.
>> No. 25280
[X] Follow the tunnel down the direction of the gunshots, and probably Nathaniel.
[X] Call out for him, don't want to be shot at by accident, and if it isn't an accident... Well, he won't have excuses for shooting at you either.
>> No. 25281
[X] Wait right there, like Adam said.

Oh yes, let's walk right towards the battle between an insane man-eating monster and the guy blindly firing a mystical explosion-shooting revolver in total darkness, especially after Cirno already caught a bullet in the shoulder.

The nice psychotic vampire/dragon/boy told us to stay put, and that's where I'm a-staying.
>> No. 25283
[x] Wait right there, like Adam said.

Well, time to wait for now.
>> No. 25284
[x] Wait right there, like Adam said.
>> No. 25285
Okay. The way Adam went is the exit.
Remember that.

Now, I'm not sure what to do. Save Nate? Obey Adam? Cirno can light up the darkness (danmaku, remember?) so I don't think we need to worry about gunfire. What I'm really worried about is Adam flipping out if we're not there to listen to his symphony of the night.

It's a choice between doing what's right and doing what's safest. What say you?
>> No. 25286
>>25285
>>Okay. The way Adam went is the exit.
>>Remember that.

I don't know if that will be of much help to us, on our own.
Consider the fact that Adam went the same way that Rumia retreated, and both went the opposite direction that Nathaniel is apparently in. Yet, from our scrying the both of them, Nathaniel and Rumia are now in close enough proximity to each other that they have a similar view of Seraphim's muzzle flashes.

For that matter, also recall that even though Rumia was apparently following from behind us (and thus, behind Nathaniel) at first, she came from the opposite way when she grabbed Cirno.

Assuming Rumia doesn't have some strange teleportation ability in darkness, or simply is that good at slipping past us unnoticed, this suggests that the tunnels we're in loop back around themselves.

Not sure how important that information could be, but at the very least it means if we're not careful we could easily wind up spending a lot of time going in circles.
>> No. 25288
[Wait right there, like Adam said.]

“Those, those’a got to be Nat’s guns, right Mr. Stupid?” Cirno asks worryingly. “Is he…Do ya think he’s fighting Ruumi right now?”

“Probably,” you respond, your eyes still looking into Nathaniel’s barely visible view.

“We gotta go, then! We gotta go stop ‘em!”

“No. We stay here.”

You return to your own head and look at Cirno, who doesn’t really know what to think right now. “If Nathaniel’s fighting Rumia right now, there’ll be no room for us, and if one of us isn’t too lucky, he might end up shooting us by accident. That’s how your shoulder got hurt you know; a single accidental shot in the dark. No, it’s too risky. We should wait here. Maybe Adam’ll come back like he said, and if he does, we should wait for him.”

“B-but…” She pouts and looks towards the direction of the gunshots. “I don’t want either of ‘em to die. Mr. Johnthaniel’s tryin’ to save us, but Ruumi’s my friend too. We can’t jus’, jus’ do nothing!”

You sigh and reassure her by holding her hand. “I don’t like what’s happening either, Cirno. But sometimes, when there’s danger all around you, the only thing you can do is just sit down and wait it out. Don’t worry; I’m sure everything will work out in the end. Let’s just take it easy for a while, okay?”

She bobs her little head and plops down onto the ground, with you following suit. The gunshots continue to echo through the tunnels at irregular intervals, changing in sound from loud to soft erratically, like a different gun is firing every now and again. Just what’s Nathaniel doing over there, anyways? With all these bullets you’d expect at least one or two of them to have hit Rumia by now; why does he keep firing? As the two of you sit underneath the pale moonlight of Cirno’s danmaku, you can’t help but wonder just where this is all going to end.

Everything…everything’s gone wrong, hasn’t it? It was just supposed to be an adventure in the English countryside. Just a little something to stretch your legs, get you really living life. Nathaniel took it all away, gave you something different…something chaotic. This mansion…whether Remilia’s behind it all or not, this mansion has bruised your mind worse than you could have ever imagined. So many questions…so many secrets…too many answers. Oh, what you would have given to not be so curious before. To not know of your impending doom. You could have died in peace. But it’s too late for that now. You’re here. In these caves, threatening the lives of others and having your life threatened in return. You’ve killed to get here. Not just animals, not just beasts. Fairies, things that once had a soul, maybe things that had a soul still. How can you even call yourself a “farmer” after this? The only farming you’ve done since you’ve gotten here is the sowing of naiveté, the weeding of confusion, the watering of suspicion…the harvesting of bodies. You knew that you had never wanted to farm again once you turned your back on that old life of yours, but not like this…not like this.

How are you supposed to live though all of this? Trapped within caves of blackness and mystery. Being manipulated by the insane hands of vampires. Being watched by the queen of time and space. Being guarded by your own weaknesses and hesitations. The odds…you can’t possibly beat them. What do you have, to stand up against them? A miserable knife? A worthless crossbow? The ability to spy? Two random cards of “Fate”? Against everything they have? Even if your only enemy is Nathaniel in all this, how can you live in a world of magic, a world of gods and goddesses, when you’re nothing but a single human? Futility…perhaps no matter what you do, it’ll all be in futility. Perhaps Nathaniel’s right. Perhaps Remilia really is changing your fate, changing you...This despair you feel. Is it you, or is it her? Who is your master? Yourself? Remilia? Nathaniel? Flandre? Nobody?

The gunshots in the distance finally abate. One less thing for you brain to process right now. You should get to your feet, but you don’t want to. It’s much easier to just sit here and wait. Wait for something to happen. Wait for someone else to fix your problems…

“Farmer?! Cirno?! Can someone please tell me what’s going on?!”

Nathaniel yelling at you, from somewhere down the tunnels, hmm? A novel idea, yelling; wonder why you didn’t think of that before. You try and muster up some “caring” from your heart to push this despair away, so that you have enough will to shout back.

“NATHANIEL! HEY NATHANIEL, MAYBE YOU SHOULD TELL US!”

Cirno stuffs her fingers into her ears and winces. Hmm, perhaps a bit too loud? Well, no offense to Cirno, but you don’t care; the distance gives you a good excuse to legitimately yell at the man for a while.

”I just killed something that was trying to kill me, that’s what’s going on! Is Cirno still with you?”

Killed something? So, Cirno was right…one of them was going to die. “YEAH, SHE’S STILL HERE. WHAT’D YOU KILL, ANYWAYS?”

”No clue, it just jumped me out of nowhere! Nasty little bugger to actually hit, I’ll tell you that! Get over here; I found the exit!”

Exit; now that’s something that sounds like it’s worth going to. Except...no, you told yourself you’d wait for Adam. It might have been just a self-justification rather than an actual reason, but waiting here was part of your plan, and maybe it still should be. Then again, if Nathaniel thinks the danger is gone…

[ ] Head over to Nathaniel’s voice, and thus, the exit.
[ ] Stay where you are; you’re still waiting, and that hasn’t changed.
[ ] Stay where you are; try and get Nathaniel to come to you instead.
[ ] These choices suck… (Write-in)

Also…
[ ] Since you’re yelling at Nate, might as well yell something useful. (say what you’re yelling about)

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

I didn’t feel like making an influential update today with so few votes. I also hope I’m not making a mistake in not creating a new thread yet, but this board’s been kind of slow lately, so hopefully it can ride for one segment more.

If the quality of this post is a little low, it’s because I’m feeling kind of depressed right now; life took a little turn for the worse today. I don’t need pity or encouragement; this is something I just need to work out on my own time, by myself. The feeling should pass before too long, and this will all be a thing of the past, so don’t let it bother you.
>> No. 25289
[x] Head over to Nathaniel’s voice, and thus, the exit. Check out the corpse of what Nate killed.

[x] Since you’re yelling at Nate, might as well yell something useful. "Wait for us there and...is the body of the thing that attacked you nearby? I'd like to see it...also, Glish is back to being Adam now, we don't know where he went."
>> No. 25290
[x] Stay where you are; try and get Nathaniel to come to you instead.

I am sorry to hear that you have problems, i hope that you will sort them out.
Well voting has been slow lately and not much else going on.
It will pick up again once more people write or something.
>> No. 25291
[X] Head over to Nathaniel’s voice, and thus, the exit. Check out the body of whatever he killed, but make it quick; there could always be more of them. Also, inform Nathaniel of what happened with Adam.

Adam said not to trust him unless he had his lisp; for all we know, he could be fetching Flandre and bringing her down here right now. Waiting for him is far too dangerous to risk, in my opinion.
>> No. 25292
[x] Head over to Nathaniel’s voice, and thus, the exit. Check out the body of whatever he killed, but make it quick; there could always be more of them.
[x] Since you’re yelling at Nate, might as well yell something useful: "Glish is Adam again, left to compose a musical piece for Flandre; no time to wait: It is dark, and we are likely to be eaten by a Rumia!"
>> No. 25293
[x] Head over to Nathaniel’s voice, and thus, the exit.
Adam is crazy and a dragon, we're getting the fuck out of here IN CASE he comes back. And before Rumia starts to regenerate or something.

>A novel idea, yelling; wonder why you didn’t think of that before.
We had just yelled something and gotten no answer. Although, to be fair, we were yelling to be quiet.
>> No. 25294
You know, the one he shot was most likely Rumia right?

Seeing as how he and her had similar sights when we scryed them. So wouldn't it be more fair to Cirno to get to say goodbye?
>> No. 25295
[X] Head over to Nathaniel’s voice, and thus, the exit. Check out the body of whatever he killed, but make it quick; there could always be more of them.
[X] Since you’re yelling at Nate, might as well yell something useful: "Glish is Adam again, left to compose a musical piece for Flandre; no time to wait: It is dark, and we are likely to be eaten by a Rumia!"

Not bad, I guess.
>> No. 25296
[X] Head over to Nathaniel’s voice, and thus, the exit. Check out the body of whatever he killed, but make it quick; there could always be more of them.
[X] Since you’re yelling at Nate, might as well yell something useful: "Glish is Adam again, left to compose a musical piece for Flandre; no time to wait: It is dark, and we are likely to be eaten by a Rumia!"

Seems to make the most sense considering how often viable options seem to disappear so suddenly & randomly.

I also doubt Flandre would allow her beloved "brother" to fall victim to the likes of Rumia, let alone Glish/Adam allowing himself to be "eaten" so easily.

Best go while you can... Perhaps one can leave a message for him such as on the back of the image that was given...?
>> No. 25297
[X] Head over to Nathaniel’s voice, and thus, the exit. Check out the body of whatever he killed, but make it quick; there could always be more of them.
[X] Since you’re yelling at Nate, might as well yell something useful: "Glish is Adam again, left to compose a musical piece for Flandre; no time to wait: it is dark, and we are likely to be eaten by a Rumia!"

Grue reference will see us through. My axe; you have it.
>> No. 25298
I figure this vote is probably going to reconcile before anthing else but ... whether or not Rumia is still alive, but moreso if she can recover to full, don't you think Cirno might want to have her moved from the tunnels?
>> No. 25299
>>25298
>don't you think Cirno might want to have her moved from the tunnels?

She'd probably be as concerned for Rumia's safety as she was for her own when she had her regeneration--little to none--and more so now after saying something to the effect that she's pretty much washed her hands of her.

Besides, we don't know if it was Rumia yet; that's why we're checking the body.