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File 125519943846.jpg - (530.34KB , 1217x805 , MariKazuki.jpg ) [iqdb]
32046 No. 32046
"You're an idiot." Her sharp tone gets under my skin. Why is she berating me?
"All that ability, all that potential, and you threw it away for what?" Seething, knowing I can't get away makes it so much worse. I just have to sit here and take it.
"Thinking about what? Missing some paltry hobby you lost? About saving a little bit of time?
Or...were you thinking about her?"

What? No, I wasn't--

"You didn't want to take that away from her, is that it? Something as meaningless as a title. Do you love her?" What? No, I don't love--

"Oh, don't look so scandalized, fairy. I saw the look in your eyes." You're wrong. I don't. Not like that.

"It doesn't matter. And now, thanks to what you did, neither do you." Who the hell are you? What are you so angry about?

Where do you get off?

I start awake, fists clenched.

Okay... calm down. Just a dream. I hope.

It's cold this morning. It's probably only good for a light frost, but...Winter's coming. Sitting up from the wall, I--gah! Knot in my back.

...I miss my wings. When I used to sleep against walls and things they'd make a nice soft cushion an--where's Meiling?

She answers the question for me when she throws something to my feet with a sharp clang.

"Good morning, Kazuki."

"Uh, hey... what's that?"

"That is a shaolin longsword."

(Carefully,) I pick it up and examine it.

"...It doesn't seem too long, really."

"It belonged to a young Chinese prince. It was sized for children, so it should be just about right for you."

I look up from the weapon to see Meiling grinning, two long hafts laid over either shoulder.

"What's all this for?"

"For your lessons. Think of it as your reward for keeping me company."

Awww. "You didn't have to do that."

"It's no problem. Besides, you like them, right?"

...Yeah, she has me there. Weapons are cool.

"So, uh, what do you have?"

"These are some weapons frequently used in shaolin. The more common ones, anyway. Before I start you on the more exotic things.

"We've got the sword--two kinds--the spear, and the cudgel. Which do you want to try?"

[ ] The [broad/long]sword!
-[ ] I know they used bigger swords, I'll just use a normal one in two hands!
[ ] The spear!
[ ] The cudgel!
-[ ] Forget the small one, I'll just use a normal one in two hands!

The spear's a bit too big for little 'zuki to use at full size. At any rate, off we go again. Unfortunately as I'm sure you saw, my posts are slowed a bit lately with school back and a lot more of my free time taken up. Still, I'll try to post with something resembling frequency.

Last but not least, big thanks go to Mari for the picture of Kazuki.
>> No. 32047
[x] The long sword!
>> No. 32050
File 125520068577.jpg- (10.09KB , 167x250 , 127.jpg ) [iqdb]
32050
>>32048
Confession; none, really.
While there's probably a world of difference in the style and movement involved with one or the other, I don't know them. If I have time I'll do a bit of research, but for now, it's really a matter of aesthetics.

For reference, the broadsword is the curved weapon on the left, and the longsword is the straight blade on the right.
>> No. 32051
[ ] The cudgel!
>> No. 32052
{X} The long sword!
>> No. 32053
[x] The long sword!
-[x] I know they used bigger swords, I'll just use a normal one in two hands!
>> No. 32054
[Q] The long sword!
>> No. 32055
[x] The long sword!
>> No. 32057
[ℤℯ] The longsword!

I like Chinese weapons.
>> No. 32059
[X] The spear! Spears are cool.
>> No. 32061
[0] The long sword!
>> No. 32066
[x] The spear!
>> No. 32068
>>32046
[X] The long sword!
-[X] I know they used bigger swords, I'll just use a normal one in two hands!

That dream sequence was pretty interesting. Looking forward to see where that goes.
>> No. 32072
[x] The long sword!
>> No. 32078
Much as I like the dao, I have to admit a jian suits Kazuki's size much more.

[+] The long sword!
>> No. 32086
File 125540894185.jpg- (651.47KB , 1200x802 , martial power.jpg ) [iqdb]
32086
>[X] The longsword!

I look them over, test the weight a little. "Uh... this one."

"The jian? Good choice." The sword is a long (well, for me) double-edged straight blade. "It's light, one-handed, good for defense as well as offense. Shouldn't slow you down any to use." Well, that sounds about right. I'm not sure how much this weighs. Maybe just over a pound?

Still, though, this seems strange. "But Meiling," I ask, "Don't they usually wait until you're experienced before teaching weapon forms?"

"Usually, but for you, I make an exception." ...I try not to grin at that while she picks up my sword's bigger brother.

"Besides," she adds, "what I said before, about the balance and control your Tai Chi has given you? It still applies. You're not going to poke your eye out. Or anyone else's."

"Now let's begin."

I'm a little surprised to learn that Tai Chi has sword forms at all. Meiling's mentioned it before--intentionally slow or not, there's a martial to this art. Even if it seems a little strange sometimes. I guess on another note that's why she's starting me with more Tai Chi--no denying I know my stuff.

This form's slow and simple. It seems to be about getting a feel for the sword, moving it around my body. A few hops, slowly balancing on one foot or the other (a little hard on my bum leg, but not too bad).

"And across...now step back, blade up... and done. You've got a good memory, Kazuki."

I finish out my bow and grin. "Thanks!" I have to say, I think I could get used to carrying this jian.

It's been a couple hours. I've about got this form down, it's just going to be a matter of practicing it to keep it up and tighten the movements. I stretch my arms and crane my neck back to...

"Hey, is that Marisa?"

"She's been circling for about twenty minutes."

Oops! "I forgot my lesson." I go to give Meiling back the jian.

"That's yours now, Kazuki." Whoa!

"Really?!" I try (and fail) to conceal the excitement. She nods and beams.

Stammering thank yous, I look back up at Marisa. What's she doing up there? I should...

[ ] Run and put my jian in my room.
[ ] Actually, it's easy to carry, I'll bring it with! Wave Marisa down.
>> No. 32087
[X] Actually, it's easy to carry, I'll bring it with! Wave Marisa down.

It's time... for action!
>> No. 32088
[x] Actually, it's easy to carry, I'll bring it with! Wave Marisa down.
>> No. 32089
[x] Actually, it's easy to carry, I'll bring it with! Wave Marisa down.

Carrying it around is good practice.
>> No. 32090
[x] Actually, it's easy to carry, I'll bring it with! Wave Marisa down.
>> No. 32091
[+] Actually, it's easy to carry, I'll bring it with! Wave Marisa down.
>> No. 32092
[x] Actually, it's easy to carry, I'll bring it with! Wave Marisa down.
>> No. 32094
[x] Actually, it's easy to carry, I'll bring it with! Wave Marisa down.
>> No. 32096
[Q] Actually, it's easy to carry, I'll bring it with! Wave Marisa down.
>> No. 32097
[ ] Actually, it's easy to carry, I'll bring it with! Wave Marisa down.
>> No. 32098
[ ] Actually, it's easy to carry, I'll bring it with! Wave Marisa down.
>> No. 32101
[x] Actually, it's easy to carry, I'll bring it with! Wave Marisa down.
>> No. 32109
File 125562429582.jpg- (797.59KB , 1457x2000 , practice makes perfect.jpg ) [iqdb]
32109
>[X] Actually, it's easy to carry, I'll bring it with! Wave Marisa down.

"I guess I'll hold onto it for now, then." I wave at Marisa and after a moment (strange), she starts to float down.

"I'll find you the sheathe for the jian later," Meiling says evenly, crossing her arms. She watches Marisa descend all the way down. ...Did I miss something?

"Uh, hey. Nice sword." Marisa points.

"Thanks! Meiling got it for me." She nods, slowly.

"Well, try not to poke me with it on the trip." She grins. I grin back.

"No promises."

"You've been hanging around Reimu too much. Hop on."

Getting used to being a passenger, slowly. (I miss my wings.) As we touch off I give Meiling a wave.

"I'll see you soon!" Finally, she smiles again.

"See you soon, Kazuki." With that, we're off. Most of the trip passes quietly, but once we're over the lake I wanted to ask.

"...So Marisa, did I miss something?"

"Huh? No, no. Just a bit tired. Was up working most of the night. Been busy." Hope that wasn't on my account.

"Funny timing on getting the sword," she continues. I was gonna teach you some more enchanting, and that'll help."

"Really? ...Won't risk breaking it if I mess up, right?"

"No, no. And if it did, I could fix it as good as new." ...Magic is awesome.

Once we get to Marisa's, I hop off and set the jian and the books from yesterday down beside her front door. I notice a long line of stakes in the ground across the way.

"Okay, first of all you need to get more used to actually channeling magic. Since you don't know much, you're starting with your little trigger spell."

She points at the stakes. "Those have magic torches I rigged up. They'll activate for a few seconds at a time each time you hit one with the trigger."

...Oh man.

[ ] MAGIC GRINDAN GAEMS
[ ] Can't I do anything else?
[ ] Could I work on the abjuration or something?
[ ] Maybe I could read the books a bit, didn't last night...
[ ] Other
>> No. 32111
[x] MAGIC GRINDAN GAEMS
[x] Maybe I could read the books a bit, (didn't last night...) A bit more study during rest wouldn't hurt.
>> No. 32112
[x] MAGIC GRINDAN GAEMS
[x] Maybe I could read the books a bit, (didn't last night...) A bit more study during rest wouldn't hurt.
>> No. 32113
[x] MAGIC GRINDAN GAEMS
[x] Maybe I could read the books a bit, (didn't last night...) A bit more study during rest wouldn't hurt.
>> No. 32114
[x] MAGIC GRINDAN GAEMS
[x] Maybe I could read the books a bit, (didn't last night...) A bit more study during rest wouldn't hurt.

Teacher knows best and what have you.
>> No. 32115
[x] MAGIC GRINDAN GAEMS
[x] Maybe I could read the books a bit, (didn't last night...) A bit more study during rest wouldn't hurt.

MUST... POWERUP... MUST ... BECOME... MAIN CHARACTER...
>> No. 32117
[ℤ] MAGIC GRINDAN GAEMS
[ℯ] Maybe I could read the books a bit, (didn't last night...) A bit more study during rest wouldn't hurt.
>> No. 32120
[x] "Maybe I could light... another torch... if you know what I mean..."

*Bow chika bow naow*
>> No. 32121
[+] MAGIC GRINDAN GAEMS
[+] Maybe I could read the books a bit, (didn't last night...) A bit more study during rest wouldn't hurt.

Sooner we succeed here, the sooner we figure out how to fly again.
>> No. 32125
File 12557890711.jpg- (93.56KB , 600x600 , sandvich.jpg ) [iqdb]
32125
>>32120
That's like the worst come-on ever.

>[X] MAGIC GRINDAN GAEMS
>[X] Maybe I could read the books a bit, (didn't last night...) A bit more study during rest wouldn't hurt.

Okay. Eyes on the prize, fairy boy. You wanna be the wizard? You wanna wear the wizard pants? Get cracking.

Or snapping, as the case may be. With each snap of the fingers a torch alights, burns for a few seconds, and then extinguishes. One, then another, then another, down the line and then back to the first. Click-fwoosh. Click-fwoosh. Click-fwoosh.

...The thought flutters somewhere in the back of my mind that there's something wrong about setting things on fire being boring.

An hour of click-fwooshing later, and I'm ready to give it a break. My fingers are numb and I feel... tired, but not tired. This must be what happens if you use a lot of magic or something.

With a whoof I lean against the house again and rest. Legs feel wobbly! Wobbly-wobbly-wobbly. With a little effort I reach over and drag my books over to--

Do I smell bacon?

Marisa sticks her head out the window. "Breakfast and OJ on the table."

I'm through the window and clambering over her head before she finishes her sentence.

Between skipping meals for a while and practicing that much, I'm hungry. Chewing some bacon, Marisa thumbs through a book.

"You were out there about twice as long as I thought you'd be, y'know," she says around a bite while I use both hands to tilt back a glass of juice.

"Really?" Going for the toast, next.

"Really. I think it's 'cause fairies are naturally magic. Homefield advantage. I remember when I was new..."

"You were new once?" I go for some seconds of scrambled eggs.

She laughs. "Damn right I was new once. I worked my tail off to get where I am today. Ask Reimu."

"I would, but she might be too lazy to explain." Marisa giggles at that.

"It's possible. Okay, once you're done I'll wash up, you should sit and rest an hour or two before you get back to it."

"Oh-yoohhhhhkay."

"...I think I better put some coffee on for you." Sounds good to me. I ate too much.

[ ] Go and grab my books.
[ ] Study enchantment.
[ ] Study abjuration.
[ ] Study (other).
[ ] Sit and talk with Marisa about ... (write-in)
[ ] Other

...No, I wasn't hungry when I was writing this. Why do you ask?
>> No. 32126
[x] Go and grab my books.
[x] Look through them some (perhaps acting like reviewing)
[x] Ask Marisa about some kind of flight magic
>> No. 32127
[x] Go and grab my books.
[x] Look through them some (perhaps acting like reviewing)
[x] Ask Marisa about some kind of flight magic
>> No. 32128
[x] Go and grab my books.
[x] Look through them some (perhaps acting like reviewing)
[x] Ask Marisa about some kind of flight magic
>> No. 32129
[x] Go and grab my books.
[x] Look through them some (perhaps acting like reviewing)
[x] Ask Marisa about some kind of flight magic
>> No. 32133
[x] Go and grab my books.
[x] Look through them some (perhaps acting like reviewing)
[x] Ask Marisa about some kind of flight magic
[x] I miss my wings. ;_;
>> No. 32147
File 125593859980.jpg- (146.14KB , 600x653 , cuppa.jpg ) [iqdb]
32147
>[x] Go and grab my books.
>[x] Look through them some (perhaps acting like reviewing)
>[x] Ask Marisa about some kind of flight magic

A quick trip outside and I pull open the book to the enchantment section (and it coughs dust at me--how old is this thing?) and thumb through.

"...Hey Marisa, I was wondering the other day. Why do witches use brooms?"

She sets down two mugs of strong black coffee and then kicks up her legs on the table. "I don't know, really. Something out of tradition at this point. I guess it's 'cause they're convenient. I mean, you can enchant almost anything to fly, but..." Really now.

"A broom's practical, light, you can maneuver, and there's a certain style to 'em."

"...Marisa, can you fly without one?"

She chuckles and sips her cup. "A gentleman never asks, and a lady never tells."

"That doesn't sound like you." I suppress a laugh while I pour cream in my coffee.

"It's somethin' my teacher used to say. At any rate, I'm not tellin'."

"Okay, then," I say as I stir in five spoons of sugar (what?). "Tell me this. Could you make me a flying item?"

"Miss the skies, huh? Yeah, yeah I think I could do that. It'd take me a little while, though. And we'd need to find something your size to ride on. Or I guess we could just give you magic flying pants..." Pfft. Still, though...what could I fly with?

"Tell you what," she continues. "I can give you a lift to the village. Look around, take a break, find something for me to work with."

"That sounds pretty good, actually... I probably have a letter waiting for me as well."

"So what do you think?"

[ ] To the village!
[ ] Eyes on the prize. Keep up the practice.
[ ] Read some more.
[ ] Other
>> No. 32148
{X} To the village!
>> No. 32149
[x] Eyes on the prize. Keep up the practice.
>> No. 32153
[x] To the village!

Letter? interesting.
>> No. 32155
>>32147
[X] Eyes on the prize. Keep up the practice.

Nose to the grindstone, little fairy
>> No. 32156
[x] To the village!
>> No. 32158
[X] To the village!

Need to find a hat, too.

A flying hat, mayhaps.
>> No. 32159
File 125598140676.jpg- (177.25KB , 800x516 , backtothefuturepart2.jpg ) [iqdb]
32159
[x] To the village!
We need to go to Kourindou's to find a silly hat and a skateboard ASAP.
>> No. 32168
[+] To the village!

I'm thinking more along the lines of boots, which we may enchant for flight.
>> No. 32169
>>32158

An old aviator hat, with goggles and a tiny propeller on top.
>> No. 32177
[x] To the village!
>> No. 32195
So hey, remember that job interview that had me tied in knots? Just got a call back, finally. I'm in.
In more on-topic news, to make up for my sloth I'm going to try and put together a pretty sizable update, or several together. Thanks for waiting.
>> No. 32196
>>32195
Sweet, man. Glad to hear it.
>> No. 32280
I fully acknowledge and apologize for the first update after such a long delay being so short. It's a dick move. At the same time, it'll help me get back into the swing of things.

So, to the village:
[ ] Check the mail
[ ] Look in the curiosity shop
[ ] Look for clothes
[ ] Walk around the village
[ ] Other

As always, write-ins encouraged. Feel free to put in whatever, though it'll require a judgment call from me whether or not it's available in the relatively small human town.
>> No. 32282
>[x] Check the mail
He has mail here? if so I'm definitely checking it

[x] Look in the curiosity shop
[x] Look for clothes
>> No. 32283
[x] Check the mail
[x] Look in the curiosity shop
>> No. 32284
[x] Check the mail
[x] Look in the curiosity shop
[x] Look for clothes
>> No. 32285
[x] Check the mail
[x] Look in the curiosity shop
>> No. 32286
[x] Check the mail
[x] Look in the curiosity shop
[x] Look for clothes
>> No. 32287
[0] Check the mail
[1] Look in the curiosity shop
[2] Look for clothes
>> No. 32288
[x] Check the mail
[x] Look in the curiosity shop

Reconnecting with the world.
>> No. 32289
[x] Check the mail
[x] Look in the curiosity shop
[x] Look for clothes
>> No. 32298
File 125718227840.jpg- (26.92KB , 590x448 , Roomba search and destroy.jpg ) [iqdb]
32298
In the end I can see Kazuki becoming some kind of vigilante, using his magical kung-fu to protect fairykind.

An enchanted cape would make a handy replacement for wings. As well as covering his disfigurement. On the other hand, there might be benefits to enchanting the jian for the same purpose, allowing Kazuki to jump from tree to tree, like in those choreographed Wushu flicks.

We could also start thinking about a sidekick familiar, seeing as we're being trained by a witch and all. We know Kourindou stocks 'shikigami from the Outside' which he can't get to work. Computers are rather stationary, but how about an enchanted Roomba?

"I'm here to clean up your act, criminal scum!"

Magical Fighter Kazuki, brought to you in part by Roomba! The robotic floor vac.

Also, Marisa's battle with Meiling shows that more than just being her student in the arcane arts, Kazuki has things he could teach Marisa, Tai Chi specifically. She might be interested, given how she spent twenty minute this morning watching him practice with Meiling. If the witch thief managed to pull some kung-fu moves the next time she went up against the gate guard, I think Meiling would be really impressed that her disciple is coming up in the world.

Finally, props to Mari for the adorable OP pic.
>> No. 32301
[x] Check the mail
[x] Look in the curiosity shop
[x] Look for clothes
>> No. 32312
Okay, information processed, please wait warmly (some more I know argh) until I can put together the village update.
I've got my reasons for being so inactive--school did that simultaneous project pileup thing, and the new job is eating into my free time doubly. All I can ask is for a little more patience.
>> No. 32486
File 125897632460.jpg- (391.97KB , 800x600 , come here.jpg ) [iqdb]
32486
It's dark.

The tap-tap-tap of rain on the leaves is both a help and a hindrance. On the one hand, they can't hear me. On the other hand... well, I'd rather have a little more notice they're coming.

Each flash of lightning is an exercise in stark terror, as innocuous shapes and shadows play on my imagination. I have to keep telling myself it's just nerves. If they were that close I'd already be...

That was not my imagination. For the barest instant before the thunder rolled I saw it, a clawed hand gliding over a trunk as it slipped through the brush.

If I run now, I'll break the pattern of noise and he'll be on my back before I even clear the treeline. Can't run away, he'll find me.

Hot breath on my neck

Glinting teeth

Run

Run

Heart hammering against my ribcage, lungs burning

Reach the field

Need enough speed to take off running

Twigs snapping right behind me

Claws outstretched as I leap and

I'm not flying did it catch me? No I would feel the claws tearing into my back but I'm not flying

Falling

Down into dark past the spiral stair and the warm stone and the scratches on the wall tell me it was dug from below

Something sings through the dark with a tinkle like a wind chime

Laughter or is it crying I can't tell

Rainbow razors cut streaks in my vision

Its smile widens as a delicate porcelain-white hand reaches out for me and the bloody gemstones jingle merrily


"WAH!"

"WAH!"

I bolt awake. The first thing I see is Marisa recoiling away from me as I almost knock my chair over.

"Bad dream?" she ventures, a hand to her chest.

"...Y-yeah. How long was I out?"

"Not long. About fifteen minutes," she says as she catches her breath. "You probably wore yourself out drilling your magic. It can hit you pretty quick, especially when you're new."

"Ah." My heart's still pounding. I swallow and after a moment ask. "So I should take a break for a while, then?"

"Yeah. You'll feel better soon." Says the girl who's never been apex prey...

"I guess that means I should go spend a little time at the village."
>> No. 32487
File 125897635474.jpg- (118.02KB , 400x600 , THV.jpg ) [iqdb]
32487
>>32486
>[X] To the village!

Marisa drops me off and kicks back into the air.

"I'll come back around sundown," she says, "do a sweep around the town. If I see you I'll bring you back, otherwise you'll walk?" I nod. "Alright then. Seeya soon."

It's been a while. A few people might recognize me, but then again, without my wings...

No sense standing around. First trip is to the mailbox. The postman recognizes my face, at least, and if he's got anything to say he keeps it to himself. And better yet, my pen-pal wrote back! I carefully open the letter and recognize the neat, orderly handwriting.

Fossil,
It's funny, every time you mention that you're not all that talkative or social, I have trouble believing it. You just seem so funny in our letters. I guess it's not that strange--I know people who just can't express themselves well unless they're writing.
Thanks for asking about school--it's going, some times faster than others. Still, I'm keeping up all right between my studies and work. Exams were a bit hectic, but with a little help I did all right.
I have to say (again), I'm glad to have 'met' you. My teachers tell me I'm getting better at writing, we always have such fun conversations, and it certainly gives me something to do on the train.

On that note, the station's about five minutes away, so I'm going to sign off for now. I'll mail this on my way home tonight.

Hope you're well,

--Essex


A little shorter than our usual, but it was nice to get word. Must be just as busy as I've been. I'll certainly have enough to write about from the last few weeks. Maybe I can send off a reply before I leave tonight.

Pocketing the letter, I look up. The street nearby has the tailors', but it's not far to the curiosity shop. I stop thinking about what to write back to Essex for a second to consider my options. The tailors' could make something in my size and they'd certainly have more stuff, but the curiosity shop is always more interesting. Still, no reason I can't visit both.

[ ] Head to the tailor. I'm looking for... [input]
[ ] Check out the curiosity shop.
[ ] Both! Look for [input]

That's right, after a way-too-long, I'm back. Unfortunately I can't promise regular updating, as school's reaching finals soon and work is kicking my ass. Hopefully though, I can at least start covering ground again, even if by fits and starts. I'm on break from classes through this week, so I'm hoping I can get a few updates written.
Again sorry for the wait, thanks for the patience, and thanks even more for reading.
>> No. 32488
[x] Check out the curiosity shop.
>> No. 32491
[X] Both! Look for a hat (or maybe a helmet)!
[X] Look for some sort of knickknack you could send back to your pen-pal. Might be able to find something here that Essex can't find back home!
[X] ... maybe look for something a girl would like? You could give it to one of your teachers as a thank you!

Things to do, things to do. Such a busy little fairy!
>> No. 32493
[x] Both! Look for some shorts. You've been rocking the overalls for a while so something different is nice.
[x] Look for some sort of knickknack you could send back to your pen-pal. Might be able to find something here that Essex can't find back home!
>> No. 32494
[x] Both! Look for some shorts. You've been rocking the overalls for a while so something different is nice.
-[x] Look for some sort of knickknack you could send back to your pen-pal. Might be able to find something here that Essex can't find back home!
>> No. 32495
[0] Both! Look for some shorts. You've been rocking the overalls for a while so something different is nice.
[1] Look for some sort of knickknack you could send back to your pen-pal. Might be able to find something here that Essex can't find back home!

We've already got a shirt, so something comfy and easy to wear is nice.
>> No. 32496
[x] Both! Look for some shorts. You've been rocking the overalls for a while so something different is nice.
[x] Look for some sort of knickknack you could send back to your pen-pal. Might be able to find something here that Essex can't find back home!
>> No. 32498
[x] Both! Look for some shorts. You've been rocking the overalls for a while so something different is nice.
[x] Look for some sort of knickknack you could send back to your pen-pal. Might be able to find something here that Essex can't find back home!
>> No. 32510
>>32487
>and it certainly gives me something to do on the train.
>the train.
Wait, what?
Are these getting sent Outside?
>> No. 32543
Kazuki has a penpal from a faraway land?

That is excellent.

[x] Both! Look for some shorts. You've been rocking the overalls for a while so something different is nice.
>> No. 32546
[x] Both! Look for some shorts. You've been rocking the overalls for a while so something different is nice.
[x] Look for some sort of knickknack you could send back to your pen-pal. Might be able to find something here that Essex can't find back home!
>> No. 32714
File 125971204260.jpg- (289.89KB , 850x1200 , equip.jpg ) [iqdb]
32714
>[x] Both! Look for some shorts. You've been rocking the overalls for a while so something different is nice.
>[x] Look for some sort of knickknack you could send back to your pen-pal. Might be able to find something here that Essex can't find back home!

If I'm gonna be living inside the mansion and spending time at Marisa's I'm gonna want something a little cooler to wear. I like the overalls but it's way too warm for them sometimes. ...Besides, now that I have someplace reliable to store them, maybe I can start collecting. And Sakuya can't make any more comments about 'fairy hygiene.' Okay, first things first, then. To the tailor's!

The front of the store is open to the street, with a door leading to another section behind. A few mannequins are left out on either side of the shop, one in a hanten coat, the other in a tunic of some kind. A row of hats, both Western and more traditional, line the left wall. Along the other side are bolts of cloth, all sorts of colors and patterns. A young human is replacing some of them, a yukata (probably on a mannequin) tucked under his arm. They must be getting cooler weather too.

"Hey," I call as I walk in. He looks up and gives me a polite nod. "Where could I find pants and shorts?"

"The pre-made things?" I guess they're still a bit unusual. I don't remember exactly when they started appearing. "Back here."

The store doesn't have too much of what I'm really looking for, though I'm not surprised. Most of this village is still pretty traditional. I like what they have, though. One black set has this thin, sleek material with red stripes barred by thin white lines on either side, and a waistband that scrunches down when you pull on a drawstring. Another is thick and sturdy, almost like softer, blue burlap with small brass fittings, and small pockets on the hips. The last are a light brown with deep pockets on either thigh.
Of course, these are all human size. On me they'll run a bit below the knees. I could ask to have a set tailored, but even assuming they had the right material it would cost much more. ...I'll think about it more while I browse the hats.

These, on the other hand, are much more diverse. Small-brimmed, curved bowlers and crisp-lined fedoras, wide straw hats and even a floppy, faintly silly bicorne.

Okay, enough browsing. I need to think more about what I want to get so I can work out how to pay for it.
[ ] The thin, black ones.
[ ] The hardy blue ones.
[ ] The beige, pocketed ones.
[ ] Other pants/have some tailored
[ ] Forget it.

As for hats...
[ ] Write-in
[ ] Forget it.
>> No. 32717
File 125971221924.jpg- (676.55KB , 2131x3000 , simon-belmont.jpg ) [iqdb]
32717
[x]
>> No. 32723
>[ ] The thin, black ones.

Swim trunks? Lack of pockets makes me wary, even if these are practical for summer.

[X] The beige, pocketed ones.

Nice and loose, and plenty of storage~

Hat:
[X] ... flight goggles?

Hey, they fit with Kazuki's love of flying.
>> No. 32724
[X] The beige, pocketed ones.

Hat:
[X] ... flight goggles?
>> No. 32726
[0] The beige, pocketed ones.

Hat:
[1] ... flight goggles?
>> No. 32728
[x] The beige, pocketed ones.

Hat:
[x] ... flight goggles?

This works.
>> No. 32730
[x] The beige, pocketed ones.

Hat:
[x] ... flight goggles?
>> No. 32734
[x] The beige, pocketed ones.

Hat:
[x] ... flight goggles?
>> No. 32743
[x] The beige, pocketed ones.

Hat:
[x] ... flight goggles?

Okay.
>> No. 32750
File 125989940015.png- (634B , 64x64 , comfyandeasytowear.png ) [iqdb]
32750
>[x] The beige, pocketed ones.
>[x] ... flight goggles?

...All right, functionality is what I want to go with. These big pockets are actually practical. Plus, the material's not too light, not too heavy. It's flexible. Okay, these are the ones.

"Um," The worker looks back up at me. "Are those all the hats you have?" He nods. I'm not surprised. I'll look in the curiosity shop before I try to have something tailored. "Then, uh, could I speak to the proprietor about paying for these?" He gives me a strange look before retreating further into the shop. I follow after him.

The inside has some of the finer materials and articles, things you wouldn't want to leave out in the elements. Fastidiously straightening bright, beautiful rolls of silk is a well-dressed, older human man with a bit of a paunch.

"Dad," the youth says. "This boy wants to talk to you." He looks up and smooths his (thinning) hair and then bustles over.

"What can I do for you today, young man?" He definitely seems to think I'm a child, but at least he's polite.

"Well...I'd like to see about arranging a way to pay for these pants. I don't have any money, but..."

"Have you asked your parents?" He asks patiently.

"Er. I know I don't look it without the wings, but I'm actually a fairy. We've always sort of bartered and agreed to work in exchange for things we need..."

He strokes his chin and looks me over. "Well, I don't recognize you, so I suppose you might not be telling tales..."

"You know, those pants aren't sized quite right for your stature," he says suddenly.

"Um," I reply. "Yeah, I know..."

"It might help if I threw in a belt. You know, if it doesn't fit."

"Uh... I guess, maybe."

"And of course they'll be all wrong for someone of your stature... I'd be able to take them in, adjust them for fairy size." Uh.

"And we could work out a decent rate and alternative payment, perhaps a month of work per foot of fabric..." By the foot? Don't tailors work by the yard?

"Another month for the belt and taking in, and..."

"Whoa whoa, hold on!"

"Oh, now, it's not as much as it sounds like."

"How much fabric is in the shorts?!"

"Oh, call it two yards..."

"You seriously want me to work eight months for a pair of slacks?!" He tries to stay neutral, but I can see his face droop and the sweat shining on his forehead. This...he's trying to play me!

[ ] Forget you! You can keep your stupid pants!
[ ] ...No. Stay calm. Deep breaths.
[ ] Other
>> No. 32751
[x] ...No. Stay calm. Deep breaths.

Stay calm, think of a way to deal with this.
>> No. 32752
[x] ...No. Stay calm. Deep breaths.
>> No. 32759
[x] ...No. Stay calm. Deep breaths.

Fucking wat
>> No. 32760
[ ] ...No. Stay calm. Deep breaths.
>> No. 32761
[+] ...No. Stay calm. Deep breaths.
-[+] I'm a fairy, not a retard.
>> No. 32765
[+] ...No. Stay calm. Deep breaths.
-[+] I'm a fairy, not a retard.
exactly
>> No. 32766
[x] ...No. Stay calm. Deep breaths.
-[x] I'm a fairy, not a retard.
>> No. 32822
File 126025678991.jpg- (227.38KB , 518x376 , lilliput style.jpg ) [iqdb]
32822
>[X] ...No. Stay calm. Deep breaths.

FffffFFFFFFFFFF--

No. Okay. I can deal with this. So what if he thinks my entire species is dumber than a box of hammers. All right. Turnabout is fair play, greasy little man.

I let out a long, low breath, more like I'm disappointed than angry. While he fidgets and sweats I calmly stride over to the wall as if he weren't there, and begin tracing a nonsense symbol on the wall.

"...What are you doing?"

"Leaving a black mark on your store."

"A w-what?"

"It's a fairy sign," I say matter-of-factly, "It's visible to us, clear as day, any time. The black mark is a sign of a cruel or unfair merchant. I think this might be the first in 100 years. Certainly the first in this village. Oh well..."

"Wait, wait!" He begins stammering as I finish the imaginary sigil with an upward flourish.

"When other fairies find a black mark they put their curses on the house. We'll never use that business, never help the household...if we absolutely need something, we'll steal it in the dead of night..."

"You can't--this is--"

"The curses last years, hundreds of years. They outlive both the cause and the building upon it--it's a black mark on the soul. Very sad."

His face is an amusing combination of puffy red and blanched white. "Please, don't! Take it down! Take it off!"

"I'm sorry, but now it's just a matter of principle. You've slighted all fairy-kind and treated me like a fool."

"I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I was wrong! Please! I'll give them to you free!"

"That won't be necessary," I say calmly as I shake my "cursing" hand as if it were numb. "You needn't worry about me ever again."

He fumbles and manages to grab me by a suspender. (Hurk.) "No, no, no! Is there anything I can do to change your mind?"

"Oh... all right, all right. I'll take it down." I hold up a finger. "One day. One day of work for the pants, no belt, no adjustments. I'll come in and take care of something you need done around here. A day of my choosing. I won't go back on that, no 'come back when you've died of old age,' none of that."

"Y-yes! Thank you!"

I walk out of there with my new pants slung over one shoulder, taller than any human. "Hey." Oh, it's the human boy. Wait, didn't he say that guy was his father?

"...Thanks. I think he needed that."

If a jumping high-five isn't the best way to end this exchange, I don't know what is.

And on top of that, I might just have something to write to Essex about now.

[ ] Let's get on that letter! (Select topic(s) to write about)
[ ] Finish what I came for--head to the curiosity shop.
[ ] Go for a victory walk, maybe window-shop for gifts.
[ ] Other
>> No. 32823
[x] Finish what I came for--head to the curiosity shop.
>> No. 32824
{X} Finish what I came for--head to the curiosity shop.
>> No. 32825
[x] Finish what I came for--head to the curiosity shop.
>> No. 32826
[x] Finish what I came for--head to the curiosity shop.
>> No. 32830
[ℤℯ] Finish what I came for--head to the curiosity shop.
>> No. 32831
That was fantastic.

[+] Finish what I came for--head to the curiosity shop.
>> No. 32832
I was wondering when I'd have something to show Other Matt again.

[x] Finish what I came for--head to the curiosity shop.
>> No. 32834
>>32832
Hey. Hey you.
I'm coming to pick you up right now. Be at your house in like an hour.
>> No. 32843
Cool

[x] Finish what I came for--head to the curiosity shop.
>> No. 32856
File 126076174693.jpg- (67.89KB , 282x347 , Finals1.jpg ) [iqdb]
32856
DRAMATIC REENACTMENT

MORE FAIRY ADVENTURES TO COME SOON
>> No. 32860
[x] Finish what I came for--head to the curiosity shop.
>> No. 32861
[x] The Finnish what I came for--head to the curiosity shop
>> No. 33113
File 126175474226.jpg- (71.96KB , 597x770 , holiday.jpg ) [iqdb]
33113
I'm not really sure why I did it. So much for "once bitten, twice shy." Before I hit the curiosity shop, an open-air café catches my eye. I'm still feeling a bit like celebrating my little victory, so I decide to have a nice cup of tea. But when I go to ask about working for it later...

"Don't worry about it, on the house. Merry Christmas." Beg pardon? That holiday I read about? I'm not really clear on the details, but hey, it's not unappreciated.

"Thanks." Taking my gunpowder green tea (I love that name), I take a seat and look around.

"Hey... you're a fairy, right?" It's the person who was behind me in the line. Sharp eye...

"Yes, that's right."

"You looked surprised. What do you know about Christmas?" She asks. A little tall (for a human. They're all tall to me) and curvy, she reminds me a little of Meiling.

"Not much," I admit.

"That doesn't surprise me, it's a holiday from outside Gensokyo." She gestures to an open seat. "May I?"

"Sure." She sets her book on the table and takes a chair. "So," I ask, "What's Christmas about?"





"All right, let me get this straight."

"Okay."

"Christmas as it's largely known celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, the most important holy figure from a prominent religion."

"Mmhmm."

"Christ was born from a single almighty god that sent his son to Earth to save humans."

"Yes..."

"He was born to a woman named Mary and her husband Joseph, but Mary was a virgin."

"There's a little controversy there, but that's the most common telling."

"There's a bunch of stuff about a star shining, three wise kings, and an angel giving her word."

"Yes, but..."

"But, that's not the important part, right? The holiday is no longer part of that religion exclusively."

"Right."

"The real important part is that it's a day where you're supposed to be kind to others, even more than normal. Families give gifts to relatives and friends, everyone spends time together, and you take pains to be helpful and thoughtful?" She nods as I speak.

"Sort of sad that there's a holiday for acting how you should," I point out.

"Human nature, I guess."

"Oh, I didn't mean it like that. Besides, plenty of fairies act like jerks. I just kind of wish we didn't need special days, you know?"

"I understand. Have you ever heard about the Christmas Truce?"

"No..."

She stirs her tea. "Okay, do you know about World War One?"

"Yeah, I read about that one. ... You're really not making me feel any better about the whole holiday kindness thing, you know."

She smiles. "Hear me out. In 1914, the Germans were fighting the British when Christmas eve came. And they stopped fighting."

"They stopped fighting a war?"

"Yes. Both sides stopped shooting, they started singing carols over their trenches, and even crossed over and shared gifts with the other side. They even played games. For a few days, they stopped killing each other."

We're quiet for a moment. Her spoon clinks in the teacup and I nurse my drink and think. "...I like that," I finally manage. There's something powerful about that.

"I do too. We shouldn't need days for peace, but..."

"But it's definitely better than the alternative." I nod. "I guess symbols are important sometimes."

"So Christmas gets a pass from Gensokyo?" She asks. I laugh.

"Yes, it officially gets a pass from one fairy, not that it needs it. It's a nice tradition."

"Yes, it is. And I guess I need to get going." She stands.

"Ah! Okay. Thank you for explaining."

"No problem," she says as she leaves, "And Merry Christmas."

...You know, I never got her name.

[x] Continue to the Curiosity shop.

And Merry Christmas or whatever you prefer, THP.
>> No. 33115
>>33113
First: Oh god that picture is melting my teeth.
Second: Funny you should talk about the Christmas Truce of 1914; that's what my minister talked about at our Christmas Eve service, too.
>> No. 33400
File 126280553882.jpg- (278.80KB , 1024x768 , lookwhatIfound.jpg ) [iqdb]
33400
If I weren't looking for the place I might have missed it. Wedged between two wider buildings, recessed in between them is a small traditional building with an equally modest sign: "Kourindou: oddities, knicknacks, and curiosities." Not a lot of ostentation. I like it.

The inside is warm and a bit stuffy. Motes of dust dance in a sunbeam from the door. It's cluttered, like Marisa's house. On the other hand there's definitely some organization here. Along the left wall are all kinds of strange curved things, greys and blacks with slots and ridges on them. I can read some of the words on some of them ("reset," "power," and such), but most I don't recognize. I brush my hand along them as I walk past an--

There! Hats! A shelf full of them and a stand on one side. So many old hats. Gotta check the urge to try them all on. ...Hold on, what is that?

A glass case against the far wall holds a miniature arsenal of weapons. The case's dusty red velvet is almost invisible beneath the piled-on steel.

...Okay, focus, fairy, focus. You wanted to look at hats, maybe gifts for Essex, Meiling, and Marisa. ...Might be worth a look at these weapons as well.

>Look for: write in


I have absolutely no idea why this is taking so long to write. The curiosity shop just doesn't want to congeal. HOPEFULLY when we get this out of the way I can try to pick up again.

Also, regarding weapons, this is your chance to pick out just about anything. Keep in mind he's got to learn to use it first. And he's a bit too small to lug around a recoilless rifle. Try to balance rule of cool with rule of able-to-imagine-with-a-straight-face, but hey, it's your ball, not mine.
>> No. 33436
[x] Look for an easy to use knife, something to use in a pinch.
>> No. 33441
[X] Flight goggles, flight goggles...
[X] Something for Essex?
-[X] Hard to say, but why not look for something unique to Gensokyo? It would be special as a gift.

Important things.
>> No. 33479
[x] Look for an easy to use knife, something to use in a pinch.
[X] Flight goggles, flight goggles...
[X] Something for Essex?
-[X] Hard to say, but why not look for something unique to Gensokyo? It would be special as a gift.
>> No. 33674
[x] Look for an easy to use knife, something to use in a pinch.
[X] Flight goggles, flight goggles...
[X] Something for Essex?
-[X] Hard to say, but why not look for something unique to Gensokyo? It would be special as a gift.
>> No. 33692
[x] Flight goggles, flight goggles...
[x] Something for Essex?
-[x] Hard to say, but why not look for something unique to Gensokyo? It would be special as a gift.
>> No. 34126
[x] Look for an easy to use knife, something to use in a pinch.
[X] Flight goggles, flight goggles...
[X] Something for Essex?
-[X] Hard to say, but why not look for something unique to Gensokyo? It would be special as a gift.
>> No. 34127
[x] Updates, updates...
[x] Something for Writefag?
-[x] Hard to say, but why not look for something unique to the story? It would be special as a gift.
>> No. 34267
File 126531669263.jpg- (404.16KB , 1190x1572 , halp.jpg ) [iqdb]
34267
...mmkay, yeah, this isn't gonna work.

I need your help, THP. I thought I'd have more time this semester to make updates, but you know how it goes. I definitely don't want to stop writing, and I think the only way I'm gonna be able to do that is if I set a reasonable goal and force myself to try to stick to it. Suggestions and advice appreciated, otherwise I'm thinking something like a paragraph a day, every day, or one medium-length update per week on a given day.
Talk to me, folks, I need to know what's worked. And, I guess in the spirit of the medium...
[ ] Paragraph a day
[ ] Weekly update on [day]
[ ] Write-in
>> No. 34268
>>34267
[X] Weekly update
I don't want micro-updates,. That said, you do need to write a paragraph a day, regardless of what schedule you choose. If you think it'll help keep you on schedule, post in this thread once a day to tell us what you wrote, then delete those posts once the update is done.
>> No. 34269
[ ] Weekly update on Monday.
That way you can either write it on a slow monday or work thru the week.
Best of luck!
>> No. 34274
[X] Weekly update
>> No. 34276
[x] Weekly update

Doesn't matter which day, but it's better to have meatier updates than not.
>> No. 34277
[x] Multiple updates a day.

If only we could go back to those days.

[x] Weekly update

Pace yourself, don't let school crush you.
>> No. 34296
[x] Any kind of update
>> No. 35088
updates?
>> No. 35121
>>35088
Will come, I promise.

As you might expect, school's been an issue. This is technically my last semester of senior year in college, though I'm gonna be wrapping up a few things after. In effect, though, I'm going through the Hard Part. To say this year is kicking my ass is an understatement.
>> No. 37354
Are you still here?

I miss you and this story.
>> No. 43445
Whatever happened to this?
>> No. 43458
>>43445
Sage, you. It obviously died.
>> No. 43465
The writer is too busy IRCing to bother writing this.
>> No. 43597
>>43465
Is this legit, or is this another dumb "blame IRC for everything" bit?
>> No. 44025
>>43597
The writer still exists. I wish IRC were to blame, it'd be an easy fix.
No, this story is neither abandoned nor dead. I'm currently wrapping up my last full semester of college, with an appropriate courseload. The semester before that I sat, by far, the hardest class of my life, devouring my free time (and my ability to love my favorite Lovecraft story, incidentally.)
Saging this because I'm not starting back up yet, and I don't want to detract from the active stories. If people go looking specifically, they'll find this.
Rest assured, FoSL will be back. I'm not going to commit to a time, but it could be as soon as within the month, or near to it. But I've been thinking about it a lot lately, and made a promise to a good friend of mine to resume writing it as soon as I'm able.
I take my promises seriously.
>> No. 45134
>I take my promises seriously.
Of course. Status update, please?
>> No. 45256
File 130441328040.jpg- (761.71KB , 1357x857 , we\'re coming back.jpg ) [iqdb]
45256
Essex,
I'm sorry it's been so long since I last replied. Things have been hectic over here. I've been adjusting to actually having a schedule--my friends are giving me lessons, and I have to keep to it if I want to get anywhere. The good news is, I have and am. The last few months have been hard, but I've made so much progress! Meiling--I think I've mentioned her--gave me a Chinese sword that I've been practicing with.

---
"Back, side--don't turn your back--and return to neutral. Good." Meiling nods as I bring my jian back to a forward, ready guard. She beams. "You're getting good with that." Hee...
"Your hand-to-hand is even better." I sheathe my little prince's jian (its name, she says) and dust off my hands on my shorts, an--uh oh. She's getting that wide, predatory grin.
"Ready for a spar?"
"Do I have a choice?"
She takes off like a shot, bringing her heel down over head. I raise my hands and catch the brunt on my palm as I start to channel magic to my arms...
---
Did I mention my work with Marisa? It took a few months, but I'm getting results. I've focused on two kinds of magic--protective techniques, and imbuing energy into objects, or even myself. It's kind of hard to explain (and I don't think I'd get away with slipping you any of my work), and I don't know if it'd do you any good without help. I know I'm still lost. Still, I've got the basics down, and a knack for a couple things. I can't wait to show you someday.
---
Trace the circle, touch the edge of the sword to the center, and--
My jian springs alight with a snap and a bright spark. Holding it up, Marisa looks over the blade, murmuring to herself. Consistent glow this and stable matrices that. Putting a hand on the hilt over mine, she waves her hand through the flame.
"...Good. Y'got it. Try it again, don't use the stabilizer formula, and keep up the good work." She turns from the table and pulls a book out to double-check something... then turns back and tousles my hair. Argh.
"Nice goin'."
---
I've never been a big fan of fighting, but I do have to admit it feels good to be prepared. And it's hard work! Feels good to accomplish things, though it's tough staying with it. I've had to go a bit out of my comfort zone, too--but on the bright side, it means I also picked up a few odds and ends.
---
"That one." I point, careful not to smudge the glass with my finger. It rests under the glass, on the soft, dusty velvet cushion. Careful not to disturb the blades lying beside it, the shopkeeper removes it and holds it in the light.
"A sgian dubh, these are called. This one is a bit small--designed to be worn in a tall boot sheathe for emergencies. It'll probably be about your size." He hands me the weapon, the metal still cool in my hand. A short blade, not much longer than the handle, the craftsmanship apparent despite its age. It's in excellent shape, and I think he must oil these to keep them maintained. The head, about three inches long, comes to a central point. The hilt seems not to be wood--I'm not quite sure, but it's ornately carved and inlaid with silver and some kind of gems. I nod. This is perfect. That takes care of getting a sidearm for Meiling's errand--now for the other.

Looking over the hats, one catches my eye. A helmet! Knights in armor and gallant charges and I need to try that on.

Shunk. Clunk.

...

"...Yeah, this isn't gonna fly." I grouse as I pull the outsized bucket off my head and heft it back over the counter. The shopkeep just raises an eyebrow. Hats, hats, hats... Rows of cluttered items, of all shapes and sizes. I'm halfway through when a faint glint catches my eye. Is that...?

Tattered and worn in an old cedar case, lies an old helmet, straps hanging from the chin, top, and side. Thick, cracked leather and old brass fastenings give it an ancient look. It seems to be holding, though--it must have been touched up. The inside is lined with musty, yellowed fur to pad it. Long handles on either side provide ear protection. A small bronze plaque on the case draws my attention from the helmet to the small pouch next to it. Pulling the string, I gently upturn it, and out comes a pair of thick-rimmed goggles, the frames some kind of thick, smooth metal. Something flexible is stitched into the strap of cloth, giving it a stretchy quality to better conform to the wearer. Though slightly scratched and dusty, the lenses of sturdy glass seem to be in remarkable condition.

These. This is it. This is perfect.
---
Fortunately for me, the shopkeeper was friends with Marisa--when I mentioned her he grumbled something about it 'going on her tab again.' I intend to pay him back, though. I found some great stuff. And on that note, I found something for you.

My new goggles came with a helmet--They belonged to a human with one of those flying machines you told me about. They look old--I can't read the plaque, but maybe you can. I'm going to keep the goggles. This is for you. One part for you, one part for me--halves of a whole, like a locket or bracelet. I hope you like it.

I look forward to the day we get to bring them together again.

Sincerely,
--Fossil

---
Looking over the letter one last time, I lift the weighty cedar case and gingerly slip it into the box. Careful to make sure the letter isn't bent, I slip it in to one side of the case and close the box.

My breath rolls in wisps of fog as I head for the mailbox. And, right on cue, there's the post lady, leaning on the box in her heavy woolen coat. She pulls her muffler down, revealing a red nose, bright blonde hair, and a wide smile. "Hello again," she says, moving to help with the package.

"Good morning. Do you ever take a day off?"

"Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat," she beams, taking the weighty box off my hands. She expertly looks it over, careful not to shake it. "Same place as last time?"

"That's the one." I reply, adjusting my goggles over my hair.

"I'll see that it gets there. You have a good day, little guy."

"You too!" With that done, I should have my errands for today taken care of. The day's mine. Reimu should be visiting the mansion before long, but I've been meaning to see her. I could get a head start on my training with Meiling, keep myself at it. Or... I could head to Marisa's ASAP. She said she was going to enchant my goggles. As I head out of town, I allow myself a little grin.

It's rather cold for being so late in Winter, but that's all right by me.

[ ] Train with Meiling. She said she had something to show me today...
[ ] I haven't seen Reimu in a little while. And there's one thing I haven't done yet...
[ ] Go see Marisa. Enchantment? Enchantment!

So, here I am. Things have been complicated. For starters, I want to thank you for reading this as we speak, particularly after the insane wait. I want you to know the hiatus did not go to waste--I spent this long time working toward classes, and I not only turned them around, I made a semester of solid As and landed myself on the Dean's List. Now, I'm graduating on the sixth. I appreciate your patience and understanding, and it helped me footslog my way through some rough times. Things have been up and down--and honestly, right now they're down again.
I don't want to promise or commit to anything I am not capable of. I'm going to be going to Michigan for my sister's surgery and recovery the day after I graduate, which is itself the day after my final. None of that is conducive to a stable writing environment. But I'm going to do what I can. So once more for all the marbles, thank you for your patience, thank you for understanding, thank you for reading, and welcome back to A Fairy on Scarlet Lake. I have some grand plans for our little fairy.
--Thirty
>> No. 45257
[X] Go see Marisa. Enchantment? Enchantment!
-[X] On the way, put your goggles on your eyes, spread your arms, and make zooming noises as you "fly" on the way over.
>> No. 45258
>>45256
As it's 2AM and I desperately need sleep I'll have to put off reading this for later.

But I just want to say, Welcome Back!

Also, holy shit! Dean's List? Fucking Congrats!
>> No. 45260
>>45256
[X] I haven't seen Reimu in a little while. And there's one thing I haven't done yet...

How does this not have more votes? People need to get to voting or pick this up:
>>30207
>>30613
>> No. 45261
[X] I haven't seen Reimu in a little while. And there's one thing I haven't done yet...
>> No. 45262
[x] Go see Marisa. Enchantment? Enchantment!

It's been a long time, old friend. Welcome back.
>> No. 45263
File 13044487337.jpg- (23.49KB , 500x341 , bison2.jpg ) [iqdb]
45263
>mfw

[X] I haven't seen Reimu in a little while. And there's one thing I haven't done yet...
>> No. 45264
[x] Go see Marisa. Enchantment? Enchantment!
>She pulls her muffler down, revealing a red nose, bright blonde hair, and a wide smile.
Yukari's part time job?
>> No. 45265
[X] Train with Meiling. She said she had something to show me today...

I'd like Meiling to show me a lot of things.
>> No. 45266
[x] Go see Marisa. Enchantment? Enchantment!

I figure the sooner this is done, the better.
>> No. 45268
[Q] I haven't seen Reimu in a little while. And there's one thing I haven't done yet...

Yay~ Kazuki~
>> No. 45269
File 130447156471.jpg- (11.38KB , 240x283 , enchantment.jpg ) [iqdb]
45269
[x] Go see Marisa. Enchantment? Enchantment!
>> No. 45270
Aww yeah!

[X] I haven't seen Reimu in a little while. And there's one thing I haven't done yet...
>> No. 45271
[x] Go see Marisa. Enchantment? Enchantment!

Maaaaaaagic!
>> No. 45272
File 130450866381.png- (612.83KB , 640x820 , fairydakka.png ) [iqdb]
45272
All right.
I'm ready to write, but I can't close the vote 24 hours in after a year and a half. It would make me the king of cads, particularly because visiting Reimu and Marisa are so close on votes. I'm going to hold off for another day or two at the least.

And I really, really want to say thank you, everyone. Have a sneak preview of something coming up.
>> No. 45273
[X] I haven't seen Reimu in a little while. And there's one thing I haven't done yet...
>> No. 45274
[x] I haven't seen Reimu in a little while. And there's one thing I haven't done yet...

Because I'm wondering what this "one little thing" is.
>> No. 45278
[X] Go see Marisa. Enchantment? Enchantment!
>> No. 45279
[x] I haven't seen Reimu in a little while. And there's one thing I haven't done yet...
>> No. 45282
[X] Train with Meiling. She said she had something to show me today...

PISSING AGAINST THE TIDE
>> No. 45283
File 130478553982.jpg- (69.91KB , 847x600 , reimuwhat.jpg ) [iqdb]
45283
Sorry for lack of proofreading, none of my regulars were available. I hope it's clear.

>[x] I haven't seen Reimu in a little while. And there's one thing I haven't done yet...

I know she's coming later this week, but I want to get all of my ducks in a row before then. I'm going to go see Reimu. Cinching up the sheathe on my belt-loop, I head for the path to Reimu's shrine. It's not far, and certainly less dangerous than going all the way to Marisa's. I hate to say it, but I've gotten used to wa

What was that?

A quick look around nets nothing, but I feel the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I keep getting this feeling. For all I know it's something from my magic training--it started up at about the same time--and I'm probably just being paranoid. But I swear I'm being watched. Good thing I'm not going through the forest, or I'd probably turn right back around and run home.

...the forest. Lately, I swear it feels more and more uncomfortable. I'm getting used to walking out on foot, but something about it feels oppressive. It's not just there--even though the air is crisp and cold, something feels stale. It almost itches.

It's not long before I make it to the shrine. I don't see her by the time I'm past the gate. As I push open the door, a quick whiff of tea leaves confirms that. "Hey."

She barely even turns her head from underneath the kotatsu. "Do you ever knock?"

"Do you ever get up?" With a grin I slide the door shut again.

"Fair enough. Grab a cup."

After settling in with some tea (I swear she lives on this stuff), she stretches and sits up a little more. "So what do you want?"

"Spellcards." She pulls a face.

"Egh, really?"

"Yes, really. What else are you going to do, sweep the front again?"

"I was thinking more 'stay where it's warm and drink tea."

"Nope. You did say you would."

"Damn it. All right..." With a groan she slides out of her kotatsu and takes a small case off a nearby shelf. "Spellcards. Amulet paper, pen, and ink, check; inclination, noooo."

"Aren't you the foremost expert on these?"

She fishes one small piece of paper out of the neat stack. "Yes. That's why I hate 'em. Okay, let's get started."

---

"You're going to want to start small. Work with what you know. The card will act as a buffer. While you use it, you'll be able to funnel power through it. It's not draining, but it's easy to overdo it and tire yourself out."

Looking over the simple diagram she put on the first card, I suppress a snicker. "Well, you would know about overdoing it."

She snorts. "Screw you. Okay, you try. This one's ready for you to work on." Bordered with a simple pattern and inscribed with some unfamiliar letters, more than anything it looks like some kind of holy seal.

I turn it end over end, gingerly avoiding the wet ink. "What do I do?"

"Take the brush. Think about what you want to do, and draw. It doesn't matter what you draw once it starts." Once it starts? All right...

I knew I wanted to make cards, but I never thought about what do do with them. What do I want? My hand hovers over the table, a stray drop of ink dripping on to the paper. Reimu interjects while I try to sort out my mind. "Start small. What can you do?"

Okay. Start small. Work with what I know. Fingers tingling, my mind wanders a bit. That first stone, lying at the bottom of the pond. That dream... negative to positive. The crack of a lightning bolt. I have a power. It should come naturally to me--maybe it always had, and I just didn't notice. With a start, I realize--that's it. That's what feels off outside. It's as cold as it was months ago. The ground is hard and the lake is frozen. The air feels abrasive and wrong.

Nothing is changing.

My hand is moving before I realize it. I vaguely make out some kind of pattern to what I'm working on. That feeling comes back--I'm absolutely sure of it now. The paper seems to spring alive to me, as my hand tingles and the brush burns like its bristles are aflame. Everything outside is grey and stagnant. It doesn't move. I do. I can feel the paper taking in energy, from me and the room and Reimu. And just like that, it's done.

I find I've adorned the card with a slender twig in front of a halved circle, divided with the curve of a yin-yang. Hanging from the twig on the left is a cocoon. On the right, the circle is shaded black, and in front of it is a moth, I think. Shoots of new twig branch off from where it has taken off.

"Hey, nice," Reimu interjects, pulling me out of my reverie. "You caught on quick." Shaking out my hand, I move over so she can get a look.

"Thanks. Is it always like that?" She mumbles to herself a moment, reading over the card, before responding.

"No, but sometimes the best cards happen that way. Some people like to come up with card ideas and an image for them, rather than let them work out on their own. Does this really do what I think it does?"

"I have no idea. I think so."

She fans it with a stack of the cards to help it dry. "Handy. I suggest you come up with at least one more, that's a bit more offensive. You've got the basic idea now. You can come up with more thematic stuff, or more specific applications." She folds them together and hands me a small stack. "I'm gonna go put on some more tea. Try making some more."

Spellcard acquired: Change Sign 「Catalytic Converter」
This is the first of Kazuki's 'natural' progression. It has an extremely diverse range and scope, allowing him to convert anything to another natural state. The limits of this card are only creativity and the amount of energy Kazuki can spend to make the change. Keep in mind that Kazuki is still only a little fairy, though. If there are any questions about it or this vote, ask and I'll try to provide an answer. Also, silly diagrams of the cards and their basic effects are in the last post.

This will be a multi-part vote.
Part one: Spellcard design: First, from Kazuki's existing ideas, choose one more from the following:
[ ] Childhood Play 「The Floor is Now Lava」
This card launches a fireball that explodes, either aground or midair, and sets an area aflame, controlling the battlefield. It (generally) won't last or spread, and Kazuki will be able to prevent any collateral damage it might do, so that's not a concern.
[ ] Wonderland 「The Second One to the Right」
The most directly offensive of the options, Kazuki launches a handful of stars made of magic at great speed, hitting hard and fast. Further development may allow him to launch many more stars, or produce a secondary effect.
[ ] Childhood Play 「Stop Hitting Yourself」
Similar to Catalytic Converter, but greatly diminished in scope, nonetheless this spell is a powerful defensive counter. By sacrificing versatility it allows Kazuki to convert enemy attacks (or other sources of energy) into stored power, and then unleash it in a direct reciprocation. This works for purely physical attacks as well as directed energy, providing a nasty surprise to anyone thinking they can catch the little fairy up close.

Part two: Write in your own spellcard name and effect.
Don't forget everyone is going to want to come up with something, and there can be only one! That is to say, vote up ideas you like. Failing that, I'll take the ones I like and either put those up to a vote or just pick a favorite.
[ ] Write-in

Part three:
[ ] Spellcards or no, I've never formally dueled. Maybe she can teach me some danmaku.
[ ] Head home.
[ ] Write in.
>> No. 45288
[x] Childhood Play 「The Floor is Now Lava」
[x] Spellcards or no, I've never formally dueled. Maybe she can teach me some danmaku.

How can I not vote for that card. It's so simple, and silly, that it's just perfect for the little dude. That it seems that it would be mildly effective only serves to add to its appeal.

That's all moot though, as he has little practical experience. Getting a quick schooling from Reimu is part of the package with these cards.
>> No. 45289
[x] Childhood Play「Stop Hitting Yourself」
[x] Spellcards or no, I've never formally dueled. Maybe she can teach me some danmaku.

How long has it been since Flan blasted his wings? We need those magical dusty things to grow back.
>> No. 45297
File 130481604361.png- (88.07KB , 250x180 , CAPRICORNJumpingStone.png ) [iqdb]
45297
[x] Childhood Play 「Stop Hitting Yourself」
Lol'd
[x] Wonderland 「Jumping Stone」
Close Range: [Counter] This effect only activates if the caster is close to the target. Moves his legs into the targets' armpits and throws him or her away. Breaks spellcard and flight concentration (fails if the target is strong-willed or if the target's spellcard has been activated for less than 5 seconds)

Long Range: [Homing] a single danmaku moves towards the opponent (homing) and creates several danmaku (circle shaped) that expand after a second and continue to do so until the spellcard ends. The homing danmaku doesn't cause any damage if it hits the target.
At any moment, during the spellcard duration, the caster can call the danmaku back to himself with thrice the speed. It will do in a straight line hitting anything on the way.
[x] Head Home
>> No. 45306
>Spellcard acquired: Change Sign 「Catalytic Converter」

We'll fight pollution!

[x] Childhood Play 「The Floor is Now Lava」

Nostalgia tripping hard here.

[x] Nature Sign 「Applejack Stupor ~Easy」
-[x] Along with the user, vertical lines of green danmaku undulate like branches in the wind, while slow moving red orbs are thrown at the opponent.

[x] Spellcards or no, I've never formally dueled. Maybe she can teach me some danmaku.
>> No. 45316
[x] Childhood Play「Stop Hitting Yourself」
[x] Spellcards or no, I've never formally dueled. Maybe she can teach me some danmaku.
>> No. 45338
[X] Childhood Play 「The Floor is Now Lava」
I'm thinking of this in terms of PoFV, being a regular player. What scares me the most isn't making me dodge things, it's making me unable to dodge things. Given that he's a fairy (and given the nature of his ability), I don't think a brute-force tactic is going to work out very well - at least not this early in the game. This one would be insanely good for controlling the field, and with some creativity the practical applications (if, uh. Applicable.) are pretty wide-spread.

[X] Nature's Whimsy 「Growth Spurt」: The move begins with small clusters of danmaku, not particularly more or less dense than an average volley. However, shortly into the pattern, randomly chosen bullets will change sizes mid-shot, sending the rest of the respective clusters flying from it with applicable spin as they "collide". These, in turn, cause a fission of the bullets they collide with, including ones which have grown. Bullets formed in this way are, themselves, able to grow. Naturally, the rate at which this happens isn't unreasonable - it is, however, unpredictable.

[X] Spellcards or no, I've never formally dueled. Maybe she can teach me some danmaku.

No point delaying it.
>> No. 45341
[x] Childhood Play 「The Floor is Now Lava」
[x] Spellcards or no, I've never formally dueled. Maybe she can teach me some danmaku.
>> No. 45342
So in the intervening time, I am no longer a college student.
I am also up in Michigan, from the east coast. I do have enough time to keep an eye on this thread, so voting can continue.
In the meantime, it's safe to assume you'll be training Kazuki up with Reimu. That leaves the spellcard votes. I'm going to give you guys a few choices--
If you don't want to come up with your own cards, feel free to either vote for one of the three I wrote up, or you can vote for a custom one. Feel free to make your own still, though.
>> No. 45349
[X] Childhood Play 「Stop Hitting Yourself」

[X] Nature's Whimsy 「Growth Spurt」
>> No. 45373
[x] Childhood Play 「Stop Hitting Yourself」
[x] Nature's Whimsy 「Growth Spurt」

Sounds good to me.
>> No. 45381
File 130558777785.jpg- (177.32KB , 821x900 , flashgit.jpg ) [iqdb]
45381
>[x] Childhood Play 「Stop Hitting Yourself」
>[x] Nature's Whimsy 「Growth Spurt」
>[x] Spellcards or no, I've never formally dueled. Maybe she can teach me some danmaku.

"All right, I think I have a few other ideas." This time, as I work, things seem to come a lot more naturally. The first card reminds me of Meiling--a low-hunched figure, palm outstretched drawn in a long stroke of the brush, chi funneling towards them in waves as they absorb a storm of projectiles in that hand. This will be fun. I can't wait to surprise something scary with it.

Second is a simple image of a tree trunk. Like a child's drawing, it splits into a simple pair of limbs in a V. Then from those, branches, then offshoots here and there, until there are random twigs off some ends and none on others, producing a great wide bloom. The end result is an unpredictable snarl of growth, and that's exactly what I want this card to be.

Reimu looks over them, nodding appreciatively. "These are pretty good. You've got a knack for this." She eyes Stop Hitting Yourself. "Creative. I like it."

"Thanks." I'm hoping I can use the two of them to stay safe--Growth Spurt should help me buy some time and breathing room while the enemy deals with it. It's not really complex, but it should do the job. "So are you going to teach me how to use them?"

She groans as she sits back up. "Egh, Fine. Lemme grab a scarf. We'll have a due--" It hits her just as it hits me. "Oh, right. You can't fly yet." Damn it. "You really should go see Marisa soon."

"I know, I know. I was gonna, I really wanted to, but I knew I'd have to be doing that anyway. Wanted to make sure my basics were covered, though."

"Okay, no big deal. We'll do a ground match. Haven't had one of those for a while." She wraps a scarf around her neck. Really? That's it? "You know, it took me a while to learn to fly. I used to have to go on foot."

"I know how to fly. It's just..."

"I know. Sorry." She opens the door for me. Pocketing my new spells, I follow her out. "Those should keep for a while. The papers gets a bit frayed over time, but unless you push them they should last a while. You can always make more copies."

"All right..." I think I already have an idea about how to trigger them--I can feel that tingle when my fingers brush the edges. It'd just be a matter of doing that... thing.

"First of all...do you even know how to shoot?" The look on my face answers that. "Okay, we're gonna start there. I mean, unless you want to do nothing but dodge and declare cards. I've only known one person who tried that, and he knew how to shoot too. Plus, it's draining and...yeah, gonna have to start here. I can't believe you've never tried."

"I get that a lot. A lot." When's the last time anyone worried about a fairy shooting, anyway?

"All right." You said that already. "Basics, basics... danmaku is basically directed willpower. You concentrate on willing it into being, and shaping it. Everyone sort of tends to one sort or other. Marisa loves her lasers."

"I've noticed."

She continues. "I tend to use needles and stacks of my amulets. When I make my own, I tend to make orbs."

"I've noticed."

"...Eheh. Sorry. Just try and concentrate. It's not hard, just try to... pull in the energy in the air around you."

Okay. Arm out, deep breath... I've seen people do it, I've heard them talk about it. A shape, a shape... a crescent. Wide, thin beam. I can feel my senses extend out into the air in front of me, feel the magic saturating the air. It flows into my hand, then courses through, moving faster and faster as they orbit and chase each other around my palm. I've got it. Now I just have to let it go.

With a hup, I sling my hand up and back in a broad slash. The air springs alight, a dense arc cutting the ether in my fingers' wake. It streaks ahead, motes of energy bleeding off its back in a glowing trail as it slowly loses cohesion.

"Good! That was a pretty good shot." Reimu grins and flashes a handful of amulets. "Think you're up for the duel now?"

BORDER OF DUEL
Strategy:
[ ] I'm quick. Focus on defense!
[ ] Best to put her on guard. Put on the pressure!
[ ] Write-in

This vote won't take nearly as long before I write again. Also, this is just a training fight, on the ground only. Encouraging write-ins over the stock options here, incidentally. Get creative!
>> No. 45382
[x] Fight her from mid range, far enough to avoid her melee yet close enough that a quick dodge throws off her homing projectiles.
-[x] Start off with growth spurt to observe her style.
-[x] Then should she beat that, switch over to "stop hitting yourself" as to ultimately catch her off guard.
>> No. 45383
[x] Fight her from mid range, far enough to avoid her melee yet close enough that a quick dodge throws off her homing projectiles.
-[x] Start off with growth spurt to observe her style.
-[x] Then should she beat that, switch over to "stop hitting yourself" as to ultimately catch her off guard.

Sounds good.
>> No. 45384
[x] Fight her from mid range, far enough to avoid her melee yet close enough that a quick dodge throws off her homing projectiles.
-[x] Start off with growth spurt to observe her style.
-[x] Then should she beat that, switch over to "stop hitting yourself" as to ultimately catch her off guard.

Alright, I'm game,
>> No. 45395
[x] Fight her from mid range, far enough to avoid her melee yet close enough that a quick dodge throws off her homing projectiles.
-[x] Get a feel for firing normal shots without relying on your spellcards.
-[x] Fire off Growth Spurt after you tire of concentrating on shooting.

>Dodge and declare spell cards
Let's throw some normal shooting in there as well, yes?
>> No. 45434
So I just spent fourteen hours driving, stuck in a car with my father. Update can wait. Will try to write tomorrow.
>> No. 45457
File 130645186353.jpg- (566.53KB , 672x812 , UnlimitedAmuletWorks.jpg ) [iqdb]
45457
>[x] Fight her from mid range, far enough to avoid her melee yet close enough that a quick dodge throws off her homing projectiles.
>[x] Start off with growth spurt to observe her style.
>[x] Then should she beat that, switch over to "stop hitting yourself" as to ultimately catch her off guard.
With a bit of >>45395 in there as well, because he came in to vote later. Hell, I like you, you can come over to my house and hug my fairy!

Okay. I've had danmaku thrown at me before. The only difference is that I know how to fight back this time.

Well, that and I'm fighting the literal guardian of the entire world. Semantics! Let's do this! Twirling her gohei once, she starts to move to the side, opening the match with a salvo of her amulets. I respond by moving in the opposite direction and wait are they following me? Gah! They narrowly pass me by and I finally remember maybe I should try actually shooting back. I throw a palm out and make a sharp little hook. When I let go a little burning dot is tethered to it, and the whole thing flies off, all in the span of about a quarter-second. I can do this! More! More shots!

We quickly settle into a rhythm, as she tries to get some distance and I keep closing in so I can get past those homing seals. Reimu has a graceful sort of movement, relatively slow, with practiced conversation of energy. To keep up with her (stupid longer legs), I find myself having to run flat out, and it's playing hell with my knee. All right, Reimu, let's try out a card. Raising it high, I feel my fingers tingle as it aglow, the magic scribing itself in my mind, only awaiting an incantation to complete it. "Nature's Whimsy--!"

「Growth Spurt」

With a sweep of my hand, I make three wide arcs of evenly-spaced shots in succession. Reimu prepares to fire a counter-barrage when the magic blooms. A handful of the orbs expand and collide with their fellows, and an orderly line becomes a minefield as they scatter every which-way, like marbles struck out of the circle. Two larger spheres connect and bounce, one angled perfectly for Reimu. It almost lazily rolls for her, and I swear I'm going to get her--!

When she does, of all things, a somersault over it. Landing in a crouch, she suddenly takes off like a rocket right for me oh shi-

I leap to the side and tuck as she brings her gohei down where my head was. Is the--yes, the card's still going! I quickly throw up another wave of green and she backs off, giving me some breathing room. Okay, right, duels can get physical. Avoid the miko death stick. I spin and make tracks as she dances between two of the projectiles the instant there's enough room for her. As she chases me she launches a volley hot on my heels. Only just manage to dive in time as a wave of needles flies over me. Scrabbling back up, Reimu's advance is slowed as another few orbs from Growth Spurt cut her off. I'm starting to get a bit tired--I think the card is slowing me up. Gently I ease back down and the card's glow fades as Reimu clears the last of the projectiles.

Okay, deep breath. What did you learn? She moves slow but steady, and can be quick when she wants to. Healthy mix of danmaku, and she looks like she can handle that gohei. Slipping Growth Spurt back into my pocket, still warm, I carefully pull another up just ahead of its fellows for the start of the next round.

This time I start the fireworks, launching a storm of little bullets as I charge in. Reimu flings a handful of needles as she jogs in, slapping most of the bullets out of the air. The scant handful she misses in turn miss her. I slide as she goes for an overhead swing, passing under her. I use my momentum to kip up and put hand to hilt as she wheels back 'round for another joust.

The jian comes up this time, meeting her ... stick with a sharp clack. I slide to one side as she tries to use her size and weight to break my block, slipping free and giving me a brief opening at her side. She quickly reverses momentum and parries the strike, pushing me back with it. I catch myself--on my bad leg, buckling just slightly. Argh--! She comes in, sensing the kill--

Not this time.

Childhood Play 「Stop Hitting Yourself」

Practically flying to block of its own accord, sword meets gohei, trailing energy. The sound ebbs away and then snaps back with a whine as my hand comes up, leaving me in an instant of freefall. With a crack I feel my fist connect, shocks running up my arm as Reimu just manages to throw up a shimmering orange wall.

Right. Maiden of barriers. Damn it. I manage to catch myself as I land and Reimu flies back from the force of my punch...

And fires a point-blank volley of seals as she does. With as much dignity as I can muster, I explode.

Coughing as I shake the soot off, Reimu strides up, grinning. "That was pretty good, for a first time."

"Hackpthanks. Cff."

"I had a lot of fun, actually, it's been a while since I've done that. What did you think?"

"I didn't expect that much running. Made things a lot harder."

"Don't worry, you'll be flying soon--again," she adds quickly. "You've definitely got the feel for dueling now." Yeah, well, I still got blown up.

"...It's getting late. You should probably head home now to get there before nightfall." Oof, yeah. I do not like being in that forest at night. "Of course, you're welcome to stay here again." Is it me, or did she get a lot nicer after she kicked my ass?

[ ] Sure, saves me a late walk through the woods and my leg's still achey.
[ ] Nah, better just book it home.
>> No. 45458
[X] Sure, saves me a late walk through the woods and my leg's still achey.

Anyone who's had to walk on a bum leg knows better than to try.
>> No. 45459
[x] Sure, saves me a late walk through the woods and my leg's still achey.
>> No. 45460
[x] Sure, saves me a late walk through the woods and my leg's still achey.
>> No. 45463
[Q] Sure, saves me a late walk through the woods and my leg's still achey.

>"You've definitely got the feel for dueling now." Yeah, well, I still got blown up.

But that is the feel of a duel.
>> No. 45464
[X] Sure, saves me a late walk through the woods and my leg's still achey.
>> No. 45466
[x] Nah, better just book it home.

Polite to a fault. We can't just impose upon Reimu like that. That'd be rude.
>> No. 45472
[x] Sure, saves me a late walk through the woods and my leg's still achey.
>> No. 45475
File 130659707689.jpg- (318.22KB , 840x700 , mikosfordays.jpg ) [iqdb]
45475
>[x] Sure, saves me a late walk through the woods and my leg's still achey.

Wincing as I flex my leg, I nod. "All right, yeah. I'll stay here, if you don't mind."

"Not at all. C'mon. More tea." More tea?

"So I can't help but notice you're a lot more cheerful after incinerating me." I grouse as she hands me a cup (hot!).

"What can I say, it's habit forming," she says with a grin, tossing a handful of her amulet stacks haphazardly into the corner with her gohei. "No, honestly, I'm just feeling nostalgic. I used to have to walk everywhere, and a lot of my fights were like that."

"Used to? Aren't you, like, fourteen?" She snorts.

"I'm not that young, grandpa. I started when I was...eleven or twelve?" What? Really? "Marisa, too." Okay, that I can sort of see. But still... going out and fighting youkai at that age? That's insane.

"So hey," Reimu interjects. "My turn. Can you tell me what happened to your leg?" Ergh.

"Yeah, I ran on it dueling a crazed shrine maiden who wears scarves with open sleeves." I know I'm just buying time, but...

"You know what I mean." Yeah, I do. "And the sleeves are mandatory. I didn't mean to pry, though. If you want, I'll drop it."

"I'd appreciate that, yeah. It's kind of a sensitive issue. Maybe another time."

"All right. Sorry."

"No problem. Don't worry about it." She's probably gonna worry about it. Sorry, Reimu.

----

...

...

Well, here we are again.

What...?

It's always such a pleasure.

I'm dreaming again.

Correct. Gauche, I know, speaking to you in a dream, but my options are limited.

Great. I'm going insane. What are you?

Oh, you are not. And just because I don't have a hand to shake doesn't mean I'm not here. I'm a who, not a what.

My mistake. So, not crazy?

Oh, I didn't say that. You've got a busy little head, fairy boy.

Great.

There are worse fates. So, how has your magic come along? Hurled any lightning lately?

So that was you. And no, I haven't.

Shame. Well, one has to start small. Like throwing a stone on a pond. You're welcome, by the way.

Thank you for staying out my thoughts, yes.

Hah. Relax, I won't pry.

That's reassuring.

Oh come now, if you can't trust the voice in your head, who can you trust?

For starters?

Oh, hush. Incidentally, I wanted to thank you. Reimu wasn't kidding when she said she had fun.

Yeah, well, fairies are like cookies. You can't pop just one.

I don't think you understand. Reimu hates her job.

She does?

Loathes it. The fact that she had fun with danmaku might be a first in all the time I've known her.

And how long is that?

Long enough to appreciate that it was good for her. So, thank you.

You're welcome, then.

May I ask you a question?

Depends. You're going to anyway.

Correct. Reimu asked about your leg.

If you want to know so much, you can clearly read my thoughts.

Yes, but I won't, not that you'd ever know if I did. You don't have to tell me, but what happened to your leg?

>...
[ ] There's a reason I hate danmaku, you know.
[ ] I've lived a long time. Since before youkai played nice...
[ ] It's not the fall, it's the landing. I miss my wings.
[ ] I don't know, okay? I was born like this.
[ ] I'm not telling. Sorry.
[ ] None of your business. Leave it.
>It happened...
[ ] Recently. Relatively.
[ ] A while ago.
[ ] A long time ago.
[ ] As far back as I can remember.
>It's...
[ ] Only a minor thing.
[ ] Not that bad.
[ ] Chronic. Flares up if I overdo things, normally it's fine.
[ ] Always bad. It's just something I deal with.
[ ] Terrible.

This is another vote like how he got his title. As before, any of these could be canon (I have several ideas), or none of them. Write your own, pick one of these. Kazuki, in the end, belongs to you, and his history is part of your story. If you want to specify details or add your own to any of these, go ahead. Remember, have fun with it.
Also, big thanks to Kapow for baleeting the post when my password disappeared and there was an italics error.
>> No. 45476
>>45475

[ ] There's a reason I hate danmaku, you know.
[ ] I've lived a long time. Since before youkai played nice...
[ x] It's not the fall, it's the landing. I miss my wings.
[ ] I don't know, okay? I was born like this.
[ ] I'm not telling. Sorry.
[ ] None of your business. Leave it.
>It happened...
[ x] Recently. Relatively.
[ ] A while ago.
[ ] A long time ago.
[ ] As far back as I can remember.
>It's...
[ ] Only a minor thing.
[ ] Not that bad.
[x ] Chronic. Flares up if I overdo things, normally it's fine.
[ ] Always bad. It's just something I deal with.
[ ] Terrible.
>> No. 45478
[X] I've lived a long time. Since before youkai played nice...

[X] A while ago.

[X] Chronic. Flares up if I overdo things, normally it's fine.
>> No. 45479
[X] I've lived a long time. Since before youkai played nice...

[X] A while ago.

[X] Chronic. Flares up if I overdo things, normally it's fine.
>> No. 45481
>...
[x] It's not the fall, it's the landing. I miss my wings.
>It happened...
[x] Recently. Relatively.
>It's...
[x] Chronic. Flares up if I overdo things, normally it's fine.

My reasoning is that the recent growth in his abilities would be tied to his inability to regenerate, both his ankle and his wings, and not just a bizarre coincidence.
>> No. 45483
[X] I've lived a long time. Since before youkai played nice...

[X] A long time ago

[X] Chronic. Flares up if I overdo things, normally it's fine.

Saying it happened a long time ago, before youkai played by danmaku rules, then saying it was just a while ago is a little contradictory yes? Than again, he could just be downplaying, so ignore me.

>cir9ball
A terrible vote from a terrible faggot. I am not surprised in the least.
>> No. 45484
[X] I've lived a long time. Since before youkai played nice...
[X] A long time ago
[X] Chronic. Flares up if I overdo things, normally it's fine.
>> No. 45485
[x] I've lived a long time. Since before youkai played nice...
-[x] A long time ago
--[x] Chronic. Flares up if I overdo things, normally it's fine.
>> No. 45486
[x] I've lived a long time. Since before youkai played nice...
[x] A long time ago
[x] Chronic. Flares up if I overdo things, normally it's fine.
>> No. 45489
[x] I've lived a long time. Since before youkai played nice...
[x] A long time ago
[x] Chronic. Flares up if I overdo things, normally it's fine.
>> No. 45490
[x] I've lived a long time. Since before youkai played nice...
[x] A long time ago
[x] Chronic. Flares up if I overdo things, normally it's fine.
>> No. 45497
[x] It's not the fall, it's the landing. I miss my wings.
[x] A while ago.
[x] Not that bad.

Having been recently grounded, we're only just noticing the leg pain.
>>45457
Why, thank you. Didn't know you had one.
>> No. 45514
File 130724209796.png- (631.67KB , 1900x1200 , notreimuforachange.png ) [iqdb]
45514
My friends keep kidnapping me with their heinous chilling out and wicked fun, keeping me from updating. No longer! (Though this one took some work to congeal.)

>[x] I've lived a long time. Since before youkai played nice...
>[x] A long time ago
>[x] Chronic. Flares up if I overdo things, normally it's fine.

We're quiet. For a while. I guess she can tell that I'll talk.

How severe?

Depends. Hurts more the more I use it. Been worse lately, after... after Remilia's sister. Usually it's just a twinge when rain's coming. ...It happened when--

When--

What was that?

What was what?

'Rumia.'

You told me you were going to stay out of my thoughts.

I am. You're practically shouting it out onto the ether.

Meaning what?

Meaning it's a very strong memory. The name invokes a lot of fear in you... and something else.

Relief. I don't know.

Perhaps. I can tell it happened a long time ago. It's very ingrained in you.

Years.

I'm trying not to, but I'm getting flashes of image--

Ergh. All right. Enough. Yes, her name was Rumia. She almost killed me.

Almost.

I changed her mind.

Impressive.

Not really. I was scared and hungry and tired. She had me. She broke my leg. Couldn't run any more.

Back to the wall. What did you do?

I talked. Look, this is a bad memory. Just go ahead and look at it.

If you like. ...I see.

Do you.

Her voice is getting indistinct. I think I'm waking up. You're brave, fairy. Don't let anyone tell you different.

Tch.



I open my eyes, feeling miserable. Barely feels like I slept at all. ... Oh. I didn't. The sun's not even up. Ugh. A noise from my right grabs my attention. Reimu's awake already?

...Rgh, I might as well. I did snap at her pretty hard. "Hey, Reimu?"

She pokes her head in, using a broom to keep her balance. "You're up already?"

"Yeah, yeah, siddown. I'm gonna tell you about my leg."

----
It had been three days and nights. Kazuki hadn't eaten, slept, or rested. At first he'd made for the edge of the forest, trying to escape the seemingly endless boughs that gave his hunter a great advantage.

That had been a mistake. This was not her first prey, and the first thing she had done was cut him off and drive him deeper in. It hadn't been hard to run him in circles after that. He was disoriented, lost, and tired. He was clever and knew what to do to stay ahead of her, but he couldn't keep up forever.

Foliage on his right exploded as her hand shot out, talons raking for his side. He dived, leaving tattered strips of his shirt behind as he took off running. She was right on his heels, hunched low with her claws to her sides.

Not that he could see--if he turned back, all he ever saw was encroaching darkness. Shadows in the forest without the warmth of the sun stretched tall and ran deep. His attacker was practically the darkness itself, gleaming nails and sinister red eyes leaving burning streaks in his vision.

Kazuki ran until his lungs screamed, heart hammering so loud he swore it was shaking the leaves on the tree he fell against. A look around netted only silence. He had lost her again. He took a moment to catch his breath, barely supported on his shaking legs. He slowly eased his weight off them, using the trunk for support.

His second mistake. His brace was blown into splinters as Rumia's claw raked through the entire length in one great swipe. Falling off-balance, he instinctively fanned his wings and tried to get some distance. Just as she had expected. Her hand snaked out and wrapped around his trailing leg. She had him. With a sickening crunch, she clenched, talons slashing through the meat, down to the bone, cracking in her grip. He twisted reflexively, doing yet more damage as he cried out in pain and fear.

In the few seconds she had snared him, the tree groaned with him and fell. The youkai had to step back for an instant, letting her hard-won prey go tumbling as the heavy log crashed between them. Both knew he wasn't getting away again.

The wound was deep and severe, the bone broken in at least three places. Kazuki couldn't tell--between the adrenaline pumping and the severed nerves, he barely felt anything as he rose to his feet unsteadily. His tormentor almost lazily crawled atop the felled tree, with a predatory Cheshire grin in the dark. Creeping shadow spread across his vision.

"...No."

Undeterred, Rumia crouched, ready to leap on him and tear him apart. His wings wouldn't save him in this claustrophobic wood. Taking what might have been his last breath, he stood as tall as he could, and clenched his fists.

"Come out of there. If you're going to ... kill me, look me in the eyes when you do it."

She paused, if just for a moment. She had met with fear (and smelled it now) and anger. Killed human soldiers. But not once had a little fairy stood up at the end.

"Get out! Get out of there and fight if you want me!"

Something about the challenge shook something in her. She felt heat rise into her cheeks in shame at something she couldn't place. There was something she wanted to recall, some distant memory just on the tip of her tongue that she couldn't place. A vague notion that once, at some point, she had been something more. Something that didn't need the dark. Rumia's wide grin slipped and vanished.

The fairy screamed again. "Come out of your shadow!" In a low, somber voice, she finally answered.

"I... I can't..."



Rumia sat on the upturned log, kicking her feet over the side like a sulking child. Kazuki sat next to her, still wary. His leg had already begun to regenerate, though in years to come he would find it had reset the twisted bone fragments wrong. Right now, though, his eyes were on the youkai, able to see her for the first time this close. The terrible creature that had stalked him was only a little bigger than he was, eyes dimly aglow like dying embers beneath unkempt, straw-blonde hair, seemingly almost white under the pall.

"I think... there was a time I could, once. Get out of the dark." She mumbled, more to herself than him. "But I can't." She looked over her arms, skin pale beneath the veil of black. "I want to feel the sun." The crisis had, for the moment, been buried with the girl's introspection, but Kazuki wasn't about to pat her on the shoulder. "I want to see in color. I want..."

She looked up at him sullenly. "You can go. I'm... not hungry any more. The edge is that way."

He gingerly, cautiously slid off the trunk, easing himself onto his mangled leg with a wince. With one last glance back at her, he limped out of sight.

"Goodbye, Rumia." She didn't answer, putting a hand to her cheek. She needed to think.
----
"You're older than I thought, Kazuki." Reimu mused, tilting her teacup back and forth.

"Yeah. I'm getting that a lot lately."

"I can't believe you tried to take on Rumia."

"I was out of options. ...Wait, you know her?"

"I met her a few months ago, actually." My heart jumps into my throat. "The night before we flew over the lake." She was that close? "She seemed... happy, even after she lost." Huh. Maybe she really did change. "So, your leg... mis-healed?"

"Yeah. I had hoped if I ever did die, it'd go back to normal, but, well. It was a long time ago. I guess it's as healed as it's going to be. Normally it's fine and all, just all the running I've been doing lately..."

She nods. "Tell you what. I'll fly you where you need to go after I kick you out of my shrine. You were thinking about going to Marisa's, right? Get back in the air."

Might be best. I do want to see Meiling again before long, too. But I am sick of walking...

[ ] Fly me to Marisa's!
[ ] I do need to figure out who Meiling wanted me to meet at some point.
[ ] Other (write-in)
>> No. 45516
[x] I do need to figure out who Meiling wanted me to meet at some point.
>> No. 45518
[x] Fly me to Marisa's!

Well, it seems like we'll be doing all three at some point or the other, so this choice is pretty much preference first. I don't particularly care about Marisa, but Kazuki would probably like spending as much time in the air as he could.
>> No. 45520
[x] Fly me to Marisa's!

It's the quickest thing to do at the moment.
>> No. 45522
Fly me to the moon, and let me-
*Yin-Yanged*
>> No. 45523
>>45522
>*Yin-Yanged*

You are a worthless faggot. Please see for >>/gensokyo/6052 as to why.

Regardless, nothing would please me more than to never see you around these parts again. Please just quietly die.
>> No. 45526
I think Kazuki is a pretty cool guy, eh challenges darkness youkai and doesn't afraid of anything.

[x] Fly me to Marisa's!
>> No. 45529
[x] Fly me to Marisa's!
>> No. 45530
[X] Fly me to Marisa's!

Let's get that magic going. The mansion is home, anyway, so we ought to be efficient, and finish all our business elsewhere before making that return trip.
>> No. 45533
>>45523

Cut that acidic hostility out. A link to the rules and a reprimand is sufficient. Wishing death on a person is a tad extreme.
>> No. 45535
[x] I do need to figure out who Meiling wanted me to meet at some point.

New people are interesting.
>> No. 45550
[►] I do need to figure out who Meiling wanted me to meet at some point.
-[►] While traveling: "Reimu, whenever I sleep at your shrine, I hear a woman's voice that helps me with magic. It has this 'I'm an awesome god and I do whatever I want' tone whenever is talks. Any idea as to why that is?"

Although I like a sneaky Mima, she needs some exposure. We are the fairy of change, after all.
>> No. 45551
>>45550
>>/gensokyo/6052 was linked six posts ago. Come on, man.
>> No. 45552
>>45551
Cool your jets broski. He just started writing, so it's somewhat ok that he posts with his name/trip. Make sure you do your homework before telling people off.
>> No. 45553
>>45552
even then it's not really okay as he's a newbie writer with a story of questionable quality as opposed to a long time writer who's proven themselves to be reputable.
>> No. 45554
>>45553
But of course. However, he does write, so it's not terrible fair to specifically single him out. Proper procedure would be to see if he continues to post with his name, as this instance could have been as simple as forgetting to remove the saved cache. Maybe I'm just naive for believing this, but it might have been an honest mistake, instead of him just flaunting his name around.
>> No. 45555
>>45552
If you think that was flipping out on someone, I'm not sure how you've lasted this long. It was more of a "Really, guy?"

>>45553
Reputable or not, there's no reason to post with your trip unless your identity is relevant to your message (or vice versa.)
>> No. 45556
>>45554
>But of course. However, he does write, so it's not terrible fair to specifically single him out.

If a person doesn't want to be singled out, he should post anonymously. If he posted with his trip accidentally, that's what the 'delete' button at the bottom of the page is for.

Anon isn't acting in bad faith merely by linking him the rules thread.
>> No. 45562
>>45554
>However, he does write, so it's not terrible fair to specifically single him out.

For some reason, I read that as "HEY I'M WRITING SO IT'S OKAY TO IGNORE THP'S HABITS"
>> No. 45563
File 130792979833.jpg- (401.02KB , 850x850 , You know what I should really.jpg ) [iqdb]
45563
Guys. Guys! I will turn this update around!
(But seriously, we're sneaking up on autosage.)

>[x] Fly me to Marisa's!

Enough waiting. I put it off because I knew I'd be getting to it eventually, but now just seems the time. I'm going to fly again.

"Let's get to Marisa's." Hand in my pocket, my fingertips brush the edge of my skipping stone. Turning it over in my hands, I can still feel that same tingle of potential. Tossing it up and down a few times, I swear to myself before today is done, I'll fly again.
----
Marisa's is the same as ever as we touch down. Reimu shoos me off to stretch her back. We've hardly been there a moment before I hear clanging and mild havoc inside as Marisa fights her way to her door. "Hey!" She calls as it flies open and a pan clatters to the ground perilously close to her head. Reimu winces and covers her ears.

"It's too morning to be that loud." Marisa just grins, breath puffing in the cold. Unlike Reimu, she's actually dressed for the weather, a heavy scarf and muffler over her neck. Warm-looking leggings beneath the hem of her dress and worn, sturdy-looking gloves leave practically no exposed skin, aside from her face, cheeks and nose bright red contrasting her everpresent grin. I guess she was working on something out here.

"Good t'see ya," she says, extricating her back leg from a pile of books. "Cold enough?"

"Yeah," Reimu nods. "And that's why I'm going back home as soon I drop the littlest burden off." Oi!

"Awww. You never hang out when you come over here." Marisa mock-pouts as she carelessly wades through snow that reaches to my knees.

"That's because your house is a minefield," she replies, giving her friend a hug anyway. I guess it's just her thing. "Just giving Kazuki a lift, is all. I've got stuff to do and a kotatsu to hide under."

"Izzat so?" Marisa puts a gloved finger to my forehead. "I know why you're here. You have your goggles?"

"Of course." I fish them out, lenses clear despite the cold. "I'm tired of walking around like--hey, hold on, is that...?" Taking Marisa's hand, I turn her wrist over and examine the back of the glove.

"A magic pattern, yeah. These were my old alchemy gloves. They're nice and warm, so I repurposed 'em."

"Explains the smell," I mutter, wiping my forehead. Reimu snorts.

"Oh, shoo. Both of you, go. You go back to shrine-land. You get in the house, ingrate." Marisa says, brandishing an imaginary broom to push me in.

"I'm going, I'm going!"

I thought maybe there would be a draft or something, but no, the inside of Marisa's house is as stifling now as it is every time I visit. I guess she just really likes to be warm. Stepping through the claptrap her run to the door knocked askew, I pull myself into one of her chairs and clear a space on the table. Grabbing an old newspaper from a small stack, I make a setting and place my goggles down, carefully untwisting the leather cord. I can dimly hear Marisa catching up with Reimu just a bit (or maybe just chasing her out) as I take one of my study books from a pile near at hand. First step--draw a circle. Connect the five points, draw the basic star. Don't lift the brush or break the line. I've just finished putting down the base when the fire flickers and a moment of cold tell me Marisa's come in.

"Lookin' good so far," she says, looking over my shoulder. "Good base pentacle. You'll want a smaller brush for the sigils inside to fit 'em all."

"A bit more complex than we've done before," I note, dropping the first brush into a grime-caked rinse cup.

"Relax, I'll be helpin' you," she says. "We're going to make this the best possible. It'll be good practice." Sounds all right to me. "Reimu says you got started making your own spellcards."

"Yeah. Then she blew me up."

Marisa laughs. "She mentioned that, too."

"I bet. I apparently did pretty well for a first-timer. Won't go toppling any shrine maidens any time soon, though."

She laughs again. "You want to hear a secret?"

"Sure." She leans in for effect, casting sidelong glances at her otherwise empty house and throwing an arm around my shoulder.

"I've been trying to topple that shrine maiden since we were kids. She's always, always a step ahead of me." Oof. "I've never seen her lose." Sheesh. "Drove me nuts. It still does. I think if I weren't her friend, I'd hate her." She rests her chin on her hand, smiling faintly in nostalgia. "Losin' to Reimu is no big deal. It's just the way it is."

"I'd think you were bitter if you weren't smiling."

"Am I? I am! Both. I've always been jealous of how... easily everything comes to her. Bah, don't worry about it. We've got work to do."

Scribing the circle takes us hours. We stop once or twice for coffee and a quick bite, talk about why I'm using this particular arcane scribble, swap a couple stories, and go back over the books. It's mid-afternoon when we finally finish.

The magic circle is elaborate and intricate, with letters in languages I don't know and glyph-like symbols along each line. Geometric symbols build on the basic star and circle, using them for pieces and parts. I can pick out my own contributions and what each does much better now that I've gone through the whole process. I'd never be able to duplicate it without Marisa, but it makes much more sense than it did when I thumbed through the spellbooks.

"You ready?" She asks, pulling off her gloves. "I'll do the casting." I nod. There's a crackle and the paper lights up with intense blue energy. That familiar feeling comes up as I feel the magic transfer to the goggles resting in the center of the circle. As quickly as it starts, it's over. The paper has curled up and burnt at the edges, smoking faintly as Marisa carefully removes the goggles. The magic circle is gone. All that work for a few seconds of transferral? My thoughts are interrupted as she hands me the goggles, still slightly warm. They don't look any different, but I can feel that tingle as I turn them over.

"That should do it. They'll be nice and durable, too. Even if they break, the magic won't fail." Marisa grins, wiping a bead of sweat from her brow. "Ready to try them out? You're going to want some practice."

[ ] Kazuki rides again!
[ ] I know I need to, but I've got something else to do. (Write-in)
>> No. 45564
[x] Kazuki rides again!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V92OBNsQgxU
>> No. 45565
[Q] Kazuki rides again!
>> No. 45566
[X] Kazuki rides again!
>> No. 45567
[x] Kazuki rides again!

He may have other things to do, but getting this over with will allow him to do them faster.
>> No. 45568
Okay... I just caused a miniature shitstorm, so I'll just stop using my name until I finish my story. It'll be incentive for me to actually finish it.

[X] Kazuki rides again!
>> No. 45569
[x] Kazuki rides again!

Aces
>> No. 45608
File 130857827124.jpg- (126.39KB , 195x363 , wait what.jpg ) [iqdb]
45608
Sorry for taking so long with what was essentially a non-vote when I really could have written the night after the last post. I had some trouble sleeping this last week.
>[x] Kazuki rides again!

Before Marisa even finishes her sentence, I'm pulling the goggles back on and heading outside. She's right out the door on my heels.

"Now, this isn't like a magic broom, where the object itself flies and you ride it--" I find a clearing, half-listening as I make sure they're situated well on my forehead. I'll pull them down if the wind gets sharp. "You won't need to trigger them, the enchantment is permanent--" Stretch my shoulders. I reach out and can feel the hint of energy like someone pressing a finger to my forehead. "Now remember, it won't be like natural flight, you're going to need to get used to it..." I don't care. Today I fly again.

With one last breath I jump... and come back down hard on my knee with an unpleasant crunch. Before Marisa can even finish calling I'm up and jumping again. This time I do it right, and wobble drunkenly off the ground. Trying to keep one side or another from dipping takes effort. I lean forward and half-spin forward and plunge back into the ground facefirst. Damn it. Back up. Try again. This time I manage to surge forward before I try to bank and end up spiraling into the dirt again. Gritting my teeth, I haul myself back to my feet. I need to try to keep level until I have a feel for controlling my movement. Steady. Steady...

Slowly I rise again, determined not to stay down. Marisa calls encouragement as I shakily touch off again, this time going higher. Bobbing over to a tree to catch onto just in case, I experimentally circuit the trunk, managing to stay mostly level. I have to stop myself from reflexively trying to fan wings that aren't there as I move, slowly adjusting. I think I have this. Abruptly, Marisa floats up to my level, balancing on a broom. "Takes adjusting to, doesn't it?" She says with a grin. "Let me take you through the basics."

"All right, thanks." She takes it from the top and we slowly start going through the finer points of magic flight. The afternoon burns quickly as I keep practicing. Each time I falter and crash only serves to drive me further, and they become less and less common as the sun wends down in the sky.

Marisa's broom rockets ahead as she puts on a burst of speed. I'm right on her heels as we reach the turn. She's fast, but her turns are wide. I can tell she's practiced as she tucks in, leaning to the left to bank in a shallow arc. But I'm more nimble. In the time it takes her to start her move I've already finished mine, surging past with a corkscrew-turn, then jinking up, and up, and up. As the last rays of the day sink under the horizon--beneath me--I spiral farther and farther skyward. Marisa's only just now finishing out her turn.

I have just enough time to wipe my eyes before she catches up.

----

For the first time in a long time, I fly myself home. Meiling actually leaves her post to greet me, colliding midair for a bear hug. "You did it!" She positively beams.

"Yeah. Yeah, I did it. Feels good."

"Indeed." Gah! When did Sakuya--Meiling breaks off, still grinning, as we turn to see her. Her eyes widen for just an instant. "How on earth did you get so dirty?!" I look down. From all my crashing-and-burning, my clothes are riddled with grass stains, dirt, and a few patchy holes.

"It took a lot of practice getting the hang of--"

"This won't do," she says, clearly not listening. "You need to take a bath." Well, I'll have plenty of time tonight before I-- "Come with me."

Wait. What?

Unceremoniously she grabs me and hauls me to the ground as Meiling starts laughing. "No no no no no no-" Dragging my heels the whole way she manhandles me through the halls (and, to my chagrin, past half the maids) towards my room. She doesn't listen as she hauls me into the master bath and in a flash the water is running. "Sakuya, what are you doing? Let me go!"

She folds her arms. "Undress." Wait. What?

"Wait. What?" Sakuya, I know how to bathe myself--"

"Not from how you smell. I won't have you walking around the mansion like this. Now disrobe! Or I will do it myself." Apparently she interprets my blank stare as an answer. "Very well." WHAT.

"Argh, let go of me--"

She frowns as she starts tugging the suspenders of my overalls. "Quit fussing--!"

"What the hell are you doing?! WHY the hell are you doing?!"

She pops one and starts working on the other as I squirm. "Come now, it's nothing I've not seen before--"

"That just raises more questions than it answers! Lemme go!"

"Quit fussing!" Struggling, I can't escape her iron maid grip as she pulls my shirt over my head.

"No no no no augh stop that--" With an almighty splash she practically dumps me into the tub. You haven't heard the last of me! You can make me do it, but you can't make me do it with dignity! "I'm like fifty times your age! Stop!"

"And approximately half my size. ...Oh, I take that back." Gah! I abruptly freeze up and throw my hands southward, turning bright red. She takes advantage of the distraction to dump a bucket of hot water over my head.

Laughing, she pulls up another as I cough and sputter. "Works every time." Damn you, Izayoi! I lost a battle but the war continues!

The next half hour becomes a hair-pulling, soap-slipping, bath-splashing brawl as I futilely resist being bathed like a child. I'll get her for this, I swear it. Finally, the ordeal is over. At least she lets me dry off in peace. ...until she calls through the door.

"I will be taking your clothing with me. It needs a great deal of washing."

"Then what am I supposed to do, go around naked?!"

"Of course not, that would be obscene." Oh, that would be obscene, would it. "I will leave you some silk pajamas that should be your size." Why would she have th--wait, would they have belonged to Remilia? That just makes this even more bizarre. She took my clothes out with the towels (And rugs, and at least one curtain), so I guess I don't have a choice.

Shaking my head, I finish toweling off with a last grumble. Why on earth did Sakuya give me a bath, of all things? At least she was polite enough to mainly do my back and nothing ...sensitive. As I leave the bathroom I see my goggles resting on top of a set of neatly-folded white nightclothes. They're a hair too big for me, but the material feels nice between my fingers.



Sleeping in a bed again feels good--and I have to admit, so do the silk pajamas. Sakuya said I could keep them, so maybe I will. But for now, it's a new day. My clothes are neatly folded (with a few recent holes patched, I notice)...and on top of them is a small card. In flowery cursive, it reads--

Master Kazuki,
To circumvent the issue of having no clothes again in the near future, I have decided to sew a set for you. It should not take more than a few days. I will also be acquiring a set of shoes more proper for going out in Winter.

--Sakuya


New shoes? It's not like I've ever needed them before--wait.

PS: Rest assured, I will not need to take measurements. I have a decent sense of your sizes. Gaahhh!

[ ] Meiling's waited enough. Let's go see her this morning.
[ ] It occurs to me I haven't spoken to Remilia for a while.
[ ] I should crash the library. I wanted to do a bit more research. Plus, inconveniencing Patchouli.
[ ] Man, when's the last time I went by the lake?
[ ] Write-in
>> No. 45610
[x] I should crash the library. I wanted to do a bit more research. Plus, inconveniencing Patchouli.

All work and no play only makes Kazuki a dull fairy. Something silly like irritating Patchy under the guise of studying will work wonders for him.
>> No. 45611
[x] Meiling's waited enough. Let's go see her this morning.

Indeed she has waited long enough. Though odds are, people'll ignore her.
>> No. 45612
[x] Meiling's waited enough. Let's go see her this morning.
>> No. 45613
[x] Meiling's waited enough. Let's go see her this morning.
>> No. 45614
[X] I should crash the library. I wanted to do a bit more research. Plus, inconveniencing Patchouli.

Meiling was the last of the first three choices, and therefore clearly the next step to plot progression. We must now do all available side quests before progressing the plot.
>> No. 45617
>>45614
Are you daft or just stupid? I don't think there's any special order to the choices.
>> No. 45618
>>45617
>Taking it seriously when someone tacks video game logic that flounders out of context onto a vote that boils down to personal preference for a cheap laugh

... are you new around here? You need to relax.
>> No. 45619
[x] Meiling's waited enough. Let's go see her this morning.

We must train.
>> No. 45620
[X] I should crash the library. I wanted to do a bit more research. Plus, inconveniencing Patchouli.
THIS
>> No. 45623
>>45618
Just sick and tired of everyone taking any excuse to ignore Meiling. If the trend keeps up I'd have to call /sdm/ /ignoring Meiling/
>> No. 45624
[x] Meiling's waited enough. Let's go see her this morning.
>> No. 45625
[x] It occurs to me I haven't spoken to Flandre for a while.
>> No. 45627
File 130867693682.png- (20.86KB , 200x189 , Meiling.png ) [iqdb]
45627
Ignoring who now?
>> No. 45628
[X] I should crash the library. I wanted to do a bit more research. Plus, inconveniencing Patchouli.
>> No. 45633
[X] I should crash the library. I wanted to do a bit more research. Plus, inconveniencing Patchouli.

Inconveniencing Patchouli is always good.
>> No. 45634
[x]meiling vote
there you go
>> No. 45635
[X] I should crash the library. I wanted to do a bit more research. Plus, inconveniencing Patchouli.
>> No. 45636
[X] I should crash the library. I wanted to do a bit more research. Plus, inconveniencing Patchouli.
>> No. 45638
vote spam check requested
>> No. 45640
>>45628
>>45635
>>45636

Don't votespam, bro.
>> No. 45648
I'm gonna go ahead and call the vote now for Meiling, then. Thank you, Mode.
This isn't gonna be the last time you see either of them, by a long-shot. For that matter, since I thought Patchouli was winning I thought up some material. That'll have a place yet.
>> No. 45651
>>45648
>I'm gonna go ahead and call the vote now for Meiling, then.

Hooray!
>> No. 45669
File 130947977560.jpg- (588.86KB , 707x1000 , Road trip.jpg ) [iqdb]
45669
So that took a while to get to. Between a bizarre nostalgia bomb, attention going elsewhere, and every possible kind of appointment to take care of, I've been busy as hell. TL;DR typical writer excuses, let's get back to our regularly scheduled fairy shenanigans.

>[x] Meiling's waited enough. Let's go see her this morning.

It feels a little ironic, finally getting to fly again only to stay home. But I owe Meiling the respect of a visit when she wants to see me and I've put it off as long as I can justify. Things will always be busy, it's gotta be about making time for what you need, right?

I revel in the brief flutter of air through my hair once I've dressed, climbing out the window and slowly drifting around to the front gate. Somehow, she always knows I'm coming. Meiling flies up to greet me before I can even see her post, with that sunny smile I've come to expect, always followed by a... "Good morning!"

I can't help but smile back. "G'morning, Meiling."

"Congrats, again. I know what it means to you." My grin widens as she continues. "Hey, is your morning free?"

"Sure! I'm sorry it took me so long to get ahold of you, the last few days have been hectic."

"No problem, no problem," she waves it off nonchalantly. "I was thinking we could take a trip into the village."

"The village? What about the gate, though?"

"Not a problem. I asked someone to cover for me if you were free." Free is exactly how I feel right now. "I know you want to do more flying, so I figured a short trip would work." Sounds good to me. "Do you have your knife? You shouldn't need the jian, but a sidearm is always important." I nod, tapping the leg-sheath beneath my pants. She nods in approval. "Shall we?"

We talk a bit as we go, as I still work out the finer points of item-assisted flight--keeping the same speed as her is tough, but I manage not to pull ahead or behind. "So what did you want to see me about?" I ask.

"Actually, I may have lined you up a sparring partner." Really? "There's a friend of mine I wanted you to meet. She's come around the mansion since we first showed up, and me being the gate guard, we got to talking."

I can't help but laugh at that. "Really?" She grins back.

"Nope. We got to fighting." Knew it. "Though after the first time, we hit it off."

"And you want to set me up with her?"

Meiling shakes her head as we start to drop altitude, the village in sight. "No offense, but you'd be a bad match. You wouldn't have anything to teach her, and she'd have to humor you if you wanted to learn." Gah. Always a bigger fish. "No, I want you to meet a friend of hers."

The villagers don't tend to appreciate touching down in the middle of the street, so the two of us land just outside the first row of houses. "Okay," she continues, "In exchange for having the gate covered, I need to run a few errands. I'll be quick, promise!" And like that, she's off.

Well. I do a few walks around the village, a few more circuits of flight, back down to the ground, and--

"Kazuki?"

Yeek. Standing in the middle of the street, with her arms behind her back and a sunny smile on her face is...

"H-hi, Dai."

Daiyousei smoothes down the pleats on her dress, the only habit I think she has. "It's nice to see you again!"

"You too." I hope she can't hear my heart fluttering.

"I've been looking for you!" You have? "I wanted to thank you." You did?

"What for? I didn't do anything..." No, wrong word! Bad!

She laughs, just a little. "For helping with Cirno." What, really? "I know she can be hard to deal with. And I heard she poked fun about your wings..." I guess my face falls despite myself, because she gets a concerned look. "Oh, no, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to--"

"No, no, it's okay. I understand. And Cirno's not bad, really. She just... needs someone to look out for her."

"Well, I'm glad that someone is you, Kazuki. Thank you." She smiles again, and I feel a bit of heat come into my cheeks. "Um, I need to go. I'll see you later?"

"Yeah, I'll see you later." And with that she's off, and I can breathe again.

...Just in time for Meiling to sidle up behind me. "Who was that?" Gyah!

"J-just a friend don't scare me like that!"

She laughs. "Sorry, sorry. My shopping's done. Do you want to stop for something to eat before we go back?"

I'm only half-paying attention as I watch Daiyousei walk away. "Uh...yeah."

----

We settle in to a little outdoor café, Meiling setting down her two or three bags of staple supplies and groceries beside a table near the street. She watches the people go by as I bring back our drinks. "Xie xie," she says warmly, taking her cup of tea. I'm taking my first sip of coffee (sweet) as she continues. "So, she was cute." PFFT.

Sputtering, I flounder for a napkin as Meiling suppresses a giggle. "Sorry, sorry, I'm not trying to tease. That's Cirno's friend Daiyousei?" Glowering over the cloth as I wipe my face, I nod. "She seems to be a sweetheart."

Mercifully, our food shows up then, sparing me from having to come up with something to say. Sullenly I watch my miso cloud as I stir as Meiling digs into some dish with a lot of cooked vegetables. The waiter seems to recognize Meiling and chats a bit with her while I try not to sulk.

No sooner does he leave, Meiling goes to ask a question--and promptly, an unfamiliar voice interjects.

"A-ha! There you are!" Oh thank you, sweet forces of distraction. "Speak of the Scarlet Devil..."

Coming down from above the roof is a strange woman with a tokin hat and long, black wings. I can only assume she's a tengu--I've never seen one in person before. Meiling stands up. "Aya! I was just talking about you."

"Nothing bad, I hope," she says, touching down on the ends of tall geta sandals.

"Who, me? Go on, pull up a seat. Kazuki, this is Aya Shameimaru..."

Aya speaks up. "...And you must be the Applepicker I've heard so much about! Charmed."

"Aya is that friend I told you about," Meiling says as the tengu sits, tugging at the end of her scarf. "I'm surprised to see you, you aren't normally this far out."

"Ah, you know, third time's the charm, right? I figured I'd do a fly-by, and when I saw the head maid there, I figured you'd come here." Wait--the head maid? Sakuya is guarding the gate?

"I was just telling him about our idea," Meiling replies, returning to her own seat.

"Ah, yes! It's like this, mister fairy. I'm a journalist. Meiling's spoken very highly of you, and I'd like to ask for an interview from the strange little fairy that's causing such a stir on Scarlet Lake."

"Strange?"

"Well, you're a character. You're interesting. I try to get slice-of-life articles every now and then, for flavor. It can't all be headlines and drama, sometimes you need to take time out to see the forest for the trees, you know?" I'm not sure I do, but... "And in return, I can introduce you to Momiji." Who?

"You're getting ahead of yourself, Aya." She swallows and turns to me. "Aya is sponsoring a girl named Momiji into the Wolf Guard--the ones who protect their mountain. She's new and inexperienced, and I think the two of you could benefit from training together." Meiling adds around a strip of baby corn.

"All right, that sounds okay, but... an interview?"

"I'd really appreciate it," Aya says, flipping a pen between her fingertips. Does she ever stop fidgeting? "I could even take it now, if you like."

An interview...

[ ] Now? Right now?
[ ] ... Maybe later.
[ ] ... I think I'll pass.
[ ] Other
>> No. 45670
File 130948042267.jpg- (546.86KB , 1050x1000 , Sunset.jpg ) [iqdb]
45670
[x] Now? Right now?

Meiling might get back to asking questions if we do something else. Also, Dai~
>> No. 45671
[x] Now? Right now?
>> No. 45673
[x] Now? Right now?

Reading the part with Dai, I hnnnggged slightly. Can't blame Kazuki as one can't find a finer fairy lady in all of Gensokyo.
>> No. 45675
[x] Now? Right now? Of course now!
>> No. 45676
[x] Now? Right now? Of course now!

I support the idea of Kazuki going into this full bore. He's on a high from gaining his flight back, and he just had a fateful encounter with a pretty girl. He should be seeing this as an opportunity. God knows he been doing his best to better himself.
>> No. 45677
[x] Now? Right now?

Poor Kazuki. It must be terribly awkward to meet a fairy who is not only stunningly beautiful, but one who also has large, lustrous wings such as that- and him with no wings at all! He must feel terribly emasculated.
>> No. 45681
[x] Now? Right now?

Lay it on me, sista.
>> No. 45682
[x] Now? Right now? Of course now!
>> No. 45683
[x] Now? Right now?
>> No. 45693
File 13099377624.png- (830.86KB , 707x998 , b8e6d2675a26c20d0f97459f00105fbe.png ) [iqdb]
45693
Okay, so this thread is approaching autosage. This is how the interview is going to work:

It'd be crazy hard and confusing to try to have every question answerable. Everyone would either do their own thing or latch onto the first reasonable vote. I also don't want to give away all of the questions in the interview.
So instead, I'm going to give the basic lines of inquiry she's going to go down as she asks Kazuki things. You'll vote on how he tackles each approach, and then depending on your answers I'll write the interview accordingly. As ever, I encourage write-ins, because that will let me make responses more authentic to your votes, and open new interview questions based on how Aya responds to what you say, and make this a much more full experience.

Go ahead and vote in this thread and take it through autosage. The interview will start the next one.

The interview:

>"Can you tell me your name, please?"
[ ] Only name
[ ] Name and title
>"And how old are you?
[ ] Be direct.
[ ] Be vague.
>"So tell me a little about yourself."
[ ] Whatever comes to mind.
[ ] Only the basics.
>"Where are you from?"
[ ] Fib.
[ ] Right on the lake.
>"Fairies are nature spirits, of course. What's your special power, do you know?"
[ ] Tell.
[ [ Don't tell.
>"Were you involved in the scarlet mist incident?"
[ ] Acknowledge
[ ] Hedge
[ ] Deny
>"Did you really yell at the shrine maiden?"
[ ] Yes.
[ ] ...Maybe.
>"Is it true you hate danmaku?"
[ ] Yes.
[ ] So?
>"One last thing--Is there anything else you'd like to add?"
[ ] Write-in
>> No. 45694
>"Can you tell me your name, please?"
[x] Name and title
>"And how old are you?
[x] Be direct.
>"So tell me a little about yourself."
[x] Whatever comes to mind.
>"Where are you from?"
[x] Right on the lake.
>"Fairies are nature spirits, of course. What's your special power, do you know?"
[x] Tell.
>"Were you involved in the scarlet mist incident?"
[x] Acknowledge
>"Did you really yell at the shrine maiden?"
[x] Yes.
>"Is it true you hate danmaku?"
[x] So?
>> No. 45695
[x] Name and title
-[x] Be direct.
--[x] Whatever comes to mind.
---[x] Right on the lake.
----[x] Tell.
-----[x] Acknowledge
------[x] Yes.
-------[x] So?
>> No. 45697
[x] Name and title
[x] Be direct.
[x] Whatever comes to mind.
[x] Right on the lake.
[x] Tell.
[x] Acknowledge
[x] ...Maybe.
[x] Yes.
[ ] FUCK THE POLICE
>> No. 45698
[x] Name and title
-[x] Be direct.
--[x] Whatever comes to mind.
---[x] Right on the lake.
----[x] Tell.
-----[x] Acknowledge
------[x] Yes.
-------[x] So?
>> No. 45699
>"Can you tell me your name, please?"
[x] Be direct.
>"And how old are you?
[x] Be vague.
>"So tell me a little about yourself."
[x] Whatever comes to mind.
>"Where are you from?"
[x] Right on the lake.
>"Fairies are nature spirits, of course. What's your special power, do you know?"
[x] Tell.
>"Were you involved in the scarlet mist incident?"
[x] Acknowledge
>"Did you really yell at the shrine maiden?"
[x] Yes.
>"Is it true you hate danmaku?"
[x] So?
>"One last thing--Is there anything else you'd like to add?"
[x] "Take care of your wings. You'll miss them when they're gone."

Cautionary advice for fairies (at least, those who can read).

On one hand I'd like to vote 'hedge' to protect Remilia's reputation, as she's done everything possible to make repay 'Zuki for the loss of his wings. On the other hand people have a genuine reason to be concerned about having body parts being obliterated by Flandre.
>> No. 45700
>>45699
This raises the question of this being before or after Aya did the article on Flandre.
>> No. 45701
[x] Name and title
-[x] Be vague.
--[x] Whatever comes to mind.
---[x] Right on the lake.
----[x] Tell, but be vague about it.
-----[x] Brag about it.
------[x] Brag some more.
-------[x] So?
>> No. 45702
>>45699
>*everything possible to repay 'Zuki
>> No. 45704
[x] Only name.
[x] Be vague.
[x] Whatever comes to mind.
[x] Right on the lake.
[x] Tell.
[x] Acknowledge - "My wings were blown off."
[x] Yes.
[x] So?
>> No. 45741
Someone pointed out the update notification system, so I'm posting here. I'll try to remember in the future. New thread here: >>45724

This should no longer bump, but sage just in case.


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