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35730 No. 35730
You let the crest overtake you, pulling your mind slowly in to the sweet, ominous tune of Remilia.

“My, my, I can’t let you off the leash for even a moment without you finding something new and exciting to roll in.”

You lean back, crushing Flandre against a wall. She makes a nice cushion.

“In case you’re worried, my crest will not allow you to be Turned -- you’re still a mortal yet.” She giggles. “In either case, you find yourself being drained slowly of life -- I suppose I could lend a hand.”

All at once, the crest begins to glow lightly in the dark. You watch it spread further down your arm.

Vitality rushes into you. It throws you up on a high.

“This gift is reserved for the most loyal of my Servants. I impart unto you some of my life’s blood; and on your return, our bond shall be forged deeper.”

You stand upright, shakily. The chainsaw rumbles on the floor

“I see you’ve synchronized effortlessly; although I suspect that is less a question of you synching with Flandre and more a question of… Flandre synchronizing with you. I’m afraid you’ve attracted her affections… femme fatale indeed; you haven’t the slightest idea how much danger you are in!”

You lean on the cave wall, reaching for the chainsaw.

“In any case, I humbly request your return come evening. I do believe a rather large host of demons has surrounded my Mansion. When you arrive and start eviscerating demons with that lovely chainsaw of yours~”

Well then. Orders are orders. Remilia’s sent you life… perhaps a sort of unlife that Flandre cannot consume. It doesn’t matter: the only thing that does is that everyone at the Mansion is in danger.

#####################################################################################

You walk into the night, Flandre still resting on your back. You feel as though you are in two places at once: one in the snowy forest, the other in the Mansion. As you walk, the chainsaw rumbles in your hand.

You lie in a bed, still as a painting. The world blurs above you, turning the ornate ceiling into a Technicolor blob. The caked blood itches on your skin.

“My, my, what a mess,” Remilia whispers into your ear. “Constant carnage~ that’s what I like about you, Guts. The wholesale embrace of violence as the solution to all problems. There is nothing in this world that cannot be corrected with a shotgun?”

Fuck yes.

“Well, I should just see to cleaning you up!”

As you lie motionless, Remilia rips the covers away from you. Cold air hits your skin.

Remilia’s tongue darts out of your mouth as she licks the blood from your body. You sigh pleasantly. Remilia…

If tongue-baths are part of the deal, you could get used to this.

#####################################################################################

You trudge through the woods, listening to the roars of demons. They’re agitated; their master is wounded. You grin as you think about the wounded Cybbie, licking his wounds in Hell.

Time to get to work.

#####################################################################################

Remilia swings her leg over you. She straddles your body, looking down. Blood lines her mouth. “Delicious. Delicious!” Oh, so now you’re the world’s goriest nyotaimori plate. Not the worst thing that’s ever happened to you, but far from the greatest. “Alas, poor toy, I know you well! A plaything of infinite skill, of most excellent asskicking!”

She pulls her face down within an inch of yours.

“Those talents are needed now. With my gift lying in your body, I am unable to defend my mansion adequately. Hurry home~”

#####################################################################################

You cut into a mob, the chainsaw reducing them to scarlet stains on the snow. As you pause, you hear sounds of battle in the distance; your ponderous steps carry you forward until you shunt your way into a clearing.

Marisa is surrounded by Mancubae, burned and bleeding. Liquid rage fills your veins as you lunge into them, the battle-saw shredding demon flesh as they scream. You snarl bestially, leaping between their fireballs. The lightshow throws dancing light across the evening.

Your vision goes red.

When it clears, the Mancubae lay in pieces. Marisa hovers a short distance away. “I got pinned down by a big group of them. Fire fucking everywhere.”

You look up at her, blankly.

“Hey…” She swallows. “You’re really starting to scare me. Seriously, it’s not cool.”

“Let’s go.” You start walking towards the mansion, roughly retracing your steps here. The chainsaw rumbles hungrily in your hand, like a stomach.

“Why’d you do it?” Marisa finally asks.

“Do what.”

“Pick Remilia. First Reimu… Rinosuke… Alice.” She laughs bitterly. “I feel like my friends are getting picked off one by one.”

You glance at her.

“And now you. You sold your soul.”

“I’ll be fine once I get out of Gensokyo.”

“You think she wrote that request of yours into the crest just because you asked? She probably has you locked here forever!”

Well.

Shit.

But you’re not too pissed off. The Remilia in your mind still cares for you, lightly cleaning your wounds.

“I had to lose you, too.”

“Reimu and Alice aren’t dead.”

“Not yet. But soldiers are walking dead. Any one of us could be snatched away at any second.”

You can’t argue with that.

“We’re like Schrödinger’s zombies.”

Who the fuck is Schrödinger? Sounds like a German porn mag.

Man, you wish you had some German porn right about now. Then again, fantasy Remilia is doing an adequate job on her own.

As you pull into sight of the Mansion, you finally speak up. “Marisa.”

“Eh?”

“Buck up, Major Witch.”

As you turn to look at the Mansion, though, a dark cloud falls over your face. A tidal wave of demons has surrounded that (sure, you technically forgot to mention this detail). But, more importantly, the mansion is missing a fixture.

“The tower…” gasps Marisa. “The tower where they keep Reimu…”

Has fallen.

“They killed my friends.” Marisa’s eyes widen, her pupils narrow to pricks. Tears form at the corners of her eyes. “They’re taking everything away from me.”

Part of you wants her to cool it. But what could possibly calm her now? Anything?

No, no. It’s better this way. Wrath is the only sin that’s preserved you this far. It’ll be the only thing that preserves her, at this rate. This country is turning into hell.

Hell.

You’ve got demons to kill.

Marisa launches her broom into the heavens, rising above the mansion. She stops her ascent, silhouetted by the moon; there’s a flash, and…

Lasers and curses rain down on the demons below, a carpet attack that smashes everything in front of the Mansion.

Ha.

Hahaha.

It’s funny. She’s turning into you. As you rev the chainsaw, Flandre starts to stir. Her wings extend out behind you as a grin spreads to your face.

Yes.

Yes yes yes!

#####################################################################################

You plunge through the front lines, casting dead demons behind you. At Lady Remilia’s request you shall purge the demonic souls from Gensokyo -- one way or another.

Nothing here is a match for this kind of dark no-life power. Even as plasma and fire nicks you, you plunge forward into the breach, chainsaw flinging gore. Fire erupts from it, the demons evaporate in you, everything is plundered and destroyed.

You burst into the main mansion, breathing heavily.

Oh Guts~ Remilia calls. Come find me, would you? I desperately need my gift returned.

You burst into the courtyard. Fire burns around you as demons tramp up towards the Mansion. Meiling stands on the steps, beating back demons with her fists. As a baron tramps up the cobblestones, Meiling spins and launches a swift kick to it. Its head snaps back, bone erupting from its neck. As it spills down the steps, you leap over it, chainsaw rumbling.

“Guts?” Meiling pauses, stunned. “What… what happened to you?! Is Flandre…?”

You whip out your arm, blacking the fireball hurtling towards her head. You distantly feel the sting.

“Keep your head in the game.”

“Right,” she nods.

You turn, watching a swarm of imps climb into the courtyard, growling bestially. As you rev your chainsaw, a light flashes above.

Explosions erupt around them, gibbing them, sending chunks of flesh flying. Marisa lands amidst the flames. Her face takes on a blank pallor.

“Marisa?” calls Meiling, nervously.

“They killed them,” Marisa whispers. “They killed all of my friends.”

Reimu and Alice?

Dammit, this was all because you chose Remilia! If you hadn’t bound yourself to her, then you could have been here…

Marisa takes off, vanishing into the starry sky. Meiling resumes her guardianship.

“I should go after her. She’ll do something reckless,” Meiling says.

“Don’t bother. This is more important.” And you suspect Marisa can take care of herself.

You enter the mansion. A group of fairies are huddled in the corner, whispering among themselves. The inside seems mostly untouched. “You!” you shout at them. “Where’s Remilia?”

Quivering, one of them calls back, “She’s upstairs.”

You ascend. Flandre starts to stir on your back.

“Please stop them!” the fairies moan, in unison. “You’re the great hero! The only one who can!”

#####################################################################################

Remilia sleeps on her throne. Patchouli stands nearby, sorting through her medical bag. You can hear the sounds of battle clearly outside: an absolute cacophony of carnage.

“You are back,” she says.

“That would seem to be the case.”

Patchouli shakes her head. “No time to waste. Lay your crest hand on Remilia’s forehead.”

You step towards the sleeping vampire. She looks almost sweet in her repose; a light smile graces her face as she sleeps.

Carefully, you put your red-marked hand on her forehead.

You hear rushing water as the unlife exits you and floods Remilia, reawakening her. Instantly Flandre sceams, detatching herself and falling to the floor. Your mistress’s eyes snap open.

“Ah, Guts.”

You feel oddly exhilarated. Pay no heed to your many injuries: Remilia’s tune has filled you, propping you up.

“Well then. Sakuya!”

The maid steps out of the shadows.

“Conduct Flandre to her chambers. Don’t let her get loose this time~”

“Of course, Mistress.”

Flandre and Sakuya both vanish in a flash.

“Well then, it seems the game is afoot.” Remilia levitates, bat-wings flapping behind her. “I do believe I have a mess to clean up. Patchouli!”

“Yes?”

“Patch up my familiar here, a light rejuvenator potion should do. I’ll dispose of these uninvited guests.”

“Remilia. I cannot condone that.”

“Excuse me?”

“Your familiar is badly hurt. Major lacerations, major burns, probably some minor fractures. Any other mortal would be near death. You seriously believe Guts to be battle-ready? Recuperation and extensive magical therapy is needed.”

“Gutsy is just fine. Aren’t you?”

For your part, you’re still alive. But as you set down on the floor, you can’t deny the pain running through your body. The revivifying effects of the tune strengthen you. But what would happen if you lost track of Remilia’s resonation? Would you die instantly?

[ ]… “No. I need to rest.” You need to recuperate -- more importantly, you need to make sure they stay out of the mansion.
[ ]… “Patchouli, hit me with some of that sweet magijuice. I have a date with death.” Best offense is a good defense. You’ll charge into the open guns blazing.

>> No. 35731
[x]… “No. I need to rest.” You need to recuperate -- more importantly, you need to make sure they stay out of the mansion.

Hell no. A Patchouli is fine too.

I hope Marisa isn't blinded that much. Also, what happened to our weapon? Did it turned back or what?
>> No. 35735
[ ]… “Patchouli, hit me with some of that sweet magijuice. I have a date with death.” Best offense is a good defense. You’ll charge into the open guns blazing.
>> No. 35739
[x]… “No. I need to rest.” You need to recuperate -- more importantly, you need to make sure they stay out of the mansion.
-[x] "What happened to those that were in the tower?"
>> No. 35742
[X]… “Patchouli, hit me with some of that sweet magijuice. I have a date with death.” Best offense is a good defense. You’ll charge into the open guns blazing.
>> No. 35744
>Remilia’s tongue darts out of your mouth as she licks the blood from your body. You sigh pleasantly. Remilia…

>If tongue-baths are part of the deal, you could get used to this.

I could very well get used to this...but I think Guts needs to rest for a moment to regain his sanity for a moment. We've almost lost it on Marisa twice now, Marisa's COMPLETELY lost it...and if Reimu's dead...then Gensokyo's pretty much fucked. I can't help but wonder what the hell Remi's up to, much less imagine if she's slowly becoming a demon herself. I'm pretty sure it couldn't have been just our blood she licked up.

[X] "What happened to those that were in the tower?"

First things first.

[X] "As much as I'd love to tear some more demons a new one, rest sounds pretty appealing right about now."
[X] "That crazy sister of yours also did a pretty rough number on my mind. I nearly killed that witch by accident."

Rest will probably stabilize Guts' mind some to make sure he doesn't go crazy again. Marisa's gone berserk, yet we're in no condition to go after her, physically or mentally. Besides, I get the feeling Flan will be paying us a visit in our dreams if we sleep.
>> No. 35745
[X] "What happened to those that were in the tower?"
[X] "As much as I'd love to tear some more demons a new one, rest sounds pretty appealing right about now."
[X] "That crazy sister of yours also did a pretty rough number on my mind. I nearly killed marisa by accident. TWICE"
>> No. 35749
[X] "What happened to those that were in the tower?"
[X] "As much as I'd love to tear some more demons a new one, rest sounds pretty appealing right about now."
[X] "That crazy sister of yours also did a pretty rough number on my mind. I nearly killed Marisa by accident. TWICE."
>> No. 35750
[x] "What happened to those that were in the tower?"
[x] "As much as I'd love to tear some more demons a new one, rest sounds pretty appealing right about now."
[x] "That crazy sister of yours also did a pretty rough number on my mind. I nearly killed marisa by accident. TWICE"
>> No. 35755
I'm actually worried about some of the definatly stronger Gensokyo beings, of this are this bad at the SDM.

And if Yukari is taking a nap I'm going to rage SO hard.

However, if said nap is six feet under...

OHSHI- I just remembered! Gensokyo has an opening to the afterlife, and if DOOM hell takes control of that...

Lets just say 'we are so, so fucking screwed' is beyond an understatement.
>> No. 35759
[+] "What happened to those that were in the tower?"
[+] "As much as I'd love to tear some more demons a new one, rest sounds pretty appealing right about now."
-[+] "That crazy sister of yours also did a pretty rough number on my mind. I nearly killed Marisa by accident. Twice."
>> No. 35769
>>35755
Stop talking. None of it is useful and much of it is misspelled.
>> No. 35800
[X] "What happened to those that were in the tower?"
[X] "As much as I'd love to tear some more demons a new one, rest sounds pretty appealing right about now."
[X] "That crazy sister of yours also did a pretty rough number on my mind. I nearly killed Marisa by accident. TWICE."

[X] For later: Have Patchouli make a mix of a stimpack and berserker pack.
>> No. 35830
[X] "What happened to those that were in the tower?"
[X] "As much as I'd love to tear some more demons a new one, rest sounds pretty appealing right about now."
[X] "That crazy sister of yours also did a pretty rough number on my mind. I nearly killed Marisa by accident. TWICE."

[X] For later: Have Patchouli make a mix of a stimpack and berserker pack.

Wow things really hit the fan... though if it was a result of choosing to work for Remilia... then that'd be a dick move on the writer's part. But I do believe in writers being innocent until proven guilty.

But I get the feeling That Remilia moved them somewhere safer. I wonder what happened to Suika in the chaos that broke out.
>> No. 35846
[X] "What happened to those that were in the tower?"
[X] "As much as I'd love to tear some more demons a new one, rest sounds pretty appealing right about now."
[X] "That crazy sister of yours also did a pretty rough number on my mind. I nearly killed Marisa by accident. TWICE."
>> No. 35870
[x] "What happened to those that were in the tower?"
[x] "As much as I'd love to tear some more demons a new one, rest sounds pretty appealing right about now."
[x] "That crazy sister of yours also did a pretty rough number on my mind. I nearly killed Marisa by accident. TWICE."
>> No. 35919
File 127128290240.jpg - (262.31KB , 736x900 , 1270004153302.jpg ) [iqdb]
35919
Apologies for the long delay.

On top of recently moving house, I experienced a major allergy attack this week. All the same, I do intend to have a new chapter up soon.
>> No. 35927
>>35919
Don't die, Mister!
>> No. 35928
>>35919

Who is that in the picture?
>> No. 35929
>>35928
Rei it looks like.
>> No. 35954
File 127142384257.jpg - (53.60KB , 500x375 , touhou-yukkuri-invasion-force-2.jpg ) [iqdb]
35954
>>35919
>>35927

You both should just Take it easy!
>> No. 35986
File 127157833980.png - (169.59KB , 799x498 , pals8.png ) [iqdb]
35986
You slump to the floor.

“Sorry, m’lady, I need a rest. Took a hell of a beating today.”

“Hmph. Good help is so hard to find these days.”

Remilia leaps onto the window sill. Flashes of fire illuminate the cruel vampire as her frown turns to a wicked grin. The crest on your arm pulses painfully as a scene of Remilia’s violent inner world flashes through your head.

“Hey.” You ask. “What happened to the tower?”

“I don’t know. But Hakurei is a strong human; I’d be sorely disappointed if that killed her.”

Remilia launched into the night sky, magic already pulsing around her. You lean back as Patchouli peels away your suit, revealing the gashes, bruises and burns below. You barely feel pain these days; you have gashes you barely noticed.

“I know you’re gonna scold me for getting banged up.”

Patchouli’s hands begin to glow as soothing energy fills them. “I see no point. You’re clearly the sort who has no concern for their own wellbeing.”

“My wellbeing? My wellbeing is the demon’s badbeing.”

“Stop it.” The healing spell rushes into you. “Must you drop one-liners here, of all places?”

“Yeah, I’ll save ‘em for the front.”

Patchouli turns to her medical bag. “How do you feel?”

You listen to her resonation. It remains serene, but a certain tension has overtaken the tune, giving it a frantic undertone.

“Fine.”

“Liar. If you lie to your doctors, you will come to an painful end.”

“Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.”

“Excuse me?”

No t-shirts in Gensokyo? Lame.

There was a rumble outside; the Mansion groans beneath you.

“I confess,” Patchouli begins, pulling bandages around your gashes, “I never imagined there was a force in this world as mind-bogglingly destructive as these Demons.”

“There might be one--”

“I know what you’re going to say: ‘It’s me.’”

“Hey, hey, don’t ruin my one-liners.”

“What happened to saving them for the front?”

As she tends to you, you feel some of your strength flowing back into you. You listen to Patchouli’s song, sinking into it. It’s a nice tune.

“So… what do you hear in my presence?” Patchouli asks, rubbing some alchohol on a particularly nasty gash.

“Bach.” You hiss at the sting.

“Really? I am impressed.”

“Big Bach fan?”

“Is there someone on this world who dislikes Bach?”

“What if I say ‘me?’”

“I would be forced to kill you where you stand.”

She’s joking. You think.

“Prefer Beethoven, myself.”

As she tends to you, the song becomes clearer. It’s not long before she begins the healing spells: she stands over you, speaking an arcane language. It’s better than any medibay they had at the UAC. Man, if only some of your buddies had this…

As Patchouli concludes her spell, you feel renewed, like a good week’s rest. “Welp,” you say, shouldering Vladimir. “Thanks, doc, but I’m late to the party.”

“No.” Patchouli’s voice freezes you. “Just because I pumped you full of healing spells does not mean you are in any condition to fight. One errant curse and all of that magic will experience a catastrophic collapse. You will certainly die.”

That doesn’t sound like fun, but waiting around when you’re full of energy pisses you right the fuck off. You pace Remilia’s throne room, passing the elegant gothic arches and old paintings. “So, what’s the status?”

“With Lady Remilia no longer indisposed, the tide has surely changed.”

“I’m not cool with this.”

“Have some faith in my friend.” Patchouli closes up her bag. “I am going to the front. Stay here and recuperate.”

“Feh.”

Patchouli swiftly exits the throne room. You crouch low, checking Vladimir. You’re down to the eight shells in the chamber; no reloads after that’s out. You mutter a curse. This is boring. You once read that humans can stomach anything except boredom, and you’re feelin’ it.

But there’s never a dull moment in Hell or Gensokyo.

As you brood, a CRASH shatters the calm. A human body smashes a window, hitting the ground and rolling several times. Running to her, you push the body face up to face Sakuya, bloodied and burned.

Yeah, there’s a pulse. A weak one, but she’s not dead yet.

Cacodemons are entering through the windows. One by one, the elegant stain glass shatters into shards, admitting the grinning face of Hell. You narrow your eyes, clutching Vladimir.

BLAM
BLAM
BLAM
BLAM
BLAM
BLAM
BLAM
BLAM


Your vision turns red as you empty Vladimir into the airborne swarm. Six lay dead on the ground, intestines spilling out of their spheroid bodies, but more pour in. It’s a fucking cacoparty.

You holster Vladimir and draw Kusanagi; she hums in your hand, hungry for blood. But it’s a losing fight: twenty-odd Cacos against a moron with a sword. As the first conjures lightning in its mouth, you run. Bolts erupt around you, shattering the architecture. You scoop Sakuya off the ground and sprint for the exit.

The doors burst open onto a flight of stairs leading down to the front room. The maid bounces on your shoulder as you tear down the stairs two at a time. The demons pursue, spewing deadly lightning around you.

The inside of the mansion has been compromised. You curse in new and innovative ways as you dodge down the stairs, imps joining the barrage from the first floor. As you hit the last step, you veer right, deeper into the mansion. You blast through a door and into a kitchen. More demons emerge from the dark as you crash through the mess of pots and pans. You break into the other side--

A small mob of fairies cower in a dining room, surrounded by imps. They huddle together, terrified, powerless to defend themselves. You raise Kusanagi your free arm, ready to protect them.

Cirno crashes through a skylight in a shower of broken glass, dropping between the Imps and the fairies. “Never fear, Cirno is here!”

The demons bear down on Cirno, hissing viciously.

“Ha… HA!”

Icicles spew forth from. You dive behind a pillar only to have a spear plunge through it, mere inches from your head. You peer from behind cover, Sakuya bobbing on your shoulder. To her credit, Cirno did kill two of them. The rest closed in, bleeding from deep puncture wounds.

“Hm. Stronger than I thought.” The blue fairy mutters, recharging for a second attack.

You carefully sit Sakuya against the wall as Cirno resumes her impotent blasts. You step from behind cover. “You know, Cirno.” You work a crick out of your neck. “You really fucking fail.”

“Hey!”

The demons all turn their heads at once -- just in time to catch a faceful of sword. You lunge ahead, swinging ferociously. Seconds later, you’ve crossed the room and they’re dead.

“I softened them up,” says Cirno, proudly.

“Whatever. What’s the situation?” You walk back to Sakuya.

“There’s a lot of fighting!”

“Oh yeah, thanks for the info.”

“Cirno is the best scout.”

You pick up the maid again. “Alright, we need to get somewhere safe until the fighting dies down.”

“Follow Cirno!” The fairy rushes down a hallway. You follow her, cursing; of everyone in this mansion to get stuck with, you end up with the ‘special’ one. As you pursue the twisting curves of the mansion, you can hear the battle outside. The demons seem to be dying in droves, but that’s never stopped them before: you’ve seen demons climb mountains of their own dead to get one human. The fairy-gang follows you timidly.

“So…” one offers, nervously. “I guess you’ve really swept Miss Sakuya off her feet?”

“That’s a joke, right?”

“Umm… yes?”

Fairies: they have a weak sense of humor.

You enter a small chapel, complete with pews leading up to a small Christian altar. The roof suddenly vaulted up over the altar, flanked on all sides by stain glass windows. You glance out a window; graves line the mansion outside. “Cirno, any reason we came here?”

“Of course, demons fear the cross.”

You stare at her as she bows midair.

“You’re welcome.”

“Cirno,” you growl, “Just who the hell told you that works on this lot?”

The fairy ponders the question. “Well, Sunny Milk told me that all demons fear the cross…”

“And where did she learn that?”

“She said she saw it on some weird moving pictures Patchouli found in the library. I didn’t believe her--”
Cirno pauses, sensing the pure fury radiating off your body. “Is… um… What’s with that look? That’s a scary face.” You carefully place Sakuya in a secluded corner. “Take care of her,” you say to the fairies. “This is up to you.” They all nod solemnly, gathering around the maid.

You turn, Kusanagi readied for the inevitable onslaught. If you get hit, Patchy’s hard-wrought spells are all going to come apart inside you. That energy will have no place to go, except through your muscles and organs.

Like a bomb going off.

You spit on the ground.

There’s a deep rumbling--

The door explodes inward, blasted to splinters.

An Archvile stands triumphant in the hall, arms held high. In the next second, zombies spill into the chapel, growling, slobbering, hungry for flesh.

“Cirno!” You shout, dropping into a low stance.

“Eh?”

“Icicles. On the ceiling. Now.”

The demons shamble forward. “Eh?”

“Make icicles on the ceiling, Cirno…”

“Why? Cirno wants to fight too…”

“For the love of god, just do it!”

Cirno flies to the ceiling with a ‘hmph.’ The zombies for a solid wall, stumbling over the pews awkwardly. There’s a lot of ‘em…

You gather your will. No choice. You raise your blade high and scream “FREEEEEEDOOOOOM!”

You plow into the dead, hacking at them haphazardly. Rotten bodies plunge to the ground around you, a solid carpet of the dead. No fancy kendo for you: you rush ahead, bashing them madly as blood flies through the air. The Archvile pumps them full of health, endlessly stitching the gashes you make. Frustrating as hell, but at least he can’t blast you if he’s distracted by casualties.

You slowly retreat toward the altar. Up above, Cirno carpets the ceiling with icicles, the demons blind to her efforts. You pray this works as you pull back. The fairies drag Sakuya as far back as they can, behind the altar.

As you retreat, you hear Cirno’s proud shout: “Fin’d!”

You glance up. The ceiling has a fine carpet of icicles. And now the tricky part. You rush back towards Sakuya, ducking projectiles hurled by zombies.

“Cirno,” you say, standing over the maid, “Drop ‘em.”

You have half a second to live or die. As the icicles plunge toward your head, you gather your breath and swing the sword. The second lasts for an eternity: your death by icicle impalement plays through your head.

CRACK

Kusanagi swipes the icicle out of midair. The demons aren’t so lucky. The sharp rain crush them to the last man, in a satisfying display of carnage. You breathe a sigh of relief; this fight is over, at the least.

Except it’s not.

The Archvile emerges from a pile of corpses, stumbling haphazardly. Before the fall it made a solid barrier of undead around itself, an impromptu shield that almost worked. A shard of ice sticks out of its forehead -- you can imagine the tip protruding into the corrupt grey flesh within. What’s it thinking? Does it know it’s going to die? Does it care?

It raises its arms, trying to conjure fire. Shit. You rush at it, sword raised high. Fires jumps and starts around you as the Archvile struggles with its magic, trying to turn a spark into a blast. Shit, you’re too slow -- fire gathers around you -- dammit!

A dozen knives embed themselves in the Archviles’ body. It stumbles a few steps more before collapsing a few feet away from you.

You turn.

Sakuya stands behind you, battered, bloodied, but strong; knives still clutched between her fingers. The fairies fuss over her, tittering to themselves.

After a long moment, you compose yourself: “Thanks.”

Sakuya nods. “I must thank you for your efforts. They transcend the heroic.”

You stare blankly. Too many long words after too much fighting.

“Never mind. We must plan our next steps.”

There’s something you can get behind. You jog to her, standing in front of the altar. The fairies crowd about; Cirno descends and joins the gang. “Cirno’s efforts tras-trans- are heroic too!”

“Yes, of course,” Sakuya pats Cirno on the head. “You were very good.”

“What next?”

“Right. At the time of my incapacitation, I had been sent to find Marisa and bring her back safely to Lady Remilia.”

You have a sinking feeling. “What happened to her?”

“She’s currently massacring the demons on the west side of the Mansion. Lady Remilia has a plan to purge the Mansion’s grounds entirely -- but she needs everyone to congregate around her to guarantee their safety. I have already rounded up the staff and secured them, but Marisa is still missing.”

“What about Reimu and Alice?”

Sakuya nods. “Both alive and well. Alice recovered sufficiently to escape the tower with Reimu.”

A rare mercy. Now, to get Marisa to safety. “I intended to move through the catacombs to bypass the demons and rescue Marisa. However… that would entail exposing ourselves to Flandre. She’s become obsessed with you, and will pursue you as long as you’re in the catacombs. It’s a risk, but it’s the fastest way.”

“Cirno has a plan.”

“Oh, I hope it’s as good as the church one,” you drone.

“It’s even better! Cirno will lead you over the rooftops. That’s even faster!”

“And more dangerous,” Sakuya adds. “We would be vulnerable to every demon here -- although that may well be preferable to dealing with Flandre.”

“But it’s perfectly safe as long as Cirno the Mighty is with you.” Cirno puffs out her chest proudly.

“Time is of the essence.” Sakuya nods. “Guts -- your choice.”

You…

[ ]…take the roof.
[ ]…take the catacombs.
>> No. 35987
[x]…take the catacombs

What can I say, I loves me some batshit insane Flandre.
>> No. 35988
[x]…take the catacombs
>> No. 35989
[x]…take the catacombs
>> No. 35993
[ ]…take the catacombs.
>> No. 35995
Demon legion...or Flandre...demon legion...Flandre...demon legion...or Flandre.

[x]…take the catacombs

Sakuya's in no condition to take on an army and Cirno's not exactly the most effective fighter. Maybe we can mindfuck Flandre even worse than she already is and get her to help us out somehow without trying to murder us.
>> No. 36046
[x] …take the catacombs
C H O M P
>> No. 36661
RIP
>> No. 37681
File 127457969060.gif - (250.47KB , 619x647 , _BLAME__by_DJ_ERASER.gif ) [iqdb]
37681
[HEY GUYS I’M BACK DID YOU MISS ME

I totally didn’t get sidetracked by multiplayer FPS games. And Sengoku Rance. And Ergo Proxy. And Blame!.]

You kick open the doors to the catacombs with a loud THUD.

Looks like something in the tunnels under Paris: stairs stretching down into a branching tunnel filled with bones. As you march down the stairs, Sakuya at one side, Cirno at the other, you keep Kusanagi balanced over your shoulder in a suitably badass fashion. Sakuya sealed the other fairies behind a barrier that should keep the small fries out.

“Where is Flandre down here?” You glance back as the catacomb doors slam shut, plunging you into darkness.

With a word, Sakuya summons a light that leads ahead. “She wanders the underground freely. It is difficult to say where she is precisely at any particular time.”

“Hmph.”

“You think we should keep her under tighter security.”

“Duh.”

“I’m afraid that would make the situation worse. You see… Flandre has tremendous powers. Sealing her more tightly would be akin to cappinga geyser.”

“Force under pressure?”

The maid leads you ahead sure-footedly. “More or less.”

Sakuya wings a right, leading you to a bridge over a sullied underground river. Green with scum it languidly works its way under a bridge. Refuse peeks above the opaque surface.

“The sewage system.” Sakuya crosses the bridge. “Lady Flandre’s presence makes it difficult to clean.”

“Pour some napalm down the drain. It might help.”

“Now that would be a terrible thing to do Lady Flandre’s home, wouldn’t it?!” You recoil as Sakuya rasps out the words.

“Eh?!”

Sakuya turns around, frowning. “Is there some problem?”

“What did you just say?”

“I said nothing.”

“Gutsy’s cracking up! Gusty’s cracking up!” Cirno flies around you in circles, chanting like a four-year-old.

“Come on.” You wave her away. “Let’s go.”

Sakuya frowns at you, but she carries on anyway. “You must stay close, Cirno.”

“Ha! Cirno is fully capable of protecting herself!” The girl puffs her chest out confidentially. Like a gorilla. But not a smart gorilla, like Koko. A dumb gorilla.

“How long until we get there?”

“Just a few minutes more. But I, I suppose, will not reach the exit. No, I suspect you’ll prevent that!

Your heart pounds; your knuckles tighten around kusanagi.

“What’d you say?”

“Just a few minutes longer, I said. Guts, are you well?”

“I’m fine. Just get us out of here.”

You reach another sewage ditch, no less disgusting. Cirno wrinkles her nose. “Napalm idea sounds like a pretty idea right now. I wonder what would happen if I poured it down my throat… and lit a match.

Your heart pounds unmercifully in your chest. You shouldn’t be afraid. You cannot be afraid. You’ve stared hell in the face and spat in its eye, but this force… it makes you want to take Sakuya in your arms and… ever so slowly… squeeze her throat…

Shit. It’s in your head. Maybe you’ve fallen to your knees, you can’t tell. Maybe the contents of your stomach evacuated, you can’t tell.

Imagine tying down Cirno… take a knife… and see what she looks like without those wings…

You try to keep the images out of your head. You can’t be certain what you’ll do, or if, when you’ll give in. Clawing to semiconsciousness, you find yourself sitting against a wall. Sakuya crouched in front you. Sticky sweat runs down your forehead, running into your eyes and blurring your vision.

“Gutsy!” Cirno flutters behind her, looking panicked.

“Go without me,” you wheeze. Something is clawing on your chest, trying to get out. And when it does…

“No. Never. Cirno, scout ahead.” Sakuya pulls you upright and lifts your arm over her shoulders. Together you limp ahead, Cirno flitting about your head.

“You aren’t safe with me…” Kusanagi scrapes along the ground. “I…”

Sakuya shakes her head. “No. Lady Remilia would never forgive me; no, I would never forgive myself if I abandoned you. So soldier on. You are a soldier? Act like one. I Rape me, you bastard. Push me to the ground and beat me until I surrender. You know you want it, you want to break and destroy and dominate. Set all your desires loose.”

#####################################################################################

“Are you still with us?”

You must have blacked out.

“Well, I can feel your pulse. Guts, we are almost out. Although I am concerned… Flandre seems to be asleep. So strange, she has never been so placid before.”

You’re crossing over a bridge. Suddenly, a vision grips you.

“Guts-- what are you--” Sakuya hits the deck. A dark shape stands over her, fists clenched tight, hard as hammers. “What has come over you?!”

The figure crouches down, straddling the maid. She starts to crawl away, but he grabs her arm, dragging her back. Sakuya’s hand swings around with a knife, but the shape grabs her wrist and twists. She screams, trying to escape, but there’s a sickening CRACK and her arm falls limply to her side. Pale, terrified, she tries to speak but a first jams into her mouth -- she can’t utter the incantations -- she quivers as the other hand rips open her shirt.


“Guts? Please, you are hurting me.”

You come around again. Your arm has tightened around Sakuya like a vise. As you release your grip, you weigh your options. Sakuya and Cirno are both in danger as long as you’re present. Maybe, if only they could go on ahead, you might delay it long enough. You could save the two in your sight, if absolutely nothing else.

Thing again, maybe you can resist it until you escape this hellhole. No, you can survive this, you know it. But the thought of putting these two in danger leaves a foul taste in your mouth. All of this… you did not come all this way to become what you hate. No, never, dammit! The one enemy you can’t beat with a sword…!

Suddenly, Sakuya stops. “Miss Flandre?”

You open your eyes. Someone stands in the semidarkness up ahead, face totally invisible in the dark.

“Miss Flandre, I need your help. We need to see your sister.”

But, as you stare into the dank depths, a light begins to shimmer, a point of hellish red light from Flandre’s forehead. The pinprick expands, forming itself into a shape -- a circle, with a thin, pointed line driven through the bottom.

“Guts, this… I have never seen this before.”

A dark whispering fills the air. You can’t make it out, but you know what it is. The voice…

“Flandre!” You shout as loudly as you can, praying she’s just below the surface. Sure enough, the emblem flickers. “Yeah, you still hungry for me?!”

“Toy?” Her voice whimpers.

“Yeah, it’s me. Flandre -- I’ll give you whatever you want, even my blood, if you get these two out of here. To your sister, got it?”

There’s a long silence.

“No.”

“What?”

“I said no.” The red emblem vanishes. It’s all Flandre. “You tricked me once. You only get to trick me ONCE!

There’s a burst of fire from the end of the tunnel. Sakuya throws you both to the ground as Cirno goes high. The jet of flame blows past, singeing your hair. “Miss Flandre, stop this at once! Your sister will be very angry!”

Ah, she’s not ripe yet. Well, let it never be said that we did not know how to bide our time. But look -- you’re as ripe as we could ever hope for. Look at all that malice swirling inside you, a veritable maelstrom of evil intentions. Now, all you need to do to escape our voices is carry out your deepest desire on a helpless female form...”

You look up at Sakuya, picking herself up off the floor. No. If there is one thing you can’t accept, it’s this. You absolutely refuse. Even if you need every modicum of self-control -- but you can’t be sure you’ll make it out of this nightmare. Even know, your hands are curling into fists. Even know, the vision plays in your head over and over again.

You…

[ ]…cannot trust yourself. Flee into the darkness, and hope they don’t follow; pray you are never found.
[ ]…send them on ahead. Ask them to find Remilia. If anyone can fix this, it’s her... your master.
[ ]…go on. You know yourself, and you know you’ll never give in to this malice running through you.
>> No. 37690
[x]…cannot trust yourself. Flee into the darkness, and hope they don’t follow; pray you are never found.
>> No. 37691
[x]…send them on ahead. Ask them to find Remilia. If anyone can fix this, it’s her... your master.

Remilia always helps her servents when they're in need.
>> No. 37692
[X]…send them on ahead. Ask them to find Remilia. If anyone can fix this, it’s her... your master.

DAMN, it's good to see ya back, Mr. U.

On another note...FFFFFFFFFFFFF--what the hell did Flan do to us?!
>> No. 37695
[X]…cannot trust yourself. Flee into the darkness, and hope they don’t follow; pray you are never found.

I don't think those voices are because of Flandre...
>> No. 37697
>>37695

I think it's a mixture of Flan's insanity, our own insanity, plus probably some slight prodding from Remi to make one big clusterfuck mentality.
>> No. 37702
>>37697

I think it's actually the DOOM demons.

Remember, youkai are the Japanese wording for demons.
>> No. 37703
>>37702

...them too.
>> No. 37709
[x]…send them on ahead. Ask them to find Remilia. If anyone can fix this, it’s her... your master.
>>37702
Well not quite, it's a bland, contextless translation to simply do a youkai -> demon, the cultural connections to other relevant subjects, like afterlife are completely different.
>> No. 37712
>>37695
SOME part must be. Unless it's a coincidence that it just happened on the catacombs.

[x]…send them on ahead. Ask them to find Remilia. If anyone can fix this, it’s her... your master.
>> No. 37776
[x]…send them on ahead. Ask them to find Remilia. If anyone can fix this, it’s her... your master.

Help me, Mr. Wizard!

And then Guts was the Icon of Sin.

...It does seem to want us to be committing some pretty sinny things.
>> No. 37780
[x]…send them on ahead. Ask them to find Remilia. If anyone can fix this, it’s her... your master.
>> No. 37789
>>37776
I think 'rape and kill Sakuya' ranks up pretty high on the sin-o-meter.
>> No. 37795
>>37776

Speaking of the Icon of Sin, will it be in the story?
>> No. 37797
>>37789
Yes. That would be more or less exactly why I said that.
>> No. 37820
File 127477751353.png - (219.11KB , 397x764 , weirdimpfinalsmall.png ) [iqdb]
37820
You rest on a wall while Sakuya fusses over you.

“Go on without me--”

“I have already refused to do any such thing.”

“Listen! Find Remilia. She can fix this.”

“I do not understand you, Guts! What is wrong? Why won’t you tell me?”

“Just do it!” you snarl. “Go! NOW!”

Sakuya thinks it over, tugging on a strand of hair. Cirno looks on, paralyzed with worry.

“Very well. Cirno, you stay--”

“No! Both of you!” Dammit, why will no one listen to you when it’s this important?!

“I cannot--”

“Don’t you get it? I’m not safe to be around! Something is happening to me, to my mind, but Remilia can fix it! GO! GET! Before I do something I can’t take back!”

Sakuya recoils, backing off a few steps. “I cannot say I understand, but I will trust you. Do not move from this spot. Cirno!”

Sakuya runs down the tunnel, Cirno flying behind her. Quiet at last. Your only companion is the slow movement of the water and the dank bricks of the catacombs. As you exhale, your grip tightens on Kusanagi. “You can come out now.”

The glowing sign -- a red circle, a line through the bottom -- appears on the far wall.

“I don’t know what the fuck you are, or what you want with me, but I must sincerely beg that you back the fuck off before I lop something off.” The sign glows brighter, a grim shade of red. You drag yourself upright. “Fine. If that’s how it’s going to be--”

Pain rips into your skull as images flash by. Your comrades -- at last, you can remember their faces -- are cut down around you in a rain of fire and bullets. You charge ahead, space marines on all sides -- fire and plasma rain down around you, filling the air with screams -- everyone is cut, shredded, burned --

You claw back to consciousness. The mark is gone from the wall, but you can pick up a resonation in the distance -- it’s Flandre. You don’t think she’ll stop with a bit of shouting this time. Muttering an apology to Sakuya, you sprint down the nearest tunnel, hanging a series of random lefts and right. But the resonance only gets stronger --

Red. Lots of red. You hit the deck just in time to dodge the jet fire blasting past your head. You roll and rise again, quickly changing direction down a different tunnel. Looks like your only company down here is Flandre, the voice, and the dead.

You burst out of the tunnel and into a large, circular room. Up above is a glass dome that admits some kind of natural light -- could it be the outside? You realize there are no other exits -- just line of murals on the wall, covered in an arcane language. It’s Remilia -- and Flandre, both as children. Remilia leads her younger sister by the hand, through an ancient German city. Flandre is afraid, always following her sister closely. But one day, the hand of a stranger grasped Flandre’s hand and dragged her into the dark…

You turn to see someone standing at the entrance. Someone with Christmas Lights nailed to their back.

“Flandre.” You back away, holding Kusanagi at the ready.

“Why?” Her voice sounds almost tearful. “Why is it that you… you… smell so delicious?

“I want to keep you close to me. I want to hold you tightly. I want to feed on you. I want to make you like me, so you can stay here forever. But my sister. I smell her on you. How could you betray me like that? You were my plaything. Mine. Mine. Mine!” She stomps her foot, childishly. “I trusted you. I tried to leave my mark on you… but Remi wouldn’t let me. I hate her. I hate her! I want to rip out her intestines and rip out the organs and rip and tear and bite until you can’t recognize her!” Her scream echos in the glass dome. “But you, you chose her instead of me! That mark… how I hate it… how I want to get rid of it… so there’s only one thing to do. I’m gonna rip your arm off!”

Red fills your vision as Flandre rushes you. You roll aside, feeling claws whipping over your head. You rise and retreat along the circular wall. Flandre follows grinning widely, her Christmas Lights shining brightly. You raise Kusanagi.

“Useless. Useless. It’s useless!” Flandre rushes you. The sense of death fills your ears as Kusanagi flies out of your hands, knocked aside. You throw a punch, only to feel the sharp bite of her fangs. Instantly, your world goes dim as she drains blood. Remilia’s crest aches, glowing faintly. Just over Flandre’s head floats the sign: a red circle with a line -- or a nail? -- driven through the bottom. “Feel it. Feel it. FEEL ME! Feel us…

Suddenly, the pain goes dim, and you’re alone in a void, standing in knee-deep water. A pinprick of fiery light appears over you; as you shade your eyes, the darkness peels away to show an alien sky. Phobos. As you look around, you realize you’re standing in a sewage swamp outside Phobos base, visible only as a brown walls rising over a flat, rocky desert, something the buildings peaking over the top. You’re still in your UAC armor, not the suit Remilia gave you.

Something grabs your leg.

You twist free, stumbling back. Slowly, something rises from the green sludge. It’s… a zombie?. His nose and eyes are chewed away, leaving a hideous, nauseating visage. He’s wearing a UAC uniform under a charred husk of armor. But there’s something in the face you recognize, all the same -- something…

“Sarge?” you gasp, stumbling back. But, all around you, more zombies, half-devoured, burned alive, eviscerated by gunfire, rise from the sewage. You know all the faces, or at least guess who they were. Your comrades, all those who died on the long road here -- no, no, no! They’re dead! They’re…

But there’s one question on all their minds. As they close in, driving you against the wall, they all whisper it.

Why

Why

Why

Why did you live


and why did we die?!

“I tried!” You reach for some handhold on the sheer wall of Phobos Base, but find no purchase. “I tried to save all of you!”

The faces. You can’t bear to look at them, those poor bastards you left behind. Their hands reach out for you, closing around your legs.

Why

Why

Why

Why did you get to live?


They’re dragging you down, pulling you into sludge. You fight them back, throwing your fists but they just keep grabbing on, leaving streaks of rotted liquid flesh trailing on your clothes. The whispering fills your ears, blocking out all other sound with horrible thoughts.

Guts… we understand now… You will lead us to victory!

No. No. No. No. Wrong. You lived… you lived because you clawed your way to life… but you can’t bear to look them in the face, to see what became of your brothers in arms. As they drag you down into the sludge, you release an animal scream of rage and anguish, a guttural noise. But, somehow, a word escapes from that chaos.

“REMILIA!”

crack

The sky cracks like glass. You reach upwards as the glass breaks apart…

You’re in the dome as it shatters, raining glass all around. Flandre screams with fury as you reach high. Remilia’s hand grabs yours, small but strong. “Now, now, sister. You know better than to play with other people’s toys.” Her black wings extend majestically, spanning the room. As you sweep out of Flandre’s reach you swipe Kusanagi off of the floor.

Remilia lifts you up and out of the dome. Together you escape into the night sky, the glory of the moon shining on you as it sinks to the far horizon.

“Sounds like you had quite a nightmare. I suppose I must add you to the list of the few who have encountered Flandre and survived -- more than once.” She flaps her wings, lifting you over the mansion. Down below you can see the battle raging, a lightshow of fire and magic dancing in bleak darkness. Sakuya stands astride a turret, raining knives on the cacodemons and pain elemental coming in high. She pauses to waves at you. “However, I ask much more of you now. Patchouli will doubtless chastise me for abusing you in your injured state, but it must be done.”

“Remilia.” You see China, fighting tooth and nail on the front steps of the Mansion. Her fists send demons hurling back, smashing their bones and rupturing their corrupt organs.

“Yes?”

“There’s something in the catacombs. Besides Flandre.”

There’s a long silence as you fly towards an outer tower.

“A voice. Like the worst parts of yourself speaking to you.” Remilia’s voice takes on a bitter cast.

“That’s the one.” She knows it.

“I see.” Her voice is soft, thoughtful. “That’s how it is.”

“Dammit, Remilia, what was it?” The ruined faces of your comrades flicker through your mind. “Tell me!”

“Even if I told you, you could do nothing about it. Just be glad you did not give in. I shudder to think what you would have done to Sakuya.”

Together, you alight on the balcony of the tower. “Remilia, I need answers. I heard that voice in my head.” Goddamit, can anyone be straightforward around here? “I deserve the truth!”

“You can’t handle the truth, but come along. There’s work to be done… and the dawn has almost arrived.” You follow Remilia into the tower interior.

It’s a sort of workshop -- obscure texts line the wall, moldy with age. A desk, piled high with arcane devices you can’t identify, is pushed against the wall. A book lies open, written in one of the impossibly old language that only people smarter than you speak. A telescope pokes out of a window, dusty and unused. “Where are we?”

“My workshop. It does become old, being a perfect socialite who is the envy of all Gensokyo. When I become weary of my adoring fans I retire to this place.” She flips through the pages of a tome, eyes flicking across the words. “And now, it shall become the place where we turn this invasion back.”

“And how’s that?” You lean against a wall.

“The Ritual of the Medusa. I prepared it when I first came here -- before I even imagined such an invasion could occur.” She gives a short, bitter laugh. “And now, my dear Familiar, you will become the catalyst.”

“That so.”

“Of course!” She smiles widely, showing a worrying array of teeth. “I shall have to start a statuary once we complete it. Oh, I’ve always wanted one of those!”

“So, what do we do to enact this master plan of yours?”

“All I need is a drop of blood… and a kiss.”

“Sounds too good to be true. Must be a downside.”

“Ever the suspicious one, I see.”

“Where I come from, random wall panels open to reveal hordes of demons hiding in empty rooms. It pays.”

“Demon behavior is quite odd… although the behavior of the humans who added those empty rooms in a techbase is somewhat odder.” Remilia shrugs. “In any case it is really time we begun. I would hate to see any more of my mansion ruined by these ruffians.”

“Oh, yes. We must save the antiques.”

“Some of them came all the way from Transylvania!” Remilia finds her page. “Now, for the incantation--”

slam slam slam

Someone hammers loudly on the door. Your hand goes to Kusanagi. “Who’s there?”

“Patchouli! Remilia, I must speak with you at once.”

“Patchy… I thought you were aiding the defense.”

“Remilia… Lady Scarlet… I know what you intend to do, and I cannot condone it. If you do--”

“Patchouli… you really must return to the front.”

“--I will not allow you to sacrifice someone in such a way. Come to your senses! The situation is dire, but surely you don’t need to resort to such measures.”

“Patchouli Knowledge, I need you to be quiet.”

“Guts! If you go through with this, you will almost certainly--”

Remilia mutters a high-speed incantation, and Patchouli falls silent on the other side of the door.

“What’d you do?” you ask, eyes shifting between Remilia and the door.

“I put a sound seal on the door. Patchouli cannot pester us any longer~”

You go to the window.

“What are you doing? I have need of you.”

“Just what are you trying to hide from me?” You growl. You can see the battle raging outside, lighting up the night. Something swoops over head, and an entire strip of land lights up. An entire column of demons dissolves into fire. You can see Marisa faintly reflected in the light. Everything burns; Meiling slowly retreats towards the front door, making them pay in blood for every step they take. Sakuya darts about the rooftop, massacring airborne demons. You can see Alice’s dolls darting around the outside as well, knifing demons expertly.

“Guts…” Her voice is soft, almost sad or betrayed. “Do you really think I would hurt you?”

You say…

[ ]… “No. I trust you.”
[ ]… “I need to hear what Patchouli has to say.”
>> No. 37821
Fan met shit in a big way. And it's only the second thread!

[X]… “I need to hear what Patchouli has to say.”

Remi's hiding something from us. Just what is it that she really wants from us? Of all people, Patchy might know. If she's that strongly opposed against it to back off from fighting, it must be serious.

On another note...I kinda feel even worse for Flan now.
>> No. 37823
[ ]… “No. I trust you.”

Seriously kicking myself for this one but for some reason I want to believe in Remilia. Maybe it's cause I'm such a sucker for her...

In before Scarlet Servant votes [ ]… “No. I trust you.” also
>> No. 37827
[X]… “I need to hear what Patchouli has to say.”
>> No. 37846
[x]… “I need to hear what Patchouli has to say.”
Trust is earned, not given. The one that is given without receiving nothing in return is fake.
>> No. 37867
[x]… “No. I trust you.”

>>37823
How'd you know?
>> No. 37868
[X]… “I need to hear what Patchouli has to say.”

Note that she quickly switched the subject when asked about the downside. That's not exactly trustworthy behavior.
>> No. 37873
[x]… “I need to hear what Patchouli has to say.”

I'd think Patchouli would be looking out for our interests more than Remilia who might have considered Guts a broken toy.
>> No. 37891
[X]… “I need to hear what Patchouli has to say.”

I prefer not to die due to our 'benefactor' trying something out that even she isn't too sure of the effects.

If we are to die, it will be to the Cyber-Demon, Spider Mastermind, or the Icon of Sin itself, not some random mistake from one of our allies.
>> No. 37905
>>37867

Apart from being psychic? Cause you're a huge Remifag even more so then I am. Heh that and just seeing the pattern in your votes when it concerns Remilia.
>> No. 37912
>>37905

Remi and Flan tie for first place in my favorite Touhou character list. With them being right in front of every other character from EoSD. I do kind of get influenced against my better judgment when a vote involves anything about those two, but if I really thought that the choice would only lead to a bad end then I wouldn't vote for it. Remilia thinks of us as a toy yes, but she may have need of us even after this thing that she wants us to do. If that is the case then she would do everything in her power to try and get everything to work properly and efficiently. However I know I may be wrong and this vote for trusting her may be an immediate death trap. If it is it really doesn't matter that I voted for it because I knew hoped that anon would do the smart thing in this situation and ignore my devotion to my lady, then go to bandwagon the other vote which seems all around smarter. I can’t believe that I just wrote a paragraph response to that.
>> No. 38038
File 127494494696.jpg - (11.51KB , 380x554 , classydoom.jpg ) [iqdb]
38038
[Remember, this is a no-bad-end CYOA. Keep that in mind when voting on this update.

I just noticed I labeled chapter 19 as chapter 18. I am stupid.

Also, apologies for the shortness, but I couldn’t find a good way to stretch this.]

“I need to hear what Patchouli has to say.”

You throw the door open.

You caught Patchouli just as she was preparing a spell, presumably to blast the door down. She looks up in surprise, her mouth forming a small O.“Hey Patches.” You’re the king of casual. “What’s up?” You feel Remilia staring daggers at your back.

Patchouli looks slightly the worse for wear, with a bandage wrapped around her arm, a couple of scrapes, bruising on the face, and some singed hair. She gasps, catching her breath. “Guts… thank goodness…” She stumbles as she steps inside; you grab her arm and help her reach a seat.

“What’s up?” You avoid Remilia.

Patchouli catches her breath. “Guts… Remilia’s ritual… she and I laid it in place a long time ago, as a weapon of last resort. In short, any unwanted stranger on the grounds will be irrevocably turned to stone. In this case -- if all goes according to plan -- the demons will be destroyed in one fell swoop. However, there is a price to be paid.” Patchouli stares straight into your eyes.

“Yeah, what?”

“The catalyst will also be turned to stone.”

You break and look at Remilia. She averts her eyes demurely, face unreadable. So… she meant to sacrifice you to save the rest of the mansion and those in it.

“Sneaky, Remilia.” You watch her as she curls a lock of hair around her finger. “Why the trick?”

“Must I order you to obey?”

“Just give me an answer.”

She stares you down, face locked in a harsh frown. “I had Flandre snatched away from me. When she came back… she was no longer herself. I lost the one person in the world most precious to me. Not again. Never again. If I must sacrifice you to save my Mansion… my friends and servants… then so be it. What objection could you possibly raise? You define yourself in opposition to the demons. I can see no more fitting death.”

“So. I don’t count. I’m not one of your precious friends.”

Remilia stares at you coldly, face unreadable.

“Hey, hey, I might just have agreed if you asked politely. But no, you tried to trick me.” You sigh. “Patchouli, you’re saying I get turned into a rock if I do this?”

“Yes. Guts, I… if you wish to sacrifice yourself in this manner, I will not stop you. I would not be able to sleep at night knowing that Remilia took advantage of you.”

“Yeah, I get it.” You shrug. Well, shit. You’re not about to die like this -- when you die, it’ll be fighting tooth and nail on the plains of Hell, not here -- and you’re not becoming Remilia’s statue.

thud-THUD

You rush to the window.

thud-THUD

He’s out there. You can smell him on the wind, that acrid stink of sulfur and rotted flesh. The Cyberdemon’s coming.

The tree line bursts into fire as he emerges, crushing lesser demons under his hooves, bellowing in the hellish language. The demons form up behind him and charge again. They scale their dead in a wall of evil, screaming, roaring, hungry for flesh. And the only thing between them and the mansion: China and Sakuya. The maid rains knives down on the horde from the ceiling, darting around the retaliatory barrage, while exhausted Meiling makes her stand.

Dammit, this fight can’t be won -- and dawn’s only a few hours away! You curse to yourself, turning around. Death sounds pretty good if you can drag the Cybbie down with you. Remilia stares at you, dead serious. “Guts… I… ask you, please, do this for me. For those you have come to know here.”

Patchouli bites her lip.

But you just watch. Meiling raises her fists as the hulking Cyberdemon draws close, growling. She rushes him, darting around the rockets and throwing a fist at his chest. The Cybbie stumbles, but swings his rocket launcher around in a wide arc. Meiling takes it square on the chin and sails aside. Demons crush in around her as she struggles to her feet.

Overhead, Marisa swings around, raining magic. In the mystic glare of spellcasting you can see blood running down her forehead, the injuries that cover her body. How many of them were caused by demons -- and how many by her own exhaustion, the strain from casting constantly.

Meiling rises again, beating back the demons, but she’s lost some of her nerve. Fighting all night -- it’s taken a toll. And here you are, watching from a safe tower. Dammit. Dammit!

You…

[ ]…go down and join the fray. “I’ll do this the old-fashioned way.”
[ ]…sacrifice yourself. “Even if I ran there, what could I do? Stab the demons, all of them? I couldn’t save my comrades on Mars. But not this time; I can still save you and yours.”
>> No. 38042
No bad ends, eh?

[X]…sacrifice yourself. “Even if I ran there, what could I do? Stab the demons, all of them? I couldn’t save my comrades on Mars. But not this time; I can still save you and yours.”
>> No. 38044
>>38042
Enjoy your heroic sacrifice end?

No vote since I have no idea myself yet.
>> No. 38056
[ ]…go down and join the fray. “I’ll do this the old-fashioned way.”
>> No. 38058
[x]…go down and join the fray. “I’ll do this the old-fashioned way.”

Die fighting.
>> No. 38062
[X] "So that's it, then. My life is completely meaningless to you. Having saved some of the residents here and then I get tossed aside? May I be the first to say that that's complete bullshit?"
[X] "Sure, you gave me a few new fancy toys to go hunting with. But let me ask you this, milady: you may be able to live knowing you sacrificed someone to save yourself, but really...how do you think everyone else is gonna feel? That you turned the very person that saved quite a few of your servants' lives plus the lives of others was sacrificed just so you could save yourself?"
[X] "These demons could easily rise up another time. And who's gonna save your ass then? Huh? Gonna find another sap to make into another statue?"
[X] …go down and join the fray. “I’ll do this the old-fashioned way. If I go down, it's not gonna be the way of the coward.”

Surrounded by the Bolivian army demons, our defenses weakened, betrayed by our master...well fuck.
>> No. 38063
[x]…sacrifice yourself. “Even if I ran there, what could I do? Stab the demons, all of them? I couldn’t save my comrades on Mars. But not this time; I can still save you and yours.”
-[x] Keep in mind that I will not do this for you, Master: If only you were on the line, I'd leave your sorry ass in a heartbeat. However, it'd really unfair for everyone else to take the fall for your bullshit. Something, I'm sure, happens a lot.

So yeah, a bit of trash talk but I'll still go with the garden ornament end. at least to read how the rest of Gensokyo is destroyed thanks to the brillant plan of a spoiled brat.
>> No. 38064
[x]…sacrifice yourself. “Even if I ran there, what could I do? Stab the demons, all of them? I couldn’t save my comrades on Mars. But not this time; I can still save you and yours.”
-[x] Keep in mind that I will not do this for you, Master: If only you were on the line, I'd leave your sorry ass in a heartbeat. However, it'd really unfair for everyone else to take the fall for your bullshit. Something, I'm sure, happens a lot.
let's see what happens to the "no bad end" part of the story...
>> No. 38067
[X] "So that's it, then. My life is completely meaningless to you. Having saved some of the residents here and then I get tossed aside? May I be the first to say that that's complete bullshit?"
[X] "Your servants are all out here protecting your sorry ass, and here you are, all safe and sound inside here. Guess I should have seen this coming."
[X] "Sure, you gave me a few new fancy toys to go hunting with. But let me ask you this, milady: you may be able to live knowing you sacrificed someone to save yourself, but really...how do you think everyone else is gonna feel? That you turned the very person that saved quite a few of your servants' lives plus the lives of others was sacrificed just so you could save yourself?"
[X] "These demons could easily rise up another time. And who's gonna save your ass then? Huh? Gonna find another sap to make into another statue?"
[X] Sync with Remilia. She owes you big time, anyway.
[X] …go down and join the fray. “I’ll do this the old-fashioned way. If I go down, it's not gonna be the way of the coward.”

I wonder if we can sync with Remilia and Patchouli at the same time. That way, we'd have enough magic in us to not even need the sacrifice.

DOUBLE SYNC POWEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRR!!!!

Po-po-po-po-po-po-power! *boom*
>> No. 38076
[x]…go down and join the fray. “I’ll do this the old-fashioned way.”

I just can't see how being turned to stone for all eternity wouldn't be a bad/sad end. That and it's a temporary solution for a problem that's anything but temporary.

And there's so many things to resolve, such as telling Marisa that Alice is alive and well.
>> No. 38083
[x]…go down and join the fray. “I’ll do this the old-fashioned way.”
>> No. 38085
[x]…sacrifice yourself. “Even if I ran there, what could I do? Stab the demons, all of them? I couldn’t save my comrades on Mars. But not this time; I can still save you and yours.”
-[x] Keep in mind that I will not do this for you, Master: If only you were on the line, I'd leave your sorry ass in a heartbeat. However, it'd really unfair for everyone else to take the fall for your bullshit. Something, I'm sure, happens a lot.

>No bad ends
I was going to vote for not, but seeing as you said this then I couldn't resist. However I cannot accept myself voting for that write-in so I won't vote for it.
>> No. 38086
[x]…go down and join the fray. “I’ll do this the old-fashioned way.”

While I'd love to have a snappy speech, I think it's best to just be straightforward.
>> No. 38094
>>38067
[x] "So that's it, then. My life is completely meaningless to you. Having saved some of the residents here and then I get tossed aside? May I be the first to say that that's complete bullshit?"
[x] "Your servants are all out here protecting your sorry ass, and here you are, all safe and sound inside here. Guess I should have seen this coming."
[x] "Sure, you gave me a few new fancy toys to go hunting with. But let me ask you this, milady: you may be able to live knowing you sacrificed someone to save yourself, but really...how do you think everyone else is gonna feel? That you turned the very person that saved quite a few of your servants' lives plus the lives of others was sacrificed just so you could save yourself?"
[x] "These demons could easily rise up another time. And who's gonna save your ass then? Huh? Gonna find another sap to make into another statue?"
[x] Sync with Remilia. She owes you big time, anyway.
[x] …go down and join the fray. “I’ll do this the old-fashioned way. If I go down, it's not gonna be the way of the coward.”

In before synching with Remilia sucks.
>> No. 38113
[X] "So that's it, then. My life is completely meaningless to you. Having saved some of the residents here and then I get tossed aside? May I be the first to say that that's complete bullshit?"
[X] "Your servants are all out here protecting your sorry ass, and here you are, all safe and sound inside here. Guess I should have seen this coming."
[X] "Sure, you gave me a few new fancy toys to go hunting with. But let me ask you this, milady: you may be able to live knowing you sacrificed someone to save yourself, but really...how do you think everyone else is gonna feel? That you turned the very person that saved quite a few of your servants' lives plus the lives of others was sacrificed just so you could save yourself?"
[X] "These demons could easily rise up another time. And who's gonna save your ass then? Huh? Gonna find another sap to make into another statue?"
[X] Sync with Remilia. She owes you big time, anyway.
[X] …go down and join the fray. “I’ll do this the old-fashioned way. If I go down, it's not gonna be the way of the coward.”

Hope it's a BFG.
>> No. 38117
I don't think Syncing with Remilia is a good idea, since isn't she rather weakened as it is due to how she reached out to Guts earlier?
>> No. 38122
[X] "So that's it, then. My life is completely meaningless to you. Having saved some of the residents here and then I get tossed aside? May I be the first to say that that's complete bullshit?"
[X] "Your servants are all out here protecting your sorry ass, and here you are, all safe and sound inside here. Guess I should have seen this coming."
[X] "Sure, you gave me a few new fancy toys to go hunting with. But let me ask you this, milady: you may be able to live knowing you sacrificed someone to save yourself, but really...how do you think everyone else is gonna feel? That you turned the very person that saved quite a few of your servants' lives plus the lives of others was sacrificed just so you could save yourself?"
[X] "These demons could easily rise up another time. And who's gonna save your ass then? Huh? Gonna find another sap to make into another statue?"
[X] Sync with Remilia. She owes you big time, anyway.
[X] …go down and join the fray. “I’ll do this the old-fashioned way. If I go down, it's not gonna be the way of the coward.”

I may have voted for the other option in another story but we're the damn DOOMGUY for cryin out loud! We might go down but damnit it'll be in a blaze of glory!
>> No. 38132
Y'know, I just thought: while as much as I'd love to have Guts go tear through the demons personally, there's a slight problem: our contract with Remilia states that once the threat of the demons are gone, we're allowed to leave. However, the familiar contract has us restricted in a way that once we are released, we can never come back. Seeing how underhanded Remilia has been so far, "not allowed to come back" could end up with several different meanings. Maybe not just not allowed back to the SDM, but perhaps Gensokyo as a whole. With Remilia's current mood, she might be perfectly willing to withhold the fact from us until our job is done. She doesn't really seem to care about what happens us to begin with and with us already pissing her off like we have been, I'm kinda skeptical about hard charging out and owning us some Cyberdemon and then end up not being able to come back to at least rest or say thanks to everyone BUT our "master"
>> No. 38135
Which DOOM song should be played for the final battle? I personally think E1M1 would be a good choice.
>> No. 38169
>>38132
I don't think that's the case, I think it was more a remark about the birth of the vampire race, basically once the first vampire left the house of humanity, he could never return.
>> No. 38243
File 127526108225.jpg - (40.44KB , 465x516 , cyberdemon-doom-3.jpg ) [iqdb]
38243
“So… that’s how it is then. I’m your pawn.”

Remilia narrows her eyes. The battle crashes outside.

“Here you are, safe in your tower, while your loyal Servants put their asses to the fire for you. I suppose I should have known. Feh -- you gave me some fancy new toys to play with, and set me loose on the demons -- that’s fine and all, but I guess, in the end, you took me on just so you could sacrifice me. What do you plan on doing when the demons come back? Find another poor bastard to turn into a rock?”

The tension smolders in the air. Remilia glares at you, abject hatred burning in her eyes.

“Sorry, Master, but I think China needs some help. See ya.”

“Halt at once!”

“What do you want?” You stand in the doorframe. You can feel Remilia’s gaze digging into your back.

“Guts.” Her voice trembles with rage. “I command you to give me your blood!”

“No.”

Instantly pain erupts in your hand. You collapse to your knees, clutching it to your chest. Acid, it’s like you stuck your hand into a vat of acid! Argh, Remilia, you bitch…!

“Did you think that mark was just for show?” Remilia’s voice belies a sick joy in this. “I’ve made a decision, and I mean to carry it out.”

“Remilia, stop this!” Patchouli rushes to your side. “You’ll kill him!”

“Good. Such an impudent plaything deserves it.”

You look up at her. “Stop this, Remilia, or so help me I will cut off this hand.”

“You wouldn’t.”

Groping, your free hand grasps Kusanagi. Remilia’s eyes soften in surprise. You raise the blade high. The red crest glows brilliant scarlet.

“Guts, do not!” Patchouli grabs your wrist, futilely trying to overpower you.

The pain in your hand relents for a second. Remilia’s concentration is broken, and in that second you strike. Kusanagi clatters to the floor as you lunge at Remilia, hands closing around her neck like a noose. She claws at your hands, trying to choke out words, but you hang on even against her supernatural strength. Foam rises from her mouth; you’re distantly aware of Patchouli shouting at you.

“So even vampires need to breathe,” you snarl. “Color me shocked. Can’t cast any of your spells with someone’s hands around your throat, can you? Pathetic. You’re a pathetic bitch, Remilia, and I will take great pleasure in ramming a stake through your heart!”

A sudden shockwave slams into your side. Remilia slips out of your fingers as you hit the floor as your vision fogs for a moment. You recover; Patchouli stands with her spellbook open, face drawn with exertion. Figures, she would try to save anyone should reach.

Remilia hacks and coughs, wiping the foam from her mouth.

“I’ve wasted enough time on you.” You grab her by the hand, and the sad, sweet song of her resonance fills your mind. You relax, the slow turning of the song flowing into Kusanagi.

“What… what are you…?” Remilia gasps.

Kusanagi casts a blinding light from the floor as it slowly changes shape... a revolver. The biggest, baddest revolver you’ve ever seen, lined with silver and inlaid with a golden pattern, a cross burned onto the barrel. You break it open: twelve bullets loaded into twelve chambers, ready to exit straight into demon skulls via two barrels. You have no idea where to get more shells, but these rounds are almost half an inch across -- more than enough to kill anything that moves.

You click it shut. “I’m going to help protect this place. Unlike you.”

And with that, you leap out the window. It’s a long drop, but as the wind rushes through your ears, blocking out all but the loudest of explosions, you take the opportunity to think about this. Remilia… she betrayed you to save what she held dear. A category you, apparently, did not fall under. As you land with a loud thud, you rise up, the ruin of the courtyard all around you.

“GUTS!” Patchouli shouts from above. “Are you insane?!”

“Don’t worry! The devs didn’t put in falling damage!”

“What?!”

“I said--!” You dodge as a barrage of plasma hurtles past your head. Instantly, you raise the Remivolver and pull the trigger.

A thin red line bursts from the barrel and tears down the line. A Baron explodes, his body erupting into a green pulp. His friends close in, roaring for vengeance. You smile and lay down a barrage of bullets, shredding them.

“Guts!” China kicks a Specter out of the way and sprints your side. “I worried you’d miss the big finish!”

“I wouldn’t miss this show--” You dawn your shades “--for the world!

“Memes? Now?” Meiling ducks a barrage of fire. “There’s fighting to be done!”

You raise the revolver. “I couldn’t agree more.”

Meiling lunges into corrupt masses, fists flailing. Your resume firing your revolver into the crowd, every shot obliterating ten demons in a row. The light show is a sight to behold: fire, plasma, and magic spiraling through the darkened sky. As you empty the gun, you wonder how to reload. You break the gun open--

--OWW--

Your hand bursts into pain as barbs burst from the grip, straight into your crest-hand. Blood drains into the twelve chambers of the revolver, hardening and congealing into fourteen bullets. Figures. A gun that loaded with blood. You raise it, ignoring the biting pain shooting down your arm.

Together you and Meiling push the initial surge back. The gun’s half empty -- you think -- and you’re not too keen on giving it more blood, but you may have to. As the demons fall back, fire erupts from the back of the line.

Cyberdemon.

He rears his ugly head at the back end of the line, killing any who flee. Murderous intent rises through your mind like bile. You aim the revolver and fire.

The bullets rip into his body, but he doesn’t slow down -- not for a second. Rockets blow past your head; You dodge the first two, but the third rips into the ground at your feet. For a second you’re flying, right before you kiss the ground and roll across the blasted earth. You rise to your feet only to find yourself surrounded by imps and zombies.

“Get the fuck out of my way!” The revolver rips into them. As you stand up, surrounded by corpses, Meiling joins you. You raise the gun and pull the trigger --

The barbs rip into your hand. You hiss; Meiling watches in horror. “Keep your head in the game!” you snap.

Your bullets rain down, exploding entire columns. The hellions climb over their dead, growling and slobbering.

“Watch out!” Meiling tackles you to the ground as a rocket flies overhead, blasting the doors of the mansion wide open. Fire licks overhead as the noise blasts your eardrums.

As the smoke and ash clear, China pulls you upright. “We’ll fall back into the mansion,” she says. Blood trickles down her forehead. “Make a stand in there.”

“Right.”

#####################################################################################

You remember the place when you first arrived -- bustling with activity as fairies flittled to and fro, shoring up defenses, grabbing books for Patches, and just doing everyday chores. Now, the halls are silent except for the groan of monsters scattered throughout. You and Meiling sprint through the desolate hallways, China leading the way. She kicks open the door to a small dining room.

The zombies turn on you. You raise the revolver, but Meiling charges in ahead of you. A zombie lunges, only to be met with a swift backhand. The others close only to be met with a similar fate.

You step into the now-clear room, glancing around. “You’ll have to show me how to do that.”

“Huh? Oh, right.” Meiling shrugs. “You seemed pretty good when you sparred with me. Then again, you’re just a human.”

“Yeah.” You put the revolver on the table, letting the blood on the grip drain onto the wood. It hurts like bloody hell -- there are holes in your palm the size of a penny. As you check the wounds, Meiling takes your wounded hand into hers, lightly wiping away the blood.

“This is too horrible,” she murmurs.

“I do what I have to.”

“I’d rather you synchronize with me than keep doing this to yourself…”

“No. Nothing justifies taking you out of the fight.”

“At least let me do this.” Meiling leads you to a sink in the corner. She flicks on the tap -- somehow, water’s still running -- and gentle cleans away the blood from your hand.

“Thanks--”

“I’m not done.” Carefully, Meiling pulls a long ribbon from her hair, letting her red locks fall loose. Carefully, she wraps the sturdy fabric around your palm; it’s a quick dressing, but better than nothing.

“Thank you.” You walk back to the table, where the Remivolver rests with its blood-drenched handle. It’s a beautiful weapon -- stained-wood handle, silver inlays, a golden design running around the outside. But something’s engraved onto the barrel. You draw it closer -- ‘Iter Vehemens ad Necem.’ Sounds… Latiny.

Meiling looks at you thoughtfully.

“What? Do I have something in my teeth?”

“No… I was just wondering how a human survives all this and stays sane.”

“China, I’m not even sure I am sane. Come on -- we’ve got a war to fight.” You head for the door, revolver in your hands.

“Wait!”

You pause. Meiling catches up with you. “Promise not to die, OK? You’re too handsome to die.”

#####################################################################################

Side by side, you enter the antechamber. The Cyberdemon stands ready, a horde at his back. You descend the steps nonchalantly, gun swinging at your side. Meiling copies your coolness, but her fists are clenched tight; she feels the pressure. Honestly, you’ve been fighting demons so long they’re no longer particularly threatening; just targets to be shot down. It’s a grim reminder of your own lacking humanity that she doesn’t feel the same way.

Archviles hiss from the balconies; Barons and Hell Knights roar; Imps growl and zombies groan. Hundreds of them, all about.

But it might as well just be you and him.

The Cybbie gives a roar of recognition.

“Hey dude.” You flick the gun, checking the chambers. “Long time no see.”

He growls, smoke rising from his mouth.

“Yeah, yeah, I know. Look… let’s say we finish this right now.”

BGM: Nobody Told Me About Id (kvee remix) -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZyRINXOaYc

The Cyberdemon gives a roar and raises his rocket launcher. “China, keep ‘em off me!”

You sprint towards the balcony, explosions trailing your path. All around you, demons die in the fire -- he doesn’t even care who he hits, he’s just gunning for you. As you sprint, you whip out the Remirolver and return fire.

The bullets rip into the tough flesh of the Cybbie’s chest; his agonized roars fill the hall as the bullets shred his flesh. You throw yourself off the balcony as it collapses in a barrage of missiles. Behind you, Meiling beats down the hordes with her fists, driving the demons down the stairway in an unending martial barrage. An Archvile raises his arms high, sparks leap around her -- you snipe its narrow spine, sending his upper half crashing to the ground.

The barbs bite into your hand, sending a storm of pain down your arm. As you recover, a rocket goes off under your feet. You sail through the air -- and slam into a wall, sliding to the ground with a thud. Dragging yourself upright, you find yourself cornered by the Cybbie, his eyes glowing hellishly. You raise the revolver, ready to go down shooting.

Then you notice her -- Sakuya standing on a still-standing balcony, surrounded by dead demons. She pulls something out of her pocket --

You’re slumped against a wall; you can just hear the groans of the hellions in the distance. As you pull yourself upright, you see Sakuya standing nearby, bandaging a gash on Meiling’s arm. “Ah, Guts. I’ll tend to you in a moment.”

“What did you do?”

“I stopped time. A talent of mine.”

Stopping time? OK then… still not the strangest thing you’ve ever encountered.

You head for the door. The Cyberdemon still looms in your memory.

“Where are you going?”

“To kill him.”

“You’re badly injured!”

“So what?” You push the door open, revealing a dank hallway. “If I finish him, that’ll send the whole lot running. I’ll bleed after that.”

“Guts, you are going to get yourself killed! I say that as your friend!” Hah. How absurd. She works for Remilia.

“Same question. So what?”

“Wait.” Sakuya taps you on the shoulder. You turn around; she clutches a bunch of shotgun shells in her hand. “Lady Remilia requested I bring these to you.”

Heh. Ammo for Vladimir. Did she thing this made things even? Or did she just think this improved the odds seeing the sunrise?

“I… I understand that Lady Remilia betrayed you. But, for my sake, please do not be angry with you forever. She can become… rash… when the situation becomes truly desperate.”

You take the shells and load them into Vladimir, one at a time. The dark signs glow faintly, promising violence. Stuffing the spares into your pocket, you turn for the door. “Meiling. Can you still fight?”

“Duh.”

“Sakuya, how about you?”

“I mean to fight until I die.”

“Then let’s finish this with a bang.”

#####################################################################################

The three of you enter the main hall. The Cyberdemon and his swarm advance toward you. You raise Vladimir, staring down the sights. “Jasta la vista, baby!”

You fire the gun as fast as you can pump free shells into the chamber. The cursed pellets rip into the front line, into the Cyberdemon; they barely dent the master but shred the servants. Rockets fly past your head as you reload, sprinting in a wide semicircle around the swarm. Sakuya rains down knives; Meiling wades into the masses, fists flying. As you resume fire, a small voice cries from above: “Tremble all you weaklings! Cirno has come!”

Shit.

Ice pellets crash onto the demon swarms to minimal effect. A torrent of fire and death rushes towards the blue speck above; she rolls and dodges admirably, but you can’t believe that Cirno can hold up for too long.

“Cirno, get the fuck out of here!” You leap onto a table and sprint down it, mowing down demons on either side. Rockets erupt you, the flames licking your skin. Maybe she doesn’t hear you, maybe she doesn’t care, but the little fairy snakes through the air, hurling sharpened ice down on the mob.

As you sprint, fire blasts around you as a column of Mancubae shamble into the room. You pull the Remivolver and fire it at them, the bullets ripping through their folds and out the back, devastating the line. Imps close in; you level Vladimir and pull the trigger, butchering them with a single shell.

As you crouch behind a column, you take stock of the situation. The lesser demons are being driven back, but the Cybbie is soldiering on, his wounds slowly regenerating. This will all end with him, you know it.
And you’ll be damned if he slips through your fingers again!

You leap from behind cover, emptying your revolver into his chest. Roaring in pain, he swings the rocket launcher around and fires. You sprint along the passage, indifferent to the barbs tearing up your hand. Nothing matters, except killing the Cyberdemon. Then… all of your suffering… will stop.

Suddenly, something small and blue flits past the Cybbie’s face, spraying icicles into his rent flesh. He roars, and with one swift swing bashes Cirno. She sails through the air, a small trail of blood behind her. A broken body rolls to a stop nearby. “Cirno!”

She’s horribly, horribly still.

You raise the Remivolver high, blood dripping your hand. Your arm is numb -- you can barely pull the trigger -- pain is a fact of your existence -- but Cirno’s body keeps flashing through your eyes.

“You!”

And with that, the roof collapses.

#####################################################################################

“SUIKA HAS RETURNED FOR… FINAL JEOPARDY!”

As the dust clears, you see an Oni standing proudly atop the rubble. She takes a long swig of sake, wipes her mouth, and flashes a grin.

“All of demons are babbies!” she shouts. The hellions climb over their dead, growling viciously.

Cirno! You sprint over to where you saw the girl last. Sure enough, she’s still lying in the alcove. There’s blood, a lot of it. You crouch down to her side, feeling for a pulse. No, no, no.

“Guts...” her voice is almost inaudible. “Did I get… get him?”

Her eyes are glazed; a bit of blood trickles out of her mouth. The horror of the inevitable settles on your chest.

“I won, right… I beat him?”

“Yeah, Cirno. You got him.”

“I told you… I was the strongest…”

Sakuya stands nearby, her hand over her mouth, face drawn in shock. All you can think: no matter how many people you lose, it never hurts any less.

You shut Cirno’s eyes.

#####################################################################################

BGM: The End -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AE4sPc9-fI

You don’t know where the Cybbie skulked off to, but you can feel him nearby. You’re both close to death; the sense of death closes in all around you. The premonitions have only been this intense once or twice before. You’re distantly aware of the battle raging around you, of the fire and plasma ripping around your head, of your manifold gashes, burns, and cuts. It all seems so… perfunctory, at this point. None of it bothers you; the Remivolver has drained your body of all feeling. All that’s left is the urge to kill.

But all the same, your promise to Meiling nags you from the back of your mind.

The Cybbie slunk off somewhere. You stalk after him, wondering if you’re still alive or if you’re just a brain dragging a body around, the soul long since gone. Remilia’s crest pulses on your hand; maybe it’s trying to hurt you or help you, you can’t tell or care.

Finally, you emerge into the chapel -- the same one where you, Cirno, and Sakuya made your stand.

Payback time.

You kick the door down only to see the Cyberdemon on the altar -- suffused with a preternatural green glow. A teleportation warp -- he’s trying to run. After what he did… he’s trying to escape? No. You reject the concept utterly. He turns on you, eyes glowing with pure malice. Every part of his fetid body has taken critical amounts of damage; shouldn’t take too much more to kill him.

If you fire the revolver again, you could die. Maybe. You’ve suffered worse. Probably. But this… coward needs to die. Cirno’s body flickers through your mind, then Meiling’s face… two forces, pulling you in opposite directions.

You…

[ ]…let him run.
[ ]…finish him.
>> No. 38244
[x]…finish him.
>> No. 38246
[X]...finish him.
>> No. 38247
[X]…finish him.

Fatality

Anyway, this isn't over, we still have a Spider Mastermind running around, not to mention The Icon of Sin still looms...
>> No. 38248
[x]…finish him
Remilia should be happy. He got him to sacrifice himself in the end.
>> No. 38249
[X]…finish him.

Always been something of a gambler, go for it!
>> No. 38250
Either choice is a gamble

Letting him run ensures that Guts Survives, but the risky part is the matter of if there's a round 2 and if the SDM will be ready for it.

Finishing him off deals a major blow to the demons but risks Guts dying.
>> No. 38251
[X]…finish him.

>“I wouldn’t miss this show--” You dawn your shades “--for the world!”

No random YEEEEEEAAAAAAAHHHHHHH? I'm disappointed.

When did we get shades again?
>> No. 38252
>“GUTS!” Patchouli shouts from above. “Are you insane?!”
>“Don’t worry! The devs didn’t put in falling damage!”
>“What?!”
Lol'd
>> No. 38254
[X]…finish him.
>> No. 38259
[x]…finnish him
Fuck year.
>> No. 38269
[X]...Finish him!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwPmQXWr1xk
>> No. 38299
File 127535631831.png - (355.47KB , 2000x2000 , charisma.png ) [iqdb]
38299
>All at once, the crest begins to glow lightly in the dark. You watch it spread further down your arm.Vitality rushes into you. It throws you up on a high.
>Remilia’s crest pulses on your hand; maybe it’s trying to hurt you or help you, you can’t tell or care.
I believe in you Remilia!
>> No. 38351
File 12754354944.jpg - (18.45KB , 320x240 , kingofhearts.jpg ) [iqdb]
38351
>>38299

Hmm...
>> No. 38428
File 127555548967.jpg - (98.03KB , 444x658 , a74a54341a26d7b84d99f5aa22cc8d9d5c66785a.jpg ) [iqdb]
38428
You raise the Remivolver. Neither of you have the strength to keep fighting any longer.

“Fatality,” you growl.

You pull the trigger. The Cyberdemon’s forehead implodes as he falls back onto the altar. And then, he explodes -- blood rains down around you, soaking you through. You hurl the Remivolver across the room, where it crashes loudly into a wall.

You collapse.

Your vision goes dark around the edges. The Cyberdemon is dead, long live the Cyberdemon. But it seems it took what little you had left…

You drag yourself towards a wall. Everything is quiet, still, and grim. Or maybe that’s just the darkness closing in around the edges of your vision.

You can barely move your arms; all you’re sure of is the tattered green ribbon wrapped around your hand. Numbness. Everywhere is numbness.

Something warm -- preciously warm -- closes around you. Someone’s calling your name; their voice is indistinct. You reach out for it, you reach into the dark and find a hand to take yours.

“You promised me you wouldn’t die!”

Meiling is holding you. Well, you can think of worse ways to die than slipping away in China’s arms. She’s yelling at you bitterly, but you can’t make out most of the words. Her hands, wrapped around yours, a precious source of heat. Her voice, the only thing that anchors you. Tears fall on your cheek.

But even that feeling dissolves.

#####################################################################################

The swamp is vast. The water is impenetrable, impossibly black (the sky’s the same), broken only by piles of industrial junk rising out the water. Demons wander the wastes as well; you drag around a leaden pipe to club them with. Generally, they don’t expect it; most of them battered and bleeding. In this sprawling wasteland, where the only light comes from trash heaps that have caught ablaze, your first comfort is the green ribbon laced through your fingers.

“I’m tired.” Your second comfort is a blue fairy, hovering a few inches above the water. Her voice is only noise here, except for demonic grunts, the crackle of fires, and your own breath. As you slosh through the darkness, you come to another dump: a pile of industrial debris -- except, here, there is a person.

A dead one, but a person nonetheless. You move on.

The horizon stretches on infinitely. You had hoped, prayed, that your age-old strategy of ‘walk until you find something important’ would serve you here, but it does not avail you. This world is perfectly flat, and perfectly infinite. Your companion latches onto your back, riding there until she gets back the strength in her wings. The feeling of carrying someone on your back is a familiar one, but you can’t place from where.

You clubbed a dying imp, most of its body below water. Its arms and legs had been blasted off by shotgun fire. You briefly considered letting it suffer, but decided you enjoyed cracking their skulls too much.

You fell asleep on a sheet of metal, your companion curled up next to you like a beloved daughter.

#####################################################################################

“You’re an endurant man.” A voice assails you in the quiet. You look up from the junk pile you were hunting through. A woman hovers an inch above the muck, with golden hair and eight foxtails fanning out from her back. You stare, vacantly, blinded by the colorful contrast with the bleak world around you. “Do you remember your name?”

“Guts.” Your voice croaks with disuse.

“I’ve never seen a human remain in Limbo for so long -- to be driven by such singularity of purpose to be anchored here is a remarkable feat.”

“Ran? Izzat you?” your companion asks, groggily. She must have been sleeping on your back.

“Yes, Cirno, it is I.”

“Where am I? I always feel tired here…”

“You’re in Limbo, where some souls go while awaiting rebirth.”

“Oh… so… I’m dead?”

“I’m afraid so.”

Cirno falls asleep; you can’t be sure how you know, but you feel a connection to her nonetheless.

“As she draws closer to rebirth, she will sleep more and more. One day, she will simply not wake up -- and her body will dissolve into its constituent parts.”

You stare at Ran, unsure what to say.

“Guts. I would like to convey a message from my Mistress to you. She is… very interested in your unique set of abilities. May I?”

You nod.

Ran reaches out her hand. One of her painted nails touches your forehead--

You’re hovering over nothingness, your companion conspicuous by her absence. You’re alone until an opening appears in space. And, through it, steps a woman with brilliant blonde hair in red ribbons. Her dress is brilliant, and your eyes drink up the color -- color was totally absent in Limbo. The colors fill up your eyes -- blinding, reawakening thoughts you thought you were unable to have.

Yes, it’s all rushing back to you!”

“Ah, Guts. Do you remember who you are?”

“Fuck year.”

The woman smiles, and snaps her fingers. A table, set for tea, blinks into existence. “I could safely say there is no one in this vast world, great or small, quite like you.” She snaps her fingers again; black coffee materializes in the cups. “And you have labored on a scale few have, fighting the demons across time and space for so long you don’t even recall your actual name or identity. No one is more deserving of an eternal rest than you, Guts -- but, I’m afraid, that’s the one thing I cannot allow. No, certainly not.”

“Get to the point, whoever you are.”

“Guts, I am Yukari Yakumo. It is my sacred duty to restore Gensokyo to its natural state. And, if I had my way, I would personally dispose of all of these crass invaders. Sadly, that is not to be; my talents are required elsewhere.”

“Cirno died because you had prior engagements?”

“Something like that. You see, Guts, I am not the only entity in this unknowably vast cosmos capable of manipulating boundaries, not even close to it. Your former masters at the UAC flirted with the concept, and for that reaped only death. And, of course, the mighty Progenitor of the hellions…” She gives a wry smile. “Guts, up to the present moment my solitary activity has been to resist the Icon of Sin as it attempts to rend the barrier between our world and his. As he attempts to pull, I pull back. As he attempts to tear, I mend. Had he succeeded, how shall I put it, we would not be having this conversation.”

“I get it.” You flash back to the UAC -- when the invasion began, the warped in everywhere. There was no front line; everywhere was the front line. That’s why everyone died.

“You admirably sacrificed yourself to kill the Cyberdemon. That act has knocked the demons on their proverbial heels, giving me a respite from my labors. Only a short one, however -- we have little time to waste. Let me come to my point.

“You see, Guts, one way or another I intend to bring you back into the living world. You cannot be allowed to die under any circumstances; as humanity’s solitary master of demon-slaying, your importance is paramount only to my own. But, but… I have an offer to make. Look at your hand.”

You glance down. A red mark runs up to your elbow, glowing softly. You remember…

“That is the mark of Remilia Scarlet -- you remember, yes? As you can see, she demands servitude unto death and beyond. You could keep it, if you wish, although I would not see why you would harbor any such desire. I could erase it through the process of your rebirth. Or…” Her eyes seem to glitter. “I could replace it with my own.”

“Just say what you mean, Yakumo.”

“Guts, I stand to Remilia as you stand to an ant. It is well within my means to obliterate her contract with you. And, if you agree, to replace with my own. I can give you certain powers, initiate you into certain secrets -- but I shall ask much more of you than Remilia ever did. That said, I solemnly swear never to fossilize you.”

“Hmph.” You take a swig of coffee. Your sensations are all rushing back -- your love of coffee, shotguns, and one-liners, your uncontrollable urge to kill demons. And, most critically, the resonation.

This empty void is filled with Yukari’s song -- a song so vast and all-consuming you can barely pick out the tune. It’s not dissonant -- it’s made for inhuman ears.

“Just ‘cuz you won’t fossilize me doesn’t mean you won’t pull something else down the road.”

“True. In the future, I will ask you to synchronize with me, so that you can destroy the Icon of Sin. I think you can guess what will happen.”

“I’ll be hamburger after a minute.”

“More or less, and I will be permanently maimed, my powers never what they once were. Perhaps I will need a daughter to whom I can pass my station.”

“Hmph. I suppose you could just drag me back to life again.”

“No. What I am about to attempt is extremely black magic, contrary to the laws of nature -- such a perversion can only be performed once in a thousand years without rending open the barrier between this world and the world of the dead. And you know too well what happens when the barriers between worlds are destroyed.”

“So, you’re just gonna drag me back into the fray” You down the rest of the coffee. “Music to my ears, lady.”

“So, Guts, there is only question left. Do you wish to remain Remilia’s familiar… break free of all contracts… or enter my service?”

You…

[ ]…keep Remilia’s mark.
[ ]…break free.
[ ]…join Yukari.
>> No. 38429
> Up to the present moment my solitary activity has been to resist the Icon of Sin as it attempts to rend the barrier between our world and his.

I fucking knew it!

However, I have no idea which choice to chose.
>> No. 38430
[X]…break free.

No statues, and to sync with Yukari we do not neccessarily need to have a contract with her.

Unless someone else has a better idea.
>> No. 38434
Well I maybe a fan of Remilia but this one can kiss our collective asses. Definitely getting rid of that mark. But should we break free or enter Yukari's service? We enter her service we get a huge powerup since Yukari > Remilia in terms of power. But we'd still be someone's servant... Eh we could always enter a contract with Yukari further down the line. That and I'm curious to see what we can do by ourselves...

[X]…break free.
>> No. 38435
[X]…break free.
Let's skip marks until we have no other choice.
>> No. 38438
[x]…break free.
>> No. 38439
[X]…break free.
>> No. 38442
[X]…keep Remilia’s mark.

As much as I'd like to join her, with Yukari actually being apparently honest right now...that scene with Meiling is still fresh on my mind. Totally won me over. Remi may be a bitch, but...damn it, Meiling, you're making this so hard ;_;
>> No. 38450
We must also consider Flandre and future encounters with her.
>> No. 38452
[ ]…join Yukari.

Totally worth it.
>> No. 38453
[x]…break free.
>> No. 38456
[x]…break free.
-[X] "You know, I just remembered: there's a bit of unfinished business I have left with the mansion's residents. That mark Remilia put on me had some kind of curse saying I wouldn't be able to go back there were it to be removed. Don't suppose you would know any way around that, would you?"

There's still stuff to settle. If anyone, Yukari would be able to find a way around it. Besides...we have to keep our promise to Meiling, after all. Plus we do need to snap Marisa out of it. If she knew that we were dead too...it's not gonna be pretty.
>> No. 38458
[x]…join Yukari.
Only because I'm a Yukari fan.
>> No. 38460
[x]…break free.
>> No. 38461
[x]…break free.
>> No. 38462
[ ]…join Yukari.

Yukarin~
>> No. 38472
[x]…join Yukari.
-[X] "You know, I just remembered: there's a bit of unfinished business I have left with the mansion's residents. That mark Remilia put on me had some kind of curse saying I wouldn't be able to go back there were it to be removed. Don't suppose you would know any way around that, would you?"
>> No. 38473
[x]…join Yukari.
-[X] "You know, I just remembered: there's a bit of unfinished business I have left with the mansion's residents. That mark Remilia put on me had some kind of curse saying I wouldn't be able to go back there were it to be removed. Don't suppose you would know any way around that, would you?"
>> No. 38475
>That mark Remilia put on me had some kind of curse saying I wouldn't be able to go back there were it to be removed.

Writer, could you please comfirm the meaning of what Remilia said? Since I think one of us is drawing the wrong meaning, and I'd like for it to get cleared up.

Folks think it means "Once Guts is done he can't come back" while I think it means "As a vampire, you'll never be a part of humanity again"
>> No. 38476
>>38456
I think the Icon of Sin is keeping her hands full, and we should at least finish the training with Patchouli so Guts' talent isn't a unwieldy thing to both him and his partner.
>> No. 38478
Remilia's little story seems to be causing some confusion that I will now clear up.

Her speech describes the origin of vampires (paraphrasing a Slavic legend on the subject), and is part of the incantation she uses to bring people into her service. It is not meant to be taken literally, and does not mean you cannot return to the mansion, Gensokyo, or any other place.
>> No. 38483
>>38478

...oh.
>> No. 38484
We should also make a passing comment on how Guts personally killed the last Icon of Sin by filling its exposed brain full of missiles. Hell was trashed for miles as a result.
>> No. 38486
[X] Break Free for now.
-[x] "Your plan sounds good, but there's many things I've got to take care of before this. Keeping a promise, stopping Marisa from going down my path when it's not needed, and Training from that magician."
[x] "But is there something you could do about the influence of the little sister?"
[x] "And that damned thing get tougher? Last time I ran into it, I unloaded enough rockets into its brain to turn most of hell into rubble!"
[x] "But one last question: What will happen to Cirno?"
>> No. 38489
[X] Break Free for now.
-[X] "Your plan sounds good, but there's many things I've got to take care of before this. Keeping a promise, stopping Marisa from going down my path when it's not needed, and Training from that magician."
[X] "But is there something you could do about the influence of the little sister?"
[X] "And that damned thing get tougher? Last time I ran into it, I unloaded enough rockets into its brain to turn most of hell into rubble!"
[X] "But one last question: What will happen to Cirno?"

Now this is something I can get behind. Lets go for it.
>> No. 38496
[X] Break Free for now.
-[X] "Your plan sounds good, but there's many things I've got to take care of before this. Keeping a promise, stopping Marisa from going down my path when it's not needed, and Training from that magician."
[X] "But is there something you could do about the influence of the little sister?"
[X] "And that damned thing get tougher? Last time I ran into it, I unloaded enough rockets into its brain to turn most of hell into rubble!"
[X] "But one last question: What will happen to Cirno?"

I could roll with this
>> No. 38497
[X] Join Yukarin~~~~
-[X] "Your plan sounds good, but there's many things I've got to take care of before this. Keeping a promise, stopping Marisa from going down my path when it's not needed, and Training from that magician."
[X] "But is there something you could do about the influence of the little sister?"
[X] "And that damned thing get tougher? Last time I ran into it, I unloaded enough rockets into its brain to turn most of hell into rubble!"
[X] "But one last question: What will happen to Cirno?"
>> No. 38508
[X] Break Free for now.
-[X] "Your plan sounds good, but there's many things I've got to take care of before this. Keeping a promise, stopping Marisa from going down my path when it's not needed, and Training from that magician."
[X] "But is there something you could do about the influence of the little sister?"
[X] "And that damned thing get tougher? Last time I ran into it, I unloaded enough rockets into its brain to turn most of hell into rubble!"
[X] "But one last question: What will happen to Cirno?"
>> No. 38509
[X] Break Free for now.
-[X] "Your plan sounds good, but there's many things I've got to take care of before this. Keeping a promise, stopping Marisa from going down my path when it's not needed, and Training from that magician."
[X] "But is there something you could do about the influence of the little sister?"
[X] "And did that damned thing get tougher? Last time I ran into it, I unloaded enough rockets into its brain to turn most of hell into rubble!"
[X] "But one last question: What will happen to Cirno?"

*goes to cry in a corner*
>> No. 38513
File 12756826027.jpg - (106.06KB , 800x634 , yukari-small.jpg ) [iqdb]
38513
[X] Break Free for now.
-[X] "Your plan sounds good, but there's many things I've got to take care of before this. Keeping a promise, stopping Marisa from going down my path when it's not needed, and Training from that magician."
[X] "But is there something you could do about the influence of the little sister?"
[X] "And did that damned thing get tougher? Last time I ran into it, I unloaded enough rockets into its brain to turn most of hell into rubble!"
[X] "But one last question: What will happen to Cirno?"

>>38509

Sometimes you just gotta know when to accept the fact that she backstabbed you and pretty much wanted you to die to save herself. At least Yukari is less likely to not holding back any important information from us, such as the fact that we will more than likely die from her plans.
>> No. 38514
>>38513
>Sometimes you just gotta know when to accept the fact that she backstabbed you and pretty much wanted you to die to save herself. At least Yukari is not holding back any important information from us, such as the fact that we will more than likely die from her plans.

My thoughts exactly when I voted.Still makes me cry though.;_;
>> No. 38536
>>38513
I'm hoping that the training with Patchouli will reduce the chance of that. But with Remilia it was clear that we were a toy to her.
>> No. 38551
File 127579213210.png - (136.80KB , 646x512 , 49cd506f7958c07db5d4f53e4c038419.png ) [iqdb]
38551
“I think I’m finished with contracts for now.” You look at your hand; the red mark already fades from your skin. Soon, Remilia’s figurative fangs will be removed from your neck. Now to avoid the literal ones.

“Very well. Now, if we may--”

“Wait. I got some questions first.”

“Our time grows short, but I’ll answer as best I can.”

“The last time I ran into the Icon of Sin I pumped its brain full of rockets and wasted Hell. Is it back?”

Yukari smiles cryptically. “Guts, Guts, are you really that thick?”

“Huh?”

“If I were to throw a rock at the reflection of the moon, would you say I had destroyed the moon?”

“I’m guessing that’s rhetorical.”

“What you did, Guts, was throw a rock at the reflection of the Icon of Sin. Alone, you are no more capable of destroying the Icon of Sin than the rock thrown at the reflection of the moon.”

“Isn’t the rock more like the rockets in this metaphor?”

She sips her coffee. “Don’t be a smartass, Guts.”

“Fine, fine. Truth is, I’m more worried about things I left behind -- I have promises to keep.”

“I would not be too concerned. I assure you, your paths will cross with Remilia Scarlet and her servants again, although I cannot say whether you will enjoy the Scarlet’s welcome. No, no… those things will take care of themselves. And besides -- you had no power to save Marisa at any time; that lies with another.”

“For the love of… Just say what you mean.”

“Hakurei was the only one who could save Marisa’s sanity, and this she has done.”

Figures.

“So, what about Cirno?”

“Cirno has met her end. Although… I could arrange for something, if you so desire.”

“Be specific.”

“Guts, our time is at an end. Already the Icon of Sin is resuming Its work.” She stands, leaving her coffee on the table. “I wish you luck.”

“Fine. I guess I’ll be seein’ ya.”

“Yes.”

#####################################################################################

Instantly, you drop into a vat of greenish, viscous fluid. Your lungs revolt as you suck it in, the sense of drowning closes in around you. You struggle fruitlessly, unable to find any purchase in the fluid as it stings your eyes. The world has become vague impressions seen through a green prism. Suddenly -- you fall, plunging from the fluid and onto the hard ground.

The fluid drains out of your eyes, but the world still spins in dizzy confusion, blocking your attempts to get up. “Hey. Take it easy.” Soft hands pulls you upright, settling you in a sitting position against a wall. You’re sitting on something soft, probably cushions. “It will take you a few hours to get used to the new nerve structure, and -- Kaguya?”

“M-must he be naked?”

“He was just born, you silly girl. If it offends your precious sensibilities, you are entitled to leave.”

“I wanted to see him…”

“All of him, apparently. What so fascinates you so? His handsome visage? His dark hair? His long, thick--”

“Eirin!”

“What? I merely meant to say he had such powerful limbs, covered with curly hairs… Or are you interested in some other part of him, you dirty girl?”

“Stop it, Eirinnnnnnnnnn!” Someone sprints out of the room, the form indistinct.

“So easy to tease,” the first voice continues. Someone cleans you with a towel, gently wiping off the sticky green fluid. “Well, I meet the great demon-slayer at last. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect -- it seems the more people say about you, the less distinct you become.”

“Who…” you croak. Your vision gradually clears; you’re staring at a rocky wall, like the inside of a cave.

“Eirin. You’re Guts, right? When Yukari broached this plan to me, I didn’t know what to think…”

“What’s going on?”

“Right, right, you’re confused. I understand. I’m Eirin Yagokoru. A doctor, you could say. Yukari helped me resurrect you -- I had to fight the urge to drop a Frankenstein reference.”

“How…”

“Well, we made a sort of womb for you. It’s not important. You need to rest while you readjust to the new body.”

You relax a bit. Once the dizziness fades and you can see a bit better, hunger strikes. “Have anything to eat?”

“Yeah.” She offers you a nondescript bowl of soup, which you slurp greedily. “Careful now, don’t burn yourself.”

“What are you, my mom?”

“After a fashion. Did you have a good stay in the afterlife?”

“Hell no.” You slurp down more soup; hunger wracks you like a parasite. “It was… dark. And wet. And cold. Got any more?” You pause. “You know, I’m kind of like Jesus. Shotgun Jesus. I died for Youkai’s sins, came back…”

“And I’m mad scientist Mary?” Eirin kindly refills your bowl from a pot across the room, hanging over a spent fire. “When Yukari broached this idea to me, I wasn’t sure if it was possible.”

“What?”

“Fashioning a body, opening the barrier between this world and Limbo, and then jamming your soul into the artificial body. If it seems a little off, it’s because it off. I could not make a perfect copy.”

“I’m happy as long as it works.” You check yourself over. “Wait. Shit.”

“Oh?” She offers you the bowl.

“All my marine tattoos are gone.”

A distantly rumble shakes the tunnel, sending dust to the floor. Eirin curses under her breath. “Demons,” you mutter.

“Probably. Don’t even think of moving.” Eirin casts a spell; a shimmering light gathers in front of her. “Captain Inubashiri, can you hear me?”

“Yes.”

“What’s happening out there?”

“Imps and zombies are closing in fast, supported by at least a dozen Mancubae on a far cliff. We are holding strong, for the moment.”

The light fades. “Well, then -- Guts, did I not just tell you to stay still?”

You pull yourself to your feet, struggling for breath -- this body is totally different, not as honed or strong as your first one. “Need to help.”

“If you synchronize with anyone now, you’ll die. No re-dos after that.”

You stumble, the world spinning violently. Eirin grabs you and pushes you back onto the cushions. “Have some faith in the Momiji’s Kennel, won’t you?”

“Huh?”

“Guts, you’ve been out of the loop for quite some time. You’ve been tramping around the afterlife for nine months.”

“Wait, crap, seriously?”

“I’m afraid so. Time is warped in Limbo; it might have seemed shorter or longer to you.”

“No Sun to tell the time with.” You rub the bridge of your nose, ignoring the trembling of your new hands. “Nine months? How’s the fight look?”

“Better than you do, certainly. After the Cyberdemon died, the demons fled. Many of them burrowed deep into the earth, where the Oni waited for them. A massacre for the demons, but an only temporary victory for us. Eientei and the Scarlet Manor lay in ruins, thousands were dead, and our mighty demon-slayer had died in a suitably heroic manner. Remilia saw us through.”

Remilia. That bitch.

“She united Gensokyo under one banner. Tried to, anyway. She rounded up as many decent fighters as she could and created an army, Scarlet’s Legion. Once that happened, resistance groups started forming all over. We’re with Momiji’s Kennel right now. Inubashiri formed it right after breaking out of Yokai Mountain. But with the demons coming back full force, we’re in for another rough fight.”

You stare at your soup, trying to digest all of this. The prospect of Remilia with an army at her back frankly frightens you.

Another rumble shakes the cavern. The inaction is worse than anything; you drink your sou, brooding on your deep desire to go out there and kill demons like a boss.

“I know what you’re thinking, Guts. Let me put it this way: if you’re a good boy, I’ll give you a present.”

“Yeah? What’s that?”

“It’s a secret,” she says in that uniquely conspiratorial tone reserved for small children.

“Hmph. How long are you going to keep me down here?”

“Until you’re well enough to walk on your own. After that, Momiji -- ahem, Captain Inubashiri -- will probably come down and drag us out of if we wait any longer.”

“Alright, fair enough.”

Another violent quake shakes the tunnel. Another communication-light appears. “Eirin. The situation is getting worse.”

“How worse?”

“We are retreating into the tunnels. Prepare to move.”

“Do you know where Kaguya is?”

“No. Is she missing?”

“She ran off earlier after… um… She just ran off. We can’t afford to leave without her.”

“Yes. I’ll track her down myself.”

“Well, Guts, looks like you got your wish.” She offers you her hand. “On your feet, soldier!”

“Yes, ma’am!” You rise to your feet. “But can I get some pants first?”

#####################################################################################

Together, you emerge into the tunnel system, lighted by torches scattered along the walls. Youkai rush past you, bustling to gather up supplies for travel. “Kaguya!” Eirin shouts. “Anyone seen Kaguya?”

“She’s about this tall,” you interject.

“Momiji!”

Up ahead, a woman in white turns around, wielding a tremendous sword. Her two dog ears are drawn back in hostility, something you’ve seen on guard-dogs plenty of times. “Eirin.”

“How bad is it?” Together, you reach Momiji. Tengu and Youkai gather around her, sporting an array of weapons. Several carry torches.

“A good-sized force is closing in. I’m preparing to seal the tunnels to secure our escape.”

“What about Kaguya?”

“I doubt she left the underground.” Momiji runs a hand through her hair. “Is this the demon-slayer?”

“The one and only.” You grin, your hands akimbo.

“Very well.” Momiji turns her back, facing the tunnel. You can hear the demons closing in, their growls and grunts echoing on the hard rock walls. Magic gathers around Inubashiri in a brilliant circle. Just as the first demon stumbles around the nearest bend -- magic explodes from Momiji, ripping into the oncoming swarm and tearing up the rock. Sound like thunder echoes through the tunnels.

When the smoke clears, the cavern is sealed. Inubashiri turns. “We move. Go!”

“I’ll look for Kaguya. Don’t worry, Momiji, I’ll keep up; and do keep Guts from running off his own. He is terribly headstrong.” Eirin takes off down a side-tunnel, calling for Kaguya.

“Come along.”Momiji waves you to follow. Her ears have relaxed slightly, but you can tell she’s permanently on edge. As you and the rest of the Kennel retreat down the tunnels, led by a few tengu with torches.

“So, Captain, where we headed?”

“I plan to meet up with Scarlet’s group, near the Hakurei shrine.” Oh, you don’t look forward to that. “Is something wrong?”

“Remilia and I aren’t on great terms.”

“Do not worry.” Momiji’s scouts take a series lefts and rights through the tunnel system, utterly disorienting you. Finally, the group -- numbering at least a few hundred youkai interspersed with humans -- emerges into a larger cavern, with narrow pathways snaking over the abyss. “Stick together! Avoid the ledges!”

As the company slowly navigates the ledges, you contemplate Captain Inubashiri for a few moments. A perfect mix of charisma and competence -- only level-headed leadership (IE, the sort of thing you don’t have) could have led this band through so much hardship. How long had they been fighting? Eirin said it started some place called ‘Yokai Mountain,’ nine months ago.

A shrill voice rises up over the abyss. “Miss Momiji!” A girl with long black wings flies over the darkness, shouting the alarm.

“What is it?”

The winged girl hovers at a level with you, over the pit. “It’s B company, Miss! They’re surrounded, Kaguya and Eirin are with them!”

Momiji’s face turns grim. “I-- I see. You!” She turns to a lieutenant. “Take the rest of A company and get out of the tunnels, find Scarlet. Guts and I will double back and help B company.”

“Yes ma’am!”

“Guts, if you would?”

“I’d love to, but I need a weapon.”

Momiji takes a sword from one of her men, ripping it scabbard and all from his sash. “Here.”

Together, you and Momiji double back along the pathway, somehow not plunging to your respective deaths. Up ahead, you can already hear the sounds of battle; swords, screams, gunshots, everything you associate with the demon-war in one place. Inubashiri leads you down a series of twists and turns, all the while the sounds growing louder. You whip the sword free, throwing away the sheath.

You burst into a larger chamber, only to find it filled to the brim with demons, all closing in on a weakened band of youkai and rabbit-eared girls (what the christ). You can see Kaguya and Eirin huddled together in the middle of this mess, desperately ducking fire and other projectiles.

“Guts!” Momiji shouts, but you don’t listen. You wade into the carnage, sword shredding demons. Ah, here it is again, your good old buddy, the uncontrollable killer instinct! As you busy yourself killing the shit out of everything, the demons turn their attention to you, the solitary warrior ripping through their ranks.

“Captain! Get them out of here!” You roar, eviscerating an imp with a single deft swing.

“What about you?!”

“I’ll come up behind!”

Taking advantage of the hole you dug in the siege, tattered B company flees with their wounded, still protecting Kaguya and Erin. You retreat as the demons close in.

crack

An imp’s claw shatters your sword, leaving you only half a blade. Welp, time for a tactical withdrawal. You pull up on Inubashiri, taking rear guard on B company.

“You live up to your reputation!” Momiji shouts, pulling up beside you at the rear of the group.

“What, that I’m eight inches when soft?”

“Hardly!” She laughs, surprisingly. “I will have to ask Eirin for conformation on that one!”

You turn a right together, B company still stumbling along up ahead. The demons growl and slobber behind you; you refuse to hope back. You’re just a newborn and you’re already putting up with this shit.

“Step it up!” shouts Momiji.

There’s a deep rumble in the distance.

“Danger close! Danger close! They’re going to--”

Suddenly, fire is everywhere. Fire, and harsh rumbles. You’re whipped from the ground and thrown into a wall. The last thing you think: ‘I’m not going back to fucking Limbo.’

#####################################################################################

When you come to, something heavy is on top of you. Struggling to conquer the dizziness, you push it off.

“Eh…” Oh shit, it’s a person! You sit up immediately, trying to get your bearings. You’re still the tunnel, and that person. Kaguya? “It’s Kaguya, right?”

The tunnel is dark, except for a few flickering fires left from the initial blast. Kaguya rolls away, covered in dirt and sweat. “Y-yes. Kaguya Houraisan.” She refuses to meet your eyes. “Are you hurt?”

“Nothing too bad. Cuts and bruises.” You still have the broken sword clutched in your hand, green blood running down the blade. “How about you?”

“No, nothing.” A strange humming fills your ears, like someone playing a symphony in another room -- hey, it’s a resonation. Kaguya’s, presumably. Feels good to hear them again; not hearing them was… surreal. Like someone plugged your ears.

“Alright, let’s try and find a way out of here.” The way forward is blocked -- you can only hope Eirin and the rest got out safely. You’ll have to find a way arou--

Shit.

Demons stumble down the tunnel, growling -- nothing too high-level, but enough imps and zombies to be afraid of. Kaguya grabs your arm. “I tried fighting them, but… I exhausted myself. There were too many.”

You eye down the encroaching mob. If you had Vladimir and Kusanagi, you could take ‘em easy, but with a broken sword and a sub-par body… You glance back at Kaguya. If you could use the broken sword to synch with her, then maybe… but is it worth the risk?

You…

[ ]…retreat deeper into the tunnel system.
[ ]…synchronize with Kaguya.
>> No. 38552
[x]…retreat deeper into the tunnel system.

No point throwing away a second chance. And chances are Remilia has those, and I doubt she'd be willing to give them back again any time soon.
>> No. 38555
[X]…retreat deeper into the tunnel system.

Damn, Momiji is a badass in this story.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14g0lrEt0UA

Song too related
>> No. 38557
[X]…retreat deeper into the tunnel system.
>rabbit-eared girls (what the christ).
Lol'd

As for the timeskip... meh. At least Marisa is okay. But I wonder what was that 'arrangemet' with Cirno that Gappy was babbling about.
>> No. 38559
> The last time I ran into the Icon of Sin I pumped its brain full of rockets and wasted Hell. Is it back?

> What you did, Guts, was throw a rock at the reflection of the Icon of Sin. Alone, you are no more capable of destroying the Icon of Sin than the rock thrown at the reflection of the moon.

Oh fuck.

[X]…retreat deeper into the tunnel system.

The next boss will probably be the Spider Mastermind, correct?
>> No. 38561
[x] …retreat deeper into the tunnel system.

>>38557
>Gappy
Are you that faggot who likes to make fun of Yukari and talk to her as if she was reading your posts, or something?
>> No. 38563
[X]…retreat deeper into the tunnel system.

Don't wanna risk it. Kaguya maybe immortal and we supposedly won't have any badends but it's certainly going to make it far more tougher for us since we have a subpar body right now.

Also soon as we see Marisa again we gotta apologize since she was right and all. Also gotta to China if she doesn't kick our ass. Need to also greet Remilia with a nice "Fuck You!" and have a few words with her.
>> No. 38565
[x]…retreat deeper into the tunnel system.
>> No. 38571
>>38561
>Are you that faggot who likes to make fun of Yukari and talk to her as if she was reading your posts, or something?

You can't prove that she's not.
>> No. 38581
>>38561
Yes, I'm a faggot; No, I'm not the one who talks to a fictional character like she was reading what I write in a god-forgotten imageboard. That's quite a big of assumption for a nickname I just made up, no?
Anyway, when did that happened? I thought the only thread where they made that was WtA (justified because the writer himself answer those)
>> No. 38599
>>38555
What does Guilty Gear have to do with this?
>> No. 38606
>>38599

I think he was talking about the lyrics to the song and its correlation to this story.
>> No. 38692
Update?
>> No. 38738
Update is late due to the horrors of navigating the DMV bureaucracy. Will come this weekend, on my honor.
>> No. 38763
>>38738

We shall keep you to your word. If it isn't up by Monday, we will be very unhappy. Not like we can do much of anything else...
>> No. 38820
File 127629183981.jpg - (61.88KB , 850x637 , sample-1610193626ea748eb117e7e31621f9c3.jpg ) [iqdb]
38820
“Alright, we’re blowing this joint. To the Guts-cave!” You grab Kaguya by the arm and dodge into the nearest side-cave blazing past the demons as they hurl fire at you, blasts whirling over your head. The tunnel up ahead is complete darkness, but you push on anyway.

“I’ll stall them!”

Kaguya mutters an arcane word. A brilliant white light shines from your back, and then pure Lunar magic blasts down the tunnel. Demons scream and die, far too weak to survive such an attack unsupported. Kaguya stumbles, gasping for breath.

You slow down for her sake; time to consider a plan of action. You need to navigate out of these caves and meet up with Eirin and the rest of the Kennel. After she gets her second wind, Kaguya mutters a few arcane words; a bright will o’ wisp materializes ahead of you, leading the way through the tunnels. It seems to have some idea where it’s going, so you follow.

The tunnel narrowed before opening into a huge underground chamber, dominated by subterranean lake, its far bank barely visible at this distance. A long river supplies it, snaking up into a darkened passage a short walk to your right. Kaguya stumbles behind you, just a few steps behind. She’s clearly tired.

“Five minute rest. I’ll see if this water’s safe.”

Kaguya lies down on a soft-ish patch of dirt as you look into the impenetrably blue waters. Totally opaque and probably freezing. You follow the shore a way, looking for some clue as to the next step.

You glance back. Kaguya has nodded out; she snores softly, resting her head on her arms.

“Alright, come on out.”

Reality splits open, and Ran slides through. “My, my, Guts. We set you loose for an hour and you’re already hopelessly lost in an enormous cave system.”

“Yeah, yeah, just get us out of here.”

“I don’t need to. Another one of our employees will undertake that task.”

“Whatever. Why are you here, then?”

“Do not drink the water.”

“Why?”

“The matter is complicated. But whatever you do, you must make sure the water remains pure.”

For the love of all that is holy, can you Yakumos speak in non-riddles for a change?”

“Of course not, we have our reputation to consider.” Ran slid back through her hole in space. “Guard this point. I believe our employee will arrive shortly.

‘Shortly’ turned out to mean ‘four hours.’ After two passed, Kaguya woke up, and took her turn at the watch. You slept heavily, dreamlessly, floating in a comfortable darkness. You were stirred awake by a rumbling deep in the earth; your eyes focused just in time to see a nearby wall explode outward, debris and dust bursting from the tunnel.

A two horns stick out of the hole. “SUIKA HAS ARRIVED TO RESCUE TINY EENCY DEMON-SLAYER FROM MASSIVE DEMON HORDE!”

“Ibuki?” Kaguya frowns. “Why are you here?”

“ ‘Sup, Suika. You’re late.” You stretch out the stiffness in your muscles.

Suika leaps out, dusting off her dress. She carries a heavy black box on her back, tied up with a strong hemp cord. You feel something from that box, almost like a resonation -- it’s like an orchestra warming up. “Suika apologizes, for she took a wrong turn at Albuquerque and became delayed!”

“Fair enough.”

“Um, Guts…” Kaguya pulls at her robe, dirty and stained as it is. “Did you know she was coming?”

“Yep. We need to get goin’.”

“But how?”

“It’s a secret to everybody.”

“Suika will lead the tiny puny demon slayer and his tinier friend to the aboveness!” She leads the way along the bank, taking you to yet another tunnel. Kaguya’s light guides you along the way as you step into the narrow tunnel, way too tight to walk side by side in.

“How do you know her?” Kaguya keeps her voice down.

“We met at the siege of the Scarlet Devil Mansion.”

The tunnel spirals upward, eventually carrying you to a series of stony walkways that overlook the lake, and the river it feeds. Suika marches along proudly, the box bouncing on her back.

“What’s in that?”

“Suika has present for demon-slayer that he will surely enjoy in great magnitude!”

“What is it?”

Suika stops. You blunder into the box, cracking your nose sharply; the oni’s voice drops to a whisper. “It is great and mighty secret of oni nation. It is our Holy Sword!”

You rub your nose, trying to get the acute pain to fade away. It must be a huge fuck-off sword -- the box is at least five feet tall. You don’t wanna think about hefting that thing in this body; it’d be a tall order even in your old one.

As you negotiate a narrow walkway, you hear demon growls echoing faintly in the distance. The din from the underground river makes it impossible to tell where the voices are coming from. Kaguya keeps close, but Suika -- typical -- wanders pretty far ahead, pimp-striding proudly.

As you advance along the walkway, you note another large tunnel up ahead. Kaguya’s wisp flits inside, casting a white light on the blood-spattered walls.

Wait, what?

“Look.” You clutch the broken katana in your hand.

“Remain calm. Suika will lead the way.”

Kaguya’s hand closes around yours.

You and your companions advance inside. Something died in here -- painfully, and recently; the blood still drips from some surfaces. Together, you come round a bend.

An Archvile crouches in the corner, bleeding, not as dead as you originally suspected.

“HIT THE DECK!”

Fire sparks and dances around you. You grab Kaguya and throw yourself on top of her. Then, the explosion. Fire scars your back, agony flits through you. Your only comfort is that no harm comes to the moon-girl.

Suika rushes the demon, fists raised high. “FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEDOM!”

The Archvile hisses. Another explosion rips through the tunnel and Suika flies away, slamming into solid rock -- and with that, the box shatters.

Packing peanuts rain down in a storm of Styrofoam. And from that waterfall of biodegradable trash, a spectral light shines: a greatsword with a jet-black blade, a spiraling grip, mystic energy that orbits it -- and no guard -- hovers above the ground. Jumping off of Kaguya, you rush the blade, more sparks jumping around you.

Your fingers seize the grip. Pain rips through you -- god, the sword is hot, white hot -- but all the same you hold fast to it, even as you can nearly heal the flesh of your hands melting. “COVER ME!”

Kaguya leaps between you and the archvile; she mutters a couple of words as the monster blunders to its feet, calling up another hellish spell. Fire bursts against the ward Kaguya summons; Suika lumbers to her feet; all while the sword digs into your hand, trying to buck you off it’s a grip.

“He’s a tough one.” Sweat drives down Kaguya’s forehead as fire erupts in the cave. “I cannot hold him much longer…”

“SUIKA WILL HELP!” A wall of earth rises up beyond the Kaguya’s shield, absorbing the explosions that threaten to destroy you all. Two girls, running interference for you… feels good, man. As you seek to overpower the sword, the Archvile redoubles his attack.

The earthen wall ruptures, knocking Suika on her heels. Kaguya drives back the offensive from the wounded beast, her mystic shield pulsing with blue energy. “I can’t… hold him back…”

Suddenly, the pain stops. Your hand is whole and unburned. You rip the sword out of the ground and charge from underneath cover, the blade dragging a long furrow in the ground behind you. The Archvile redirects his attention, tracking you with his next spell.

You leap towards him. The spell goes off. The shockwave sends you flying towards him, your sword raised high--

“Guts is back, bitches!

The Oni Regalia crashes into his skull, driving through his chest, into the narrow spine, and down between his legs.

He splits in half.

You balance the Regalia over your shoulder, letting the blood drain off -- it’s a heavy sword, hard to swing and poorly balanced, but hell if it can’t butcher anything you whack with it. Kaguya dusts herself off while Suika wipes away some of the soot. “Suika. Where’d you get this?”

“Suika… commandeered it at the request of… someone.”

“Commandeered.”

“Suika stole it from the thick-walled underground vaults. But the Oni Regalia has not accepted a master in four hundred years, not even the greatest, solemnest Oni Kings!”

“Yeah, I’m pretty awesome like that. Kaguya, you ready?”

“Y-yes.” She tries to dust some of the more egregious dirt off of her kimono. “Whenever you are.”

“Alright, Suika, lead us out. I’m hungry -- and I’ve got a feelin’ this sword’s hungry too.”

#####################################################################################

Between Suika’s directions and Kaguya’s floating light, you navigated the tunnels without too much hassle -- other than the errant demon that Suika embedded into the rock. A pinprick of light gathers up ahead; sweet, sweet sunlight. “Suika knows this way well, as she frequently left the nursery in search of sake!”

“I hopped my crib and partied with my good buddy Jack Daniels all the time.”

Kaguya frowned. “Who is… Jack Daniels? A friend of yours?”

“Oh yeah, he and I go way back. He went out on a limb for me quite often -- helped me through breakups, droppin’ out of college, boot camp, shellshock, getting’ chewed out, losin’ buddies…”

“He sounds like a great and magnanimous man.” Kaguya is the image of gravitas. Suika gives a mighty belly-laugh.

“Suika too knows the might Jack Daniels! He is indeed mighty, for his kiss is the kiss of steel!”

“Oh- Suika, I had no idea you were…” Kaguya blushes adorably. “Intimate… with Mister Daniels.”

“He’s a philanderer,” you warn.

“Suika understands. He and I have an open relationship.”

“That’s very understanding of you.” Kaguya is thoughtful. “You will have to introduce me sometime.”

You and Suika brofist.

“Have I missed something?” Kaguya frowns.

You sniff the air. Something’s… acrid. Smells like… demons. You join Suika at the front, your grip on the Oni Regalia tightening. “They’re up ahead.”

“Suika can lead you nowhere but forward.”

“Alright, let’s do this thing.”

“SUIKAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA--”

You charge the tunnel, ready to bring the Regalia crashing down on skulls. “Suika, beat their heads in. Kaguya, run defense for us. Block as many attacks as you can, we’ll handle the killin’!”

“AYE, DEMON-SLAYER THE SECOND!”

“Right!”

And with that, you burst into the light.

You emerge onto a slope overlooking a long valley, mountains stretching up on either side, the sun gloriously rising up above the rocky crags. The land is rocky and desolate, but it would be glorious…

If not for the absolute gargantuan horde gathering below you. They stretch impossibly far into the distance, a vast legion summoned for the solitary purpose of killing you, Guts, the demon-slayer. The thought of this great mass of evil being gathered to kill you specifically -- and anyone who happened to be nearby -- is, frankly, satisfying. It’s a deep-seated pleasure to know that you have been enough of a pain to the hellions that they would go this far. Really, it brings a tear to your eye.

But above all else, you feel… alive. Here’s somethin’ you can really synch your teeth into, pun intended. The swarm of imps and zombies shambling towards you, mancubae camped on far ledges, barons and hell knights coming up the rear, specters doubtless in the shadows, revenants standing tall over the swarm, shunting weaker demons aside to get at you.

Here they all are… just waiting to be killed. You feel alive. You feel ready for it. Because screw Eirin, she ain’t your mom, you know you can still synch.

You…
[ ]… synch with Suika.
[ ]… synch with Kaguya.
>> No. 38830
[X]… synch with Suika.

RIP AND TEAR!
>> No. 38831
[x]… synch with Kaguya.

I think Kaguya will recover from the after-effects faster than Suika.
>> No. 38832
> The absolute gargantuan horde gathering below you, stretching impossibly far into the distance, a vast legion summoned for the solitary purpose of killing you.

nutz.wad

And aren't we not supposed to synch with anyone at this moment, due to the fact it will kill us?
>> No. 38836
>>38832

It's a huge risk NOT to. Even if we go in with the Oni Regalia, it's a bit too heavy for our current body to handle as effective as it was with Kusanagi. If only we were Siegfried... by synching, we may get a longer-range weapon that will help us deal with the demons a bit easier. Synching with Suika would be a good choice, but she's currently our strongest asset, now isn't a good time to weaken her. Besides, when we synched with her even in our original body, it nearly tore us apart regardless. Kaguya seems to be the more defensive fighter here, synching with her would probably be less vicious on the body, but it's taking a risk to leave the wizard of our party vulnerable with this many enemies. Plus, she's exhausted to begin with already. That said...

[X] Call for Tewi You've got a BFS! You don't need to sync!
-[X] Ask Kaguya if she can enhance your physical capabilities.

Then again, common sense only holds you back in Gensokyo. Maybe if Kaguya can supercharge our physical stats, we can wield the Oni Regalia with no problem at all. THEN comes all the RIP AND TEAR!
>> No. 38837
>>38832
Them, it'll kill them. He's just fine-and even if he really isn't, guts can just pull a IRON HEART SURGE out of his ass and move on.

[x] Sync with Kaguya
Because, well, she can't die. And Suika does it good enough on her own.
>> No. 38838
>Oni Sword
>FREEDOM
>Brofist
>Archville cut in half.

Man, this story is limitless. And a bit crazy too. But that's part of its charm, I believe.
>> No. 38844
[X] You've got a BFS! You don't need to sync!
-[X] Ask Kaguya if she can enhance your physical capabilities.

Makes sense to me.
>> No. 38849
[x]… synch with Kaguya.
Besides, even if something happens to kaguya, it's not like she'll die even if she's killed. She's immoral, remember?
>> No. 38850
>>38849

Yeah...but thing is, if Kaguya dies, she comes back. If WE die, we don't come back unless Yukari ex machina is involved again. This body isn't as strong as our original one, it may not be able to handle synching just yet. Especially with someone as powerful as Kaguya, and especially Suika. If we don't have to sync to get through this one with our forces still solid, all the better. A bit of a strength boost, stamina boost, and speed boost and we can take this batch of demons out easily.
>> No. 38858
[x]Synch with Suika

No bad ends. This story is about ridiculous awesomeness, stop being faggots.
>> No. 38861
>>38849
And the weakening side effect to the female shouldn't be a big thing to her, since due to her immortality, she'd recover really fast.

>>38850
There's a reason why we only have sync choices.

>>38858
There are no bad ends, just Full-Life consequences. And A weakened Suika is one I'd rather avoid.
>> No. 38891
File 127639952846.jpg - (40.01KB , 325x347 , revenant.jpg ) [iqdb]
38891
[X]… synch with Kaguya.

At the very least Kaguya should be able to recover much better than Suika might.

Also...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1eQi-PbxOI
>> No. 38914
[x]… synch with Kaguya.

The candle that burns twice as long burns twice as long.

Also, does the Oni Regalia sound kind of like a daiklave to anyone else?
>> No. 38926
>>38838

Kinda have to be awesome when dealing with Hell itself...

Case in point >>38891, try doing that without the BFG and no health packs or temporary invincibility; technically this is what I'd imagine being the end result of syncing with Kaguya where as Suika being the Berserk Mode OHKOing every single damn thing regardless if body gets torn up.
>> No. 38927
>>38914

Dragonslayer~
>> No. 38946
>>38891
That's among the main reasons I choose Kaguya; she'd recover far better than Suika. (The decreased magic seems to be a type of damage, different than mere exhaustion)
>> No. 39287
File 127710239838.jpg - (80.42KB , 400x400 , 9c25dab6f132f285ee5209d37abaa261.jpg ) [iqdb]
39287
[x]… synch with Kaguya.
>> No. 39293
[x] Synch with Mr. Ulmeyda.
- [x] Starts updating.
>> No. 39317
>>39293
First draft is finished, currently editing.

>>39287
This is a thing of beauty. Where did you find it?
>> No. 39322
>>39317

'Booru surfing.

awesomeface.jpg
>> No. 39324
>>39317
You've seen the video with Yukkuri Doom?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dEtgP3zq08
>> No. 39325
File 127719088893.jpg - (137.50KB , 850x921 , sample-7fd26c2d3dbbe8cea2a29c076a027b0e.jpg ) [iqdb]
39325
[This chapter was hard.]

As Suika wades into the oncoming swarm, you turn your attentions to the moon girl. “Kaguya! We’ll synch up!”

“R-right!” Kaguya veers off to you as you duck a barrage of fire. She grabs your hand, and you let her resonation flow into the Oni Regalia. Her song is a like a Chopin etude: experimental, but beautiful. Holding the sword aloft, you let loose with a mighty cry: “I’VE GOT THE POWER!”

The sword metamorphoses. The demons shield their eyes as the blinding flare flies high over the land. It’s a… As the light clears, you level a rocket launcher at them, flashing a grin. “It looks like Kmart has a sale--” you flick on your shades “--on rocket lawnchairs!” You yank the trigger.

“I really don’t get that one.” Kaguya hides behind you, her magic temporarily inactive.

A rocket spins out of barrel, dust and debris blasting out the rear of the launcher. The recoil rocks you hard, but you keep your footing. The projectile whirls in the air, drawing a smokey spiral before crashing to the ground in a swarm of devils. Pieces of demons fall from the sky: the skulls of revenants, the horns of hell knights, bits of mancubae you really don’t care to identify.

“GAHAHAHA!” You cackle gleefully. In this world, there is nothing so glorious as demons exploding because of rockets. You pull the trigger, sending a spread of rockets hurtling into the horde. Their trails carve dust into the air, tracing the ways in which demons die. Suika laughs gleefully as she picks up a baron and hurls him into the path of a missile.

“Kaguya!” The launcher clicks dry as you dive behind cover. “I need more rockets! How do I reload?”

Desperately you put the butt of the weapon to the ground. Kaguya runs to your side, ducking a barrage of oncoming fire. She joins you, huddling beneath cover.

“This will hurt a bit.”

“What will?”

Kaguya grabs the super-heated tube and mutters a few arcane words. Even as steam rose from her hands, the launcher glowed from inside with a spectral light. “Kaguya, stop!”

Finally, she releases the gun, her blistered hands hanging limply at her sides. “Go get them.”

“Kaguya…”

“I’ll be fine. I’m immortal, you know.”

“Wait, seriously?”

“And I do not look forward to an eternity of being devoured by hellions. Help Suika!”

You leap up and resume the rain of missiles, crashing haphazardly into the swarm. Suika gleefully grabs a Revenant and hurls it into the path of a rocket. Sharpened bone fragments rain down on the demons, piercing their flesh. You click dry again -- you meant to de-synch after this barrage, but Kaguya insistently grabs hold, her hands blistering before your very eyes.

She shows no sign of the pain.

You level the rocket launcher, aiming straight down the sights when--

“Guts!”

You’re falling through the air, your shoulder burning horribly. You hit the ground with a thud, rolling along the hard surface. The world goes black.

#####################################################################################

“Demon-slayer have glass jaw!”

Your vision cuts in and out. You’re bouncing along, something soft carrying you along a valley.

“He took a bolt to the shoulder, Suika, give him some credit. Look, he hasn’t even let go of his sword.”

“But of course! Holy scared divine Oni Regalia never far from master!”

“Suika?” you groan, trying to focus.

You are immediately and unceremoniously dumped on the ground.

“Be gentle, Suika!”

“Suika knows demon-slayer can take it.”

You force your eyes open. A white-haired dog-woman leans over your head, ears drooping slightly.

“Guts? Are you still with us?”

“Momiji?”

“Yes.” She breathes a sigh of relief. “Thank gods, you’re still alive.”

Suika shoves Momiji aside. “Demon-slayer still kicking!” She offers you her calloused, bandaged hand. You grab it and, in one fluid motion, she yanks you to your feet. Your vision pulls into focus.

“What happened?”

Momiji draws her sword. “When we realized you and Kaguya had been separated from us, I immediately doubled back to find you.”

“How’d you find us?”

She flashes a wan smile. “Smell.”

“Ah, you picked up my manly musk and could not resist my allure.”

“You certainly have a unique scent, but allow us to put that aside for a few moments. Kaguya, are you ready?”

She nods -- you guiltily notice her bandaged hands -- and goes on ahead.

“Right now, there are at least a hundred demons coming our way; Suika and I will hold them back while Kaguya makes a teleportation matrix over there.” Momiji points to some rocks some way down the valley, which would cover anyone from approaching demons. “Guts, you’re badly hurt, so you go with her.”

You drop the Oni Regalia over your shoulders.

“Hell no.”

“…excuse me?”

“I’m standing and fighting.” You yawn. Yeah, you’re tired, but you’ve fought off swarms feeling way worse than this. Momiji is still staring at you.

“Guts, look at yourself. If you take any more hits, you’ll probably die.”

“Yeah.” You yawn. “But I’m totally not.”

“Guts…” Momiji gets a hard look in her eye -- a look you’ve seen in officers plenty of times. You’re mostly immune to it. “What kind of soldier is this bad at following orders?”

“Yeah, well, I was never really good at the whole ‘following instructions’ thing. I failed the SAT because I wouldn’t settle for a number two pencil; I demanded number one and I got it. Never settle for number two when you can get number one.”

Suika frowns. “Demon-slayer went number one on test?”

“Yep. The other kids went number two.”

Momiji massages her temple. “Fine, fine. Suika, make sure he doesn’t get hurt.”

Suika goes stiff as a board, saluting exuberantly. “MA’AM, YES MA’AM! SUIKA UNDERSTANDS COMPLETELY!” Momiji looks irritated, but she’ll get over it. As you turn to face the canyon -- there’s a bend up ahead that the demons will charge down -- you feel the weight of the Oni Regalia heavily on your shoulders. Maybe Momiji’s right that you’re too badly hurt for this. Maybe you’re being a foolish asshole, throwing away a second chance you only got because Yukari bent the laws of nature backwards and nearly ruptured a hole in space.

Nah.

You hear a deep rumbling down the canyon, thousands of footfalls echoing against the walls. Behind you, a spectral light shines as Kaguya builds her matrix. You tighten your grip on the Regalia as the sound rises, like a metal concert assaulting your ears. Their evil voices join the cacophony, growling and groaning with hunger for you.

“HERE THEY COME!” Suika roars.

At least a hundred demons pile around the corner. A frightening mix: knights, barons, revenants, imps, zombies, all of them pulsing with dark intentions. You rush forward, your comrades at your sides. As the first zombies reach out their decomposing limbs for you, you bring the Oni Regalia crashing down on their skulls.

Momiji cuts an elegant path through the horde, her katana flashing in the light as she pushes forward, leaving a trail of eviscerated demons in her path. Suika lays into them with fists flailing, punching off heads and crushing bodies. The entire momentum of the horde changes as three incomparable badasses (well, two incomparable badasses and one ubermensch superbeing of asskicking) lay into them.

“Fall back! Don’t let them draw us too far forward.”

It sucks, but you retreat with Suika and Momiji. The demons surge forward, climbing over their dead, every one of them growling with abject malice in their hearts.

You retreat back towards the line of rocks that conceal Kaguya. The demons rush you, hurling plasma and fire.

“Charge!”

At Momiji’s word you rush them again. The glory of slaying demons overwrites any exhaustion you feel or injuries you might suffer. All you know is that, swinging the Oni Regalia like a club, you feel alive again. You’ve still got it! You still know how to kill!

“Guts, don’t get so far ahead!”

You ignore her cry, crushing forward. The sword’s thirsty. Who are you to deny her thirst? You crush a baron’s crown and kick him over, bowling over a mob of zombies.

“Who else wants some, huh?” You level the sword. “Bring it!”

Instantly, a barrage of fire and death hurtles your way. Suika tackles you to the ground; you slam into the dirt with a loud thud. Momiji rushes ahead, katana deftly slashing through the imps encroaching on you. Suika roughly drags you back to cover when you hear a shriek from Kaguya.

You leap to your feet and tear to her side.

Demons are coming down the other side of the valley. You stand between them and Kaguya, raising your blade towards them. The first volley of fire hurtles towards you. As Kaguya frantically finishes the teleportation matrix, you swing the sword around and bat a bolt of plasma. It crashes back into a swarm of zombies, exploding them instantly.

“Batter up!” You raise the sword vertically, taking a solid stance. Another volley rushes in; you swing the sword wildly -- dozens of projectiles crash into the demon ranks. As you blast them backward, Suika and Momiji regroup nearby. Momiji clutches a long gash on her right arm, but she holds her sword steay. As you bat projectiles into the encroaching horde, Kaguya completes her incantation.

“Everyone, to me!”

The moongirl mutters a sacred word --

#####################################################################################

You facecault into mushy ground. Rain pours on your back; you lie belly-down in on the ground oomph

Someone falls on top of you, crossways to your body. You feel like a mallet caught you in the stomach -- it’s all you can do to keep yourself from hurling. “Gitoff…” You groan, pushing yourself up. The individual on top of you rolls away, squelching in the mud. You stand, your vision slowly coming into focus.

You’re in a bamboo forest, a light drizzle wetting the soil. You glance back: Momiji lies face-up in the mud, still bleeding from the cut on her shoulder. “You all right?”

“Yeah… let me catch my breath.” After a moment, Momiji pushes off of the ground, dusting off her robes. You’re both completely filthy, covered in a potent combination off dust, blood, and mud.

“That’s a bad cut.”

“Eirin will see to it when we get back.”

“Let me bandage it. I’ll feel bad if I don’t.”

You lead Momiji to a small rock and sit her down. She stolidly watches as you peel the fabric away from her arm. It’s long, but not too deep -- you’re sure she’s in no immediate danger. But it could get infected…”

You tear a strip of cloth from your robe and quickly wrap it around the gash. It’s all you can do for now.

“Thank you.” She rotates her arm, wincing slightly. “What about you?”

“I’m tough as nails.” You grin. “Let’s get going. Where are Suika and Kaguya?”

“It looks like teleportation spell went poorly; we’re lucky to still be in one piece.” Momiji gives a wry smile. “In any case, I know where we are. I can smell my unit nearby.”

You grab the Oni Regalia off the ground, balancing it across your shoulders. “Lead on.”

She blazes a trail through the bamboo, following her nose. You reflect she’s nearly as tough as you are, lugging that arm around; not many people could survive that. Then again, she is a youkai, not a mere mortal, so you decide you should get some extra credit for not having racial bonuses. After all, you put all those extra skill points towards ‘asskicking’ and ‘indestructibility.’

Eventually, after crossing a small stream, you see cooking fires in the distance. Must be the camp.

“Hey. Inubashiri.”

“Mm?”

You offer a fistbump. “Thanks for comin’ to help.”

She returns the bump. “Of course. I did not mean to go down in history as the one who let the demon-slayer die.”

You draw into the camp. The sentinel, dozing at her past, snaps to attention. “C-captain Inubashiri?! You’re back! And the demon-slayer!”

“Of course.” You flick on your shades. “I’m invincible.”

Momiji rolls her eyes. “Come along. I need to see Eirin.”

#####################################################################################

Eirin treats your injuries a little more roughly than you would like, ranting all the while. “Guts, I tell you not to exert yourself and you immediately throw yourself into the fray like your life is meaningless!”

Kaguya sits in a corner, bandaged herself. Momiji waits her turn stolidly.

“Hey, I knew I was going to win.”

“Oh? And how’s that?” She casts a healing spell over one of your gashes -- it’s still disconcerting to see your body heal in time-lapse mode. Something about how the flesh knits together.

“I’m the demon-slayer! I can’t die!”

“You did die.” Eirin moves on to one of your bruises. “And I violated the laws of nature so you could come back to life.”

With a burst of light, the doctor heals your last injury. Still on the sore side, but overall you feel pretty good. You slide off her impromptu operating table and trade places with Momiji. You turn your back as the captain slides her shirt off.

“I’d tell you to rest, but you’re plainly going to ignore me.” The soft blue light of healing shines on the walls.

“What’s our plan?” you ask.

Momiji replies: “According to my maps, we’re not too far from Remilia’s Legion. I intend to link up with them -- Scarlet has been convening many of the resistance groups there. I wish to know why--” She hisses sharply; must be something Eirin did.

“I’m not looking forward to that.”

“Oh?”

“Remilia and I have a history.” You stroke your chin, feeling the bristle there. “I’m guessing she might want me dead.”

“I see. I won’t pry as to your reasons, but I do not think you can avoid Scarlet forever.”

“Yeah, I know.”

“In any case, you should rest, as Eirin pointed out. I will see you in the morning.”

“Fine, fine.”

You stalk out. The night’s still young, but your wounds are aching and a good night’s sleep does seem appealing right about now. A young youkai girl leads you to your own personal tent, not for from Momiji’s. It’s got a bedroll and not much else, but that’s all you need. You slide between the sheets and let the soft rain lull you to sleep.

#####################################################################################

Your dreams are uneasy -- Remilia’s song echoes in them prominently. You’re back on Deimos, in one of the bases that the demons warped with their vile energies. As you hug a wall, a lead pipe clutched in your sweaty palms, you can just make out the sound of her song: that haunting, melancholy tune that you came to know so well while in her service.

You push onwards, ignoring the blood that stains the pipe. You’ll never get used to beating in skulls that belong to men in UAC uniforms -- even if they are zombies. You advance through a hazy maze of concrete and wooden paneling ignoring the heads mounted on the wall. As you push a door open, you emerge into the sudden brightness of the surface. It’s an enclosed courtyard: walls with vines on all sides, surrounding a blue pool of water.

You drink from it. Your throat burns.

“Fighting even in your dreams, I see.”

You look up. Yukari sits on the far side, knees folded under her.

“Don’t you have a huge demon face to be fighting?”

“I can still travel in my dreams, Guts. My earthly form is still hard at work. You dropped this.”

You look up. She holds a bloodied ribbon in her hand -- Meiling’s ribbon.

“I will return it to you this one time.”

The ribbon teleports into your hand. It’s warm -- and stained. You can almost sense the drums of Meiling’s resonation from it, a sound comforting and familiar. “Thanks.”

“I meant to offer you my mark again, but decided you would refuse me anyway.” She sighs, theatrically. “In any case, I should warn you to be more gentle with that new body of yours. As much as I hate to echo Eirin, she is quite right when she calls it more delicate than your old one.”

“Great. Now you’re babying me too.”

“It’s a fortunate man who can appeal to the maternal instinct. He finds himself at an advantage through life.”

“Shame how Remilia eats her young.”

“An unfortunate habit of vampires, that.”

“Is there some other reason you’re here, or was it just the ribbon?”

“This dream was meant to be a nightmare. I figured I would prevent it, so long as I was… passing through.”

“Yeah. Thanks.”

“You do not trust me, do you?”

“Anyone who offers me the whole familiar deal is immediately placed on the ‘do not trust’ list.”

She laughs. “Speaking of which, I should warn you. Remilia Scarlet still has an interest in you… if a purely predatory one.”

“She wants to eat me?”

“You were a rare, valuable plaything that slipped through her fingers.”

“She wanted to turn me into a rock!”

“Certainly. But Remilia had plans in place even to preserve you in that sorry condition.”

“What are you trying to say?”

“Suffice it to say that she had a bit of mystical sophistry in mind -- while the spell would have claimed your body, your soul would be free for the taking... It’s all irrelevant now, in any case.” Yukari rises to her feet -- suddenly, you notice the dark rings around her eyes, the heaviness of her tread. She’s exhausted. “The dawn draws near. I must return to my labors, and you must return to yours.”

#####################################################################################

It’s a new morning, but the rain has not let up. Someone left a change of clothes next to your bedroll; climbing out of the covers, you give them the once over. You still haven’t figured out these weird Japanese robes, and it takes you a while to tie everything properly.

You step out into the rain. The camp is quiet at dawn; you stretch as you contemplate your first good night of sleep in quite some time. As you advance, you hear Eirin’s voice.

“Ah, Guts. Up at dawn.”

You turn; she stands near your tent, holding a tray of rice, soup, and noodles. “Yep. Army training dies hard.”

“Share breakfast with me?”

“Why not.”

You eat quietly. Eirin seems distracted, staring at her food for a while before eating it. You shovel everything down in your usual style, reflecting that you really should get back into the swing of the whole ‘eating with utensils’ thing. As you eat, Momiji jogs past you on a morning run. Eirin sighs.

“‘Stay inside for a bit,’ I say. ‘Rest. You’ll reopen your injuries if you do that. But she never listens.’”

“She get hurt a lot?”

“She was dying when I first met her.”

It’s odd. You have a hard time imagining Momiji that badly wounded.

“It was a miracle she survived. It was in the shadow of Youkai Mountain… an imp had opened up her stomach with a claw -- had a gotten there a second later she would have been beyond saving. We had just escaped Eientei when she and I crossed paths…” Eirin falls silent.

“Hey, I want to hear more. I’m curious.”

She laughs. “I’d feel like I was overstepping my bounds. Ask Momiji if you want to hear the details.

After breakfast, you…

[ ]… spend some more time with Eirin.
[ ]… join Momiji on her morning run.
[ ]… go goof off with Suika.
[ ]… go visit the lake nearby.
>> No. 39328
[x] …spend some more time with Eirin.
>> No. 39330
[x]… go goof off with Suika.
Suika~
>> No. 39334
[X]… spend some more time with Eirin.
-[X] "What exactly happened during those nine months where I was dead?"
>> No. 39340
[X]… go visit the lake nearby.

Take what little respite that can be had, keeps one focused at what will come.
>> No. 39345
[x]… go goof off with Suika.
>> No. 39349
[X]… spend some more time with Eirin.
-[X] "What exactly happened during those nine months where I was dead?"
>> No. 39352
[ ]… spend some more time with Eirin.

Where was that womb you used to bring me back?

(I think it's related to Kaguya, but I wanna hear Eirin's explaination for the lolz)
>> No. 39355
>>39352

Are you saying Kaguya gave birth to us?
>> No. 39356
>>39355
In Dune, the axlotl "bath" (didn't find the right word), who are used as artificial womb, are women.

Plus, it'll explain why Kaguya blushed when she saw us.
>> No. 39357
>>39356

It'd also explain why nine whole months had to go by before we could be reborn.
>> No. 39358
[ ] spend some more time with Eirin.
- [ ] Ask her about what if an immortal dies.
- [ ] And everything about the situation.
>> No. 39365
[x] spend some more time with Eirin.
- [x] Ask her about what if an immortal dies when it is killed
- [x] And everything about the situation.

He should ask Yukari if becoming her familiar can help her up. She looked dead tired and if she falls, I'm guessing that gensokyo is a goner.
>> No. 39371
>>39365
I have no problems with being her familiar, but only after Patchouli's training. And at this rate some more training to toughen ourselves up. This way we can be of maximum use to Yukari.
>> No. 39393
File 127727266462.jpg - (64.00KB , 500x399 , 129081361879580033.jpg ) [iqdb]
39393
>>39371
Yeah, but Patchouli won't do anything to anger Remilia, and I think that if Guts ask Remilia for help, the only thing he'll gather will be a middle finger and a Gungnir in the ass.
>> No. 39397
>>39393
That's assuming much and if that was true, she wouldn't have interfered with the medusa spell, which she did. And this isn't the time for pettiness. Remilia'd have to wait until this is all over before she'd get a chance to kill him. The combined Eientei/Tengu forces wouldn't allow it and it'd go against her goal of gathering up all the resistance.
>> No. 39427
We should explain to everyone about the Icon of Sin and how Yukari is doing everything she can to stop him from ripping Gensokyo a couple new Negative Space Wedgies before plopping it down right in the middle of hell. With a small comment on the side about how Deimos, one of the moons on Mars, is much bigger than Gensokyo and the Icon of Sin had no trouble sucking it into hell, with plenty of room left for a couple of planets.
>> No. 39431
>>39427
Uh... Yeah, explaination may be a good thing. Icon of Sin is the last boss, right?
>> No. 39434
>>39427
I don't think Remilia would be quick to believe him.

Also we should find out how Reimu and Alice are doing.
>> No. 39443
>>39431
Yes it was. DOOM 4 may make it an actual boss that can move around instead of a face in the wall that summons monsters that can tele-frag you.
>> No. 39580
>>39443
I hope Doom 4 will be more balanced than Doom 3.
I can't be scared when I have a minigun, and plenty of bullets. F.E.A.R. was far more scaring.
But Hell is... unique, and too short. I want more Hell newt time.
>> No. 39583
>>39580
I FEAR was scarier than Doom 3, then you must have slept through doom, I was yawning my brains out at how annoying and boring FEAR managed to be at the same time.
>> No. 39593
>>39583
I'm really sorry, but I really think that Doom 3 is less scarier than FEAR.
FEAR, it's mainly fear of the unknow. You don't know what's going on, and you don't know what's happening.
Doom 3, you know all the stuff: demonic invasion, blablabla. If there's no surprise, there is no fear. I can't be scared by a monster that I know. Especially if it die after 2 shotguns bullets.
>> No. 39602
Doom had only minor elements in the first place, it wasn't meant to be survival horror.
>> No. 39603
>>39602
And yet ID tried to make it a scary games, but failed. Doom is a pure shoot them up, with enemies and keys and guns. Like Serious Sam, but less comical and more bloody.
>> No. 39605
>>39603
I mean sure there might be bits of fear when you're running low on life/armor/ammo, but when you're doing good, you're more like Doomguy "Who's a man and half? I'm a man and half; berserker packing man and a half!"
>> No. 39654
>>39605

You forgot about the ripping and the tearing.

RIP AND TEAR!
>> No. 39656
[This update was delayed due to the Steam sale.

Max Payne I and II at $3.00? Include me in!

Slow-mo pew pew!

Next chapter should be up tomorrow or the next day.]
>> No. 39657
>>39656
You don't happen to have a link to that promotion, do you? I tried looking on steam, but they can't even find the game...
>> No. 39728
File 127793393226.jpg - (70.02KB , 640x496 , 9ec38325b070.jpg ) [iqdb]
39728
When Eirin gets up to leave, you ask her to stay.

She smiles. “Sure.”

“So, what was that ‘artificial womb?’”

“Maybe I misspoke. That thing you woke up in… it was an incubator. It took your body from infancy to adulthood in a couple of weeks.”

“And just how old am I, equivalently?”

“Oh, about twenty-four. Seemed like an ideal age.”

“And yet… how’d you get the body? You steal some baby?”

“What do you think I am, a sociopath?” Eirin laughs. “Come, I’ll make some tea if you really want to chat for a while.”

You watch as she prepares it, carefully heating up a kettle with a spell. You lean back, stretching out your legs. Eirin pours two cups, offering one to you.

“So, fill me in a bit.” You take a sip. Spending time in Gensokyo has warmed you up to tea, something you never really bothered with before. “Just who are you, where’d you come from?”

“I’m surprised it took you that long to ask.” Eirin laughed. “I heard that you once said nothing surprised you. I guess it’s true: you got into stride with Momiji and her unit very quickly.”

“One of the many perks of being the famous demon-slayer.”

“Well, my name is Eirin. Until recently, I lived with my friend Kaguya at a mansion called Eientei, along with a few moon-rabbits. The demons came, and… well… the siege began. Many of us died. I saved who I could.” She stares miserably into the distance. “When we finally broke out, we started making our way north based on rumors of a famous demon-slayer who was taking the fight to the hellions.”

“Wait, because of me?”

“Yes. The rumors were quite wild: that you were the legendary knight Arturia, wielding a golden sword… that you were a gunslinger returned from the grave to defeat the demons… that you were the one who melted the frozen heart of Remilia Scarlet and made her your wife…”

You choke at that last one.

“Mmm?”

“N-nothing. What happened next?”

“We wandered northwards, avoiding demons where we could and fighting where we had to. No matter what I did, it seemed a few rabbits passed away after each battle. Eventually, we drifted by Youkai Mountain. It was under siege: Momiji lead the resistance, most of her superiors dead or wounded. We watched from afar.” Eirin sips her tea, her eyes still far-away. “When she launched her last, desperate sally out of the mountain, we helped her. If we hadn’t been there, well…”

Momiji would have died, Eirin would have been isolated, surrounded, and probably doomed, and your ticket back to the mortal world would have been forever lost. Sobering thought.

“So… after that, you brought me back.”

“No. You died a few days later; that’s when Ran appeared to me and explained the situation. I decided I wanted a shot at mad science.”

“How did you do it?”

“Like I said. I made a body, put it in an incubator, and Yukari did the soul transmission. It wouldn’t have been possible if you hadn’t killed the Cyberdemon when you did.”

“Hmm.”

A tengu strides through the camp, shouting and blowing on a vuvuzela. “BREAKING CAMP! BZZZZ! EVERYONE GET READY TO BREAK CAMP! BZZZZ!”

You rub your temple. “No matter how many dimensions I pass through I just can’t escape those fucking things.”

#####################################################################################

You join Momiji at the front of the line caravan, a long line of wagons and youkai on foot that stretches some distance back. She holds her arm in a sling, but grips her katana in her good hand. You walk side by side, at the head of the column. Eirin and Kaguya sit comfortably in a nearby wagon.

“It’s a trek,” Momiji shouts to her lieutenants. “A good three miles east, with a river to ford along the way. However, I haven’t heard of any demons nearby, so it should peaceful.” The caravan creaks to life, grinding ahead in the mud. Oxen groan unhappily.

“Ya know…” you begin.

“Yes?”

“They just show up when they feel like it.”

“The demons?”

“Just because you don’t think they’re around doesn’t mean you should be off your guard.”

“Full alert twenty-four hours a day would exhaust us.”

“I know. That’s the problem.”

Momiji frowns, using her sheated katana as a walking-stick. The bamboo rolls past slowly. Kaguya nods out in the back of one, still exhausted from synching. You pass the time by listening to passing resonations: the jaunty tune of Eirin comes through the clearest, but you can make out the soothing violin of Kaguya as well, settled into the steady rhythm of sleep. Momiji sounds like an acoustic guitar playing a tense, high-strung song: her nose twitches frequently, trying to tease out any demonic scent.

“So, what do I smell like, anyway?”

“Unwashed male.”

“Figures.”

A few hours later, Momiji calls a halt. You dig the Oni Regalia into the ground and use it as a back-rest. A few Youkai walk down the line, dispensing ramen to the weary troops. You take your bowl with minimal fuss and try to divine how to use chopsticks.

“Like this.” Eirin sits down across from you. She holds the chopsticks lightly, showing how to clamp the noodles with them. You weakly imitate her. “Oh, you’ll figure it out eventually.”

“Yeah. Right.”

You eat in peace for a few moments.

“So. Eirin.”

“Yes?”

“How did you make this body, exactly?”

“Didn’t I explain this earlier?”

“Nope.”

“Well, I’ll tell you, just as soon as…” Eirin reaches into some bushes and yanks out a fairy. The little creature squirms, Eirin’s hand clamped firmly by the scruff of the neck. “Sunny Milk?”

“Hey! Put me down!”

“Oh, sure. Just as soon as you tell me why you’ve been spying on Guts and me.”

“I… Ow! That hurts!”

“Out with it!”

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry!”

Eirin releases Sunny Millk. The fairy lands in the mud with a squelch. “That hurt, Eirin!”

“Tough. Own up, Sunny.”

“Oww…” The fairy rubs the nape of her neck. “I wanted to talk with the other demon-slayer but I don’t see him anywhere around here.”

“I’m the demon-slayer,” you interject.

She explodes into laughter. “Yeah right! You don’t look anything like the demon slayer!” Sunny-milk puts her hands to her hips proudly. “And I know because Aya showed me a picture of you! It’s right here!” Sunny Milkreaches into her pocket and pulls out a plain black-and-white photo. When the hell did that get taken? “See, that’s the demon-slayer! But he did look like a foreigner, like you do. Come to think of it, Mister, you look a bit like Ei--”

“Sunny-milk, you’re looking at the demon slayer.” Eirin sighs. “I can verify that.”

“Nuh-uh! He’s some other dude.”

“He died at the Scarlet Devil Mansion. I found a new body for him.”

“Oh… so this guy really is the demon-slayer? I dunno, seems a little weird to me. He’s not nearly as buff as in the picture…”

“I’m still hammering this new body into shape, OK?”

“But… it doesn’t make any sense…”

There’s a long silence where you stare at her.

“And? What did you want to talk about?”

“Right! We’re looking for Cirno. Have you seen her?”

Your chest tightens. Crap, they don’t know. “Umm, Cirno. You… did you ask?”

“We asked a bunch of people, but they all said they didn’t know. We asked the other demon-slayer, but she said she didn’t know, but she got this really far-away look and said to ask Sakuya, but we couldn’t find Sakuya and we got lost in the woods and we found Momiji’s Kennel!”

“Where are the others?” Eirin asks.

“They’re resting. It was really hard in the woods. After the demons came we can barely recognize the place and couldn’t find our way around. So do you know what happened to Cirno? She’s my friend, and she owes me a bowl of ramen…”

You shift uncomfortably. “Cirno… is on a journey.”

“Where to?”

“To help fight the demons.”

“OK!” Sunny milk proudly tramps back to her friends. You swallow a lump in your throat.

“She’s dead?” Eirin mutters.

“Yeah. She died fighting at the Scarlet Devil Mansion.”

Eirin sighs, putting down her ramen. “Usually fairies pop back to life if they’ve been hurt to any great degree, but against demonic magic… You should just tell them. They’ll spend the rest of their lives thinking Cirno will come back to play with them.”

“Maybe it’s better that way.”

“You blame yourself?”

“You changed the subject?”

She gives a weak smile. “Yes, I did. I apologize. I just… see that you’re unhappy, with the way things turned out. I feel unhappy too; sometimes I feel I share your feelings. I’m a weak woman, in some ways.”

“I don’t think a weak woman can raise the dead.”

“Perhaps not.” She gets to her feet. “I think our time is up. I have patients to attend to, and Momiji will resume the march any moment now. It was nice talking with you.” One more thought occurs to you.

“Hey. What did Sunny Milk mean by the ‘other demon-slayer?’”

“I wouldn’t know. We’ve been out of the loop for some time.”

#####################################################################################

After a few more hours of marching, the convoy reached a long river snaking through the bamboo, its waters deep and languid. Momiji directed the crossing, ordering several magically-trained Youkai to conjure up a bridge while the wagons creaked across it. You stood guard nearby, the Oni Regalia balanced neatly over your shoulders. It’s the height of tedium, but preferable to being eaten by demons. Barely.

As you lean against a stiff bamboo plant, you wonder about this ‘other demon-slayer.’ Whoever he or she might be, you are reasonably certain that you are a)better at demon-slaying b)more experienced and c)more handsome. After all, the handsomeness isn’t in the body, it’s in your style. You could be homely or plain and still be handsome, cuz handsomeness is in raw masculinity, which you -- naturally -- carry from one body to another.

You tighten your fingers are Meiling’s ribbon. Something about it reminds you of her warmth, how she begged you not to die. Dammit… what would have happened if you had stuck around? Could there have been a spark?

A sharp crack of magic splintering interrupts your deep introspection.

At the crossing, one of the four Youkai holding up the bridge has collapsed, blood dripping from her nose. Eirin rushes to the girl’s side as the remaining three struggle to hold up the bridge. A wagon is mid-crossing, its driver paralyzed with fear as the bridge slowly unweaves itself beneath her. Momiji runs to the front.

“Anko! Keep the cart moving!”

The youkai is shocked to attention, immediately snapping the reigns. The oxen slowly advance, when--

The spell splinters again. In the next second you’re sure wagon will plunge into the water --

When the river freezes.

It comes with a burst of steam that obscures the convoy. You plunge in to fog, searching for some cause of the miracle. As the steam dissipates, you see the wagon partially frozen into the river. Momiji helps the terrified driver down with her good hand.

“What happened?” you call.

“No idea.” Momiji sniffs. “Look!”

You spin around. There is a very human-shaped object standing on a nearby hill, shrouded by fog. You tear after it, ignoring Momiji calling you back. As you push through the bamboo, following the river, you can only think of one girl who can turn water to ice. You crash through some brush to find yourself on the shores of lake, fed by a rushing waterfall from the mountains. A figure floats over the surface, shadowed in the mist.

“Who are you?!”

The figure cocks her head, cryptically. She looks young -- just a little above her age.

“Show yourself!”

“G-guts…” The voice rasps. “G-guts…d-did I…?”

A flash of light blinds you. As your vision clears, you see the figure has vanished.

#####################################################################################

Momiji chides you about running off. You aren’t really listening; the hours go by like minutes as you turn memories over in your head. Cirno… why? Why did she rush the Cyberdemon? A sense of bitterness fills you. Could that figure really be her? It’s mad; Cirno didn’t have the firepower to do this. As you think it over, you’re barely aware of it as the bamboo turns to pine trees. Just like the ones around the Scarlet Devil Mansion.

You hear the demons before you see them. Momiji nudges you.

“Yeah, I can tell.”

“I smell them. They’re close -- rallying for an attack.”

“Pretty much.” You eye the convoy -- the armed Youkai patrol the outsides, while the children and injured are in the wagons. “What you want to do about it?”

“Rush Remilia’s encampment. If it comes down to it, you and I will lead the vanguard while the rest escape.

“You sure? Your arm.”

“I won’t die. Eirin can fix anything else that happens to me.”

“Right.” You turn fall back along the line, ears pricked. Your demon-senses remain effective, telling you that the demons still infest the woods around the Mansion. What is it that draws them here, even though Remilia smashes them each time they approach? And that ‘new demon-slayer’ thing is still buggin’ you. A man’s gotta protect his trademarks, right?

Something flickers in the corner of your eye. You spin around; red eyes glow in the darkness, watching you. You lunge aside just in time to avoid the barrage of fire. The wagon behind you bursts into flame, crackling menacingly. Not thinking, you rush into the darkness of the woods.

The Oni Regalia crashes into the nearest skull. An Imp keels over, his blood pouring into the ground as his buddies clamber in for another shot. Your sword crashes through the underbrush, slicing small trees. Youkai join the fray: you can hear Suika singing joyously in the distance. The wagons pick up their pace, rushing towards the distant lights of Remilia’s camps as the guard stays behind.

You retreat back to the road, Momiji at your side.

Demons rush your position, imps and zombies backed up by far-away barons and knights. As you duck the incoming torrent of fire, the tengu rush them with swords while moon-rabbits rain down spells. Somehow, against all odds, Momiji has a good outfit here. They all believe in her unto the death. She is, quite simply, the only kind of officer you respect.

You deflect a barrage, sending fire and plasma singing back into the enemy lines. The demons cringe under the attack and keep coming. The horde wades in around you. A cold rage overtakes you, a grim red tint falling on your vision as you swing the Regalia like a club. Demons wither and crumble under the attack.

Suddenly, you’re surrounded. Momiji whips out her katana, sending the sheath spiraling into the evening sky. You stand back to back, slashing every demon as you slowly retreat down the road. Momiji gasps for breath, but you’re still swinging even as your hands shake and your muscles beg for mercy.

Finally, the horde retreats. Dead demons litter the ground, roadkill. The tengu and moon-rabbits gather around Momiji as their leader sits on the ground.

“Captain Inubashiri, are you OK?” “Captain?!” “Ma’am!” “You need to rest, Captain, or you’re really going to get hurt.” Momiji’s soldiers gather around her, might as well be a pack of puppies around their mom. She tries to reassure them that the blood isn’t hers, and that her arm feels just fine.

You slump on the ground, panting. You’ve gotten a bunch of injuries, but you already feel stronger and ready to go again.

“Guts… I’m not even going to say it.” Eirin stands nearby, holding a doctor’s bag.

“See to her first, I’m fine.”

Pushing through the gang of little soldiers, Eirn sees to Momiji’s injuries. You mostly tune out Eirin’s scolding until she gets to something worrisome.

“…you won’t be able to walk on this.”

You crane your neck. Sure enough, a long gash runs down Momiji’s leg, red and ugly. Eirin starts bandaging it; Momiji winces. “I can still walk,” Inubashiri coughs out.

“Like hell you can!” Eirin secures the bandages. “Momiji, if you keep going on like this you’re going to get yourself killed. What abou--”

This sets off Momiji’s fanclub. “The Captain’s gonna die?!” “Don’t die, Captain, we can’t go on without you!” Broken up by sobbing.

“No one’s going to die!” explodes Momiji. The soldiers go silent. “I’m just going to be on bed rest for a while. I’ll still be in charge. Now, to get us back--” Momiji cuts off suddenly.

“What?” you ask, instincts going off.

“I smell them.”

You throw yourself to the ground just in time to avoid a curtain of plasma flying over your head. The little soldiers spring into action, throwing up a defensive ward around Momiji: a web of spectral blue light that flickers and sparks as green plasma bounces off of it. You strap the Oni Regalia to your back, getting ready to evacuate the wounded. Arachnotrons hiss as they push down the road, bombarding your group.

Momiji gives a little scream as you pick her up. “What are you doing?!”

“Getting you out of here.”

You, Momiji, and Eirin beat a hasty retreat away from the oncoming arachnotron swarm. The tengu/moon-rabbits follow, pulling the ward with them. Its light illuminates the darkening sky, a mystic light show. Momiji is heavy in your arms; you can feel the sinew and muscle under her robes.

Sparks gather around you. You throw yourself over Momiji as the archviles detonate magic around. Tongues of flame lick your back.

“I’ll deal with this!” Eirin steps forward, deftly drawing magic in the air. As the advancing archviles prepare their next barrage, six jets of yellow magic snake towards them. The Arcvhiles wither under the attack as the forest catches fire. The sun sinks under the horizon.

But that’s not the end. Glowing eyes fill the woods, pinpricks of hellfire in the dark. Momiji’s soldiers gather around you, tightening their ward. You scoop the tengu off the ground as the Kennel forms a tight circle around you. Demons advance from the shadows, taking their sweet time.

“She’s coming…”

You spin around. Sunny-milk and two others -- her friends, you assume -- have somehow trapped themselves in this hellhole with you.

“What are you three doing here?!”

“She’s coming! The new demon-slayer!”

A matrix bursts into existence ahead of you, scarlet light shining freely. As it blinds you, a figure appears among the spectral light: a hulking, armored warrior, standing proudly. She’s covered head to toe with thick metal armor, engraved with glowing arcane runes. Over her shoulder she wears an enormous sword, more a hunk of iron than a proper blade. One gauntleted hand extends and grasps the hilt.

“She’s invincible! A true hero!”

The armor creaks as the sword pulls free, slowly sliding over her shoulders.

“She’s the demon-slayer!”

The demons rush forward, and your competitor meets them with a swing. Magic blasts from the sword in a solid shockwave that rips into the horde, crushing them backwards. You take the opportunity to retreat, hurrying down the road with the Kennel. Momiji watches your back from your arms, eyes fixed on the demon-slayer.

More demons behind you; Momiji throws spells at them, ignoring her wounds: magic leaps out of her hands and burns the demons to ash. As you follow a bend in the road, you see a gang of barons and hell knights waiting in ambush. You throw yourself out of their way, into the brush, and --

#####################################################################################

There was a slope off the road, concealed by the underbrush. You hurtle down, slipping in the slick mud: Momiji gives a little shriek as you plunge into the darkness. Pain explodes in you as your shoulder slams into a tree. At least you’ve stopped, jarringas it might be.

Inubashiri gasps in your arms, holy shit that sounded dirty.

“What happened?”

“We slipped.” You sit her up against the tree, ignoring the burning pain in your shoulder. “There was a slope.”

“I see.”

You stand up, looking through the thick tree canopy. The slope’s too slippery to climb, you’ll need to find a way around. It’s near impossible to navigate in here; you can barely see the stars and there are no signs of a route to the Remilia’s camp.

“Guts!”

“What?”

“Someone’s coming. I can smell them.”

You grab the Oni Regalia off your back.

“What direction?”

“Up!”

You look up.

A pair of black wings, silhouetted against the moon. A figure, balanced on a branch. A soft red glow is given off by her eyes, casting a weak light on her black coat.

“Hello, Guts,” Remilia purrs.

You raise the sword. “Hey, Remi.”

“When I got word of your miraculous resurrection, I could hardly believe my ears. But here you are, a thorn digging into my side.”

“I’m not the one who almost got fossilized!”

“You are a fool.” She gives a short laugh. “Patchouli is a fool as well. And -- I see you’ve disposed of my mark.”

You trust her about as far as you can throw her. All the same, if she wanted to kill you she would have attacked already. Mercifully; you don’t think you can win while protecting Momiji. All the same, every cell in your body screams ‘danger.’

“Are you here to give ominous hints or do something useful?”

“Direct as ever. Frankly: stay out of my hair. Do not reveal yourself as the original demon-slayer. Remain comfortably anonymous. I do not care what you do after that.”

“Trying to hide your crimes? Feh. What’s in it for me?”

“Self-interest is a great motivator, isn’t it?” She draws Vladimir out of her coat. “I will restore Vladimir to you, and make sure you receive a steady supply of shells.”

“If you think I’m selling out for that fucking shotgun again you’ve got another thing coming.”

“And, more importantly, I will allow you to resume training with Patchouli. From what I understand, she has more-or-less perfected the synchronizer training technique. You should improve quite quickly under her tutelage. If you refuse, well, you will find she is indisposed…”

Hmph.

“So all I gotta do is keep my head down?”

“Yes. Do not reveal your identity to anyone outside the Kennel. If rumors start, deny them. The story of the resurrected demon-slayer must remain a tall tale.”

“And if I don’t, I suppose you’ll kill me.”

“Not at all. Doing that, I would have to dispose of the little bitch behind you and the moon-women… more trouble than it is worth. No, all that would happen would be repercussions for the Kennel.”

“Repercussions… of evil?”

“Do not be a smart-ass, Guts.”

“Guts, I think you should go along with her,” whispers Momiji. Of course, she would say that; she’s trying to protect the Kennel.

You…
[ ]…accept the deal. “Fine. I’ll play along for Patchouli’s training.”
[ ]…refuse the deal. “Hell if I’m hiding who I am for one of your stupid power-plays.”
>> No. 39731
[x]…accept the deal. “Fine. I’ll play along for Patchouli’s training.”


Let's accept the deal... for now.
When Guts will know enough about synchronization, he will be able to suck Remi's power.
And, put her insult in her throat. This will be enjoyable.
>> No. 39741
[x]…accept the deal. “Fine. I’ll play along for Patchouli’s training.”
-[x] "How is Meiling doing? I hope I didn't cause her too much grief. Knowing that she's fine means far more than some title I didn't ask for."

I think he'd want to ask that as well. Fame is of little worth to him anyways.
>> No. 39743
I think Cirno has somehow come back.... either that or Guts is tripping balls so hard, he's altering reality.
>> No. 39751
>>39743
Dunno why but I lol'd.

[x]…"You don't know me as well as I should if you thought I care about fame."
-[x] "Since you're already basically paying me for doing what I was gonna do anyway, let me bother you a little more: tell How is Meiling doing. Knowing that she's fine means far more than some title I didn't ask for."
>> No. 39753
[x]…accept the deal. “Fine. I’ll play along for Patchouli’s training.”
-[x] "How is Meiling doing? I hope I didn't cause her too much grief. Knowing that she's fine means far more than some title I didn't ask for."

...I'm almost surprised. But then again, Mr. U's Remi ranks higher up on the bitch scale than most Remis in other SDM stories.
>> No. 39755
We can only hope that Remilia's nice enough to let us talk with Meiling some in addition to the training. Guts didn't really care for the title anyways.
>> No. 39757
[x]…accept the deal. “Fine. I’ll play along for Patchouli’s training.” .....For Now (last part being inner dialogue.)
-[x] "How is Meiling doing? - But worded more in a way Guts would say. Above Anon's is not MANLY enough.
>> No. 39765
>>39757
I figured the author would paraphrase it to a more manly style.
>> No. 39769
[x]…accept the deal. “Fine. I’ll play along for Patchouli’s training.”
-[x] "How is Hokuto no Koumakyou doing? Didn't make her baww much did I?"

Wat
>> No. 39772
[x]…accept the deal. “Fine. I’ll play along for Patchouli’s training.”
-[x] "How is Meiling doing? I hope I didn't cause her too much grief. Knowing that she's fine means far more than some title I didn't ask for."
>> No. 39778
[x]…accept the deal. “Fine. I’ll play along for Patchouli’s training.”
-[x] "How is Meiling doing? I hope I didn't cause her too much grief. Knowing that she's fine means far more than some title I didn't ask for."

I could only imagine how Meiling's gonna feel when she sees us in our new body.
>> No. 39782
[X]Tell Remilia off
-[X] Insert epic write-in that includes Yukari, The Icon of Sin, Remilia letting her pride get the best of her in this situation, ect...
>> No. 39907
File 127830402722.png - (336.17KB , 1024x768 , NUTS_WAD_2.png ) [iqdb]
39907
[I fail at life. Managed to post this in the wrong thread. A mercifully auto-saged one.

I bow my head in shame.

Add 'make sure you are in the right thread' to the list of pre-update checks.]



“Fine. I’ll play along for Patchouli’s training.”

“I knew you would see reason.” Remilia throws Vladimir down to you. You swipe it out of the air. She throws your bandolier and a box of shells down after it. “But remember, I will hold you to your word. No one can know who you are, not even your precious Hong Meiling!”

Shit, she knows?

“Wait! You didn’t say--”

Remilia launches into the air, her bat-wings carrying her high into the night sky. You curse under your breath as you slide on the bandolier and holster Vladimir. Shit. Shit! You dragged yourself all this way just to sort out your feelings about her and now this! You strap on the Oni Regalia.

“I did not realize the extent of your history with Remilia.” Momiji sits against the tree trunk; she looks like hell. Her bruises and gashes shock you out of your brooding; she’s more important right now.

“It’s an ugly business.”

“I can tell.” You pick her up off the ground. “I can already smell people searching for us. Let us find them. But… Guts…”

Sure enough, you can hear the voices of rescuers in the distance…

“Remember, I consider you a member of the Kennel. If you need help, I will give it.”

“Thanks, Cap’n.”

When you make it back to camp, you’re only distantly aware of your surroundings. The world passes by in a haze as rubberneckers gather to see the battered Kennel, carrying their leader home on a stretcher. You’re distantly aware of the iron-clad demon-slayer watching from a hilltop, the light flickering across her sleek black armor. Wordlessly, you find your tent and collapse into it.

You pull the covers tight around your chest. A merciful darkness surrounds you. Maybe, at last, you’ll have an easy sleep.

#####################################################################################

Guts~ The voice is sickly sweet. Can’t you hear me calling you?

You open your eyes. A field stretches out around you; a field that sprouts a carnival of flowers. A bush of roses, a sprinkling of dandelions, spreads of daffodils. It is neither night nor day: an in-between-time of visible darkness. As you stand, you see a figure manifest out of the shadows. The vines and stems cling to her legs adoringly, like fans… or a pack of children.

Guts… can’t you hear the flowers? Can’t you hear their voices?

Her parasol turns slowly.

My voice calls ‘Join me, join me!’ And yet you do not listen. Is my resonation not pleasant to your ears? Or is it drowned out by the profane voices of those others who dare call themselves your master?

You grope for your sword, but cannot find it. An all-consuming noise fills your mind: a melody low and menacing, bows grinding on violins, a promise of violence. The flower-woman’s hair curtains her eyes as she bursts into a smile.

You will know my touch, caress, iron-clad grip soon enough, true demon-slayer! And then you’ll hear the flowers, the voice of the earth. The earth is screaming. The earth wants something. The earth wants a world without humans. She demands it. She demands it of you, not a human but a--

She drops the parasol. Your muscles freeze even as you try to run, fighting your locked limbs. Slowly the woman-of-the-flowers advances, her dress trailing across the ground as a fell wind blows across the field. The flowers rustle, and for a second you can hear their voices.

They promise your death.

As the woman reaches to stroke your cheek, you struggle to escape--

A jet of flame cuts across the field. Flower-woman screams with rage as she leaps away. Even now, you interfere you filthy Nosferatu!

Fires bursts into the sky as the Flower-Woman skips away from falling meteors. You crawl away from her, your paralysis fading. But, as you turn to escape, you come face to face with a vampire in a red dress.

#####################################################################################

“HOLD IT!” A pure female voice cuts across the dream. Your eyes flicker open.

You stand near the edge of camp, where the torchlight tapers off into darkness. A patch of flowers await you; you stumble back. Holy crap, were you just sleepwalking?

Someone hits the ground next to you with a thud.

“Holy hell, dude, don’t you know not to go off at night?”

You glance up. None other than Marisa Kirisame stands over you, astride her broom. You look up at her, slightly befuddled. The last you saw her she had gone berserk and had gone about murdering every demon she could find -- and then you heard Reimu saved her. Whatever the case, she doesn’t recognize you now.

You quickly weigh your options. Reveal yourself, break the deal with Remilia, hope nobody blabs. Stay anonymous, play it safe. You decide to risk it.

“Buck up, Major Badass,” you offer.

She stares at you. “Who the hell are you?”

“Aww, how quickly they forget. Weren’t we gonna pay them back by inches?”

“It… it can’t be.”

“It is!” You stand up. Looks like you left the Regalia at home. “But keep it on the down low, OK?”

“B-but I know you’re dead!”

“Keep your voice down!” you hiss.

“I saw the body! I helped carry your casket!”

“Well, I got better-- wait, seriously?”

“How?!”

“It’s a bit on the complicated side, but I’ve cut something of a deal with Remilia. I need to keep my head down and my identity hidden; she can’t know I told you.”

“Don’t worry. I’ve got wards up on me at all times -- she can’t see a thing.” Marisa flashes a grin. “But if you really don’t accept my imperviousness I suppose we could go somewhere more private.”

“Fine by me.”

#####################################################################################

Marisa leads you a short distance out of the camp, on a narrow dirt path that snakes between the trees. A ball of light blazes the way ahead, sticking to the tortured route. Hidden among the brustreesh is a small Japanese house, with a porch and a garden. Marisa leads you to the front door, where you kick off your shoes and follow her in.

The house is a mess, but you’re guessing that’s true of any place Marisa lives. You listen to her resonation; it sooths your frazzled nerves. You clear a space through some of the junk and sit down at the table while Marisa makes tea.

“If you want me to start from the beginning--”

“Wait up.” Marisa knocks on a sliding door. “Yo! Reimu! We got company!”

“It’s like four in the morning!” moans the shrine maiden. “Can’t it wait?”

“No! It’s Guts! I can’t believe it, the rumors are true!”

“Guts is dead, right?”

“He’s sitting at the table!”

There’s a long silence. You’re thinking that Reimu fell back asleep when the door slams open; she stands there, her hair in bed head chaos, dressed only in a red nightgown.

“He looks different.”

First words out of her mouth.

“Crazy, right?”

You spend the next hour or so explaining the situation to Reimu and Marisa; you’re reasonably sure you’re safe with them, if absolutely no one else. Admittedly, you skimp on some of the details; keep to the bare minimum.

“I don’t wanna say I told you so, but… I freakin’ told you so.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

“‘Don’t make a deal with the vampire!’ I said. ‘She’ll screw you over!’ I said. But no, you just had to take that goddamn shotgun… At least you didn’t cut a deal with Yukari. That would have been bad.”

“Cut it out, Marisa.” Reimu sips her tea. “What’s done is done, so far as this is concerned. All we can do is make sure Remilia does not find out about this.

“And kill the demons.” Marisa grins. “Can’t forget about that part!

You consider bringing up the nightmare, but decide against it. You have plenty of nightmares -- but this is the first time that you’ve gone sleepwalking, so far as you remember. Still, not noteworthy on its own. Instead, you bring up another pressing issue.

“How’s Meiling?”

“China?” Marisa frowns quizically. “What about her?”

Reimu remains calm. “She was quite upset when you died. She still dresses in black, you know.”

“Seriously?” The thought of Meiling in mourning is strangely appealing, especially if she’s mourning for you. You curse the name of Scarlet in your mind.

“Oh yeah. She helped carry your casket too. But at first, she just cried constantly.” Marisa scratches her chin, thoughtfully. “Wait… did she have a thing for you?”

Reimu casts her a piercing glare. “Marisa Kirisame, you are one of the most crushingly insensitive people I’ve ever met!”

“What?! I was sad too!”

“Guts,” Reimu begins. She furrows her brow, choosing her words carefully. “I… I owe you a great debt of honor.”

“You don’t have to--”

“I do, just shut up and listen. I owe you my life. If you hadn’t been there, the demons probably would have cornered and killed me. I’m… I’m still working the taint out of my body. But between us, Marisa and I could shield you if you wanted to, how to put this, meet up with Meiling.”

“What are you implying, exactly?”

Reimu averts her eyes. “Nothing at all.”

You massage your temples. “I appreciate the offer. But, to be frank, I’m not sure how I feel about Meiling, or how she feels about me.”

“I think it’s pretty frickin’ obvious…”

“Shut it. To be frank, meeting up with her puts us both at risk. Not that I doubt your abilities, but Remilia is very powerful. We shouldn’t take unnecessary risks.”

“Guts, just… think on it overnight? It could be important.”

“Fine, fine. Why are you so interested in this?”

Marisa grinns. “It’s because Reimu is a total girl and wants the star-crossed forbidden lovers to be together.”

“Star-crossed lovers? Since when?”

Reimu and Marisa share a meaningful look. “Should we tell him?”

“Tell me what?”

“Yeah. It’s probably best.” Reimu finishes off her tea. “Simply, we think Remilia has ulterior motives in forming this legion. She also has ulterior motives for letting you live.”

“Hmph. I guess you weren’t about do something for nothing after all!”

Reimu laughs. “Yes, I’m sorry for that. But still, I think seeing Meiling again is a decent quid pro quo.”

“So, Remi still wants to turn me into a rock?”

“Nah,” Marisa interjects. “I don’t think she ever meant to turn you into rock.”

“Huh?”

“Maybe she was trying to pull one over on you and Patchy. Maybe Patchouli was trying to pull one over on you, and Remilia knew you wouldn’t take her word for it.”

“I can’t quite picture Patches pulling a fast one on anybody.”

“Oh, she’s a crafty one alright.” Marisa nods sagely. “You need to be slick to be a proper English magus like her. We witches are far more straightforward about our trickery.”

“Sounds like you have some experience in this area.”

“Maaaaaaaaaaybe.”

Reimu cuts through the chatter. “All the same, Guts, I think it would help if you could spend some time with Meiling. Anything she might tell you about Remilia’s plans could be a great help.”

“What do you reckon the vampire’s after, anyway?”

“Domination of Gensokyo? Who knows?”

“Hmph. Well…” Both you and Meiling would be playing with fire if you went along with this scheme; Remilia might fossilize you both as a matter of principle, were she to catch on. You can live with dying yourself, but China dying is fundamentally repulsive. On the other hand, if Remi’s up to some more-nefarious-than-usual scheme it could be critical to know what’s up. And there’s still the question of Patchouli Knowledge…

You…

[ ]… need to get to the bottom of this. Agree to help.
[ ]… can’t endanger Meiling. Offer to assist in some other way.
[ ]… need to think it over. Sleep on it and answer in the morning.
>> No. 39908
Well, since no one replied to >>39782 I guess I'll have to do it myself.

[X] Alright, let me tell you something, the demons would have come back even if you completed your spell. And I highly doubt that you would be able to de-stone me without undoing the same thing on all the demons affected by the spell, including the CyberDemon.
[X] And yet, I managed to do more damage without your little fossilization spell by actually killing Cybie myself. Sure, I died, but I came back from that.
[X] By the way, you should thank Yukari for bringing me back, she took time away from dealing with the Icon of Sin when it was resting to help Gensokyo.
[X] And who's the Icon of Sin you ask? Basically the biggest, nastiest demon of them all, MUCH bigger that your mountain. Also from what Yukari tells me, he has the same powers she does. He personally pulled Deimos, one of the moons around Mars, into hell with hardly any effort. And even with Yukari doing the best she can against that damn Icon, he still manages to send more and more demons into Gensokyo.
[X] So why should I remain anonymous? The demons already know I'm back, hell, they sent an entire army just to take down little old me. Actually brought a tear to my eye. Anyway, news of me being back with confirmation will boost moral for everyone in Gensokyo. If not, well, then it may sink even lower than it is now.
[X] So how about this, I forget the entire thing about you wanting to petrify me, never to be mentioned again, what so ever, you let me train with Patchouli, I go around saying who I am, and when this is over, I promise to leave, never to return again.
[X] I know you just wanted to protect your family, but what happened, happened, so put aside your anger and direct it at our true enemies, the demons. And the sooner this war is over, the sooner you don't have to look at my ugly mug anymore, so any help is appreciated.

Some modification may be required. And if Remilia still won't get off her high horse after this, well, I guess we can accept her terms then.

We'll just abuse the loop-hole about us not saying anything. Who said everyone else can't say we're back?
>> No. 39910
>>39908

Ah crap, posted it too late.
>> No. 39911
File 127830591129.jpg - (12.24KB , 314x300 , slowpoke.jpg ) [iqdb]
39911
>>39908

Nonetheless pretty epic though.
>> No. 39912
>>39908

4th of July dood, some of us are still wasted via celebrations on the other side of the pond or asleep.

That said...

[X]… need to get to the bottom of this. Agree to help.

Give themher some peace of mind, something to have hope in.
>> No. 39913
>>39911

I actually started not long before the Mr. Ulmeyda posted, so even if I did post before he did, he was already finished, so it wouldn't have mattered.
>> No. 39915
[X]… need to think it over. Sleep on it and answer in the morning.
>> No. 39918
[x]… need to get to the bottom of this. Agree to help.
>> No. 39922
>>39908
You forget the risk that'd but the Kennel at.


[x]… need to get to the bottom of this. Agree to help.

There's more than one way to do it for now.

And I suspect Remilia of trickery than Patchouli. Patchouli's been pretty damn honest with us while Remilia says one thing and intend 1-2 others.

And I think it might have been a bit of sound wisdom to refuse Yukari's offer if their instincts about her are the same as Remilia.
>> No. 39940
>>39908
Good one, too bad about the timing.

[x]… can’t endanger Meiling. Offer to assist in some other way.
We shouldn't really put her in danger. You know, more of it than right now, being the main leverage that Remilia has against Guts and all.
>> No. 39942
[ ]… can’t endanger Meiling. Offer to assist in some other way.

Star-crossed lovers? I wanna know more about that.
>> No. 39943
>>39922

At least she was straight forward about what would happen to us, she does get serious and doesn't fool around when Gensokyo is threatened. Plus, it's Yukari, of course they would feel that way.
>> No. 39945
>>39943
Personally I think being her familiar or such isn't a bad thing in the long run, but after our training.
>> No. 40011
[X]… can’t endanger Meiling. Offer to assist in some other way.

Fucking Remi...
>> No. 40016
[x]… need to get to the bottom of this. Agree to help.
>> No. 40024
>>39945

You do realize that in the long run we would be 'sacrificed' by syncing with Yukari due to the fact that we won't be able to control that much power, plus the backlash will permanently cripple Yukari. But hey, at least the Icon of Sin would be eliminated and Hell obliterated.
>> No. 40026
>>40024
that was also on her estimations of Guts' current abilities, not the possibility of Patchouli's training and character building Guts may go through.
>> No. 40051
[x]… need to get to the bottom of this. Agree to help.

>Star-crossed lovers

Fate hax may have been involved, or possibly Remi didn't see it coming.

So pretty much she's willing to throw just about anyone under the bus, holding Patchy's and Meiling's fates over our heads just so we'd agree to let her have her spotlight? Damn. Hope she gets what's coming to her hard later on.
>> No. 40071
>>40051

Or she has some big Xanatos Gambit that she's not telling anyone.

Or maybe Flandre wasn't the only one they took...
>> No. 40169
File 127891415361.jpg - (403.13KB , 500x699 , 0070a8af75cb7f302367142b7d4ab3cb.jpg ) [iqdb]
40169
[Being very careful to reply to the right thread...]

“I’m in. I need to get to the bottom of this.”

“Awesome.” Marisa stretches. “We’ll set this up without Remilia knowing about it. It’ll take a day or two.”

“What until then?”

Reimu shrugs. “Train. Fight. What you’ve always done.”

“Fine.” You think it over. “Do you know anything about this new demon-slayer?”

“Now that’s a big mystery!” Marisa grins. “She just showed up one day, and Remilia presented her as the new demon-slayer who has come to save us all. Really, she did it to boost morale, which was at an all-time low right after you bought it. Nobody knows the woman in armor... but we’re looking into it. That’s why Remi’s not too eager to see you back: hard feelings aside, if you move in and debunk her demon-slayer as a fake -- if that’s what she is -- Remilia loses a lot of the support she’s built up. Whole alliance starts getting weak around the seams. But we got people on it, no worries.”

“Who’s ‘we?’”

“Reimu, me, a few other... how to put it... associates.”

Reimu nods. “Alice Margatroid is in on it. She’ll be happy to learn that you’ve returned.”

“Quite a conspiracy you got set up here.”

“No doubt. But you should head back before you’re missed.” Marisa hops to her feet.

“Yeah.” You stand up and join Marisa as she heads for the door. You spare Reimu a wave good-bye before stepping into the night.

“Guts,” Reimu calls.

“Yes?”

“Good to have you back.”

########################################################################

No more uneasy dreams plague you, and nobody objects when you sleep until three in the afternoon. You curl the bedroll around you luxuriously, taking comfort in the warmth of it. You could sleep forever, shielded from all the sufferings of the world by your tent. It’s the first good sleep you’ve had in ages, but you can’t shake a faint sense of paranoia: sure, your sword’s in reach and you’re surrounded by at least a thousand friendly soldiers, and yet you cannot shake the impression that someone is watching you.

You sit straight up. There’s a specter on the edge of your vision, but the second your hand whips out for the Oni Regalia it’s gone.

You lie back down, trying to squeeze out a few more hours of sleep before you finally haul yourself out for breakfast. Lunch. Whatever.

But dammit, now you’re curious!

Dragging yourself out of bed and throwing on a robe, you head out into camp.

More like a small tent-city: youkai patrol proudly, humans sharpen their weapons, mages prepare spells ahead of the battle. The sheer size of it is only apparent by day: hundreds of tents in all directions, dominated by the Scarlet Devil Mansion looming in the distance. You bitterly think of Remilia, but the fondly of Meiling, Sakuya, and Patchy.

As you navigate the streets, you wonder what it is you’re looking for, precisely; just a shadow you caught out of the corner of your eye. All the same, you let your feet lead on; soon enough, you’re seeing the shadow elsewhere. It leads you out of the camp, away, into the dark pine forest that surrounds the camp.

You eventually emerge onto the banks of a small pond. You scan the woods in both directions; no sign of the shadow. You take a sip from the pool before you turn to leave, but as you make your move...

“G-Guts...”

A voice you know calls you.

You spin around just in time to see mist burst from the lake. A figure appears over the waters, hazy and indistinct. Crystalline wings form from her back. You cannot deny it. This must be Cirno.

“Cirno!” you shout.

But this stranger can’t be her -- she’s too big, closer to the size of Reimu or Sakuya than the little girl you remember.

“G-guts... Did I...”

“What are you doing?”

“D-d-d-Did I g-get him?”

Those were the last words she said to you, or near to it. You stare: somehow, is she reliving her final hours every time you see her? You release your grip on your sword.

“Yeah, Cirno! You got him!”

Instantly, a spectral light clouds your vision. Lightning seems to crackle across the water as Cirno shouts something inaudible. You cover your eyes as a deafening blast erupts across the water. The pond flashes to steam as heat rolls off of it. Cirno shrieks.

You stand up straight. The surface of the water boils as steam rises up. “Just what the fuck is this...” If you had known this is what Yukari meant when she said ‘something could be arranged,’ you would have let Cirno move on. How sadistic could she be?

“Before you become eager to blame us, you should know we cannot identify what this entity might be either. We’re just as much in the dark as you.”

You turn around. Ran leans against a tree, her arms folded demurely in her kimono. You glare at her. “So you’re telling me the great Yakumos don’t know any better than humble old me?”

“No. If Yukari could afford to spare any of her resources to look into the affairs of a mysterious fairy, she still would probably not waste her time. I have my own missions to attend to.”

“She was in pain.”

“What do you intend to do about it? I am all ears.”

“I have no clue! I’m not a mage!”

“This is not magic.”

“Eh?”

Ran checks her nails, frowning thoughtfully.

“I do not know what it is, and if Lady Yukari knows she did not see fit to confide in me.”

“So take it up with her, is that your point?”

“More or less.”

“I figured. So, why are you here?”

“We need you to perform a mission for us.”

“I’m not your lackey.”

“A request, then. Suika Ibuki has been assigned some work, but it seems she’s been distracted by booze and partying. Can you get her back on track?”

“Is that... it?”

“What? Did you expect something more exciting?”

“Well, I guess I feel overqualified for this--”

“And just what do you mean by that?”

“I’m the bloody demon-slayer! Shouldn’t I be slaying demons?”

“Guts, have you ever tried to get an Oni to stop drinking? They swill vodka like water. I assure you, she trusts you and thinks of you as a good friend. Anyone else might get their head twisted off.”

Yeah, you can see that.

“Fine. I’ll go find her. What is it she’s meant to be doing?”

“Oh, just securing the safety of needful things. Nothing you’d be interested in.”

“Hmph. I’ll go take care of that.”

“Many thanks. I warn you... there are many watering holes around this camp, and we are not quite certain where she is. Good luck!”

Ran vanishes through a gap.

Bah. Errand-boy work.

As you head back into camp, you catch sight of Remilia Scarlet, safe under her parasol, inspecting camp. A group of black-coated youkai follow her; probably guards. You throw her a sardonic grin as you walk by; she grins back just as cruelly.

The massiveness of the camp sets in when you try to navigate it. It’s not a neat row of tents: it’s a mass of twisting streets, broken up by lean-to buildings, cooking fires, and parked wagons. You do not catch sight of any familiar faces in the crowd, a mashup of youkai, humans, and some other creatures you can’t identify. Once, you do notice Marisa flying high over the camp.

You find a ‘watering hole’ not too far away. Youkai and humans laugh and party together, putting away booze like nothin’s funny. You check for Suika, but no dice. You step outside, contemplating the prospect of finding another bar in this labyrinth. Ah, the tribulations of being a demon-slayer...

########################################################################

Four hours later, the sun’s going down and you’re pretty sure you’ve walked every inch of thus camp. Your legs are about ready to fall off. It’s a bitter reminder that this body ain’t half as good as your old one: your old body could sprint around Phobos full-tilt and never wear down. Bah, Remilia, this is her fault...

And when I was born forth,
The midwives all gathered their horned-heads about,
And gazed in great and multifarious astonishment,
At this babe they had born!

And the big chief said, ‘Let this one be!’
For she could ascertain instantly,
That I was a ruffian to the marrow!


There we go.

You poke your head into the tent of this pub. Sure enough, a red-faced Oni is belting out a song on an impromptu stage, while the night crowd drowns their sorrows. They all have the look of people who’ve lost someone. As you push past, you draw close to Suika as she sings at the top of her lungs, accompanied by a petite fairy on a shamisen.

I make big Baron scream!
I make little Imp flat!
I make Arachnotron have four legs,
I break Archvile in half!


The shamisenist plucks the final blues chords as best it can as Suika stumbles off the stage. The crowd applauds weakly.

“Hey, Ibuki.” You wave. “What’s up?”

“Demon sla-- ahem, individual who assuredly could not possibly be the demon-slayer! It has been very long time!”

“It’s been a day, but why not. Up for a drink?”

You take turns drinking from her bottomless gourd, a prospect the bartender -- a cute youkai woman with dog-ears -- seems somewhat depressed at it. You can hold your liquor pretty well, but Suika can drink like a mofo.

“So... Suika. You’re working for Yukari?”

“It is very secret.” Suika somehow manages to shout even when she whispers.

“Come on. You can trust me. I won’t tell.”

“Well... it is very difficult for Suika to explain, but she must go to a secret castle and make sure the walls remain solid!”

“Eh?”

“Like stonemason, she must check the mortar and the bricks!”

“O...K... Why?”

“So treasure can stay safe at Lady Yukari’s request.”

“What’s the treasure?”

“Suika does not know! It is vitally important secret.” The Oni glances around shiftily. “Would not-demon-slayer like to come too? It will be grand and magnificent adventure!”

“Huh.” Honestly, you’re kind of curious. Good training, at that. All the same, could be dangerous -- not that it phases you, except for the prospect of being yelled at by Eirin. It’s not like you have anything better to do tonight.

You...

[ ]...go along. “Let’s head out!”
[ ]...go home. “I think you got this, Suika.”
[ ]...stay here. “I’ve got a better idea. Let’s drink all night and go in the morning.”
>> No. 40170
[x]...go along. “Let’s head out!”

Try to keep her on task, but when did Suika refer to herself as the third person?
>> No. 40172
[X]...go along. “Let’s head out!”
>> No. 40175
Some remarks

Seems a mystery is about with Cirno or what seems like her (Mmmmm Ran in Kimono)

And is the new sword missing a big deal?
>> No. 40179
[X]...go along. “Let’s head out!”

Why not
>> No. 40183
[x]...go home. “I think you got this, Suika.”
Is Cirno mad that we lied to her? Or sad because guts did die?
>> No. 40186
[x]...go along. “Let’s rock!"
I'm curious about what Yukari could think of as a treasure. Also, drunken adventure with Suika, fuck yeah.
>> No. 40197
>>40186
An over-powered version of the BFG?
>> No. 40202
[x]...go along. “Let’s head out!”
>> No. 40211
[X]...go along. “Let’s head out!”
>> No. 40287
>>40186
The box that hold Gensokyo inside it.

Which is in Gensokyo.

Yes, really.
>> No. 40350
>“What’s the treasure?”

>“Suika does not know! It is vitally important secret.”

Before Gut's time, before the mess involving Hell itself, during one of humanity's earlier attempts of self-destruction. That mission involving the "Spear of Destiny" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ma1kOiNnFU

Could it be..?
>> No. 40688
File 128010901791.jpg - (916.80KB , 1050x850 , 05d9331a45907f8f795d34adc70d56b16850833b.jpg ) [iqdb]
40688
“Yeah, why not.” You shrug. “Let’s roll.”

Together, you and Suika appropriate a torch from a very bewildered guard and make your way south, turning away only when Suika realizes that she was holding the map upside-down and south was, in fact, north. You may or may not have been drinking from her gourd the entire way. You know, you always drank whiskey yourself -- a hard drinker -- but you’re starting to appreciate sake. As you parade through the darkened forest path, you raise a pressing question to Suika.

“ ‘Ey, Suika. Is it just me, or is it kinda weird for Yukari to treasure anything? I mean, what could she possibly want?

“SUIKA does not know! She is very curious herself, but knows only that secret must be of great and limitless magnitude in order to attract Lady Yukari’s interest!”

You might be attracting the interest of every demon for miles shouting in this way. You don’t really care.

“Bah! Humbug. This whole thing’s a mess. I remember when this war was just about killing demons. Now Remilia’s trying to set herself up as some empress? Marisa and Reimu are conspiring against her? Everyone’s sold out.”

“Suika gets you. Suika longs for days when she could spend morning, afternoon, and evening suplexing demonic menace, but alas finds herself called to complex and ambiguous purposes!”

“Eh?”

“Suika does dirty work for Yukari.”

“We all get stuck doin’ some black ops some time. What’s your relationship to Yukari, anyway?”

“Yukari and Suika have long and complex history! But Suika forgets the beginning precisely, as she is…” She laughs, nervously, “…entirely too drunk.”

“Well, that’s fine.” You wrap your arm around her shoulder, giving her a brotherly hug. “ ‘Sides, night’s still young, there’s sake to drink, and plenty of ass to kick!”

“Suika like how demon-slayer think!”

“Me too!”

You trundle into the night, bursting into a drinking song that cannot be transcribed without violating several state and federal laws. Suffice it involved a cat, a dog, three Scottish prostitutes, a cheese grater, and several underage boys.

“And they called it… the aristocrats!” You finish up, together.

“Suika personally feels that song never becomes old.”

“Suika has a friend in me.” You walk down the path, arm in arm. “Any idea where we’re going?”

The Oni pauses, checking her map. “Map say that treasure should be right about here, but Suika is horrendously confused from booze and cannot see it.”

“Didn’t you say it had some defensive wards?”

“Right! Suika must pass through invisibility defenses to -- did that tree just make movement?”

You turn around. The pine forest is completely still; you sense no malice until -- your sense of death explodes all around you. Goddamn, you almost forgot you had that it, and it instantly sobered you. Can’t even get drunk anymore without the threat of instant death

You rip the Oni Regalia from your back and level your sword at the treeline. “What is it? Demons?”

“Suika senses non-demonic premise -- but malice is for certainly incredibly all-consuming and real!”

You stand back to back, ready for a fight.

“Suika senses magnificent power… malicious power!” She furrows her brow. “Demon-slayer should flee.”

“Look!” A vine crawls along the ground, rushing for your leg. You slash it with the Regalia, driving a deep furrow through the ground and splitting the vine. As you scan the area for new threats, Suika suddenly leaps away into the darkness.

“Dammit, not again!” You chase after her, crashing through the underbrush. “Where the hell are we going?!”

“Suika senses presence of villainous entity! Follow!”

“Shouldn’t we be going away from the villainous entity?”

“No!” Suika burst into a clearing. “Suika must protect sacred treasure!”

You explode into the clearing after her.

Before you towers a mountain of flowers… flowers of every color and description, lilies and roses, daffodils and things you can’t begin to identify. Their stems twine together in a mountain that stretches above the pine trees -- no, wait, there is another tree at the center of this tremendous pile. A cherry tree… its red petals floating to the ground as flower coil around it. Suika skids to a halt, raising her fists.

“Vicious enemy is here to steal treasure!”

You raise the Oni Regalia, aiming the blade at the tree. What the fuck is this thing? Almost like a bunker, or a fortress of flowers. “What do we do…?” you mutter.

“Suika says wait for nemesis to show self,” she whispers back. Together, you stand at the ready. The tree rustles -- is it the wind, or--

You dodge away, rolling across the ground as vibrant flower petals slice into the earth. You can sense it; these are more than sharp enough to lop of a limb. You sprint around the fortress, a barrage of flowers crashing down on you. You sheathe the Regalia and draw Vladimir, deftly pulling it into your hand and leveling it at the tree.

“Do not waste ordnance, demon-slayer! Suika will resolve this matter!”

Fire erupts from Suika’s hands as she utters a spell. Jets of flame blast around into the flowers; a scream goes up as the blaze shines bright. The flowers burn easily, but the cherry tree stays unharmed at the center of it.

With a hiss, the fire evaporates. Charred flower petals litter the ground, crumpled and dead. Suika flashes an arrogant grin.

A line of light slices across your vision. Blood bursts from Suika’s shoulder as she stumbles to the ground. A tiny groan escapes her.

“Suika, you OK?”

“She will be fine… but beware! The enemy emerges?

From the charred tree emerges a familiar woman: a woman with flowing green hair and an elegant white dress. She smiles like a frigid tundra, eyes dark and dead. A wreathe of roses crowns her head. You raise the Regalia.

“Well. It seems Yukari has sent her pawns to oppose me. And…” Her eyes turn towards you. “…could it be? The legendary, immortal demon-slayer graces me with his presence? Yukari is a fool!” Her frigid smile turns to arctic grin”

“You sent me that dream, didn’t you? Just who the hell are you?”

“Just a gardener, of sorts. Call me… Yuuka.”

He level Vladimir. She raises her hand. You stare each other down.

“Do you think that plaything can hurt me?”

“Sure. Ready to get rocked?”

“Common cur.”

You pull the trigger and roll aside just in time to dodge the swarm of mystic flowers hurtling towards your face. Yuuka grunts with pain as the pellets glance off of her defenses; it stings a bit… You sprint around her, dodging erratically as destruction descends around you. Yuuka gives an annoyed ‘tsk,’ and a shadow falls over the moon; you dive out of the way as an enormous vine crashes into the ground before you, burrowing deep into the soil.

Yuuka has you outgunned, you know that much. The only thing that could slow her down is a synch, and even that could be overwhelmed if the crushing sense of death all around you is any clue. As he circle her, you see Suika rising to her feet, her wound wholly regenerated.

“SUIKA! LET’S DO THIS!”

Yuuka leaps into your path. Vladimir bucks in your hand as you fire; vines leap into the path of the pellets, absorbing the blow. Yuuka raises her hand to strike -- her fist hits you square in the chest.

You sail through the air. The ground slams like a sledgehammer as you roll across the ground, over hard roots and rocks. Vladimir spirals out of your hands as you skid to a halt, battered and bruised. Suika cries out for you. Dragging yourself to your feet, you see Yuuka standing straight and noble, her smile no less cold and arrogant. She reaches to her hip, where a long katana rests; she draws it luxuriously, the blade shining in the moonlight and the weak fires left by Suika’s spell.

“Shall we dance?”

“I got one left on my card.”

You rip the Oni Regalia free and rush Yuuka. She hits like a sledgehammer; every blow from that shining sword knocks you back a step. It’s absurd; a thin saber dominating a heavy blade like the Oni Regalia, but nonetheless it occurs. You back into an oak tree. A sense of moving bark twists against her spine: instantly the branches coil around to trap you.

You spin, swinging the sword like a hammer. The oak splinters, the trunk crashing to the ground.

“Mongrel!” snarls Yuuka. You duck just in time to avoid getting your head lopped off. A quick lunge knocks her onto the defensive, but only for a second. A brutal barrage of strikes push the initiative back to her, and soon you’re on full retreat. Her motions are perfect, peerless; Yuuka’s gloating , she could use magic to utterly obliterate you at any moment, but instead she chooses to fight on your terms. You’ll make her regret that -- if there’s one thing you can tolerate, it’s the hubris of her kind!

Suika plunges into the fray, bullrushing Yuuka from the side. The woman gives an indignant grunt as Suika smashes her into a rock. In the next second, a blast of magic knocks Suika to the ground beside you. As the Oni rises to her feet, bloodied, Yuuka adjusts her kimono -- a long tear runs down the side.

“Oh, dear. It seems the Oni damaged my clothes.” She raises her hand and utters a word.

Suika yanks you aside as a barrage of flowers tear past you.

“Suika, there’s only one way to fix this.”

“Mmm! Demon-slayer, call upon your grave and solemn powers of justice!”

You grab hold of Suika’s hand, letting the powerful beat of her resonation flow into your body. Yuuka charges, only to be driven back by a blinding light that shines from the once-dull edge of the Regalia. You hear Yuuka mutter a curse as your vision clears --

You sit astride a motorcycle. Not just any motorcycle, the meanest, baddest machine you’ve ever had the paramount honor of laying eyes upon, let alone riding. Rumbling with primal power, the engine shines with mystic light from runes that run up and down it; the chrome finish reflecting the fires of battle. A bull’s skull mounted on the front gazes into the dark, vengeful and bloodthirsty. You rev the engine as Suika’s arms wrap around your trunk. “Demon-slayer! Drive your motorized two-wheeled vehicle as if you were a bat escaping the infernal realm!”

You drive the pedal to the metal, tearing through the underbrush. Yuuka gives a sharp growl of disapproval before leaping into the trees to pursue. You can feel her malice on your trail, that sword still thirsty for your blood. “Yo, Suika! We packing any heat?”

“Suika will handle it!”

As a barrage of killer flowers crash towards you, Suika twists in her seat, drawing a lever-action shotgun from a side-pocket. The first razor sharp petal swings close as she pulls the trigger. The recoil almost unbalances the bike; you swerve to compensate, but as you glance behind you see her handiwork: an entire section of forest is leveled, and the flowers litter the ground in pieces.

Come to think of it, this beast of a machine has smashed every tree on its path through the forest, leaving a trail of destruction in your wake. “Yuuka’s gonna be piping mad when she sees that!”

“Bring us around, demon-slayer! We can drive Lady Yuuka into retreat with this magnificent power!”

You drift sharply, bringing the bike into a sharp u-turn. Yuuka’s eyes glow with bloodlust from the darkness. Instinctively, you reach for a weapon of your own…

… and come up with a battleaxe. A long, black weapon, all sharp edges with no curves save for its wicked-sharp blade. You hold it out, controlling the motorcycle one-handed. Gunning the engine, you charge after her…

Straight into a barrage of flowers.

Ducking your head, the lethal petals tearing at your skin, you gun the engine to push further into the attack. Behind you, you feel Suika standing on her seat. She mutters a word, and fire erupts around you. The petals dissolve into ashes, clearing the path as you rush Yuuka.

The woman stands with her sword raised -- she means to clothesline you and Suika, just reach out her blade and decapitate both of you as you tear past -- you have less than a second --

You twist the bike sharply, driving it onto its side. The rig smashes into Yuuka, crushing her feet, sending her spiraling over your head. As you grind to a halt, you raise the axe high over your head. It’s an impossible shot -- one in a million shot -- to finish this.

You hurl the axe as the belly of the motorcycle slams into a tree, jarring your system. The axe spins through the air, as Yuuka bleeds green onto the ground and -- slams into her skull.

#####################################################################################

At the tree, or perhaps ex-tree now that a super-bike has smashed into it, you drag yourself out from the rubble. Lots of cuts and bruises, but no significant gashes or broken bones. Good. You don’t like the prospect of being lectured by Eirin again.

Your companion rubs her tush. “Suika dislike hard landing…”

“Well, we’re alive and she’s dead. My work here is done.”

“Eh? Lady Yuuka is not dead.”

“Huh?”

You look to her body -- only to see a lump of flowers and wood with an axe embedded in it.

“Demon-slayer defeated fake. Not true Yuuka.”

Fake?

“Indeed! It have only fraction of the power of the true Lady Yuuka.”

Fraction?!

“Of course, Suika and demon-slayer would both die quickly if confronted by true Yuuka, perhaps have small chance with synch.” Suika wipes a smudge from her cheek. “But Yuuka will be chastised by destruction of her familiar. No fear of her for day or two!”

“Oh, I feel so comforted.”

“Suika must complete mission.”

You watch as the bike decomposes into the Oni Regalia, glowing white-hot before restoring to the dull grey sword you know and love. Sheathing the weapon, you follow Suika back to her clearing where the flower-tree once stood.

Speaking of which, it has died utterly. Once verdant, the cherry tree is now twisted and blackened, as if lightning had struck it. Suika burrows diligently at its roots with her hands, bringing up great clods of dirt. “Lady Yuuka attempted to dig to treasure with familiar!” she explains, eagerly. “Luckily, she could not pierce defenses so easily!”

“Easily. Right.” You swipe Vladimir off the ground. As Suika digs, you reload it fully. After a few minutes, the Oni gives a cry of delight. You poke your head over the hole, now ten feet deep. A coffin lays at the bottom, ornately designed with gold and rich red paint. Suika passes up a sturdy rope to you; over the next fifteen minutes, you haul the coffin up as she pushes from below.

Finally, the box thumps onto solid ground. You collapse, sweaty and exhausted; Suika pops down next to you, covered in dirt and just as tired.

“Tough night,” you gasp.

“Suika cannot disagree.”

You sit in peace for a few minutes, watching the moon and stars move glacially overhead.

“It’s weird. That synch didn’t deplete your powers. Why?”

“Because of Oni Regalia, of course!”

“Huh?”

“The Oni Regalia cannot bring harm to an Oni, and magnifies power of Oni many times!” Suika replies, sagely.

“Oh.” You pause. “So if I just synch with Oni from now on, I’ll have unlimited synch?”

“No. Oni Regalia will take dismal toll on demon-slayer by laying burden of Oni people upon him!”

“How?”

She shrugs. “Suika does not know. Simply what legends say of Regalia. But does demon-slayer wish to tempt fate?”

“Point taken. Wait… if the sword chose me, does that mean that I’m the Oni King?” Images of unlimited sake dance through your head.

“No, demon-slayer is human. He would only become king if he were to marry Oni and have Oni children to be considered King.” Her eyes glaze over. A heavy pause hangs between you before Suika turns scarlet and frantically waves dismissals. “But demon-slayer should not take that as offer!”

“I wouldn’t blame you if you did offer. I am extremely handsome.” You duck the ensuing punch.

“Demon-slayer is pervert!”

“Yes. Yes he is.”

Once Suika calms down, you lapse back into comfortable silence. You alternate taking a swigs from her gourd.

“Does demons-layer want to look inside?”

“Hmm?”

Suika is looking intently at the coffin. It’s sumptuous crafted, something for only the most regal of corpses.

“Suika… is curious… besides!” she continues, brightly. “Suika must verify that contents are unharmed!”

Well… you see no way in which this could possibly backfire. “Sure.”

Gently, Suika utters a word of magic. The coffin splits open, the lid lifting slowly as spectral runes glow in the air around you. As the spectral light fades, you look inside to see…

A young woman (for Gensokyo’s stretchy definition of ‘young’) rests inside, long blue hair running down the coffin. Her hands are clasped neatly over her belly, covered by a long white dress… but she is not dead. Her chest slowly rises and falls.

“Miss Keine!” gasps Suika.

Groggily, the sleeper rubs at her eyes, giving a long yawn. “Suika… I don’t believe it’s time to wake up yet.”

“But… Miss Keine is not dead! She should not rest in coffin!”

“I am merely slumbering until I am needed.” Keine reached up and patted Suika on the head. “It is as Yukari wished it.”

“But wouldn’t Miss Keine be bored on her own in coffin?”

“Of course not. I dream.”

Suika and Keine embrace. Your natural suspicion kicks in.

“Hey.” You interject. “What’s this all about?”

“Ah. You must be the demon-slayer. I’m afraid I’ve been out of the loop for some time, I do not know the latest developments. I’d offer you tea, but I have none on hand.” Keine and Suika let go for one another.

“How about some sake? Suika has plenty.”

“I suppose I could take a swig.” She gives you a conspiratorial smile.

As Keine drinks, you sit down on the ground opposite her. Suika sits next to you, cheerful at seeing an old friend.

“So, Keine. Why all of this?” You judge her carefully -- she looks like a smart type, one to be wary of. You never trust people who are too clever.

She gives you a searching glance. “Well, I suppose I could fill you in. Quite simply, my power is to negate history. Rewrite it.”

“Huh.”

“Huh indeed. Not so long ago, I watched over the human village as its guardian. When the demons arrived… I was overwhelmed. They burned the village. I survived, but… I had no reason to live. I tried to kill myself, to atone for those that died.” She raises her hand -- a set of scars run down her wrist.

Suika gasps. But you understand the feeling of losing everything and everyone of value.

“But Yukari intervened. Convinced me that I could redeem myself without dying. She said, ‘Slumber, Keine. Dream of better times. When I reawaken you, your time will come to right history so these abominations never trod upon our soil.’ I warned her that such a task is beyond my powers, but she merely smiled. I suppose she has a plan, she always does. Is there anything else?”

“You can just… rewrite history?”

“Not usually on this scale, but yes.”

You decide to wrap your head around the implications of that later.

“Why was Yuuka after you?”

“I couldn’t know. But… if I had to guess… Yuuka is making a powerplay now that Yukari is distracted. She was looking to take me hostage for leverage against her nemesis.”

“She’d endanger the future of Gensokyo for that?”

“Certainly. She has more empathy for plants than humans or youkai.”

“Figures. Why is she after me?”

Keine sighs, looking into the gourd. “Suika. Demon-slayer. This stays between us.”

“Right!” agrees Suika. You nod.

“Synchronizers can do more than just create weapons and magic. They can be part of a ritual that elevates their partner to godhead. Even beyond that.” Her eyes glaze over distantly. “The lore is very old, but probably true. You should be very wary of those who seek to call themselves your master.”

Your mind flickers back to Remilia. Could it be she never meant to fossilize you at all?

“Do you know any more?”

“This information is almost the stuff of legend,” Keine explains. “If you want to learn more, ask Patchouli Knoweldge, she should be able to do the necessary research.”

Hmm… you know for a fact that Patchouli has done the research… does she know about this? Why didn’t she tell you?

“I must return to sleep,” Keine says, shortly. “Thank you for the food and drink, both of you. I presume Yukari wants to move me to a new resting place.”

“Keine is correct.” Suika rubs the back of her neck, sheepishly. “Suika was not entirely supposed to open coffin…”

“It will be our secret, then.” Keine looks back to you. “Demon-slayer. I hope you will be careful. Few many know of this ritual, but those who do know may not resist its temptation.”

“Right. I’ll keep that in mind.”

Keine yawns. “Even now, I feel the need to rest.” She lies down on the velvet, clasping her hands, as Suika pushes the lid over her. The runes glow, then fade. The coffin stands as it was when you first opened it, living occupant or no.

After a moment, Suika wraps the rope attached to the caasketaround her chest, preparing to haul it overland.

“Wow.” You scratch your chin -- hey, a bit of stubble. “I guess Yukari’s planning knows no limits.”

“This is true, demon-slayer.” Suika nods. “Now, he must return to camp while I move forward.”

“Aww. When will I see you again?”

“Suika travel far and wide -- her path and demon-slayer’s may cross many times yet!”

“Fair enough. Bon voyage.”

“The same is returned to the demon-slayer!”

As Suika trails into the night, you turn towards the distant light of the camp. The night’s exertions weigh heavily on your chest; the cuts and bruises, the encounter with a woman who fully wanted to kill you. Or did she? Did she have other intentions entirely? Well, it can wait until the morning. All that’s left is a warm bed and a night’s rest…

#####################################################################################

Hey, it’s Patchy.

For sure, one Patchouli Knowledge rests on your bedroll, breathing softly in her sleep. She curls up like a child on the covers, a leather-bound book clutched in her arms like a teddy bear. You suppose she showed up for training only to find you missing, then got sleepy waiting.

You…

[ ]… wake her up, exhaustion be damned. “Hey. Hey Patchy. Can we train? How about now? Now? How about now?”
[ ]…carry her back to Remilia’s tent. “Hey. Hey Remi. I think you lost a librarian.”
[ ]…cuddle up with her. “I want a teddy too!”
>> No. 40689
[x]…cuddle up with her. “I want a teddy too!”

She needs warming up.
>> No. 40692
[x]…cuddle up with her. “I want a teddy too!”
Man I really like this CYOA... it has an unique style, that's for sure.
>> No. 40694
Always full of action, full of surprise (synch). By the way with almost everyone knowing Guts' being the demon-slayer, what is the importance of hiding it? I can only think of the poor Meiling.

[ ]… wake her up. "If you're looking for me, here I am healthy and safe. Had a night worth thousand hours of training. Too tired. Sleeping now."
[ ] Fuck forget to tell Keine to conceal my identity.
>> No. 40695
[x]…cuddle up with her. “I want a teddy too!”
>> No. 40696
[x]…cuddle up with her. “I want a teddy too!”
>> No. 40699
[X]…cuddle up with her. “I want a teddy too!”

Not that many opportunities having to deal with rampaging demons of Hell razing all of Gensokyo and greedy power crazed factions with agendas ranging between new Gensokyian order and reshaping it to her vision.
>> No. 40701
[X]…cuddle up with her. “I want a teddy too!”
>> No. 40707
[x]…cuddle up with her
Guts isn't the type to give a shit about someone already sleeping on his bedroll.
>> No. 40843
File 128061376084.jpg - (581.39KB , 850x1200 , sample_866d7e19caaff20306596adf6fc9e4603a5ea4da.jpg ) [iqdb]
40843
[Thirty chapters. *woot*]

Well, Patchy does seem awfully soft and warm. Shedding your coat and shirt, you lie down next to her; her subtle resonation fills your mind with soft violins, following the slow, gentle tempo of her breath. Wrapping an arm around her, you let her lull you back to sleep.

No evil dreams plague you that night. Probably because you have a teddy!

Unfortunately, it proves to be a teddy with an obnoxious habit of talking.

“Guts…”

You squeeze on a warm ball, feeling grouchy and hung-over.

“Guts!”

You open your eyes slightly.

Patchouli lies next to you, looking disheveled and slightly squashed. She gives you a flustered look. “Release me at once!”

“I’m too tired.” You drift back towards sleep--

“Please, I need to return, I will be missed!”

“Bah. Teddy-bears should be quiet.”

“I am-- I am not a stuffed animal!”

“I remember my old lovie, back home. She had one eye and one arm, but I loved her anyway.” You give Patches a sharp squeeze.

“You ruffian!”

You sigh. “What were you even doing in my bedroll, anyway?”

“I fell asleep waiting for you! Didn’t Remilia tell you I would come to train you? And you’re in a deplorable condition!”

“Yeah, got into a fight. Suika helped out.” You roll onto your back, pulling Patchy on top of you. She squawks indignantly as she’s forced to straddle your hips, turning a truly spectacular shade of scarlet.

“What are you doing?!”

“Messing with you.” You stretch, yawning. “Anyway, we should get going. If you want to sleep with me again--”

“Do not say things that could be misunderstood! I slept next to you, not with!”

“You’re awfully defensive about this.”

“Insufferable! Simply insufferable!” Patchy forces herself free and stands up, straightening her wrinkled clothes. “What do you think people will see when they see me walking away from your tent in this condition?”

“Free sausage at Guts’ place?”

Patchouli struggles for a second, her mouth working to find a response. Finally, she utters a word of magic and vanishes with a blast of smoke. Couldn’t she have at least not stunk up your tent? Sighing, you stand up and open the flap to let the fumes escape-- hey, she left her book behind. You lean over it: heavy, leather-bound, very mystic-y looking, it sits inconspicuously in the corner. She must have dropped it while storming out.

A very human impulse to open it grips you, but you think better of it. If it’s her diary or something, she probably put an ‘instant death’ spell on it. Probably involves bees. Angry bees. With swords instead of stingers.

You poke your head out of the tent, into the early-morning light -- a headache flairs up. Bah, you drank too much last night; a sentence uttered far too many times throughout your life. Wearily, you throw on some clothes and step out. The whole day is ready for you, and you… have no idea what to do.

You scratch your chin; come to think of it, there are lots of things you don’t know about the situation. For example, what has this grand army has actually been marshaled to do? You decide to head for the Eientei crowd to solve the mystery.

The Youkai Mountain troops and the moon-bunnies have become fast friends, congregating in a tight circle not far from your own tent. Eirin’s field hospital bustles with nurses tending to injured of all races; the woman herself stands at the center of it, clipboard clutched in her fingers as she shouts instructions over the din. You bite your cheek; you don’t want to distract her, but… well, you should find Momiji instead, she would know what’s going on.

“Greetings.”

You turn around; Kaguya stands nearby, hands folded neatly. She looks every bit the noblewoman, now that she’s not on the road: but something seems different… oh. Bandages wrapped around her hands; guilt flickers through your mind.

“ ‘Ey, Kaguya.”

“Eirin has been wondering where you wandered off to. Come along, she’ll take a break soon; we can wait until then.”

“I was looking for Momiji.”

“Oh, Captain Inubashiri? I’ll take you to her right away; but please do not tell Eirin…”

“Why?” You follow Kaguya to the nest of Youkai tents. A few tengu guard the place loosely, swords hanging loosely at their hips.

“The Captain is meant to be on bed rest. Needless to say, she’s been working since she regained the ability to sit up straight; it annoys Eirin to no end.”

“Does anyone listen to her?”

“Well, the moon-rabbits do. And most of her patients do… it’s just the soldiers.” Kaguya frowns, thoughtfully. “But I never really thought Momiji as a soldier before.”

“The Captain is an officer of the highest standing. And one of the few I have the pleasure to know who is not a tremendous asshole.”

“G-guts?!”

“Yeah, most officers are hardass dickfaces who couldn’t give two rat’s shits about the lives of the men under their command. They think just cuz they have attended a shitty college they know better than us grunts. Fuck no! You can read all the books you like, but nobody ever learned how to fight by reading a book. Bah.”

“S-such language!”

“What about it, dollface?”

“Guts, what has come over you?”

You give her a wan smile, feeling slightly bad for messing with her. “Little hung-over.”

“Oh, I see. I could ask Eirin to brew up a cure for you…”

“Nah, it’ll pass.”

Kaguya conducts you to a tall blue tent at the center of the wagons -- inside, Momiji reclines in a bedroll, surrounded by an adoring group of tengu; she glances up as you enter, smiling.

“Ah, Guts, it’s been too long. To what do I owe the pleasure?”

“Captain,” you acknowledge. “I need to talk to you about some stuff. Like why we’re all here.”

“The captain should be resting!” A tengu, only as tall as your hip, stands up to you heroically. “You’ll have to come back later!”

You lean down to look her in the eye. “That so.”

“Yui, that’s enough,” Momiji interrupts. “I will be fine. For that matter, all of you should leave -- I should speak with Guts and Kaguya privately.”

“Me?” Kaguya asks.

“Yes. The rest of you -- shoo!”

As you take a seat, you observe that Momiji’s doing pretty well, considering what an absolute mess she was when you hauled her into camp. She’s still bandaged, and her leg looks a little sore yet, but given her status as a youkai that should be regenerated soon. Must be Eirin’s work.

“I wondered how long before this visit would come.” Momiji flashes you a weary smile. “Truth is, very few actually know what the details of Remilia’s plans are. Only us officers are meant to know… so this stays in this tent, correct?”

“Fine,” you growl. Kaguya nods.

“Remilia means to sweep the demons from Gensokyo. Patchouli Knowledge is her senior marshal in all of this: she does all of the busywork, while Remilia handles the grand strategy. As to what that grand strategy is, well… she means to march across of Gensokyo. Slaughter the demons down to the last imp.”

“Sounds like a mess to me. More or less what they tried to do on Phobos. You’ll never get them all.”

“Mmm. It will be a mess, and an undertaking of truly enormous proportions. What she hopes to do is lure the demons into large clumps by sending lone units to get their attention, then sending in the rest of the army to clean up. Needless to say, those sent forward will be in unimaginable danger.”

“So. That’s how the threatened us.” You remember Remilia’s warning of reprisals against Momiji and her followers -- she probably intended to use Momiji as bait if you didn’t agree to her demands. “That isn’t our job, right?”

“Guts,” Kaguya interrupts. “How can you condone this being done to anyone?”

“I’m not okaying anything.” You massage your temples. “But this is a war. People are put at risk.”

“This is unacceptable!” Kaguya cries. “How could anyone stomach such tactics?”

“Stop.” Momiji raises her hand. Something in her voice is very officer-ly -- your voice freezes in your throat.

“You both have legitimate points, but either way the question is out of our hands.”

Kaguya grimaces softly. “May I discuss this with Lady Eirin?”

“I’m sure she could keep a secret. Be certain that you’re not overheard.”

“When does this plan commence?” you ask.

“Remilia hasn’t been specific with the timeline, but she implies it will be any day now. Apparently she’s trying to finish some ‘preparations,’ whatever those might be.”

“Preparations, huh…” Never a good sign when combined with Remilia.

“Either way, you should tread carefully, Guts. If there was ever a man she wanted to dispose of, it would be you.” But your mind flickers back to Keine’s warning about a ‘ritual.’

“No, no… she doesn’t want me dead. She has me right where she wants me.” You’re willing to bet that she wants you for the ritual -- and that you need to be out of her grasp when the time comes.

“Eh?”

“It’s complicated. Not important to either of you.”

“Guts…” objects Kaguya, wringing her bandaged hands.

“It would endanger both of you, let me put it that way.” You grin like the arrogant fool you are. “Don’t worry. I’ve got friends in this.”

“You know you can trust both of us. Eirin as well.” Momiji gives you a serious look. “If you truly believe we should not know, I will trust your judgment. But if you do need help, ask.”

“I know.” You brofist Momiji, then brofist Kaguya because she looks despondent having not received one. Gently, so as not to hurt her hand.

You decide to check up on Eirin as long as you’re over here. The moment you step by her hospital, she speaks up.

“You go missing, then you turn up smelling of sake and covered with cuts? Quite the deadbeat, Guts.” She sits at her table, casting magic over bandages and other supplies -- to make them more effective, presumably.

“Yeah, well, I’m a space marine. Part of the package.”

“Sounds like a rationalization to me. What if you’re needed and we find you passed out in some bar?”

“Give a marine a shotgun, he’ll win the battle.” You lean over her table, looking her straight in the eye. “Give him a whiskey bottle, he’ll win the war.”

“Well then, I shall have to keep one on hand.” She leans to you; you can feel her breath on your face, juxtaposed with her bold grin.

“Maybe we should share a bottle sometime.”

“Oh, aren’t you the Casanova today.”

“Sake. Makes me act weird.”

“Or do you just want an excuse to get me drunk? I can’t say I can recommend that.”

“Oh?”

“I’ll drink you under the table, you impudent little earthling.”

“Earthling? Oh, check in at the burn ward.”

“How fortunate, we have one right here.”

Kaguya and several patients stare at you and Eirin with varying degrees of bewilderment, embarrassment, and interest. “E-eirin!” gasps the princess. “How could you behave in such a way?”

“What? I wasn’t going to try anything.”

“All the same!”

You feel the need to interject. “Kaguya, you’re such a prude. What, can’t I flirt a little bit?”

The princess cringes visibly.

“Flirt, eh? You think you’re high enough caliber to flirt with me?” Eirin cuts back in.

“Rain falls. Sun shines. I flirt. And kill demons.”

“Enough. I have patients to attend to -- besides, Kaguya is pretty much right, we really shouldn’t be doing this here.” For a moment, you wonder if Eirin’s face doesn’t take on a bitter frown. Well, maybe it’s just the sake talking. You duck out of the tent and go for a nice stroll about camp, then lie down for a sunny nap.

#####################################################################################

Holy shit, you acted like a loon.

A few hours after the fact, you realize that, well, maybe treating Patchy like a stuffed animal wasn’t such a great idea, and perhaps flirting with Eirin in front of her patients wasn’t a much better idea. And going on a little cursing spree in front of Kaguya… totally worth it, you refuse to apologize for that.

But…

Too late to fix it now!

You stretch out, letting the sun caress you. Eh, everyone will forget about it and you can go back to killing demons.

Sunbathing is pretty fun. It’s nice, just to relax in the sun and warm yourself up. Even in the middle of fall air’s still pretty warm: perhaps a hellish change brought on by the demons. As you roll on you side, you feel someone prod you in the back.

“Hey. Guts. It’s time.”

“No. I’m enjoying the sun.”

“What, the sun is preferable to Meiling?”

You sit up. Marisa stands over you with a wry smile.

“Maaaaaaybe.”

“You drank too much, didn’t you?”

You think about it.

“Maaaaaaaaaaybe.”

“Come on. And try not to act too weird, this will already be a bit of a shock to her.”

You tense up at this: looking down at the bloodied ribbon wrapped about your palm, you wonder what you should do or say. It’s not like you’ve really sorted out your feelings about Meiling in any detail, or know too much about how she feels. Hell, that’s part of reason you came here: figure this shit out. Rising up, you see Marisa on her broom, looking shifty.

“Alright, we need to keep this stealthy. Let’s go.”

You feel uncomfortable in your skin as you follow her out of camp -- bah, what are you, a blushing schoolboy? You have no idea how Meiling will feel once you meet her, if anything at all: not to mention the fact that you need to mine her for info about Remilia’s plans. Then again, if Remilia is after this synchronizer ritual, you might be stumbling into a trap… if you thought China capable of that amount of subtlety and guile. Even if someone else did pull her strings, you doubt she’s a good enough liar to hide it.

But Gensokyo’s surprised you before.

Marisa leads you out of the camp to her little house in the forest. The path is familiar yet not in the daylight: things that seemed sinister in the pitch black seem harmless by day. You spy the house, and much sooner that you would like you reach the porch.

“Reimu will get you when your time’s up.”

“How long?”

“Hard to say. Depends on how long before Remi wants her -- for some reason Meiling’s been really busy lately.”

“You seem wiped-out.”

“This whole thing turned out to be a major-league bitch.” Marisa scratches the back of her neck. “Way harder than I thought it would be. Remilia does have Meiling doing a lot, so it was hard to clear a hole in her schedule while making wards that would disguise her… but don’t waste your time. I’m going to go sleep for a few days.”

Marisa hops on her broom. You take a deep breath, and throw open the door.

China sits at the table, her back to you. “Marisa… I really worked hard to get this time off… I don’t want to-- spend--”

She turns around, freezing as she catches sight of you.

Looking at her now, something about her strikes you differently -- then it hits you. She wears a sedate black dress, instead of the striking green and white from before. She wears her hair down, rather than up in ribbons. But more than anything else she simply looks tired, her eyes darker and less innocent than you remember. Your heart nearly breaks.

“Who’re you?” She frowns.

Her resonation fills your ears, a distant hammering of drums now with a solemn quality. What should you do? What should you say at a time like this? Slowly, you raise your hand with her ribbons still wound around it.

“This is yours,” you offer, weakly.

Her eyes go wide, her fingers tremble as shock writes itself across her face. “H-how did you get that?” Her voice takes on a hysterical quality. “You shouldn’t have that. I buried him with it!”

“No, no!” you raise your hands. “I am Guts! It’s me! I’m the demon-slayer!”

“He died! He died in my arms!” She tears up at the corners of her eyes, trembling with grief and confusion. An acute pain bites into your chest. “You can’t be him! Is this some evil joke?”

You take a moment to clear your mind.

“Listen. Meiling. Remember? You told me not to die before I… got killed. OK, my bad. You told me I was too handsome to die. And after the battle, you… came and held me, and begged me not to bite it.”

She stares at you, slack-jawed. “I-- I didn’t tell anyone about that… not even Sakuya…”

“And remember that sparring match we had at the front gate? We talked about your resonation.”

“I… It can’t be. But-- you know all this.” Meiling takes a few moments to recover from that, tears flowing freely down her cheeks. She struggles with an internal contradiction, perfectly visible on her face.

“Meiling. I came back to Gensokyo, with help from others. I came back to set this invasion right.”

“It really is you. You’re Guts. The demon-slayer.”

“Yeah. I’m back.”

“How?” Her voice trembles pathetically.

“Some people found a new body for me. It’s not important.”

“Why…. Why did you die?”

“It had to happen,” you say, looking at the floor.

“I-- I knew you couldn’t be gone.” She bursts into a radiant smile, even as she still cries. “Because… I still felt you. Here.” She puts a hand on her chest, over her heart. “Sakuya said I was just grieving. She said I would be sad for a while, but it would get better. It didn’t. It felt worse every day you weren’t with us anymore.”

She breaks down into shuddering sobs. You draw a little closer, impulsively wanting to hug her tight.

“I wanted to talk to you more. I wanted to spar. I wanted to know what foods you liked, or if you enjoyed shogi and chess. And I thought… I’d never get to learn. After you died, I stopped eating and talking for a little while. I only got out of bed because Mistress asked me. Even she felt sad, like it was her fault… and then they buried you, and it felt like I’d lost you for good.

“But I still felt you, Guts.

“Even when… even when I tried to get revenge by killing the demons, I couldn’t feel much of anything. And now you’re back and I don’t even know how.” She wipes away her tears; you want to do it for her. “But everything inside me is welling up, just because of you.” She sniffs, but then gives a weak laugh. “I guess you should understand how I feel now?”

You…

[ ]…don’t really understand how she feels. Derp.
[ ]…give her an ambiguous, brotherly hug.
[ ]…kiss her gently on the lips.
[ ]…kiss her passionately. (Meiling Route)
>> No. 40846
>…don’t really understand how she feels. Derp.
lol'd

[x]…kiss her passionately. (Meiling Route)
>> No. 40847
[x]…kiss her passionately. (Meiling Route)

ALL ABOARD THE MEILING TRAIN.
>> No. 40854
[x]…kiss her passionately. (Meiling Route)

I shouldn't vote that, but... bah, carpe diem.
>> No. 40855
File 128062412671.jpg - (248.02KB , 850x459 , 72798abc6782b135.jpg ) [iqdb]
40855
[X]…kiss her passionately. (Meiling Route)

The other options feel cheap.
Then again the "route" option feels tacked on in the sense that it gives away what will occur. What do I know though eh?

>[ ]…don’t really understand how she feels. Derp.

Fucking lol'd
>> No. 40856
[X]…kiss her passionately. (Meiling Route)

When was the last time we had a Meiling route?
>> No. 40857
[X]…kiss her passionately. (Meiling Route)

MEILING MEILING MEILING
>> No. 40858
[X]…kiss her passionately. (Meiling Route)

Need some D'awww moments.
>> No. 40859
[X]…kiss her passionately. (Meiling Route)

Awww hell I think China finally deserves some loving in a story. Maybe other stories make her the main heroine/love interest but I just can't recall those ones off hand.

Now if (there better be!) there is a 2nd run of DoomHou we MUST go with a Suika route. I just friggin' love this Suika way too much!
>> No. 40860
[x] bandwagon option
>> No. 40861
>>40859

Especially since she (almost) offered.
>> No. 40862
[X]…kiss her passionately. (Meiling Route)

Finally, this could be a solid Meiling route.
>> No. 40863
[x]…kiss her passionately. (Meiling Route)

I suspect she might be the 2nd demon slayer Remilia's trying to use perhaps.

If not... well it'll be interesting who ultimately fills that role.

No regrets, etc.
>> No. 40867
[x]…kiss her passionately. (Meiling Route)
>> No. 40877
[x]…kiss her passionately. (Meiling Route)

...this story...
>> No. 40884
[x]…don’t really understand how she feels. Derp.
Voting this because we all know the route option will win.
>I suspect she might be the 2nd demon slayer Remilia's trying to use perhaps.
I thought this was pretty obvious.
>> No. 41943
>Meiling Route locked
>stop updating
ಠ益ಠ