You circle around the outskirts of the mass of women, looking across the crowd. A fair number are grouping around the art, with an equal amount milling near the food tables, and the rest in small groups standing around talking. You decide to cut through the group and scout around near the art, and as you approach, a particular girl catches your attention due to the most unusual feature of them all. Some manner of eye floating over her chest, connected to her by some kind of strange vein-looking things. Not just her, either, this feature is shared with a girl standing next to her, with the only difference being that the second girl's eye is closed. Your eyes travel up to their faces. They look fairly similar, even though they have different hair colours, both of them are fairly cute. Even if the purple-haired one looks like she could fall asleep at any moment. The lighter-haired one looks over at you as you approach the two of them, and just watches you without saying anything. The other girl looks over after a second as well.
“Hello there, girls,” you say, bowing slightly to them, “I couldn't help but notice the two of you through the crowd.”
“We tend to stand out a little,” the purple-headed one says, looking down at the eye hovering over her chest, it's unblinking gaze fixed on you. “It's kind of hard for us to blend into a group.”
“Not as if I have it any better,” you joke, twitching the wings on your back and head. The tired girl blinks in response. “So, are the two of you related?”
“We're sisters,” she responds, looking back at her lighter haired sister.
“My name is Koishi,” the light-haired one says with a small wave.
“And I'm Satori,” the purple-haired one follows suit.
“I should have guessed it was something like that,” you state, “I doubt that those eyes of yours would be some kind of fashion.” You look back down at Satori's 'eye', still staring at you. You look past it though and take a moment to evaluate her figure. You're met with a sigh, which draws your attention back up.
“Did you want something?” Satori asks abruptly.
“I was just curious about you two, mostly. I'm still fairly new to this world, so I haven't seen... youkai, I suppose, like you,” you say, taking the liberty to assume they're youkai.
“You seem more interested in the physical compatibilities between our races,” Satori states flatly, which causes Koishi to click her tongue.
“You're doing it again Satori,” Koishi scolds her sister, placing her hands on her sister's shoulders and leaning forward. “After all, he is a devil. It's a natural part of his being to think about that kind of thing.” Satori sighs again. You determine there's more going on here than meets the eye, particularly the one that has been locked on you since you stepped up.
“Something I should know about the two of you? Or is it these eyes?” you ask. Satori starts to reply, but Koishi claps a hand over her sister's mouth.
“We both could read the hearts and minds of other living beings, so long as our third eye is open. I found it boring to always know what someone is thinking, and shut my eye, but my sister lets it decide everything for her,” Koishi explains as Satori shakes her off.
“I just find it easier to skip the hassle and runaround in people's intentions,” Satori explains for herself. “It makes co-operation and coexistence easier.”
“That sounds pretty helpful, actually,” you say, already considering the kind of horrible weapon the ability to always know someone's true intent would be among devils. You may even have to tread carefully on your own here.
“You already know how much of a threat this power poses to your kind,” Satori states bluntly, once again proving her power and that indeed you can't hide a thing from her.
“If that's the case, then I'm not going to beat around the bush. I think you and your sister are pretty attractive, and I'd like to get to know the two of you better,” you declare.
“Pass,” Satori immediately rejects and starts to walk off before Koishi grabs her arm.
“Hold on sis! He was straight forward! Can't you just play along?” she asks.
“He's only got carnal interests in mind, in the long run,” Satori more or less correctly states.
“So?” Koishi surprisingly counters. “Even healthy relationships can grow from a meeting based on natural instincts.”
“Not interested!” Satori shakes off her sister again and heads farther along the displays. Koishi sighs and turns back to you.
“Sorry about that,” she apologizes, bowing in return, “she's actually just shy about that kind of thing.”
“You'd think that a mind reader would be more used to being thought of, especially when they're nice on the eyes,” you say. Koishi shrugs slightly with a smile.
“She spends more time with animals than other youkai, since we were sealed underground by people that feared our power. She doesn't have to worry about those kinds of things from animals, at least directed towards her. She's gotten used to the sheltered life,” Koishi says, looking back at her sister over her shoulder.
“How about you?” you ask, noting that Koishi's eye is closed still.
“I can't read hearts anymore,” she replies, looking down at the eye as well. “My eye is closed, so I can no longer see the surface of a person's mind. Instead, I can touch much deeper.”
“Is that so?” you ask. Koishi takes on a mischievous grin.
“You know this kind of life doesn't suit you. You're a creature of instinct, and those instincts are sex and violence. No matter how you try to integrate yourself into this world, you won't make it without an outlet for your instinctual needs. You need the pleasures of flesh and battle. It's already starting to guide your actions, as it were,” Koishi states, staring into your eyes. On some level, you know she's right.
“You know quite a bit about the nature of devils,” you respond.
“Knowing has nothing to do with it, I can see it plain as day,” she remarks. “Just like your ambition to return home and continue destroying the armies of your Lord, bringing with you the power and knowledge of this realm to raise yourself to a position of power next to him.” You feel a smirk come to your face, followed by a chuckle.
“I'm not sure which sister is more dangerous now, one that can tell what I'm thinking now, or one that can tell what I'm planning in the long term,” you comment. Koishi giggles a bit herself.
“Such is why we were sealed away,” she says. “People fear creatures that cannot be fooled or lied to, especially people with intentions they want to keep hidden.”
“So when do we get to the part where we have a threesome?” you quip. Koishi sputters a second before breaking into laughter.
“I'm afraid you'd need quite a bit more work before that'd be possible,” Koishi answers, “Satori's afraid of opening her own heart to others despite her power, and you're just not my type. Too aggressive,” she says with a chuckle.
“Well, damn,” you remark with a grin, shrugging in the meantime, “guess I'll just have to work at it like normal, huh?”
“That'd probably be your best bet,” Koishi replies with a smile, “though I don't know if I'd want to share you with my sister if and when you manage to woo me with your clever pick-up lines and subtle charm.”
“That probably wouldn't be too bad, though I suppose that brings another question to mind...” you trail off, letting Koishi hang for a bit. “Whether I'd want the sister that knows what I want before I even have to tell her, or the sister that already knows what I like best.”
“Oh, that is quite a choice,” Koishi smiles, “I'd be hard pressed to make a choice between the two myself.”
“Quite a problem, indeed,” you respond.
“Koishi! Come over here and look at this,” Satori calls to her sister, and Koishi looks back at her, then back to you.
“I suppose I should let you consider your choice then,” she muses, “come visit us underground sometime if you get a chance. At least I'll show you around if Satori doesn't.” With that, Koishi heads over to her sister. You consider that a bit of a success, another girl you could spend some time with in the future should you get some free time from your duties. You start thinking you should get back to scouting more girls when you see Patchouli approaching.
“There you are,” she says, walking up to you, “I'm taking a break so I can enjoy the gallery.”
“Ah, I was starting you think I wouldn't see you up here,” you comment. Patchouli seems a bit put off by the comment.
“I do like to socialize too, you know. It also gives me a chance to confer with some fellow magicians,” Patchouli says as she looks past you at Marisa and Alice, standing together with Reimu.
“You going over there?” you ask, and Patchouli nods.
“Then I'll go meet your friends with you,” you say. Patchouli doesn't respond to that, just walks past you towards the group, and you follow along.
“Yo Patchy,” Marisa greets your Master with a wave, “and Balthazar.” This catches Alice's attention, who looks at Marisa with a curious expression. You think Patchouli suspects something amiss as well, since she gives you a quick glance.
“Nice to see you again Marisa,” you say with a slight bow.
“Balthazar? Didn't you introduce yourself as something else at the gate?” Alice asks.
“It's likely he was just confused,” Patchouli interjects before you can speak. “He's had a busy day and had a lot on his mind, isn't that right?” she finishes by handing off to you with a question. You fake an embarrassed grin and another bow.
“It's true, I'm sorry for the confusion. I'm not very bright for a devil, and this new language is still pretty confusing,” you lie. Alice seems to accept the cover story. Almost immediately afterwards, Patchouli drags Alice and Marisa into a conversation about some research, leaving you and Reimu out. You decide to take this time to get to know this so called 'protector' of Gensokyo.
“Having a good time, devil?” Reimu asks as you approach her around the group of witches.
“For sure,” you say, looking around the room a bit, “this kind of event is pretty interesting.”
“Because you're the only male in the room, I'm sure,” Reimu remarks without missing a beat.
“Well, that does have a place, for sure, but I'm pretty fascinated by the number of distinct looking people,” you state, glancing around again. You see Remilia, a bat winged young woman, talking with a girl with impossibly long black hair, and a girl with peaches on her hat. “I've never seen such... unique people.”
“Devils are pretty drab people?” Reimu questions.
“Not quite, but when you're among troops, you rarely have embellishments to call attention to individuals. Even my Warlord wore the same armour as his men in battles he took part in, so that he was indistinguishable to the enemies from the rank and file. Coming from surroundings like that to a world where everyone is so remarkably different, it's... fascinating,” you say, your eyes traveling up to the large ribbon on the back of Reimu's head. “Especially since the embellishments in this world are so much different than what I would have seen among other devils.”
“There is a definite fixation on headwear around here,” Reimu states. She doesn't really leave a lot to work with.
“So, how does one become one of the protectors of Gensokyo?” you ask out of curiosity.
“I was born into it. It's my life's duty,” she says plainly. “Marisa just tags along to test out whatever magic she wants, and Sanae... I think she just enjoys shooting down youkai.”
“Sounds like you're the only one that takes it seriously,” you say. Reimu huffs a bit and crosses her arms over her chest. She seems to have some amount of pride in that.
“The Hakurei family has served Gensokyo for much longer than my lifetime. With our duty to keep up the Barrier that keeps us safe, our duty is much more important. We maintain the barrier, and resolve conflicts among the populace with the best methods available to us,” Reimu beams, clearly proud of her position.
“What kind of methods do you use for conflict resolution?” you ask.
“Mostly shooting down all troublemakers,” she responds. You can't help but chuckle.
“Peace through force of arms, huh?” you comment.
“This method of protecting Gensokyo has been passed down the Hakurei family for generations,” Reimu declares.
“Well, it seems to work,” you say. Reimu nods.
“Indeed it does,” she replies.
“So are you the only one in your family that handles the conflict resolution?” you ask. Reimu seems to deflate a bit.
“I'm the only Hakurei in Gensokyo now, so naturally I'm the only one that handles it,” she answers.
“Oh? What about the rest of your family?” you ask, but Reimu doesn't seem to be interested in answering.
“It's not important anymore. I'm still here, and so long as I have a family, the bloodline will continue,” Reimu says after a few seconds of silence. “Which is why I have to be serious about my duty.”
“Sounds like a lot of responsibility for one person to handle,” you say. Reimu sighs, and returns to her previous neutral attitude.
“It's not that bad, really. I can handle it,” she says.
“Wouldn't it be easier on you to have a family to help you?” you press, deciding to chance your luck with Reimu. Reimu scoffs immediately.
“And I'm sure you'd like to help me with that part,” Reimu says with a sarcastic smirk, “I know how devils think. I'm quite capable of getting my life issues in order without help.”
“Can't blame me for taking a shot,” you muse.
“Pretty sure I can,” Reimu counters. “Regardless, it's probably a bad idea to start a family with something that would be injured by any of the tools needed in the line of duty.”
“It'd be a great reason to pick up a sword, at least,” you quip.
“Don't think so. Youkai can't simply be defeated with an ordinary weapon, and there's the risk of injuring humans. It's just more efficient to problem solve with spiritual power,” Reimu says. “Plus, no one really gets hurt in the end.”
“But you still beat people with your magic, yeah?” you ask.
“It's not magic, but yeah. I suppose it hurts a little bit, but I think people can take a few bruises as opposed to a sword wound. I'm sure you'd agree there,” Reimu comments.
“I see your point then,” you agree. “You definitely take your duty to protect people seriously, even considering the safety of people that would cause trouble.”
“It's the best option for all parties,” Reimu claims with a grin.
“So long as the other person doesn't have a weapon they intend to use themselves,” you retort, but Reimu just huffs again.
“That's not really a problem either. I've beat Sakuya in the past, and her knives are very real. I've also stood against at least two people with swords and come out fine,” Reimu states.
“I suppose I need to learn your secrets, then,” you joke.
“Shame, those secrets are for Hakurei's only,” Reimu retorts.
“V- Balthazar,” Patchouli calls your attention, quickly catching herself from calling you the wrong name on her own, “could you bring Marisa, Alice and I some drinks from the table?” she asks.
“Of course,” you say, turning back to Reimu. “I suppose we'll talk more some other time.”
“If you want my attention, you can always just start causing trouble. You'll get a crash course in the abilities of the Hakurei,” Reimu jokes, and you head off to collect the drinks.
So here's the second part finally. There's going to be one last part... maybe, depending on if I can think of a reason to end it on a vote option that matters. If not, then there'll probably be a fourth wall of text before the next vote option.
ETA Q4 2011