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23843 No. 23843
I'm not sure about the name still. So if anon wants to change it, voice your opinion. I just thought that 'party hard' was maybe a bit too nonsensical and limited in scope.
--

[X] Buy some rice balls from the market

With the utmost care so as not to squish them, I carried several rice balls in a smaller bag. It was a bit of a challenge for me to not accidentally trip or somehow put weight on them. I definitely looked funny as I walked through the village. A couple of people I knew gave me a snarky greetings, making poor jokes about my encumbered state. To them, I suppose, it looked like I was just carrying out my normal errands for my aunt. It didn't matter that she did most of the shopping, nor that it was never this much. Nope, not to them. It was all 'Careful with that stuff kid' and 'Keep at it Arc'. Pricks. The lot of them. I even ran into someone I would have considered a good acquaintance, if not an outright friend, and he didn't even offer to help me out. I made a note to tell his sister, she'd sort him out for me.

Halfway back to the shrine, I ran into someone leaving the village. Her outfit, as unique as it was, identified her as the girl I had met the day before. She recognized me as well and slowed down to walk beside me. “How's it going there? Going back to the shrine?”
“Yes I am.”
“Let me help you then. I'm going about half of the way there, those bags look heavy.”
“Thanks Marisa.” Finally, someone who offered to help me. Admitedly, she didn't help much, just taking the bag with the rice balls, but I was happy all the same.
“No problem. Looks like you did the shopping for the party.”
“Part of it, Suika is doing the rest.”
“Oh she is, is she? It looks like things will be quite lively tonight.”
“Probably.” I didn't know the other guests, but just counting Suika it'd be enough to have a lively party. “So what are you doing here? You don't live in the village, do you?”
“Me? Nah. Just had a few extra coins and so I decided to pick up a little luxury or two.” She points to a bulging pocket on her dress. “I don't really have the time to pick up any good spices myself. The forest is only good for some kinds of things.”
“The forest, huh?” I was impressed at how casually she admitted to living in that place. Normally people steered clear of the uninviting and dangerous leaf canopy that enveloped it. She was probably the only human that you knew of who would live there.
“Oh, I also stopped by your store just now.”
“You did? What for?”
“Not much. Just curiosity really, I can't afford most of the stuff there.” She showed an easy-going smile while talking. Speaking to her was definitely a laid-back affair. “Your aunt's really nice. Easy to talk to and really funny. She also looks so young, ze.”
“...She is quite something.” I replied diplomatically, conscious that she did make a good impression on people. I was the exception as far as her 'lovely' personality went.
“She seemed relieved to know that you were alright. I thought you would have gone to see her just now. And,” Marisa grins, “when I told her that you had stayed with two girls by choice, she couldn't believe her ears. It's almost as if...”
“Hold that thought.” I interrupted, not letting her get carried away. “My aunt was just concerned for me, that's all. It's natural.”
“That'll be it.” She kept her grin but still nodded, not finishing her thought.

We didn't have much more time to talk, as we reached the junction she was supposed to take. “See you later at the party then!”

I put down a bag waved goodbye to her and watched as she disappeared into the foreboding darkness of the trees. How anyone with any sense of self-preservation could willingly go in was beyond me.

Suika hadn't come back to the shrine. Reimu seemed to be absent as well. I placed the bags down in the room we had decorated earlier and started to look around for anyone. The shrine seemed almost lifeless, and I wished I had someone to talk to. They couldn't be out for very long though, I rationalized, it was nearly lunchtime. I idled by the donation box out front, finding that there were actual spiderwebs in it. Reimu's obsession with money was more than justified, I thought. If our business did this poorly, I would have had to work on the fields years ago. Auntie's threat always was a particularly dreadful outcome as far as I was concerned.

And in order to get my mind off of back-breaking labor I had to do something else.

[] Go back home for a little bit
[] Explore more of the shrine
[] Brew some tea and take it easy

>> No. 23844
I'm torn.

On the one hand, I want to go make an offering for potential Mima. On the other hand, I have the inexplicable urge to send Arc home and have him flirt with his aunt, just to catch her by surprise; especially in light of what Marisa has said...

Ah, hell. Auntie, here we come.

[X] Go back home for a little bit.

As an aside:
>Distilled Encounters from Festive Times

DEFT - I like it.
>> No. 23845
[x] Explore more of the shrine.

How often do such oppertunities arise?
It'd be a waste, a waste I say!

Also, the name of the story fits.
>> No. 23846
[X] Brew some tea and take it easy.

Gonna need all the strength you can conserve right now... Exploring can wait and going home chances are will bring about an assault of questions and assumptions that would only be a burden on Arc.
>> No. 23847
Not really contributing but nonetheless I like the name.
>> No. 23848
Hrm...
[X] Explore more of the shrine

I'm not keen on using the kitchen without permission, and making another round trip seems like a waste of energy. Maybe we can find the hole to the underground from SA.
>> No. 23849
{X} Explore more of the shrine.
>> No. 23850
[x] Explore more of the shrine

MimaMimaMimaMimaMimaMimaMima
>> No. 23851
[!/] Explore more of the shrine.

Why not? Poking around the local area is a staple RPG/CYOA action to do when the NPC's are away.
>> No. 23852
[x] Explore more of the shrine

Don't forget the offering to Mima!
>> No. 23853
[x] Explore more of the shrine

Enough of this Mima faggotry.
>> No. 23854
[x] Explore more of the shrine.
Oh thank god that at least we have one CYOA that updates frequently. It's pretty dire now that HY died.
>> No. 23855
Dire, huh? Well,I won't be able to update for 3-4 hours now, so I hope you can stand that. Despite what I would like, this isn't updated that quickly.
>> No. 23856
>>23853
>> No. 23857
>Plus, I still had some extra money on me;

[X] Make a donation!
[X] Explore more of the shrine
>> No. 23858
[X] Make a donation!
[X] Explore more of the shrine

Why not?
>> No. 23859
[z] Make a donation!
[e] Explore more of the shrine
>> No. 23861
[X] Make a donation!
[X] Explore more of the shrine

I stopped by the donation box. I had only a few coins left, having wasted most of my change on the rice balls, and probably couldn't buy much else. I hesitated for a moment as I stared at the empty donation box. It wasn't really my money to spend. Eventually, I rationalized my actions by convincing myself that loose change wouldn't be worth anything to Suika, while it might be a welcome surprise for Reimu. I pulled the rope and rang the bell, bowed, clapped my hands, and did everything I remembered I had to. I threw in the few pitiful coins. Each coin dropped making a loud reverberating sound. I couldn't even say a proper prayer, so I limited myself to what little I could remember. It was a weird ritual, but I'm sure I performed it adequately enough.

The parts I hadn't been to where opposite where I slept. I only took a few steps in before realizing what it was that I had found. Like a stick being used to discipline a pack animal, auntie's words beat down on me. I shouldn't be here. This was Reimu's room. And I was trespassing. I had been taught to absolutely, under no circumstances to casually violate other people's sanctity. I backed out into the corridor, my mind barely registering the few personal items scattered about the room. I closed the door and felt my heart pounding in excitement. I had done something wrong, albeit accidentally, and I couldn't get over the feeling that I would be found out sooner or later. I cursed my deeply-ingrained upbringing, with my logical side claiming that an honest mistake like that was no big deal at all.

I explored the rest of the shrine cautiously, wary of disturbing any other personal spaces. Not that there were any. There were just a few storage closets and mostly empty rooms scattered about. This place wasn't that big. I wondered when someone would come back, I was getting fed up of being alone.

No sooner than I had wished for company, was that I heard a noise. No, two noises actually. One was definitely footsteps on the hard stone walkway in front of the shrine, the wind carried the rhythmical steps easily. While the other was something else entirely, a clang that came from the opposite direction of the entrance. If I recalled correctly, that was where I had gone exploring earlier today. Well, whatever it was, I wasn't alone now and I felt relieved at seeing someone else.

[] Go out front
[] Go where you explored earlier
>> No. 23862
[!/] Go out front

No hidden area full of mini-suikas and a yukkuri?!

Son, I am disappoint.
>> No. 23863
[X] Go out front
>> No. 23864
[X] Go out front

It seems there is no Mima.
>> No. 23865
[X] Go where you explored earlier
>> No. 23866
[x] Go where you explored earlier

Interesting.
>> No. 23867
[X] Go where you explored earlier.

From the place we explored earlier. The place with the altar. You know. That place.

Mima, please?
>> No. 23868
[X] Go where you explored earlier.
>> No. 23869
[x] Go where you explored earlier.
>> No. 23870
Dammit guys...
>> No. 23871
[x] Go where you explored earlier

mysterious clang is mysterious
>> No. 23872
[] Go out front
>> No. 23873
[x] Go where you explored earlier
>> No. 23874
[x] Go where you explored earlier

The loud clang drew me to where I explored this morning. It was strange that any noise had come from there – as far as I know I was alone in the shrine. The footsteps from outside where the first sign of life I had felt. Whoever they were, they could wait. I felt a strange thrill in trying to track down the source of the sound, as if I were a guardian of the shrine, entrusted to keep intruders away. I smiled to myself and walked along, a pleasant fantasy playing in my head.

The sound didn't repeat itself.

I came upon the area with the small shrine, I was sure that the sound came from here somewhere. But there was no evidence of anyone or anything that could have caused the noise.

No, that's not entirely true. As I was about to leave, I felt a bit of cool air pass by my face. I looked at where it was coming from; There was an open window at one end of the area. And on the other end of the room I saw the most probable cause of the noise. The doors on the altar hadn't been closed properly, and they likely shut close with violence when a strong enough gust came along. The clang itself had probably been something that was rattled or hit. I closed the window and then moved to close the doors of the altar properly.

I frowned.

The altar which I had cleaned just hours earlier looked almost as grimy and dirty as I had first seen them. Was it dust? That might be it, I thought, but why wasn't anything else dirty if that was the case? I couldn't let this stand, of course, so I went to grab a clean rag and started to clean again. I left it as spotless as last time, perhaps shining a bit more even. I sighed and took a break. I was hungry now. Cleaning this thoroughly drained more energy than I thought it would have. I took a rice ball and had a bite of it. The taste was perhaps a bit more vinegary than I would have liked, but it did a good job at filling up my stomach. Too good a job perhaps, I wasn't able to take that final bite and finish it off.

“Oh, so there you are!”
“Here I am.” I stood up and faced Suika with a relaxed smirk.
“I was wondering where you were. I saw the things in the room but there was no sign of you. What are you doing here anyways?”
“I'm not sure myself, I just heard a noise and decided to come check it out.”
“And ended up cleaning for laughs?” Suika looked at me with a look that betrayed her mix of amusement and bewilderment.
“Yeah, I guess. So anyways, I got you something.” I took another rice ball and handed it to her. “Think it makes up for earlier?”
“Awesome! I was just hungry too! Now I can have something solid to accompany my lunch.”
“Don't you mean-” I got her meaning as she took a bite of the rice ball and with her free hand opened up her gourd. “Nevermind. So did you get everything for tonight?”
“Mrf!” She nodded, too busy chugging and chewing to speak.
“Good then. Is there anything that you'd want me to do now?”
“Reaght.”
“Come again?”
“Geh.” Suika swallowed her food. “I said, eat.”
“I already did. Thanks.”
“Mmmm....” She chewed a particularly sticky part of the rice ball while thinking. I watched as a few grains of rice stuck to her cheek. It (of course) only took her a few moments to come up with another idea. She stuck out her hand, the one with the gourd, and offered it to me.
“Sorry, but it's a bit early in the day for me-” I stopped my sentence midway through due to the expression of absolute disbelief and shock on Suika's face. Yeah, she wasn't going to buy this. “What I mean is, I'm going to be helping you out later at the party, right? I need to be sober in order to work well. I can get drunk later.”

Well, it seemed like she sort of bought that one. Still gulping down the contents of her bottle, she lead me to the room where the party was going to be. She pointed to the food and gave unclear instructions on what I should do. I got most of it although, truth be told, I had no idea what she meant by 'twelve monkeys'?Ah, that was a short-lived mystery, she corrected herself. It was an honest mistake. And then set off to work. I sorted out the food and hauled the more perishable and delicate stuff to the kitchen to be better preserved.

She didn't do much to help, but it was obvious that she was getting bored. As soon as I finished hauling the last thing, she started up with her usual nonsense.

“Let's do something fun!”
“Like?” There was no use fighting it. Might as well establish boundaries while I still had an opinion as far as she was concerned.
“Well, we're done here and the party is later. So we need to do something very fun. Like a drinking contest.”
“That's not fair for the other guests, it'd be rude to be drunk before they could drink as well.” I said that with a straight face. She bought it completely.
“Alright, I see. How about this? Reimu should be back soon, right? There's plenty of fun we can have with her.”
“...What are you suggesting?” I didn't like where this was going.
“Just the best form of competition ever!” She almost squealed with enjoyment.

Oh boy. She explained her ideas to me and was 'gracious' enough to let me pick. I sought to do the least amount of damage. That normally would have been telling the other person that I didn't want to play along, but I didn't know how exactly that would go down with her. No doubt she'd count it as a loss on my part.

[] Competition of courage! - 'Borrowing' something from Reimu from right under her nose
[] Competition of stealth! - Stalking Reimu for as long as possible without her noticing
[] Back down from competing
>> No. 23875
[] Competition of courage! - 'Borrowing' something from Reimu from right under her nose

well you can't really beat Suika in stealth due her ability
>> No. 23876
[] Competition of stealth! - Stalking Reimu for as long as possible without her noticing

Sneaking Mission!
>> No. 23877
stalker vs thief...

[X] Competition of stealth! - Stalking Reimu for as long as possible without her noticing

Unless Reimu's internal youkai detector decided to take it easy, Arc has as much of a chance at succeeding as Suika does.
>> No. 23878
[x] Staring contest.

Jiiii~
>> No. 23879
[x] Competiton of stealth! - Stalk Reimu for as long as possible without her noticing.

Remember your cardboard box!
>> No. 23881
[x] Competiton of stealth! - Stalk Reimu for as long as possible without her noticing.
Where's our light crystal and noisemaker arrows?
>> No. 23882
>>23855
Frequent for this board means "more than once a week".
>> No. 23883
[X] Competition of stealth! - Stalking Reimu for as long as possible without her noticing
>> No. 23884
[!/] Competition of stealth! - Stalking Reimu for as long as possible without her noticing

Suika? Suika? SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSUUUIKA!!!!!!
>> No. 23887
[X] Competition of stealth! - Stalking Reimu for as long as possible without her noticing
>> No. 23889
[] Competition of stealth! - Stalking Reimu for as long as possible without her noticing
>> No. 23894
[X] Competition of stealth! - Stalking Reimu for as long as possible without her noticing.

Next thing he knows he's swimming in attenpts to hide while she's bathing
>> No. 23899
>Next thing he knows he's swimming in attenpts to hide while she's bathing

Sounds familiar....
>> No. 23902
>>23899

Great. Now the Jaws theme is stuck in my head.
>> No. 23903
>>23902
...And now I'm getting the image of Mima swimming around a beach, with the jaws theme playing in the background, while she steals bathing suits.
>> No. 23904
>>23903

And now Huey Lewis & the News "If This Is It" is playing in my head, manually.
>> No. 23907
>>23904

Baywatch is a much more appealing imagination.

Atleast I don't picture Reimu with a 80's perm.
>> No. 23914
>>23907
I can easily imagine Reimu with an 80s perm/big hair, chewing gum, and wearing a leotard. But that's just me. I'm special that way.
>> No. 23915
>>23914

I'll just stick with my Diet Pepsi.
>> No. 23917
>>23914
I have thoughts like that all the time.
>> No. 23924
Charming demon moe~ ;_;
>> No. 23930
[X] Competition of writing! - Update Distilled Encounters as soon as possible.
>> No. 23950
>>23917
Yes, but it's scarier if it's the writefag that has these strange images stuck in his head.

Sorry about taking this long. Hopefully it won't happen again.
-

[x] Competition of stealth! - Stalking Reimu for as long as possible without her noticing

I saw no real way out of this, and accordingly chose the option that was less likely to offend everyone involved. “What are the rules for this?”
“Simple. You have to stay at most a room's distance away from Reimu at all times. And keep her in sight at all times. Any farther and you lose. You can get as close as you like, but if you're spotted you lose as well. I'll be doing the same.”
“Wait. So we're not taking turns?”
“Takes too long.”

I saw a problem with that.

“How do we ensure there's no cheating then.”
“Huh?” Suika looked confused for a moment. Then a toothy grin manifested itself on her face. “Oni never lie. If I say I'll be following Reimu, I'll be following Reimu. Besides, I can keep a watch on you easily as well.” I half-expected her to smack her chest with pride, but she didn't go that far.
“Alright then. Just make sure that you're not too absorbed in watching me, or you might lose.” I made a joke with a friendly smile. To be honest, her over-confidence was starting to tick me off. I didn't let it show, of course, and just thought about how to pull this one off.
“I don't think it'll be a problem. Listen up, we'll wait until Reimu gets back and then start once she's inside the shrine...”

The rest of the plan involved us squatting around the shrine's entrance for the better part of an hour. I took position, cleverly hidden amongst bushes, while waiting. Suika went off somewhere else, just beyond a corner. It was a terrible hiding place, I thought.

Just as my legs were cramping up and going numb, Reimu finally appeared. I wondered where she had been momentarily – she wasn't carrying anything so shopping was out. Well, it didn't matter. She seemed relaxed enough and not on the lookout for two stalkers with way too much time on their hands. And that was a good thing as far as I was concerned. I started inching my way through the bushes quietly, keeping Reimu within range.

She stopped suddenly. I was rather exposed and thought that she had spotted me. It wouldn't have been impossible, I suppose, but I wasn't exactly out in the open. I felt my heart beating faster; The excitement of stalking more than palpable. I was about to stand up and wave at her, play this thing as a joke, when I realized it wasn't me that caused her to suddenly stop.

She was staring at the donation box.

I don't know how she was able to tell, but she sensed the donation I had left earlier like a wild animal might have been able to tell that there's food around. She reached in and grabbed the scattered coins with a look that I could tell from here was part confusion, part astonishment. She looked around the surroundings with the coins in hand, found no one and bowed slightly as if praying. I used moment to move up against the shrine wall.

Stalking Reimu wasn't so hard. I found it slightly disturbing at how easily I managed to find good stalking spots as she moved about the shrine. Well, then again, I did do plenty of sneaking around when I was younger; funny how being good at breaking curfew helped me now. Reimu went to the kitchen and got a snack and tea. I followed all the way to her final destination, the same room where I had met her the day before. I watched as she let out a sigh and sat down in the exact same spot.

From there on out, it was a matter of endurance.

Reimu did nothing but stare absentmindedly outside and occasionally eat a cracker while I watched. I hadn't thought it possible for human legs to endure the stress of a single position for as long as mine did. Forget numbness, they hurt after a solid hour of stalking. The only thing that kept me in position was the fact that I needed to win this out, if only to rub it in the oni's face. After an eternity, Reimu finally got up and I got moving again, keeping just out of her line of sight.

I froze as I realized where she was going.

Not good. She just went into the bathroom. Hesitation coursed through my body as I weighed the alternatives. At the time it seemed that it came down to either taking a risk or outright losing.

[] Follow Reimu in
[] Give up
>> No. 23951
[x] Follow Reimu in.

Might get us bad end'd, but hey, we need to even the score with Suika so she doesn't just carry Arc off.
And this was so obvious.
>> No. 23952
[X] Give up.

Arc is a good boy.
>> No. 23953
[x] Follow Reimu in.
>> No. 23955
[X] Give up.

Be a good boy lad.
>> No. 23956
[X] Follow Reimu in
can't risk being called whatever Suika will surely call us if we give in.
>> No. 23957
[x] Give up

Let's let Suika take the punishment while we look like the hero.

>>23951
There are no bad ends.
>> No. 23958
[x] Follow Reimu in
>> No. 23959
[x] Give up

Honor is matter of knowing how far to go.
>> No. 23960
[x] Give up

Let the pervy side show (assuming he's a 180 whenever Arc's drunk) when wasted but for now's not a good time to "betray" the landlord's trust.
>> No. 23961
[x] Give up

This Reimu hasn't been a dick, we don't have to start.
>> No. 23962
[x] Give up
>> No. 23968
[x] Give up

I don't think we've all that much invested in this round, such that we'd incur Reimu's wrath over it. There is nothing we could do such that Suika couldn't pull ahead by shrinking herself or turning into mist.

And if you've somehow already won through disqualification, then any further action would be unnecessary.
>> No. 23973
[x] Give up

I felt that there was nothing I could do. I sighed, stood up staight and leaned against the wall. I crossed my arms and accepted my fate. I lost this one. No doubt Suika would flaunt her victory yet again.

“Ooof! Hey!” A cry came from the bathroom. A couple of bumps and more cries of irritation and then Reimu appeared at the door. She held Suika by the arm with a disapproving look. “I'm pretty sick of this. I can tolerate the drinking, but cut out the stalking.”
“It wasn't stalking!” The oni defended herself with the same prideful voice she had used on me earlier. “We were simply playing a game. Isn't that right Arc?”
“Game or no game, at least he had the decency not to follow me into the bathroom.” Reimu cut in before I could reply. “It's bad enough that you've been watching me since I got here, but to follow me even here is a bit too much.”
“Ahaha~” Suika let out a carefree laugh. “You knew we were watching?”
“You bet. I can tell, you've been doing this too much for your own good.”

I connected the dots. The reason Reimu came to the bathroom was to flush us out. She knew we were watching. I wondered why she just hadn't called us out instead of wasting time...

“You know what this means, don't you?” Reimu dealt out judgment.
“Aw, shucks... not again.”
“I'm afraid so. Now get to it, and I hope that you learned your lesson this time.”
“Pfeh. Not a chance. It was totally worth it.”
“...Maybe I'm being too lenient here.” Reimu grabbed Suika's gourd before the oni could react. “No drinking until you're done.”
“No! Anything but that!” Suika lounged for the gourd but Reimu was several steps ahead.
“We have an agreement. Deal with it.” Reimu then smiled smugly, “Think of it as another game and get to work.”
“Tsk. Fine. C'mon Arc.”
“Arc doesn't have to go.”
“Wha- no fair!”
“He didn't do anything wrong. So why should he be punished? I'm sure you just forced him to play along. Now quit stalling and go. Otherwise I'm keeping this for good.” She jiggled the gourd, causing the contents to slosh around.

I was just more surprised by this turn of events than anything. Suika didn't resist as much as I thought she would have, instead meekly submitting to Reimu's punishment. It occurred to me that this might be a token punishment. Seeing as how Suika would, at best, do a mediocre job at cleaning, and she'd no doubt engage in her usual brand of annoying play in no time flat. The oni grumbled and slunk away dejectedly, giving me a look like we still had pending business to settle.

[] Do the punishment as well
[] Leave Suika alone
>> No. 23974
[x] Leave Suika alone
>> No. 23975
[x] Leave Suika alone
>> No. 23976
[!/] Leave Suika alone

So torn between these options.
>> No. 23977
{X} Leave Suika alone
>> No. 23978
[ze] Give up.
>> No. 23984
>>23978
>> No. 23986
[] Do the punishment as well.
>> No. 23987
[x] Leave Suika alone

>“We were simply playing a game. Isn't that right Arc?”

>“He didn't do anything wrong. So why should he be punished? I'm sure you just forced him to play along. Now quit stalling and go. Otherwise I'm keeping this for good.” She jiggled the gourd, causing the contents to slosh around.

THATS WATCHU GET

STOP SNITCHIN
>> No. 23988
[x] Leave Suika alone
>> No. 23990
[x] Do the punishment as well
[x] "That wouldn't be fair, now, would it?"

Man of duty.
>> No. 23991
[x] Do the punishment as well
[x] "That wouldn't be fair, now, would it?"

Dishonesty around Suika is not a good idea.
>> No. 23992
[] Leave Suika alone
[] Ask Reimu what kinda punishment she gave to Suika
>> No. 23993
[x] Leave Suika alone

If Arc aids Suika in her "punishment" it defeats the purpose of Reimu setting a standard around the household/shrine, even if that kinda fails regardless in Suika's case.

Settle the business afterwards, besides wouldn't the recent turn of events technically place Arc as the victor as he wasn't "caught" in the same sense that Suika was..?
>> No. 23995
[x] Do the punishment as well.
[x] "That wouldn't be fair, now, would it?"

We drag Suika into this. We are the one who propose to stalk Reimu, so we are partly responsible to Suika's action.
>> No. 23997
>We drag Suika into this. We are the one who propose to stalk Reimu, so we are partly responsible to Suika's action.

Hahaha what?

>I saw no real way out of this, and accordingly chose the option that was less likely to offend everyone involved. “What are the rules for this?”
>> No. 23998
>>23995

What are ya talking about? Suika "gave" the option of stalking as well as thievery, well in her case it's probably "borrowing without consent".

Either way it would have ended with Suika getting busted it seems, but also if they had gone with the second option it probably would have Arc fairing very poorly in the eyes of Reimu than Suika as she expects that from her; but not from a friendly guest.
>> No. 24000
[x] Leave Suika alone
>> No. 24005
[X] Leave Suika alone.

It's her penalty, and she brought it upon herself.
>> No. 24010
[x] Leave Suika alone.

So, that makes two victories for Suika, and one draw.
Arc's not doing so well.
>> No. 24011
>>24010
Depends on who you ask

--
[x] Leave Suika alone

I stayed still and said nothing as Suika slunk away in the distance.

“Well that should keep her busy for at least fifteen minutes.” Reimu mused out loud.
“What does she have to do?”
“Oh, not much. Just wax and polish the wooden floors for a bit. Hopefully she'll do most of the shrine, these floorboards have been looking dull lately.”
“I see.” Not really. I didn't know Suika that well, but I thought that that was a silly punishment for her. She would probably sneak off and get too drunk to function properly.
“It's enough that she thinks that she's being punished.” As if reading my thoughts, Reimu told me what she thought of it. “It's a start. And with her, that's all that I can hope for really.” Then she smiled mischievously, “If she ends up making things worse somehow, I've always got this.” She shook the gourd. “She can't hold out forever without it.”

Something about the way she put it made me believe that she was the type of person that would stick to her methods to the bitter end. Must be how she copes being on her own.

“Well,” I started to change the topic, afraid that it might drift into my own responsibility for this situation, “when does this party start? Suika's made me work, but she's left out the most important detail.”
“Who knows?”
“Huh?”
“People in Gensokyo have the worst timing. It could start in the early evening or it could have started yesterday. And if Suika's the hostess, then it gets even worse.”
“Well, it is your shrine, isn't it? I suppose you set some limits and standards on them.”
“You'd think so,” Reimu looked at me with a bitter look showing this was a sore topic, “but it wouldn't change anything. They wouldn't listen to anyone in this world but themselves. I just draw the line at not having my shrine destroyed. Anything less than that I can deal with as it comes up.”

She sighed. Then she offered me some tea, and I agreed. I was beginning to suspect that her 'quiet time' sitting alone and drinking tea were a way to deal with the unpleasantness of daily bothers.

“Free food and drink isn't so bad though.” Reimu stated a bit more cheerfully after taking her first sip from a freshly brewed batch of tea. We were sitting in the same room as before, alone. “I make sure that nothing comes out of my pocket anymore. Otherwise I'd have to eat dirt and rocks with the way they consume.”
“Heh.” I laughed politely, but I could tell that there was a tiny grain of scary truth behind her words. “Who's coming tonight anyways?”
“Ah, I don't really know to be honest. But let's see....” She paused, taking another sip from the tea; I took a sip from my own, “Marisa is definitely coming. And if I know her, she'll probably bring along company. Then there's Suika's other friends. I suppose they're coming. I know that that nosy bird will probably be along, calls this type of event 'vital to the society pages' or some rubbish like that. I tell you she should spend more time getting actual content than interrupting other people's...”

Reimu went on in what I felt was a rant borne out of muted frustration. I didn't have the slightest clue who she was talking about, most of the time, but I did get a couple of key points. They all seem to be acquaintances of Reimu as well, they're important people as well, and they're probably going to raise hell. I estimated, based off of her rant, that around ten people would be here in total. The amount of booze in storage made me shiver when I thought about it; Suika had implied that all of it would be drunk before it was over.

“Ahaha.” I laughed off her rant like it was a joke. “It'll be a lively bunch then.”
“Now there's an understatement if I ever heard one.” Reimu sipped her tea, playing down her anxiety.

“All done!” Suika barged into the room, looking triumphant. “Now where's my gourd?”
“Done already? My that's impressive.” Reimu teased her.
“Yup! It couldn't have been easier! It's all sparkling clean now.”
“That really is something. Don't you think Arc?” I nodded out of reflex when Reimu looked at me. “You won't mind then if we take a look at your handiwork before returning this, right?”
“O-of course not! I'm proud of my work!”
“Hear that Arc? She's proud! That means that we can judge every single nook and cranny of the shrine at our leisure.”
“Um...” Suika looked a bit worried as Reimu and I got up. “That won't be necessary. Really. Just looking at one part you'll be able to see what it's like everywhere else.”
“No, nonsense. You worked so hard, so it's only fair that we admire your hard work. So what if we take our time, right? It's not like you've got anything to do right now? Or anything to hide, right?”
“N-nope! Free as a bird!”
“Let's go then.”
“There's just one thing though!” Suika stopped us from exiting.
“Yes?”
“Well, you know how we're having a party later right? I was thinking of taking a nap soon. And telling Arc to do the same, since we need to have lotsa energy for the evening.”
“You can take a nap after I look around. I'm sure Arc doesn't want to miss this rare sight either, right?”
“That's fine! Or would be usually, that is.” The oni looked increasingly agitated. “I need my gourd first though. I need to practice party tricks with it. I can't do it with the bottles, or I might break them. Or finish them off before the party begins. You've got to understand...”
“That's rather important, isn't it.” Reimu seemed to be venting some of her frustrating in getting back at Suika. She looked happy. “What do you think Arc? Do you think we should cut her some slack and let her prepare and whatever now? Are you feeling sleepy? Or should we insist on some standards here?”

They both looked at me expectantly. I thought about what I was going to do.

“I..”

[] Play along with Reimu
[] Bail Suika out
>> No. 24013
[+] Play along with Reimu
- [+] "Suika told me oni never lie so ..."
>> No. 24014
[X] Play along with Reimu
- [X] "Suika told me oni never lie so ..."
>> No. 24015
[x] Play along with Reimu
-[x] "Suika told me oni never lie so...
-[x] "I'll definitely be looking forward to seeing your performance at the party!"

If did a good job like she said she did, then she can have it back.
>> No. 24016
[X] Play along with Reimu
- [X] "Suika told me oni never lie so ..."
>> No. 24018
[+] Play along with Reimu
- [+] "Suika told me oni never lie so ..."

What a way to get pitted in the middle of things Arc... I'd probably shiver in fear if Suika ever manages to get those favors from her earlier victories; especially after this...
>> No. 24019
[!/] Play along with Reimu
- [!/] "Suika told me oni never lie so ..."

You are know imagining Suika Nanodesuing, manually.
>> No. 24020
[+] Play along with Reimu
- [+] "Suika told me oni never lie so ..."
>> No. 24021
[x] Bail Suika out.
-[x] At the cost of a favor, of course.

Oh dear, stuck between two newfound friends...
>> No. 24023
>>24018
>I'd probably shiver in fear if Suika ever manages to get those favors from her earlier victories; especially after this...

If Suika lied here, then it would seem all of our games, which were all performed under the tacit belief that she couldn't lie, become quite invalidated.
>> No. 24024
[+] Play along with Reimu
- [+] "Suika told me oni never lie so ..."
>> No. 24025
>>24011
>I just draw the line at not having my shrine destroyed.
If this is pre-SWR, Reimu's gonna be pissed, come the geysers.

>>24019
Mmm... nope. I'm not.
>> No. 24026
[x] Play along with Reimu
-[x] "Suika told me oni never lie so...
-[x] "I'll definitely be looking forward to seeing your performance at the party!"
>> No. 24028
>>24025

Geysers is SA. SWR was the earthquake.
>> No. 24031
[x] Play along with Reimu
-[x] "Suika told me oni never lie so...
-[x] "I'll definitely be looking forward to seeing your performance at the party!"

>>24025

I'm guessing you meant post SWR..?
>> No. 24033
[x] Play along with Reimu

“...think it's important to see the amazing job Suika did.” I nodded with a smile on my face. “You know Reimu, Suika told me that oni never lie. So this must be one heck of a cleaning job.”
“Oh, that's great. I didn't know that about the oni.” Reimu smiled right back at me and then at Suika. “Guess I learned something new.”
“Yeah, they're quite something, right?” I felt like laughing as I watched Suika nervously shift her gaze. It was adorable really, on par with watching a puppy chase his own tail. "I'll definitely be looking forward to seeing your performance at the party! But first things first...”

Suika meekly tagged along as Reimu and I went along to see the fruits of her labor. Truth be told, I was expecting something completely different from what we found. I mean, Suika was acting, in a way which I thought was, very evasive and shifty. It wasn't just me apparently. Reimu looked as surprised at the condition of the shrine. She mumbled something I didn't quite get while furrowing her brows.

It seemed that our surprise boosted Suika's confidence. She stood in front of us with a toothy grin plastered across her face.

“Not bad, eh?”
“Well I'll be...” Reimu muttered with evident shock. “You did clean everything. The floorboards are practically sparkling.”
“Yeah, it's dazzling.” I added.
“Ehehe~ Told you so.”

I had no idea how she managed to clean so much so quickly. I had had to clean the store before, and that took me ages by myself. Looking at this however, she cleaned an area many times the size of the store in a fraction of the time. It looked like the oni had a hidden talent. I made a mental note not to get into a cleaning competition against her – I was doing poorly enough as it was.

“D-don't you think that you've looked enough for now?” Suika stopped me from walking any further. I had been absentmindedly walking while thinking.
“Ah. Maybe.” I looked at her. “You really did do a good job, didn't you?”
“That's right! Now let's go back that way and practice for later today-”
“Eh?” Something caught my eye. “What's that?” It looked like a cloth covering something in the corner... wait, wasn't that where-
“Nothing! Now let's go!” She muted her voice by covering her mouth, realizing that Reimu was still distracted looking at the floors several meters behind.
“...you're hiding something, aren't you?” It wouldn't take a genius to figure that one out. I stood on my tiptoes and loomed over her small figure, trying to catch a better glimpse of what she was trying to conceal. “Let's see...”
“Hey, cut that out!” She hissed.
“Not a chance. Now tell me, what's over there. Oni never lie, right?”
“Uuuu~”
“Come now... they don't right? Or was that just a way of getting me to play along earlier?”
“That's not fair.” She pouted. “Of course oni don't lie.”
“Then tell me, what's that over there?”
“That's...” Suika hesitated for a moment before moving out of the way. “Take a look at it yourself. Make sure Reimu doesn't notice, okay?”

I didn't think that Reimu would have noticed an earthquake right now, much less me slinking off into a little corner. I nodded to Suika however, and moved to inspect whatever was under the blanket.

“This is-” I recognized what lay beneath. I mean, after all, I had seen it just a couple hours before. Albeit intact. Now the altar that I had so carefully cleaned lay broken in several grotesque-looking chunks of wood. “What happened?”
“I accidentally, kinda broke it.”
“Looks like a rock fell on this.” A massive force had split the already frail wood.
“I didn't mean to do it. I was just cleaning and I tripped and fell. I must have flapped my arms as I fell and hit it or something because next thing I know I'm lying next to all these pieces.”
“I guess that this is why you were so keen to get away.” I wondered for a moment if she hadn't outright run away because of a sense of responsibility. Probably not. It was definitely because her gourd was being held hostage
“You understand now, right?”
“Understand what?” I acted coy.
“Oh~! Now's not the time to act dense! This isn't a competition.”
“Says you. There's no way you can hide this for long, and I bet Reimu won't be as pleased as she is now.” I tilted my head in the direction of the shrine maiden. From the corner of my eye, I could see that she was still pretty amazed. “Plus, I kinda feel sorry for the altar. It needed more love, not less.”
“There's nothing I can do about it now. Are you going to tell on me?” Suika flashed me puppy-dog eyes that I hadn't seen since I was about 10 and in school.

[] “...I'm sorry, but you did destroy an altar.”
[] “I won't tell. Keep Reimu busy and I'll get rid of the evidence.”
[] “Depends on what you can do for me in exchange...”
>> No. 24034
>>24028
>>24031
Shrinefuck is shrinefuck, but yeah.
>> No. 24036
[x] “Depends on what you can do for me in exchange...”
>> No. 24037
[ze] "I won't tell, but you should probably tell her yourself. There's literally no better way out of this: if she doesn't notice, she will eventually, and you'll be in trouble. If I tell her, you'll look really bad, and be in trouble. Tell her now while she's still wowed, and be sincere about it, and... Well, you probably won't be in as much trouble, then."
>> No. 24038
[x] "I won't tell, but you should probably tell her yourself. There's literally no better way out of this: if she doesn't notice, she will eventually, and you'll be in trouble. If I tell her, you'll look really bad, and be in trouble. Tell her now while she's still wowed, and be sincere about it, and... Well, you probably won't be in as much trouble, then."
>> No. 24039
[x] "I won't tell, but you should probably tell her yourself. There's literally no better way out of this: if she doesn't notice, she will eventually, and you'll be in trouble. If I tell her, you'll look really bad, and be in trouble. Tell her now while she's still wowed, and be sincere about it, and... Well, you probably won't be in as much trouble, then."
>> No. 24040
[!/] "I won't tell, but you should probably tell her yourself. There's literally no better way out of this: if she doesn't notice, she will eventually, and you'll be in trouble. If I tell her, you'll look really bad, and be in trouble. Tell her now while she's still wowed, and be sincere about it, and... Well, you probably won't be in as much trouble, then."

Reimu may brush it off, but she won't.
>> No. 24041
>>24033
[X] "I won't tell, but you should probably tell her yourself. There's literally no better way out of this: if she doesn't notice, she will eventually, and you'll be in trouble. If I tell her, you'll look really bad, and be in trouble. Tell her now while she's still wowed, and be sincere about it, and... Well, you probably won't be in as much trouble, then."

Good write-in ze~fag
>> No. 24042
[x] "I won't tell, but you should probably tell her yourself. There's literally no better way out of this: if she doesn't notice, she will eventually, and you'll be in trouble. If I tell her, you'll look really bad, and be in trouble. Tell her now while she's still wowed, and be sincere about it, and... Well, you probably won't be in as much trouble, then."

This is the right response.
>> No. 24043
[x] "I won't tell, but you should probably tell her yourself. There's literally no better way out of this: if she doesn't notice, she will eventually, and you'll be in trouble. If I tell her, you'll look really bad, and be in trouble. Tell her now while she's still wowed, and be sincere about it, and... Well, you probably won't be in as much trouble, then."
>> No. 24044
[x] "I won't tell, but you should probably tell her yourself. There's literally no better way out of this: if she doesn't notice, she will eventually, and you'll be in trouble. If I tell her, you'll look really bad, and be in trouble. Tell her now while she's still wowed, and be sincere about it, and... Well, you probably won't be in as much trouble, then."
>> No. 24047
Yeah I'd have to agree that I like the response--

[x] "I won't tell, but you should probably tell her yourself. There's literally no better way out of this: if she doesn't notice, she will eventually, and you'll be in trouble. If I tell her, you'll look really bad, and be in trouble. Tell her now while she's still wowed, and be sincere about it, and... Well, you probably won't be in as much trouble, then."
>> No. 24048
[x] "I won't tell, but you should probably tell her yourself. There's literally no better way out of this: if she doesn't notice, she will eventually, and you'll be in trouble. If I tell her, you'll look really bad, and be in trouble. Tell her now while she's still wowed, and be sincere about it, and... Well, you probably won't be in as much trouble, then."
>> No. 24059
[x] "I won't tell, but you should probably tell her yourself. There's literally no better way out of this: if she doesn't notice, she will eventually, and you'll be in trouble. If I tell her, you'll look really bad, and be in trouble. Tell her now while she's still wowed, and be sincere about it, and... Well, you probably won't be in as much trouble, then."
[x] Ruffle her hair to reassure her.
>> No. 24120
Amending with a [x] Reassuring hair ruffle
And a bump
>> No. 24122
The updates have been abducted by an oni!
Are you a bad enough dude to save it?
>> No. 24125
Updates?
>> No. 24137
Sorry about the lack of updates, been overwhelmingly busy. But there should be an update sometime later today
>> No. 24138
Hooray!
>> No. 24140
I breathed in deep.

"I won't tell, but you should probably tell her yourself. There's literally no better way out of this: if she doesn't notice, she will eventually, and you'll be in trouble. If I tell her, you'll look really bad, and be in trouble. Tell her now while she's still wowed, and be sincere about it, and... Well, you probably won't be in as much trouble, then."

Suika looked at me for a moment or two, as if struggling with a decision. I smiled and gave her my best expression of caring support.

Her reply was disappointing. “...There's no need to tell Reimu about it right now. After the party.”
“Are you sure that's best?” I frowned a bit. I had expected that she was going to listen to my advice.
“Pretty sure. Don't worry about it, it'll all be fine. I'll give you something to drink if you're feeling bad about it.”
“I'm not the one that should be feeling bad here.”
“I'm not a child, I'll be fine.” She smiled at me like a conceited kid. She didn't exactly look like an adult to begin with; If anything, this made her look about ten years younger than I was.
“Suit yourself.” I shrugged and then spat out words that, in retrospect, sounded a bit too venomous, “You don't listen to others, do you?”
“Sure I do.” She looked at me strangely, “Is this about you losing every single time? 'Cause if it is, then it's nothing that a drink can't fix...”
“It most certainly is not!” I snapped back, finding myself more irritated than I thought I was at first. “And, besides I haven't lost every single time!”
“Look, that's-”
“Suika! You can have your gourd back now.” Reimu interrupted us with her exclamation. Suika turned away from me and walked towards Reimu, meeting her halfway. I slunk along, keeping a bit away from the oni. “I must say that I'm pretty impressed. I guess I can trust you not to destroy everything once in a while.”
“Ahaha~” Suika took the gourd with an oblivious-looking smile on her face.
“Hm, is anything the matter Arc?”
“Oh is anything wrong?” Suika looked at me now, keeping the same oblivious smile on her face.
“No, not really. I was just amazed at how clean this place looks.” There was no point in telling Reimu. If Suika didn't tell her, then I wasn't about to either, despite how much it bothered me.
“Thank you.” Suika beamed.

There was a split up after that. Reimu 'freed' Suika and told her that she could talk her nap now, all the while retreating back towards the kitchen (presumably to get more tea). Suika grabbed me, and told me that it was time for us to take a little rest before the party. “Sorry, no can do.” I didn't particularly feel like spending time with her now. “I'll be fine, I promise that I'll be in top condition for the party.” I assuaged her concerns that I would stall-out mid-evening. For all the annoyance I felt at her right now, I had to admit that she was pretty tactful then. She left me alone and told me that she would call for me when people started to arrive. That suited me just fine.

I had other plans.

Well, it wasn't so much a plan as it was a compulsion. Even though I was anything but religious, I felt that it was a sacrilege just to leave the altar dismembered and scattered like that. I stared at the remains of the wooden structure blankly for a while, not really knowing what to do with it. I didn't want to hide it away somewhere, it wasn't my place to clean up Suika's mess, but still...

Before I knew it I was sitting cross-legged on the floor with different pieces in my hands. The damage to the wood wasn't as bad is it first looked. The dark wood had become weaker with the years, and it broke relatively cleanly rather than splintering. I was no craftsman, but I reckoned that I could at maybe get some of the structure pieced together again.

It hadn't dawned upon me that I had sat there for a long while until I saw that the sky outside had turned to a golden-reddish hue.

I got up to and wiped the sweat from my hands. I'd only gotten a few pieces back together. The rest still lay neglected.

“...This is going nowhere.” I mumbled.
“Where is it that you want it to go?” A curious voice spoke over my shoulder.

I turned, startled. “Wha-?” With my heart beating like there's no tomorrow, I looked at the source of the voice. “Who are you?!” My voice trembled more than I would have liked it to.

“That's quite a rude way to greet someone.” The lady in blue looked genuinely upset.
“Well, it's not very nice sneaking up on people when they're concentrated. You scared me.”
“I apologize then. It wasn't my intention.” She maintained an inquisitive gaze. “Nonetheless, I seem to... recall that it's customary to give one's name first before asking for one.”
“Ah, that is true.” Auntie's instruction overrode any other stream of thought. “Sorry, my name is, uh, Arc.”
“Very well. Pleased to meet you.” She nodded, her large cap remaining seemingly immobile despite the movement. “As I said before, I did not mean to scare you. I just found myself watching, and before I knew it I was standing behind you.”
“That's alright. I'm fine now, it was just a shock, Ms...?” I tried to politely find out her name.
“Ms...?” She repeated the word, pronouncing it as I had. It didn't seem to occur to her that I was talking about her.
“...”
“Ah, I see. Oh how rude of me, and I just reminded you not to be rude. You can call me just Mima, no doubt you've heard about me already.” There was a smug-teetering-on-arrogance smile on her face.
“Uh... right.” I had no idea who she was. “So... what are you doing at the shrine, Ms. Mima?”
“I said that just Mima was fine. When someone who could vaporize you in just a second tells you to do something a certain way, by the stars, you do it just as instructed.”
“Sure.” I wasn't sure what to make of her, and thought of maybe calling Reimu to deal with her.
“To answer your question, I live here. What are you doing here?”
“Buh?” Reimu hadn't told me there was anyone else here.
“Yes, I know, the Great Mima, living here. Why someone of my abilities would even bother must confuse you.”
“...It certainly does.” I took several steps back, careful not to step on the altar. I had been standing in close proximity to her and I wasn't entirely sure I felt comfortable.
“If I didn't know better, I'd say that you doubted me. If you want I can demonstrate.”
“That won't be necessary, really-”

Before I could say anything else, a large glowing circle appeared below her. She closed her eyes and started muttering something under her breath. I watched slack-jawed as the spectacle unfolded. The colors, the swirling, - it was mesmerizing. I had never seen magic before, and all I could do was observe the beautiful sight.

The moment was disrupted when she opened her eyes. She stopped moving her mouth and her lips formed a rounded smile. She pointed at me. A large flash erupted from her fingers and hit the wall behind me, creating a lively pattern that faded after a few moments. It left a large scorch mark.

“Any questions?” Mima grinned, “Or do I need to show something better before you believe in my power?”

[] Shake head, say goodbye, walk away.
[] "..." (write-in)
>> No. 24141
>>24140
>“I said that just Mima was fine. When someone who could vaporize you in just a second tells you to do something a certain way, by the stars, you do it just as instructed.”

I swooned. Anyway,

[X] "Question... are you one of the guests for Suika's party? I can show you to the main hall if you'd like."

When you're dazed and confused, you default to your basic behavior. Arc's a salesman, he'll revert to customer service mode.

Will delete vote in favor of something more charming
>> No. 24142
[X] "Better than that? I... would it be too much to ask you to show me? I've never seen anything that beautiful before."

Mima~! Happiness~!

I'd like to see some more of her tricks, and it would serve as a nice icebreaker. Plus, it gives her a chance to be flirty when Arc inevitably pays a little more attention to her than to the magic proper.
>> No. 24143
[X] "Better than that? I... would it be too much to ask you to show me? I've never seen anything that beautiful before."
>> No. 24144
[X] "Question... are you one of the guests for Suika's party? I can show you to the main hall if you'd like."
>> No. 24145
[x] "Question... are you one of the guests for Suika's party? I can show you to the main hall if you'd like."

She shall fall into our fishing net.
>> No. 24146
[x] "Question... are you one of the guests for Suika's party? I can show you to the main hall if you'd like."

Can't possibly go wrong!
>> No. 24147
[X] "Better than that? I... would it be too much to ask you to show me? I've never seen anything that beautiful before."
apply puppy eyes
>> No. 24148
[X] "Better than that? I... would it be too much to ask you to show me? I've never seen anything that beautiful before."
>> No. 24149
[x] "Question... are you one of the guests for Suika's party? I can show you to the main hall if you'd like."
>> No. 24150
[x] "Question... are you one of the guests for Suika's party? I can show you to the main hall if you'd like."
>> No. 24152
[x] "Better than that? I... would it be too much to ask you to show me? I've never seen anything that beautiful before."

MimaMimaMimaMimaMimaMimaMima
>> No. 24153
>I watched slack-jawed as the spectacle unfolded. The colors, the swirling, - it was mesmerizing. I had never seen magic before, and all I could do was observe the beautiful sight.

Beautiful, yes. Spellbinding, even.

>The moment was disrupted when she opened her eyes. She stopped moving her mouth and her lips formed a rounded smile. She pointed at me. A large flash erupted from her fingers and hit the wall behind me, creating a lively pattern that faded after a few moments. It left a large scorch mark.
>“Any questions?” Mima grinned, “Or do I need to show something better before you believe in my power?”

Butt we're in the presence of a being greater than we are.

[x] Genuflect.
[x] "I believe!"
[x] "But... would it be too much to ask to show me again? I've never seen anything so beautiful."

Our wonder must be tempered with obeisance. Curiosity about magic is sure to trigger a similar sympathetic response as when she first met Marisa.
>> No. 24154
[x] "Better than that? I... would it be too much to ask you to show me? I've never seen anything that beautiful before."

Mima~
>> No. 24155
[!/] SUGOI SUGOI
[!/] "Better than that? I... would it be too much to ask you to show me? I've never seen anything that beautiful before."
>>24140
This update....was made for me.
>> No. 24156
[X] "Better than that? I... would it be too much to ask you to show me? I've never seen anything that beautiful before."
>> No. 24157
[X] "Better than that? I... would it be too much to ask you to show me? I've never seen anything that beautiful before."

Fanboy arc? hilarity.
>> No. 24158
That's more than enough votes for me to call it. Sorry about not updating earlier, but I've been busy. And unfortunately I'll probably take about another hour or so before I can write.
>> No. 24159
"Better than that? I... would it be too much to ask you to show me? I've never seen anything that beautiful before."

I was impressed. So much that I didn't even stop to think about the ramifications of leaving a scorch mark on the wall.

“My, you certainly know beauty when you see it. I can hardly blame you, my dear boy, my technique is a thing of beauty.” She seemed pleased with my reaction. “I would have no qualms in showing a lover of beauty another petty trick or two.”

She motioned me to stand closer.

“Here,” She positioned me just in front of her. “Now watch.”

I nodded and breathlessly awaited what was to come. She could probably sense my excitement, and a bewitching smile formed on her lips as closed her eyes and started to concentrate. A black circle appeared below us.

Wisps of ethereal light arose around us, making the room seem like a patchwork of color. I kept reminding myself to breath as I watched the lights intensify and a lofty gust of warm air wrapped itself around me. Mima radiated an otherworldly glow, her smile accentuated by a crimson light shining on her face. I felt intensely warm and comfortable as she muttered something under her breath. A halo of bright light appeared above me and descended on my head like a crown of pure energy. I'm sure that under other circumstances, I'd be confused, if not outright afraid of what was happening, but right then all I could do was just admire it.

The halo descended upon me, passing through my body, and I felt lightheaded as the beam worked its way down to my feet. It disappeared under the floor and Mima opened her eyes. A mysterious twinkle, most definitely not caused by the spectacle of light, reflected in her green eyes directly at me.

She mouthed something wordlessly and the lights abruptly disappeared.

“...wow.” I was the first to speak (well, if stupefaction counts as speech).
“You approve?”
“Do I!? That was amazing!” Magic, as I was to learn a little bit later, often was.
“Glad to hear it, boy.”
“You're amazing.” I realized I was blushing a little. In no small part because she kept calling me 'boy', it felt oddly... well... something I wasn't sure how to put into words.
“It was nothing. Especially not for someone who clearly appreciates my craft.”

I'm sure that I said other things, mostly singing her praise, until the question finally dawned upon me; “What did that spell do though?”
“I thought you'd never ask.” Again, the twinkle in her eyes. “I thought to do you a small favor.”
“Huh, me? There was no need...”
“It's already done. You see, the target of the spell was you, dear boy.”
“What did it do?”
“Several things.” She explains her favor, “But the most prominent is bestowing some of my power on you. Just a tiny fragment. Which is why it didn't need anything but that simple ritual. If you wish, just by thinking it, you could levitate.”
“No way!” I shouted like a small child getting a present.
“Oh, but it's true.” She laughed, a mellifluous chuckle. “In fact, I do believe that you're doing so now.”
“Wha-?” I looked to the ground. I could not believe my eyes. I was clearly standing in the air, several centimeters from the ground. “I didn't even notice!”
“You started just now. Quite skillful of you to turn it on intuitively, I must say.”
“How-!?”
“A lot of magic is about emotion, to be succinct – you felt like floating and so you did.”
“How do I control it?”
“Just think and it'll be done.”
“It's not – waah!” I crashed on the floor. I must have looked like an idiot. I felt really self-conscious.
“Since this is my power, it will go away after a while. I think that it will last a day at most.” She made no mention of little slip-up. I got back up.
“That's truly amazing. I've got to get used to it.”

<I trust you will in no time>

“Huh?” I heard her voice in my head. “Was that you?”
“Indeed. A side effect of lending you some of my power. You're bound to me slightly. Mind you, not like a familiar would. But just a magical bond that can be exploited in a way such as this.”

<It won't be a bother for you, will it?

“Not at all! Does this mean that I can communicate back as well?”
“If you so wished to. Just concentrate and think to me. It'll make more sense when you get your bearings with the levitation.” There was a playfulness to her next words that made my spine tingle, “Don't worry though, I can't read your thoughts or anything of the sort.” Her voice echoed in my mind simultaneously.

It was then that I realized it. I could see her clearer than I should have been able to. It was now dark outside, the fading sun gone, replaced by the thick veil of evening. There were no lights here, yet I could see Mima as if she were being illuminated by a torchlight. I figured that it was just her magic at work.

“Ah, it seems that people are nearing the shrine now. They seem excited for some reason.”
“The party guests?” I suggested, not stopping to think about how she could possibly feel them.
“Is that what's going on? I see.” There was a moment where her expression look clouded, as if she was trying to think, “I should be going then.”
“Not coming to the party? I thought you'd be there, being a resident here and all.”
“It wouldn't... be appropriate.” Another hint of what might have been confusion. If she weren't so awesome, that is. “I'll be around anyways, so it doesn't matter.”
“So is this goodbye for now?”
“No need to sound so sad, boy.” She chuckled, the sweet timbre making me blush again. “There's no guarantee that this is the last time we meet.”
“And no guarantee that it won't be.” I spoke faster than I could think.
“A fine and candid reply. But as long as you can contact me, I don't think it'll be a problem.”
“Oh.” I realized what she meant.

With a casual wave of her hand, Mima turned and silently walked away. I watched as she rounded the corner and disappeared.

That felt like a dream. I stood there grinning for the longest time before I snapped out of it. Given the beautiful sight I had seen, I couldn't fault myself too hard for spacing out. It's not like auntie was watching anyways, like she would at the store.

I sighed as I realized that Suika would probably be calling soon if the guests were arriving. It would soon be time to get to work.

[] Stand outside and watch as people arrive
[] Do a final check on the alcohol
[] Wake Suika up if she's still asleep
[] Check in on Reimu
>> No. 24160
[] Wake Suika up if she's still asleep
[] Stand outside and watch as people arrive
>> No. 24161
[!/] Wake Suika up if she's still asleep
[!/] Stand outside and watch as people arrive

>Mima turned and silently walked away

Aw...I was hoping she had the tail. But that would have been moe overload.
>> No. 24162
>>24161
One step at a time... being a ghost is convenient, you know.
>> No. 24163
[x] Wake Suika up if she's still asleep
[x] Stand outside and watch as people arrive
>> No. 24164
[x] Wake Suika up if she's still asleep
[x] Stand outside and watch as people arrive

The booze ought to be fine assuming Suika didn't touch it while she napped. Reimu's probably finishing up a few things to keep from breaking (oops too late), and it's probably easier for Arc to get an idea of a head count asap.
>> No. 24165
[x] Wake Suika up if she's still asleep
[x] Stand outside and watch as people arrive
>> No. 24166
[x] Wake Suika up if she's still asleep
[x] Stand outside and watch as people arrive
>> No. 24167
[x] Do a final check on the alcohol
[x] Wake Suika up if she's still asleep
[x] Check in on Reimu
[x] Stand outside and watch as people arrive

In this order, and quickly.
>> No. 24169
Prestidigitation. At will.

Fuck yes.

[x] Wake Suika up if she's still asleep.
[x] At a distance, in a manner appropriately magical... like making her nose itch!
[x] Stand outside and watch as people arrive.
>> No. 24170
[d] Do a final check on the alcohol.
[a] Wake Suika up if she's still asleep.
[~] Check in on Reimu.
[z] Stand outside and watch as people arrive.
[e] In this order, and quickly.
>> No. 24175
I went to the room where Suika slept.

“Hey, time to get up. Your guests are probably here.”
“I know.” Suika was awake, sitting cross-legged and balancing her gourd on top of her head. “I was just about to go get you.”
“Ah, that's fine then. I thought you were asleep maybe.”
“Nope! Good to go!” She got up, letting the gourd drop forward into her open palm “It's about time we got this thing started. I hope you're ready to work.”
“Yup, ready to work.”

She walked towards the door, stopping next to me.

“Hey, you're in a good mood.”
“I guess?” I shrugged.
“That's good. You got over being a sore loser.”
“Hey! Now wait just a-” I tried to protest her baseless accusation.

I wasn't able to. She jammed something into my open mouth almost instantaneously and pushed me down. Caught by surprise, there was nothing I could do but stumble as a burning liquid filled my mouth. With a devilish grin, Suika pinched my nose. She worked to make me drink the liquid, and after a few moments of struggle, she won. I drank the potent alcohol, feeling it burn all the way down to the pit of my stomach.

“WHAT THE HELL!?” I yelled out when she finally let go and let me breathe. “What did you do that for!”
“Help you relax.” She smiled. “I might be a winner, but I think about the wellbeing of my pr- err opponents.”
“What was that anyways?!” I looked for anything to get rid of the stinging taste of strong alcohol from my tongue. “It tasted like a knockout in a bottle.” That was no exaggeration, as I tried to get up, I felt a general lack of strength from my legs. After just one drink that would normally be impossible, besides, I was more or less accustomed to casual drinking...
“That was my usual.” She said manner-of-factly.
“...Yeah. Okay. Just don't do it again.” I was in no mood to argue with her anymore. I could see that it would get me nowhere.

Suika walked on ahead of me, “Come on let's go, people are waiting.”

I couldn't do anything but follow without complaining. It wasn't that bad, I wasn't drunk or anything. Just feeling a little warm, that's all.

Reimu stood outside the door where the party was going to be held, arms crossed and looking dour. “There's someone here already.”
“Thanks Reimu, baby.” Suika smiled. “I trust you kept them entertained?”
“Enter-? Look listen here Suika, the only reason that I put up with your extravagances in the first place is-” Reimu growled.
“Relax, relax. I was just joking. No need to be so uptight.” Suika laughing annoyingly. “I think I'm going to start keeping Arc away from you, before he becomes a square.”
“Pfeh, whatever. Just go see to your guest.” Reimu slid the door open for Suika.

Suika went in and I followed. Reimu came in last and closed the door behind us. Only a single person sat at a table, a dark-haired girl with a silly-looking red cap on her head and a white top. As soon as she saw us she grinned and stood up in what seemed to be a blink of an eye, revealing a pretty short black skirt in the process.

“Heeey Suika, how's it going? It looks like I'm the first one here, huh? I tried to come a bit earlier so I could cover the party from the very beginning. You know write down the names of the guests, the order where they came, and whatever. The readers love to read that sort of thing.” I was pretty amazed that she said all of that in just one breath.
“I'm pretty good. Welcome to the party.”
“Glad to be here. Sorry to impose on you like this.” She nodded at Reimu with the look of someone who didn't mean it at all. She looked at me inquisitively.
“That's Arc. He's from the village. Going to help us out tonight with the drinks.”
“Arc... Arc...” The raven-haired girl Looked at my face and took out a small notepad. “So how long have you been working with Suika? How did she find you? Are you two close?”
“Uh...” I wasn't sure what to say under the barrage of questions.
“Hey, he's not used to your kind of abuse. Go easy on him.” Reimu spoke up, delivering me to safety.

The girl looked at Reimu and sighed.

“Fine, fine.” She extended her hand. “Aya Shameimaru, best and foremost reporter in Gensokyo and owner of the Bunbunmaru Newspaper. Pleased to meet you.”
“Likewise. I'm Arc.” I shook her hand quickly. Surprisingly, she shook like one of the merchants in the village when they haggle and make a deal.
“His family owns a liquor store.” Suika piped in, as if showing me off. She went the whole way, making it abundantly clear which liquor store it was.
“Oh, I see.” Aya flipped through her notepad again, scanning through the comments. “Ah, I knew it. I offered advertisement space for your store in the paper, but was refused.”
“Ah, sorry about that. I wouldn't know anything about that type of thing. Auntie takes care of that.” I sometimes did that sort of work as well, but I had never heard of her paper, so I thought it better to tell a little white lie. In order to spare her feelings.
“Yes, it was a woman that refused my offer. So you're her nephew then?” She scribbled down something in her notepad. “Interesting. So that's an alias is it? Arc, I mean.” She answered her own question. “Of course it would be, judging from the information I've got here, I know more than enough to identify you. Your real name is-”
“Geez, that's enough you stupid tengu.” Reimu interrupted again. “Just enjoy the part and leave the normal humans alone. No one cares about your rag anyways.”
“Ouch. Harsh words, Ms. Miko.” Aya was unflappable. “I guess you won't mind if I write a negative review of the shrine then.”
“Knock yourself out.” Reimu answered with a stoic front.

It was Suika that steered the conversation back to somewhere... decent. Well, not really.

“Heya Aya. Like I said Arc is totally awesome. Besides being able to keep up with me in competition, he's an expert on alcohol and a total charmer. According to Marisa, he was able to charm the pants off of Reimu and seduce her just like that.” She snapped her fingers.
“Oh really?” The reporter took these notes down with great interest as Reimu glared daggers at the both of them. “This is really interesting... and potentially scandalous. A pure shrine maiden and a dashing young villager... out of wedlock... potentially already pregnant...” I looked at Reimu. She looked at me with a telling look – protesting loudly was just going to make her even more dead-set apparently. She kept her mouth shut despite the fact that she was almost visibility teetering with rage so I decided to follow her example.

“Show me this ability of yours.” She finished scribbling on the notepad and looked at me.
“Yeah, Arc, show her how it's done!” A jubilant (and probably already drunk) Suika encouraged me to do my best, as if I were I prize animal.
“What is it that you want me to do?” I might be moderately skilled at some things, but mind reader was not one of my abilities.
“Show me your charm and grace. Choose an appropriate drink for me. It might also affect this story. Who knows, I could put in a good word for your store as well, I'm sure my readers would appreciate knowing of a good place to get fine drinks.”
“Isn't that awesome Arc?!” Suika was excited for me. “She's even offering you a pretty good deal to just do what you do bes!” I had no idea what I was in her mind anymore.

I looked at both girls with a raised eyebrow and then at Reimu. She looked a bit indifferent to all of this; she wasn't helping me decide what to do.

[] Refuse to be shown off like a trained animal

or

Charm Aya and get her a drink.

[] “With your dark and eye-catching hair, I think I know of the perfect 'mystery' cocktail for you.”
[] “Your bubbly and go-getting demeanor would be perfectly matched by this fizzy fruit cocktail.”
[] “A sophisticated journalist like yourself would most certainly enjoy a fine drink on the rocks.”
[] other
>> No. 24176
[!/] “With your dark and eye-catching hair, I think I know of the perfect 'mystery' cocktail for you.”
[!/] I call it the "Doujin Special"

My mind is flayed over an failed attempt to make a mandatory crowslut joke with a appropriately matched drink write-in.
>> No. 24177
>>24176
Well, let's see off the top of my head I can think of various sexual-named cocktails: Orgasm, Sex on the Beach, Quick Fuck, Screaming Orgasm, Silk Panties, Slippery Nipple, Redheaded Slut, Blow Job, Cocksucking Cowboy. There are other drinks with more subtle names that could be used to convey that message. 'Does Arc know how to make these', and 'does he even have the materials necessary' (ie Baily's, Kahlua, and other drinks which are probably not made in Gensokyo) are questions that would probably cripple these ideas anyways.

That said, there a plethora of smart things that could be said and intertwined with the names, compositions, taste, and appearance of these drinks that would yield varying degrees of subtext to any answer given to Aya. It's really a matter of creativity.

Although one must stop and ponder the obvious at this juncture: Why imply anything like what you've suggested about a complete and utter stranger? Well, besides 4th-wall jokes, that is.
>> No. 24178
[] “With your dark and eye-catching hair, I think I know of the perfect 'mystery' cocktail for you.”
>> No. 24179
[X] Refuse to be shown off like a trained animal
>> No. 24180
[X] Refuse to be shown off like a trained animal
>> No. 24181
[x] “With your dark and eye-catching hair, I think I know of the perfect 'mystery' cocktail for you.”
[x] Spice it up with a bit of magic flare.
>> No. 24182
[] “With your dark and eye-catching hair, I think I know of the perfect 'mystery' cocktail for you.”
>> No. 24183
[x] “With your dark and eye-catching hair, I think I know of the perfect 'mystery' cocktail for you.”
[x] Spice it up with a bit of magic flare.
>> No. 24184
[X] “With your dark and eye-catching hair, I think I know of the perfect 'mystery' cocktail for you.”

She's a reporter, so give her a mystery to solve. She'll love it.
>> No. 24185
[x] “With your dark and eye-catching hair, I think I know of the perfect 'mystery' cocktail for you.”
[x] Spice it up with a bit of magic flare.
>> No. 24189
[x] "With those lustrous legs and your fast-paced attitude, I know just the perfect party-drink for you. Superior fabulous, yet sassy".

A mix, preferably coffee, with a heavy-hitter alcohol. Get her addicted and drunk so fast she forgets to even judge us on our skill.
>> No. 24194
>[x] “With your dark and eye-catching hair, I think I know of the perfect 'mystery' cocktail for you.”

Black Russian
>> No. 24195
[X] “With your dark and eye-catching hair, I think I know of the perfect 'mystery' cocktail for you.”
>> No. 24199
Sorry anon, personal life being a bitch so it might be a bit before I can update again. I might have some free time in a couple of hours, but don't hold your breath. We'll see then how the fastest in Gensokyo deals with our choice.
>> No. 24209
“With your dark and eye-catching hair, I think I know of the perfect 'mystery' cocktail for you.”

I gave her a suggestive smile, all the while thinking to myself that there was something fundamentally wrong with this situation. They took me for some sort of bartender, when really I just sold alcohol. Anyone can make a good mixed drink, but I sure hoped that they didn't expect me to do this all night. Otherwise it'd be disappointing for everyone involved.

“Ah! That does sound like something nice. A mystery is always exciting.” She winked at me.
“Told ya he'd make things interesting!” Suika peppered Aya with all sorts of details about my abilities, most of which were real exaggerations.

I took that as my cue and left the room, to try to see if I even had the materials for what I had in mind. I could have sworn that I saw a bottle of what I wanted here when I was arranging everything. I found one of the drinks I needed, but I couldn't find the other one.

“You don't have to do this, you know.”
“I don't mind so much. Besides, apparently it's why I'm here. You wouldn't have happened to see a black bottle with a yellow label on it?”
“You don't owe them anything, I hope you're aware of that.”
“I'll take that as a no then?”
“If you indulge them, they'll just be dragging you off into every which mess.”

I shuffled around a few bottles in the back.

“Ah, found it.” I knew there was one of those here. I stood up and faced Reimu. She was looking as acidic as before. “Hey, aren't you concerned with being alone with me? I mean I don't know that girl at all, but it did strike me that she would write about lies like that.”
“She should know better.” I had expected her to be uncontrollably angry. Instead she laughed, looking like she didn't care at all. “Besides, it's not like anyone actually reads that little publication of hers. She could say whatever outrageous lie in it, and no one would see it.”
“Ah, I see. Then I'm getting a bad deal on being nice to her, aren't I?”
“Pretty much, yeah.” Reimu shrugged. “Although, for someone in your position, I wouldn't recommend upsetting a youkai. I don't mind keeping watch here, but I can't guarantee that you won't one day be carrying on like normal, and they decide to take revenge for an insult.”

Ah, I hadn't realized it. Well, I did feel that the person I was talking to wasn't normal, but I hadn't made the connection with the supernatural. That would explain the eyes though.

“So she's a youkai then?”
“You hadn't realized? Some instinct of self-preservation you've got.”
“Well sorry if I'm just trying to be nice to those at the party.”
“Most of the guests will be Youkai, so make sure not to let yourself get too complacent.”
“Aya doesn't seem too bad though. I mean, despite being a bit nosy.”
“Trust me on this one, don't trust Youkai. They'll just get you into trouble. Always.” I could tell that she spoke from experience, so I chose not to debate her on the point.
“I'll keep that in mind. But still,” I joked, “I have you to keep watch over me, don't I? I should be safe in my own shrine right?” I used her own wording with a smile.
“...and you do realize how shrine works don't you? No donation, no salvation.” She showed me a dangerously playful smile. “A service is a service.”

Making the drink was easy. I borrowed a missing ingredient from the kitchen and put everything into the drink. I returned to find Aya and Suika already drinking.

“Oh, there you are Arc! What took you so long?” Suika asked as I had been gone for hours.
“It's not easy achieving perfection.” I just gave her the lip service she expected and offered the drink, “Here you are, Ms. Shameimaru. Enjoy.”

“Ah, it does look interesting.” She looked at her drink analytically, trying to make out what the dark-colored concoction was. Suika also seemed interested, staring like a gluttonous child at sweets. After a bit of swishing and a sniff, she took a sip. “This is-” There was a moment as she paused to think of the appropriate word. “Mysterious enough. But not bad. What's it got?”
“That's a secret.” I smiled. It wasn't really, and I didn't really care if she found out. Reimu had seen me prepare the drink. But I figured that she would appreciate it more if I acted like it was a big deal.
“It's a bit bitter and stings the tongue when drunk, but it's good.” As if by reflex, she took out her notebook and started taking down notes. “I think that this requires a bit more research.” She drank a bit more, savoring every drop of it.

Suika couldn't restrain herself and asked to try some. She took the glass from the reporter and drank a large mouthful.

“This is strange.” She twitched her nose. “There's something else besides alcohol here.”
“You can tell?” Well, I would have been surprised if she couldn't tell.
“You bet. It's weird, so I'll stick to my own stuff.” She clutched her gourd protectively, reminding you of the intense flavor of its contents.

“Well, I don't mind. It's a nice change of pace from what I usually drink.” Aya nodded while reclaiming her glass from the oni. “This does help confirm Suika's stories though.”
“Does it?” I looked at the oni, who looked at me with a carefree smile. I wasn't sure I wanted to know what kind of stories she had been telling.
“Mmhmm, and I can't blame anyone involved for acting that way.” She wrote a quick scribble in her notebook.

I would have liked to have found out what she meant by that, but I didn't get the chance.

“Yoohoo~!” A loud greeting came from a new arrival.

It was Marisa. She stood in the doorway grinning. “Sorry if I'm late, I had to convince her to come as well.”
“Nah, it's alright. We've only just started.” Suika pointed at an empty bottle. “See? Only one bottle.”
“That's great then. I've been looking forward to this.”

She came to the table, and I saw the 'her' that she referred to. She was blond and her hair was short. She looked slightly displeased at being here, I thought. Not only that, I was sure that I had seen her somewhere else before. Our eyes met as she came to the table to sit, and the displeasure turned into something like surprise momentarily. Or maybe that was my imagination, since the next moment she was back to her surly look.

“Get 'em a drink, will ya Arc?” Suika nudged me, reminding me that I was supposed to help out at the party.
“Right. Anything in particular?”
“I'll have some sake.” Marisa chimed. “It's a good way to start the evening.”
“...Nothing for me please.” The other girl said quietly.
“Oh come one Alice, lighten up!”
“I don't want to be here.”

I watched them bicker.

“We've been through this.”
“Yes. And you were the one that dragged me out against my will.”
“I did no such thing. You were free to refuse, you know.”
“I did refuse. And you wouldn't shut up. I was busy doing research.”
“Oh come now, live a little!” Marisa looked at her irritated companion and then at me. “Arc! Get her some sake as well.”

I nodded and left, hearing the two exchange a few harsh words while Aya took notes and Suika laughed. Reimu was standing off in a corner of the room, not socializing. I looked at her and she shrugged, evidently not particularly amused at the way things were going.

When I came back, the two were still at it. Suika poured the drink, generously filling the cups to the brim. I noted that Reimu had joined them, and was drinking a bit herself. Looks like she caved.

“Drink! Drink! Be happy~!” The oni was already out of it. The more she drank, the louder she talked. The two bickering guests stopped talking to each other, evidently having run out of things to say. Marisa took the cup gladly and started to talk to Aya and the others, giving the other girl the cold shoulder.

Ah, the coin dropped. I remembered why this girl looked so familiar.

[] Talk to the puppeteer
[] Join the lively conversation
>> No. 24210
[x] Talk to the puppeteer.

Ah! You're the one who preforms those doll theater things at the village!
>> No. 24211
[x] Talk to the puppeteer.
>> No. 24212
[] Talk to the puppeteer
>> No. 24213
[!/] Talk to the puppeteer

ARISU!/
>> No. 24214
[X] Talk to the puppeteer.
>> No. 24216
[x] Stay silent. You are here to serve, not to socialize.

I want Suika to scold us more~
>> No. 24217
>Ah, the coin dropped
There's an unfamiliar expression.
>> No. 24218
>>the coin dropped
I can find a lot of people using the phrase, but not many people actually explaining it. The context implies "realization," I think.

[+] Talk to the puppeteer.
"Hello Shanghai."
>> No. 24219
>>24217
>>24218
It's 'the [other] coin(s) dropped [into place]' or any variation thereof. It's the equivalent of saying 'it all made sense now' or '[I] finally realized that...'.

That said, I think it may be an anachronism, or perhaps an anatopism (more likely the latter). It wouldn't be the first one in this story, I'm afraid. I haven't really been thinking about what terms and phrases would be in use in an isolated rural reality with 19th-century technology. So I've used 'yeahs' and expressions that don't really belong. I'd say it's to make it more accessible for the readers, but that's a lie. It's mainly for my sake; it makes characterization much easier. I don't think I could use many old Japanese expressions and speech patterns with my current level of knowledge.
>> No. 24220
>“You don't have to do this, you know.”
>“I don't mind so much. Besides, apparently it's why I'm here. You wouldn't have happened to see a black bottle with a yellow label on it?”
>“You don't owe them anything, I hope you're aware of that.”
>“I'll take that as a no then?”
>“If you indulge them, they'll just be dragging you off into every which mess.”

I love this aggressively lazy Reimu.

>“Ah, found it.” I knew there was one of those here. I stood up and faced Reimu. She was looking as acidic as before. “Hey, aren't you concerned with being alone with me? I mean I don't know that girl at all, but it did strike me that she would write about lies like that.”

And I love this aggressively blithe protagonist.

>“Besides, it's not like anyone actually reads that little publication of hers. I could do whatever outrageous things I want with you, and no one would know it.”

[x] Talk to the puppeteer.
[x] If sake doesn't suit her palate, you could mix her something sweeter.
>> No. 24222
[x] Talk to the puppeteer.
[x] If sake doesn't suit her palate, you could mix her something sweeter.

Side note: Why does it seem that Reimu "tease" so much and yet all she refers to her interest in donations only...?

I hate that and love that at the same time...
>> No. 24223
[x] Talk to the puppeteer.

> "No donation, no salvation."

Arc needs to start making periodic protection payments, especially since Suika slipped up and called us her 'prize'.

Y'hear that ya lil' oni? We don't buy yer 'opponent' cover-up!
>> No. 24224
[x] Talk to the puppeteer

There was no mistaking her, now that I thought about it. There were few things as... 'unique' as her brand of entertainment. Not everyone could stand her puppet shows. Called them creepy and said that there was something odd with the puppeteer. Rumor had it that the smartly-dressed blond girl was a powerful magician. Others whispered of even shadier details. It didn't matter for those who went to watch anyways. “Is the sake not to your liking?” I opened up the conversation with my business persona in full swing. “There's plenty of other drinks available, so I'm sure that I'll be able to find something that suits your tastes.”

“That's alright. It's fine.” While still noticeably dour, she at least had the decency to reply to me instead of just sulking. The courtesy ended there and she still put on airs of absolutely not wanting to be here.

I wanted to scratch my head, this was going nowhere.

“Not to be a pain or anything, but it's really no trouble. I'm supposedly getting paid for this.” I tried to make a joke, “Although I wouldn't trust an oni to properly compensate me for all my distress.”
“...”

Nothing.

“We've got some lighter drinks. Nice, refreshing, and a bit sweet. What do you say?” There I went, putting on my sweetest salesman's smile. There was a 50/50 chance it would work based on my previous experiences with it.
“...Look. I don't want to be here. A drink isn't going to change that.”
“Why don't you go home then? I mean, I can't. I'd be hunted down by a drunken oni.” I forced a smile that hid how I really felt.
“I would be in the same situation as you. Except I'd have a nosy mushroom-brained idiot girl instead of an oni.”
“Ah, can't be helped then.” I smiled inwardly, happy I had gotten a few strung-together words out of her. “You might as well make the most of it.”

She raised an eyebrow as I got up and claimed I would be right back. It wasn't like I was going to desert her or anything, but I felt like she was judging me.

I walked on to where the drinks were stored and tried my best to recall what I needed exactly. I thought I got everything and went to mix it all in the kitchen. For such a humble and bare-looking kitchen, it sure had a lot of non-essential edibles like sugar. It wouldn't bother me except for the fact that the only 'real' food stored was rice and a few sickly-looking vegetables.

I returned to the party with a drink in hand. “Here you go. Try it, it's nice.” I placed the drink next to her still-full sake cup. “I'm sure you'll enjoy it.” The girl didn't seem to care much for my initiative and took one look at the drink and ignored it. I felt defeated. I felt like sulking a bit myself now...

...And I would have probably if the puppeteer hadn't tried it. After another moment of hesitation, she took the cup, looked coolly in my direction and took a sip. It was probably pity. Hooray for pity! I watched for her reaction to the drink. Her face was cool and no clear feeling showed itself. “This is agreeable.” She concluded, inclining her head ever so slightly as if nodding a slight approval. “I'm glad that you enjoy it.”

Oh, wow, that was important. I couldn't believe I had forgotten it until now. If auntie were here, she would have pinched my ear in disapproval.

“My name is Arc by the way. Suika came to my store and hired me to take care of the drinks tonight.”
“Alice Margatroid.”
“Nice to meet you Ms. Marg-, eh I'm sorry, it's a bit difficult to pronounce.”
“Just Alice will be fine then.” She didn't seem to care and mechanically suggested the alternative.
“Alright, nice to meet you Ms. Alice.” Being polite or not to her didn't really seem to matter. At least she didn't make any show of emotion either way. “I'm live in the village. Where abouts do you live?”
“In the forest.” Was her plain, uninterested reply. I thought I saw her look at me again when I said I was a villager.
“Oh, that's something.”
“I've been there far longer than that pest has.” There was no need for me to ask who she was referring to.
“You also put on shows in the village, don't you?”
“You've seen that?” There was a suspicious raising of her eyebrows.

Well, 'the creepy doll girl' as some knew her was more than well-known. Only a few people watched the show, mostly children who got away from their nagging parents.

[] “Yes, since you started showing up last year, I've tried to catch every performance.”
[] “Not really, I just took my younger cousin to watch once.”
[] Other
>> No. 24225
[X] “Yes, since you started showing up last year, I've tried to catch every performance.”
>> No. 24226
[x] “Not really, I just took my younger cousin to watch once.”
>> No. 24227
[!/] “Yes, since you started showing up last year, I've tried to catch every performance.”

(゚∀゚)Your cold demeanor only makes me more interested.
>> No. 24228
[X] “Yes, since you started showing up last year, I've tried to catch every performance.”
>> No. 24229
[] “Yes, since you started showing up last year, I've tried to catch every performance.”

Alice needs more love on these here boards. I'm still waiting for a decent route with her.
>> No. 24230
[] “Yes, since you started showing up last year, I've tried to catch every performance.”
>> No. 24231
[x] “Yes, since you started showing up last year, I've tried to catch every performance.”

>>24229
Definitely. She's the target in Magical Rhapsody but she doesn't get much screen time, too much plot going on and none of it's really centered on her. I'd like to have her in a slice-of-life story like this one.
>> No. 24232
[x] “Not really, I just took my younger cousin to watch once.”

Showing up for every show seems more than a bit creepy. Isn't it designed for children?
>> No. 24233
>>24232
Not when it's the closest thing your society has to animation. Puppetry used to be serious shit. You know who used to watch Punch and Judy shows? George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
>> No. 24234
>>24233

Not to mention puppetry supposedly predates human actors within the theater. Then there's shadow puppetry where you have 2d objects shaped like the supposed subject and the shadows they cast formed the actual puppet to be seen. Rumia would probably enjoy something like that, mainly with her playing around with the concept.

[x] “Yes, since you started showing up last year, I've tried to catch every performance.”

- - -

Unless Rinnosuke managed to get a cable line from the outside in with aid of Yukari and started up a personal cable business with Nitori creating the televisions, Puppetry can be very entertaining. This is of course assumes that Alice often tries to keep her shows fresh with many varieties of stories and genres...

like here...

lol... Alice doing smutty puppetry... don't know if want...
>> No. 24235
>>24232

PROTIP: THE PROTAGONIST IS FROM WITHIN THE BORDER
>> No. 24236
>>24235
>>24234
>>24233

I supposed I phrased that rather poorly. I was certain that one of the written works said that her performances were aimed at children, but I can't find it now, so I will assume I was mistaken.
>> No. 24238
[x] “Yes, since you started showing up last year, I've tried to catch every performance.”

>>24236

I can recall something mentioning that thought, except that it never stated that it was just for children; rather Alice at that time had been trying to reconnect to "Gensokyo" society, simply as an entertainer via puppetry. While generally aimed at children (since the adults more often than not are too busy making sure their families had food on the table during the regular daylight hours) but her shows were generally open for all to see.

Wouldn't surprise me if she did in fact entertained adults who were curious as well.
These days one major group I can think of that are still doing puppetry is of course Jim Henson's Company.

What's funny about them is they do adult comedy shows as well as work on Sesame Street. Look up their site and they mention their various works...
>> No. 24239
Called, writing soon, etc.
>> No. 24240
[†] “Not really, I just took my younger cousin to watch once.”
>> No. 24242
>>24239

Hooray~!
>> No. 24244
“Yup.” I nodded to her. And it was no lie. Whenever I heard she was in town, I'd sneak away from work in order to watch. Of course I'd get punished when I got back, but it was worth it. “Since you started showing up, I've tried to catch every performance. I think it's great what you do with the puppets.”

“Is that so?” There's a cautious undertone in her voice, like she doesn't quite believe me.
“I think I missed seeing you the last time you were there though. I got caught up with work and couldn't escape. I hope it wasn't the one about the boy and the princess of the forest, I really like that one.”
“You do?” Evident confusion sprang upon her face.
“Is that bad?”
“No, not really.” She looked slightly less indifferent.
“I guess it's weird that someone like me likes puppetry, then. I mean, I'm probably much older than most of the crowd. That's why I usually watch from the back, where no one can see me.”
“It's not that strange. There are many fascinating things about dolls and puppets.”
“I know, right? I mean, the way you move them is magical, they look so lifelike and cool.” Woah, that came out more pathetic than I thought it would.
“It's nice that you think that way.” There was a hint of a nascent smile on her lips. “It's not very often that I hear that.”

I smiled at her, embarrassed to admitting that I was a fan.

“Oh, what's all this then?” A certain nosy blond broke away from the main conversation. “Smiling, are you Alice? That's awfully rare. At least when it's because of people and not dolls.”

Just like that the nascent smile was smothered in the cradle. “Shut it. What would you know? You're just a bother.”

“Cold, real cold. And even after I brought you to a good party. Because of me you met a fan, wasn't that nice? No? Well, don't get too close or you'll make Reimu jealous.”
“What are you on about?! Ate one of your strange mushrooms again, have you?”

“Hey now, no claiming him. He works for me.” Suika butted in, quite literally – she caught one of her horns in Marisa's dress and had to try to free herself before trying to speak again. “I'll play you for him though.”
“I'm not interested, thanks.” Marisa shrugged.
“That's a shame. I'd win, you know.”
“I wouldn't mind being an impartial judge.” You're not helping, you stupid reporter
“See Marisa? Wontcha play along?”
“I'm fine with just drinking.” She smiled and finished her drink. She looked at Reimu, who seemed to be not very amused with the exchange. She probably knew that they really would go through whatever banality they had in mind. “Say there Arc, get me another drink will you please?”

“The same as before?” I welcomed the excuse to leave. It looked to me like Suika was ready to pounce on me and force-feed me more alcohol.
“Sure, why not?”

I was about halfway to the liquor store when I felt that someone was following me. I turned, expecting to see Reimu or one of the others.

“Ah! Mima, you scared me!” Her bulky cape and clothes made her look scary in the dark.
“It's you boy. We meet again. After so long.”
“Nice to see you again too. But it's only been an hour or two at most.”
“Has it now?” She smiled, confusing me greatly. It was that damn mellifluous voice that made every word that came out her mouth enchanting. It was as entrapping as her magical displays were. “I've need of you.”
“Okay. What can I do for you?”
“It's but a small favor. Surely you won't mind doing it for me.”
“Not at all.”
“Then come with me.”
“Lead on.”

She held out her hand for a moment. I was about to grab a hold of the pale hand when she promptly withdrew it. “What's wrong?” She wasn't smiling anymore.

“I mustn't be seen. Lose the company and I shall meet you where we met before. [i]Immediately[i].”
“What company?” I had barely the time to ask before she disappeared from right before my eyes. I looked around me, trying to look for her.

“Lost anything?” A new voice made me stop looking.
“Oh, no, not really Ms. Alice. Just thought I saw something.”
“I can understand if you're delaying so you don't have to return so soon.”
“Can't keep delaying for ever, I suppose.” I sighed and pretended to start to go to get the drink.
“...”
“Is anything the matter?”
“I don't want to be there again. It's noisy and boring.”
“Prefer quiet places then?”
“Indeed I do. Hence my escape.”
“Any plans then?”
“Not many. It won't be long before I'm hunted down again by that brat. You will too.”
“There's no helping that.” I started to walk away with a shrug.
“I suppose not. If you don't mind delaying a bit longer, would you do me a favor? That is if I'm not imposing. Would you show me how to make that drink. I took quite a fancy to it.”

[] Ditch; go to Mima
[] Take the time to show Alice the drink
>> No. 24246
[x] "In a moment, I have some additional preparations to take care of. Part of my job, you see..."
[x] Ditch; go to Mima

Let's ditch her politely at least.
>> No. 24247
[x] "In a moment, I have some additional preparations to take care of. Part of my job, you see..."
[x] Ditch; go to Mima
>> No. 24248
[X] Take the time to show Alice the drink

Less suspicion the better for one thing, plus it would be bait for the others there if they decide to start ragging on Alice about learning the drink. Ditching her after opening her up a bit rather unappealing. Arc's not entirely a flake is he..?

Mima would understand especially if she wants no witnesses considering her insistence of not being seen...


Sorry Alice...
>> No. 24249
[x] "In a moment, I have some additional preparations to take care of. Part of my job, you see..."
[x] Ditch; go to Mima
>> No. 24250
[x] "In a moment, I have some additional preparations to take care of. Part of my job, you see..."
[x] Ditch; go to Mima
>> No. 24251
[!/] Take the time to show Alice the drink

Not even Anon is heartless enough(?) to flake on Arisu. As long as we didn't take too much time showing her...
>> No. 24255
[x] "In a moment, I have some additional preparations to take care of. Part of my job, you see..."
[x] Ditch; go to Mima

Damn you for making me choose! Damn you!
>> No. 24257
[X] Take the time to show Alice the drink
Even though it'll lose.
>> No. 24258
[x] Take the time to show Alice the drink
[x] Excuse yourself, you've got a Mima to attend to


takes what, 30 seconds to pour a drink? can't be that fancy.
>> No. 24259
[x] Take the time to show Alice the drink
[x] Excuse yourself, you've got a Mima to attend to
>> No. 24261
[x] Take the time to show Alice the drink
[x] Excuse yourself, you've got a Mima to attend to

Can't stop now, or we'll never get her to open up.
>> No. 24263
[x] Take the time to show Alice the drink
[x] Excuse yourself, you've got a Mima to attend to
>> No. 24264
[X] Take the time to show Alice the drink
[X] Excuse yourself, you've got a Mima to attend to
>> No. 24265
[x] Take the time to show Alice the drink
[x] Excuse yourself, you've got a Mima to attend to
>> No. 24266
[x] Take the time to show Alice the drink
[x] Excuse yourself, you've got a Mima to attend to
>> No. 24267
>mellifluous

Anon learns a new word.

Normally this would seem an unavoidable idort dilemma: Either you take so much time showing Alice that you can't meet Mima in time, or you leave Alice with the bitter feeling that you've blown her off.

But we have magic now. Magic makes the impossible possible.

[x] Show Alice the drink, but very quickly. It doesn't matter that she has the technique down; you can simply taste it later, and tell her what is off.
[x] Top it off with a sparkle. "A pinch of magic garnish; our little secret," confide in a hushed tone.
[x] Excuse yourself, you've got a Mima to attend to.

This way we do something as to make Alice more interested in us, as we haven't yet shown anyone our newfound abilities (and Alice is the kind to take secrets seriously), rather than to see us as yet another rejection.
>> No. 24269
>>24267

I thought the most Arc could do is physical levitation, rather than adding the magical equivalent of msg. Correct me if I'm wrong...

With that in mind...

[x] Show Alice the drink, but very quickly. It doesn't matter that she has the technique down; you can simply taste it later, and tell her what is off.
[x] Combine the mysterious concoction via levitation, forming a sphere where the selected drinks combined and swirl (or bounced for shaking effect) then placing said drink into a dish to rest for normal consumption. "A pinch of magic garnish; our little secret," confide in a hushed tone.

(Just saying make it so it's unique enough that while any one can make the drink normally, him doing it makes it more "special".

[x] Excuse yourself, you've got a Mima to attend to.
>> No. 24271
[x] "In a moment, I have some additional preparations to take care of. Part of my job, you see..."
[x] Ditch; go to Mima
>> No. 24272
[x] Take the time to show Alice the drink

There is only two options for a reason people.
>> No. 24273
[X] Take the time to show Alice the drink
[X] Excuse yourself, you've got a Mima to attend to
>> No. 24274
>>24272
This.

[x] Take the time to show Alice the drink
>> No. 24275
[x] Take the time to show Alice the drink
>> No. 24277
(changing vote at >>24254 , will delete later. Can't do it just at the moment.)

[ze] >>24267 or >>24269, whichever gets more


Goddamn you people for making me choose this.
>> No. 24279
>>24272
>I have neither the ambition, nor the balls to try and find a way of resolving things that is satisfactory for everyone.

[X] Show Alice the drink, but very quickly. It doesn't matter that she has the technique down; you can simply taste it later, and tell her what is off.
[X] Combine the mysterious concoction via levitation, forming a sphere where the selected drinks combined and swirl (or bounced for shaking effect) then placing said drink into a dish to rest for normal consumption. "A pinch of magic garnish; our little secret," confide in a hushed tone.
[X] Excuse yourself, you've got a Mima to attend to.
>> No. 24280
[X] Take the time to show Alice the drink
>> No. 24281
Writing? Well, maybe. Truth be told I'm thinking about something before actually writing. So it might take a bit before the update is written.
>> No. 24283
>>24269
>I thought the most Arc could do is physical levitation, rather than adding the magical equivalent of msg. Correct me if I'm wrong...

No. Levitation was an example.

>“Several things.” She explains her favor, “But the most prominent is bestowing some of my power on you. Just a tiny fragment. Which is why it didn't need anything but that simple ritual. If you wish, just by thinking it, you could levitate.”

The limit is his imagination and the small amount of power Mima had lent him.

>“A lot of magic is about emotion, to be succinct – you felt like floating and so you did.”
>“How do I control it?”
>“Just think and it'll be done.”

He was enrapt by the flashy lights, so producing a flourish or a glow would be a matter of course.
>> No. 24284
Girl is waiting for updates.
Please wait warmly.
>> No. 24312
Updates?
>> No. 24325
...Please?
>> No. 24328
>>24325
>>24312
>>24284
Yeah, ok. Sorry about that. I won't lie and say that I'm writing now, but the update will probably come soon (1-2 hours' time) or in another half day. It wasn't my intention to not update for a week. It just kept on slipping.
>> No. 24566
>>24328
One week later...
>> No. 24580
>>24566
Are you >>>/youkai/10688 as well or what? Please tell me you're joking.