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File 124830493614.jpg - (336.04KB, 511x700, sldf.jpg) [iqdb]
25248 No. 25248
“Hey! Where are you~!?” Her annoyed voice echoed in the clearing. The cool fall breeze carried her words far and wide. I heard them as clearly as if she were standing right next to me. For the better part of the last half hour she had been looking for me, her childish voice bellowing out my name. It was annoying to be sure, especially since she was being more persistent than usual. I wished that she would just give up already. “Ok! You know what!? I'll just see you later! I'm tired of looking! And don't have enough to drink!”

Finally. She had given up.

I hugged my knees tightly as I wasted more time. The morning chill made me wish I had worn something thicker.

Still, I wondered where the air was leaking on in from. My hiding spot was, as far as I knew, completely separated from the outside, save for the one subtle entrance. Sure, a breeze could come from the outside, passing through the thick plants that hid the entrance to the small hole, but I had strategically placed a cloth to prevent any further infiltration.

Maybe it was me. I had grown larger since the last time I used this place. And that was a long time ago. Yeah, I was still going to the school back then. Not that it was too long ago, but it felt like an eternity already. This place was a real sanctuary.

I found myself reminiscing for a while thereafter.

When I was sure that she was gone, I started to get a move on. I crawled out of my little cave with a broad smile on my face. I had successfully managed to free myself from her grasp. She didn't stand a chance of finding me once we got to the village outskirts. Having been born and raised in these parts, I naturally knew them much better than she ever would.

The clearing was empty of anyone. The advantage of my hiding spot was that it was clear of any paths that the villagers used to move around. Occasionally, some people would come into the clearing looking for a shortcut, but the thick brush just beyond it quickly changed their minds. I dusted myself off and started to walk.

What the heck was she thinking to being with? I had grown used to her random visits over the past few months; I expected her to appear her at least twice a week. Heck, she now even managed to occasionally find time to sit and have dinner with me. And not just me, of course, but my aunt as well. I don't know how Suika did it, but she had wormed her way into my family life. It wasn't just the fact that she called my aunt, 'auntie', with no inhibitions; there was a genuine mutual liking between the two of them.

My aunt had taken a shining to her, and loved having her over. Maybe it was because Suika put on her best behavior when she was around my place. Maybe it was because of all the business that she brought us. Or maybe it was just a real natural affinity that just happened to exist between them. Whatever it was, it would have been nice if it was just limited to social calls and casual friendship. As it stood, because she got along with my aunt, Suika was given quite the free hand in dealing with me. She could pluck me from work whenever, return me whenever, and no one (except me) would mind.

I realized that I grumbled sometimes a bit too much. I generally did enjoy being with her. She was fun and because of her I met a lot of interesting people. It was just when she got childish or competitive, or both, that it was a bit trying. She got that way often enough to make my gripes have a solid foundation. I got fed up with her at times.

That's why I gave her the slip just now. It was one of my ways of getting at her.

She had plucked my out of bed early today, claiming that she wanted to go on a picnic. That meant drinking a lot someplace far away from here. I wouldn't mind normally, but this was my first day off in a while. I wanted to enjoy it my own way. I had a lot of backlogged sleep from pulling all nighters while doing inventory.

I sort of wanted to go see Reimu, but knew better. Suika would probably go back to the shrine first. It went without saying that she would also be drinking heavily. She'd still go on her 'picnic' after whining for a while (no doubt finally kicked out by a fed-up Reimu).

It was becoming a nice enough morning. Now that the sun was shining brightly in the sky things were feeling warmer as well.

[] Relax a while in the village
[] Sneak back home and get more sleep
[] Go to the shrine anyways
Expand all images
>> No. 25252
File 124831095053.png - (559.98KB, 800x650, a7ae2147ea4f3dd11cb56b03d5dbd4dd.png) [iqdb]
25252
[!/] Relax a while in the village

Return of the King!
>> No. 25254
>I generally did enjoy being with her.

This above all else made me seethe with anger the most.

[] Relax a while in the village
>> No. 25255
[x] Relax a while in the village

Let's do it.
>> No. 25256
[X] Relax a while in the village
>> No. 25257
>I generally did enjoy being with her.

I uh
fhgfhdh




Is there a trope for when a major female character is a total bitch who the protagonist shouldn't like at all, except he does because the author says so?

[X] Relax a while in the village
>> No. 25258
[X] Relax a while in the village

Can we clock Auntie across the back of the head with a bottle of wine for selling us into this bullshit?
>> No. 25259
>>25257

Stockholm syndrome?
>> No. 25260
I like this story but

>I generally did enjoy being with her.

WHAT IS THIS I DON'T EVEN AAAAGHHH

Suika's a selfish jerk, When's Arc ever gonna grow a pair and crack a bottle over her skull, or even better, tell her off: "No, we're not friends, I only stick around because I'm paid to do so, and that's the only way I'd ever be around you, because you're a selfish person that treats me like a toy."

Give us some catharsis, anon.

[X] Relax a while in the village
>> No. 25261
Fine. Writing now.

>>25259
Not quite.
>> No. 25263
File 124831585154.png - (247.49KB, 664x416, herofthp.png) [iqdb]
25263
>>25254
>>25257
>>25258
>>25260

Our day of reckoning will come eventually.
Until then, shut your whore mouths.
>> No. 25264
>>25257

Love Hina?
>> No. 25265
[x] Relax a while in the village

The hike back to the village was short. I started whistling, feeling like I hadn't a care in the world.

Everything was business as usual. With the harvest festival fast approaching, most villagers had taken to the fields. I remembered having helped out when much younger, but they had more than enough hands nowadays. It wasn't like I could wield big bulky farming implements properly either. Still, I tried showing my solidarity by helping with other preparations for the festival. Like helping decorate the venue. Or, like last year, being a judge in a cooking contest. Now there was a lucky break.

Not all of it was pleasure. There was some business as well. Auntie and I got the the town council to buy all of the alcohol from us. Sure, it was at a discounted price, but it was a good windfall for us. The profit was high enough to warrant a small feast afterward. I ate until I was practically bursting at the seams. I wondered if maybe there would be a repeat of that this year? The council still hadn't made a decision, but it was probably going to be us.

I was walking aimlessly, thinking about roast duck when I bumped into someone familiar. Quite literally.

“Sorry about that.” I apologized reflectively. I had elbowed someone without meaning it.
“Quite alright.” She smiled at me. “It looks like you've got a lot on your mind.”
“Not really. Definitely not enough to have justified spacing out like that.” I returned her smile. “How have you been, Miss Kamishirasawa?”
“I've been doing fine for myself. You look good. Happier than last time I saw you.” She said bluntly. I didn't mind, I knew she genuinely cared about me. “I've heard from some of your old classmates that you've been working a lot.”
“I've been busy, yes.” I nodded. “But it hasn't been just work. I've been having fun as well.”
“That's great to hear. I always did feel a bit guilty for not coming to check up on you.”
“Don't worry about it. I'm fine, so it's no problem.”
“If you say so.” She smiled again. I knew that she would still worry.
“There are more students now, right?” I changed the subject. “There must be a heap more of work for you.”
“Ah, yes. That's right.” She was the only full-time teacher at the school. All the others taught part-time. They would need another teacher soon, seeing how more children were being born each year. “It's not too bad though.”
“Because you love teaching, right?” There was no doubt about it. “You've always been like that Miss Kamishirasawa.”
“Indeed I do. I can't deny it.” She laughed earnestly. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed school. “Hey, do mind if I ask you a favor?”
“Not at all. Please ask away Miss Kamishirasawa.”
“Could you please not call me Miss Kamishirasawa?” She smiled coyly, “You're no longer my student. Besides, it makes me feel old.” She admitted with another casual laugh. “Just Keine is fine.”
“Uh, sure.” I avoided saying her name. Honestly, I felt a bit shy about it. I justified that I was conditioned to call her Miss Kamishirasawa.

She looked at me expectantly.

“It's not a problem Miss Keine.”
“Ah.” She sighed. “Well, I guess this is fine for now.”
“...”
“Well, I've got to go now unfortunately.” She explained, “I've got a class in a little while and can't be late, you understand right?”
“Absolutely.” I smiled, feeling nostalgic.
“I'd love to catch up with you one of these days. Please feel free to come and see me anytime after classes end. My door is always open to you.”
“Thank you very much. I might just do that.”

I waved her goodbye as she hurried off towards the school.

Miss Kamishirasawa, no, rather Miss Keine...

Yep, it was a good thing running into her. She looks as caring and lively as ever.

I resumed my whistling with even more enthusiasm than before. So far it was shaping up to be a really good day.

I ran into a couple of faces that I hadn't seen the longest of times. Like Miss Keine, they were all busy with some responsibility or another, but it felt nice to talk to them. And it also nice to know that I wasn't the only one that was working like an ox.

I eventually sat down in one of the smaller restaurants. They weren't open for business yet, but the owner's son was one of my classmates. We talked for a while, chatting about our other classmates and what they were up to. It was a very refreshing way to spend part of the morning.

When I left, having promised to see him more often, I wandered aimlessly for a bit more. Reimu ought to have kicked Suika out by now. So it might be safe for me to go and loiter at the shrine.
>> No. 25266
I headed to do that. By the outskirts of the village, I ran into someone else who I hadn't seen a long while.

“Hello there.”
“...” She turned to look at me. As emotionlessly as usual.
“How's it going Miss Alice?” I smiled at her, still in a good mood from before. I hadn't seen Alice for quite some time now. She actually came to check up on my arm several times, each time silently observing for any abnormalities. I was grateful for that and had even gotten her a new ribbon.
“Hello.” She replied. “I'm fine thank you.” She definitely sounded warmer than the first time I had spoken to her. She had long ago concluded that Marisa and I weren't in league and since then had taken less of a hostile attitude towards me. Or so I thought.
“What brings you here? Putting on another puppet show?” If there was any subject that got her to talk, it was that.
“Not right now. I was thinking of doing it soon though.”
“For the harvest festival?”
“Yes exactly.”
“Ah, that's something to look forward to then.”
“Thank you.” She expression softened. I hadn't been around her that much, but I felt that I was able to pick up on her subtle cues. “Where are you headed to now?”
“Me? To the shrine.”
“That should be amusing.” She smirked. An actual real smirk.
“Huh? Why?” I asked after getting over seeing her be relatively sociable.
“There's a lot going on there today. I think you would be swept aside.”
“Is it Suika again? I could handle that.”
“She might be there. But so might she {she meant Marisa probably]. The issue is Reimu having to juggle them and whatever it is that Yukari wants without exploding.”
“Yukari is at the shrine?” You remember the blonde clearly. Even if you hadn't seen her since the party. “How do you even know she wants something.”
“She has no other reason to be there otherwise. When she appears, trouble follows.”

It sounded like a bit of an exaggeration. But from what little Reimu had told me, it really did seem to be that way. At least every time Reimu talked about her, it she didn't exactly come out in a positive light.

“It does sound like Reimu would be stressed.” And well, if she's stressed out she doesn't exactly care about others. I had learned that long ago in the immediate aftermath of the party.

“Is that satisfactory?” Alice asked.
“What? Oh sorry, I must have spaced out.” I apologized.
“I invited you to come for a cup of tea.”
“Huh, where?”
“To my home, of course.” Her expression was again unreadable. “You can wait until the storm blows over there.”
“Ah well...”
“Besides,” She admits a bit reluctantly, “there's something that I wanted to talk to you about.”
“Something you wanted to talk to me about?” I couldn't think of anything interesting that I had to say. “Can't you just tell me now?”
“I have some reference material I wish to show you as well.”
“Reference material? About what?”
“That mark.” She stated simply, pointing to my right arm.
“Oh that.” The black mark started to itch as she pointed at it. “It's nothing, right?”
“Not quite. It's actually something interesting.” She didn't elaborate.



“And you'll only tell me once we're at your place?” I sighed and then smiled. She didn't even bother replying to my question. She just looked at me expectantly, ready to lead the way.

[] Shrine; even if it's a battlefield
[] Follow her
[] Go back to the village
>> No. 25267
[x] Follow her

I can recognize a plot hook when I see one but...

Heading off with a monster that lives in a forest full of monsters, ALONE?

Arc has very little sense of self-preservation. You'd think he wasn't a native.
>> No. 25268
[x] Follow her
>> No. 25269
[X] Follow her

I like Alice. Even moderately crazy and cold Alice.
>> No. 25271
[X] Follow her

Alice needs more love, and the story in forest is going waaay to slow.
>> No. 25272
[x] Follow her

I can't stay mad at Alice. She did chill out and heal our arm, anyway.
>> No. 25273
[X]Follow her.

Do we need a reason?
>> No. 25274
[X] Follow her.
>> No. 25275
That was unanimous. And interesting.

I'm writing now, but I can't promise that I'll be done before the urge to sleep overwhelms me.
>> No. 25276
>>25275
Get someone to proofread it beforehand. There are far too many typos and mistakes in this thread.
>> No. 25282
Would have added my vote earlier if a recent storm didn't come barreling in my area...

>>25276

I have to agree with him, take your time to polish them when posting updates like the last few threads you made.
>> No. 25290
>Arc has very little sense of self-preservation. You'd think he wasn't a native.

No, I think he's just become rather inured to suffering. He has the attitude that anyone could come and ruin his shit at any time, so he's become rather blithe about things. That's why he slaps on a big smile and gives Keine all those pat answers, why he tells himself he enjoys his time with Suika, despite spending his morning hiding in a goddamn hole to avoid her, as well as calculating her actions so that he doesn't run into her.

After all, if he wants to do these things, then he won't be face with the degrading reality that he's being forced to, right?

Take into account his circumstances: Complete dedication to work without prospect of advancement or pay, living with his detestable Aunt, having already found out himself that hiding spot in his youth, and Keine being concerned and mentioning she should've checked up on him more, finally along with the author's revelation that at least one of his parents is alive, I think he was caught up in some kind of domestic dispute. It might be fear of abandonment or punishment, but regardless he's developed a personality to avoid those things, resulting in this extremely compliance to do whatever is asked of him.

What Reimu said, that he looked so frail, let alone a youkai, even another human could do untoward things to him without putting up much of a fight. It's very possible such a thing has already happened.
>> No. 25291
>>25290

True enough.

That just makes him even more pathetic though.
>> No. 25292
>>25291

I know. I actually kind of feel sorry for him now.
>> No. 25293
Then I do belive it's our job as the voters to try and steer Arc away from that.
Such as making him stand up for himself, learn some means of defense so he can't be overpowered so easily, ect..

It'd certainly take a while. I didn't realise just how much of a doormat Arc is until now.
>> No. 25297
File 124847965343.jpg - (695.13KB, 850x1168, aiwl.jpg) [iqdb]
25297
[x] Follow her

While following her, I tried to hold a conversation with her. It wasn't very easy, given her short answers and long pauses. I didn't get the feeling that she was being annoyed by me, rather that she had a lot on her mind. I walked just slightly off to her side and back, spending most of the time looking at her unchanging concentrated expression.

“How long have you been living in the forest?” The well-maintained dirt path from the village was transforming into something narrower and darker. At first the concentration of trees was sparse enough to see the sky, but soon the great twisted branches and dark-green foliage blotted out the sky. I had felt the somewhat subtle drop in temperature too, and wished again that I had brought something thicker to wear. “I couldn't imagine living in this forest. It's so dense and there's so little light.”

“Time breeds familiarity.”
“I wonder if Marisa feels the same way. She's been here for a while as well, right?” Years by what she let on. She claimed to have come from the village originally, but I couldn't remember her. So it must have been even before I started going to school.

There was another long pause. Brush snapped and crackled as we trampled on it. It was the only noise I could hear. “Huh, funny that, I can't even hear birds anymore.”

“She takes up residence relatively near my own.” She answered my previous question, sort of. The path was even narrower than before. At some points, a fallen tree trunk blocked the path, and we had to go around it. It really looked like no one used this.

“Do you usually take this path?” I asked naturally. We had been walking for a while and the path promised to go on for much longer. “It doesn't look like it gets much use.”
“I do not.” Alice's reply was succinct and dry. “I have other means of getting around.”
“Magic, right?” It wouldn't be very surprising. My brief experience with magic had left the impression that anything was possible with it. Without realizing it, my heart started to beat fast. I remembered the multi-colored display that burned its way into a special place inside me. Even all these months later, raw admiration for the awesome magician resounded strongly within me.

“...” She didn't reply to my observation. It was fine.

After that I lost myself in my thoughts for a while. I definitely wasn't quite old enough to be outright reminiscing about past events, but I couldn't help it. Ever since I met the oni, my life had changed quite a lot. Not just my daily routine, and some of my activities; I had met so many new and interesting people. That very same thought that brought me comfort, brought me a little sadness. During all this time, I hadn't once been able to talk or see Mima again. I tried time and time again to contact her, but my link seemed to be gone, same as the temporary bounty she had given me. I wondered if maybe some of my subsequent visits to the shrine weren't really fueled by my desire to spend time with Reimu or Suika, but rather to find her. I had, at times, felt like this was the case.

“Watch it.” Alice's warning almost came a split-second too late. I barely managed to duck and not hit my head with that low-lying branch.
“Ah, thanks.” I really had spaced out. Without noticing, the landscape around me had changed from the dark and impenetrable wood to something warmer and with hints of light all around.
“We're here.” She stated softly, as if it had no bearings at all with the real world.

I looked around expectantly as we stepped into a clearing. Once my eyes had adjusted to the sudden inundation of light, I was able to see our destination clearly.

A small, treeless hill jut out of the forest. All around it the trees seemed to be being kept at bay, neatly forming an almost perfect ring. There was grass and flowerbeds bordering a small, cleanly kept path that lead to the main attraction of the clearing – a lone house. The simple, unimposing structure meshed itself naturally to the landscape. So much so that you found yourself agreeing that it was the only proper structure for this place. The house looked well-kept despite obvious tell-tale signs of age, the white paint displayed only the most subtle signs of yellowing and dirt.

Alice wordlessly led the way towards the house, following the small path. I followed carefully, making sure not to take a single step outside of it. Some of the flower beds were barren, but it didn't mean that I could trample as I liked.

I noticed heavy blinds and curtains on the two main windows on the ground level of the house. If she so wanted, Alice could probably make the house very dark with minimal effort. I paused by the main entrance, waiting for Alice to make the first move.

“Please come in.” She smiled like any good host should while opening the door. I stepped into the dark interior with some reservation. The layout of the house was not obviously arranged, with a small entrance hallway leading to three identical doors with opposite direction. Bookshelves further supported the illusion, crowding the hallway with their massive size and bountiful contents. The amount of books in here was surprising. Everywhere I looked, there were piles of books, not all of them properly stored on shelves. A lot of them were written in a language I couldn't read, a casual glance at the titles didn't tell me anything. “To the left. Sit at the table while I go prepare the tea.”

“Alright.” Her boots stayed on her feet as she walked in and disappeared into a door in the middle. I was apprehensive about it, but decided to follow her lead and keep my shoes on. I stood at the entrance for a few moments longer before working up the courage to open the door on my left. I wasn't comfortable to just intruding into other people's homes, but she had explicitly told me to go in.

I found the different kind of door sort of neat; it was thicker and heavier than the sliding doors I was used to, but gave the act of opening it more... importance. Like I was accessing a completely different part of the world. The door creaked slightly on its wooden frame and I just opened it wide enough for me to go through it.

The room beyond really was like a completely different part of the world. A table sat on the side of the room, by the window. The seats around it told me it was where I was supposed to sit. It felt strange sitting with a table that high, it almost felt like my counter at work, or sitting on the stools in a stand. I glanced around the room, soaking in the contents. Besides the door I came in through, another was located just on the wall adjacent to it. Shelves and chests lined the walls. While there were some books here, the contents of these shelves were markedly different. All sorts of dolls and puppets sat lifelessly on them. It felt awkward, really, and I felt like their eyes were wholly upon me. An unfinished doll lay on the top of the table, its half-finished body looking more like a piece of wood than a miniature human.
>> No. 25298
I started to look out the window, gazing upon the seemingly impenetrable woods that surrounded the house. I couldn't really tell in what direction the village was from here. It was clear that to get back, I would have to depend on Alice. Otherwise I could be lost out there forever.

The door opened. A tray carried by two small flying dolls came in. Another tray, holding some sort of pastry came in soon thereafter, also held by a team of floating dolls. As the trays were deposited on the table, Alice came in from the open door and closed the door behind her. I watched as the four dolls fluttered around, coming to a rest on empty spots on the shelves as Alice sat down on the opposite side of the table.

I had seen her puppet shows, and realized that this amazing display was also probably caused by magic.

“Please go ahead.” The cups before us were empty. She took one and I took another. She then took the tea pot and poured the tea into my cup first, then her own. The dark, reddish tea was different than what I was used to. “Help yourself.” Alice indicated the small pastries on the other tray. I took one of them and meekly took a bite. They were pretty good. We drank our tea in silence for a while longer before I finally spoke up.

“You said that there was something you wanted to tell me?” I took another sip, watching as she did the same. “It was about the mark, wasn't it?” The black mark on my arm itched as I thought about it.
“That's correct. I believe that I know what it is.”
“...” I waited patiently for her to speak.
“It's also proof that you haven't consorted with her. She wouldn't be able to place a mark like that on her thrall.”
“On her what?” This was a new term for me.
“Her servant.” Alice grinned unabashedly. It was a departure from her usual muted expressions.
“Servant? Who?”
“You are.”
“There must be some mistake here. I'm not really following what you mean-”

The door opened. I hadn't realized that some of the dolls had been flying around until just then. Four of them left quickly to the adjacent room and returned moments later, carrying one of the more thick books. “Observe.” The dolls placed the book on the table and Alice deftly opened it to a page. “This is it, is it not?” A large black mark almost identical to the one on my arm was on the page. Text which I couldn't read surrounded it.
“That... looks like it.” The itch changed to a tingle. There was no doubt about it. This was the same thing.
“Anyone versed in even a little bit of magic can tell that this is a magical sign.” She continues on grinning, her eyes lighting up with an intense light. “What eluded me was its function. Until, during the course of my research, I happened upon this. It describes a 'mark of binding'. A subject with such a mark is bound to the magician who placed it.”
“...I don't understand.” I was pretty sure that I would know if someone had 'bound me' or some junk like that.
“To encapsulate it; there is a link between you and whoever placed it. It allows for transference of essence and power.”
“This is a little beyond my league.” I said the truth. I didn't know the first thing about magic, and the terms she used weren't all clear to me.
“This is beyond a lot of magician's leagues.” Alice's tone betrays her excitement. “And as such, there is no way that it could have been placed by her.”

I thought about it. And reached a conclusion.

“I don't really understand this, but it doesn't seem to be something I want to live with. How do I get rid of it?”
“Get rid of it?” She laughed earnestly. “Roll up your sleeve and observe.”

I did as I was told. The mark was exposed.

Alice smiled and mumbled a few words and pointed at the mark. A ray of blue light arced from her fingertips to it. The tingling in my arm grew stronger, spreading across most of my arm. All of my hairs seemed to stand on end.

“You felt that, didn't you?”
“What was that?”
“Any magic that is directed to it gets absorbed, piped away to somewhere else. As such, it's virtually impossible to remove it with magic.”
“...” And it wasn't fading away through natural means either. The many baths you had taken were proof of this. “So I can't get rid of it?” I frowned. “What's the worst thing that could happen?”
“I don't know.” She admitted, looking all the more excited for her lack of knowledge. “But being bound to someone else does not sound like it could be advantageous in the long run.”
“Don't I get any benefits?”

“Show me your hand.” I stretched out my arm and she took my hand.
“Ow!” I felt a sharp prick on my finger. I realized that she had pinched me with something and some blood was coming out. “Hey what was that for?”
“You should not give your blood so readily. In the hands of a magic-user, such essences are powerful.” She had collected some of my blood in a small vial.
“I didn't want to give you my blood.” I protested, bringing my arm back towards me.
“Is that so?” She wasn't interested with what I said. She was once again lost in thought.

“I have a possible solution.” She smiled assertively. Her serious eyes told me that it was something that she was interested in.
“Go ahead.” There was no silencing her, I thought.
“While I cannot outright get rid of the seal now, I've thought of a way to stem its influence.” She gave me a look that I had seen only once before, many months ago. “I can also form such a pact with you. I believe I'm capable of doing so. Once established, I would be able to keep in check the other influence.”

Alice stood up and leaned across the table. Her narrowed eyes and cool smile boring right through me.

“You don't have to go that far-” I tried to reason.
“But I do. Any opportunity that might help my understanding of magic is worth pursuing. The advantages to yourself would also be sizable. The seal being a two-way chain, my power would also be at your disposal.” She chuckled confidently. “Shunting the other source's influence will take almost no time at all.”

It was her formal and civilized nature that kept her from literally jumping on me, I felt.

[] “Sounds like a good plan.”
[] “I'll give it some more thought, if you don't mind...”
[] “Sorry, but I don't want to.”
>> No. 25300
[X] “I'll give it some more thought, if you don't mind...”

I think I'd prefer siding with Mima than with Alice right now. If the prologue is any indication, Alice doesn't seem like a very good listener.
>> No. 25303
[X]"I'll give it some more thought, if you don't mind."

I doubt Mima has forgotten Arc, as she wouldn't have put that mark on him otherwise. Probably the reason Arc seems to look for her repeatedly. He's instinctively searching for his master.
As a result, Mima's hiding to avoid revealing herself before she's ready.
I also belive that the mark is now Mima's way of ensuring we side with her from here on out.

I doubt Alice's offer is entirely beneficial to Arc either, as she currently seems more interested in learning more about the magic surrounding Arc rather than Arc himself.
It'd be interesting to see where it went though, because I'm pretty sure Alice would be able to exert a subtle level of control over Arc and may very well wish to hijack him somewhere down the line. Plus it'd be interesting to see what she learns.

Simply another Alice or Mima desicion.
>> No. 25304
[x] “Sorry, but I don't want to.”

Mima's one of the few people that hasn't been a total bitch to Arc.
>> No. 25305
[X] “I'll give it some more thought, if you don't mind...”
>> No. 25306
[X] "It sounds tempting, but I'll give it some more thought, if you don't mind...”
[X] "Incidentally, how would you go about establishing this seal, exactly?"

If it's anything like mana transfer, it'll be done through sex. I can dream, damn it.

That aside, I feel conflicted. On the one hand the chance to see Mima again is quite a valuable thing, on the other Arc could really do with learning some magic for himself. From their last encounter, it sounded to me as though Mima was urging Arc to start a contract with someone else anyway - it might do him well to show some initiative and go ahead with the contract. While Alice is obviously very in touch with what she wants, she still seems like a better choice for a teacher than our readily accessible alternatives - she's demonstrated a willingness to teach, and her choice of finesse over raw power would probably suit Arc's lack of natural magical power.

I actually do want to think this over.
>> No. 25307
>>25306

I agree

[X] "It sounds tempting, but I'll give it some more thought, if you don't mind...”
[X] "Incidentally, how would you go about establishing this seal, exactly?"
>> No. 25308
[x] “Sounds like a good plan.”

I like this kind of Alice
>> No. 25309
[x] “I'll give it some more thought, if you don't mind.”

This is such a Japanese way of saying no.
>> No. 25310
[x] “Sounds like a good plan.”
>> No. 25313
[x] Sounds like a good plan
>> No. 25314
[!/] "It sounds tempting, but I'll give it some more thought, if you don't mind...”

Big decision rushing no good?
>> No. 25315
[X] "It sounds tempting, but I'll give it some more thought, if you don't mind...”
[X] "Incidentally, how would you go about establishing this seal, exactly?"
>> No. 25316
[x] “I'll give it some more thought, if you don't mind...”
>> No. 25318
Called. Sorry was out most of the day. Update shouldn't take that long, if I can unbusy myself that is.
>> No. 25321
[x] “I'll give it some more thought, if you don't mind.”
>> No. 25331
My reply tried to be polite.

“Your offer is really tempting. But I would have to give it some time to think it through. You understand, right?”

Alice stood staring at me, not saying anything. Her body language pointed out that she was as ready as she had been moments before.

“And, well, incidentally, how would you go about establishing this seal exactly?” I asked out of a mix of genuine curiosity and as a way to prompt a reaction from her.

She explained the process naturally. Her lips moved, but her body stayed in the same position as before.

“I have part of your essence.” The blood she got from me. “The rest depends on me. A suitable contribution is needed, to be mixed with your own. The concoction is to be administered to both parties while in the proper state.”
“I'm not sure what you mean.”
“All you would need to do is stay still and drink.”

With that said, she began to move. She left the room abruptly, making me question what she planned to do.

I followed her, through a room stuffed with impossible amounts of books and doll parts and into what looked to be a study. I watched as she grabbed several flasks from shelves and mixed their contents. A thin purple haze came from the mixture, getting in my eyes. It caused my vision to blur slightly.

“You can sit down. I'll be done soon.” She spoke without looking at me.
“Uh, I did say that I wanted a little more time to think about it, right? I can't make a big decision like this so suddenly.”
“I am giving you more time. Until I am finished here. Embracing self-control is not something you have to think about.”

I didn't know what to say. She was going through with whatever it was that she planned. There was an open book that she consulted, occasionally glancing at the tome's pages before mixing in the contents of some other jar with no label. I was about to be blunter than before, when something else interrupted her.

A voice came from the entrance.

“...Alice!” The many walls and doors between us and her muffled her voice, but I could still tell who it was. Wordlessly, Alice put a cork in the vial. She got up from her desk and walked past me, towards the entrance. After a few moments, I followed.

“What do you want? Normal people knock and wait at the door instead of intruding.” There was little humor to Alice's words. I wasn't sure if it was pure and unfiltered loathing, or just the way the best of friends would treat each other. The way those two treated each other confused me.
“Oh, it's Arc!” Marisa ignored the owner of the house. “Yo, it's been a long time. How have ya been?”

“I'm alright.” I replied neutrally.
“Good, good. You know, Suika was asking for you earlier.”
“I bet she was.”
“It led to an interesting conversation while I was at the shrine.” She smiled. “Talk about clingy – yeesh.”

“We're in the middle of something. If there's nothing important, goodbye.” Alice interrupted, kicking Marisa out.
“Middle of something?” The key words incited curiosity. Now Marisa shielded herself from being kicked out by quickly going into the next room over. “Smells sort of funky in here, now that I think about it.” There was no stopping her. She moved like a hungry animal smelling food. Before Alice could rein her in, she had found her way into Alice's study. “What's all this? Smells powerful.”
“None of your concern.” The other girl dashed in.
“I think it is. I think it has something to do with young Arc here.” I cringed. Who was she calling 'young'? “And as you know, it's my duty to protect and guide him.”

“Hey don't make up stuff like that.” Seriously. Where did she come up with this sort of thing? In some regards Marisa was just as bad as Suika.

“Huh, I see.” She ignored me completely, instead quickly skimming through the open book. “You sure are a wicked woman.” Marisa's words to Alice were harsh. “You were planning to do this kind of thing...”
“There's nothing wicked about helping others. Not that you would understand.”
“I can't allow you to do that to him.”
“Feh.” Alice scoffed. “Funny hearing you say something like that. I'm not doing anything wrong. Now please leave my home.”
“Hey.” Marisa spoke to me now. “It's a really horrible thing to be stuck together with a person this cold and uncaring, you know.”
“Demean me all you wish. It doesn't change the fact that I'm helping him break a bond with someone who probably doesn't hold any of his interests at heart.”

The conversation from then on changed to a mix between an actual explanation from Alice and various kinds of insults.

“I see.” Marisa nodded. “It would make sense for him to override that seal. Like they say, it's safer to trust the devil you know.”

They had excluded me from the conversation entirely. I would have gone home if I were able. I might as well have been doing something productive. It was only when moved to sit down in the other room that they remembered that I even existed.

“Well now. You've wasted too much of our time.” Alice commented with a sense of finality. “Leave so we can carry on with this.”
“Not so fast! Arc, I've got an even better deal for you.” A sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach warned me of what was coming. “I'll do the same thing that she's trying to do. But quicker and with no strings attached. I think you'll agree that I'm the superior choice here.” She grinned, showing off the full extent of her ego.
“Now you're just being silly. With your blunt and crass methods, he might as well jump off a cliff in order to spare himself from the anguish.”

They started fighting again. I retreated to the entrance, looking for an escape. Unfortunately, I was cornered before I got that far.

“Alright there.” Marisa stopped fighting long enough to act partially civilized. “You'll appreciate this; let's have him choose. We'll respect his choice. No getting upset or anything. Deal?”
“Well, there's no real choice between the both of us.” Alice replied smugly. “So it's acceptable to me. Don't go back on your word later.”
“I'll ask the same thing of you.”

And, again, I was put in a situation from which I had no real escape. Neither of them bothered to really find out how I felt, instead focusing on competing between each other. It looked like I would really have to make a choice there. I could have always tried to refuse both, but I had an inkling of how that would turn out.

[] Go with Alice
[] Go with Marisa
[] Go with neither
>> No. 25333
{X} Go with neither.
>> No. 25334
[x] Go with neither.
>> No. 25335
[x] Go with neither.
>> No. 25336
[x] Go with neither

Mima. come back.
;_;
>> No. 25337
[x] Go with Alice
>> No. 25338
[x] Go with neither
>> No. 25339
[X] Go with Alice

Although,to be perfectly honest, I'm a little torn.

Between these two choices I favor Alice, if only because for all her controlling personality and cold demeanor, she seems genuinely more considerate than the alternative. Plus, it still seems to me that Mima was encouraging Arc to take the initiative and get involved with another magician. The nature of the mark leads me to believe this as well; I'm sure Mima would love to have Arc connected to another source of magic that she could actively tap through us, and her talking about viable sources for Arc makes me think that this is what she had in mind.

To be perfectly honest, as much as I'd love to see Mima again, I find it hard to believe that she actually has Arc's best interests in mind any more than these two do.
>> No. 25340
[X]Go with Alice.
>> No. 25341
[JE] Go with Alice

Pissing against the tide because better the foe you know than the foe you don't know. I will. LULZ hard when Arc gets screwed over by Mima or anyone else for that matter. At least with Alice, he can expect it to happen, knowing a thing or two about her from previous events.
>> No. 25342
[x] Go with Alice.
>> No. 25345
[x] Go with neither
>> No. 25346
File 124858994173.png - (320.54KB, 700x700, 1204920066428.png) [iqdb]
25346
>>25341
>At least with Alice, he can expect it to happen
Wait, instead of going with a choice that might be bad, you're going with one that you're certain is bad?
>> No. 25347
[+] Anemia
It's tradition.
>> No. 25348
[x]Go with Alice.

Needs more Alice.
>> No. 25350
[x] Go with neither
>> No. 25352
[X] Go with neither

They're all very terrible people.
>> No. 25355
File 124859230081.png - (22.59KB, 500x400, 26b8921352b4c5f0fe1080505ba689f5.png) [iqdb]
25355
[!/] Go with neither

Digging the deep hole deeper.
>> No. 25356
>>25355

It needs it. It's getting a bit too cramped from hiding from Suika.
>> No. 25357
>>25346

In fairness, all the choices are bad. Alice is just a known quantity of bad, and better the known than the unknown.

People seem to have forgotten that Mima was pretty quick to dismiss Arc as an incompetent imbecile after he didn't follow her instructions to the letter, disregarding whatever his actual feelings were. She likely doesn't give much of a damn what happens to him when it comes right down to it - her interest in him only extends as far as she can use him. Unfortunately, we have no idea what she wants to use him for.

We already know how bad Marisa and Alice are, and Alice is the better choice there.

tl;dr everything is a bad choice.

As a later addendum to this point, Mima did one of the nastiest things possible to Arc if you actually stop to think about it. Alice stated outright that the nature of the mark on Arc causes any magic around him to funnel away and into Mima. The end result of this ought to be pretty clear: he'll never be able to build up any magic stores of his own, or even rely on a temporary gift like the one Mima suckered him with before. No matter how much magic he is exposed to, it all goes to her. She may well have screwed him out of his one dream: to learn to use magic himself.

That's pretty fucking ice cold.
>> No. 25358
>>25357

Arc's life is pretty much a revolving door of misery and depression.
>> No. 25359
It depends on what Arc wants to do with magic

if he wants to pursue magical studies then

[] Go with Alice

would be the option.

If not go with neither.

Marisa might be fun to hang around with, but I don't think she'd be a good high end teacher.

It's clear that all three magicians have their own plans, but who to say that Arc can't benefit from them as well?
>> No. 25360
>>25357

That may be true, but doesn't that mean we are now immune from magic?
>> No. 25361
>>25360

Only direct magic. If someone decides to shift the earth under Arc's feet, or drop something solid on him, he's still fucked.
>> No. 25362
[x] Go with Alice
>> No. 25363
[X] Go with neither
>> No. 25364
>>25357

I think the seal sucks up magic just to prevent its removal, not to say it'd actually interfere with anything else.

I must say for a supposedly light-hearted tale, Arc sure gets jerked around a lot. HLA and DoLF/LAE did the whole light hearted thing better, and CUtMaS is doing a fine job of it thus far.
>> No. 25366
File 124861884547.jpg - (364.85KB, 774x800, 851827bcbdf79faab2e94bb9ff3183a0.jpg) [iqdb]
25366
>>25364
>Arc sure gets jerked around a lot.
>DoLF/LAE did the whole light hearted thing better
This is what DoaLF readers actually believe.
>> No. 25376
[x] Go with Alice

She did say that such a connection would work both ways, right? Because if so, controlling objects (dolls) seems to be more utilitarian than just blasting stuff.
>> No. 25377
[X] Go with neither

Alice is a cold bitch.
>> No. 25380
[x] Go with Alice
>> No. 25381
[x] Go with Alice
>> No. 25383
[X] Go with neither
>> No. 25384
[x] Go with neither.

Alice has shown herself to have only her interests at heart. Marisa's most likely doing this just to tease Alice, and may end up hurting Arc. Mima's using Arc for her own ends, and we don't know what the results of her schemes could be. There's a chance that whatever she's planning could be good for both Mima and Arc.

There's even a chance that we could force her plans to be advantageous to both.
>> No. 25385
>>Like they say, it's safer to trust the devil you know.
That's daughter of the devil.

[+] Go with Alice
>> No. 25386
Can we call the vote already? It feels like votespam at this point.
>> No. 25387
>>25386
I've been trying to write for the last day or so, but keep getting interrupted. It looks like I"m about to become free now, so I might as well say - called. Probably. I forgot what the tally was.

I'll get to it. Soon. Most likely.

Oh, and I'd like to say that I'm thinking of instituting 'bad ends'. Well, not really. Don't panic. Just more like 'normal ends' where shit doesn't go in a fun way for anon when they get too sidetracked. That way you can have the possibility of not fucking up too hard. It won't be frequently seen - if at all. Think of it as a safety net.
>> No. 25389
>>25387
Every time this seems like a good idea but it never really is. In VNs and games, everyone who gets a "normal" or worse ending just replays it to get the good one. In CYOAs that's almost never an option, and even when it is, the story quickly veers off onto another route anyway instead of finishing the first one.

Normal End means no Good End means a poorly resolved story and disappointment all around. Don't waste your time with it.
>> No. 25390
>>25389

Kinda true but a certain story had a decent normal end but had a really nice post story.

And it's in Anon's nature to want to try out another path. That is often a sign of well written characters. with SDM LA's second route, there were people hell bent on voting on certain routes (Meiling,Koakuma, or Sakuya)

But, for a episodic thing like this, normal ends might work; then again in this we haven't seen much in the way of good ends for Arc.
>> No. 25391
[x] Go with both.

No, seriously.

This way, their personal agendas will all keep each other in check. It's the three Stooges syndrome: They'll all be trying to get in the door at the same time.

And now, Arc now has three mana sources. Plus, he gets both perspectives on magical training, and will generally have much less unwanted Suika interaction if he's contractually bound by two other girls. Time with Marisa means field experiments, learning the flashy stuff he's so enamored by, and trips to the Voile library and the Shrine. Alice provides him a place of peace & quiet where he can study in-depth, along with teaching him the art of animating magic and material enchantments.

Simply training by Mima, or vicariously, through Marisa we could expect would produce a mage no greater than Marisa. Similarly, learning through Alice would produce a mage no greater than she. But the synthesis of the two could be something amazing.
>> No. 25392
[x] Go with both.
I laughed, yeah, this is a good option, now all we need is patche and we'll collect the whole set!
>> No. 25393
[x] Go with both.
changed vote

>>25390
>a certain story had a decent normal end but had a really nice post story
It needed the epilogue, which pretty much turned it into a good end. The end before that was abrupt and disappointing.

>And it's in Anon's nature to want to try out another path.
That's my point. If you wanted to see the good end and anon ended up at a normal end, you're screwed.
>> No. 25394
[x] Go with both.
sure is samefag spamming alice around here
>> No. 25395
>>25393

I change my vote to "go with both" just to see what happens.

Though the reason I voted Alice is because generally she'd be a better teacher than Marisa.
>> No. 25396
[x] Go with both.
How come did I not think of this.
>> No. 25397
[x] Go with both.

is it not too late?
>> No. 25398
>>25397

Kinda seems so when the writer already called the fucking vote.
>> No. 25399
>>25398
>Kinda seems so when the writer already called the fucking vote.

What he did say was "probably" and also that he forgot what the tally actually was.

Anyway, it doesn't really matter, since we know that a new contract doesn't annul contracts prior, we can just get the other magician to form one at a later juncture.
>> No. 25401
What is this, Luminous Arc 2?

Our goal is now to form contracts with every magician/youkai in gensokyo to become Master Arc.
>> No. 25402
>>25401

Except that forming such a contract means Arc becomes a thrall for that magician, as stated earlier in the story.
While the massive mental tug-of-war would be amusing, it'd be more likely to snap Arc's mind than make him a master of magic.

Hooray for taking things too literally.
>> No. 25404
>>25402
That sounds like fun. Let's run with it.
>> No. 25405
>>25402
Or, you know, it could be just the thing to tip him over the edge and have him stand up for himself a bit more. IE "I'M MAD AS HELL AND I'M NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE!"
>> No. 25406
>>25402

Actually, I think Alice was only talking about Mima's seal with the thrall bit. She was pretty explicit that the seal she intended to make for Arc would be two-way, and put her power at his disposal. It sounds more like she would be making him into a Shikigami than a Thrall - he would retain his independence, but acting in accordance to her orders would give him considerably more power.
>> No. 25410
[x] Go with neither

My inkling of a hunch proved correct. They did not take my refusal easily.

At first, it wasn't even taken seriously.

“Come on, I know you don't want to hurt Alice's feelings, but just come out and say it!” Marisa laughed.
“If you feel intimidated by her, I'll get rid of her and we can proceed.” Alice was also quite direct.

“That's not it.” I shook my head. “I don't want to go through whatever it is that you guys want. I told Alice earlier that I would think about it, and I still do. Please don't force me.”
“Oh, I totally understand.” Marisa winked. I didn't mean it as a game, but there she went and turned it into one.
“Look, I don't want to choose between you. Not now, and I'm not sure if ever actually.”
“You'll get into trouble if other people hear that, you know. A fine young boy that can't choose between girls is usually left alone and bitter.” There was a grin on Marisa's face. One whose origin I couldn't entirely understand. “Magic and me go well together. I put my heart into it, and despite appearances I do take things seriously. Which is why I just think that you should go with me.”

I sighed. Not only was I being physically cornered, but emotionally as well. It's not like I hated any of them or anything. Marisa was wild and free-spirited, but not a bad person when it came down to it. She usually behaved at tea time in the shrine anyways. I was sure she didn't hate me or anything either. I was more than used to teasing, and hers was rare and almost always about me and someone else. To tell the truth, it made me feel good deep down and I found myself blushing sometimes.

“You came here out of your own free will.” Alice reminded me. “For anyone interested in magic, it's vital that they understand and accept the responsibility associated with it as soon as possible. If not, it'll destroy you.” She looked at me with her cool gaze. “If you wish to think and waste time, go ahead. I won't stop you. A day will suffice for that. After that, I will not risk being held accountable for your misdeeds. Nor the harm you call upon yourself or others.”

“Ouch, that sounds very final.” The other girl weighed in with a smirk. “I'm a romantic, apparently, so I don't care. Some courage and a whole lotta love is enough to solve any problem. Come to me whenever and we'll settle this. Or maybe I'll come to you.”

The physical part of the cornering ended then. The two magicians left me to my own devices for a while, retreating to another room deeper within the house. I wasn't sure what they were doing, they just emphasized that it was private, whatever it was. Well, it wasn't much cause for me to worry, I just felt relieved at not having to make up my mind now.

Marisa came back out after only ten minutes. She was holding a small brown parcel tied with a plain string.

“Arc, I'm leaving now. I got what I came for. I'll give you a ride to wherever you want to go.”
“A ride?”
“Better than walking, right?”
“Uh...” I had no idea what she mean. A ride on what?
“Flying is much quicker.”
“Oh, I see.” No, I didn't. But the way she acted, making it seem so natural, I was too embarrassed to ask any more details.
“So yeah. If you want, I'll take you back to the village.”
“What if I want to go to the shrine?” I should go while Suika is gone.
“That's alright too.” Her face told me otherwise.
“What's wrong with the shrine?”
“It's just not a good day for Reimu, that's all.”
“I'm sure she won't mind if I'm over. I'll take her mind off whatever is troubling her.”
“If you say so, but I wouldn't count on it. She chewed me out for no big reason when I was there. Having to fix things always does that to her.” She shrugged.
“Fix what?”
“Problems. With force.” She shrugged again. “At least that's what I assume it was. Every time that Yukari shows up it means something like that.”
“Ah, I see then. What about Alice?”
“She says she'll stay here. It's what she usually does.” She whispers the next bit, “I tell you, for a supposed proud magician she spends way too much time with those silly dolls.”

“Not nearly enough time, if you ask me.” Alice interrupted our conversation. “Usually I'm interrupted by troublesome amateur magicians asking for favors or components, and sometimes I distract myself with the affairs of others too much. But the latter is more understandable; in allowing my generous heart the chance to be involved and helpful, I sometimes learn things useful to me.”

“Right, right. We're leaving already.” Marisa opened the front door for me. I said my goodbye to Alice, who nodded an acknowledgment.

Marisa grabbed a broom that leaned against the exterior wall. She put it between her legs. “Hop on, and we'll get going.”

Was she being serious? I didn't see any trace of a joke on her face so I assumed she was. Rather than ask or argue, I did as I was told, sitting near the straw end of the broom. It felt mildly uncomfortable. “Grab on to me.” She encouraged me to put my hands on her waist. She was skinnier than she looked, her dark clothes made her look bulkier. To my amazement, we started to rise up vertically. We were floating. Marisa was a magician so it wasn't so far-fetched, but it still was quite the experience. The wood dug into some tender areas of my body. “So, where to?”

[] The village
[] The shrine
>> No. 25411
[x] The shrine

>Alice not winning.

FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF
>> No. 25412
[X] The shrine

This could be a good or bad choice for various reasons, but I think Reimu'd take more kindly to Arc than Marisa. Marisa can be quite annoying after all, especially after a hard day of dealing with a certain gap youkai. Arc's normalcy will be a refreshing change.
>> No. 25413
[X] The shrine
>> No. 25414
[x] The shrine

If I can't have them both, I'll have neither.

Besides, arcane magic is old hat. It's all about divine power these days.
>> No. 25415
[X] The shrine

Robbed of another chance at magic. Well, if Alice intends to give us a day and no more, then we can expect her to show up tomorrow. We'll have our chance then.
>> No. 25416
Man, they're all terrible people.

[X] The shrine
>> No. 25419
[X]The shrine

>>25416
Only Suika's been truly terrible to Arc so far, seeing as she's the only one he actively hides from. Everyone else falls short.
-
Alice and Marisa are both being pushy about this, and I'm not quite sure about either of them.

I'd come up with some kind of reasoning as to why I don't think either of them are bad choices, but late night cognative functions aren't a good reasoning tool.
>> No. 25420
[x] The shrine
>> No. 25421
>>25415
>Robbed of another chance at magic.

A trip to the shrine is a potential meeting with Mima, though.
>> No. 25422
[x] The shrine
>> No. 25423
File 124896667824.jpg - (179.44KB, 600x846, 1239209418209.jpg) [iqdb]
25423
[x] The shrine

>mushrooms or dolls
I think Marisa would be more sensible over Alice in the long run. Marisa is not only more powerful, she is also pretty laid back.
>> No. 25424
[X]The Shrine
>> No. 25425
>>25423

I think if anything Alice is the stronger one; she just holds back and prefers to use more finesse than raw power.

But Suika's the one that treats Arc the worse.

Marisa's friendly but her interest in him is more a product of her competition with Alice

Alice regards him somewhat fondly but her lack of social graces and interest in his mark might have other implications.

Mima has plans for him; but one has to wonder how much good will she really has.

Reimu in contrast is a kindred spirit to the guy, both folks who have to deal with troublesome people (especially one super troublesome oni)
>> No. 25426
Whats with all the Suika hate? She hasn't even done much bad in this story. Hell, I have friends that are many orders of magnitude more pushy or have less respect for boundaries.

Also, I don't give even half a damn about the whole magic sub-plot. The whole "normal guy learning magic" thing has been done to death, and it just takes attention away from the things that have been making the story good.
>> No. 25427
>>25426
I'm with this guy, but not as a general rule. It's rather that the story doesn't need "magic" as anything more than a MacGuffin for it to be a good story. The ongoing "who manipulates Arc" works.
>> No. 25428
>>25426
>Whats with all the Suika hate? She hasn't even done much bad in this story. Hell, I have friends that are many orders of magnitude more pushy or have less respect for boundaries.

These people are not your friends.

>Also, I don't give even half a damn about the whole magic sub-plot. The whole "normal guy learning magic" thing has been done to death, and it just takes attention away from the things that have been making the story good.

Bullshit. It's what make this story start being interesting, instead of competition after competition with the oni. Besides, Arc isn't interested in learning magic, at least not in the normal way. He still believes Mima is a goddess, remember?
>> No. 25430
>>25426
I'd prefer something done to death over something boring by itself
>> No. 25431
>>25426

Arc's 'friendship' with Suika is on the toxic side. As it stands, it's mainly take take take from Suika.

Hard to tell if Suika has any idea that her competitions aren't as fun for others as they are for her. This also shows some insight on what downsides there are to dealing with the small oni.

The whole magic thing is secondary to the matter of Arc being the variable in the scheme of things. And it isn't "Learning magic to power up" but more of a curious experience for someone new to it.

Yet ironically it's Reimu that seems to have the healthiest starts of a friendship. (When it's a popular trend in many areas of having her be a "I am the law" bitch) Since she doesn't plot to use him, and his normalcy is quite freshing to Reimu (who seems to deal with particularly demented folk on a nigh-daily basis)
>> No. 25432
>>25431

Marisa is also fairly friendly, after all she just teases Arc (apparently that's how she treats everyone though) and she's done a couple of favors with no strings attached.

Though, it's pretty captain obvious that the humans are being nice to the human.
>> No. 25433
>>25428

Really? Because the second the whole magic thing got introduced the story started going downhill for me. It was okay at first when she gave him the power, because it was over really quick, and might turn out interesting, but now it's looking like its going to turn into a big ordeal.

It might be different if this were a book, or a show, or something, but on these boards it is sometimes days, weeks, or even months between updates. Needless story gimmicks get magnified. Who cares if arc learns to use magic or not, regardless of how he gets it? What benefit would it be to the story?

Lets be realistic here. Only a tiny fraction of stories even come close to finishing, and those that do take an age to do so. So updates are a limited and precious resource, and I'd rather try and focus on the things that are enjoyable, such as time with miko, or witch, rather than getting into an involved plot that likely won't really lead anywhere anyway. And don't get me wrong, I mean no offense to the writer. I'm just giving a heads up that sub-plots about powering up serve absolutely no purpose in a story that isn't explicitly about that kinda stuff. If it's there as a plot device to cause tension between Marisa and Alice, that's cool, though probably unnecessary how you've written the characters anyway.

As for the Suika thing, I think its more Arc needing to either chill the hell out, or put his foot down. Its not Suika's fault if he doesn't SAY anything. An example is the hide and seek scene. Instead of going "you know what? I'm fucking tired and want to relax", he decides to try and ditch her. Pretty fucking passive aggressive if you ask me. To put it bluntly, arc is a pussy.

And you want to know the really bizarre thing? If the exact events happened in any other story, you guys would be like "Fuck yeah! Party time with Suika!", but because Arc expresses some annoyance, anon takes it to the extreme and suddenly Suika is a terrible monster (well, aside from literally being a monster).

And finally, I cannot be the only one annoyed that we still haven't found out what happened at the party when apparently it has been quite a while since then. And apparently were on good terms with everyone now? It would have been nice to see what happened when we went back to the shrine to see Reimu after the arm breaking.

Sorry for being long winded, but shit needs to be said, and we all get bored between updates.
>> No. 25434
For the story's sake, I'm not really willing to comment on the significance of certain elements to the whole. Suffice to say, it's neither filler nor (in most cases) something by itself essential to the plot. Yet again, I'd say that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

The story has just started (again) and the focus and format are now different in some ways. I've mostly given up on the episodic nature for the most part, for example. There will probably be more time skips, but it's more bound to an overarching cause. The tone thus far has also been markedly less light-hearted, but that's more a circumstance thing than an essential shift in philosophy. Though I have to admit that that's really up to the readers and their choices. I wish I could take more time explaining things or just updating, but the world unfortunately demands my attention.

An update should be ready some time later today hopefully. But not guaranteed.
>> No. 25435
>>25434
Keep it up i'd say, one of the few interesting active stories going on at the moment

>>25433
stop being so impatient. Its suppose to be lighthearted.
>> No. 25436
>Suika Ibogki

Who the flying fuck is this?
Another IRC dweller I hope not.
>> No. 25437
>>25436
Actually, it doesn't seem that it's someone from IRC at all.

Whoops! There goes your convenient scapegoat!
>> No. 25438
>>25436
Someone from /jp/ and /v/
>> No. 25439
>>25438
Would make sense. /jp/ gets spamed by /a/ or /b/ since a few days.
>> No. 25440
File 124902049099.jpg - (30.63KB, 327x305, 1249019220406.jpg) [iqdb]
25440
>>25437

>KChasm!QC5jQtRXOo

gb2/danbooru/
>> No. 25441
>>25440
...?
>> No. 25442
>>25440
I'm not entirely sure what you're trying to say here.
>> No. 25443
>>25440

This confuses the hell out of me...

What..?
>> No. 25445
Can we delete everything that comes after >>25434
It is spam and does not help the thread at all.
>> No. 25446
>>25433
>It might be different if this were a book, or a show, or something, but on these boards it is sometimes days, weeks, or even months between updates. Needless story gimmicks get magnified. Who cares if arc learns to use magic or not, regardless of how he gets it? What benefit would it be to the story?

1. This is a story of an adolescent with no achievable goals, prospects for or means to them, with no true friends, nor does he have much of a family. The character is sympathetic and earnest, but nothing turns out well for him. This is distressing to a reader who has become emotionally involved with the story.
3. This is a coming-of-age tale; for that process to occur, there needs to be a meaningful transformation of character (and possibly romance), not simply a resignation to a status quo.
3. As for the medium being inherently adverse to long, enjoyable stories with meaningful character growth, I ask you to read RAN in the archives and then kindly shut the fuck up.

>Lets be realistic here. Only a tiny fraction of stories even come close to finishing, and those that do take an age to do so. So updates are a limited and precious resource, and I'd rather try and focus on the things that are enjoyable, such as time with miko, or witch, rather than getting into an involved plot that likely won't really lead anywhere anyway. And don't get me wrong, I mean no offense to the writer.

Won't go anywhere? But it has. In fact it's become the main source of conflict in the story, rather than playing games with thousand year old children. And whether you mean offense or not, to simply dismiss out of hand direction and characterization thus established in favor of something qualitatively different, it is offensive. As a writer I feel offended for Anon here.

>I'm just giving a heads up that sub-plots about powering up serve absolutely no purpose in a story that isn't explicitly about that kinda stuff.

These aren't "subplots" because in their absence there would be no plot, and for fuck's sake stop telling the writer what his story is about.

>If it's there as a plot device to cause tension between Marisa and Alice, that's cool, though probably unnecessary how you've written the characters anyway.

Alice needs something to be suspicious about, otherwise there is no reason for her to interact with Arc. If it wasn't Mima's magic, it would be the amount of time spent around the shrine maiden or the oni. But that on its own would be a poorer substitute, since there would be nothing to necessarily be attractive in Arc, relegating her to a solely background role, or one of direct antagonism.

>As for the Suika thing, I think its more Arc needing to either chill the hell out, or put his foot down.

Or in other words, resign himself to his fate or explode at her. The first is not an attractive option, and the second would be clearly out of character. This is a person who feels completely powerless to change their situation, and as it stands, he's right.

>Its not Suika's fault if he doesn't SAY anything. An example is the hide and seek scene. Instead of going "you know what? I'm fucking tired and want to relax", he decides to try and ditch her. Pretty fucking passive aggressive if you ask me. To put it bluntly, arc is a pussy.

Pretty fucking ballsy if you ask me. To put it bluntly, it was an unequivocal 'fuck off' to Suika. Every time he's chosen 'I'd prefer not to' she's literally dragged him along anyway.

You don't like the protagonist. That's okay. Find another story with someone more hotblooded, or write your own.

>And you want to know the really bizarre thing? If the exact events happened in any other story, you guys would be like "Fuck yeah! Party time with Suika!"

Yeah, that's how most guys respond when they're asked the hypothetical, "What if a woman raped you?" Case reports of men who actually have paint an entirely different picture. No one likes to be coerced into things, except as a fantasy, and as fantasy you would still retain complete control.

>but because Arc expresses some annoyance, anon takes it to the extreme and suddenly Suika is a terrible monster (well, aside from literally being a monster).

Some annoyance? He spent his entire morning hiding in a fucking ditch in order to avoid her. She is inescapable, almost maddeningly so.

And the 'extreme' you mention is not so extreme; in fact it's what Reimu was trying to hammer into Arc's head in the kitchen. She is a terrible monster, who will do whatever she wants to, whenever she wants to. Only those with the ability to resist her by force (e.g., Marisa, Yukari, Alice, but especially Reimu) will really ever be treated by her as an equal person, rather than a plaything.

>>25434
>The story has just started (again) and the focus and format are now different in some ways. I've mostly given up on the episodic nature for the most part, for example. There will probably be more time skips, but it's more bound to an overarching cause. The tone thus far has also been markedly less light-hearted, but that's more a circumstance thing than an essential shift in philosophy.

These are good decisions and you should feel good for making them. When a time comes that Arc comes to be less battered around like a tennis ball by forces totally outside his control that it can return to the realm of light reading. Suika's relationship with him now is almost completely parasitic; maybe when he's able to actively compete with her in some way it'll be more fun for him, but as it stands I can only see him as continuing to avoid her, as he should.

>An update should be ready some time later today hopefully. But not guaranteed.

Hooray!
>> No. 25448
>>25446

My point was that Suika hasn't actually done anything more than trying to get him to loosen up and have fun, and he has only barely objected to any of it. He has even shown (with his thoughts) that he does actually enjoy it for the most part. For all Suika knows, Arc is completely fine with it all.

Comparing Suika dragging us out to have fun, (especially when we barely object) to fucking rape? Wow. Just wow. Are you one of those basement dweller types that raises hell when your friends try and drag you away from wow for 5 minutes and get some sunshine?

Now, if Arc puts his foot down and establishes boundaries and she still forces him? Then your argument might actually have a foundation. But until then, anon is just taking Arc's annoyance to an extreme.

Just to make it clear, I do like the protagonist. There's nothing wrong with Arc not being able to handle the situation with Suika. In fact, that's part of what makes the dynamic interesting. But it does bother me that readers turn his social ineptitude and unwillingness to handle the situation, into Suika being a fucking villain. They are turning against a character who is usually a favorite on these boards. When she, I repeat hasn't actually even done anything wrong yet!.

To the Author:
You are doing fine so far. The end to the last chapter was mildly infuriating for at least several of us, though mostly because the way it ended made it seem like we had somehow fucked things up beyond repair without knowing it (or even what we did). The "END" bit cemented this perception as well.

But other than that, you're handling things just fine, and it is a good read so far. One of only a couple stories I even check anymore. I used to follow at least 10 stories at a time. Now there's exactly 3, including this one.

The stuff with the magic plot was half there as a reminder to not go all "Learn magic: THE GAME" on us, and half to remind anon to not spend too much time obsessing over getting power (which happens far too often and slows stories down without actually achieving anything). I was a bit harsh there, so it didn't come out right. My bad.

Finally, sorry for fagging up your thread. Sometimes I kinda wish discussion (and voting) could be separate from the actual story posts. We anon tend to debate (see: whine like bitches) at the smallest things when left with too much time to think about it.


>An update should be ready some time later today hopefully. But not guaranteed.

> Hooray!

Something we can agree on.
>> No. 25450
Something else we must consider is Arc's background; he's not an outworlder gapped in with a bit of Touhou metaknowledge.

He's a native of the human village and as such has been taught to fear most non-humans especially the oni. So he doesn't try to put up much of an objection.

This results in a kinda toxic mix of a friendship.

As far as the magic thing goes it's not so much about "OOOH POWER UP" but more of a way to explore various dyanamics, not just the weird alice marisa friendship/rivalary but Mima's own plans as well.

And there's the fact that Arc's a very normal human (i.e. weaker than Cirno even); and Oni are prone to respect strength. One must consider that not even Reimu could keep her fully in line.
>> No. 25451
[x]The Shrine

The ride to the shrine was less awkward than I expected it to be. Marisa flew fast through the air – real fast. I held onto her skinny frame with all I had and then some. But besides the slight chaffing caused by the thin wooden shaft, there wasn't anything else that caused much discomfort.

“Here we are.” The ride could have taken less than five minutes for all that I knew. I was getting off the broom and stepping into the reassuringly solid paved path as she exchanged a couple of additional words with me. “Do you want me to come with you?”
“There's no need for you to. I think I can handle myself with Reimu just fine.”
“Are you sure? There's nothing scarier than women when they're moody.”
“Are you including yourself there?” I had to ask. Her boldness was somewhat scary at times but, to be honest, I didn't quite categorize her as a woman. A surprisingly thin girl, sure. But with the way she acted she was no woman. She could have been a normal childhood friend, really.
“If you want me to. There's nothing scary about an ordinary magician like me though. I'm fun to be around and I like having fun.” She shrugged with a smile, changing the subject, “I hope your visit turns out fine then.”
“Alright. Thanks for the ride.” I waved goodbye to her.
“I might come by later, after I finish something I have to do.” She left after saying those words, flying off over the forest again. If I had to venture a guess, it would likely have something to do with the package she got from Alice.

Hers was a convenient way to travel. Zipping along the sky seemed so effortless and efficient. It made the footpath seem completely unnecessary.

I tried to clear my mind as I looked at the shrine. Things were quiet, it seemed as still as the first time I came here (well, barring the excitement generated by a certain oni). I walked past the (permanently) empty donation box and went looking for Reimu inside.

Normally I would find her sitting by the porch drinking tea or something, but this time she wasn't there. I was used to occasionally showing up unannounced already. But for most of those times, Suika would greet me first, eagerly announcing my presence to the whole world. It made me nervous to look for Reimu on my own. It felt like I was intruding, violating her space. I called out for her.

There wasn't any sort of immediate reply.

Before I could get too nervous however, I found her. She was in a small darkened room in the interior of the shrine. Not the first place that anyone would look. The amount of sunlight that reached this room was surprisingly low. I had slid open the door and encountered her lying on the floor, looking up at the ceiling.

“Hello there. I'm sorry to barge in like this.” I began with an apology, staying at the room's entrance.
“Oh, it's you.” She turned her head for a brief moment towards me. “Suika was looking for you.”
“She probably was. Is she gone?”
“She left some time ago. We're the only ones here.”
“Mind if I come in?” I was feeling nervous again, as I remembered what I promised myself that I would ask her next time I saw her.
“Actually, I think I do.” She sighed. “I'm not in the mood to talk right now.”
“Ah... I see. I'm sorry for bothering you like this then.”

I closed the door, feeling dejected. I had been warned that Reimu might not be in the best of moods, but this was just disheartening. It was alright, I consoled myself, it could wait another day probably. I sat down near the door to think.

[] Leave the shrine
[] Lie around somewhere to kill time
>> No. 25453
File 124918664529.jpg - (100.47KB, 520x520, noteatime.jpg) [iqdb]
25453
[!/] Lie around somewhere to kill time

Zetsubo time.
>> No. 25454
[x] Lie around somewhere to kill time
>> No. 25455
[x] Lie around somewhere to kill time

Might as well
>> No. 25456
[X] Lie around somewhere to kill time
>> No. 25457
[x] Lie around somewhere to kill time.

Chill.
>> No. 25458
[X] Lie around somewhere to kill time

Time to perhaps ponder things, possibly have something happen, etc.

Wonder what caused Reimu's mood... did she find out about that thing breaking and Mima getting loose?
>> No. 25459
[X] Lie around somewhere to kill time

wandbaggonininhopesoffasterupdates gaems
>> No. 25461
[X] Lie around somewhere to kill time

Clearing the mind should do some good for Arc; not to mention Mima possibly willing to contact him as he lazes about... At least before Suika happens to pounce on Arc possibly due to her earlier choice of returning.
>> No. 25462
[x] Lie around somewhere to kill time.
[x] Try and remember the things that happened with Reimu that you never got around to narrating.

Seriously, what happened at the end of the party? And what are we supposed to ask her?
>> No. 25464
>>25455 here
Changing my vote to include this >>25462.

Either that or we should turn right back around and ask her what the hell happened. Afterall, its kinda odd that we didn't even get an option to pursue matters there or anything.
>> No. 25465
[x] Lie around somewhere to kill time
Suika pouncing him wouldn't be so bad
>> No. 25468
>>25464

It's good to ask (read: help her vent) her of her troubling issues but forcing it would probably result in a complete shut out; at the very least Reimu has not chased Arc away from the shrine grounds...

Besides perhaps Suika knows and is probably Reimu being another reason for her to find Arc among other things...

[x] Lie around somewhere to kill time.
[x] Try and remember the things that happened with Reimu that you never got around to narrating.
>> No. 25469
I look at the given options, all I see is:
>[] Despair and Suika
>[] Despair and Suika

[x] Knock on the door again.
[x] Plaintive, looking behind you nervously, "I'm not in the mood to talk either; could you let me in, please?"

Maybe fix myself us a drink?
>> No. 25471
Writing now. Probably won't take very long.

>>25469
You clearly have elevated amounts of despair leftover in your system from previous exposures to the undiluted stuff. You might want to get a full body scan.
>> No. 25472
Hooray!
>> No. 25473
File 124926671436.jpg - (264.80KB, 1024x768, rgas.jpg) [iqdb]
25473
[x] Lie around somewhere to kill time

This ended with me lying down in another vacant room. I was doing the same thing as Reimu really, staring at the ceiling and not much else. It wasn't the nicest of things to do, despite appearances. This situation invited a lot of thinking and reflexion. Something which was not very nice in large quantities. I would think about things that didn't have any bearing any more, and things I couldn't do anything about even if I tried. In a sense, I tortured myself. This is why working or spending time with others was much more preferable.

Being at the shrine gave me the opportunity to transform those thoughts to something else however. The tatami reminded me of the harvest. At first of the rice harvest. But that was another season, and so my thoughts turned to the current harvest. There would be a lot of food. And a lot of drinking and dancing and celebration. People were never angry during this time, and everyone cooperated throughout the village. It was such a simple thing for them to do but it changed the mood of life dramatically. Was that a good thing though?

Inevitably, like some sort of thought whirlpool, the topic changed back to something unpleasant.

I tried my best to change the subject again, thinking about the shrine.

In all the months that I had been here, visiting mostly on whims, I hadn't seen any other villagers. Just some of the faces I had seen here previously as well as a couple of new ones. I recalled the first time I was here; She said something to the effect that this was every villager's shrine, and home to us all. Reimu's words seemed completely empty now. If this was a home, it was an abandoned one. One that was completely forgotten by everyone else and ignored. I had asked around in the village. No one seemed to know or care about this shrine. In fact, the only one who had any sort of reaction was this one old lady I spoke to. She praised the shrine for keeping the peace, but it seemed more like a mechanical thanks than a closely-held belief.

I was the only one who ever donated, it would seem. It felt pointless and useless sometimes. Especially since the amounts I gave were so small. They had to come out of my meager earnings. It was embarrassing for me to even consider that a proper donation. Well, despite it all, it did feel like I helped slightly. Or maybe not. I just enjoyed seeing that girl's earnest smile when I showed up with something, as small as it may be. It was selfish, sure, and I could only admit it during moments like these (which I tried to avoid), but there was nothing wrong with being kind was there?

There were many different types of kindness in the world. I understood that. I thought about earlier today. About the mark. Despite coming on too strong, I understood that it wasn't just complete self-interest that motivated those magicians. Even if it seemed that way. They both were kind to me in their own way. It wasn't just kindness, and I knew that, there were other interests at stake, but it surely couldn't be bad as long as there was good intent behind it?

I was caught up in strange thoughts yet again. And that was even without thinking about the other magician. I hadn't seen her ethereal visage in many a month. Nor had I heard her voice. I wondered if I had imagined her sometimes. But what I had done with the power she had lent me was seen by Alice as well. It was a small display, but I sure couldn't ever do that on my own. Whether I liked it or not, it was a real encounter, that had very real consequences. Seeing her again wouldn't be bad. I closed my eyes, picturing the sumptuous display of light and power again. It wasn't the first time I recalled the memory, but probably because I was in the shrine, it felt more vivid and real than usual.

I opened my eyes, feeling really warm.

There was a blanket on me. I sat up and looked around.

It looked darker outside, red tinged the walls.

I realized that I must have dozed off without meaning to. I got up. I must have dozed for a couple of hours, since it was late afternoon. I was sure that I didn't lie down with a blanket on me, so someone must have put it on me.

“Sorry for intruding on the shrine like that.” Now in the kitchen, I apologized to Reimu. “And thank you for the blanket.”
“You could have caught a cold.” Reimu tended to what looked to be her dinner.
“I apologize for being a burden.”
“Not a problem, this is your shrine after all.” She then added, “However, it's getting dark. You should get going before night comes.”
“I'll worry about that later.” I said. I was feeling awkward around her and I didn't really know why.
“I would rather not take you home tonight. Sorry. I'm not feeling too well.” That meant I had to leave. I had work tomorrow, and had to be up early. There was no way I could put it off.
“Is something the matter?” There's automatic concern that welled up within me when she said that. “If you're feeling sick, I'll make you dinner. Go lie down.”
“It's nothing like that. I'm just not in a good mood, you know?”
“Ah. I understand.” I lie. I don't understand at all. “Is there anything I can help you with anyways?”
“Nothing. I'd just like to be left alone today.”
“Are you sure? Where's Suika?”
“She hasn't come back yet. And I'm very sure.”
“Alright.” I had hoped the oni would perhaps shed some light on the situation. I was out of luck apparently. “If there's anything you need, don't hesitate to ask.”
“I won't, thank you.”

And so I left the shrine. It didn't feel right, but there was nothing I could do. Reimu was right, it was getting dark. And if she wasn't going to take me home, I would have to go now. I sighed and walked home, leaving the lonely shrine behind. I arrived home just as the first stars appeared in the sky – and in time for dinner.
>> No. 25474
There was a surprise waiting for me.

“You have a visitor.” Auntie informed me. “Since you weren't around and she insisted on waiting, I invited her for dinner.”
“Oh, I see. Who is it?” Despite her faults, Auntie prided herself on being hospitable. I knew it was no problem to have someone over for dinner.
“It's your old schoolteacher.”

I found her sitting politely by the table.

“Sorry to intrude on you like this.” She apologized.
“It's alright Miss Keine. I don't mind. But what brings you here?”
“I couldn't stop thinking about you after we saw each other earlier. So I thought that I should come by and visit you to see how you were really doing.” She smiles. “I was feeling a bit guilty for neglecting you.”

“That's very kind of you.” Auntie remarked while bringing dinner. “We appreciate the sentiment very much.”
“That's right.” I agreed. “I appreciate you looking out for me even when you don't have to. It must be problematic for you.”
“It's not a problem at all. It's only natural for me to care.” She replied earnestly. “

Dinner was nice. Really nice. It had been a while since everyone at the table was equally cheerful. It helped that Auntie liked Miss Keine for some reason. We spent dinner catching up and exchanging pleasantries. Despite all of her responsibility and work, it was wonderful knowing that she cared enough to make time for me. Even when she clearly had no real reason to even bother being nice to me. It left me wishing that all my meals were this nice.

After dinner, Auntie volunteered to take care of the dishes, leaving the two of us talking alone.

“Your Aunt cooks really well. You're lucky.”
“It is nice eating her cooking.” You admit. It's not very often that I do though. Usually I make my own simple meals.
“So, how are you really?” She changed the topic rather suddenly. Her look was one of concern.
“I told you, Miss Keine, I'm fine.”
“Is that really the case?” Her insistence would be annoying if you didn't know it to be caused by genuine concern.
“It really is.”
“You've always been a bad liar, you know.” She chuckles. “Remember back in school? I always knew when you tried to hide the truth from me.”
“It wasn't that I was trying to lie to you back then, you know.” I justified myself. “There just wasn't any need for you to worry.”
“Just like now then?” She chuckled again. “You haven't changed at all since then. Always trying to bear everything silently. It's not good for you; it's alright to share some of the things that bother you.”
“But I'm fine, really I am. I can handle things on your own.”
“You might be able to, but there's no need to do it all by yourself. There's nothing wrong with allowing others to help you.”
“I know.” I shrugged.
“Then maybe could I help?”
“Thank you Miss Keine, but I don't think you should bother with my problems.”
“Don't be silly!” She looked rather serious, but smiled all the same. “I feel guilty for not being there before. So just try me. You won't regret it.”
“If you insist, but there's nothing really that you can do I think.”
“Come on and tell me what I can help you with.”



I couldn't believe that I was actually going to share something with her. Was it because I really needed help, or because I simply missed talking to her? She was always so kind and understanding... I remembered why it was hard to approach her sometimes. She was just so good that it made me ashamed of myself. When I remembered what I felt at the time, long ago, all those feelings started to bubble up again once more. This is was probably the reason I kept my distance from her subconsciously. So that nothing could ever happen.

[] “Oh, it's just a couple off problems related to the business, nothing interesting...”
[] “Well, I've just been having really bad timing with something that I want to do...”
[] “It's about magic, but you wouldn't know about that, would you?”
[] “Someone who has been too clingy, and sometimes I don't know what to do about it.”
>> No. 25476
[X] “Someone who has been too clingy, and sometimes I don't know what to do about it.”

Got to make foot travel at least more comfortable for Arc. I'm also rather surprised she hasn't gone as far as to utilize her abilities to hunt Arc down just yet.

"Tame" Suika and you'll have an easier time with Reimu~!
>> No. 25477
[X] “It's about magic, but you wouldn't know about that, would you?”

Ah, Keine, now you make a nice motherly figure.

Do want Keine's take on this situation. She probably knows more about this sort of thing than we do, and is more likely to be fully and completely honest about this sort of thing than either magician. Plus, Alice said she would give Arc a day, which means we can expect to have to make a decision soon.

Suika doesn't bug me much - Arc has already stated he enjoys being around her more often than not. The only real problem she has is that she gets carried away, but then again, that's Suika for you. Given an oni's attitude, nothing short of putting his foot down is going to solve that problem, and it's not exactly something he's in the position to do right now anyway.
>> No. 25482
[X] “Someone who has been too clingy, and sometimes I don't know what to do about it.”
[X] “It's about magic, but you wouldn't know about that, would you?”
>> No. 25483
I still don't get where this rampant hate on everyone is coming from. None of the cast have been the complete assholes that you people make them out to be. They've been inconsiderate, yes, but let's face it, this is Touhou, most of the cast is canonically pretty inconsiderate. Sometimes they get carried away, and do something that crosses the line, but they're people. That's what people do. Arc doesn't need to be the hateful emo you seem to want him to be, he just needs to call them on it once in a while when they cross the line.

It's like you're determined to ignore the fact that, underneath the selfishness, most of them are at least fairly decent, and have been right from the start.
>> No. 25484
>>25479
All Girls Want Bad Boys?
>> No. 25485
>>25479
And so you will apparently continue to say and apparently continue to believe while missing the obvious. Not everyone thinks or behaves in a single way, much less in the way that you believe should be followed.

I will put my foot down here, your write-in is out of character and thus not eligible. Normally I would write around it, but I have to emphasize this point since otherwise the pattern will continue:

Your frustration and antipathies are not the protagonist's own in every case.

It's alright not to like a character or motivation or whatever. As the writer, I am biased or have my own interpretation as well. But I don't insert my personal feelings into anyone directly, as you shouldn't either. And if you want a change in attitude, you'll have to do it via more subtle means and over a series of choices, not just a random completely spontaneous outburst.

I hope you understand what I'm getting at here. I don't want this to degenerate into a story with a series of whimsical characters with no defined personality, liable to change depending on the capricious moods the readers or I manifest. I'm sure you'll agree that that's not a good outcome for anyone.
>> No. 25487
[X] “Someone who has been too clingy, and sometimes I don't know what to do about it.”
>> No. 25489
>>25485
thank you for summing up my feelings about other people writing someone else's story

shit gets old really fast
>> No. 25490
[X] “Well, I've just been having really bad timing with something that I want to do...”
[X] “It's about magic, but you wouldn't know about that, would you?”
[X] “Someone who has been too clingy, and sometimes I don't know what to do about it.”

It seems in the post Arc might have some kind of feelings towards his old teacher.

And I think it's about time that Arc accepts her kindness. He does have alot to deal with, and Keine's perhaps one of the nicest people to him.
>> No. 25491
[X] “It's about magic, but you wouldn't know about that, would you?”
>> No. 25493
>“If you insist, but there's nothing really that you can do I think.”
>“Come on and tell me what I can help you with.”

>…

>I couldn't believe that I was actually going to share something with her. Was it because I really needed help, or because I simply missed talking to her? She was always so kind and understanding... I remembered why it was hard to approach her sometimes. She was just so good that it made me ashamed of myself. When I remembered what I felt at the time, long ago, all those feelings started to bubble up again once more. This is was probably the reason I kept my distance from her subconsciously. So that nothing could ever happen.

He wants comfort so, so badly here, that it just tugs at my heart string.

[x] “Oh, it's just a couple off problems related to the business, nothing interesting...”
[x] “Well, I've just been having really bad timing with something that I want to do...”
[x] “And I guess there's the other thing, being forced to choose one person over the other when I really want neither...”
[x] “Other than that someone has been being too clingy, and sometimes I don't know what to do about it...”
[x] Not looking at her, "...except hide. More and more I feel... like I'm a rubber ball, being batted around by giant rackets."
[x] Feigning your brightest smile for her, "I'm sorry to unload on you like this. I just had a day off, which makes me ruminate on stuff; when I'm lost in work, I don't have to think those things."

Arc doesn't need advice. He needs compassion.
>> No. 25495
I think a lot of this comes down to some anon having very "idealistic" (and I say this in the biggest stretch of the word) view on what friendships and relationships in general are supposed to work like.

Protip: They aren't supposed to work like anything but what you make them work like.
>> No. 25496
>>25495
>Protip: They aren't supposed to work like anything but what you make them work like.

So let's say we're friends, and then I came over to you house and stabbed you in the gut with a stiletto, is this our new 'standard of friendship'? Even if you said it was 'all cool brah' from your hospital bed, in which case I do it again, I think an outside observer could meaningfully remark that our friendship seems anything but.
>> No. 25497
>>25496

It's a standard of a friendship if the both of you are perpetually stoned beyond belief; possibly toying around with PCP...

Nonetheless nice strawman, or so it looks like one to me... too early for me...

I think anon has overblown their views on Suika's insistence on finding Arc and her behavior around Arc. If anything if Arc would show some backbone on when to draw the line on "partying hard'.

Suika can be overbearing but she's not a complete twit, she behaves more or less around Arc's Aunt and his aunt accepts her openly for goodness sakes~!

That said...

[] “Someone who has been too clingy, and sometimes I don't know what to do about it.”
>> No. 25498
>>25485
Fair enough. I was having a pretty bad day, so maybe that might've colored my attitude a bit. Deleting my post and revoting.


[x] “Oh, it's just a couple off problems related to the business, nothing interesting...”
[x] “Well, I've just been having really bad timing with something that I want to do...”
[x] “And I guess there's the other thing, being forced to choose one person over the other when I really want neither...”
[x] “Other than that someone has been being too clingy, and sometimes I don't know what to do about it...”
[x] Not looking at her, "...except hide. More and more I feel... like I'm a rubber ball, being batted around by giant rackets."
[x] Feigning your brightest smile for her, "I'm sorry to unload on you like this. I just had a day off, which makes me ruminate on stuff; when I'm lost in work, I don't have to think those things."

I like this write-in, I guess? It's about six in the morningish, and my mind isn't up to snuff right now, so I'm relying on my gut.
>> No. 25499
[x] “Oh, it's just a couple off problems related to the business, nothing interesting...”
[x] “Well, I've just been having really bad timing with something that I want to do...”
[x] “And I guess there's the other thing, being forced to choose one person over the other when I really want neither...”
[x] “Other than that someone has been being too clingy, and sometimes I don't know what to do about it...”
[x] Not looking at her, "...except hide. More and more I feel... like I'm a rubber ball, being batted around by giant rackets."
[x] Feigning your brightest smile for her, "I'm sorry to unload on you like this. I just had a day off, which makes me ruminate on stuff; when I'm lost in work, I don't have to think those things."

If we're gonna unload, we might as well dump all our cargo.
>> No. 25500
[x] “Oh, it's just a couple off problems related to the business, nothing interesting...”
[x] “Well, I've just been having really bad timing with something that I want to do...”
[x] “And I guess there's the other thing, being forced to choose one person over the other when I really want neither...”
[x] “Other than that someone has been being too clingy, and sometimes I don't know what to do about it...”
[x] Not looking at her, "...except hide. More and more I feel... like I'm a rubber ball, being batted around by giant rackets."
[x] Feigning your brightest smile for her, "I'm sorry to unload on you like this. I just had a day off, which makes me ruminate on stuff; when I'm lost in work, I don't have to think those things."
>> No. 25501
[x] “Oh, it's just a couple off problems related to the business, nothing interesting...”
[x] “Well, I've just been having really bad timing with something that I want to do...”
[x] “And I guess there's the other thing, being forced to choose one person over the other when I really want neither...”
[x] “Other than that someone has been being too clingy, and sometimes I don't know what to do about it...”
[x] Not looking at her, "...except hide. More and more I feel... like I'm a rubber ball, being batted around by giant rackets."
[x] Feigning your brightest smile for her, "I'm sorry to unload on you like this. I just had a day off, which makes me ruminate on stuff; when I'm lost in work, I don't have to think those things."
>> No. 25502
[x] “Oh, it's just a couple off problems related to the business, nothing interesting...”
[x] “Well, I've just been having really bad timing with something that I want to do...”
[x] “And I guess there's the other thing, being forced to choose one person over the other when I really want neither...”
[x] “Other than that someone has been being too clingy, and sometimes I don't know what to do about it...”
[x] Not looking at her, "...except hide. More and more I feel... like I'm a rubber ball, being batted around by giant rackets."
[x] Feigning your brightest smile for her, "I'm sorry to unload on you like this. I just had a day off, which makes me ruminate on stuff; when I'm lost in work, I don't have to think those things."
>> No. 25503
File 124933556458.png - (76.20KB, 320x439, sameperson.png) [iqdb]
25503
[X] “Someone who has been too clingy, and sometimes I don't know what to do about it.”

herpdeherpyderpyderp
>> No. 25504
[x] “Oh, it's just a couple off problems related to the business, nothing interesting...”
[x] “Well, I've just been having really bad timing with something that I want to do...”
[x] “And I guess there's the other thing, being forced to choose one person over the other when I really want neither...”
[x] “Other than that someone has been being too clingy, and sometimes I don't know what to do about it...”
[x] Not looking at her, "...except hide. More and more I feel... like I'm a rubber ball, being batted around by giant rackets."
[x] Feigning your brightest smile for her, "I'm sorry to unload on you like this. I just had a day off, which makes me ruminate on stuff; when I'm lost in work, I don't have to think those things."
>> No. 25505
>>25504
I assume you are unable to read properly
>>25485
>> No. 25506
[X] “Oh, it's just a couple off problems related to the business, nothing interesting...”
[X] “Well, I've just been having really bad timing with something that I want to do...”
[X] “And I guess there's the other thing, being forced to choose one person over the other when I really want neither...”
[X] “Other than that someone has been being too clingy, and sometimes I don't know what to do about it...”
[X] Not looking at her, "...except hide. More and more I feel... like I'm a rubber ball, being batted around by giant rackets."
[X] Feigning your brightest smile for her, "I'm sorry to unload on you like this. I just had a day off, which makes me ruminate on stuff; when I'm lost in work, I don't have to think those things."
>> No. 25507
>>25505

Can you read?

The write-ins are qualitatively different, in content, the motivation on part of the voter, and the disposition expressed by the speaker.

>>25497
>Nonetheless nice strawman, or so it looks like one to me...

The word you're looking for is "reductio".

>I think anon has overblown their views on Suika's insistence on finding Arc and her behavior around Arc. If anything if Arc would show some backbone on when to draw the line on "partying hard'.

Arc has made good arguments that he is helpless. Every time he attempts to do so, the oni simply uses physical coercion. The 'backbone' you'd have him express risks having it broken.

>Suika can be overbearing but she's not a complete twit, she behaves more or less around Arc's Aunt and his aunt accepts her openly for goodness sakes~!

Too bad then that Arc's Aunt is infinitely more of a bitch than Suika has ever been.
>> No. 25508
tl;dr: Arc is a spineless twerp and he lied to Reimu when she asked what he'd do if he were to get bullied by Youkai.

He hasn't asked for help.
He hasn't tried standing up for himself.

Now I understand if the writer wants to make him be pitiable, but it's a bit disappointing to have a character that's just stuck in spineless country.

Arc lives on his knees.
>> No. 25509
>>25496

Wow. You know what? I think we're done here. I just can't wait until your summer vacation ends.
>> No. 25510
>tl;dr: Arc is a spineless twerp and he lied to Reimu when she asked what he'd do if he were to get bullied by Youkai.

She didn't ask him what he would do if he were 'bullied', she asked what he would do if his life were at stake. That hasn't happened yet, fortunately. All he was able to affirm was that he'd seek help and attempt to avoid conflict in such a situation. The Shrine Maiden's reply--"what could you do?"--doesn't suggest a lack of courage; it suggests an essential lack of capacity.

>He hasn't asked for help.

I thought that's what we're doing right now? Same as trying to reestablish connections with Mima and Reimu.

>He hasn't tried standing up for himself.

Oh, he has. Every time he has however, he's just pushed right back down again.

>Now I understand if the writer wants to make him be pitiable, but it's a bit disappointing to have a character that's just stuck in spineless country.

Oh, he is pitiable, but where you make the leap from pity to contempt, I have no idea.

>Arc lives on his knees.

Would a good servant run and hide when his master calls for him? No. Arc actually as done quite well to subvert the intentions of the very powerful that surround him. There are of course many times where he has given in, but as he had said quite clearly, almost any alternative is preferable to death, and I would agree with him.

>Wow. You know what? I think we're done here. I just can't wait until your summer vacation ends.

I very glad that mutual antipathy is the defining characteristic of our friendship, Anon.
>> No. 25511
>>25507

That's it, couldn't think of it. Thanks for reminding me~!

- - -

Regardless of Arc's propensity to steer clear of danger, nothing is gained when one does not venture. Let us anon give Arc that courage to face Suika and her "heavy handed" control.

What about a mind game contest or whatever that Keine may give as an answer and actually stick with it instead of chickening out.

Yes the first time he attempted to "man up" ended him with a broken arm but that was a freak accident and had really nothing to do with him directly per say as it was a duel being conducted; Horrible timing to jump in.

At least now it's "peaceful" so it would be perfect now to clear up some matters with Suika.

One thing at a time. Attempting to get every thing fixed at the same time will only squander Arc's will strength and may very well bad end him when it's easily avoidable.

Remember Suika's not like Flandre (at least the often accepted variation) in the sense of how she behaves around humans. She will be at times overbearing but she wouldn't outright kill/maim/break Arc; even while being wasted.
>> No. 25512
[X] “Someone who has been too clingy, and sometimes I don't know what to do about it.”
I still like Suika though, dunno whats with all the random hate around here
>> No. 25513
Whats with the ambigious responses guys? you don't think Keine might take some of these comments the wrong way? At least make an attempt to make yourself clear.

[X] "Just a little trouble with some new friends of mine. They seem to be playing tug of war with me. And another of my friends seems depressed, and I don't know how to cheer her up."
>> No. 25514
>>25513

Holy crap this probably is the most sensible option out of this huge wall of posted wall-o-texts. Lets the "deeper" issues get faced by Arc himself rather than the answered being placed on a silver platter. Makes for good character growth.

[X] "Just a little trouble with some new friends of mine. They seem to be playing tug of war with me. And another of my friends seems depressed, and I don't know how to cheer her up."
>> No. 25515
>>25513

I was under the impression that each of the options that the writer gave us were just lead-ins. I expect that Arc will fill in details as needed.

Unless the writer wants to weaken the advice we get because Anon chose everything instead of one thing to focus on.
>> No. 25517
>>25515

I think there's the matter of not so much asking for advice, but telling someone who cares some of his problems.

Her advice might be so-so, but one thing that's undoubted is her compassion.
>> No. 25518
[x] "Just a little trouble with some new friends of mine. They seem to be playing tug of war with me. And another of my friends seems depressed, and I don't know how to cheer her up."
>> No. 25519
>>25517
>Her advice might be so-so, but one thing that's undoubted is her compassion.

Exactly. Sage advice on one of his problems is peanuts compared to an affirmation that Arc will be seeing more of Keine in the future.

What he really needs in his life is the stabilizing influence of someone like her. And she can do it to, by demanding to his Aunt that Arc go back to school.
>> No. 25520
>>25519

Good point but I don't think there's any general school for folks Arc's age. IN the human village I think the schoolhouse educates up to somewhere in the teens and it's up to them to find work.

But I think most of the boys wouldn't mind time with Keine-sensei.

I think what Keine might do is talk his aunt into letting him do jobs for Keine, whicn she'd tend use as a chance to talk with him. She might perhaps introduce him to Mokou, who would have a few pieces of advice (since if certain things are to be believed or such, those two knew each other since Keine was just a little girl)
>> No. 25521
>>25520
>I think what Keine might do is talk his aunt into letting him do jobs for Keine, whicn she'd tend use as a chance to talk with him.

Well, she could offer him a position as teaching assistant. Arc did mention there are other part-time workers, and that they would need a new teacher soon.

Point is, whatever she might have him do, Arc's Aunt should object to it, claiming that his current work barely pays for his room & board now, so as not to lose what has essentially been a free laborer, and one that has not been afraid to do what normal villagers might consider dangerous work--not at least without compensation. This is what gives Keine opportunity to offer to take the 'burden' off her hands completely and either put him up herself or otherwise find somewhere else for him to live.
>> No. 25522
>>25521

That'd be a step up for him, since once he gets out from his aunt's thumb, it should ease up, and in the case of living with Keine, it wouldn't be that bad(asides from the possible naughty thoughts that even Arc might end up having), and I doubt Mokou would be that terrible when she stops by. That and she'd have advice about bullying (She strikes me as a sort that dislikes bullies)
>> No. 25523
I guess I should have called it a while before. I've been busy and unable to write. I haven't bothered tallying exactly yet but will soon.

Expect an update in a little bit or after I get some sleep (probably the latter).
>> No. 25524
>>25523

hooray!
>> No. 25526
updates?
>> No. 25539
File 124993114171.jpg - (84.58KB, 573x809, kmc.jpg) [iqdb]
25539
I felt like sighing. I wasn't sure about sharing with her. Even my first words were deflective and deceptive. “Oh, it's just a couple of problems related to the business, nothing interesting really...”

“I thought business was going well for you.” The revelation came as something as a shock to her. “I'm sorry to hear about that.” She looked like she was thinking carefully, like she was treading on eggshells. “I don't know what I could do about that, but I promise to refer people here. It might not help much...”

This was painful. I felt a burning sensation in my chest, penetrating its way towards my head. There was no doubt that I was feeling guilty, and physical signs manifested themselves. She hadn't noticed them, looking preoccupied with the excuse I gave her. It only made things worse.

“...I'm sorry.” My face had reddened completely.
“Pardon?” She looked at me perplexed, not quite understanding why I was bowing my head.
“I'm really sorry. It's not a business problem. It's got its ups and downs but things are fine.” I kept justifying in somewhat of a flurry, “I didn't want to lie to you but it just came out and I, uh...”

A reassuring hand reached across the table and patted my shoulder. It made me stop talking and look up. She was smiling. Smiling with a simple and unpretentious radiance. I felt a strong fluttering in my stomach, and an equally intense pain in my heart.

“I understand. Just take a deep breath and calm yourself down.” I found myself following her advice immediately. My lungs filled with air, and as I exhaled it felt like the pain had subdued if only by a tiny fraction. “If you want to tell me something, just take your time. I'm not going to rush you.”

I tried to calm myself down. It wasn't easy. Miss Keine's patience and sweet smile just made it worse, it made me think of things I really didn't want to think about.

“Oh I'm so sorry. I forgot to ask if you wanted some tea. How rude of me.” Auntie popped her head into the room momentarily.

Auntie had remarkably good timing.

“It's quite alright.” Miss Keine answered her. “I'm afraid that I can't stay very much longer.” She looked slightly embarrassed. “It's rude given your great hospitality, but I'm afraid that these days my schedule is pretty full.”
“No need to apologize. I understand completely.” My aunt replied with a courteous smile. “These days have been really busy for everyone in the village, with the harvest festival coming up and all.”
“You must be really busy as well.” Miss Keine's continuation of the topic made me remember my own words just moments ago – making me feel awkward. “Are you supplying the refreshments for this years' festival as well.”
“It hasn't been confirmed yet, but most probably. We'll likely know tomorrow.”

The offer for tea was also made to me, but I also declined.

Auntie excused herself after that. She still had things to clean up and so I was left alone with Miss Keine again. I put pressure on myself, reasoning that Miss Keine expected me to say something. I looked up again, feeling my face flush. It was ultimately the overwhelming nostalgia that got me to open up. I wanted to selfishly take up her time again, and there was no helping it.

“It's funny how things happen, huh?” I found myself smiling for no reason. She waited for a moment before replying.
“What do you mean?”
“Just how one thing leads to another. Or how sometimes things just come out of the blue. “ I found myself speaking with no clear direction in mind. There were a lot of things that I felt like telling her, sharing and unburdening myself of. But despite her receptiveness I still wasn't comfortable with dumping everything on her. “I guess I'm not making much sense. Sorry.”
“Oh no, I get what you mean.” She smiled again. Rather, it seemed like she never stopped. Every time I mustered the energy to lift my gaze up she would be displaying the same reassuring smile. It dug in deep within me. “It's easy to get caught up with things. And sometimes its not clear why that's the case.”
“...”

I looked around the room. The plain walls were undecorated and dark. It was already evening beyond a doubt, and there was little light in this house usually at this time of day. For all the work that I had to do, my evenings were relatively free, and I usually spent them quietly in my room. After locking up and finishing any lingering work from the day, of course. Auntie would usually do the same or, quite rarely, spend an evening out with the rest of the family. There was no reason for me to go.

The gentle shadows cast on the wall moved. Ah, I had spaced out again. I couldn't help but let out a small chuckle. Keine was waiting on me wordlessly and patiently.

“I have horrible timing.” I had concluded that long ago. Whether it was arriving too late or too early, or just doing things at the wrong time, it seemed that nothing I did was ideal. I hadn't really meant it as a self-pitying remark, but I felt that Keine took it that way.
“And why would that be?”
“It just seems to be that way, I don't really know why. It's practically a predisposition.”
“I certainly don't think that you have predisposition for bad timing. It's just the way you perceive things.”
“You're probably right.” I took her words to heart. It was practically a reflex – a holdover from years past.
“If you just try your best, I think everything will work out for you.”
“I always do.” But I was reminded of my broken arm. That certainly was a case of bad timing. Having been an immediate casualty, I don't really know what exactly happened afterward. Just the pain and then being tended to by a frowning girl. I smiled inwardly. She looked unguarded then, a complete contrast to her usual expressionless and cold outward appearance. Having Suika behave for a while after that was also a welcome change – if but just a brief one. “It would be nice if things worked out my way just for a little bit though.” It was a murmured wish, something that I half-wanted her to hear and half-wanted her to ignore.

I was pretty sure that she heard me. But she didn't say anything further on the subject.

“Doesn't it feel good to get this off of your chest? I'm sure it does. Don't stop just here.”
“Ah. Well, it sort of does.” I scratched my arm nervously. Despite my sometime erratic thoughts, just talking to her had a soothing effect on me.
“There you go. Feel free to share more. I'm listening.”
“Well, there's someone who's been too clingy when around me. It's been going on for quite some time now. I don't know what to do about her.”
“Oh, her?” She sounded a bit surprised.
>> No. 25540
I looked up to see her grinning. I blushed when I realized what she was probably thinking about.

“Um, no it's nothing like that. It's just...”
“Just?” She looked at me with a humorous light in her eyes. Was I that amusing? Or was she feeling happy for me? I just felt myself reddening further.
“She's a friend. And I get along with her most of the time. But she shows up in the middle of the day and drags me off to do whatever and steals away all of my free time.”
“But you have fun with her?”
“Well, yes, I guess. She shows me all sorts of things I had no idea existed. And I've met a lot of nice people because of her.”
“That's good for you then.” She smiled affectionately. “It sounds like you've got yourself a nice friend.”
“You're right.” I nodded. “But all the same, I sometimes wish that she would let me be. There are times that I don't feel like doing all those things.”
“Sounds to me like you've got to talk to her about it. Communication is key in any relationship.” Her words of wisdom are true alright. But...
“I'm not sure that she'll listen. She gets too caught up in her own world.”
“You'll find a way to get through.” She assured me. “You probably will know the best way to deal with it.”
“I guess.”
“But really now, you've surprised me quite a bit.” She clapped her hand once. She looked genuinely excited.
“And why is that, Miss Keine?”
“Well, why do you think? You've made a friend. And by the sounds of it, a good one.” She replied happily. I thought about what she just said. I wasn't sure it was entirely true. But then again, I wouldn't know the first thing about good friends. All I've gotten through the years in the village have been just people that I occasionally greet and talk to – nothing else.

I stopped to think about what she had said.

“If you'd like, my nephew can escort you home.” My aunt interrupted us. It was strange for her to call me 'nephew', considering that she always did her best to drive home the point that she was 'barely' a couple years older than I was.
“Oh no, that would be too much trouble. I couldn't let you go through all that inconvenience.”
“It would be no inconvenience. I'm sure that my nephew will be more than pleased.” I nodded at my auntie's words

“It'd be no problem at all.” I asserted. Auntie was right in her call. It was only good hospitality to do this sort of thing.
“Well, in that case. I'll accept.” She got up from the table. “I'll go now before it gets too late then.”

We walked together to the door, where Miss Keine thanked my aunt for everything. We had spent a nice evening together, and I kind of wished that it didn't have to end so soon. I was told that the back entrance would be unbarred so I could get back in.

“Oh wait, could I talk to you for a moment?” Auntie called me after we took a couple of steps. Miss Keine carried on slowly, giving us some privacy.
“Yes?”
“I just wanted to say that you should remember what grandpa taught you about walking with ladies.”
“Huh?”
“I'm sure you'll remember soon enough.” She smiled mischievously. Her face had an impish look that I hadn't seen since that time when I was 10 and we went bathing in the local stream with her friends... I felt something strange stir within me. “Anyways take care, and come back soon.”

I walked with Miss Keine towards her home. I thought about what Auntie was trying to tell me. I couldn't think of anything, and only halfheartedly made smalltalk with Miss Keine. It was only when her arm accidentally brushed up against mine that I realized it. Well, the realization felt like being hit with a sack of rice.

My heart rate spiked all of a sudden and I felt like I was going to explode. I dawdled alongside her, trying not to act too stiff.
>> No. 25541
“What's wrong?” She immediately noticed my altered behavior. She was sharp.
“It's nothing... just thinking about things.” I said softly, trying my best to act normal. It wasn't easy, with my heart beating rapidly and my mind racing. She looked at me, said something (that was surely reassuring – were I paying any attention) and didn't say anything else.

I somehow managed to make it all the way to her home while thinking about the things that grandpa had taught me. How I should treat a lady, any lady, a special lady. His usually gruff and straightforward personality changed when it came to this topic, and he suavely dispensed some advice. How I should talk, act, think, feel. Like how I should be holding her hand, protecting her from whatever perils the night could harbor. It was all too much. I couldn't... think that way about the current situation. My mind would have none of it, and quit on me before my thoughts became too dangerous.

It was her hand on my shoulder that made me realize that we had arrived already.

“Are you sure you're alright?”
“Oh, I''m fine.” My parched throat managed to produce my voice. I hadn't noticed how everything in my body just had gone completely insane.
“If you say so...” She eyed me suspiciously, but then returned to her usual smiling self. “Thank you for the wonderful dinner tonight and walking me home then.”
“It was nothing.” My good manners hadn't been completely exorcised. And little by little my common sense was returning. It had returned enough for me to appreciate my location. I was in front of a solitary house by the entrance – Miss Keine's house. There was a light on inside. Already? Maybe she lit it before going out?
“All the same, I hope to return you the favor some time.”
“There's no need really.”
“I insist.” She then lowered her voice a bit. “And don't worry about your troubles, knowing you, I'm sure things will work out for you. If not, I'm always here and glad to help.”
“Thank you.”

She giggled.

“You've grown up a bit, you know that? You look much more dependable than you used to.”
“Ah, not really. I don't think so.” I lowered my gaze, trying to hide my embarrassment.
“It's true. I'm sure that the young ladies won't leave you alone.”
“...” I said nothing, instead blushing crimson. I didn't know if she was being truthful or just teasing me.
“Well, once again, thank you for everything. Goodnight.”
“Goodnight.”
“Please don't hesitate to talk to me if you ever need to, ok? It'll make me feel much more at ease if you trust me.”
“Alright.” I summoned up a smile. It was the least I could do in the face of her kindness.

I got back home some time after. I locked the back entrance and headed just collapsed in my own bed afterward. I'm not sure how long I was awake after that, but I distinctly recall having fallen asleep with pleasant thoughts on my mind and a large resulting smile.

“It's no good if you're asleep on the job.” Auntie's words startled me. “Geez, look at you, you were drooling and everything with a silly grin on your face. You're hopeless.”
“Sorry, I didn't mean to.” I apologized.
“What if a customer had seen you like that? It's not exactly a good business strategy to be asleep on the job.”
“I'm really sorry, it won't happen again.”
“Relax.” Auntie smiled, placing her hand on my back. I felt her curly locks of hair resting on my back as well. “It's just a gentle reminder for the future. I told you earlier, we're going to be closed for most of the day.”
“Oh, that's right. The village council people are coming over.” I remembered. They were here to officially stamp the order for the alcohol needed for the festival.
“I won't have any time to make lunch today, so you're on your own.”
“That's alright. Do you want me to make lunch then?” I offered.
“No, that's not necessary.” She moved around the counter and stood by the entrance. “I'll be busy with the council people afterward. You know how they like to find any excuse to eat and drink, and I'll be dragged along as well.” She smiled, in one of her better moods evidently, “You've gone through similar, so you understand.”

I only had to tend the store for about an hour after that. I was cut loose, let free, and wandered out of the shop just as the council members came in. They made such a big deal of this every year. I was sure it was just a way of showing off.

Well, because of them I had the rest of the day off, so I couldn't complain much. I was definitely going to the shrine at some point later, but didn't have to right now. I hadn't eaten, and I didn't exactly want to inconvenience Reimu. Not after how she looked yesterday.

[] See how the festival preparations are coming along
[] Try and see Keine again
[] Go to the shrine regardless
>> No. 25542
[x] Try and see Keine again
>> No. 25543
[] See how the festival preparations are coming along
>> No. 25544
[X] See how the festival preparations are coming along.

Alice was thinking of putting on a puppet show for the festival, yes?
>> No. 25545
[x] See how the festival preparations are coming along
>> No. 25546
We're getting close to autosage, better start another thread soon.
>> No. 25547
>>25544
i like how anon thinks, besides, we're bound to find someone interesting there.
[X] See how the festival preparations are coming along.
>> No. 25549
[X] See how the festival preparations are coming along.
>> No. 25550
>>25540
>“Well, why do you think? You've made a friend. And by the sounds of it, a good one.” She replied happily. I thought about what she just said. I wasn't sure it was entirely true. But then again, I wouldn't know the first thing about good friends.
Keine is good; Keine is wise.

[X] See how the festival preparations are coming along
>> No. 25553
[x] See how the festival preparations are coming along.
>> No. 25554
[X] See how the festival preparations are coming along

We might run into someone we know; that or someone new.

I wonder if Arc'll ever run into Rinnosuke. (He'd be a potientally good friend, since he's a guy who has to deal with various female antics as well)
>> No. 25556
[x] See how the festival preparations are coming along

may want to make a new thread bro
>> No. 25557
[x] See how the festival preparations are coming along
>> No. 25588
[x] See how the update preparations are coming along
>> No. 25598
>>25588
Not good. Not good at all. So not good that I can't give any sort of ETA, even a rough estimate. Could be a little under a week on the upper end, and only half a day on the lower end. It depends on how things unfold, since I've been notoriously busy and overworked. Sorry about that.
>> No. 25617
[x] See how the festival preparations are coming along

Even though I wasn't doing anything particularly stressful or exhausting my heart had accelerated to a worrying speed. A full twenty minutes of sitting in a quiet corner did nothing to help.

Villagers walked in the square, some waving at me from a distance as they passed, hurrying to finish their preparations for the upcoming festival. My reply was weak and disconnected – something that I thought that no one would notice at a distance. I watched as everyone went to and fro, seeming to never stop. No, I realized, that wasn't quite it. I was so caught up in my own little world that I didn't notice at first people stopping, taking breaks like I did, and being cheerful. I just wanted them to not ever stop – it had a hypnotizing effect if I didn't think about and it helped me not worry.

I tucked my knees against my chest.

Just before sitting here I had spent over an hour walking around, socializing. Despite the deadline, spirits were high, and there only seemed to be a friendly environment of frenzied work. That was the effect that the Harvest Festival had on people alright. Everyone looked forward to it. For the men that worked the fields it meant payoff for the investment made with sweat and toil, for the women produce that they would stock and pickle, and the children – well, they just liked the atmosphere of fun that invaded the village this time of year.

Normally I would be infected with that spirit of celebration and partake in the feeling of fulfillment that went around. It was an accomplishment seeing our goods being drunk by everyone, and everyone enjoying it as if it was the best drink in the world. But heck, there was only one thing on my mind right now. And even Miss. Keine hadn't helped ease the load off my mind. She might have even complicated things for me. Just thinking about it made my face feel hot.

I thought about Suika. If it were her, I don't think I would have a problem. She'd probably ask me actually.

...In fact, I was surprised that she hasn't even brought it up. It might have to do with my not seeing much of her lately. Or maybe she just hasn't heard about it. It's possible. She hadn't showed up previous years. Then again, she didn't have any reason to show up. Well, except for the obvious one.

Still, I had a plan. And I supposed that I was beating myself up for failing to follow it. No, that was definitely it. Sitting all by myself here, feeling like a fool. I had tried to rationalize that it wasn't my fault, circumstances simply foiled my plans. It was stupid anyways. And it had taken me a month to convert what seemed like a fevered dream into a plan. It didn't seem like I would be able to do it – thus far my pessimism had proven correct.

I sighed.

And realized I was getting sidetracked again. It wasn't all hopeless. I still had a bit of time left. And yeah, yesterday was a fluke – completely out of my control. I was sure that she would be more receptive now. And if she wasn't, well... I'd try anyways!

I clenched my fists as my heart neared bursting point. I realized that I must have cheered out loud, done some sort of confident whoop, I felt that several pairs of laughing eyes were upon me. I got up, trying not to let my deepening flush show too well and started to calmly walk away from the square.

I gave the preparations another quick inspection in order to kill some more time.

Music and dancing would occur in a cleared section of the square, no doubt getting more crowded as the drinking progressed. It was the only cleared spot in the square and the nearby streets – the rest were jam-packed with stalls and temporary shacks. They would be full of examples of the harvested bounty come festival day, as well as different types of treats and foods. Others still would have fun games and activities for the children – and some will have games intended only for adults. The tents hidden away from the main paths were reminders of that.

Of course, some of the attractions weren't really attractions at all. The temporary bathrooms set up by the town council as well as the temporarily expanded public bath were hotly contested areas come festival night. And while most people would be trying to have fun, some would be having too much fun, and volunteers always kept watch that no one went over the edge. I had an uncle who was legendary in the village. I bet if I had gone down to the local tavern I would have found him proudly sitting on his usual stool, singing and making merry with his usual group.

As I neared the edge of the designated festival area, I remembered a fact that I had tried hard to forget.

There was a high chance that I would run into those people. If my aunt saw me, I knew that was pretty much guaranteed. She spent time with them, after all. Unlike me. It made me doubt the wisdom of what I wanted to do. There was no telling what would happen then...

Bah, with something of an uncharacteristic continuation of my earlier bravado I dismissed all of those thoughts. I was old enough to do whatever I wanted, and I sure didn't have to figure them into the equation if I didn't want to.

I smiled. It wasn't forced either. By some strange and unintentional process, I was feeling both recharged and confident.

It would be time to go to the shrine, I decided.

I felt myself smile during the whole length of the trip. It wasn't a bad thing to feel like this, I decided. I've smiled like this at some of the silly things Suika has done; there was this one time she fell asleep face first into the tatami and when she woke up nearly a day later, her face was harshly marked by the straw. Not to mention the times she ranted about the most silly things. It certainly was a unique thing to witness.

That was why when I saw her sprawled on the floor, sleeping soundly without a care in the world, that I laughed. I realized I was in a strange mood, and in retrospect it was probably my body's way of dealing with my pointed anxiety. Still, she wasn't what I had come for, so I left her alone.

It soon became painfully obvious that I would have to disturb her.

There was no one in the shrine besides her. I looked in all of the public spaces and knocked where appropriate – there was no sign of there being anyone else. And I wanted to be patient, I really did, but I was feeling my assertive front start to chip and crack, and in the back of my mind I felt the shrill pangs of panic beginning to creep in. I had to strike before I cooled down.

She looked so defenseless. Like a child, really. Her small stature was truly obvious to the eye. Her antics and attitude made her seem larger than she was most of the time, I realized. Her favorite toy – her gourd – was held jealously in her right hand, grasped as tightly as one could in their sleep. I shook my head at the sight of her clothes; They had been loosened in her sleep, looking flimsier than usual. She really couldn't deal with the basics well, could she? If she just took five minutes in the morning to properly dress herself she wouldn't have this sort of problem...

It must have been a side effect of my determination. I realized that besides directly violating the age-old saying “let sleeping Oni lie”, I was eager to go further than just waking her up. If I were asleep like that, she would definitely do it – or so I reasoned. No doubt about it. Wasting this chance would be a shame. It wasn't often I had the upper hand when dealing with her.

I smiled again. Whether I liked it or not, she was the only source of information I had.

[] Wake her up gently
[] Play a prank on Suika (specific prank suggestions are welcome)
>> No. 25620
[X]Wake her up gently.
>> No. 25621
[X] Wake her up gently

seems like the nice thing to do.
>> No. 25622
[X] Wake her up gently

Don't get sidetracked, our mission is clear:

Find Reimu, ask her to festival.

This is a Priority 1 mission.
>> No. 25625
[x] Wake her up gently

Do not want to be headbutted by the oni, accidentally or otherwise.
>> No. 25666
File 125226908870.jpg - (458.78KB, 954x1370, 2ea704a7964b2df2eeb60171b91370868ae3571f.jpg) [iqdb]
25666
[x] Wake her up gently
>> No. 25672
[X] Wake her up gently
>> No. 25677
File 125228347170.jpg - (125.07KB, 800x800, slsu.jpg) [iqdb]
25677
[x] Wake her up gently

Darker thoughts were purged, and I probably let a once-in-a-lifetime chance slip by. But well, it might be better this way. Who knew what kind of flood of events I might have triggered.

Still, waking her up gently wasn't any easier. Sure she looked defenseless. Sure she looked particularly peaceful and happy. But that was just the thing. I had seen her 'wake up' in the mornings. And it wasn't so much a waking up as resurrection. She slept deeply and when she was up she would behave like one of the decaying monsters back from the dead that grandma used to tell me about. Unpredictable and possibly violent.

Then there was the fact that she looked, well... kind of adorable like that. I found myself thinking that I wouldn't mind lying there with her curled up against me, wasting the afternoon in idleness. The horns would be an issue, but I'd find a way to work around that.

I had something I had to find out though, so that was out of the question. I sighed, the sound carried more than I would have liked it to. I had to do this right, and so I began to look for the best way to wake her up. I stood by her side and shook her gently.

“...” She didn't react much – I thought for a moment that her tranquil breathing had raised in pitch, but it was probably just my ears playing tricks on me. I didn't dare to shake any harder, fearing that it would be too violent.
I tried something of a slightly different approach. I sat by her head and briefly admired her girlish ribbons and random decorations that were utterly at odds with her personality when she was awake. Then I began to stroke her long flaxen hair, in gentle but determined strokes. For someone who spent so much time running, playing, not to mention drinking heavily, her hair was surprisingly soft and shiny. It'd make many a girl in the village jealous, that much I knew from time spent with my aunt's friends as a child.

“Hey, wake up Suika.” I spoke to her, not letting up with my hand motion. To my delight, it had some effect. She purred, an even more complacent expression began to form on her face. Good, I thought. I continued to speak, feeling like I was drawing her back from the border of the land of sleep. I stepped up my game, circling my fingers around her horns, teasing the protrusions slightly.

“Mmnn...” She began to stir now, and I thought I almost had her.
“If you don't wake up, I'll stop.” As if to prove that I wasn't bluffing, I stopped my hand for a moment.
“Hynyaaa~” On cue, her eyes opened, revealing the ultimate expression of laziness. “Don't stop~”
“Good, you're awake.” I smiled at her patiently.
“Good morning lover boy. Last night was wonderful~” She smiled, her eyes lighting up in memory of some... sort... of...
“I have no idea what you're talking about.” Even though I said that, I felt myself blushing slightly. “Stop making things up.”
“My, you're moody after the deed is done. Can't you at least give me a good morning kiss?” She closed her eyes and puckered her lips.
“...”

I actually thought about kissing her then.

“Nyahaha~” She suddenly sat up, turning around to face me in one swift motion. “You're the same as Reimu, no imagination for these things.”
“I think that's a good thing.”
“It's bo~ring~ though.” She let out a yawn and rubbed her eyes. It shouldn't have come to me as a surprise, but she took a swig from her gourd as soon as she was able to. “So, come to play with me? You're too good at hide and seek though, so let me train some more before we try again.”

I took it that she meant my hiding away from her.

“Not really. I need your help.”
“Oh, help?” She nodded to herself, as if accepting that this was some sort of sacred mission. “Anything for my Arc. If you tell me to drink twenty bottles of sake, I will. If you tell me to drink thirty bottles of-”
“It's not about alcohol, you know.”
“It doesn't matter,” She continues, unfazed, “if you told me to destroy a mountain with my bare hands, I'd do it gladly-”
“Can you just let me tell you what I want?”
“You didn't like my speech?” Dejected, she took another swig from her gourd.
“It's not that. I'm looking for Reimu, do you know where she is?”
“Oh, of course I do. Sorta.”
“Sorta? What's that supposed to mean?”
“Ehm.” She cleared her throat. “I was taking a nap in front of the shrine after a lively night,” I deduced that meant she passed out and was lying there, “and sometime in the morning Reimu came out and stumbled over me, cursing. Apparently she didn't see me lying there. She left without apologizing too.”



I waited for her to continue.

“Well, I went back to sleep and then woke up and moved in here. That's it.”
“That doesn't explain where she is at all though.” I tried not to sound too disappointed.
“Ah, there's the thing.” She stretches her arms, lazily grasping out in several directions. “I remember her saying something to me, like I should keep watch over the shrine or something today. Something about an 'incident' and her having to 'intervene'. Can't remember much else.”
“...I have no idea what that means.”
“It means that you're all mine today!” She lept in a way not fitting for someone who had just woken up. Her arms clamped around my back tightly, and I was once again reminded of the immense power that was stored in her minute frame.

I felt the wind knocked out of me cleanly. I had to wait until she let up in order to breath again.

“...I really can't.” I told her directly. “You know I like spending time with you, but I really need to go see Reimu. It's important.”
“Hm...” She looked at me with a puzzled look. And left the room abruptly without even saying a work. I sat around, confused as to what had just happened. I had no idea where Reimu was, and was without any leads at all. I felt like a fool for having expected to just come to the shrine and get things sorted.

“Shall we get going then?” I looked at the door in surprise. Suika had come back, dressed differently. She was wearing a strange sort of beige cap with a checkered pattern, sort of flat and with a brim on the front and a smaller on the back. A coat of the same color as the beige of the cap, totally unfit for the weather was donned smartly over her normal clothes. And to top it all off, she had something that looked like some sort of short kiseru in her hand, but it wasn't lit.

“Huh?” That was all I could muster. I had no idea what this was all about.
“To find Reimu, of course. You should have been able to deduce at least that much.”
“I don't understand.”
“And that's why you're still my assistant.” She let out an over-embellished and fake sigh and brought the unlit pipe to her mouth. “There's a mystery here, and it's up to us, my superior intellect, and your boyish good luck combined to solve it. Get with the program.”

I had never been so lost before in my life. The clothes, the manner of speaking, the strange sobriety – it was all too much. But it seemed like she wanted to help me.

“As the resident genius and detective, I've come up with several possible leads. Since this case concerns you, my dear assistant, I thought that maybe your instincts and luck would help us stumble upon our goal easily.”
“Umm...”
“In short, I'm letting you choose where to start.”

She explained that she knew of a couple of places where Reimu might be. Or at the very least, where they could tell us where she was. And apparently, being something of a lucky item (I don't understand how she came to that conclusion) I had to choose where to go.

[] The place to start would be with her known acquaintances – to the forest it is
[] That other shrine sounded too shady to pass up
[] Meet with Suika's underground contact
[] Investigate the shrine more thoroughly and leave it at that
>> No. 25679
[x] That other shrine sounded too shady to pass up. Considering how Suika nows about the underground, it's post SA and it's pre UFO.

Chance are if anyone knows about this other than Reimu or Marisa, it'd be the gods at the Moriya Shrine.
>> No. 25680
>>25679
Hate to bust up your timeline theory, but in SA when you pick Suika for Reimu's partner she pretty much outright states that she was originally from the underground. So she knew about it well before SA.

[X]That other shrine maiden sounds too shady to pass up.

But I'm willing to make a similar guess, if only in the hope that Suika calls Sanae a shady armpit miko.
>> No. 25681
[X] That other shrine sounded too shady to pass up
>> No. 25686
[X] That other shrine maiden sounds too shady to pass up.
>> No. 25687
[x]That other shrine maiden sounds too shady to pass up.
>> No. 25706
[x] The place to start would be with her known acquaintances – to the forest it is
>> No. 25736
[x] The place to start would be with her known acquaintances – to the forest it is!

Who else besides Suika and Yukari hangs around Reimu at times..?
>> No. 25738
[X] Meet with Suika's underground contact

More onis to make Arc's life extra hard
>> No. 25739
File 125243280337.jpg - (521.03KB, 800x800, yuugi3.jpg) [iqdb]
25739
>>25738
I'd like to think Yuugi is a bit softer than Suika though. Blame Glasnost.
>> No. 25747
>>25738

I'd rather sleep on pillows compared to a 2x4.
If you know what I mean.
>> No. 25748
If Yuugi's introduced, Arc will have his hands full.... chances are not in the sexy way.
>> No. 25751
[x] The place to start would be with her known acquaintances – to the forest it is!

Another encounter with our favorite neurotic magicians.
>> No. 25753
[X] The place to start would be with her known acquaintances – to the forest it is!

"Arc, have you made a decisi--"

"Help me find Reimu, and you can teach me whatever you want."
>> No. 25754
[x]That other shrine maiden sounds too shady to pass up.
>> No. 25755
Actually, come to think of it, wouldn't Alice be very valuable as help in this instance? Her doll manipulation would be really helpful in canvasing search areas.
>> No. 25781
>>25753
>"Help me find Reimu, and you can teach me whatever you want."

I wonder how many favors we'll be able to extract from the magicians in order for them to teach us magic, before revealing we're also learning it from the guy across the street.
>> No. 25813
[X] The place to start would be with her known acquaintances – to the forest it is!
>> No. 25953
Are you planning on updating this by the end of the month, or should I just fuck off and come back in a year?
>> No. 26066
>>25953
Well, let's see if I can update by the end of the day today. Been sidetracked by a number of things as of late. If not, I guess I'll just be pulling a harker.
>> No. 26081
>>26066

hooray!
>> No. 26127
File 125383557068.jpg - (38.13KB, 256x395, Harker 1.jpg) [iqdb]
26127
>> No. 26140
>>26127
I lol'd

Then I ;_;
>> No. 26168
File 125396356138.jpg - (8.87KB, 278x254, angrybirdface.jpg) [iqdb]
26168
you said there would be update
>> No. 26173
Well, sorry about that. I'm committed to updating sometime soon. Maybe in the coming hours (I know). It's just that I can't quite get the feel for Arc just right. And it annoys me. Hence requires rewriting. In the meantime, to keep you lot busy, you might want to check out another story I run: >>>/eientei/16979
>> No. 26201
File 125400982439.gif - (107.22KB, 920x768, arc many faces.gif) [iqdb]
26201
>>26173
>It's just that I can't quite get the feel for Arc just right. And it annoys me. Hence requires rewriting.

I know they're not the same character even if they share a namesake, but playing the Arc the Lad series might give you some inspiration at least.

I used ePSXe to play Policenauts, and there's a torrent for the Arc the Lad collection on The Pirate Bay.

http://www.epsxe.com/download.php
http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/3263559/Arc_the_Lad_Collection_%28U%29_for_PSX

Took some configuring to run without a video or sound card, but it works well enough.
>> No. 26204
>>26201
that makes no sense stop distracting him
>> No. 26214
>>26173

You mean that the feel of Arc isn't a "Downtrodden, henpecked pessimist of a guy who has no grip on his destiny?"
>> No. 26228
>>26201
Limited bandwidth, can't download much unfortunately.
>>26214
Jeepers, I don't know anymore anon. You seem to know way more about my characters than I do.

-
Suika, despite the way she behaved a lot of the time, could be downright frightfully efficient. That I learned from that little adventure. It might have just been that it was just a game of sorts for her. She always took those seriously. Well, whatever the truth might have been, I had to admit that I was really impressed by her actions.

Still keeping with that strange act of hers, she led the way into the woods and into the hills. There was a brisk determination to her steps. She didn't really speak to me, instead stooping over slightly while walking, observing the world through a circular magnifying glass. I didn't really want to ask how long it would take us to get to the other shrine, but we had been walking for quite some time by now and I was feeling a bit anxious. The path we were on was little more than an animal trail.

“Sui-” I quickly corrected myself, “err, Detective, how long until we reach the shrine?” We'd been going uphill for the better half of an hour now, and when I looked back I could see the lake's blue glimmer quite some distance away.
“My dear assistant.” She didn't break 'character' (at least I hoped she was acting), “I find your lack of patience disturbing. You'll never be a proper detective at this rate.” She stopped, lowered her magnifying glass and took a puff from her unlit kiseru. “But I sympathize. I too was once as anxious as you.”

I really didn't know what she was going on about. This whole experience was almost dream-like. Suika hadn't even had anything to drink since we left the shrine.

“But, you'll be glad to know.” Suika adjusted her cap, fitting it snugly between her horns, “that we're there already.” She pointed to the right.

Just beyond a couple of trees the distinctive shape of a torii could be seen. And cobbled stone steps leading up to a building hidden, at this angle, by the foliage.

“Let's press on.” Suika suggested. I wasn't sure how I felt about this relatively humorless oni. But I wasn't about to confront her about it. It seemed she was helping me, and if that was the case it would be more reason to be thankful for her act.

This shrine was overlooking a vast stretch of woods. It was similar enough, at first glance, to Reimu's shrine but I kept noting the small differences nonetheless. The position of the buildings, the color of the walls were slightly lighter, and in general there seemed to be more light here.

I'd never ever heard of this shrine before. And it looked like the world hadn't either. There wasn't a soul to be seen around. No donations, offerings or anything of the sort at front. In that way it was like the Hakurei shrine. Still, I felt a certain warmth present, something which set it apart.

Suika and I walked inside, looking for someone. We stopped in front of a simple sliding door in what must have been the inner sanctum. The door was slightly ajar, with an empty sake bottle filling the gap.

“Wait. I'll be back.” Suika told me, sounding as serious as she had been since the start. I nodded and let the oni creep into the room while I stood back.

I had expected something to happen, but nothing did. Time seamed to pass slowly, and I anxiously awaited any signs of life from within. I had to walk back outside and look at the natural scenery in order to get my mind off of things. This place had a nice view, if I tried really hard I could make out the village in the distance, surrounded by large plots of farmland. Farmland that was surely being worked in anticipation of the upcoming harvest festival.

“Well, I think I learned all that we were going to learn here.” Suika comes up to you, stroking her chin pensively.
“What did you find?”
“The aftermath of a night of binge drinking. Not pretty.”
“So there was someone there?”
“Yes, but she didn't know much. Or couldn't say much because of her massive hangover. Doesn't really matter - The end result is the same. I was only able to get a bit of information. It seems the bubbly shrine maiden that lives here is also gone. Got only that much.”
“That's not very helpful.”
“Tut tut.” Suika took another puff from her unlit kiseru. “It helps us a lot.”
“How?”
“Dear assistant, don't you see what this means? The two shrine maidens of Gensokyo are currently missing from their shrines, on some mysterious business. This is more than just a coincidence,” She straightened her posture, “it's definitely something.”

I pressed her on what she meant by 'something'.

“It would be reckless of me to make a brilliant deduction right now and leave it at that.” I frowned. “Hey, don't look so sad. I'm just saying that I that it's not 100% that's all. If I had to guess I'd say that there's very obviously something that's keeping them both occupied.”
“Well, how can we find out what it is?”
“Ah.” She smiled, “Eager as always my dear assistant I'm glad. A first-class detective always interviews those who are nearest to the subjects in question.”
“Wouldn't that be you?”
“Good heavens, no. I've only known Reimu for a little while comparatively. There are others. But...” She stretches the sentence for dramatic effect, “We have another advantage.”
“What's that?”
“We now know that this other shrine maiden is gone, and we'll assume to the same place. It's safe to safe that we have an equal chance of finding them both if we ask her acquaintances. Her known associates hang out someplace near here, so it should be easy to track them that. And not only that-” There's a glint in her eyes. A glint I recognized from the times she planned something at my store.
“...and not only what?”
“We've still got my trump card. My super cool informant that knows all. It's your case, assistant, so it's your call. Hope you make the right call. Show that you're my apprentice.”

[] Reimu's acquaintances
[] The other shrine maiden's acquaintances
[] Suika's contact
[] Have the detective here decide
>> No. 26239
[x] Suika's contact
>> No. 26246
[x] Suika's contact

I suspect it's Yuugi, and I wonder how Arc would react to her.
>> No. 26247
[x] Suika's contact
>> No. 26259
[x] Suika's contact

Aya
>> No. 26265
>>26259

She's fine too.
>> No. 26268
[X] Suika's contact
>> No. 26276
[X] Suika's contact
>> No. 26282
>Aya

Oh, yes, let's make this even more mortifying for the poor boy.

[x] The other shrine maiden's acquaintances

Let's have him meet someone new for a change. Someone who isn't trying to get something out of him.
>> No. 26284
[x] The other shrine maiden's acquaintances
>> No. 26286
>>26282

The only ones who wouldn't try something are Nitori and Momiji.

Kanako and Suwako might get the notion of trying to have him marry Sanae. Mima did make Arc a variable chess piece.
>> No. 26287
>>26286
Well, Nitori is a kappa and they're friendly to humans. She handled herself alright with Arc last time too (then again, she hadn't really paid much attention to him). Momiji would probably be pretty chilled out too and helpful.

An encounter with Suwako would be interesting. Although Kanackers would probably not show much interest right now given that she's sprawled belly up, surrounded by spent bottles of alcohol in her own shrine.

But well, none of that really matters the folk at the Moriya shrine are (understandably) not even a real factor in Arc's life at this stage.

It's time to see how helpful Suika's contact is. Expect a thread sometime soon (for real!) since autosage and all that stuff kicked in. The only thing that could distract me now would probably be drawing detective Suika, but I have no drawing skills to speak of so it's not an issue.
>> No. 34575
next thread
>>26288
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