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25615 No. 25615
Ugh, don't have time for much more than a short introductory post right now, afterwards updates should come frequently if no one minds a lack of pics.

---
A dream is supposed to be something created in our minds. A way to explore our fantasies in ways that are otherwise impossible for us.
That's what I beleived, and for nineteen years I had no reason to doubt that.

Roughly a year ago, I started to experience recurring dreams about a land populated with all manners of mythical beings. A fantasy kitchen sink if you will.
I interacted with the inhabitants in a typical dream scenario, but eventually I decided that wasn't enough. I wanted to actually experience this place.

So being the fool I was, I took up lucid dreaming. No harm in it right? Being able to live what was basically a second life in a dreary existence.
For a month, no. I interacted with people on a daily basis on a level I was previously unable to achive. Though for some reason their names always escaped me once I woke up.

So what happened on the last day of that month?
Someone decided that they wanted to see more of me, and had been preparing for it for quite some time.

---
"C',--"

Who?

"Wa-e -p."

A tugging sensation? But my attempt at lucid dreaming seemed to fail tonight, so why-?

BAM.

Ow.

A quick slam of my head against a wooden surface told me I could feel, the scent of alchahol told me I could smell, and once my vision cleared I got a very strange sight.

"AH HAH, I got 'im!"

The first thing that was noticed was the small girl with orange hair and horns sitting on my stomach, with the look of a child who found out christmas came early. She had a strong grip on my chest, so that explains the tugging.

"Reimu, come look!"

Next, a girl with dark brown hair and a red and white shoulderless outfit standing in the doorway. Sheesh, appealing to the armpit fetish there?

"Look at what?"

"I got him for real this time!"

"You've been saying that for the last week, and making a ruckus every time you do."

"Hmm..."

The orange haired girl was giving something more than a little thought. Maybe how to prove her claim? Though a few seconds afterwards she seemed to get an idea, seeing as her expression went from 'hard thinking' to 'lightbulb over head' if that makes any sense.

"Try saying something! You couldn't talk any other time!"

[X]"Uhh, hi?"
[X]"Who're you, and why are you using my stomach as a cushion?"
[X]Introduce yourself.
[X]Write something in.

---
Criticism is always accepted, because if I don't learn this'll turn out lackluster at best.
>> No. 25616
[X]"Who're you, and why are you using my stomach as a cushion?"
>> No. 25619
[x] "My head..."
>> No. 25624
Just two posts over seven or so hours?
I'm just going to run with it for now.
---
[X]Who're you, and why are you using my stomach as a cushion + My head...

Yeah. There's that whole 'head slammed into floor' thing, getting that across might be a good start.

"My head..."

"See? He can talk now!"

I'm holding my head in my hands, there's probably a bruise on the back of my skull if not a fracture, and this twit's focused on the fact that I can talk?!

The girl in the red-white outfit just sighed, putting a palm to her face before walking out of the room. This horned midget called her Reimu didn't she? Well, I can at least refer to the red-white by name now.
That brought up my next brilliant question, which was directed twoard the small girl on me.

"Who're you, and why are you using my stomach as a cushion?"

"Me? I'm Suika Ibuki! And for your other question, it's 'cause it's soft!"

"So, you summoned a human cushion basically."

"Naaaaah, you're kinda awkward to sit on like this. Would've gathered a nice healthy girl if I wanted that."

"Hold on a sec, what do you mean 'gathered'?"

"Gathering interesting things is my hobby. You're floating around Gensokyo in bits and peices, so I spent the last few months gathering you up!"

This may explain a bit more than I ever wanted to hear.

"You must have alot more questions, but I need a drink. It's been five whole minutes since my last one! That's how interesting you are!"

Oh great, you're a quick diversion for a curious kid. Wonderful.
"Thanks?"

"No problem! Now, let's go get Reimu so she can help explain things!"

And with that last statement, she hopped off me and started to drag me by the back of my shirt to god-knows-where in this... whatever this place is. Passing by a door that just opened reveals a woman with long dark green hair, matching eyes, fair skin, midnight blue shirt and pants and a rather suprised look on her face that turned into a smirk when she saw my expression. Thanks for the help lady.
Eventually Suika drops me alongside a low table, and I just got into a sitting position. What little masculinity I had is now in tatters, and the feakishly strong migdet is now getting drunk.
That assumtion is based off the fact that every time the neck of that gourd parts from her mouth, the smell of alchohol gets refreshed.

At least someone was nice enough to set tea on the table.
To answer who the other two cups of tea were for, Reimu and the green haired woman stepped into the room with the table and sat opposite each other.
Then their gaze turned to me. The green haired woman spoke first.

"So, the local friendly spook is back huh?"

And then Reimu, who answered the woman's question and then talked to me.
"And apparently he doesn't know who we are. Given your track record though, it hardly suprises me."

[X]Write in question.
>> No. 25626
[X]What's going on here? What happened to me?
>> No. 25628
[X] "What's going on here? What am I doing here?"
>> No. 25629
[X] "What's going on here? What am I doing here?"
>> No. 25630
[x] "What's going on here? What am I doing here?"
>> No. 25631
[x] "What's going on here? What am I doing here?"
>> No. 25633
Suddenly, update ninja! One of them!

---
[X]"What's going on? What am I doing here?"


"If none of you mind, I'd like to start getting answers."

Reimu spoke first.
"Go ahead."

"First, what's going on here? Suika was talking about how she was 'gathering' me."

Suika was now laying on her gourd and was apparently sober.
Note to self: ask how she does that.

"That's easy! You were floating around in peices whenever you weren't acting like you are now, so I gathered those loose bits up and tucked 'em away until I had enough to put you together."

That kind of makes sense. Regular dreams rarely make use of all ones senses or abilities. Sometimes they don't use any.

"But why gather them up to begin with?"

"'Cause it was getting boring with you just acting like a life-sized puppet almost all the time."

"Life sized puppet?"

"Well, sometimes you didn't talk, your movements were all stiff and I could swear I saw strings attached to you too. That doll-loving girl flipped when she saw you."

Strings? I guess those would be to get me back to my body in the real world and to let my mind govern my actions. Also, I should ask about this doll girl.
Next question was for the green haired woman to my right.
"That sort of explains it, but you called me 'the friendly spook'. What's with that?"

"Just a little nickname, since you never spoke of yours. As for the friendly part of it, any time you show up you end up helping someone. Or at least trying anyway."

Thinking about it, I do recall sweeping around here. My brain must've been really bored if it thought that was fun.

"Alright, so I'm gathered from fragments of me that weren't used in dreams prior to this. Like speech, coordinated movement, and emotion."

Suika confirmed this with a small 'yup!'.

"And I've been more or less acting as a mechanical Mr. Handyman around Gensokyo."

"If by 'mechanical', you mean borderline completely personalityless and bland, then yes."
You don't have to try and rub salt in the wounds lady.

"Next question: Why am I even here?"

Again Suika answered. Well, she did say she had been gathering me up for months...

"I wanted to meet you for real!"

That sounds almost identical to the reason I picked up lucid dreaming to begin with. Except it involved more people than just one kid.

"What about the times I actually talked to you?"

Suika shook her head a little as she answered.
"'Cause it was no good! You never remembered me, we ended up repeating conversations and it got painful after a while. So as a re-answer to your question, I got sick of the puppet you and wanted the real you."

"That's flattering, but isn't this all just a dream anyways?"

The green haired woman responded by hitting my head with a staff a few times before getting hit with a black and white orb thrown by Reimu, and she followed up by telling the green haired woman to stop hitting the guest. But that didn't stop the woman from talking after that.
"Feel like you're waking up yet?"

"No, and now I have a headache."

"There you go, you're not dreaming."

Is this woman for real?

"All right, may I know your name so I can cuss you out properly in the future?"

"Then give me yours so I can personalize your torment."

I get the feeling she'll be a pain regardless of wether or not I let her know who I am.

[X]Tell here your name.
[X]There are other ways to learn a name.
[X]Ask something else (specify)
---
If you do pick a name keep it western, this anon's not from Japan so I'd like to keep it that way. Also anything overly stupid will be vetoed.
>> No. 25634
[X]There are other ways to learn a name.
>> No. 25635
[X]Tell here your name and apologize, however futile it is.

It's a bad idea in a strange land to go pissing off people.
>> No. 25636
[JE]There are other ways to learn a name.
>> No. 25637
[X]There are other ways to learn a name.
>> No. 25638
[x] "It's Wade. As in, wade out to sea and go down yourself."
[x] "I'm not in pain; rather I'm simply dreaming that I'm in pain. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it."

Wade, the Not-so-friendly Solipsistic Spook
>> No. 25639
[X]There are other ways to learn a name.
---
Personalize my torment. When did I take a side-trip to hell?
Screw it, no amount of directed swearing and sexuality questioning could possibly be worth whatever this person is thinking of doing to me.
And so I decided to play a different card.
"There are other ways to learn a name."

"Touchê, mister spook."
And then that woman smiled. Not the warm and fuzzy way, or 'you gonna get raped' way, just a bone-chilling smile that could reduce even the most insane idiots to cowering in the corner.
"The same goes for you. I'm sure I could find someone who knows you by name."

She then stood up after finishing off her tea and made her way to the door.
"This was amusing, but I've got things I have to take care of. Ta~"

And with that, she left. But just before she was completely out of sight, Reimu spoke up.

"Mima was being civil for once."

Out of the corner of my eye I could swear I saw Mima cringe and a few strands of hair pop out of place before she regained composure and acted like nothing happened.

"Nyahahaha, I knew that wasn't gonna last long. She picked a bad subject to try and get all mysterious on."
And Suika stood up as well, one hand on her gourd as she too exited the room.
"I think I'm going to follow Mima's lead and head out. Try not to get into too much trouble Spook!"

Maybe witholding my name was a mistake.
Still, this whole thing gave me some food for thought. Which I was going to have to wait on until the last person in the room had her say.

"What?"

I didn't even realise I was staring at her either. Too late now.

"You don't need my permission to leave the shrine if that's what you're wondering."

"Is that what this building is?"

Reimu raised an eyebrow at my last comment.

"You don't know what a shrine is?"

"Honestly? No."

She paused for a moment before asking her next question.
"Where are you from?"

Her turn to play twenty questions, huh? No sense in lying to someone with such a wicked fastball.

"Ever hear of a place called the United States of America?"

"That far away... Usually locals from just outside the barrier drop in, not people three thousand plus miles away."

"I can't help you there."

"It's something I'll have to ask about. For now though, you should think about getting a feel for the land. Since you seem to be more spirit than human right now, I doubt anything in the realm of the living could end you."

Reimu stood up and collected the three empty cups.

"You don't seem to be much of an idiot either. Please don't prove me wrong."

And with that statement, and some general directions I also walked out of the shrine.
Blue skies, whispy white clouds and the sun shining. A nice day by all accounts.

Where to?
[X]The village. Apparently there's plenty to do there.
[X]Reimu mentioned a curio shop, maybe it'd be worth checking out?
[X]That anything goes place sounds good.
[X]Directions to the house of that doll girl were provided. I ought to see what Suika was talking about.

How should I get there?
[X]Walking. Boring, but hey.
[X]This is supposed to be a dream. Therefore I can fly.
>> No. 25640
>>25638
Dammit, now I wish I had waited. I like that name.
If no one else comes up with another name that gets the popular vote, Wade will be our spook's name. Don't have to reveal it, but introductions will feel more natural to me.
>> No. 25641
[X]Reimu mentioned a curio shop, maybe it'd be worth checking out?
-[x] Try experimenting with with flight. If that doesn't work just hoof it.
>> No. 25642
[X]That anything goes place sounds good.
[X]Walking. Boring, but hey.
>> No. 25643
[x]Reimu mentioned a curio shop, maybe it'd be worth checking out?
-[x] Try experimenting with with flight. If that doesn't work just hoof it.
>> No. 25644
[x]Reimu mentioned a curio shop, maybe it'd be worth checking out?
-[x] Try experimenting with with flight. If that doesn't work just hoof it.
>> No. 25649
[x] Directions to the house of that doll girl were provided. I ought to see what Suika was talking about.
- [x] I have questions to ask her about the 'puppet' thing. Logic dictates that where there is a puppet, there is a puppet master.
[x] This is a dream. Therefore I can fly.

You have to believe, Anon.

Also, Alice may be the one person who could tell us what we were doing while we were a puppet in detail.
>> No. 25654
File 125223185143.jpg - (48.35KB, 540x600, shiki__4.jpg) [iqdb]
25654
Do you want to tell us something with the OP Picture?
Because if you do, please say yes.
>> No. 25655
>>25654
Yes. Too bad that's all the answer you get for right now.
---
[X]Reimu mentioned a curio shop, maybe it'd be worth checking out?
-[X]Try experimenting with flight. If that doesn't work just hoof it.

My decision was to go check out that curio shop Reimu was telling me about. Though it just occured to me that I have no money...
Window shopping is perfectly acceptable then, right?

I was about to just start walking, but it occured to me that I should be able to fly if I'm dreaming. It's just a lack of common sense after all.

So, what better way to start flying than a running jump?

A quick start, a nice high jump...
And mister ground met mister head after about four seconds. Like I really needed more pain.
But as they say, no pain no gain. Jump, a few seconds of flight, faceplant.

And to make it all even more irritating, I swear I could hear giggling off in the bushes.

"Okay, I can do this... think a leaf on the wind."

And low and behold it feels like I'm being blown in the direction I wanted to go.
Still, a little more effort and I'm at least facing forward, parallel to the ground at a semi-respectable speed. I'm not even touching the ground either!

And someone's laughing at me now. I swear, if I had more boots than what I was wearing...

BAM.

Ow.

"Who put that building there?"
But that time it took a few seconds for pain to register. Maybe I can learn to just will it away if I'm going to keep using my head.

But it seems that somehow I got to the shop Reimu told me about. I think.
The shop's name turned out to be Kourindou. Looking through a window made we wonder just what definition of curio Reimu was using, as the closely packed isles were lined with junk. And I could swear I saw a couple piles of junk.

My confidence in this place just fell through the floor.

Buuut, that girl slumped on the wall was a nice sight.
Sliver and blue hair, two red wings on her back and one on her head, red jewel-like eyes and clutching a book to her chest, and that outfit? Downright cute.

And she's even staring at me! More because I just flew head-first into the wall of this shop than anything else, but still.


[X]I can't ignore something so cute. Talk to the girl.
[X]Head into the shop. Maybe there's something interesting.
[X]Head off for a different location, I'm not so sure about this place anymore. Besides, I'm sure the owner will mind the nice new dent...
>> No. 25656
[X]I can't ignore something so cute. Talk to the girl.
>> No. 25661
File 125225775644.jpg - (78.91KB, 455x640, tokiko.jpg) [iqdb]
25661
>It's just a lack of common sense after all.
So Anon is still being held back by common sense?

[X] I can't ignore something so cute. Talk to the girl.
Tokiko~
>> No. 25667
[X]I can't ignore something so cute. Talk to the girl.

Figures. A cute girl starts staring at me and I can't, or rather won't, just walk away.
I mean, how can anyone ignore something this cute?

The girl with the book spoke while I was still coming up with a way to greet her.

"That's a rather... unorthodox way to fly. Who taught you?"

"No one. I just tried flying by myself."
Maybe using a quote from Serenity as a flight metaphor wasn't the best idea I've ever had. Least my name isn't Wash.

"I'm not sure wether to laugh or be impressed. Most humans can't fly on their own."

Footsteps from inside? Kind of a rythmic thump sound.

"Uh-oh. I apologize, but I have to go."

So soon? But I just started talking to you! Still, there was one question I could ask.
"Wait, what's your name?"

"Tokiko, I'll ask for yours later. Bye."

And she was gone. A dissapointingly short conversation, but I got the feeling this wouldn't be the last I saw of her.
I tear my eyes away from where Tokiko ran off in order to talk to the owner of the store, who opened the door a moment later.

Silver hair, yellow eyes, glasses and a blue and black outfit that, to me, looked strange.
But I haven't taken a good look at what I'm wearing either, so I refrained from making any comments.

"The door is unlocked you know. Making so much noise is unessicary."
From the tone of this guy's voice, it suggested I've done this to his shop before, or it's happened enough times that his response was automatic.
Still, he hasn't noticed the dent in the wall yet. Hopefully it'll stay that way until I'm well out of sight.

"But aside from that, feel free to come in."

Well, I did come here to see what kind of stuff was here, so....

Once we were inside, I saw that most of the junk was stuff like fans, computers, solar calculators, more modern tools, books, all sorted haphazardly and all of it looks like it had seen better days.
Other stuff included various books, items that had no clear use to me, and various weapons.
Including a very odd looking sword that looked like a slice of watermelon, combined with smaller blades in the shapes of popsicle sticks and ice cube trays among other things.
What kind of weirdo blacksmith forges a watermelon sword anyways?

"So, judging by the fact that you're here again, it means you should be capable of holding conversations."

Judging from that statement, I must have interacted with this guy before. It must've sounded reasonable to him though.

"You're right about that. Still don't know your name though."

"Moricha Rinnosuke, and yours?"

I'd rather stem the tide of that annoying 'mister spook' while I can, plus I don't know how long I can get away with not giving my name before someone takes offence and mauls me. I mean, I might run into a magical aristocrat or something in this messed up dream.

"Wade. Just Wade."

Rinnosuke adjusted his glasses and his eyebrows moved up in suprise. I guess he wasn't expecting that.

"Well then Mr. Wade..."

"Drop the Mr. bit if you could please, it's a bit of a sore spot with me."

"Alright then, Wade, what brings you here?"

"Curiosity. Reimu told me to 'get a feel for the land' and told me how to get to a few places."

"And this was your first pick?"

"She told me it was a curio shop."

"I see."

"No offense."

"None taken."

Another loud thump sound, coupled with a loud crash startled me, but Rinnosuke was clearly made of sterner stuff.

"If you'll excuse me for a moment, I have buisness in the back room to take care of."

Scratch that. He's just completely desensitized to that sort of thing.
"Certainly."

What should I do next...
[X]Follow Rinnosuke, I'm curious about this 'buisness' he has.
[X]Stay in the main part of the store and look through this guy's stuff.
[X]Do something else. (specify)
>> No. 25669
[X]Stay in the main part of the store and look through this guy's stuff.

No one likes him anyway
>> No. 25671
[X]Stay in the main part of the store and look through this guy's stuff.
>> No. 25673
[X]Stay in the main part of the store and look through this guy's stuff.

Sounds like Cirno might end up shopping here sooner or later.

Also we should leave him to his business; let's see if there's a map of gensokyo.
>> No. 25683
You know what? You get an update.
If I thought I was going to get more votes, I'd wait longer...
---
[X]Stay in the main part of the store and look through this guy's stuff.

Whatever Rinnosuke's 'buisness' is, I want no part of it if it's making that kind of noise.
And so I opt to stay in the front of the store and look through his stuff. Heck, I might find something worthwile.

It'd be nice if I had money to buy it with...

The selection is massive to say the least, and finding interesting stuff is simply a matter of having low enough standards.
Honestly, what would I do with a thirty-three inch plasma screen TV when I don't have any place to put it?
Yeah. Real-life stuff just bores me right now. And I'd bet a hefty sum that I won't keep whatever I get, so indulging in more modern fantasies makes no sense.

Looking at the weapons was a little more interesting, as it turned out that chilly watermelon blade wasn't the only odd weapon here. Weird glowing throwing things that look like a cross between a knife and a dart, a strange whip, what looked like a beam sword hilt...

More sounds of things breaking. Ju- no. Just no. No getting involved. I promised myself that.

Then Tokiko entered the store, darted over the books and was looking through them frantically. A few more crash noises put her on edge, and she grabbed two books before running out of the store again.

I'm going to have to talk to her about this when I get done...

Still, at least I tried to get at her before she bolted.

Ah well, can't do much about it right now. Looking through the books she was rummaging through, there were some that involved magic among other things. And one on 'spellcard rules'.

Well, my next stop was the hat rack. Because I really want the sun to stop glaring in my eyes every time I want to look where I'm going.

And it sounded like something delecate broke this time.
Angry yelling coupled with high-pitched screaming made it clear Rinnosuke flushed out whoever was breaking stuff.
More like multiple whoevers.

Three girls about half to a third my height were flying out the door. I didn't get a very good look, but one was black haired and the other two seemed to be blond.

"GET BACK HERE!"

Rinnosuke was chasing them, and I still didn't want anything to do with it. In fact, thanks to the glowing eyes I wanted to leave.

[X]Exit stage right.
[X]Stick around and hope he calms down.

If the second option is picked:
[X]See if you can get a hat. (choose what kind)
[X]Ask about a map.
[X]Ask about the books.
[X]Ask about weapons.
>> No. 25684
[X]Stick around and hope he calms down.
[X]Ask about weapons.
>> No. 25689
[X]Stick around and hope he calms down.
[X]Ask about weapons.
>> No. 25690
[X]See if you can get a hat. STETSON
[X]Ask about weapons. REVOLVER
>> No. 25691
[X]Stick around and hope he calms down.
[X]Ask about weapons.
>> No. 25692
Nine hours or so is long enough I think.
---
[X]Stick around and hope he calms down.
[X]Ask about weapons.

I still felt like trying to get something without resorting to theft, so I just stood there and waited.
Well I didn't just stand there. I considered trying to get a stetson hat for a moment, but upon closer inspection of my clothes it really wouldn't have fit the theme well, so I didn't bother. Maybe when I can get a whole outfit for it.
Next stop was the gun section. It had a nice selection, but there didn't seem to be much ammo for any of them. It didn't mean it wasn't a good idea to ask, just that the answer might not be to my liking.

Eventually Rinnosuke reentered the store and sat behind the counter. His eyes weren't glowing anymore and I hoped that was a good sign. I still wanted stuff.

"I saw the gun rack in the weapons section, but almost none of them were loaded or had any spare ammo around."

Rinnosuke started taking an annoyed tone when he answered. Broken stuff or not you shouldn't take it out on those who didn't do anything to you.
"That's because with most of them the ammo that's in them is all I have. The spare ammo I do half is now literally buried under a half-ton of recent shipments."

"So the revolver?"

"It'd make a better paperweight right now."

"What about those glowing weapons on that wall?"

"You can try them, but they're mostly replicas. Poorly made at that."

Is there anything practical that works in this shop?
At this rate trying to fire bullets out of the palm of my hand, causing spontaneous combustion, or throwing pillars of ice out of the ground would be less irritating and more practical.

"Even the watermelon sword?"

"That one works, but it's too cold for anyone to handle. Turst me, I've tried."

That made sense. It did feel like it was radiating uncomfterbly cold air anytime I passed by. Who knows what'll happen if I actually try to weild the thing.

"So what does work that won't give me frostbite?"

"I have quite a few blades, pole weapons, bow and arrow sets, shields, magic foci... I might even be able to scrounge up a scythe if you're willing to wait."

"May I see them?"

"Certainl- actually, scratch that. That's all buried too."

"You're making it sound like your back room is flooded with stuff that's burying anything useful."

"You can blame the Three Mischeivous Faries for that. Thankfully I have ways of finding them even when they use their abilities. And there's a certain someone who will take anything she thinks is interesting unless it's hidden or bolted down."

So, a few more people to inquire about.

"So, is this a polite way of saying 'come back later'?"

"As much as I hate to admit it, yes. I should have everything fixed by tomorrow at the latest. Sooner if I have help."

And now he's trying to get me to help him? Just what kind of store is this?

[X]Leave. I've had about enough of this. (Choose another location.)
[X]Stick around and ask about merchandise that does work. (specify)
-[X]Offer to help out.
-[X]Ask about Tokiko.
>> No. 25693
[x]Leave. I've had about enough of this.
--[X]Directions to the house of that doll girl were provided. I ought to see what Suika was talking about.

Blissfully unaware of Kourin's hidden meaning~
>> No. 25695
[x]Leave. I've had about enough of this.
--[X]Directions to the house of that doll girl were provided. I ought to see what Suika was talking about.
>> No. 25696
[x]Leave. I've had about enough of this.
--[X]Directions to the house of that doll girl were provided. I ought to see what Suika was talking about.
>> No. 25700
[x]Leave. I've had about enough of this.
--[X]Directions to the house of that doll girl were provided. I ought to see what Suika was talking about.


Yeah well fuck Kourin, well get that stetson and revolver, in a working order too.
>> No. 25709
[X]Leave. I've had about enough of this.
--[X]Directions to the house of that doll girl were provided. I ought to see what Suika was talking about.

That's it, I'm out of here. I have no interest in dealing, or making deals with such a weird person right now.
"Alright then Rinnosuke, I'll see you later then."

"Goodbye."

Upon exiting the store I noticed that it must be a bit past noon, which brought on a few concerns. I thought about them as I made my way to that doll girl's house.
Those concerns were things like, 'what happens when the sun goes down?', or 'will I even wake up?' They were legitamite concerns, as I did have a life in the waking world. Going comatose had a tendency to screw up one's life as well as anyone who knows that person.
Well, I could think of worse fates.

Apparently I got so wrapped up in my concerns that I didn't even notice that I was flying, or that I landed in front of the place I wanted to visit.
I broke off from my worries for now to knock on the door of this nice looking house. England style cottage maybe? I'll have to ask about that.

The person who answered the door certainly fit the 'doll girl' criteria. Blond hair, blue eyes, very light colored skin bordering on pale, and a pastel blue and pink outfit. If I didn't know any better, I would've thought she had been crafted by a master artisan instead of born. She also carried a hefty-looking book with a lock on it.
An actual doll floated beside her, and it too was blonde with blue eyes, the 'skin' was a similar shade, the dress it wore was black instead of the blue and pink of its maker, but still.

"Oh, it's you."

I hope she's not as rude as Rinnosuke about this.

"Well? Aren't you coming in?"
It's kind of cute watching the doll mimic the actions of the girl, which was an gesture of invitation.
Right before they practically dragged me in.

"Is this a typical way to greet guests?"
My first question: Is everything here capable of dragging me around like a ragdoll?!
Second one as I heard a few unmistakable clicks: Locking the door? Seriously?

"No, and I offer my apologies for it. It was rude of me, but I don't want my pest of a neighbor finding out that you've returned and barging in."

"Uhh, that's all fine, but locking the door?"

"It's just to keep Marisa out. I don't plan on doing anything to you."

I still didn't trust her, and she caught on to that pretty quick.

"If you still don't belive me, here."
She then handed me a key. Was she?
"That key will let you out of my house any time you wish."

...
Initial rudeness aside, she seemed to be polite. However, I've only known her for about three minutes, so I can't really afford to make judgement calls yet.
But still, it was enough to make me give her a chance.

Eventually I was led to a living room that had a nice table, a sofa and a few chairs.
The walls were lined with various dolls, all blankly staring out from their seats. A window on one side had its drapes shut, and a tiffany lamp stood on a side table next to one of the chairs.
A taller standing lamp was behind the sofa, and it was casting a soft glow on everything. I can't decide if it makes those dolls creepy looking or not with their eyes reflecting that light.

I sat down on the sofa, while the girl decided on the chair opposite the sofa.

"I'm Alice Margratroid, if you don't remember. May I know yours? Also, would you like something to drink?"

Choose. Since apparently I can't do this myself.
[X]Tell her, she introduced herself so it's only fair.
[X]Decline, I'm not sure I trust with it her yet.

Next:
[X]If you don't mind.
[X]I had something to drink this morning, and I haven't been thirsty since.

Final:
[X]Ask something. (specify)
>> No. 25710
Sooner or later I'm going to learn how to spell names properly.
Forgive the typo in Alice's surname, as I have no easy way to correct it right now.
>> No. 25711
>>25710
http://touhou.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Characters
>> No. 25713
>>25711
I looked it up already.
I mean I'm typing this story from my Wii's internet browser, which has no copypaste or reliable spellcheck. (If the story structure looks a little broken up to you PC users, now you know why.)
I don't want to lose this update, since I'm actually happy with it, just for two minor spelling errors.
If no one has voted when 9:00pm west coast time rolls around, I'll use my PC to correct and repost.
>> No. 25714
[X]Tell her, she introduced herself so it's only fair.
[X]If you don't mind.
>> No. 25716
[X] Tell her, she introduced herself so it's only fair.
[X] If you don't mind.
>> No. 25719
[X]Tell her, she introduced herself so it's only fair.
[X]If you don't mind.

We all know who can wield that watermelon sword with ease: the strongest.
>> No. 25727
>>25719
Too bad she doesn't even remember it.
Guess you'll just have to keep it mind then.

And I guess nobody wants to wait on voting, so fix and repost isn't going to happen then.
---
[X]Tell her. She introduced herself so it's only fair.
[X]If you don't mind.

Best to respond to courtesy with courtesy, right?
"My name is Wade. And I wouldn't mind a drink either, if it's not a bother."

"Hardly. It will be along shortly."
With that, several dolls floated off their seats and out of the room. Leaving myself and Alice... more alone I guess? And I swear her eyes shift color every time she blinks. First blue, then green, then yellow and back to blue.

"I assume you came to ask about what you were like before Suika suceeded?"

How'd she know that?

"Yeah, Suika referred to the me prior to her 'gathering' as being puppet-like."

"You were. No emotion, jerky movements, and..."
In a few short moments she pulled open a drawer to pull out a black gauntlet, got up, walked over, sat down next to me and ran the hand with the gauntlet on it through my hair until it snagged on something.
She then pulled what her gauntlet had snagged on into my veiw, pulling my head along with it just a little closer to her.
"There are strings similar to the ones I use to control my dolls attatched to you."

A thin wire that ran from my head to god-knows-where. What. The. Fuck. Wait, why couldn't I move my head anymore?
And her eyes... why'd they flip to yellow so suddenly?
Come to think of it, why's she staring at me like that?
No. Not me, the string.

"And then there's one here..."

Next she ran it along my left arm until it hit a snag around my elbow. Her eyes blinked to orange as she pulled me closer to her, using her other arm to restrain me, and trust me when I say I tried to break out of her grip. The doll floating around her was tugging at its maker's arm, maybe trying to pry her off me?

"And here..."

Next, my right elbow and a snag.
Her eyes were now red, and her breathing was getting ragged as she held me even tighter. Resistance was borderline impossible now with both my arms out of commission.
She ran that gauntlet across my back next...

"N-next..."

No. No way in hell. I haven't even taken Alice on a date yet and she's trying to control me in my entirety. How pushy.

"ALICE!"

I was suprised at myself for shouting at her like that, but this whole thing was creepy enough without her trying to hijack my body in the process.
It seemed to snap her out of it though, as her eyes blinked back to a much the friendlier blue as well as an increasingly embarrased look on her face as she realised what she tried to do just now, as well as just how tightly she was holding me.
Though I could swear the blushing started when the color cycle took a shortcut through purple...

"Eh? AH!"

She pulled her gauntlet off and detached it from the wires on my body before tossing it at a chair, and it hit with the sound of metal on cloth before falling onto the seat cuishon.
Now I lay across the lap of an embarrassed puppeteer as the dolls carrying the drinks came in.
Alice then spoke with a slight stammer after that.

"C-could you please g-get up?"
Well, I was perfectly happy to shy away from her a little after what just happened. The pysical contact would've been nice if it weren't in that context.

I took a sip of the prepared tea, and Alice retreated to her previously occupied chair.

I almost didn't want to ask her anything, but I have a feeling she knows quite a bit about what I was, and maybe even what those strings are attached to.

Why me?

[X]Let Alice cool down a bit.
[X]Ask her about the gauntlet.
[X]Ask her about the strings.
[X]Ask about the things you did prior to this, in detail.
[X]Maybe I should leave.
[X]Obligitory write-in option.
>> No. 25728
[X]Ask her about the strings.
[X]Ask about the things you did prior to this, in detail.
>> No. 25729
[X]Ask her about the strings.
[X]Ask about the things you did prior to this, in detail.
>> No. 25730
[X]Ask her about the strings.
[X]Ask about the things you did prior to this, in detail.
>> No. 25731
[X]Let Alice cool down a bit.
[X]Ask her about the gauntlet.
[X]Ask her about the strings.
[X]Ask about the things you did prior to this, in detail.
>> No. 25732
[X]Ask her about the strings.
[X]Ask about the things you did prior to this, in detail.
>> No. 25733
[x] Ask her about the strings.
[x] Ask about the things you did prior to this, in detail.

This story is like one long extended morning after.
>> No. 25734
>>25733
Is that a bad thing?
I hope I'm not dipping into the realm of bad fanfiction if it is.

---
[X]Ask about the strings.
[X]Ask about the things you did prior to this, in detail.

I get the feeling Alice will take a while to cool down fully, so I decide to pick her brains on a couple of subjects.
One of which is probably going to take a while to finish.

"What's with the strings?"

Alice was doing her best to retain her composure after whatever her little episode was. It's actually kind of remarkable.
I'm just hoping those aren't signs of being bi-polar.

"Those strings are a specific kind of magic that permits the user to controll remote objects through will alone. I use it for all my dolls, since none are capable of independent movement. That's the simple answer anyways."

So she was making tea and trying to restrain herself even when she was using that weird gauntlet? That speaks volumes about the kind of willpower she has. Though I'm lost as to describe exactly what kind.

"What is that kind of magic doing attached to me?"

"It has to do with what you are. To the best of my knowledge, you are a spiritual construct created by something, or someone."

"What're the odds that it's my own sleeping mind doing this?"

"I haven't discredited the possibility, but since your strings extend past the Hakurei border I can neither confirm nor deny it."

"The edge of this dream, you mean?"

Alice giggled after that question. I however, didn't think it was funny at all.

"You're still clinging to that idea? Well, it may still benefit you. Magic in all its forms requires a certain amount of the suspension of disbelief."
She took a sip of her tea before continuing, that trace of amusement had left her face.
"Continuing my explanation of your strings, the fact that you have them yet have a conscious mind as well means that you are either channeling a personality, or are fully independent. It was shameful of me, but when I considered the possibility of you being an independent construct, I became somewhat obsessed with you. Given what I've already learned about you, you may very well hold the answer to creating an independent doll."

She then sighed and set her tea down.

"But it's unbecoming of me, considering that I was obsessed with Wade the Puppet with no regards to Wade the Human. I hope you can forgive that some day."

"You're being honest about it. That's a step in the right direction."
Did she try that thing with the gauntlet before when I was lucid dreaming before? She must have, if she's asking for forgiveness.

"You don't have anything critical to do today do you?"

"No, why do you ask?"

"Because this next question will most likely take a while to answer."

"No, unless I'm dragged off by someone I am free to discuss things with you."

"What was I doing prior to Suika's 'success'?"

"I knew that was coming. You really don't remember, do you?"

"Nope."

"Then expect the more capricious beings you've encountered previously to tease you about it. It wouldn't be beyond them to try and make you believe something happened that didn't."

"Thanks for the warning."

"Certainly. Though, be aware that I may not be able to answer every question you have. I wasn't stalking you for the entirety."

Is this girl Sniper Wolf minus the killing tendencies?

No sense breaking this up into fragments now that I've started.

"Okay, start talking."

"You are aware that you began appearing a year ago yes?"

"Yup, reccuring dreams about this place."

"I'll start with when we first met then."

"It was roughly four months since you first appeared, and one the villagers approached me to ask about a peculiar person who was wandering the land rendering assistance when it was able to. That villager asked because its movements were like one of my dolls, and the strings attached to its body were visible to everyone, and the rare time it spoke it had a hollow echo to its voice."

Just to make a point, I haven't yet interrupted her.

"Now, I couldn't just leave it alone now that I knew about it, so I searched for it. It took me the better part of a week before I found you. At the time one of the lesser yokai attacked you, so bits of a mist-like substance were scattered on the ground where your left arm would have been."
"Beliving you were a simple puppet at the time I took you home and tried to repair you, but I couldn't touch you by that point. You were vanishing."

Now I felt the need to cut in.
"That was probably just me waking up then."

"Perhaps. After that you appeared at my house randomly over the next six months and three weeks, with varying degrees of sentience."
A light blush graced her features when she said that.
I merely raised an eyebrow in response.

"N-nothing like that happened! I u-used that time to experement on you, to try to see what made you work. You were unlike anything I had previously seen. You were made out of the mist-like substance, so I... I tried to take you apart."

All I could do was motion for her to continue. I didn't trust my mouth just then.

"Only once though, and never again. Though that's when I started to get obsessed. You were a mystery I felt I had to solve, so I started tracking you, even during your interactions with other people. Then when I came up with a half-baked reason I used it as an excuse to finish that gauntlet so I could examine those strings further, as well as control you. I was so obsessed about that mystery I wanted to make you mine."

"Then on the first day this month, when I was trying to examine you again, you spoke to me. You asked 'what are you doing Alice?' in a perfectly calm voice mixed with curiosity. I lost my nerve after that. I let you go and stopped persuing you."

I didn't want to answer that.

"It made me happy that you came back on your own. That maybe you could forgive me and I could use less... dominating ways to study you and achieve my dream."

I really didn't want to answer her right now.

"Do you wish to stay and hear about what I've learned about your interactions with other people, or will you leave and ask them yourself?"

God dammit Alice.

[X]Stay, continue this.
[X]Leave, go somewhere else.
>> No. 25735
[X]Leave, go somewhere else.
>> No. 25737
[X]Leave, go somewhere else.
>> No. 25741
[X]Stay, continue this.
>> No. 25743
[X]Stay, continue this.

Best to have something to fall back on when we encounter those other people.
>> No. 25744
[X]Leave, go somewhere else.
>> No. 25745
I feel the need to ask this now that it's been a few days:
What does anon think of the speed that I update at? Does anon think I should slow down and wait for more votes or keep my current pace?

---
[X]Leave, go somewhere else.

I finished my tea in order to stall the answer.
She already made a point of saying she did not want, or else did not feel she deserved immediate forgiveness for her actions. I'm inclined to agree with her.

"I think I have inflicted enough shock on you for one day, if your face is any indication."

You got that right Alice.
She managed a weak, pained smile for her next sentence, but no more.

"I don't blame you for wanting to leave, but please come back someday."

Am I that easy for her to read?
I decided to say my piece before leaving.

"Alice. If I try and answer you right now, I'll regret it."
Right now I feel too violated to give an answer that's anything other than hurtful right now, and due to the fact that Alice seems to genuinely regret her actions I decided not to make it any worse. Simply because I know how it feels to have someone shouting in your face about how you fucked up when you already know and feel bad about it, even for the smallest of things.

"I understand. Shanghai, see Wade to the door."

The doll that had been floating by its mistress' side flew over to me and led me to the front door, unlocking it and opening it for me. It then gave a polite bow while I exited Alice's home.

Alice gave me even more to think about as I started back to the shrine. As for why there and not somewhere else? I don't know. It just felt like a good home base for some reason. That and I wasn't in the mood to deal with anyone else right now.

The fact that I woke up some time after receiving normally fatal, or near-fatal damage suggested that while these 'yokai' couldn't end me in the strictest sense, they could still harm me and even force me to awaken before the day was done, perhaps at the expense of my memories of that day. Maybe more. I have no way of knowing.
My next guess was that instead of my poorly thought out theory of my mind dumping more painful thoughts and memories out, any serious damage I suffer dislodges something nigh indiscriminately and leaves it behind in the form of mist-like fragments.
Which means if I want to remember the life I started here, I have to get those back.

Though Suika said she had been gathering them, so maybe I don't need to do anything if she's keeping up with her hobby.
Yeah, don't sweat the small stuff right now. I don't want to get too down in the dumps right?

My mood improved by a fair bit as I finally ascended the shrine stairs. Coincidentally, I also vowed to never again walk up these stupid stairs.
Clearing the large red gate thing, I saw Reimu sipping tea on the front deck of the shrine. She didn't acknowledge my arrival, but I don't know her that well either. So it kind of evened out.
The sun was just a bit over the horizon now, so there were only a few more hours before sundown. I must have taken longer than I thought walking instead of flying.

[X]Greet Reimu.
[X]Sit down near Reimu so I try to strike up a conversation.
[X]Write-in.
>> No. 25746
>>25745

A little faster would be nice, but what you're update speed seems to be fine so far.

[ ] Sit down near Reimu so I try to strike up a conversation.
>> No. 25749
[ ] Sit down near Reimu so I try to strike up a conversation.
>> No. 25750
[x]Greet Reimu.
[x]Sit down near Reimu and enjoy the peace and quiet.
>> No. 25756
[x] Sit down near Reimu so I try to strike up a conversation.
>> No. 25757
The reason I don't update any faster, or even offer to, is for two reasons:
One, the story would suffer for it.
Two, I don't get enough votes fast enough to justify it.

Now back to your irregularly scheduled update.
---
[X]Go sit near Reimu so I can try to strike up a conversation.

Reimu has the right idea, sitting there and enjoying the veiw.
So much so that I decide to go ahead and sit near her.

Reimu regards me with a lazy glance before staring off into space.
"So you made it through day one."

"Unless someone attacks the shrine, I guess so."

"No one around here is stupid enough. And who said you're staying here anyways?"

"Err..." She had a point. I didn't even consider where I'd be staying this time.

Unless I was mistaken, Reimu had a small smile after that.
"I don't mind so long as you don't destroy anything. Though tomorrow you had better donate or something." And she said that in a half joking tone.

"It doesn't help my case that I don't have any money then, does it?"

"I could use a servant."

"I guess I had better start earning some money then."

The only response I got was an enigmatic smile only a woman could give.

And then a Suika barged in.
"YOOOOOO Spook! Had fun today?"

Reimu flinched from Suika's volume, and I put my hands over my ears asap.
"Not so loud Suika..."

"Can't help it, Mister Spook's my hobby!"

"It's Wade."

"Eh?"

"My name, it's Wade, not Mister Spook."

"Oh it is, is it? Thanks for telling me."
Dear god no. I did not just make that mistake.
Speaking of which, when did she sneak up on me, and how did I not hear the jingle of coins until now?

"Hey Mima! What took ya so long?"

"Picking up the slack to pay rent."

"Ooooh, my turn next huh?"

Mima dropped the bag of money on Reimu's lap, and the red-white stared at the bag and then Mima in utter disbelief.
"All those times?"

"Me and midget over there."

"Don't call me midget!"

"Then stop punching holes in my bed."

"So noisy..."

There wasn't much to do after that. Mima and Suika argued for a while and eventually the two started drinking alcohol, while arguing. Eventually Reimu and I were dragged into it and it didn't take long for me to decide Reimu's lap made for a nice pillow. After that I vaguely remember being tucked into something like a sleeping bag and well, fell asleep. Or, woke up? Gah... This makes no sense...

[X]See my waking world.
[X]Skip it, dream's more interesting.
>> No. 25758
[X]See my waking world.
>> No. 25759
[X]See my waking world.
>> No. 25760
[x]Skip it, dream's more interesting.

Dream inside a dream.
>> No. 25761
[x] See my waking world.
>> No. 25763
[x] See my waking world.
>> No. 25764
I should start calling the vote before I write.
Ah well.

---
[X]See my waking world.

When I wake up it feels like little more than a transition between movie scenes.
I fell asleep in a sleeping bag and woke up in my own bed with my cat, a brown maine coon, standing on my chest and from the way she's looking at me she wants breakfast and has been waiting quite patiently at that.

I decide to just move her over so I can actually you know, get up. A concept that cat either doesn't get or doesn't care about.
Personally, I think it's the latter.
Just sitting on the edge of my bed won't get anything done, so I get dressed and go into the kitchen to feed the 'starving' cat, as well as myself.

One small bone china bowl of moist cat food later and that cat's rubbing against my legs and telling me how good it was by meowing.
I then got myself a bowl of cold cereal and ate that.

Thankfully either my mother was asleep, or she just couldn't be bothered to get off her ass long enough to get her own breakfast. I mean, she'd have to move a lightweight laptop to get up, and apparently that's too much work for her sometimes.

A couple years ago she hurt herself pretty bad, but she put little to no effort in getting back on her feet. She much preferred to make everyone wait on her hand and feet, and is also the reason I can't move on with my life.
Thanks to the fact that she doesn't want to get better, she basically refused to let me take a driver's test until I was eighteen, even though legally I could start at sixteen. She also conveniently denied me access to any kind of drivers test, so I had to have my dad along at the very least when I did drive, making social interactions with people my age difficult if not flat out impossible.

So I was stuck basically.
I put my bowl and my cat's in the dishwasher and tried to decide what to do today.
Dad was at work, and won't be home until just before dinner so driving was out.
The beach was a fifteen-twenty minute bike ride, and there was a town there with all sorts of distractions. I even had some money to spend after getting my dad to get after my mother about paying me what she owed me, so I could actually enjoy myself for once.
It may be overcast, but it wasn't going to rain for a few days and I actually liked the cloud cover.

Either that, or stay home. Again.

[X]Stay home and brush the cat or something.
[X]NO CONTEST. Get the hell out of dodge and go to the coastal town.
-[X]Bring the cat, she deserves to have a day out too.
>> No. 25765
[X]NO CONTEST. Get the hell out of dodge and go to the coastal town.
-[X]Bring the cat, she deserves to have a day out too.
>> No. 25766
[x] NO CONTEST. Get the hell out of dodge and go to the coastal town.
-[x] Bring the cat, she deserves to have a day out too.

Fuck you mom.
>> No. 25767
[x] NO CONTEST. Get the hell out of dodge and go to the coastal town.
-[x] Bring the cat, she deserves to have a day out too.
>> No. 25769
[x] NO CONTEST. Get the hell out of dodge and go to the coastal town.
-[x] Bring the cat, she deserves to have a day out too.
>> No. 25770
[X]NO CONTEST! Get the hell out of dodge and head to the coastal town.
-[X]Bring the cat, she deserves to have a day out too.

I decide to check up on my mother before heading out, and after finding out that she had in fact actually taken care of herself I got ready to ride out to the coast.
I grabbed my cat's harness in the process and got her set up, then I got myself ready as well.

Now, imagine for a moment the somewhat odd sight of a guy with his cat sitting on his shoulder like a big fluffy parrot, riding a bike at a pretty good clip, without said cat ever so much as flinching.
That's just how good she was at balancing herself, though I guess that just comes with age.

The ride to the town is pretty uneventful, save for a few people driving like maniacs, including some blond woman who had about seven police cars after her and nearly running me, as well as several other people, over. Riding a bike should not have to feel like playing a shoot 'em up. The woman in question took a roundabout onto the bridge that would take her to the next state over so it wasn't my problem, or the problem of anyone else in this state anymore.

I did in fact get to the town in one piece and wondered where to go first.

"Wade! Over here!"

Despite my earlier statement, I did have the odd friend.
The guy calling me over was named Benjamin, or Ben for short.
I rode over to him so I could answer without shouting.

"Managed to get out of the house, huh?"

"The planets must've lined up or something."

"And you brought your cat. Are you ever seperated from that fuzzball?"

My cat gave Ben a look that more or less said 'yeah whatever.'

"Not unless it's necissary."

"She's not going to turn into a human girl just because you want her to."

My cat responded with a flick of her tail, which I have long ago figured out translates to 'fuck you' in cat.

"Har har. Let's just go already."

[X]Head down to the beach. Not only is it fun when you meet with friends, but it doubles as a giant litterbox.
[X]Go to one of the arcades.
[X]Novelty shop ho!
[X]Ditch the tourist traps.
>> No. 25771
[X] Novelty shop ho!
>> No. 25772
[x] Novelty shop ho!
>> No. 25773
[X]Head down to the beach. Not only is it fun when you meet with friends, but it doubles as a giant litterbox.

hahaha
>> No. 25774
[X] Novelty shop ho!
>> No. 25775
[X]Novelty shop ho!

Nariko, my cat, didn't look like she was in any major need of a litterbox, and another one of my odd friends happened to run a rather unique novelty shop.
Unique in the fact that almost everything was hand made, and the owner wouldn't force me to keep Nari outside.
The combination cafe/bookstore situated right next to it was just a perk in my book.

"I say the novelty shop first, then we'll decide from there."

"Fine by me. I don't plan on buying anything though."

And so we went to that novelty shop.
The door had one of those annoying bells that told the owner or clerk when someone had come in, but since the owner was already at the counter it was hardly needed this time.

The interior had all manners of almost-useless knicknacks that one would expect to find in such a store. Though I'm pretty sure a typical novelty shop didn't have a wall-mounted singing manatee.

"What can I do for you today?"

Did I mention the store owner was a looker? No? Now you know.
Mid-length brown hair, green eyes, light skin, rounded off with a shapely figure and you got this woman.

Ben spoke first. Despite the fact that we were friends, I still needed to prepare.
"Just window shopping Marine. Maybe you'll get lucky though."

"I usually do."
Then she turned her attention to me and gave a mock 'come hither' glare.
"So, what's your excuse for visiting me?"

"Finished with that parrot yet?"

"Nope. And since I'm pretty sure I told you it wouldn't be done for at least a week, you must be here for something else."

"Here we go again..."
Ben was looking through the wind chimes when he said that. We chose to ignore him.

"Could it be you came here to let me shanghai you at last?"

"Not this time ye siren."

"It'd get you out of the house."

"At what cost?"

"I can't decide between your immortal soul or your undying love."

Marine and I know each other fairly well, so we each take shots at the other occasionally. She takes shots at my slavelike status, and I take jabs at her 'experimental' novelties. Though I'm not sure when she's only joking about shanghaiing me anymore.

"Wade, just confess your undying love so we can get on with this."

Marine just licked her lips before starting anew.
"Jealous?~"

"Not on your life."
Ben picked out a set of blue-tinted glass windchimes with air pockets intentionally left inside to create an underwater effect.

"So much for window shopping, hmm?"

"Just ring it up."

"It is nice to see you buying one of my goof-ups. I know you take good care of your collection so I don't have to worry about it."

Well, unless I comb the store I doubt I'll find anything to buy, so...

[X]Go ahead and look for something interesting. But keep it small.
[X]Head for your next location.
-[X]Invite Marine to lunch later.
>> No. 25776
[X]Head for your next location.
>> No. 25777
[ ] Head for your next location.
>> No. 25778
>>including some blond woman who had about seven police cars after her and nearly running me, as well as several other people, over.

Something tells me it might be Yukari...

[X]Head for your next location.

I'd think about inviting her, but who to say where our destiny ultimately takes us....
>> No. 25779
[X] Head for your next location.
>> No. 25780
>>25778
Naaah, really? Ya think?

[x]Head for your next location.
-[x]Invite Marine to lunch later.
>> No. 25782
[X] Head for your next location.
>> No. 25783
[X]Head to your next location.

I didn't really feel like combing the store for something to take home, especially when I'd have to carry it all day, so I let Ben pay for his stuff and bade farewell to Marine.
Then it was just a decision about where to go next.

"You called the novelty shop, so I call the beach."

"Fair enough. Nari might need to use the bathroom soon."

The rest of the world was waking up, signified by the fact that more people were crowding the sidewalks and using cars on the street. Many of the people walking were heading for the shops or the beach so Ben and I just went with the flow.
Until we got to the parking garage at least. We went in there so Ben could put his purchase in his car.

That's when I barely picked up the klack klack klack of a can of spray paint being shaken up. More precisely, two at once.
I knew who they belonged to, so I made a sharp whistle to grab the person's attention as we walked.
That action was rewarded a minute later by having an empty can of spray paint nearly missing my head. Must've gotten her in the middle of one of her murals.

"Thanks ya jackass, you made me screw up!"

Yup, she's somewhat pissed.

"You brought this on yourself buddy. See you in a few."

Abandoning me to the proverbial wolf, eh Ben?

The girl walking twoards me had short dirty blonde hair, deep blue eyes, tan skin, and a slightly torn up black tank top, which was just a little too small for her, and matching jeans with a holster belt loaded with cans of custom mixed spray paint. And while not quite as curvy as Marine, she was younger so it's only natural.
And I know for a fact she wore those torn-up clothes with pride. They hold proof of years of police dodging.

"Hey Naomi."

"Don't you 'hey Naomi' me! You knew damn well I was in the middle of my latest piece of art! Now come here!"

Next thing I knew I was being dragged along like a rag... doll...
Great. It's official, I can't stop a girl smaller than me from dragging me around.

"See what you almost ruined?!"

What I saw was must have been the fruits of a weeks worth of work. A blazing comet passing over a forest leaving rainbow stars in its wake. If you didn't know who made this, you'd probably think some nutjob artist came in with a brush and a few ordinary cans of paint and lived here for a month.
But Naomi's been at it for so long this is her newest standard of work.

"Stardust Reviere is my latest piece! If you whistled so much as a second later you would have cost me hours!"

"Look I'm sorry-"

"Oh you'll be sorry all right."

"I was going to ask you if you wanted to go to the beach with me."

"You're here with your friend already. Hrmmm..."

She was considering it, but I was prepared to drag her off anyways. Living, eating, and breathing paint is not good for one's health. And if she won't watch her health, one of her friends has to.

"Toss in lunch and I'll go."

"Sure."

"Lemme get my stuff..."

I was already going to treat her for lunch anyways, but why tell her that?

Not a few minutes later and she had stashed away her spraypaint and belt and was walking back to Ben, who had decided to be nice and wait instead of leaving me with this girl.
He smirked as we set off. Keep the peanuts gallery commentary to yourself bro.

The remaining trip took us through increasingly crowded streets, and I felt Naomi clinging to my arm. She never did well with big crowds.
The beach wasn't much better, especially when the overcast cleared up into sunny, but the beach was more wide open so people disperesed enough to where Naomi would tolerate it better.

[X]The beach here is good enough, plus I don't mind the feeling of a girl clinging to my arm.
[X]An area further away from the crowds would be better. I should respect others.

---
As always, write in sensably.
>> No. 25784
[X] An area further away from the crowds would be better. I should respect others.
>> No. 25785
[X]An area further away from the crowds would be better. I should respect others.
>> No. 25786
[X]An area further away from the crowds would be better. I should respect others.

I think we should do the right thing despite how good a cute girl cling to us feels.

Interesting... Naomi seems Marisa-ish (she did name her painting after one of Marisa's spell cards)

Not sure about Marine

What an interesting story... two plot lines in two different places...
>> No. 25787
I'm having fun with this, seeing if anyone notices anything, like possibilities not made obvious.
Though I'm kind of suprised that nobody seems to have gotten the meaning of the opening pic. It has a lot in common with the name of the story.
I'll drop a hint later if nobody gets it.
---
[X]An area further away from others would be better, I should respect others.

"You called the beach Ben, I call the less crowded area."

"For once, I agree with you."

While it'd be nice to have Naomi cling to me a while longer I didn't invite her just to torment her. So with that, we started walking twoards an area of the beach that was sparsely populated and Naomi seemed to grow less tense the further away the crowds were. As a result she shifted off my arm and simply held my hand for now.

"Any particular reason you dragged me out here Wade?"

"Aside from the fact that you need to get some air not laden with areosol paint?"

Nari suddenly hopped off my shoulder and looked at me expectantly. I unhooked her from the leash and watched her dash off behind some rocks.
Another bonus: I'm less likely to get yelled at for letting Nari use the bathroom here.

"So I'll wind up with colorful insides. Big deal."

Ben sighed again in an bored tone. I didn't really want to make the guy feel like a third wheel, but Naomi never makes it easy as sometimes she's just as clingy as Nari.

The trip to the beach turned into a walk. It was fine by me, I didn't really know what one was supposed to do here as I only ever people-watched before. I know you could things like surfing or volleyball, but those really needed more than one person to really be enjoyable.
Plus I can't swim...

Nari finished up and resumed her perch on my shoulder, wrapping her tail loosely around my neck. I know she'll be okay with it so long as I don't get too close to the water.
Neither of us were particularly comfterble around large bodies of water.

"Hey Ben, if you have something else in mind, just ask."

"I was thinking about going down to the arcades for a bit. A lover's walk ought to be enjoyed without an awkward onlooker."

Naomi responded first.
"Now you're looking too far into it."

Maybe, maybe not. Naomi is a friend who decided it was okay to violatle my personal space anytime we met after a while. It could mean she thinks of me as an protective older brother archetype, or she could be acting on more unconsious desires. Though any direct question on the subject gets deflected, since I doubt even she knows.

"I'll catch up with you later then."

"Bye for now."

And then I was left alone with my cat and Naomi.
There was one thing I was rather curious about...

"Tag anything major lately?"

"Ohhh, just the wall of the town hall."

If it wasn't obvious, Naomi is a graffiti artist. But I don't mean those lame tags where people just spray paint their name or something, I mean huge murals that can take upwards of a month to fully finish. Less if the cops don't notice it.
She's also quite good with chemistry, as she's not only made a special varnish to make her murals almost impossible to wash off, but she's also made some effective smoke bombs and flashbangs. To top it off, she's managed via disguise to trick the entire local police force into thinking their target is a man.

"What'd you do to it?"

"You should see it for yourself. You'd think you could just step right through it into another world."

"That good?"

"One of my better works. It's amusing seeing the looks on people's faces."

I knew she'd never tell anyone where she'd strike next, so I let that drop.

"Feel up to the arcade?"

"Ehh, I'm getting lunch out of this, so I'll deal with it if you want."

[X]Arcade it is then.
[X]Quiet time with Naomi is fine too.
[X]Browse the other shops. Maybe a confectionary?
>> No. 25788
[x] Arcade it is then.
>> No. 25789
[x] Arcade it is then.
>> No. 25790
[x] Arcade it is then.
>> No. 25791
[X]Arcade it is then.
>> No. 25792
[X]Arcade it is then.

"Then let's get going shall we?"

Naomi started clinging to my arm again as we approached the more densely populated areas in search of an arcade. But in this town, for every tourist trap there is a hidden away equilivant that is generally flat out better.
In this case, 'arcade' would translate into 'gaming lounge', and one of the better ones was located just off the beaten path as Naomi would point out, having relaxed a bit.
Now some people would think of alcohol when entering a place like this, but the owner and staff here were interested in keeping things family friendly and as such didn't stock such things. Which is probably for the best, if my dream last night was any indication.

We entered the gaming lounge and found that Ben knew about this place too, given the fact that he was going up against someone else in a fighting game.

Then Naomi called out.
"Hey barkeep!"

The man at the counter waved Naomi and I over and since she was stronger than me I couldn't exactly refuse.
The 'barkeep' was easily in his late thirties, well built body, brown eyes, and black hair that was just starting to grey.

"It's not barkeep Naomi, you know that."

"Couldn't help it Baxter, old habit."

"So who's your friend?"

"Him? He's Wade. He lives a few miles away from the town."
What, I don't get to introduce myself?

"Nice to meet you in person Wade. I didn't think Naomi was ever going to bring you in here."

"What can I say?"

"Heh heh, not much. What can I do for you two then?"

"My usual."

My turn.
"Do you make smoothies here?"

"Sure do."

"A chocolate peanut butter one then, if you would please."

"Comin' right up. I'll call you two when it's done."

Baxter left the counter to go get our order ready, leaving the two of us at the counter.
The nice thing about this place is that unlike an arcade, which takes quarters every time you want to play, you pay a small fee and you're free to use the owners collection. Which in this case means all sorts of consoles, ranging from the simple NES all the way up to the PS3. There were a couple PCs too.
A nice way to waste a day don't you think?

Now that I remembered to check the time, it was coming up on eleven-thirty am. Still plenty of day left.

[X]Just wait around.
[X]I paid the fee, so I'm going to play.
-[X]Choose your weapon console/pc.
--[X]Invite Naomi to play too.
--[X]Ask Ben when he's done.
>> No. 25794
[X]I paid the fee, so I'm going to play.
-[X]Choose your weapon console/pc.
--[x] PS2 - Bloody Roar 3
>> No. 25795
[X]I paid the fee, so I'm going to play.
-[X]Choose your weapon console/pc.
-[x]PS2- Guilty Gear Accent Core+
--[X]Invite Naomi to play too.

Let's see how good she is, that and it's time to play a good game.

I was tempted to choose a Touhou game as a Doh-oh moment, but decided against it.
>> No. 25796
[X]I paid the fee, so I'm going to play.
-[X]Choose your weapon console/pc.
-[x]PS2- Guilty Gear Accent Core+
--[X]Invite Naomi to play too.

That.
>> No. 25797
[X]I paid the fee, so I'm going to play.
-[X]Choose your weapon console/pc.
-[x]PS2- Guilty Gear Accent Core+
--[X]Invite Naomi to play too.
>> No. 25798
[X]I paid the fee, so I'm going to play.
-[X]Choose your weapon console/pc.
-[x]PS2- Guilty Gear Accent Core+
--[X]Invite Naomi to play too.
>> No. 25799
You guys had to pick something I've never played.
Ah well, may as well call it so I can learn about it before I post the update so I can at least sound like I know what I'm doing.

>>25795
I'm not about to discourage such things you know.
>> No. 25800
Excuse any discrepencies, finding videos of GG:AC+ didn't turn up much, so I looked at mugen videos for a general idea of what the characters play like.
---
[X]I paid the fee, I'm going to play.
-[X]Choose your console/pc (PS2, Guilty Gear Accent Core+)
--[X]Invite Naomi to play too.


Well, so long as I'm waiting for my drink I may as well play.
Looking at the library of games, Guilty Gear Accent Core Plus for the PS2 caught my attention. I knew about it, I played the characters on MUGEN, but I haven't actually played their source game.
It also struck me as a good idea to ask Naomi if she wanted to play too.

"Naomi, feel like playing?"

"Guilty Gear? Why not."

I got the game set up then the two of us got situated and chose our characters.
For me, Faust's wonderfully crazy fighting style.
For Naomi, Justice's high-powered combos.
Based on character selection it could go either way, though I had a sneaking suspicion Naomi was the rare player who knew how to lop off entire health bars in two or three combos with Justice, while I still needed to get oriented with PS2 controls so I could bomb, stab and spin my way to victory.

The stage loaded, Faust floated down via umbrella and Justice looked intimidating.

Duel 1
Let's Rock!

Naomi closed the distance and I managed to get the guard command right before she could rip into Faust's health, and quickly figured out the mad doctor's teleport move which Justice promply blocked. Faust barely gets a low poke in to cancel Justice's combo. So long as I can keep this up I might have a chance. This time I get a combo started and tear into Justice, though the Gear blocked when I made a momentary slip-up and stalled it.
Though I now had enough of a special bar to pull off Faust's treasure chest super I needed to wait.
It eventually became a battle of who could juggle the other longer and somehow I managed to win it.

Slash!

"Not bad, have you ever played this game before?"

"Not Guilty Gear, no."

I then noticed it was Baxter with our drinks who said that.
We accepted our drinks with thanks before continuing.

"A Mugenite eh? That's about the only way you're going to avoid a total shutout without playing the source game."

The next match was about a second away from starting, so I couldn't really answer without breaking my concentration.

Duel 2
Let's Rock!

And boy, did I ever need it with the aggressive game Naomi was playing. Her reaction times were insane and I was barely keeping up. As a result I had half my health gone in the first few seconds of the match and the rest was more or less a desperate struggle on my end to at least make it close.

Slash!

Close, but not close enough. Justice still had a solid half-full bar of health while Faust was on the ground. I'm guessing Naomi used round one to warm up too.
Still, I had one more round to try and beat her, and the only thing left to try at this point was the insta-kill move. It was a one time use move per match, so I had to decide very carefully when and where to pull it out.
I don't think I'll get more than one shot ayways.

Final Duel
Let's Rock!

Justice dashed forwards and guarded almost immediately as Faust tried to punish her for getting so close. I kept up the attack but intentionally left a small opening to bait Naomi out of it...
And she turned around and used Justice's insta-kill move on Faust before I could pull Faust's off.

Destroyed!

I started drinking my smoothie now that there was a lull in the action.
Apparently Ben was finished with his match and decided to watch ours. Baxter merely smiled.

[X]Rematch?
[X]That's enough of a beating for now.
-[X]Just chill.
-[X]On that game. (Pick something else)
-[X]See if Ben wants to take over.
>> No. 25801
[X]That's enough of a beating for now.
-[X]See if Ben wants to take over.
>> No. 25802
[X]That's enough of a beating for now.
-[X]See if Ben wants to take over.
>> No. 25803
[X]That's enough of a beating for now.
-[X]See if Ben wants to take over.

Let's see if he does any better.
>> No. 25805
Not much of an update, but it's still something.
---
[X]That's enough of a beating for now.
-[X]See if Ben wants to take over.

Yeah, getting systematically destroyed doesn't do one's confidence any good, so I decline a rematch. Instead I look to my good friend, who was watching us.

"Feel like playing the winner?"

"I'll give it a shot."

I move to another chair and let Ben use the one I had previously occupied.
Ben's choice was Sol, and Naomi went with Justice again.
Now, I'm not a top-tier Guilty Gear player but I seem to be able to hold my own since the mechanics and tactics remain largely the same from their MUGEN incarnations.
Ben, on the other hand, was made to look like a punching bag by comparison. I could tell he knew what he was doing but he just couldn't pull anyting off over the course of two matches. As a result, their match was much shorter than mine.

"Geeze Naomi, when did you learn to do all that?"

"I've got plenty of spare time. That's all."

The way those two talked I'm guessing that they've done this before.

Naomi posed a question as she got up.
"Hey Wade, it's almost noon. Where do you plan on taking me for lunch?"

"I was thinking about a good fish and chips place."

"You mean the one that's also a surf shop?"

"That's the one."

"I actually like their food, so it's fine with me."

"Ben?"

"I'll go along."

With that, the three of us exited the lounge and headed to our place of mutual agreement.
It's located at one of the less populated area of the beach so it's never overly crowded. It also sells surfing equipment if one happens to surf or wants to start.
The restruant is in its noontime rush by the time we get there, so it takes a little while to get inside and seated, then we sat down at the table and ordered our food. It'll take a few minutes though.

Ben struck up conversation first.
"So while we're waiting, are you still practicing lucid dreaming, or have you finally given up on that?"

[X]I'm still at it.
-[X]And they've been increasingly strange lately.
[X]It made me even more tired lately, so I stopped.
[X]Try to 'dodge the bullet'
>> No. 25806
[X] I'm still at it.
-[X] And they've been increasingly strange lately.

Is Nariko still with us?
>> No. 25807
[X] I'm still at it.
-[X] And they've been increasingly strange lately.
>> No. 25808
[x] I'm still at it.
-[x] And they've been increasingly strange lately.
>> No. 25809
[X]I'm still at it.
-[X]And they've been increasingly strange lately.

I wonder if admitting this is a good idea or not.
>> No. 25810
[X]I'm still at it.
-[X]And they've been increasingly strange lately.

No sense lying to them. With a cat in my lap and Ben and Naomi waiting for an answer, I took a breath and started to tell them the truth.

"I'm still at it. It's been getting rather strange lately."

"What, you've been flying around as a purple jester?"
Very funny Ben.

"No, I've been visiting an unnervingly realistic dream world on a routine basis."

"What's so bad about that? It's a good eight hours or so of escape isn't it?"

"I'll grant you that, but a few people there seem to know me. It's only natural since I've been dreaming there for a year total but when they laugh at the suggestion that it's all just a dream... that's when it got weird."

The food arrived just as I stopped my sentence, and I kept going while eating. The chatter from other people would keep what I was telling my friends close to this table.

And Nari looked and me and gave a lazy blink before curling up and purring. She swished her tail back and forth rythmically for a minute or so as well, as if trying to give the illusion of two tails.
"A lot of things have been on the tip of my mind in them and I haven't been able to actively remember what those things are."

Neither of them interrupted me, so I continued.

"Like names for example, I can recall seven or eight names, but no more. I also can't recall events prior to last night's dream."

"That's pretty normal isn't it? I don't think it's anything to lose sleep over. You're probably just creating your own dreamscape to explore a place where you feel wanted yet free."

"Maybe."

Not. I don't want to add the bit about fragments of me lying around the land, the strings, the horned girl 'gathering' me, or the dollmaker who had been stalking me for seven months and change. They'd probably try to write it off as more fantasies.
Though I don't think they're fantasies I really want to be dreaming about. Except maybe Alice and Tokiko. In a three- no, no, not the time for that!

And now that I thought about it, that blone woman in the speeding car seemed somewhat familiar, but I can't place my finger on what.

"Heeeey, you still with us? Quit spacing out."
Naomi snapped her fingers in front of me to get my attention, which was the first time she moved in response to this conversation. She mostly watched and listened.

"Eh? Oh, sorry."

"Sheesh. Well, tell us about the kind of people you met."

I practically promised myself I was going to tell the truth, so I did.
I told them about the girls at the shrine, those I ecountered at Kourindou, without telling them the shop name, and the seven-colored puppeteer. Minus the names.

Ben was about to start talking, most likely with some unwitty commentary, but thankfully Naomi cut him off.
"Hmm... Try looking up yokai and far east religion on Wikipedia when you get home. If nothing else it might give you some insight in what you're dreaming about."

Ben then cut in.
"Yokai?"

Naomi answered Ben but turned her attention to me.
"It's a catch-all term to describe mytical creatures of japanese origin. You've never heard of them before, have you?"

"Nope."
T'was the truth. I didn't know anything about them.

"Wait, Naomi why would you know that?"

"I like painting mythological beasts too. They're interesting and so are the stories behind them. Painting yokai isn't a new thing to me, I did some a year ago but I'm currently working on egyptian creatures."

"Oh."

Somehow in the middle of it all we finished lunch, and Nari got some tasty cooked fish. I wound up needing to carry her for now.
I filed away Naomi's suggestion for later as I wasn't anywhere near ready to go back home. Not when I had at least four and a half hours to spend time away from there.

[X]Aimless wandering sounds good.
[X]I don't have enough sugar in my system yet. Head for one of the confectionary places.
[X]We should have enough time to catch a movie. (specify)
[X]Check out some kind of bookstore.
[X]Write in a destination.
>> No. 25811
[X]Check out some kind of bookstore.

Reading up never hurts, for fun or knowledge. Now he notices that blonde woman...
>> No. 25812
[X]Check out some kind of bookstore.
>> No. 25814
[X]Check out some kind of bookstore.
>> No. 25815
You are afflicted with a case of [Sudden Update]
What do you do?
---
[X]Check out some kind of bookstore.

"Anyone object to a bookstore?"

"Nope."

"Need some new comic collections huh?"
I'm just going to pretend I didn't hear that.

The bookstore I typically go to here is one situated on the main road. It's a good place to buy a wide variety of books and you're allowed to read them beforehand so long as you don't try to exit the store without paying. The reading area also has a nice large window for letting natural light in and people watching.

I was about to cross the street when a car made a near-impossible high speed turn and roared down the street. It was that damned blonde again.
Last time she had seven police cars chasing her, now she had twelve and a helicopter.
I felt Naomi pull me back just before the nutjob speeded past us with a cackle and saying something about needing to do this more often. She still somehow avoided actually hitting anyone.
This time I actually got the licence plate number so if she wasn't caught before I reached a phone I could call it in. Though with around thirty people having taken photos of her and or calling the cops, I doubted it would be necissary.

With that little episode out of the way, we proceeded.

Once inside the bookstore I didn't even bother grabbing a comic collection. I just crashed in a chair and waited for Naomi and Ben to look at what they wanted to.
I didn't even notice someone sitting down in the adjacent chair.

"You okay Wade?"

I opened my right eye to see who was talking.
I kinda forgot she also has a lunch break too.

"I'll be fine once the adrenaline wears off Marine."

"If you say so... But who in their right mind drives like that anyways?!" Her tone was of mild anger.

"I don't know and I'd rather not associate with such people long enough to find out."

Marine giggled at that before returning to a serious tone.
"True, better to let the cops handle it. Though they don't seem to be doing a very good job this time."

"You can say that again. I saw her evading the police four hours ago." I held up four fingers for emphasis.

"Wow."

"And I'm under the impression I'll be having at least one more close call on the way home."

"You're free to stay at my place for the night if you're worried."

"I might just take you up on that. Bikes tend to lose when pit against cars."

My heart started beating at a regular pace again just in time for Ben to walk over with Naomi a few seconds behind.
Ben handed me a collection I haven't read, and they both sat down as well.

"Thanks." Was the only thing I said.

"No problem." Was Ben's response.

"I need to get back to my shop soon, lunch break's over for me."
Marine then walked out. It was necissary for her to stay in the store for a typical shift so she doesn't lose any sales.

"I'd like to stay in the store for a while guys."

No objections. Turns out a few people in the store were waiting for confirmation the psycho driver was caught before continuing their day.

It was only then I noticed Nari was gone, but she appeared but a moment later to hop in my lap and reassure me that she was fine.

It would be a few hours before I wanted to leave the store. Missing by a few feet was one thing. Missing by inches and almost losing something precious in the process was something else.

Later:
[X]Ride home, maybe psycho driver will be off the road or somewhere else.
[X]Take up Marine's offer, an uncaught maniac driver ought to be enough justification for spending the night.
>> No. 25816
[X] Ride home, maybe psycho driver will be off the road or somewhere else.
>> No. 25817
[X] Ride home, maybe psycho driver will be off the road or somewhere else.
>> No. 25818
[0] Ride home, maybe psycho driver will be off the road or somewhere else.

>"What, you've been flying around as a purple jester?"

I just now noticed this.
>> No. 25819
>>25818
Took ya long enough to find the hint. Now let's see what you come up with...
---
[X]Ride home. Maybe psycho driver will be off the road or somewhere else.

Later, as the sun was beginning to set, I had decided to buy a couple new comic collections before riding home. Marine's offer was tempting and despite what some may think, almost completely innocent, but I decided to try my luck heading to my home on my own.
I really questioned my logic on this decision as I got my bike out and mounted it.
Nari hopped onto my shoulder, I secured my purchase and I was off. I'd be home just in time for dinner barring any furher interruptions.

Ugh, that woman's not even here and she's still affecting the area. The police set up roadblocks covering all exits out of the town, but thankfully they quickly aknowledged that I wasn't their criminal and let me ride on through. I had to do this three times, meaning I was going to be late.

Still, I made good time and- what the?!
No. Freaking. Way.
She was still loose, driving along the same road I was with nobody pursuing her. She just lost the entire local law enforcement and the helicopters they called in. Nobody gets away from that!

The two of us locked eyes for only a moment when she caught up to me.
She smirked.
I tried my hardest to put on a poker face but I could tell my eyes betrayed me.
Nari was hissing again.
I remembered who she is.

Yukari Yakumo

Though instead of opening a gap on me, she just drove off with a strangely echoing cackle.
Maybe she doesn't recognise me in the waking world. I hope.

I got home in even better time after that, the knowledge that someone who was supposedly just a figment of my imagination really existed made for an excellent motivator to get home before she changed her mind. Now I know how Ichabod must've felt.

I got through dinner, talking about what I did today, reassuring my parents that I was fine despite the maniac driver on the loose and being told that next time if it appears to be safer to spend the night at a friend's house to do so and call.

Afterwards, I had some time before bed so I contemplated what to do.

[X]Just go to sleep, unconsciousness is a welcome thing.
[X]Take Naomi's advice first.
>> No. 25820
[X] Take Naomi's advice first.
-[x] Bring Nariko to bed with you.
>> No. 25821
[X] Take Naomi's advice first.
-[x] Bring Nariko to bed with you.
>> No. 25822
>>25820

this but what's Naomi's advice again?

Figured it was Yukari.
>> No. 25823
>>25822

Looking up youkai on Wikipedia I believe.

[0] Take Naomi's advice first.
-[1] Bring Nariko to bed with you.
>> No. 25824
[X]Take Naomi's advice first.
-[X]Bring Nariko to bed with you.

First thing's first. Heed Naomi's advice.
I get on my computer and start looking up yokai on Wikipedia like she suggested and spend a fair amount of time reading about their legends and supposed appearances. The first conclusion I draw is that Suika must be a cute monster girl variant of an Oni.
Nobody else I encountered really fits the somewhat limited list avalible though, but I know a bit more about the world I stepped into.
A different search provided information on japanese religion, and that, through my own conclusion, Reimu must be a shrine maiden.
Another hour and I call it quits for the night.

Since I let Nari sleep in my room anyways, I didn't even really need to consider letting her.
Still, she may let me know if anything weird turns up.
As I crawl in bed I had a crazy idea: If things from the dream world can get out, what's to stop me from bringing things in with me?
I have Nariko curl up on me with my hand on her specifically so I could try it. If it works and she becomes a Nekomata or something similar I could establish a 'shikigami' contract. There wasn't any doubt in my mind that it would be useful.

Next thing I know after I close my eyes is that I feel a warmth along my body and my arms around a small body. I was momentarily celibrating in my head until I opened my eyes and saw that Suika had fallen asleep on me. The fact her breath reeked of alcohol suggests she got drunk enough last night to think this was a good idea.

Of course, just willing your loving pet to come with you across god-knows-what kind of barrier protects this place to aid you would make it far too easy now wouldn't it?
I try to shift the little oni off me, but she has a suprisingly tight grip. Despite that I get up and start to look around.

[X]Try to pry Suika off before you get drunk off her breath.
[X]Wait a sec, do I hear a panicked mewling?
[X]Go greet the other members of the household. I mean, shrine.
[X]Go to the bathroom, maybe there's a mirror you can use to check for differences.
>> No. 25825
[x] Wait a sec, do I hear a panicked mewling?
>> No. 25826
[0] Wait a sec, do I hear a panicked mewling?
>> No. 25827
[x] Wait a sec, do I hear a panicked mewling?

Here's hoping for nekomata.
>> No. 25828
[x]Wait a sec, do I hear a panicked mewling?
>> No. 25829
[X]Wait a sec, do I hear panicked mewling?

Temporarily ignoring the oni girl clinging to my chest I decided to investigate the panicked meowing. I really did hope I succeded in bringing her over with me...

I found out that somehow it did work. Nariko bounded right over to me, albiet still a cat, and started smacking Suika in an attempt to get her off.
It didn't do much needless to say.

The bathroom was the next stop, primarily so I could splash water on Suika to try and wake her up, secondary was to check my appearance.
Ultimitely I managed to carefully position the little oni girl under the sink tap in a way that wouldn't get water up her nose and turned on the cold water. While that was going, I took a look at myself.
The first thought in my head was that this must be why Yukari decided to try and scare me rather than immediately gap me. I looked completely different here.

"Snrk... stop chilling my head you nineball..."

Hot water next.

Suika started drooling for some reason. I didn't want to know why.

Alternate between hot and cold.

"Zzzz... Don't be like that Reimu!..."

Well, that's not gonna work. I dried out her hair as best I could and walked out of the bathroom. Also rather annoying because I needed to use it.

My next idea was to locate the Miko and hope she has a crowbar.
Finding her wasn't too difficult as she was busy fixing breakfast and humming. She must be in a pretty good mood with the way she's smiling, I almost didn't want to disturb her. But a blushing oni clinging to one's chest wouldn't even make for a particularly good meatshield so I had to ask as I stifle a yawn.

"Morning Reimu."

If anything, her smile got wider and she's now supressing laughter.

"Pff, good morning Wade. Sleep well enough?"

"About as well as I could expect. Now could you please get this oni off me? She's drooling into my shirt."

"She should be waking up soon anyways, sooner now that she can smell breakfast."

It did in fact cause a response.
"raymooo..."

And Suika's grip slackened just enough for Nari to bounce off Suika's head to force her off onto the floor. Not that it actually woke her up...

"Thank you, now if you'll excuse me I have some bodily urges to attend too."

"Breakfast will be done in fifteen minutes, so unless you're fast you may want to wait. You might want to do something about your hair too when you do, the way it is now you could suprise a yokai."
Very funny Reimu. Is everyone here secretly a smart-ass as well?

I asked Nari to stay with Reimu for the time being while I took care of buisness. Much to my suprise she actually complied.
A few minutes and the opening of a bathroom window later and I returned to the dining room... Well, I'm not sure what they call it here but since Mima and Suika, the latter still half asleep and still drooling, are sitting there waiting for breakfast I'm just going to keep calling it that.
Sitting down I noticed Mima was snuggling and petting Nari. This really suprised me. She usually never lets anyone other than me do that with her.

"Aren't you just adorable! From now on your name is Marisa!"
Mima got a tail flick for her trouble, whick made me smirk. It seems no one else gets the meaning.

"Reimu, can we keep her?"

Reimu stepped out of the kitchen carrying a tray loaded with what eastern people consider breakfast. She responded while setting it down.
"You mean the cat? Ask Wade, the cat's friendlier with him."
She then hurried back into the kitchen. I can only assume drinks are next.

"Oh, this one's yours?"
Mima's reaction was a little suprised, but she didn't stop petting Nari.

"Unless I'm hallucinating, yes."

"Hmm... a little over nine years old right?"

In all honesty I forgot.

"You don't have to say anything, I can tell because your cat is developing a split down her tail. If she stays here for a few more months or gets some kind of boost she'll become a Neko. I can't tell you what kind though."
Reimu returned with morning tea and sat down with us, and we started on breakfast.

[X]Write-in question.
>> No. 25831
[x] "So, Reimu, you're looking awfully chipper today. Something good happen?"
[x] "Mima, if she does become a neko, what would happen to her body in the real- well, MY world? And would I be able to bring her back?"
[x] "I'm not sure how to put this, but I think I saw Yukari Yakumo in my world. She was causing quite a ruckus. Anyway, I think she recognized me. She didn't do any more than smile at me, though. Is that... normal? Should I be worried?"
>> No. 25832
[x] "So, Reimu, you're looking awfully chipper today. Something good happen?"
[x] "Mima, if she does become a neko, what would happen to her body in the real- well, MY world? And would I be able to bring her back?"
[x] "I'm not sure how to put this, but I think I saw Yukari Yakumo in my world. She was causing quite a ruckus. Anyway, I think she recognized me. She didn't do any more than smile at me, though. Is that... normal? Should I be worried?"
>> No. 25833
[x] "So, Reimu, you're looking awfully chipper today. Something good happen?"
[x] "Mima, if she does become a neko, what would happen to her body in the real- well, MY world? And would I be able to bring her back?"
[x] "I'm not sure how to put this, but I think I saw Yukari Yakumo in my world. She was causing quite a ruckus. Anyway, I think she recognized me. She didn't do any more than smile at me, though. Is that... normal? Should I be worried?"
>> No. 25834
[X]"So, Reimu, you look awfully chipper today. Anything good happen?"
[X]"Mima, if she does become a neko, what would happen to her body in the real- I mean MY world? Would I be able to take her back with me?"
[X]"I'm not sure how to put this, but I think I saw Yukari Yakumo in my world. She was causing quite a ruckus. Anyway, I think she recognized me. She didn't do any more than smile at me, though. Is that... normal? Should I be worried?"

Partway through breakfast I decided it was as good a time as any to start asking questions.
"So, Reimu, you're awfully chipper today, anything good happen?"

Reimu put her cup of tea down before answering. Somehow her mood was infectious.
"Some of the villagers actually came up here and donated a decent sum and prayed. It's my job to resolve incidents to keep humans safe but very rarely do people ever bother to support me at all. So when they do it means they actually care."

"I hate to be a downer, but that could mean a lot of things. How can you be sure?"

"Divine intuition."

She seemed sure of herself, so I let it drop. Though she continued but a moment later.

"And I found out where my robotic maid is, so that's another reason why I'm happy."

I didn't expect to hear that.
"Geneokyo has robot maids?"

"Just the one. I got it as a reward for beating up a couple of strong outsiders who were trying to trick people into becoming guinea pigs for their experements."

"She dissapeared a couple years ago though, and even forcing those two into maid outfits didn't really help."

Mima rolled her eyes.
"Well Wade, now you know how to win her over. Cross-dress as a maid to appeal to her fetish."

A blush started to creep across Reimu's face.
"How many times do I have to tell you it's not like that? Anyways, I found out she was deactivated in Kourindou's back room. I just hope she didn't get abused..."

Wait, Kourindou?
"Rinnosuke's shop?"

"You've been there already?"

"Yeah, he seemed kind of rude."

Mima gave a sharp, short, somewhat haughty laugh.
"Rude? My, you have a knack for understating things Wade!"

"I know I'm going to regret asking, but just how bad is he?"

The fact that the three girls in the room looked at each other and played rock-paper-scissors, I'm guessing none of them really wanted to explain Rinnosuke's darker side. Mima lost.
"Guess I get the honor. Let's see, he can be dishonest at times, rude, is willing to sell the very rare stolen good, and runs around in nothing but an oversized loincloth trying to get laid every so often. Other than that he's fairly respectable, especially when he gets some honest paying customers."

Reimu then added to that.
"That's why I'm worried about my robot maid and simultaneously glad and horrified I know where she is. I plan on ripping Rinnosuke several new ones later for locking her up in the back for so long."

"I'm guessing that's how he flushed out a trio of small flying girls and why he didn't want me back there."

"Most likely."

"On a less vengance and rape-filled subject, Mima, if Nariko does become a neko, what happens to her body in the real- I mean, my world, and can I take her back with me?"

Mima's answer was slightly delayed due to her making a comment first.
"This adorable fuzzball's name is Nariko? Huh, fitting. Anyways, it depends on how she got here. If she came through the same way you did I doubt her cat body would change in any noticable way, she'd most likely be stuck in cat form outside of Gensokyo. If she got gapped in then it wouldn't matter anyways, but that depends on wether granny gap yokai decided to snatch her up on a whim."
Granny gap yokai? Was she talking about Yukari?
"As for your next question, that also depends on how she got here. If she came in with you then you should be able to take her back with you. If it was a gap, then unless you can manipulate bondaries as well you won't be bringing her back through."

"Thanks, I hope it's the former then."

"Well, I figured I may as well answer the question."

"Also, I don't know how to put this but I think I saw Yukari Yakumo in my world. She was causing quite a ruckus."

I could hear Reimu sigh in an annoyed way.
"That explains what Ran meant by 'night trip'."

"Anyways I think she recognized me. She didn't do any more than smile at me though. Is that... normal? Should I be worried?"

Reimu took a minute to think and compose an answer.
"I doubt she really recognised you, intuition tells me that what you look like here and what you must look like on the Outside probably doesn't match up at all. She also just likes messing with outsiders like yourself. So that is normal for her, but you should be concerned. She probably was trying to track you down so she can gap you to Mayohiga. The simple fact that you aren't in her clutches right now means I'm probably correct."

So a discription discrepency was the only thing protecting me on the outside? That's not inspiring any confidence.

"This is also why I politely kicked you out yesterday. She would have taken advantage of you. Coincidentally, you should head out today too. If she's figured out you're in Gensokyo this shrine will be the first place she looks."

"Okay."

[X]Head down to Kourindou with Reimu. I don't want to miss this.
[X]Now that I've calmed down, I should try and tell Alice that I don't hate her.
[X]If the village is anything like the coastal town, it should be a nice all-day distraction.
[X]I never did visit that anything goes shop.
[X]Fly around and expand those horizons.
>> No. 25835
[X]I never did visit that anything goes shop.
>> No. 25836
[X]Head down to Kourindou with Reimu. I don't want to miss this.
[x] If you have time stop by alice's and tell her you don't hate her. It's near by.

This should be priceless.

That and since we're close to Alice's house going by there after Reimu rips Rinnosuke a new one won't be too hard.
>> No. 25837
[X] I never did visit that anything goes shop.
>> No. 25838
[0] I never did visit that anything goes shop.
>> No. 25839
[X]I never did visit that anything goes shop.

After finishing breakfast Reimu shooed me out, still in a chipper mood though armed to the teeth.
Needless to say that even though she was happy, she was scary.

As a result, I felt that it may be better to go to Kourindou after the Terminator Miko paid her visit and got her maid back. So I decided to go visit the anything goes shop, having Nari hop on my shoulder so I know where she is.
Mima had decided to vacate the shrine as well and walked with me for the majority of the trip there, and after a little prying and question-answering she gave an educated guess as to what kind of neko Nari was likely to become.
There were four all together, the Bakeneko, the Nekomata, Manekineko, and the Kasha.
The Nekomata and Kasha were right out, the former required poor treatment of the sort I would never allow, and the latter required the owner to die. The Manekineko was more of a highly intelligent cat with no discernable differences in cat form, so that was unlikely since Nari was already changing.
That left the Bakeneko, which required long life and being fed in the same place, both of which had occured. In cat years Nari was a little older than 63 and I took good care of her.
The Bakeneko had multiple tails rather than one split one, usually three or four, and had the power of shapeshifting similar to a kitsune's. Also even in cat form it could walk on its hind legs.

After that, Mima and I parted ways. She said that she couldn't afford to mother her former student too much if she wanted her to become truly strong. I didn't question it as it was none of my buisness. Not right now anyways.

The 'anything goes' shop looked like a house. And unlike Alice's neat and orderly place this looks like it had a few tornadoes die around the house. Toss in the mushrooms and vines growing around the place and you wouldn't have known it was lived in.
Despite that, I knocked on the door and stepped back. Good thing I did too, because the girl on the other side went for a dynamic entry a few seconds later.
"WELCOME TO TH-"
Nosiy... She quickly dropped it a few octaves.
"Oh, hey-ze! You coulda told me you were gonna swing by, I was about to go find some stuff."

If anyone asked what a witch looked like, this girl would probably be fairly close to their answer. On second thought, not really. Just like everything else here she was far too cute to fit the typical description.
Blonde hair bordering on golden, bright yellow eyes, a black witch outfit with a white apron over it and a large pointy hat with a pastel pink ribbon tied off into a bow, and a frilly white underside.

"You going to answer-ze?"

"Wha?"

"You're hopless, I asked if ya wanted to come in or the grand tour. Either way keeps ya out of Alice's clutches-ze."

I guess she doesn't know.

[X]Go inside, despite looking like a junk heap it may very well exceed expectations.
[X]Take the tour. I don't know why.
[X]Yoink!
>> No. 25840
[x] Go inside, despite looking like a junk heap it may very well exceed expectations.
>> No. 25841
[x] Go inside, despite looking like a junk heap it may very well exceed expectations.
>> No. 25842
[x] Go inside, despite looking like a junk heap it may very well exceed expectations.
>> No. 25843
[X]Go inside, despite looking like a junk heap it may very well exceed expectations.

Well, the inside has to look better than the outside right?
"I'd like to go in."

"You don't need me to tell you you've got permission I hope."

I crossed the threshold, and it exceeded my expectations all right.
Right the opposite of what I had hoped. The whole place was worse than Kourindou! there were piles of stuff, chairs made from carefully stacked piles of books, and speaking of books, this girl had what must be an entire large public library's worth. Various dried ingredients hung from the ceiling, and strange vials sat on shelves lining the walls. I do admit that if it were cleaned up some this could make for a rather nice store.

"See anything interesting-ze?"

"More than I can even care to count."

"Not too many outsiders say that, most just complain about this place bein' a junk heap."

"Ehh, no offence..."

"Nah, don't worry 'bout it. But I'm guessing you forgot me somewhere along the line, you haven't used my name at all-ze."

As much as I want to deny it...

"If you have forgotten, then I've forgotten my manners! The name's Marisa Kirisame, yokai exterminator, full-time borrower, and forest magician extrordinaire!" She even extended her hand out.

Kinda hard to compete with that.
"My name is Wade, nice to meet you again." I took her hand and shook it, which she replied to with vigor. The difference between Marisa and Alice were night and day, though the two didn't seem particularly friendly.

"Guess this means I can't call you spook anymore?"

"HahaNo."

"Aww..."
No. Don't you look at me like that. Stop trying to make me feel guilty for stamping out a stupid nickname.

"Eh, a kittty?"
Nari saved me from taking back what I said by brushing up against Marisa's leg.
"Heh, cute. This one yours?"

"Yes she is. No you may not keep her."

"You're no fun-ze."

There was one real couch, and Marisa offered to let me sit on it while she made something to drink. I accepted the offer for a few seconds, but curiosity got the better of me and I started to look through her stuff while Nari curled up on the couch.
Rude, yes, but I just walked into something out of a storybook, so sue me.
The vials had names, directions on their use, a list of potential hazards, and a small symbol, perhaps to make it possible to organize them in this forsaken mess. Some of them were interesting, such as the vial with the tiny galaxies in it and some of them I wish I hadn't looked at, specifically damn near every single one of the ones with the little heart symbol. I mean, why would anyone want to grow-

I shake my head free of those thoughts and started looking at the piles of junk instead, most of which looked like it had been collected just for the sake of collecting it. A revolver does you no good if there isn't any ammo.
Among other things was a giant scalpel, enough swords, hammers, polearms, and axes to arm a small band of adventurers straight into overkill, the scythe with the black handle and blood-red blade looked cool, but what was I going to do with it? I'd be willing to bet Marisa has a bigger collection than Rinnosuke.

Marisa walked in with a couple cups and set them on the table.
"Eye'n the collection eh? Can't blame you, I do that myself sometimes."

I jumped since I wasn't paying attention.
"It's certainly interesting, where do you get all this?"

Marisa gave a wink and a smile in response.
"Oh, just here and there. Lots of interesting junk can be found if you know where to look-ze."

I sat down and partook of the drink, which while odd, was pretty good. I assume it didn't have any side-effects since Marisa drank first.

"What's with you and Alice? She says she has locks to keep you out."

Marisa nearly spat her drink out.
"You went there first? Don't you remember all the stuff she did to you-ze?!"

"No, but she told me."

"Don't tell me you actually like what she did."

"No, I was freaked out. But she seemed sincere about her apology and regret."

The black-white sighed at my statement.
"Of course she is, she's straightforward and honest about stuff like that. But bein' interesting to her without knowing what she can get like, that's asking to get some nasty stuff done to you."

"And you know?"

"Course I do! She's my friend, even if she doesn't want to admit it." The last bit was said in a matter-of-fact tone.
"But if you're going to keep visiting her you ought to know she's a human turned Yokai."

"And?"

"I'm getting to that-ze."

What sounded like a couple tons of dynamite going off in the distance didn't even make Marisa flinch. Or pause for that matter. I'm guessing Rinnosuke was getting his.

"Alice has conflicting interests, and you can gauge it by her eyes. Blue and green are when she's safest and the remaining human part is strongest, yellow is when her human and yokai are in conflict and orange and red are when her yokai impulses take over."

"What about purple?"

"It's the opposite of yellow."

"So why tell me this?"

"So you can try to snap her out of it before she does something stupid."

No arguing that logic.

Subject change required:
[X]Magician, huh? What kind of magic do you use?
[X]What's with the vials?
[X]Those weapons look useful. (Specify interest.)
>> No. 25844
[x] What's with the vials?
[x] Those weapons look useful. (Those strange silver and black metallic gloves)
>> No. 25845
[x] What's with the vials?
[x] Those weapons look useful. (Those strange silver and black metallic gloves)
>> No. 25846
[0] What's with the vials?
[1] Those weapons look useful. (Those strange silver and black metallic gloves)
>> No. 25847
[x] What's with the vials?
[x] Those weapons look useful. (Revolver AND AMMO)
>> No. 25848
[x] What's with the vials?
[x] Those weapons look useful. (Those strange silver and black metallic gloves)

I figured the gloves would more good than a gun in Gensokyo.
>> No. 25849
Just to ask, is the weapon choice a reference to something, like the final fist weapon in the first two Disgaea, or is it something I can work out the details of myself?

>>25848
I wouldn't put money on that. Especially when the Writefag's played all three Homeworlds.
>> No. 25851
>>25849

It'd be the former in this case.
>> No. 25852
>>25851
So it is Ultimus?

Also, next time I say (Specify) when asking about an item, could one of you do me a favor and state what the reference is, if there is one, so I can get on with the update sooner? Vaugeness makes it go slower.
>> No. 25853
>>25852

Sure.
>> No. 25854
[X]What's with the vials?
[X]Those weapons look useful. (Those strange silver and black metallic gloves)

"Since I'm really curious, what's with the vials?"

The effect was immediate. That energy returned to Marisa's eyes as she explained.
"Those are potions-ze! Some of my best work all bottled up. I bet you were eyein the one with the galaxies in it, weren'tcha?"

"I did. Along with almost everything on that wall."

I didn't know it was possible for someone's face to get that red.
"So you saw... Those?"

"Care to explain?"

"Lets just say I had a run-in with a girl that could manipulate hearts, and developing that stuff was while I was affected by her."

"Good enough. So about the galaxy one..."

Marisa's expression changes faster than a malfunctioning traffic light if her embarrasment went away that fast.
"That one's really cool-ze! I discovered that those aren't just magic effects, they're real-ze! I bet they've got planets and people and everything on a tiny scale, so I keep that one extra safe. Maybe I'll figure out how to communicate with them some day."

I- ju- what- Ugh, I have nothing to say to that. A blonde witch-girl acting as an accidental god without actually being one is just wrong on so many levels.
"Any practical ones?"

"Like explosions, adhesives, summoning spells, that kind of thing? Got lots of 'em, more than I know what to do with."

"What about those weird silver and black gloves?"

"Dunno-ze. They just looked interesting so I grabbed 'em."
Suddenly there was a gleam in Marisa's eyes.
"I'm bettin' an outsider like you doesn't have any way to defend himself, do you? You don't even have to say anything, I know the answer to that one."
"So I'm willing to cut ya a deal-ze. Prove you're worth my time and I'll let you have those gloves."

[X]Go along with it for no-

"Oh, is this what I think it is?"

Marisa turned to the newcomer. My question is how did she get in without making a sound.
"Oh hey Alice! I was about to-"
And Marisa was promptly cut off.
"Make him your apprentice? Don't make me laugh."

"Better than what you would do to him doll-girl."

"If you don't mind my cutting in, but what are you doing here Alice?"

I succeeded in getting the puppeteer's attention.
"I was here to ask Marisa for some assistance, but I may just drag you away from here instead. That black-white sneak-thief would be a poor mentor to say the least."

"I was just gonna test a new spellcard on him in exchange for those gloves I found-ze. Wasn't going to apprentice him unless he asked. 'Sides, you wouldn't be much better, you can barely restrain yourself around him!"

"That was before I knew he was a human instead of a construct. If it's gloves, I could craft something just as good without the strings attached."

"Heh, you make something that exceeds these?" Marisa held up the gloves in question, which Alice inspected.

"If I use my Grimoire, I could easily do so."

"But it isn't our decision about who he goes with-ze, it's his! So Spook, who's it gonna be?"

[X]Accept Marisa's offer.
[X]Go with Alice on this one.
[X]Try to make them work together. It's kind of amusing the way they argue.
[X]I think I should leave before they start lasering each other or something.
[X]Write-in.
>> No. 25855
[X]Try to make them work together. It's kind of amusing the way they argue.

Go for everything, gain nothing
>> No. 25856
[X]Try to make them work together. It's kind of amusing the way they argue.
>> No. 25857
[x]Try to make them work together. It's kind of amusing the way they argue.

Super gloves! They shoot lasers! Lasers and dollies!

「Dream Sign」Raining little girls
>> No. 25858
[x]Try to make them work together. It's kind of amusing the way they argue.
>> No. 25859
Finally, someone starts talking dream nonsense.
---
[X]Try to get them to work together. It's kind of amusing the way they argue.

The witch and dollmaker were staring at me, waiting for my call.
The reserved and polite puppeteer or the witch with boundless energy?

"Can't the two of you work together on this?"

"On, wait what-ze? I asked you who you wanted to go with, not who's going to train... you..."
The slowdown in Marisa's words meant she was only now thinking about it.
"You're not asking to go with the both of us are you? I'm not that kind of girl-ze!"

"I kinda meant the gloves..."

"This is a waste of time Wade, I'm sure you see that by now."
Alice started to approach me but was cut off by Marisa.

"Heeey, don't even think about dragging him off doll-girl, he came here willingly!"

"Didn't you say it was his decision all of a minute ago? Or were you so arrogant as to think he would automatically choose you?"
Alice tried to side-step Marisa, but was now being physically held back.
"Let go of me sneak-thief!"

"I've got what he wants, so it only makes sense-ze!"

Alice responded by waving her free hand, which in turn caused Marisa to get yanked to the side.
"I can easily do better than some piece of junk you found on the ground!"

Marisa responded with a swipe of her broom that seemed to have come from nowhere.
"And what's it gonna cost him in the long run?"

"Nothing! Because unlike you I don't feel the need to use outsiders as guinea pigs, and I can be certain you haven't tested those gloves!"
Nari slipped off and retrieved the gloves while the witch and dollmaker squabbled. To be more specific, the witch and dollmaker looked about ready to clobber each other with more than strings and brooms.

"So what-ze? I'm sure it'll be fine. Not like everything I gather's gonna make your body do something weird."
I put on the gloves Nariko presented, they seemed to fit quite well. If Nari wasn't worried right now I guess I shouldn't be too worried either.

"Says the witch who developed a whole line of sex-enhancement potions!"

That red hue of embarrassment returned in full force.
"I wasn't right in the head-ze! We agreed on that!"

"What else is new?"

They weren't even paying attention to me anymore. I think it's time to change that.
They were so engrossed in their arguement that they didn't even notice me walk up until I actively pried them apart, which was good, because Alice called in her dolls and Marisa held up a hexagonal block of wood with a small flame in the middle, and neither was watching where they were aiming other than each other. Thanks mysterious magic gloves!

"Let's try this again, shall we?"
They both looked at me in suprise, then I set them down. Mind you it was more because whatever effect the gloves has was wearing off rather than willingly...
"Will you two stop arguing already?"

It was met with some resistance, but eventually all three of us sat down on the couch, with me seperating the other two.

"Okay, maybe I wasn't specific enough before but is it possible for the both of you not to be at each other's throats long enough to help me out here?"

Alice's response was swift.
"That depends on the kind of help you want."

"If you're talking about the gloves, you may as well keep 'em-ze. They didn't exactly do me any good."

"That's one down. But how about using them? Can you teach me to do that?"

"Perhaps."

"Don't see why not-ze."

"So can we get on with this?"

The three of us exited Marisa's house with a couple books in tow. They were primarily about something called 'danmaku', which is apparently a pointless game where the object is to avoid a pattern created by the opponent while striking said opponent yourself.
The duel types seemed to vary, but there were two primary types: Bullet patterns and spell melee.
Marisa wanted to try some simple patterns, but Alice wanted to try some basic melee techniques. I decided to let both of them have their time so I could actually learn something before the day was out.
Marisa's introduction involved various shot types rather than full patterns, seeing as the former was far less taxing on the body and mind. I suprised both magic-users by revealing that I could conciously fly, so Marisa used one of her easier spellcards to give me an idea of what the typical pattern duel was like.

Alice's introduction taught me about danmaku's more physical side, which used vastly different mechanics in normal duels. For starters, since both sides had stronger, yet equal, spell shields than most pattern duels each bolt of energy had to be strong enough to actually inflict damage, and as a result could not be used excessively due to increased energy requirements. Such energy replenished quickly, however.
Alice also demonstrated some basic physical moves before initiating a one-round duel between us. I could tell she was going easy on me as she was barely using any dolls in her attacks.

Afterwards I was sore, tired, and since it was around noon, hungry.
Both the witch and dollmaker offered to let me recover at their respective house, and I wasn't feeling up to walking or flying anywhere further.

Shot Type: (Choose one for now.)
[X]Light blue glowing rapid-fire energy bolts.
[X]An odd sickly-looking arching red beam that jumps bullets.
[X]A solid white beam that fades and fires, does excellent damage.
[X]Bright red bolts that fires slowly, but does good damage.
[X]Write-In

Where to?
[X]Marisa's place.
[X]Alice's house.
>> No. 25860
Shot Type
-[x] Dark blue and white crescent moon shaped shots. Fires rapidly and deals average damage.

Where to?
[x] Alice's place.
>> No. 25861
[x] Dark blue and white crescent moon shaped shots. Fires rapidly and deals average damage.
[x] Alice's place.
>> No. 25862
[x]Light blue glowing rapid-fire energy bolts.

I'm vaguely reminded of an old, Egyptian-themed, mummy shooter arcade game.

[x]Alice's house.
>> No. 25863
[0] Dark blue and white crescent moon shaped shots. Fires rapidly and deals average damage.
[1] Alice's place.
>> No. 25864
[x]Light blue glowing rapid-fire energy bolts.
[x]Alice's house.

Seems close to a good style, and we did want to talk to Alice now that we're calmed down.
>> No. 25866
Left voting open longer than usual since votes weren't unanimous this time.
---
[X]Dark blue and white crescent moon shaped shots, fires rapidly and does average damage.
[X]Alice's house.

I decided to take Alice up on her offer this time, as I wanted to talk to her anyways.
Marisa saw us off before mounting her broom and kicking off. She said something about raiding a corpse, so that must mean she understood what that explosion was and decided to take advantage of it.

Even with Alice's assistance the trip to her house took longer than it would have normally. I didn't exactly mind though.
We entered her house and I almost immediately crashed face-first into the sofa. I didn't exactly care about maintaining composure at this point since I wasn't in the best shape.
Alice returned with tea and sandwiches a little while later, so I got Nari off my back so I could sit up and eat properly. Nari was also provided with lunch of her own.

"Remember what I said yesterday?"

Alice averted her eyes briefly.
"About you not answering me because you'd regret it. You answered me in a sense, even if you didn't realise it."

"But I'd like to voice it."
I waited until our eyes met again before I continued.
"Alice, I don't hate you for what you've done. You were sincere about your regret, and I want to start over."

"That easily?"

"I don't even recall what happened personally, so why should I get angry over something that may as well never happened?"

"It still did though..."

"Doesn't stop me from wanting to be friends with you."

Alice smiled at that. It was small, but unlike yesterday it wasn't a pained smile, it was a genuinely happy one. Nari looked on with her usual smug cat smile, and I felt like I had small rocks embedded in my muscles, so my smile was genuine and pained!
Alice took note and walked over.
"Lay on your stomach."

"Huh?"

"I can help get rid of the pain if you'll let me."

You know what, this isn't even a decision anymore, I hurt too much. I did as Alice said and she went to work. Turns out she knows what she's doing.

"This can't all be from spell practice Wade. Just how well do you take care of yourself?"

"Not this well, that's for sure."

Alice let loose a girlish giggle before talking.
"In the sense that you don't have someone to get those muscles to loosen up, or the fact that you live even rougher than this?"

I could barely stifle a pleased groan to answer. It happened anyway.
"The form-errrr..."

"You don't have to talk you know. Listening to you moaning like this is perfectly amusing."

I'm just going to edit out the happy sounds I was making so you can actually understand what I'm saying.
"Har har, on another subject, where did you learn to do this?"

"Spell melee can get pretty brutal, plus occasional bad posture when I get absorbed in my work, so I researched massage techniques and controlled my dolls so they could do it. I wasn't about to ask a favor like this from Marisa. Who knows what she'd ask in return."

Alice was doing an excellent job of getting everything to stop hurting, and I didn't respond until after her gentle hands left my neck. Heck, all I wanted to do was drift into unconciousness at this point.
"I guess... Don't those strings get in the way?"

"I can't interact with them without that gauntlet. I doubt very many other people could, if at all, so they don't get in the way."

"So no random control?..."

"I doubt it."

[X]Sleep, this feels too good and consciousness is overrated anyways.
[X]Ask something, stay awake to enjoy every second of this. How often does a cute girl rub you like this?
[X]Write-in
>> No. 25868
[x] Ask something, stay awake to enjoy every second of this. How often does a cute girl rub you like this?
>> No. 25869
[0] Ask something, stay awake to enjoy every second of this. How often does a cute girl rub you like this?
>> No. 25870
[x] Ask something, stay awake to enjoy every second of this. How often does a cute girl rub you like this?
>> No. 25871
[x] Ask something, stay awake to enjoy every second of this. How often does a cute girl rub you like this?

feels good man
>> No. 25872
[X]Ask something, stay awake to enjoy every second of this. How often does a cute girl rub you like this?

Even though I feel unconsciousness tugging at my mind I stay awake. I'm not going to miss any of this.

"I was wondering, just how many dolls can you control at once?"

"Anywhere from twenty to thirty depending on wether or not I use a spellcard. More if I use my grimoir. Trying to stay awake, hmm?"

"Am I really that easy to read?"

I couldn't see Alice's face, though I could tell she found the whole thing rather amusing.
"It's rather obvious you know. You enjoy me rubbing my hands on your body, and your face confirms it."

Face? How can she?
Oh, there's a Shanghai floating in my field of view.
"Dolls also double as my eyes and ears, so it's possible for me to be aware of everything within a given radius. It's quite useful."

"I can imagine... wait, there."

She just hit a particularly nasty knot of muscle somewhere along the middle of my back. Sheesh, I didn't know one round of practice could make my body do this.
"You must live an active lifestyle if your muscles do this, just what do you do when you're not here?"

"Not that active, I ride a bike every couple of days but I usually wind up staying home."
Now I'm starting to feel like a weighted down blob, my will to move is out of the office until Alice is done.

"This is while you're an outsider?"

"I keep hearing that term but I don't know what it relates to, do you know?"

"An outsider is a person not born within the Hakurei border. Usually they get killed or eaten since such humans are typically weaker than humans who were born within Gensokyo."

"Survival of the fittest?"

"Something like that. But it's like a slow flightless bird trying to escape a tiger many times faster than itself. And since most of those birds can't even identify the tiger, it's very easy for the predator to get it's meal."

"So why don't these predators just eat everyone?"

"The relationship between yokai and humans is symbiotic, strangely enough. Each requires the other to live. Yokai require belief to exist, usually in the form of human fear. But yokai are also magic and nature persona, so their presence indicates where nature will flourish."

Her hands move farther down my back, I guess she'll stop once she gets far enough down.

"Though a few yokai eat humans, in reality it's to keep humans just fearful enough so their belief doesn't dry up. Most of the older yokai don't even bother attacking humans, and some go so far as to befriend humans."

"That's pretty amazing."

And she's reached the point where she stops.

"You're going to have to win my heart before I go rubbing down there." Her voice was teasing.

"Fair enough."
Telling how Alice was looking at me and how she sounds is pretty much impossible when I'm barely paying attention.

[X]Write-in.
>> No. 25873
[x] Ask her if you can crash here tonight.
>> No. 25874
[x] Ask her if you can crash here tonight.
>> No. 25875
[x] Ask her if she'd like a massage.
[x] Ask her if you can crash here tonight.
>> No. 25877
[x] Ask her if she'd like a massage.
[x] Ask her if you can crash here tonight.

At this rate it'll be back to the real world for us.
>> No. 25878
Is this planning? Or do you like her?
---
[X]Ask her if you can crash here tonight.

Since I still didn't feel like moving I decided to think about my options about where I could stay. The shrine seems to be acceptable for a place to stay, but I figure I might want to get something to donate if I didn't want to discuss alternate forms of 'payment'. Plus the fact that it was 'sleep, breakfast, out' thanks to Yukari, or so I hoped, made it difficult to actually interact with anyone there.
There was Alice, whom I decided to make friends with. The dolls were a little unnerving but she could cook, has a nice temperment, and I could hopefully not have to be kicked out second thing in the morning.

"Hey, Alice?"

"Hmm?"

"If it's not a bother, could I stay here tonight?"

Alice seemed to think about it for a minute before answering.
"Certainly. I enjoy having more civilized company around."

"Thank you."
That's another worry taken care of.

"I'll take a few minutes to prepare a room then."

"Anything you'd like me to do?"

"Thank you, but no, there is nothing."
She then walked out of the room, and several dolls carrying the empty tray followed suit.

I took a minute to take a closer look at my shot type since I was only rapid-firing them before. Calling forth a solitary bullet, I held it in place instead of sending it anywhere. It was a dark blue and white crescent moon that upon touching it I found I could actually handle it. It felt cool to the touch and very smooth, yet upon applying more pressure it burst, releasing a few warm orbs that quickly faded. This made me wonder wether I was limited to just firing these rapidly or if I could do more inventive things with them. I'll have to ask just how normal it is to be able to handle ones own bullets though...

Alice entered the room while I was thinking.
"I have a room set up for you, I'd like to show you where it is."

I got up and Nari hopped on my shoulder again as I followed Alice through the house. We went upstairs and turned to an open door.

"I rarely have guests who wish to spend the night so I needed to clean up one of the guest rooms." She then motioned me in and followed suit.

Looking at the room it was a nice western-styled bedroom. A fully stocked desk resided on one side of the wall with a dresser near it, a bookcase with a few books in it on the wall adjacent to the bed, a nightstand with a lamp was also next to the bed and the bed itself was easily queen sized. Upon feeling it I found it was to my liking.

"Again, thank you Alice."

"You're welcome. Also, the door opposite this has a fully functional bathroom, should you wish to use it."

Oh yeah, women are supposed to have a much more sensitivie sense of smell aren't they?

"I also wonder if that's your only outfit. I've never seen you wear anything else."

Now that I think about it, I don't think I've changed clothes since I've been dreaming in Gensokyo.

"Here? Maybe, I don't really know."

"It might be a good idea to aquire some spare clothes. The human village and Kourindou sells clothing. I could craft some clothing myself as well."

[X]Just because you can't smell yourself doesn't mean others can't. Bathe.
[X]Against your experience, head for Kourindou.
[X]Go to the human village.
[X]Write-in.
---
Feel free to pick multiple options.
>> No. 25879
[x] Just because you can't smell yourself doesn't mean others can't. Bathe.
[x] Ask her if she wouldn't mind making you some.
>> No. 25880
[x] Just because you can't smell yourself doesn't mean others can't. Bathe.
[x] Ask her if she wouldn't mind making you some.
[x] if not, the human village

It'd be an honor to wear some Aliec made clothes

Also it seems Rinnosuke is something of a jerk in this...
>> No. 25882
What a slow board today...
---
[X]Just because you can't smell yourself doesn't mean other people can't. Bathe.
[X]Ask Alice if she's willing to make you some.

I couldn't smell myself, and I doubted I even had a smell. Still, better to be presentable to your host than not.
The bathroom was well stocked, everthying was organized and well marked and even had running water. I found my thoughts drifting as I drew the bath and set out the soaps I'd need.
First of all, Gensokyo seemed to be real, and my world is too. Yukari's trying to indulge her whims by tracking me down, so I had to be aware of her from now on. Reimu stated that I was more spirit than human, and Alice said I was a construct. Since I belived it was a dream flying came easily, which Tokiko said was rare, but when I believed I was living as an actual human I quickly became tired from some simple danmaku exercises.

The bath finished drawing and I set to work cleaning my body.

I was settling into a mundane cycle in an exciting new world. I could already fly, I can shoot bullets, I'm betting I could do all sorts of things if I thought about it. Yet what am I doing?
Instead of bathing, I could just will myself clean, change clothes on a whim, change my appearance even! I'm a dreamer, even if I can't alter the world around me, I should be able to at least alter myself.

After cleaning myself thoroughly, I quickly realised my mistake: I didn't have spare clothes set out. What the kind of half-wit am I to forget that so quick?!
Okay, stay calm. I can just wear my own previously worn clothes and-

A light knocking at the door.
"I forgot to mention it, but I happen to have some men's clothing you can wear until you can wash your clothes. They're just outside the door."

"It's appreciated. Just to ask, has this happened before?"

"You realising that you have no spare clothes until after bathing? Yes♪."

There are no words to express how I feel right now, but embarrasment would be part of it.
"I'm... just going to get those clothes now..."
I opened the door just enough to receive the spare outfit and put it on. Grabbing my dirty outfit I asked where I could get them washed, with Alice pointing out a room on the first floor. I took care of it and set the clothes up so they'd dry relatively quickly.
Afterwards I caught up with Alice.

"Hey Alice?"
I had her attention already so why I couldn't just spit out the request then and there was beyond me.
She gave me a non-vocal indication to continue.

"Would it be too much trouble for you to craft me a spare set of clothing? I wouldn't ask without being willing to do something in exchange."

I swear that smirk hasn't left her face since I got done with the bath. Her eyes were green at the moment.
"It's no trouble at all, I will need measurements though. Also, if you are willing to do something in exchange I'll have to think of something."

"Alright, so-"

Alice cut me off by leading me back upstairs and into another room, this time filled with all manners of textiles and sewing equipment. The sets of clothing, both doll and human sized, suggest this is more than a simple hobby.
Alice was already ordering her dolls to take various measurements of my body while deciding on what material to use.
"I haven't had much reason to craft men's clothing of late, few venture out here to commission my skills. I enjoy an excuse to create."

"Your calling in life?"

"Something like that. I think I inherited that kind of thinking from my mother. She couldn't help but create things either." As she said this she wrote down the measurements her dolls took and ordered them to start pulling out the chosen textiles while she began designing the outfit. I also noticed the clothing catalogues that were neatly stacked near the desk.

"Outside influence?" I picked up one of the catalogues and looked through it.

"The magazines? I find the clothes of different civilizations to be quite varied and interesting. I only take inspiration from those sources however, I refuse to create something that is completely unoriginal." Sheesh, Alice is fast and coordinated if she can hold a conversation, control her dolls and begin actually crafting the clothes.

I then noticed the air temperature drop by a few degrees as an odd mist rolled in. Alice was far too absorbed in her work to notice, though now I know what she meant by bad posture. I should offer to give her a massage when she's done.
The mist shrank in size until there was a doll-sized Suika on my shoulder. If this wasn't so odd I'd find the tiny oni girl to be adorable.

"Hey there Spook! Made friends with Alice huh? She seriously needs someone to help loosen her up." Given that the tiny Suika took a drink out of her equally tiny gourd, I'm betting 'loosen up' translated to 'drunk'.

"What are you doing here Suika?"

"Checkin' up on you! Didn't want ya to fall apart 'cause I wasn't there to hold you together! I spent waaaay too much time sober to let you just vanish." She propped herself up on one elbow and lay sideways. I wondered how she was managing that. "Though I kinda wished you waited to bathe with spare clothes 'til I could get a good look at yer embarrased self."

"Just when did you show up?" I resisted the urge to facepalm.

"'Bout an hour ago. Reimu wanted me to help sweep up the shrine. Kinda thought that was what the maid was for though. When I got done I found out you went to the house of that Forest Witch and hadn't come back at all today, but it turns out you're holing yourself up with the puppeteer! You make such a good pillow I got to sleep way easier!" Upon saying that last bit she started giving me a wide-eyed pleading look.

[X]Divert the huggable Oni's attention! (specify how)
[X]This is too much, hug her.
[X]Ask if Suika can and/or will stick around. I want to ask her a few things. (Specify)
[X]Write-in
>> No. 25885
[x] "It was nice of you to check up on me, but I not going to be your pillow."
>> No. 25886
[x] "It was nice of you to check up on me, but I not going to be your pillow."

Resist the Suika.
>> No. 25887
[X]Ask if Suika can and/or will stick around. I want to ask her a few things.
-[x] Ask about your "construct" nature and its possible limitations
-[x] Inquire if thinking something affects one's innter stamina or if flying is easier than Danmaku
[X]This is too much, hug her.
>> No. 25889
[x]"W-Will you be my teddy bear?"
[x] Hug her. So snuggly and warm.
>> No. 25890
[0] "It was nice of you to check up on me, but I not going to be your pillow."
>> No. 25894
I think I can tell when I make a decent update. More people vote within a more reasonable timeframe.
Also merging the question asking option with the 'not a pillow' option.
---
[X]"It was nice of you to check on me, but I'm not going to be your pillow."
[X]Ask if Suika can and/or will stick around, I want to ask her something.
-[X]Ask about your 'construct' nature and its possible limitations.
-[X]Ask if thinking something affects one's inner stamina or if flying is just easier than danmaku.


Alice is still thoroughly absorbed in her work as she makes the shirt first. Her dolls provide necissary support and makes it look more like an eccentric machine was making the clothing rather than one person. As such she's not paying much attention to me or the doll-sized oni.

"Suika, it's nice of you to check up on me, but I'm not going to be your pillow."

That didn't exactly have the effect I wanted it to, as Suika went from 'wide-eyed pleading' to looking as 'heart-meltingly adorable' as possible. I guess she figured out my weakness to cute things.

"Oh no, no doing that. I wanted to ask some questions while you're here." I still wound up ruffling her hair though.

"Ahh, fine... I'll just wait 'til you're asleep then!" To emphasise this, she stood up and pointed at me in a dramatic fashion. Her diminutive size detracted from the 'dramatic' though. "Still, just sittin' on you like this is fine, what'd ya want to know?"

"First, what exactly am I? Alice referred to me as a construct."

Suika put on a thoughtful expression that only made her look cuter in her diminutive state. She certainly knows what she's doing.
"That's not entirely wrong. The you here is essentially an immaterial chunk of spirit that became material once it entered Gensokyo. I'm kinda curious how long it's gonna take you to start experimenting with it."

"So anything I should worry about?"

"There's a few things, sure. Getting 'killed' breaks whatever area got damaged apart into fragments, so I imagine that if it happens enough times there won't be any you left. I figured that out by watching you get broken up once. Reimu mistook you for a straight-up spirit, but you're really much more like me, except you're able to do almost entirely different things."

"Like changing my shape?"

"That's possible, among other things. But I'm not gonna just tell you what I think you can do, you gotta figure it out so you can express yourself in a unique way!" It was said with enthusiasm and a fire seemed to light in Suika's eyes.

Alice appeared done with the shirt, which was now being set aside by the dolls, and was now starting on the pants. The dolls held appropriate lengths of fabric tight while Alice worked with inhuman presicion.
Nariko also walked into the room and stared at the mini-suika intently.

"Does thinking something make a difference in my case, or is flying simply easier than danmaku?"

That got the Oni's interest, she stopped keeping an eye on Nari and gave her full attention to me with enthusiasm.
"Learning danmaku huh? Well, I think with you you can tolerate a lot more with the right mindset since you're a human spirit rather than a regular human. Danmaku's more taxing but I think you could put out a few spellcards before you'd have to stop. How much did ya do?"

"Some basic shots, and some spell melee."

"You can do more than that, way more! Mind over matter and all that. Get in the right mindset and you'll be able to defend yourself no problem. What's your shot type like?"

Alice finished the pants and stretched while her dolls placed it with the shirt. She finally noticed her back was in pain from hunching over like that for so long and made it known.
Nari also chose just then to leap up and grab the small oni in her mouth.

Suika was suprised more than anything else.
"H-hey! Let me down you stupid cat, I'm not done!..." Her voice trailed off as Nari set off to do whatever it was she planned to do while I hoped Suika didn't get rough with her.

"Aaaah, I did it again..." Alice now had my attention even though I knew she wasn't talking to me, and I couldn't ignore her.

"Alice, do you want me to help you like you helped me?"

"Ahh, I... I'm not about to object to it... but there's no place to do that here." Not going to stop me.

"Then let's go someplace I can." I made a point of grabbing the change of clothes and led Alice out. Nari almost tripped me returning from her errand, looking quite smug with herself, and followed me.

I spent the next hour and a half rubbing and kneading Alice's muscles, the first half hour under her instruction until I got enough of a grasp of it to do it myself. I'm not going to lie, listening to her during the latter hour was pleasant to say the least. I got the impression I was being watched for at least part of it though, but I didn't let that ruin it.

When Alice decided I was allowed to be finished she sat up and looked at me with red eyes, I was a little apprehensive when I saw her like that. The only thing she did was lean over and hug me though.
"I'll let you off the hook for that, though if you get any better I may want to keep~ you♪." And that made me a little nervous as I had a feeling she wasn't kidding.

Alice's eyes blinked to blue shortly afterwards and a light blush followed. "It's later than I thought, shall I get dinner started?"

"I'll help then, it's not fair that you should have to do it all by yourself."

"I'll take you up on that." Yeah, that smirk never once left her face, did it?

[X]Discussion topic over dinner. (Specify)
[X]No need for words during this.
[X]Write-in.
>> No. 25895
[X]Discussion topic over dinner.
-[x] Gensokyo
-[x] People of importance in it and who to look out for.
>> No. 25896
[x] Discussion topic over dinner.
-[x] Gensokyo
-[x] People of importance in it and who to look out for.
>> No. 25902
[x] Discussion topic over dinner.
-[x] Gensokyo
-[x] People of importance in it and who to look out for.
>> No. 25914
Eesh, for a second there I thought /shrine/ was dead.
---
[X]Discussion topic over dinner.
-[X]Gensokyo
-[X]People of importance in it and who to look out for.

All I can say about the preperations is that Alice really is a good cook, she didn't really need my help but it's the thought that counts. Moving the plates into the dining room I saw that there was a table that could easily fit eight people and just as many chairs, a window to let light in, a hanging light fixture, and more dolls sitting in a bookshelf. It felt... lonely. Then it hit me, this entire house was too big for just one person.
Still, there were a few things I wanted to ask seeing as I'm still largely clueless about Gensokyo, so I opted to discuss a few things over dinner.

"So what is Gensokyo, exactly? I know some details but not nearly enough."

Alice finished chewing before she answered. She would take breaks in between explenations to eat before it all got cold.
"Gensokyo is essentially a bubble world that is seperated from the Outside by the Hakurei Border, it's a safe haven for yokai who are simply unable to live alongside humans. It also acts like a beacon to draw the supernatural into it, so it's no suprise you were drawn in."

"Okay, now for my next: Who should I watch out for here?"

"First, there's Reimu, the Hakurei shrine maiden, who's existance is necissary to maintain Gensokyo. You know where she lives so it's rather pointless to say it."

"Marisa is the ordinary witch of the forest, ordninary in the sense that she has no inherent powers and worked quite hard to get as strong as she is today. I rather admire her work ethic, it's one of the reasons we get along on the rare occasion."

"Then there's Mima, whom I believe you've already met. She is a soul that escaped from Hell and tried to take revenge on everyone, but was beaten up by Reimu. She gave up and decided to appoint herself the Hakurei Shrine's evil deity, much to Reimu's chargin. She's also quite powerful despite only having three colors at most. She also brags about her power on occasion."

"Then there is Yuuka Kazami, a yokai of flowers who is at least polite so long as you don't damage her flowers. She regards most flowers as her children and tends to show her true power if they are so much as threatened. She lives in a sunflower field near the Misty Lake, though according to Marisa she has a home someplace else."

"There are the residents in the Human Village, Keine and Hidea no Akyu, both historians of a sort though the former also works as a schoolteacher. It's also somewhat embarrasing, but sometimes even I have difficulty getting Keine's surname correct, so the rare time I do speak to her it's on a first-name basis."

"The residents of Mayohiga will likely concern you the most, so I'll tell you what I know about them. First, there is Yukari Yakumo, a capricious gap yokai whom you have encountered prreviously. She is exceptionally powerful thanks to her ability to manipulate boundaries and also tends to abuse them for other purposes. The fact that she's actively looking for you means she knows you're here. You've been here two days, so I'd say you have another five at most before she finally catches up to you, so I'd recommend that you be at the Hakurei shrine when she does find you, as even she hesitates to anger Reimu."
"She might try to pull something once she does regardless, so watch for it."

"Why does Yukari have it out for me so bad?"

"It has to do with what you are and how you acted around her. I can't say anything else for certain, as I don't know what goes through her head. Her shikigami is usually far more reasonable than her master is, so if you do get spirited away you'll have someone with common sense to talk to."

Dinner was finished during the conversation, but Alice and I stayed at the table to continue talking. The dolls delt with the plates and Nari curled up in my lap, settling down for something that could eat up all the remaining time I could be awake here.

"Yukari's shikigami is... Ran, correct?"

"Yes, strange that you remember the Yakumo family far more easily than anyone else, but I digress. Ran is a nine-tailed kitsune that serves Yukari for all manners of things, and will most likely accompany her on trips to the shrine."

"Anyone else I should know about?"

"There are many more people you should be aware of, but you don't have much time left before those strings reel you back do you?"

A yawn escaped my mouth just then, and the sun setting just made it more obvious that I'd have to switch back to the Outside soon.

"There will be plenty of time in the morning. Go, get to sleep before I have to drag you to bed. And don't think I won't."

[X]Resist, what Alice has to say is more impoirtant.
[X]Do as she says and get to your bed.
[X]Write-in
---

After being stuck in update limbo for three hours, during which I could've lost this at any time, I decided to post this before I lose it. Next update should be better.
>> No. 25915
[X] Do as she says and get to your bed.
-[x] Make sure you find Nariko before though.
>> No. 25916
[X] Do as she says and get to your bed.
-[x] Make sure you find Nariko before though.
>> No. 25917
[X] Do as she says and get to your bed.
-[x] Make sure you find Nariko before though.

It makes me wonder what happened if the real us and the construct us met? Would we fuse into a super being?
>> No. 25919
[0] Do as she says and get to your bed.
-[1] Make sure you find Nariko before though.
>> No. 25921
[x] "So you're going to undress me and tuck me in?" Grin.
-[x] Do as she says and get to your bed.
--[x] Make sure you find Nariko before though.
>> No. 25923
I give you guys a pet and you certainly keep an eye on her.
---
[X]"So you're going to undress me and tuck me in?" Grin.
[X]Do as Alice says and get to your bed.
-[X]Make sure you find Nariko before though.

"So when you drag me off to bed, does that mean you're going to undress me and tuck me in?" I couldn't help but grin as Alice's expression was priceless, because I'm betting she didn't think I'd actually add on to her threat. Though her eyes were starting to cycle back through to red, so cute embarrassment could turn into something else.

"D-don't tempt me..." She still grabbed my arm and started leading me to the guest room I would sleep in. When she turned to look at me, I saw red and something in her gaze that wasn't there when her eyes were blue. "You might get more than you asked for♪"

Juxtapose much Alice?

It turned out I didn't need to look for Nari because she was curled up on top of the bedsheets. She lifted her head enough to blink at me and yawn before putting her head back down and started purring. I started walking twoards the best and immediately tripped because somehow my pants had been yanked... down...

I saw nearly transparent strings connecting my pants to Alice's hand, which I easily imagined her yanking her hand down.
"Bad habit to sleep in your clothes Wade, even if you are a spirit~" With a somewhat chilling grin Alice left it at that when she stepped out and shut the door. However, I felt myself momentarily wishing she shut herself in with me.

Still, I take off my shirt and pants before setting them aside and crawl under the covers, with Nari using the space between my legs as a hammock I fell asleep rather quickly.
And woke up in the exact same position and state of undress.

After I took some time to wake up some so I wouldn't drop anything I decided to start on breakfast. Nari's first, then mine.
Once Nari had her food I decided I wanted waffles today and got right on it, getting the recipe out, getting the ingredients and warming up the waffle iron. About fifteen minutes later I had the first of a few fluffy golden waffles, I kept an eye on the next while I ate the first.
Of course, I had to share with my parents, but I didn't mind because my dad appreciates it and it gets my mother out of my hair for a few hours.
Now I didn't much feel like staying home today either since it's a nice day again today, 'nice' by my standards meaning a dry overcast.

[X]It's about an hour's bike riding to the nearest major city, but it has a few equally major distractions.
[X]Head for the statue in the nearby park. If nothing else Nari will have fun chasing rodents.
[X]Head to the coastal town again.

Bring cat, or not:
[X]Bring Nariko.
[X]Leave her behind. I can't do that!
>> No. 25924
[X]Head for the statue in the nearby park. If nothing else Nari will have fun chasing rodents.

Bring cat, or not:
[X]Bring Nariko.
>> No. 25925
[x] Head for the statue in the nearby park. If nothing else Nari will have fun chasing rodents.

Bring cat, or not:
[x] Bring Nariko.

There is no way we can leave her behind.
>> No. 25926
[0] Head for the statue in the nearby park. If nothing else Nari will have fun chasing rodents.

Bring cat, or not:
[1] Bring Nariko.
>> No. 25928
Would allowing her to eat rodents change our success of turning her into a Bakeneko?
>That left the Bakeneko, which required long life and being fed in the same place

[x]Head to the coastal town again.
[x]Bring Nariko.

I like your sub-characters.
>> No. 25929
[x] Head for the statue in the nearby park. If nothing else Nari will have fun chasing rodents.

Bring cat, or not:
[x] Bring Nariko.

a change of pace never hurts.
>> No. 25933
[X]Head over to the statue in the nearby park, if nothing else Nari will have fun chasing rodents.
-[X]Bring Nariko

That local park sounded peaceful at least, so I had that in mind as I got Nari harnessed up again.
While I did so, the news was making a report on Yukari's mad driving yesterday, except there was nothing to identify her with. Not even the fifty-odd pictures they got helped and all they found when they caught up to the car was a very confused owner, who was taken into custody because they had nothing else to work with. It's not what they said exactly, but the police was essentially covering its collective rear on such a failing.

Still, I hoped that meant she was done playing around for now.
With Nari safely on my shoulder I got on my bike and rode out to the local park. Traffic was light in this direction today thanks to all the people going to church to pray to a god that may or may not exist. Though it's good for my riding because some of the loonies around here who think they are above traffic laws 'because god said so' go to church.
Do I believe in god? Show me real, hard proof of a god and I'll consider it.

The few people walking around at the park were Christians who believed that it was more important to live in gods splendor, albiet not very many, ordinary people who just want to enjoy the morning, and those who're here to play with their kids. And according to the person running the church, we're all going to burn in hell because we're not contributing to his fat, tax-exempt paycheck every Sunday.

Once at the park I lock my bike on the bike rack to make it harder to steal, and let Nari off the leadline. She hopped off my shoulder and made a beeline for the nearest rodent-made hole in the ground and stuck her paw in it all the way up to her shoulder. Nari was never one to actually eat rodents, just play with them until they stopped moving, and proudly prance around with her prize in her mouth.

I just shook my head and smiled as I made my way to the park's statue. And my jaw almost dropped at the fact that instead of the uniform grey it usually is it was painted in a very life-like fashion, spray painted to be more precise. Just when did Naomi paint this? It wasn't like this the last time I was here.

[X]Check how sticky the varnish is to determine when it was done.
-[X]If it was done recently, Naomi would've holed herself up somewhere nearby.
[X]Ignore it. Go to a different area in the park and wait for the law enforcement to arrive.
[X]Play with Nariko.
[X]See if there's anyone interesting to talk to.
[X]Write-in.
>> No. 25937
[x]Check how sticky the varnish is to determine when it was done.
-[x]If it was done recently, Naomi would've holed herself up somewhere nearby.
-[x] Play with Nariko on the way.

This could get us into trouble, or it could lead to an adventurous romp across town. I hope for the latter.
>> No. 25938
[x]Check how sticky the varnish is to determine when it was done.
-[x]If it was done recently, Naomi would've holed herself up somewhere nearby.
-[x] Play with Nariko on the way.
>> No. 25940
[X]Check how sticky the varnish is to determine when it was done.
-[X]If it was done recently, Naomi would've holed herself up somewhere nearby.
[X]If not, See if there's anyone interesting to talk to otherwise.
[X]Regardless, Play with Nariko.
>> No. 25943
[x]Check how sticky the varnish is to determine when it was done.
-[x]If it was done recently, Naomi would've holed herself up somewhere nearby.
-[x] Play with Nariko on the way.
>> No. 25944
[X]Check how sticky the varnish is to determine when it was done.
-[X]If it was done recently, Naomi would have holed herself up somewhere nearby.
-[X]Play with Nariko along the way.

Touching the varnish with my bare hand is just stupid, the cops would likely bring me in thinking I'm their man and try to use the print as evidence. As such I pick up a leaf and use that to see if the varnish had dried completely.
It had not.

I know Naomi has a few hiding spots scattered around the area, and I also happen to know that there's one well-concealed spot in this park. It certainly wouldn't exactly be easy to find, but I think if she decided to pass out after a long night of spray-painting and cop-dodging without being able to get home she'd rather I be the one to find her and not the police dogs.
So I use Nari's leadline as something moving to get her attention and she prances over with a small mouse in her mouth. Somehow, despite the mouse being alive and kicking I get it secured in the leadline and drag it behind me while I search, letting Nari chase and pounce the rodent even after she finally did it in.

I greeted a few friendly faces here and there while I looked, and got some odd looks myself for dragging a dead mouse around while my cat played with it. Ignoring the odd looks I kept looking until I found an area in the rose thicket that could fit the bill. Strong rose fragrance and fox territory marking, small animal-made entry just big enough for someone to crawl into in the prone position yet not big enough for a full-grown person, and a wall of thorns that could tear one's skin to ribbons and rip apart every surface blood vessel on the body if they didn't know what they were doing.
Fortunately, I had some idea of what I was doing, and once I was certain no one was watching I carefully crawled through the ground-level passage, and thankfully I was still small enough to get through without getting cut. Nari just walked after me, tail held low.
Which succeeded for a few seconds until I found that there was a drop of unknown depth, and the dirt ledge gave out before I could crawl away from it.
It was completely dark save for an insufficient light from a few feet above, so I was left to just feeling my way around. And then I felt something soft a little ways in.

"nnnn..."

Aw hell, did I just?...

"Who?..."

I didn't need light to tell me that was Naomi, and that my hand was on her ass. I recived a boot to the head for my trouble, and had some kind of cloth pressed to my face shortly afterwards that rendered me unconsious.

Next thing I knew I was floating in a relatively empty space with little more than a crescent moon in the background, albiet with plenty of stars from my veiwpoint. I turned without meaning to and I saw those ghostly strings trailing loosely out behind me, like a fishing lure that was cast wrong. I tried to exclaim my suprise but found that no sound came out, I tried to move consciously and my body refused to respond.
My viewpoint turned again and I saw a blonde girl that had inhuman gold eyes, fair skin, a white dress with red ribbons and a pair of angelic wings. And she was looking right at me, perhaps wondering what she should do.
She waved.

I tried to respond, but again my body refused to move.
She drifted over and spoke.

"You're new around here, what's your name?" Just a friendly curiosity in her voice. "C'mon, speak up! I'm not that imposing am I?"

She then looked me over, blinked rapidly and hit her fist lightly on her head, sticking her tounge out.
"I bet you have sleep paralysis don't you? That's why you can't move or talk." She drifted back and forth for a few minutes before speaking again.
"You might think this rude of me, but I think you should go back now. Drifting paralysed like this is just asking for trouble."

She then drifted over to my head, flipped me upright and gave a one hell of a push in the direction the strings originated.

I opened my eyes and found I had been moved so I was laying on my back in a halfway dignified manner. Nari was sitting on a chair and... wait, chair? I was underground not too long ago!
I was on a bed now that I looked at it, and I was also someplace I was unfamiliar with.

"You're awake? Geeze Wade, you're troublesome sometimes."
I look to my left revealed Naomi was staring at me intently.
"You could've announced your presense instead of being stealthy and groping me."

"Kind of hard to do when I can't see." Oh joy. That boot to the head was giving me a headache already.

"That's the point Wade. If I'm seen outside of my disguise I'm sunk."

"Where are we anyways?"
I looked out the window and saw that morning had become a little after noon. I was out for a few hours.

"The city. Specificaly my room in the high-rise apartment my parents bought a few years ago." She walked over and forced me back down on her bed. "And don't move just yet. The knockout liquid I came up with causes nausea and vomiting if you move too soon."

"I never would have guessed you live here. You don't strike me as the city-going type." I did as instructed and kept myself down, though Naomi didn't remove her hand.

"I don't mind the city, but only at night where I can use it as my canvas. Otherwise it bores me." Naomi then sat on me.

"Your room isn't what I expected either, it's much... It's just not you."

"No, it isn't. My parents forced me to give up street art when they found out about it, and thought throwing out all my stuff related to it would stop me. This isn't even my original bed." She then lay across me, obviously not caring about the implications. "No, they're not home. They won't be home until tonight, so I can do what I want with you until then."

She then lay on me so she could look me straight in the eye and used a tone that specifically stated that there wasn't room for arguement.
"But only after you rest for another fourty-five minutes. I don't want to drag you back here and have to explain the vomit stains."

[X]Write-in
>> No. 25947
[x] "Yeah, yeah. Get off of me then so I actually can get some rest."
>> No. 25948
[x] "Yeah, yeah. Get off of me then so I actually can get some rest."
>> No. 25949
[x] "Oh if you're going to lay down, could you move over a bit, it's a bit uncomfortable. Resting in bed with a cute girl; that's the life"

I figured saying this would get her off of him quickly. If not? well snuggling with a cute girl isn't a bad way to rest for 45 minutes.
>> No. 25951
[x] Wrap your arms around her.
[x] "Oh? I didn't know you cared for me so much."
[x] Wink at her playfully.
>> No. 25952
[x] "Yeah, yeah. Get off of me then so I actually can get some rest."
>> No. 25954
[X]"Yeah, yeah. Get off me then so I actually can get some rest."

She wasn't going to be happy until I gave her my word, and now I felt sick anyways.
"Yeah, yeah. Get off me then so I can get some rest."

Naomi got off me and scratched Nariko's head. "Make sure he doesn't move, okay?"
Naomi got a loud purr in response.

Nari jumped off the chair, on to the bed and curled up on me, then Naomi lingered at the door for a moment to say something.
"I'll come get you when it's time. I want to go out today, but I know you won't be happy cooped up in here either."
She then exited the room, leaving me with a purring cat, a blank room to look at and city noises to listen to.

Truth be told, I think big cities are nice to visit but are not someplace I'd want to live. Too much noise, manners and morals take a backseat most of the time, the polluted smell, and heat waves are just amplified by all the concrete. Plus when it's noon, the streets and eateries are all swarming and packed to the brim with people, which I only deal with slightly better with than the way Naomi does in lesser conditions. Which means she's going to be clamped to my arm in transit and I'm going to need a shower later.

My mind brought up what Alice said about yokai, specifically that there were nature persona and that their existance indicated where nature flourishes, and then about Gensokyo being a safe haven for them. Then I should never see a yokai within a place so far gone from the natural order, right?
I thought of Yukari, and the fact that while she was driving like a maniac, she was in fact driving. So does that mean some yokai are capable of living outside their haven? Or is Yukari the exception instead of the rule?
The effect of the knockout solution was wearing off, and I didn't feel ill anymore when I moved.
Right on cue, Naomi entered.

"You don't feel sick anymore?" There was genuine concern in her voice.

I moved and felt no rising bile, so...
"I'm fine now. So where did you want to go?" I reattached Nari's leadline for now, as I wanted a way to keep an eye on her so she doesn't get run over, trampled, catnapped, any of those 'wonderful' things.

"To get lunch first, then from there we'll see. I'll let you have first pick since I drugged you like that." She actually sounded a little guilty over it too.

"Alright then, shall we be off?" I offered my arm to her, while she just snorted in response.

"Save it until I actually need it." I couldn't tell if there was an actuall blush or not, but seeing as she didn't reject the idea...

It took an elevator ride down twetny-five floors or so to get to the lobby, and as we exited the building Naomi grabbed onto my arm in quiet resignation.
Ever heard of the expression, swimming upstream? That's what this felt like. If you weren't going with the flow of the people or are in a car you were a detriment to others, and that in turn somehow makes it okay to be rude to those who go against it. Thankfully it's the 'passing insult' variety instead of anything else, but still...

Eventually, despite going against the flow Naomi leads me to one of her preffered places to eat in good time, as it was only one o' clock by the analog clock inside the deli.
We placed our orders, paid, went to a table and waited. It wasn't too long despite the other people and our respective orders quickly arrived. The food turned out to be a good reason to beat past all those people, and we were quick to finish. I making sure Nari ate her fill, and that she was still fine. Maybe I'm getting a little paranoid, but I keep getting the feeling that she's going to vanish if I'm not careful.

[X]Naomi must know of a good place to spend a day.
[X]Wasn't there a mall of some kind? They're exhausting, sure...
[X]Bookstore sounds good, plus the way the traffic is high speed crazy drivers are non-existant.
[X]Write-in
>> No. 25955
[X]Wasn't there a mall of some kind? They're exhausting, sure...
>> No. 25956
[x] Wasn't there a mall of some kind? They're exhausting, sure...
>> No. 25957
[0] Wasn't there a mall of some kind? They're exhausting, sure...
>> No. 25963
Late update is late.
---
[X]Wasn't there a mall of some kind? They're exhausting, sure...

Now that lunch was taken care of it was time to actually go somewhere.
"Didn't we pass a mall on the way here?"

"There is. It's pretty big too, so there's at least plenty to look at." Naomi got up off her seat as she said this, and I followed suit.
Getting to the mall was an exercise in patience as everyone was trying to rush somewhere, only stopping for the traffic that would injure or kill them. As a result Naomi and I had to go with the flow and hope we would get closer rather than farther away any time we went a diferent direction, though eventually we did make it and entered the building.

When Naomi said big, I didn't guess four floors and a few hundred thousand square feet of shops, food courts, advertisements, and kiosks, but this is a major city instead of a small town so I guess it makes sense. The mall itself was less crowded than the streets, as there was enough room for Naomi to feel safe enough to let go of me. It's still a busy Sunday and people are shopping, loitering and meeting up with friends, so it was definitely lively if not crowded in places.

There were all manners of shops, clothing stores, stores that specialised in gaming, places that sold prefumed body washes, and even some kind of occult store.
We wound up ducking into a clothing store after about a half-hour and decided to look around. Naomi was looking at the more durable clothes while I was struck by a sudden urge to look at hats, especially since it seemed that when I wake up in one world the position and clothing, or lack thereof, carries over. Meaning if I'm right and play my cards the right way I could have a few more sets of clothes so I don't have to become totally reliant on my host's good nature.

[X]Did I get a hat?
-[X]Yes, a nice hat works wonders. (specify)
-[X]No, didn't feel the need.

[X]Where to next? (specify store, or whatever else)

---
Short update too...
>> No. 25965
[X] Did I get a hat?
-[X] Yes, a nice hat works wonders. (Fedora)

[X] Where to next?
-[x] Purchase a duffel bag.
>> No. 25966
[x] Did I get a hat?
-[x] Yes, a nice hat works wonders. (Fedora)

[x] Where to next?
-[x] Purchase a duffel bag.
>> No. 25969
[0] Did I get a hat?
-[1] Yes, a nice hat works wonders. (Fedora)

[2] Where to next?
-[3] Purchase a duffel bag.
>> No. 25971
[x] Did I get a hat?
-[x] Yes, a nice hat works wonders. (Victorian Top Hat)

[x] Where to next?
-[x] Purchase a duffel bag.

Seriously, we've got like three different stories that have a protagonist in a fedora.
>> No. 25972
>>25971
Noted, but I am partially at the mercy of the voters. Though you shouldn't think of this as the only hat you'll ever aquire, as this is actually your third chance to do so so far. The first was at Kourindou, second at Alice's house.
---
[X]Did I get a hat?
-[X]Yes, a good hat works wonders. (Fedora)

[X]Where to next?
-[X]Get a duffel bag.

The fedora stuck out in my mind so I grabbed it and after making sure my wallet hasn't gotten lost, went to the cashier to pay for it. Naomi was paying for a tank top ahead of me, which I noted was actually her size, and seemed to snicker at my choice of headwear.

"Plan on taking a trip to some tropical locale to aquire a priceless treasure Mr. Jones?" Playful sarcasm. Very funny.

"So does that mean you vaporize the bad guy in the end?" I payed for the hat and the comment before moving along. The payment for the comment was in the form of a blushing Naomi hitting my arm. Guess she caught on to the fact that not all treasure is silver and gold.
The next stop was a sports store for a duffel bag, and thankfully there was a rather big outlet on the second floor that would hopefully have something that wouldn't be obnoxiously bright, seeing as if it comes with me I'd rather avoid attracting unwanted attention. So something in an earthen color if they have it, or a black one.

I couldn't help but notice the blond woman looking around in a white T-shirt, minus a bra if those rises in the middle of her breasts were any indication, and blue jeans, sitting with a briefcase next to her and... and... Just avoid getting seen Wade, she might just leave you alone if you do...
Somehow I avoid her entirely and enter the sports outlet as planned. Straight to the duffel bags then. One just happens to match the fedora I just bought so it came with me as we looked around at the other stuff. But Naomi and I found all of it boring sans the paintball guns, which Naomi admited that she owned one and custom made ammo for it. What she uses it for is beyond me, so I just keep walking.
I checked to make sure Nari was still there, and she was, having draped her tail around my neck and looking regal. And yes, people complained. They can kiss my ass.

Naomi went through the nearest hardware store to look at the varieties of spray paint and to make a list of what she needed or was running low on but wanted more. I looked through the tool section and bought myself a crowbar. Why? Because you never know when somebody's left ammo or health packs in unsuspecting crates. Joking aside, it's just an all around good tool to have as the uses are only limited by the imagination, and I think there will be times in Gensokyo where having this is a good thing.
So purchase, place in convenient duffel bag, and to the next stop we go.

And I'm wondering if Yukari is as clueless about my appearance as Reimu claimed, as I could swear she's following me as inconspicuously as possible and occasionally locking eyes with me. Or was it Nari?

So far, no incident though. Naomi's dragged me someplace while I wasn't paying attention, and it turned out she was running a favor for Baxter to buy a few more games which he supplied the money for. He must trust Naomi a great deal to just hand her money and ask her to do something.

"Hey Wade?" She turned to talk to me.

"Yeah?"

"Do you mind if I drag you to one of my hangouts? I need to talk to a friend of mine and I can't just leave you here without a way home." Straight to the point and matter of- WHAT?!

"Wait, what about my bike Naomi?"

"I didn't know how to tell you this, but someone cut the chain you use, disabled the locks and rode off. I was too busy dragging you back to my place to do anything. Sorry..." No, no getting angry at her. She didn't do anything wrong.

"What'd this clown use? An arc welder? Those chains are too thick to cut with normal tools! And those presonal locks should take hours to undo properly without the key!" I got a little excited about this. I wasn't exactly fond of that bike, but it was still mine. Guess I'll have to get a new one somehow.

Naomi was still waiting for an answer though.

[X]Go, Naomi's hangouts are varied and interesting. Plus Yukari stalking is getting annoying.
[X]Don't go. (specify)
[X]Call Yukari out. This needs to stop.
[X]Write-in.
>> No. 25973
[X] Go, Naomi's hangouts are varied and interesting. Plus Yukari stalking is getting annoying.
>> No. 25974
[X] Go, Naomi's hangouts are varied and interesting. Plus Yukari stalking is getting annoying.
>> No. 25975
[0] Go, Naomi's hangouts are varied and interesting. Plus Yukari stalking is getting annoying.
>> No. 25976
[X]Go, Naomi's hangouts are varied and interesting. Plus Yukari stalking is getting annoying.

As much as I'd try to call her out, that'd reveal we know and that she'd gap us. I suspect she was the one who stole our bike

But she certainly is yummy (if she can pull off wearing a t-shirt braless, she's in amazing shape for her age, perhaps she is eternally 17)... I wonder if she was the one responsible for our dream appearance. We might have to choose one day between this world or Gensokyo.
>> No. 25977
>>25976
The start of this story is not a case of 'goddammit Yukari', as I didn't want to use the overused plot device. It's a combination of factors, but none of them involve the gap yokai.
---
[X]Go, Naomi's hangouts are varied and interesting. Plus Yukari stalking is getting annoying.

"To answer your question, I don't mind going with you." Well, it was for a few reasons, but primarily I trust Naomi, and second I didn't want to get involved with the gap yokai until I stood a chance that was better than that of a snowball's in hell. I may not get that long, but still...

"Let's go then!" Naomi, who seemed happy at the prospect of leaving the crowds, started leading me out of the mall and through the streets twoards an art dealership. She didn't go through the front, but rather to the back entrance in the alley and knocked.

A small sliding window opened up a few moments later, an eye looked us both over, not a gap, and a hand stuck out a second later.

The hand held out five fingers and then two.
"If this is three, then what is this?"

Naomi took care of answering.
"Five."

Then eight fingers, with two hands, and then one finger.
"If this is two, then what is this?"

"Eight." Naomi seemed slightly annoyed. "He's with me you know."

"I guessed that, but the password..."

"Don't need it any other time."

"But-"

"Now."

"Spoilsport."

The door opened and Naomi led me in. The doorkeep requested that the cat not shed too much.
From what I saw on the outside I never woud have thought Naomi would willingly spend time here. In the back though, it was easy to see why. All manners of paintings were hung and stacked haphazardly all over the place, instead of any normal color scheme it looked like someone made a massive mural across the walls and ceiling, and there was even a stocked fridge, a working oven as well as functional bathrooms. The air absolutely reeked of paint as a result, but it was tolerable.

A black haired man stood up from his painting and approached us. Black hair that had grown out a bit, square glasses that seemed to add to his artist look, bright blue eyes and skin that was a few shades lighter than Naomi's... Were they related? Also, the clothes were a pink undershirt with a white overcoat, and jeans. Though the only reason I knew the pants were jeans was because some of the paint chipped off.

"Uncle Dave!" Namoi promply hugged the man, and seemed to answer my question.

Dave hugged Naomi back and ruffled her hair before turning his attention to me. "So you must be Wade, right? The name's Dave."

"Nice to meet you then. So you and Naomi?"

"Uncle and niece, you got it." Closing his eyes and smiling for a moment before letting Naomi go. "So what'd you drag your boyfriend over here for?"

Eh? Boyfriend? "Naomi, what have you been telling him?"

Naomi just flashed an innocent smile.
"Nothing that would give him that idea. Don't tease the poor guy uncle, he doesn't know you well enough."

"Sure, sure. Doesn't answer my question though." That pleasant expression turned serious in the span of a second, which made me wonder about wether it was really okay for me to be here.

"Well, he stumbled on me in one of my hiding spots and I knocked him out since I didn't know who it was and brought him here. Now I need to get him back to his home and I was wondering if you would mind giving him a ride?"

Dave thought for a moment before answering.
"I don't think it'll be a problem, that is if you don't mind waiting until I close up shop." Looking at me with once he ended his sentence.

"I don't see a problem with that."

Naomi was walking over to the ladies bathroom. "I'll just be a minute, 'kay?"


Her uncle waved her off. "T.M.I. Naomi, just go."

Which left me, Nari, Dave, and a few other people.
"So, you're Naomi's guardian angel, huh? She's told me about the times you've helped bail her out."

"Angel? That's the first time anyone's called me that. But I do help Naomi from time to time, not that she really needs it."

"Not according to her. You've got my thanks anyways. Even if I don't fully approve of her method of expression, I don't want to see her wind up in jail for it. Plus it'd be a waste for her murals to be destroyed."

"Now that I think about it, what's the relationship between Naomi and her parents? They seem kind of harsh."

Dave closed his eyes again and crossed his arms.
"Harsh, overreactive and overprotective. My brother and his wife aren't bad people but I hardly think they're going about raising their kid the right way. My brother seems bent on getting Naomi off art altogether, and his wife wants her to go into show biz. I already know Naomi's going to run away before ever consenting to that, but they just don't see the fissure they've wedged between themselves and their daughter." Dave stopped to take a breath before continuing. "So Naomi tries to spend as little time at home as possible to avoid them, and visits me, holes up with her friends, or somehow finds you. Thanks to that things are only going to escelate, and since I can't take custody it means she can't live with me. Not for another year, and even then..." Trailing off, he looked into space for a minute.

"It explains her hiding spots."

"Naomi's a resourceful girl. She can find her own way through the world, but she shouldn't have to do it alone. Also, a word of advice: Don't try to help bridge the gap. It's been left too long and they'd be more likely to throw you out the window than listen."
"On a less depressing note, I take it you saw Naomi's latest work?"

"That statue in the park near my home? Yeah, it's interesting."

"That it is. I'm guessing you also know more about Naomi's hiding spots than she wants to admit."

The conversation kept up for an hour or two, with Naomi joining it somewhere along the way. At closing time we went to go grab something to eat before dropping Naomi off at her home, and I didn't really want to leave her there now that I knew. But onward Dave drove, with my providing directions as we got closer to my home. I asked Dave to drop me off about a block away to try and reduce the number of questions asked by my parents and he understood.
I bid Dave farewell and started walking the rest of the way home, and no random gapping occured. Nari was also still present, which calmed me down somewhat since I was getting worried when I saw- How?
There was Yukari, sitting at a bus stop across the street that I was pretty damn sure wasn't there a second ago, giving me a smile as she looked on. It didn't even give me reason to pause, I just kept going at a normal walking speed while trying my best to ignore her.

I got home, answered my parent's questions and got ready for bed. Duffel bag in hand, I stripped down to my boxers, closed the window curtains and flopped on my bed. Nari curled up between my legs and we both quickly fell asleep.

It's rather convenient having a fully-rested body on the other end, otherwise I'd be tempted to just fall back asleep and wait 'til later to get up.
First thing I noticed was that true to her word, Suika had in fact used me as a pillow. Her body postion placed her crotch on top of mine, and my morning wood was pushing up on her. You do the math about how I felt just then. Did I mention she was drooling and her face was red?
Nari woke up and used Suika as a scratching post before I picked up the oni, pried her off with the crowbar and dropped her out the window.
She landed horns first, yet she was still asleep.

[X]Get dressed, go get breakfast.
[X]Take a bath first, Suika's drool reeks of alcohol and now I do too.
[X]Pet Nari while I wait for my body to stop that.
[X]Write-in
>> No. 25978
[x] Get dressed, go get breakfast.
>> No. 25979
[x] Get dressed, go get breakfast.
>> No. 25980
>Her body postion placed her crotch on top of mine, and my morning wood was pushing up on her.

so.. did we do it?

[x] Get dressed, go get breakfast.
>> No. 25981
[X]Take a bath first, Suika's drool reeks of alcohol and now I do too.

I think it's good to be clean in Alice's house.

Interesting... about some of things going on... and I wonder what kind of forces other than Yukari is doing this, and why she's so interested.
>> No. 25982
[x]Pet Nari while I wait for my body to stop that.
[x]Take a shower first, Suika's drool reeks of alcohol and now I do too.
[x]Get dressed, go get breakfast.
>> No. 25988
Short update, not entirely serious in tone.
---
[X]Get dressed, go get breakfast.

Suika's drool left an overpowering scent of alcohol on my chest, and my erection isn't going down yet. So why am I getting dressed and going off to get breakfast first?
My stomach gladly reminded me in the form of a growl and hunger pangs, so bath and cooling off takes a backseat for now. Out of morbid curiosity I checked myself and the bed for any signs of Suika using me for more than just a pillow, and there was nothing that suggested it, especially since Nari wasn't sniffing at what would be an unfamiliar smell. I'd have to ask Suika for the truth later since oni don't lie.

A quiet knocking.
"Wade? Are you up?" Alice must be on the other side of the door.

"Yeah, but I'm still getting dressed." It was a true statement, I didn't have my shirt on.

"I take it there's a reason why I have an upside-down pantyless oni lawn ornament?" I couldn't tell exactly what that tone meant, but I got the impression that careful answers were required.

"I think she snuck in while I was asleep and used me as a pillow again. I dropped her out the window as a result, but I didn't know she was pantyless." Great, so she could have cleaned up her mess before falling asleep.

"Again? She's slept on you before?" Alice's tone betrayed suprise.

My wood was finally going down as I put on my shirt, meaning that aside from the alcohol smell I was presentable. "Last time I didn't have a crowbar so Reimu had to remove her. Also, I'm dressed."

"You should get breakfast then if there's nothing you need to do. I'll be downstairs." Retreating footsteps told me Alice had left the immediate vicinity, leaving me more or less alone.

I exited the room and followed suit, heading downstairs with Nari at my heels to get breakfast. It wasn't difficult to find the kitchen and less so to find my gracious host already working on something to eat. I... somehow I felt guilty over Suika using me like that when Alice actually looked at me for a second.
"It will be done shortly if you wish to wait."

I could add my effort to Alice's, but I got the impression she may find the unintentional implications insulting and as such I waited in the dining room.
And I find Suika sitting at the table.

"Didn't I just drop you out the window?"

"Really? I thought I rolled out the window... What'd you do that for?" Indignant?! Why should she sound indignant over this?!

"You know full well what."

Alice entered the room, which would either be perfect timing or the worst possible. I'm hoping for the former.

"Nyaaaaah... Without a conscious mind you didn't respond at all! I tried everything too!" Suika sounded dissapointed, but I was relieved.

"Oh? What did you try to do to Wade, Suika?" Cold anger. Alice set down a breakfast for two, and you didn't need to have a university degree to figure out who it wasn't for.

"Ehhhh..." Suika probably didn't just feel small, she was getting smaller! "Uuuuu..."

"Spit it out Suika~ What'd you do?~" Singsong voice. Alice is pissed off.

"I tried to have sex with him in his sleep. Nothing happened though." I could tell Suika was being honest, and she was also dreading the incoming punishment.

I wisely scoot away from those two.

"Is that so?~"

Next thing I know Alice is dragging Suika out the door and some pretty impressive explosions and laser sounds came from outside for about five minutes before Alice came back inside in a considerably improved mood, albiet looking slightly dishelved.

"You didn't have to wait on me Wade, I don't mind." She sat down and took her portion and gave me mine. It went quickly and afterwards I helped clean up.

"I plan on going out today, so you may wish to bathe before I depart." Is she always this happy after figuratively killing something in the morning? Still, I was in no position to argue so I did as I was told and wore the clothes Alice made, which were even more comfterble than I expected.

[X]Head out. (specify)
[X]Explore Gensokyo.
[X]Write-in
>> No. 25990
[x]"Suika tried to rape me?"
[x]"..does she do that often?"
>> No. 25992
[x] Suika said the other day that I could manipulate my body. Try experimenting with that.
-[x] Experiments
--[x] Right Hand - Large Claw.
--[x] Left Hand - Sword Blade
>> No. 25993
[x]"Suika tried to rape me?"
[x]"..does she do that often?"
[x]"Is it really that hard for her to find someone?"

[x] Suika said the other day that I could manipulate my body. Try experimenting with that.
-[x] Experiments
--[x] Right Hand - Giant Spoon
--[x] Left Hand - Giant Butterknife

Well... how interesting... She could have asked.
>> No. 25994
[0]"Suika tried to rape me?"
[1]"..does she do that often?"
[2]"Is it really that hard for her to find someone?"

[3] Suika said the other day that I could manipulate my body. Try experimenting with that.
-[4] Experiments
--[5] Right Hand - Large Claw.
--[6] Left Hand - Sword Blade
>> No. 25998
[x]"Suika tried to rape me?"
[x]"..does she do that often?"
[x]"Is it really that hard for her to find someone?"

[x] Suika said the other day that I could manipulate my body. Try experimenting with that.
-[x] Experiments
--[x] Right Hand - Large Claw.
--[x] Left Hand - Sword Blade
>> No. 25999
With every vote it grows! You have an interesting day ahead of you.
---
[X]>>25994

Alice and I exited the house with our respective familiars in tow. Shanghai for Alice, and Nariko for me. I felt I had to ask something before Alice departed since I planned to spend part of the day experimenting with my abilities.

"So Suika tried to rape me?"

"More or less, Oni as a whole aren't known for their inhibitions." Yellow eyes right now, though which side is fighting about what is beyond me.

"Does that happen often?"

"From what I've seen it really depends on Suika's mood and how attatched she is to someone. You are her latest addition to her hobby, correct?"

"That's what she said."

"Then I would imagine
>> No. 26000
With every vote it grows! You have an interesting day ahead of you.
---
[X]>>25994

Alice and I exited the house with our respective familiars in tow. Shanghai for Alice, and Nariko for me. I felt I had to ask something before Alice departed since I planned to spend part of the day experimenting with my abilities.

"So Suika tried to rape me?"

"More or less, Oni as a whole aren't known for their inhibitions." Yellow eyes right now, though which side is fighting about what is beyond me.

"Does that happen often?"

"From what I've seen it really depends on Suika's mood and how attatched she is to someone. You are her latest addition to her hobby, correct?"

"That's what she said."

"Then I would imagine she views you as 'hers' and would act accordingly. A rather selfish view in my books."

Another thought crossed my mind.
"Is it that hard for her to find someone?"

Alice turned to look at me. Her expression wasn't quite neutral, maybe a little softened as she had time to cool down.
"Suika is centuries old, yet has the body of a child. It is very difficult for her to find someone willing to see past that, and the fact that she's an oni makes it even more difficult. But that does not excuse what she tried to do to you."

"Never said it did."

"Many yokai can be unreasonable and almost all can easily overpower a human, even one such as yourself, so it would be to your benefit to make yourself stronger. For even I fall victim to that selfish view."

Alice and I stopped briefly at the edge of the forest, looking out at a slightly misty lake with a mansion in the middle.

"The mistress of that mansion is similarly unreasonable, so I ask that you not enter it for now. I assume you walked along with me to inqure about Suika's behavior as well as to keep me company, but ultimately wish to do something else. So I shall take my leave for now."

She floated off to the mansion in the middle of the lake, leaving myself and Nari alone.
With that however, came an almost perfect silence. Perfect for practicing concentration-heavy techniques.

My first order of buisness was to create something more practical for melee, and a large claw seemed to fit the bill.
So focus... focus...
My right arm seemed to shift into something claw-like, but it was all wrong to me and snapped back to a human hand almost immediately. It was clear I needed a mental image of some sort, so I remember all the possible claw designs and settle on one in particular.
Another attempt caused my entire arm to feel heavy, and upon opening my eyes I saw why. It looked like my entire arm up to my shoulder evenly grew about thirty pounds of black armor-like flesh with silvery veins, and each finger was now a proportionately large light-blue claw.
A little more focus to make it feel feather light and I found I could swing it around effortlessly while putting out reasonable physical power, proven by the gash marks I was making in some rocks. It was still draining to maintain it, but I was making forward progress.

It felt like I was being watched now, but I shrug it off as best as I can. I still have at least one more thing to try.

This time I focused on my left hand and made a clear mental image of what it is I wanted it to be. I felt it change, and upon looking at it I saw that it had become a rather interesting interpretation of what I was thinking of.
The hand extended out about only a foot past where the middle finger would end, but the blade went backwards along my entire arm to make a flexible close range blade. It was lighter of course, and weilding it was also easier as it required little focus to do the job.

That same feeling of being watched.
I don't ignore it this time, and look around until I found what was causing it. Four girls stared at me, each one odd in her own way.
One had light green hair with green eyes, she also had antennea and wore a white shirt with black shorts, with a black cape that made her look like a firefly.
The next was a blonde girl with red eyes and a black and white outfit, along with a strange ribbon.
The third wore a brown outfit but had pink hair, with matching eyes and wings. Her ears seemed to be birdlike as well.
The last had aqua hair that was held in place by a deep blue ribbon. Her eyes were similarly blue, and so was her dress. And perhaps the oddest of the four as she had six ice crystals floating just off her back.

[X]Greet them.
-[X]Ask if they play danmaku.
[X]Try to ignore them. (specify what to do, if anything)
[X]Write-in
>> No. 26002
Oh joy, I accidentally double posted part of the update and the full update, and now it won't let me delete the partial post because somehow, even though I make a point of always using the same password, the one I use is incorrect.
>> No. 26003
[x] Greet them.
-[x] Revert your left arm back to normal.
-[x] Put Nari on your shoulder and be ready to fly away if seems that bad shit is going to go down.
>> No. 26004
[x] Greet them.
-[x] Revert your left arm back to normal.
-[x] Put Nari on your shoulder and be ready to fly away if seems that bad shit is going to go down.
>> No. 26006
[0] Greet them.
-[1] Revert your left arm back to normal.
-[2] Put Nari on your shoulder and be ready to fly away if seems that bad shit is going to go down.
>> No. 26007
[x] Greet them.
-[x] Revert your left arm back to normal.
-[x] Put Nari on your shoulder and be ready to fly away if seems that bad shit is going to go down.
-[x] Ask if you've ran into them before.
>> No. 26008
[x] Greet them.
-[x] Revert your left arm back to normal.
-[x] Put Nari on your shoulder and be ready to fly away if seems that bad shit is going to go down.
[x]"Have we met before?"
>> No. 26010
[x] Greet them.
-[x] Revert your left arm back to normal.
-[x] Put Nari on your shoulder and be ready to fly away if seems that bad shit is going to go down.
>> No. 26013
[X]Greet them.
-[X]Revert your left arm to normal.
-[X]Put Nari on your shoulder and be ready to fly away if it seems bad shit is going to go down.

First thing's first, get my blade arm back to normal. Losing focus gets it to snap back to normal so I appear less threatening, though for yokai like these four it may very well be commonplace.
Next was getting Nari on my shoulder so I could bolt if it turned out they were really scoping out a prospective meal. Though I may as well let them know they won't have the element of suprise if they do.

"Hello there!"

Each of them looked suprised except for the aqua haired on, though they still came out to greet me as well.

"H-hello."

"Who're you?♪"

"Hi~"

"That transformation stuff is cool! How'd you do that?"

Each one spoke in turn, and had mixed reactions to my appearance. The green-haired one seemed unsure of herself, the pink-haired one seemed neutral on the subject, the blonde didn't seem to care and the aqua haired girl seemed more excited than anything else.

"My name is Wade, who are you four?"

"Wriggle Nightbug."

"Mystia Lorelei♪"

"Rumia~"

"Cirno, and I'm the strongest!" That was accompanied by the cockiest look I've ever seen on someone her size. "And since you look tough, I challenge you to a game of danmaku!"

Straight to the point, eh?

"Cirno, don't you remember the last you did this? You almost got melted by that raven, and the time before that you got beat up by that frog-girl, and the time before that you were beaten by that green haired shrine maiden." Wriggle directed her concern to Cirno, but was basically ignored.

"Do you accept?" Cirno looked adamant about it.

"Cirno♪ You just saw what he could do, you might get crushed!♪" Mystia also made her concern known, but Cirno didn't waver.

"Well?" Cirno was getting impatient now.

"He seems different than last time." Rumia dropped the cherfull tone and seemed to be thinking.

"Come on human, you're not scared are you? Declare a spellcard already!" Huh boy, she wasn't going to take no for an answer.

"I don't have any spellcards though." Better to be honest, right?

"N-no spellcards?" Cirno now seemed taken aback by this. "How do you plan on winning duels without spellcards? They're everything in duels!"

"A one-round duel gets around that~" Offered Rumia.

"No good, no good! You have to have spellcards!" Cirno stamped her foot in irritation. "If you don't have any, I'll drag you to the shrine maiden so she can teach you to make some!"
With that she started tugging on the claw arm, which I forgot to change back, and was quickly going... well, nowhere.

"Sorry about this, once she gets like this she doesn't quit♪ She's very headstrong♪" Mystia seemed sincere about it.

"Mmmph... errr... c'mon, you're not that heavy!" Or maybe Cirno was just that physically weak?

[X]One round duel works.
[X]Marisa did say spellcards are important in duels...
-[X]Humor Cirno
-[X]Get help from someone else
-[X]I could craft my own
[X]I don't need this, book it.
[X]Write-in
>> No. 26014
[X]Marisa did say spellcards are important in duels...
-[X]Humor Cirno

May as well.
>> No. 26015
[x]Marisa did say spellcards are important in duels...
-[x]I could craft my own

Something fucking crazy is going to happen. I can feel it.
>> No. 26016
[x]Marisa did say spellcards are important in duels...
-[x]I could craft my own
>> No. 26017
[x] Marisa did say spellcards are important in duels...
-[x] I could craft my own
>> No. 26018
[x]Marisa did say spellcards are important in duels...
-[x]I could craft my own
>> No. 26024
249th post, what say you to a new thread?
It'll be up sometime tonight.
>> No. 26025
>>26024

Yes.


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