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106198 No. 106198
It’s cold. Like, damn cold. That special kind of cold that cuts down into your bones and freezes your very soul. But above all that, it’s wet. It only takes you a moment to identify where exactly you are – somehow, you landed in a body of water. How you got here, you have no idea, but all you know is that if you don’t get some air in your lungs soon, you’ll become a permanent resident.

Struggling against the chill, you flail about as best you can in your constricting clothes, pushing yourself toward what you hope is the surface. Well, you’re moving in the direction of the light, at least, and you seriously doubt that if you swim toward the darkness you’ll survive this ordeal.

And suddenly, oxygen. You inhale deeply, producing a terrible noise as you do so, grateful to whatever higher power that might be listening that you made it out alive. Treading water, you scan your surroundings, trying to figure out just where the hell you are now.

From what you can tell, you’re in a lake. Off in the distance, you see what looks like castle of some kind, or maybe a really big house, but it’s hard to tell given that it’s the middle of the night, and the only source of light is the moon. Since you don’t figure anyone in their right mind would actually stay in such a place (and besides that, it’s too far to swim), you decide to try to find some other place to go. Fortunately enough, you aren’t far from what looks like a larger land mass. Shrugging off the cold as best you can, you begin moving toward your new destination.

The trip feels like it takes forever, but before long you pull yourself to dry land and kiss mother earth like you haven’t seen her in years. You’re cold, you’re shivering, you’re lost, you’re confused, but you’re alive. At least that’s something. You roll over and stare up at the night sky, noting that, for whatever reason, even the stars here look different. Well, it’s not like you’re an astronomer or anything, but…they just look wrong. But those thoughts can wait. You’re too tired to care. Your eyelids droop, and you drift off into a restless slumber, your mind filled with questions.

Where are you?
How did you get here?
And who the hell was that woman…


A few hours earlier…

The sound of your cell phone stirs you from your slumber. You know it isn’t a phone call, just the alarm going off, but you still find yourself wondering who would call at such an ungodly hour. Groaning loudly, push yourself out of bed, fumbling in the dim light for the device that assails your ears. Once you finally get a hold of it, you shut it off and collapse back onto the mattress, fighting to reach a fully awakened state.

Mercifully, it’s the weekend, meaning you don’t have class. You still have plans, though, but in the back of your mind you can’t help but wonder why you set your alarm like that. Well, you’re up now, so you might as well start the day. Still drowsy, you get to your feet and wander into the bathroom, staring at your reflection in the mirror.

Who are you…?

If you were more awake, you might have questioned who that voice belonged to, and why it seemed to echo about in your skull like that. In your current state, though, you’re more than willing to answer the question. Who are you? Who’s looking back at you? Who is the person in the mirror?

Gender
[] Male
[] Female

Hair
[] Write-in (Color, length, and style)

Eyes
[] Blue
[] Green
[] Brown
[] Heterochromatic
--> [] Left Eye Color
--> [] Right Eye Color
[] Other (Write-in)

Name (Optional)
[] Write-in

>> No. 106199
[x] Male

[x] Short, dull brown.

[x] Grey-blue.
>> No. 106200
Gender
[X] Male

Hair
[X] A very deep red, seems black most of the time but shines red when light reflects off it, neck length. (Don't really pay attention to styles, so don't know here.)

Eyes
[X] Heterochromatic
--> [X] Left: Blue as a glacier in poor light
--> [X] Right: Red as fresh blood

(I'll leave the names to the other Anons)

This seems interesting. Too bad we can't vote [] Lake now that you started us in it.
>> No. 106201
[x] Male

[x] Short, dull brown.

[x] Grey-blue.

I like this.
>> No. 106203
[x] Male

[x] Short, dull brown.

[x] Grey-blue.
>> No. 106205
Gender
[X] Male

Hair
[X] A very deep red, seems black most of the time but shines red when light reflects off it, neck length. (Don't really pay attention to styles, so don't know here.)

Eyes
[X] Heterochromatic
--> [X] Left: Blue as a glacier in poor light
--> [X] Right: Red as fresh blood

That other vote is too boring.
>> No. 106206
Gender
[X] Male

Hair
[X] A very deep red, seems black most of the time but shines red when light reflects off it, neck length. (Don't really pay attention to styles, so don't know here.)

Eyes
[X] Heterochromatic
--> [X] Left: Blue as a glacier in poor light
--> [X] Right: Red as fresh blood

Eh.
>> No. 106208
[X] Male

Hair
[X] A very deep red, seems black most of the time but shines red when light reflects off it, neck length. (Don't really pay attention to styles, so don't know here.)

Eyes
[X] Heterochromatic
--> [X] Left: Blue as a glacier in poor light
--> [X] Right: Red as fresh blood
>> No. 106209
[0] Male

Hair
[1] A very deep red, seems black most of the time but shines red when light reflects off it, neck length. (Don't really pay attention to styles, so don't know here.)

Eyes
[2] Heterochromatic
--> [3] Left: Blue as a glacier in poor light
--> [4] Right: Red as fresh blood
>> No. 106210
>>106200
>>106205
>>106206
>>106208
>>106209

Calling the vote here, writing now.
>> No. 106211
Gender
[X] Male

Hair
[X] A very deep red, seems black most of the time but shines red when light reflects off it, neck length. (Don't really pay attention to styles, so don't know here.)

Eyes
[X] Heterochromatic
--> [X] Left: Blue as a glacier in poor light
--> [X] Right: Red as fresh blood
>> No. 106222
File 12598939384.jpg - (250.99KB , 706x939 , 43f871b09cacc8d3e9b7e2ad15811ca9.jpg ) [iqdb]
106222
>[X] Male

>Hair
>[X] A very deep red, seems black most of the time but shines red when light reflects off it, neck length. (Don't really pay attention to styles, so don't know here.)

>Eyes
>[X] Heterochromatic
> --> [X] Left: Blue as a glacier in poor light
> --> [X] Right: Red as fresh blood

Well, that’s kind of a silly question, isn’t it? You’re you, obviously. Of course, you’re somewhat unique among humans in that you have an odd condition, namely heterochromia. You stare into these eyes almost every morning, and sometimes even you wonder what’s wrong. They’re contradictions, after all – the left almost icy blue, the right bright red. All your life you’ve had to deal with people asking you if you wear contacts or something like that. Eventually, you just stopped answering them. You were born that way, that’s all. If they don’t like it, tough.

Letting out a loud yawn, you go about your morning routine – shave, shower, freshen up. You need to look nice today, after all. Otherwise, she’ll never let you hear the end of it. The prospect of getting a haircut sometime enters the back of your mind, but you dismiss it for now. Your top priority at the moment is food, and you quickly satisfy that need with a large bowl of cereal and a toaster pastry, not bothering with the TV or anything else. You’ll be leaving in a few minutes, anyway.

As soon as you finish your meal, you check the time. About a quarter ‘til nine. Just enough time to walk to where you need to be. You throw on a random T-shirt and a light jacket, shake your head to dry your hair a bit more, slip your shoes on, and head into the outside world.

A light breeze whips past you, causing any remnants of your shower to become incredibly cold. The shock of that feeling wakes you up all the way, and you feel ready to face the day. At least, you hope you’re ready. If you aren’t…well, the last time you weren’t, she threw you into a ditch to wake you up, and her friend didn’t do anything to stop it. How you got roped into their newest expedition, you have no idea, but you know that if you refused to go along, they’d just show up at your apartment anyway, raising all kinds of hell. That was a headache you didn’t need, so you just relented in the end. Besides, it’s not like you have anything else to do today.

You reach the rendezvous point with a few minutes to spare, but as expected, they’re already standing there, waiting on you to arrive. – Maribel Han and Renko Usami. Transfer students that had latched onto you for some reason beyond your primitive human understanding. Simply put, these girls are WEIRD. You find yourself wondering if that’s why they seem to be so attracted to you. After all, you are a pretty strange person yourself. Strange looking, anyway.

Self-deprecation aside, you walk up to the girls and acknowledge them by raising your hand. They return the gesture and resume talking about whatever it was they were talking about before you arrived. They finish soon enough, and Renko turns to you, wearing that damn smirk of hers.

“Mornin’ Red,” she says, causing you to let out a low groan. You don’t know if she calls you that because of your hair or your right eye, but either way it stuck, and every time you try to correct her she interrupts you. Eventually, you just quit trying. It doesn’t really even bother you at this point; the groaning is just a conditioned reaction. Damn you, Pavlov.

“You ready to head out?” she continues after a brief pause. You know she doesn’t care if you are or not, so you just nod and follow behind the two of them as they start walking, listening idly to whatever it is they’re talking about.

“Okay, you know what we’re here for today, right?” Renko, obviously.

“I never know what we’re here for,” you reply, being totally honest. “You two just drag me wherever you want to go and talk about stuff I can barely understand.”

Maribel giggles quietly at you, glancing back over her shoulder as she does so. “You know what we do. We look for the paranormal.”

Could she be any more vague? You let out an exasperated sigh and rub at the bridge of your nose with your index finger and thumb, trying to fight off the inevitable headache that resulted from being around these two for more than five minutes. “I know all that, but what the hell does it mean?”

“Paranormal? Ya know, it means weird stuff.” Renko sure can state the obvious.

You stop walking for a second and try to recall a word they always use during these explorations. After a few seconds, it comes to you. “What about that…Gensokyo place you’re always talking about?”

“It’s a magical place where most legends are true.” Renko suddenly turns a corner and leads you down another street. It’s a good thing you’re more or less accustomed to those kinds of maneuvers from her, otherwise you probably would have fallen over trying to keep up with her. “I thought I told you all of this before.”

“I have a bad memory.” Okay, the truth is you weren’t paying any attention to her when she was talking about it, since she just started babbling about it when she first decided to contact you. “Anyway, is that what we’re looking for? The land of myths and fairytales?”

“You got it, Red!”

Groan.

“Gensokyo, the Land of Illusions,” Maribel says, her voice taking on a somewhat dreamy quality like it always did when she went on about weird things. You begin to wonder if the blond girl is right in the head, as you often do. “I can see it, ya know. The border.”

“What, like here?”

“Oh, no, it’s not around here. I…forgot where I saw it, actually.”

Groooan.

“Are you sure you weren’t just seeing things?”

“Of course!” Maribel says, putting her hands on her hips. “I was even awake the last time I saw it!”

So she’s seen the entrance to the land of fables in her dreams. Doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, does it? Shaking your head, you decide to just follow behind them and keep your mouth shut, lest they fill your head with any more useless information.

“You’re lookin’ well rested today, anyway, Red,” Renko states, walking backwards as she looks you over. It’s a wonder she doesn’t run into someone while doing that. “Guess your classes don’t have you down too much these days…what’re you majoring in, anyway?”

Groooooan.

No matter how many times you tell her, she always forgets. You suppose that’s because it’s ‘normal.’ Still, you need to answer her, so you say…

[] Business
[] Music
[] Art
[] Philosophy
[] Other (Write-in)
>> No. 106229
[x] Business
>> No. 106238
>>106234

How about voting for what you think would be useful then?
>> No. 106241
[x] Music

Make's me think of the Prismrivers, and I happen to like them.
Plus, if we ever encounter them, we'd befriend them pretty easily with our similar interests in music.
>> No. 106243
[x] Music
>> No. 106245
[ø] Music
>>106241
I also happen to like them.
>> No. 106249
[0] Music
>> No. 106254
[x] Music
>> No. 106255
>>106241
>>106243
>>106245
>>106249
>>106254

Calling it for Music, update in progress.
>> No. 106261
All right, I feel like I should explain a few things here. This first part is establishing what kind of character our protagonist is, as you may have already guessed. Even if I don’t present it as an option, write-ins are always welcome unless I specifically direct you not to provide any. For the time being, I’m calling votes at the first to five, but that could change. I’ll make sure to tell you if I change that.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s keep going.

…..

>[x] Music

“Music, for the thousandth time,” you say, watching as Renko’s face lights up as she learns what you study yet again. Deciding to have a little fun with her, you tack on, “Your next words will be, ‘Play me something sometime!’”

“Play me something som…” She stops walking, and you very nearly bump into her. Before you can object, she’s standing on the tips of her toes and staring at you from under the brim of that hat she always wears, a critical expression on her face. “Are you psychic or something?”

“No, you’re just predictable,” you reply, gently pushing her away. Still, for those few seconds she was so close to you, you couldn’t help but think she was kind of cute, in her own weird way. But there’s really no point in falling for her. From what you’ve heard, she’s not interested in guys. It isn’t that she’s a lesbian or anything, she’s just so focused on her own little world that nothing else matters to her.

Of course, that doesn’t stop you from imagining her and Maribel in an…explicit situation.

Filing that image away for a later date, you grab the girl in the zoot suit hat by the shoulders and spin her around, motioning for her to lead on. She complies, but every now and then she looks back at you, her face scrunched up in concentration. You can only assume she’s trying to send you mental messages. You send a few snippy remarks back at her, knowing full well she won’t receive any of them. Even still, you think you see her eyes widen some at a few of the juicer ones.

Music. It has always been your first love. You have taken piano lessons from an early age, and while you are good, no one would call you a virtuoso. Still, you knew your way around a keyboard. A few years took up guitar as well, finding it much more satisfying than eighty-eight keys. However, your real talent is singing. Almost everyone you know has something good to say about your singing voice. Frankly, it gets on your nerves sometimes, but at least you have some kind of talent, and people seem to appreciate it, so you really can’t complain. At least if you ever front a band you won’t need a gimmick.

“I think this is the place,” Maribel says suddenly, drawing you back to their version of reality. The three of you have stopped in front of a condemned building on the outskirts of town. Now that you look around, there’s almost no one else around here. Alone in an unoccupied building with two weird girls who have an almost obsessive interest in the paranormal. Self preservation tells you to flee, just in case they decide to use you as a human sacrifice, but you stick around, partly out of curiosity, partly out of wanting to not learn that they ended up dying in this place or something like that.

“You got the flashlights, Red?” Renko looks at you expectantly, and you wear the blankest expression you can muster. You were supposed to bring flashlights? When was that decided? No doubt about ten minutes before you had to meet them, and, of course, she had neglected to tell you. Still, you knew you’d get blamed for it.

“What…flashlights?” you ask, shrugging your shoulders. “I had no idea I was…what’s so funny?”

Renko has covered her mouth, clearly trying to hold back a laugh. After a few seconds, she calms down and reaches into her own bag, pulling three flashlights out. She tosses you one, and you very nearly fumble as you try to get a hold of it. She makes a show of handing the other one to Maribel, and the blond girl accepts it gracefully, leaving you looking like a chump.

“Pain in the ass…” you mutter, making sure Renko doesn’t hear you. “What’re we doing here, anyway?”

“We heard there’s a ghost haunting this building,” Maribel says, checking her flashlight to make sure it works. “We’re going to explore it and see if we can find it.”

“…Are you serious?”

“Yup.”

There’s just no reasoning with these girls. Defeated, you watch as they slip inside through a gap in the boards that block the door. As soon as they’re inside, you scan the area quickly, making sure that no one will see you enter. Satisfied you’re in the clear, you follow them inside, almost choking from the dust that your two partners no doubt kicked up.

“Dammit…” you whisper, switching your flashlight on and sweeping the area. As you expected, the place is the textbook definition of run down. Discarded garbage, exposed wiring, hell, there’s holes all in the ceiling. Of course, you expect Renko and Maribel intend to drag you all around this place and not give a damn about the consequences. Just your luck.

“Oy, where’d you two go?” you ask the abject nothingness. For all intents and purposes, they’ve just vanished. Part of you wants to get back outside before they can find you and force you to do something stupid, but a larger, more noble part of you wants to find them and make sure they’re okay. In the end, that part wins.

Pulling your shirt collar up over your nose, you make your way over the damaged floor carefully, doing your best not to disturb this place any more than it already has been. You aim your light at each corner of the room, looking for any signs of life. Unfortunately, the only thing you find it a large rat that could likely eat you alive if it were so inclined. You gotta get the hell out of here.

“Maribel! Renko!” you call, trying to keep your voice down. The last thing you need is someone investigating the commotion. “Hey, where are you guys?!”

A rustling sound gets your attention. You whip around and focus your beam on where you think it came from, spotting…something moving just on the edge of the light. You try to follow it, but by the time you’ve caught up with it, it’s already gone. Relocation efforts fail you, and you end up just as alone as you were a few moments prior. Still, you think you saw a person, but it’s impossible to be su—

“BOO!”

You quite nearly leap out of your skin. Any thoughts you might have had on the subject of what you saw are erased as you spin on your heel to face your attacker. Of course, it’s Mary and Renko. You’re almost disappointed by that. You were looking forward to beating the crap out of whoever decided to sneak up on you like that.

“Dammit!” you seethe, glaring daggers at the two of them. “That wasn’t funny! I thought you guys were hurt!”

Your feelings don’t seem to matter, as both of them are doubled over with laughter at this point. After a few seconds of this, they finally get a hold of themselves. “Ahaha…y-you shoulda seen the look on your face!” Renko says breathlessly, very nearly succumbing to laughter again.

“S-sorry, but it was just too perfect.” You too, Maribel? You had hoped that the blond one would be above such pranks, but it seems you were wrong. Still, they did get you pretty well, you have to give them that. And, of course, this meant you could pay them back and they would be unable to object.

“Well, what were you looking at?” Renko peers behind you, shining her light at the wall you’d been examining.

“I thought I saw something,” you reply, turning to face the wall yourself, searching it one more time. “Guess it was nothing, though.”

“Aw, I was hoping you’d seen the ghost.”

“Yeah, right. I’m just here to make sure you two don’t do anything stupid.” That said, you turn back to the two of them, shaking your head. “Well, come on, the faster we get outta here the better.”

For once, they listen to you. The three of you set off into the depths of the building, Mary and Renko chatting about the paranormal and the occult and whatever else they wanted, while you make sure nothing unexpected happens. Still, as you explore, you can’t help but feel that something’s watching you. You chalk it up to the general feeling of creepiness exuded by being in a condemned building hunting for ghosts, but you know that you won’t be comfortable again until you’re far away from this place.

…..

A few hours later, you call off the search and get back into the outside world, none the worse for wear. Well, you’re a little dusty, but that’s to be expected. Oddly enough, though, it seems only you got covered – the girls look more or less clean. You make a mental note to ask them how they pulled that off later. For right now, the only thing that really matters is getting lunch.

“Mary and I are going to get some food,” Renko says as you dust yourself off. “Wanna tag along? I’ll buy. Consider it an apology for scaring you earlier.”

“Hm? You, offering to pay? Wow, you must really be sorry,” you say, chuckling quietly at her. Still, her offer is tempting, but you kind of feel like being alone right now. You’re sure they won’t mind if you ditch, but they are offering free food. Decisions decisions…

[] Go eat with Maribel and Renko
[] Go eat out by yourself
[] Go back to your apartment and eat
>> No. 106262
>[] Go eat out by yourself
I always love those emo options.

[x] Go eat with Maribel and Renko
Girls and free food. What is there to think about. Just blame /at/ with their food discussion.
>> No. 106263
[x] Go eat with Maribel and Renko
>> No. 106264
[x] Go eat with Maribel and Renko
>> No. 106272
[x] Go eat with Maribel and Renko

One can be alone later, free food and time with those two.
>> No. 106273
[x] Go eat with Maribel and Renko
>> No. 106274
[x] Go eat out Maribel and Renko
>> No. 106275
Lunch with the girls it is. Commencing now.
>> No. 106294
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106294
>[x] Go eat with Maribel and Renko

Eh, food is food, so you might as well take her up on her offer. “Yeah, sure,” you say with a shrug. “What’d you have in mind?”

“Ah, just some fast food. I worked up an appetite searching that place, and only a hamburger will fill me up.”

You aren’t sure how she arrived at that answer, but a burger sounds great right now, so you don’t really care. Once you’re more or less clean, the three of you wander back to a more populated area and quickly find a place to eat. It doesn’t take long to get what you came for, and you take over an unoccupied table. The time is passed with idle chit-chat, things of little importance are discussed, and your theory that Mary and Renko are secretly fooling around deepens some as the latter lingers just a little too long after wiping some ketchup from the formers mouth. That image in your mind just gets more and more vivid.

You sip on your soda, content to sit in silence and let them talk. They aren’t discussing anything important, just more about Gensokyo and various other supernatural things. You let their words wash over you and drift off into your own little world. Actually, everything seems to be getting a little duller. It’s almost like no sound is reaching your ears…everything seems muffled, distant. Did something happen to you in that building? You try to remember, but nothing comes to mind. You felt fine up until a few seconds ago, so what’s going on now?

You aren’t sure why, but your attention is drawn to something outside the window. It’s not the fact that the world seems to be slowing down that catches your eye, though. It’s the girl that’s staring at you. Long blond hair, bright green eyes, what looks like some kind of blue dress. She can’t be much older than sixteen, but she’s carrying what looks like a teddy bear around like it’s the most natural thing in the world. And thinking about that, it seems like no one else notices her presence. In fact, you swear you see someone just walk right through her. But that’s impossible, isn’t it?

…Is it you…?

What?

…Are you…

Who’s talking to you?

…Are you the one…?

Wait, you know this voice…why do you know this voice?

…Who are you…?

Those words echo in your skull, and you recall what happened this morning. That same voice spoke to you earlier, didn’t it? Back in your apartment…in the restroom…you heard that question earlier. But why? Who is that girl? What does she want with you?

You open your mouth to speak, but are interrupted by the most intense headache you’ve ever experienced. Everything immediately shifts back to normal, and you collapse to the ground, wrapping both hands around your skull in an attempt to keep it from splitting open. Maribel and Renko are by your side quickly enough, and you can see their lips moving, but you have no idea what they’re trying to say to you, it hurts that much. Mercifully, that all passes before long, and all you’re left with is a dull throbbing sensation…and a massive ketchup stain on your jacket.

“Are you okay?” Mary asks, concern evident on her face. Even Renko looks a little scared. You wave them off and push yourself back to your feet, examining the damage done to your clothes, trying to come up with a reason for what just happened that would satisfy the girls.

“All that dust…musta triggered an allergy or somethin’,” you manage to say. It’s a weak excuse, but it’ll have to do. You plop back down in your chair and rub at your temples, staring down at where your food used to be. You have no idea what just happened, but you don’t want to tell the girls about it; if you do, they’ll never leave you alone again. Still, you have to know if they saw anything, so you decide to just bring it up as casually as you can.

“Hey, uh…did you guys see a girl with a teddy bear out there?” You wave at the window as you say that, glancing in that direction as you do so. As you expected, there’s no sign of her now. It’s like she wasn’t even there to begin with.

“Huh? No, I don’t think so...” Renko purses her lips in thought for a few seconds, clearly wracking her brain for answers. “No, I didn’t. Mary, did you?”

“Uh…I was looking the other way, I didn’t see anything out there.”

It’s unsurprising, really, and you don’t know why you were expecting anything else. The way you figure it, one of two things just happened – either you’re losing your mind, or hanging around these two for so long is finally getting to you. You’re more inclined to believe it’s the latter.

“Hey, Red, I’m talkin’ to you.”

Renko’s words bring you back. You stare at her hat for a second before focusing on her face, wearing a completely blank expression. “Sorry, what?”

“I asked why you wanted to know…are you sure you’re okay?”

“I’m fine, I’m fine…and I thought that you might like her dress…” Another weak excuse, but you’re still in a fair amount of pain, so it’s hard to think clearly. Both Renko and Maribel are looking at you, still a little concerned. You won’t stand for that. “What? Can’t I imagine you guys in something besides silly hats?”

The line is just so incredibly lame that both girls have to laugh. Satisfied that they won’t bother you again, you excuse yourself from the table and walk to the bathroom. You need to splash some water on your face and get what you can of this stain out of your jacket.

After you finish those tasks, you find yourself staring at your reflection. That question echoes in your mind again, but this time it’s your own mental voice you hear.

“Who are you…” you mutter to yourself. It’s a question you never really considered until a few seconds ago, but seeing a strange girl talk without moving her lips can change ones outlook on life.

Well, you’re not going to have an epiphany in the bathroom at a fast food joint, so you finish cleaning up and walk back over to the girls, finishing what’s left of your drink and talking to them for a few more minutes. It’s always nice to talk with friends, even if they’re a couple of certifiable nutjobs. It isn’t particularly late, but you feel like you need to get home and take a nap, so you decide to part ways with them after assuring them that you are indeed okay and will not collapse in the middle of the street and get run over by a car.

Man, they’re dark sometimes.

…..

You manage to get back to your apartment without incident. No strange sightings, no sudden headaches, no symptoms of mental illness aside from the occasional insane theory regarding that girl’s existence. You’re perfectly healthy and incredibly tired, wanting nothing more than a nap.

As soon as you open the door, everything goes to hell.

You step out into nothingness. Gravity takes hold in the worst possibly way and sends you falling into what can only be called a void. Everything is pure white, and the door you just walked through is gone. It might as well have never even existed. You try to scream but no sound comes out, you try to grab onto something but there’s nothing there to catch, you try to pray but you know that God can’t hear you out here.

…Are you the one…?

That damn voice again! Where is she now? Is she the one responsible? Who is she?

…Are you…?

‘Am I what!’ is what you want to say, but you already know that you can’t talk in this world.

…Can you…

You turn your body around in time to see the girl from the restaurant below you. Or is she above you? There’s no way to tell here. Either way, you’re moving toward her, and there’s nothing you can do to stop yourself. You’re going to collide with her any second now. You brace for impact and…

Pass right through her.

Now you know you’ve gone insane.

…Can you save me…?

You twist around again, trying to catch one final glimpse of her, but the white world has been replaced by a night sky. Before you can comprehend that, all the air is forced out of your lungs, which is a very bad thing as you’ve just landed in water.

It’s cold. Like, damn cold…
>> No. 106295
File 125991576135.png - (0.96MB , 1600x1200 , da39a1a725573ffbbf04fbabc3a17a40.png ) [iqdb]
106295
You aren’t sure how much time has passed, but the sun is out now, so you can only assume it’s morning. Your eyes flutter open, and you find yourself staring into the eyes of a—

Wait, eyes?

The shock of seeing a face propels you into the world of the waking. You scramble away from whoever is in front of you, trying to force your heart to stop beating so damn hard. You really aren’t keen on the idea of watching your precious organ hop around on the ground after it busts out of your chest, so you take a few deep breaths and calm yourself down. Finally, you get a good look at your mysterious greeter. Whoever she is, she’s short.

“Ah…h-hi?” you say, totally unsure of what you need to say at this point. The girl blinks at you and moves in a little closer. You must be tired, because you’re sure you saw her floating. She’s sure examining you awfully close, like you’re some kind of rarity or something, but after a few seconds, she backs away, nodding and sending her pink hair flying all over the place.

“I’ma get the boss!” she says suddenly, breaking into a wide grin. “Dun go anywhere!”

Still smiling, she turns away and flutters her wings, lifting off of the ground and flying off in some random direction.

Your mind very nearly snaps at that sight, but somehow you manage to rationalize it as the product of a dream. You are still laying on the lakeshore, sleeping peacefully. No, strike that. You are back at home in bed sleeping peacefully. Admitting to yourself that you were ever in that lake is just proof that you’ve lost your sanity somewhere along the line.

But about a minute or so later, the girl returns with someone else in tow. This new person is…beautiful. There’s really no other way to describe her. Long blue hair tied up with a blue ribbon, bright blue eyes, simple blue dress with white triangles at the bottom…you get the feeling that this girl likes blue an awful lot, but you can overlook all of that for one simple reason – she is a bombshell.

“Huh…you are kinda funny lookin’,” she says as she touches down in front of you, bending at the waist to get a better look at you. “’Nother human, I guess…thought Yukari stopped bringing them in.”

You have absolutely no idea what the hell she is talking about, but she seems friendly enough. You get to your feet and dust yourself off, unwilling to look like a bum in front of someone so lovely.

“Ah…hi,” you say again, totally unsure of how to greet anyone in this world. Thankfully, she smiles at you, so you can at least assume she understands you as well as you understand her.

“Hi,” she says in return. “So, you were sleepin’ out here?”

“Oh, well…kinda, I fell in the lake and…” Wait, didn’t you just want to deny everything that happened? Well, being in the presence of beauty kind of shut that idea down, didn’t it?

“Yeah, that happens a lot. You’re pretty lucky, though…a lot of them don’t make it back out.”

Hearing her talk to casually about the apparent deaths of many unfortunate souls is a little uncomfortable, but she just keeps right on talking like it’s nothing special.

“Anyway, I guess you’re from outside. I can take ya to the shrine, if ya want, the miko should be able to help you out. I really wouldn’t recommend walkin’ around out here. Not everyone is as nice as me.” She flashes you a smile and offers you her hand, presumably waiting for you to take it. Then, a light seems to come on in her head, and she hits her forehead with her other palm, chuckling quietly to herself.

“Geez, where’re my manners…I’m Cirno, the strongest fairy around here. Nice ta meet ya.”

You had been trying to write them off as some kind of decoration, but now that you look at them…those crystal looking things behind her are most certainly wings. Your already overloaded mind shuts down, and the world goes black as you pass out. You aren’t aware of it, but Cirno catches you before you break your face on a rock. The fairy sighs and shakes her head, picking your body up with ease. “Geez…they’re always so fragile when they get here…”

…..

Again, you awaken to the night sky. Your mind reels as it comes to the realization that you are no longer in the realm of sanity. No, this is the world of fairies and mikos and God knows what else. You have always considered yourself a mostly rational person, but confronted with this strange reality, all of your beliefs are being tested. All you really want to do is scream, but you know that won’t do you any good, so instead you sigh and sit up, wondering idly who covered you with a blanket and built the fire not twenty feet away from you.

You look around for any signs of life, but find none. Once again, you’re alone. You really hate that feeling. Still, there’s no use in feeling sorry for yourself. You need to do something, or else you’ll go insane. So, what do you do?

[] Stay put – whoever took care of you will probably be back soon
[] Go search the area, but try to keep the fire within sight
[] Search for any signs of life, fire be damned
[] Write-in
>> No. 106296
[] Go search the area, but try to keep the fire within sight
>> No. 106305
[X] Go search the area, but try to keep the fire within sight.

So we have to save Yukari or something? I'm a little confused about the green eyes and the blue dress, as Yukari usually has purple/gold eyes and a purple dress.
>> No. 106307
>>106305

[x] Go search the area, but try to keep the fire within sight

I'm confused as well. But I guess that's how we're sorta supposed to feel right now. Kinda the same way Red here does.
>> No. 106309
>>106305
>So we have to save Yukari or something?
Now where have i heard that before

[x] Go search the area, but try to keep the fire within sight
>> No. 106313
[X] Go search the area, but try to keep the fire within sight
>> No. 106325
[x] Search for any signs of life, fire be damned
>> No. 106327
[x] Stay put – whoever took care of you will probably be back soon

Somehow i doubt our caretaker would like it if we went wandering around like we owned the place. And depending on where we are (most likely the shrine), that there might be other dangers.
>> No. 106338
>>106296
>>106305
>>106307
>>106309
>>106313

Called, update commencing.
>> No. 106345
File 125994736940.jpg - (95.48KB , 665x900 , 2d9da76ab467e04e2da407eda4574d3e.jpg ) [iqdb]
106345
>[x] Go search the area, but try to keep the fire in sight

You’ve been lying down too long anyway. A little exercise would do you some good. Sliding out from under the blanket, you stand and walk toward the fire, warming yourself for a few moments before setting about examining the area. The moonlight is enough to see most of the area, but you find yourself wishing that you had one of those flashlights again.

You haven’t left the lake area, which you think is a good thing, mostly because you aren’t sure you can handle anything else at this point. If you woke up in the custody of a vampire or something silly like that, you mostly likely wouldn’t survive the experience with your sanity intact.

Shaking those thoughts aside, you peel off your still damp jacket and lay it near the flames so that it can dry. You’ll be fine without it for a few minutes, at least. Now, to decide where to look. There’s not a lot to see on the water, save that house. Actually, the more you look at it, the more you realize that it’s a mansion, not a castle like you’d previously thought. Who the hell builds a mansion in the middle of a lake, anyway? That’s not important, though, since you’re not going there anyway. Getting back in that lake at this point is beyond stupid.

Further examination shows you some trees not too far from where you are, presumably the start of a forest. Beyond that, there’s just more lakeshore, so between large open fields areas and potentially dangerous woods, you choose the former.

Setting off in some random direction, you start exploring, looking for any signs of life or some kind of indication as to where you might be. After that search proves to be fruitless, you decided that the only way to know for sure is to ask. You wish Cirno were still around. At least then you could admire more than the scenery.

A few dry twigs snap under your feet, sounding like gunshots in the still of the night. You pause and search the area, making sure you can still see the fire. Once you’re satisfied, you set off again, heading toward the woods this time. You aren’t going to enter them, but you do want to at least check them out and see what you’re up against.

You find yourself a little surprised. Aside from the two flying girls you’ve already encountered, this place seems perfectly normal. It would actually be a great place to visit, maybe even go camping. Even still, you really just want to get back to your apartment and your mostly normal life. You even miss Renko and Maribel a little, especially since you know they’d love it here.

As you inch closer to the trees, the sound of movement from within falls on your ears. You freeze up, mind racing with possibilities as to what could be in there. The obvious answer to that question is some kind of animal, but what kind of creature it is escapes you. You’re no survivalist, after all. Writing it off as harmless, you continue your exploration, glancing back at the light of the flames. You don’t see anyone over there yet, so you don’t feel any reason to head back.

You move away from the woods and walk back toward the lake, staring at the reflection of the moonlight for a few minutes, thinking about nothing in particular except how to get home in spite of realizing that wishing for something won’t make it so. That’s all you can do, though. That feeling of helplessness…there’s no other feeling like it in the world, and you hate the way it cuts into you.

A rustling noise draws your attention. You turn your head, looking for anything that might have made the sound, but in the dim light it’s hard to tell what’s what. Taking that as your cue to get back to the fire, you turn in the direction of the ‘campsite’ and start walking.

Another noise. You don’t want to admit it, but you’re a little freaked out now, so you pick up the pace.

”Gruooooo…”

Okay, now you’re running your ass off.

You couldn’t have walked more than one hundred feet, but it feels like you’re not getting any closer to the light of salvation ahead of you. Behind you, you hear…something come out of the forest and give chase, making all kinds of ungodly noise as it does so. You don’t want to look, but your curiosity gets the better of you, so you turn your head and…

Teeth.

All you see is teeth.

If you weren’t fired up on adrenaline before, you sure as hell are now. You pump your legs faster than you thought you could, making it back to the fire in only a few seconds. As soon as you’re there, you move toward the heat and grab the first weapon you can find, namely a large piece of wood that you yanked out of the fire. You whip around in time to see whatever the hell is chasing you bearing down, killing intent flashing in its eyes. It’s then that you realize what exactly it is you’re up against – the thing before you is a wolf on steroids. It’s almost as long as you are tall, and its fur is stained with what you can only assume is blood. You don’t know a lot about nature, but you know that nothing like that exists in the real world. Suddenly, that stick you’re holding isn’t such a good weapon anymore.

The creature lunges at you. Stunned as you are by what you have just seen, you make no attempt to move. Your death is only a few feet away, and there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it.

So, someone else intervenes.

Something shoots out of the sky, striking the creature in the neck and knocking it away from you. Your eyes follow the wolf’s body for a moment, but then you decide to find whatever saved you. You don’t have to look very hard. Floating up in the air, in all her barefoot glory, is Cirno. She has one hand outstretched and a look of intense concentration on her face.

“You okay, kid?” she calls down to you, dropping her hand back to her side.

“Kid?” You’re sure you’re about the same age as her, so why is she calling you a kid? Well, that’s not really important, is it? “Yeah, I’m fine…” you reply. “But that thing…”

“It’s dead, don’t worry ‘bout it.” The fairy floats down in front of you, looking over your shoulder at the corpse. “Just a lesser youkai. See, this is why I told you not to wander around.”

Youkai? As in a demon? Those really existed? Well, your mind is already gone, so what’s the harm in admitting that you were just attacked by a wolf demon? You rub at the bridge of your nose and sit on the ground, shaking your head. This place is what madness must look like.

“…Thanks…” you say after a few moments, looking up at Cirno. She just grins and offers you something, some kind of food on a stick. You blink at it for a moment before accepting it, giving it a few sniffs. It seems edible enough, but you have no idea what it could be. “Uh…what is this?”

“Lamprey,” Cirno replies. “I went to get some a few minutes ago. Didn’t think you’d wake up so soon.”

“Lamprey,” you parrot, examining your food once again. You’re pretty sure it’s some kind of eel, which initially turns you off, but your rumbling stomach overrides your distaste for the odd, and you take a bite, expecting the worst.

It’s actually pretty damn good.

“Not bad, huh? Friend o’ mine made it.” Cirno smiles as if she made the food herself and watches you eat.

“Tell her I said thanks,” you say as you finish your meal. Unsure of what to do with the stick, you turn around and toss it into the fire. You’re not at all shocked that the corpse that rightly should have still been there is gone, mostly because you’ve decided to stop trying to rationalize this place, at least for the time being.

“Okay, it’s a little late, but the miko should still be up,” Cirno says. “Do you wanna go ahead and go to the shrine?”

Shrine? Well, that’s the first mostly normal thing you’ve heard today. It probably would be good to go there, but you still have a few questions you want to ask the fairy while she’s here. So, what do you do?

[] Go to the shrine right now
[] Ask for a tour and decide where to go from there
[] Ask Cirno some questions
-[] Where are you?
-[] Is she really a fairy?
-[] What did she do to that wolf thing?
-[] Other (Write-in)
[] Write-in
>> No. 106347
[x] Go to the shrine right now. Ask Cirno some questions while you go.
-[x] Where are you?
-[x] What did she do to that wolf thing?
>> No. 106348
[x] Go to the shrine right now. Ask Cirno some questions while you go.
-[x] Where are you?
-[x] What did she do to that wolf thing?
-[x]How can someone so cool be so hot?
>> No. 106349
[x] Go to the shrine right now. Ask Cirno some questions while you go.
-[x] Where are you?
-[x] What did she do to that wolf thing?
>> No. 106352
[0] Go to the shrine right now. Ask Cirno some questions while you go.
-[1] Where are you?
-[2] What did she do to that wolf thing?
>> No. 106355
[x] Go to the shrine right now. Ask Cirno some questions while you go.
-[x] Where are you?
-[x] What did she do to that wolf thing?
-[x] Who is this "Yukari" and why would she drag people here?
-[x] Are you really a fairy?
>> No. 106357
[x] Go to the shrine right now. Ask Cirno some questions while you go.
-[x] Where are you?
-[x] What did she do to that wolf thing?
>> No. 106358
[x] Go to the shrine right now. Ask Cirno some questions while you go.
-[x] Where are you?
-[x] What did she do to that wolf thing?
>> No. 106362
[x] Go to the shrine right now. Ask Cirno some questions while you go.
-[x] Where are you?
-[x] What did she do to that wolf thing?
-[x] Who is this "Yukari" and why would she drag people here?
-[x] Are you really a fairy?
>> No. 106458
File 126000100959.jpg - (491.97KB , 780x693 , 10414cca1665cebb023249fb0d22aecf.jpg ) [iqdb]
106458
>[x] Go to the shrine right now. Ask Cirno some questions while you go.
>-[x] Where are you?
>-[x] What did she do to that wolf thing?
>-[x] Who is this "Yukari" and why would she drag people here?
>-[x] Are you really a fairy?

You can always talk during the trip. Shrugging your shoulders, you get to your feet and give Cirno a nod. “No time like the present…sooner I figure out what’s going on, the better…besides, I’m not really an outdoorsy person.”

The fairy (is it weird that you’re thinking of her like that so easily already?) returns your nod and offers you her hand. You’re a little confused, but that quickly passes once you remember that she can fly. Well, this would be an interesting trip. Good thing you’re not afraid of heights. You are, however, afraid of falling, but you doubt that Cirno would let you fall. You swallow your fears and take her hand, and a moment later, you’re hovering in the air. She’s surprisingly strong – her arm isn’t even bending as she holds you up.

“Ever flown before?” she asks, a mischievous grin on her face.

“Well, yeah, but not like this…”

“There are other ways to fly?” She looks surprised, but then seems to realize something. “Oh, you must mean like that magician did, riding on a broom or something like that.”

Now there are magicians in the mix? Riding on a broom sounds more like a witch than a magician, though, but you don’t feel the need to correct her. Instead, you say, “Ah, not like that...uh, I’ll explain later, okay?”

“Sure, sure. Anyway, hang on, here we go!”

The two of you shoot into the air at a surprising rate of speed. You feel that lamprey you just ate leap up into your throat, but you swallow it back down. The world below you is black. Is there no electricity in this world? And speaking of that…

“Hey, Cirno, can I ask you something?”

“Huh? Yeah, sure.”

“Where…is this? Where are we right now?”

“What do you mean?”

She’s a little dense, isn’t she. Well, she makes up for it in good looks, so you can let it slide. “This world, what’s it called?” You don’t think you can get any more specific than that, but just in case, you start formulating another way to word the question.

“Oh!” she says, realization dawning over her face. “This is Gensokyo!”

Gen-who-and-the-what-now?

“Gen…Gensokyo?”

“Yup!” Cirno seems to puff up some as she answers your question. On seeing the look on your face, though, she blinks a few times and slows down some, which you’re thankful for, since it gives you more time to figure out what the hell to say now.

“…Land of Illusions…” you mutter, recalling what Maribel had said to you earlier. “Of course I’d fall in here…why wouldn’t I…?”

“You okay?” The fairy tilts her head at you, wearing a concerned expression now. “You look like you’re gonna be sick.”

“I’m fine.” You come off a little colder than you’d intended, but your head is still spinning from what you just learned. Once again, you wish that the girls were here with you. At least they would find this place interesting.

Then, you have another thought. Cirno mentioned something called Yukari earlier, and how it brought people to this place from time to time. It seems that if you’re going to determine how you wound up here, you’re going to have to find out more about it.

“What about Yukari?” you inquire, looking back at the fairy. “You said…you thought it stopped bringing us in? What did you mean by that?”

“Oh, Yukari’s a youkai. Sometimes she pulls humans from the outside world in here. Really not sure why, but she hasn’t done it for a long time now. You’re the first new arrival in a long time, kid!”

Again with the ‘kid’ stuff. She doesn’t look much older than you, and if anything she’s probably younger. Still, you file the nickname under the ‘Not Important’ section of your mind and continue trying to come up with questions. A few seconds later, you hit on another one.

“That wolf thing…what did you do to it?”

“Shot it with ice.”

The answer is so blunt that you accept it instantly. There’s really no need to question it further, but you still replay the scene in your mind. The youkai closing in on you, teeth gnashing, nostrils flaring, and suddenly, it just gets batted aside. Yeah, in your minds eye, what hit the creature in the neck looked like a large block of ice. Probably broke its spine instantly. You wince some, imagining what it must have been like, but it was you or it, and fate chose you. Next time, though, you might not be so lucky.

“Are you really a fairy?” you say under your breath, not really expecting her to answer. You’ve never heard of a fairy that shoots blocks of ice before, but you suspect that anything is possible in this place.

“Course I am. Strongest there is. I’m the boss of the fairies, after all.”

The look on her face says it all. You can’t help but chuckle at her. She certainly doesn’t seem to hold back on anything. It’s lucky that you ran into her first, you suppose. It’s nice to have the strongest on your side.


You spend the rest of the trip in silence, doing your best to take in the scenery. Off in the horizon you can see the last rays of the sun fade away as night takes control of the land. The lack of light makes it hard to see, but you can clearly make out a few mountain ranges. You can also see what looks like a bamboo forest, a few rivers, and the sole source of any kind of light in the area. It looks like a village, but you can’t be sure from this height. But before you can question Cirno on what you’re seeing, she suddenly descends and drags you along for the ride.

A few seconds later, you touch down in front of a fairly normal shrine. Well, you say that, but you’ve never actually been to a shrine before, so you have no idea what is considered normal, but at the very least it looks like what you think a shrine should.

“This the place?” you ask, although the answer should be obvious to you.

“Yup!” Cirno answers you with her typically cheeriness and steps through the gate onto the main grounds. You follow closely behind her, not willing to be left alone again. Glancing around, you note that shrine seems to have seen better days – the tile walkway is cracked, the building itself is in need of a few repairs, and most of the trees are dying. In other words, the place looks like hell, but it might just be livable, provided you’re insane enough to stay there willingly.

“Hey Reimu!” the fairy calls out. You can only assume that she’s calling out to the miko, a thought that’s confirmed when a girl emerges from within the shrine, announcing her presence with a loud yawn. She’s dressed in a plain white robe that more or less conceals her body, and her long black hair flutters in the breeze. On seeing who it is that disturbed her, she sighs quietly and moves toward the two of you, a vaguely annoyed expression on her face.

“For the last time, Cirno, I’m not Reimu,” the maiden says as she gets closer to you. “I’m Yume, okay? Reimu’s been dead for a long time.”

“Sorry, sorry, I keep forgetting…you look just like her, ya know.”

“So you’ve said…” Sighing again, she turns her attention to you, looking you over for only a moment before muttering, “God dammit, Yukari…” It’s a little odd to hear such language come from someone who’s supposed to be a religious figure or something like that, but at this point, you’re more than willing to share her sentiment. If Yukari is to blame for you being here, then you’ll gladly curse her name along with Yume.

“Yeah, found him in the lake earlier today. Mind letting him stay the night? I really don’t have any place to put him.”

Again, Yume looks you over before giving a defeated shrug. “That’s fine,” she says simply. “I haven’t had any guests for a while, after all. Might be nice…” She appears to be lost in thought now. A quick clearing of your throat brings her back to reality. “Yeah, you can stay here if you want. S’not the most comfortable place in the world, but it’s better than sleeping by the lake.”

“Er, thanks…” you reply, looking over at Cirno. The fairy smiles at you and reaches out, ruffling your hair for a few seconds before stepping back and lifting into the air once again.

“See ya, kid. If ya need anything, I’ll be around.”

“Thanks, Cirno…”

Before you can continue, she takes off into the night sky, leaving you alone with the miko. She beckons you to follow her inside, and you comply, kicking off your shoes before you step into the shrine. There isn’t much in here from what you can tell, but there’s almost no light, so a more in depth examination will have to wait for morning. That’s fine, though. Even though you’ve spent most of the day sleeping, you’re still incredibly tired.

“You can take that room over there,” Yume says, waving her hand weakly at doorway. You nod to her and take a step toward your assigned room, only to pause for a moment, a few questions bouncing around in your head. Yume catches that and perks up some, looking at you expectantly. “Something wrong?”

[] “No, it’s nothing…good night.”
[] “Actually, can I ask you something?”
-[] About Yukari
-[] About Gensokyo
-[] About the shrine
-[] About the girl with the teddy bear
-[] Other (Write-in)
>> No. 106461
[x] “Actually, can I ask you something?”
-[x] About Yukari
-[x] About Gensokyo
-[x] About the shrine
-[x] About the girl with the teddy bear.
-[x] About the possible ways that a person could end up here.

I think we're in Gensokyo for a reason, and it'll be interesting to see what has happened up to this point in Gensokyo's history.
>> No. 106463
[x] “Actually, can I ask you something?”
-[x] About Yukari
-[x] About Gensokyo
-[x] About the shrine
-[x] About the girl with the teddy bear.
-[x] About the possible ways that a person could end up here.

>>106461
yes, information is everything.
>> No. 106464
[x] “Actually, can I ask you something?”
-[x] About Yukari
-[x] About Gensokyo
-[x] About the shrine
-[x] About the girl with the teddy bear.
-[x] About the possible ways that a person could end up here.
>> No. 106465
[x] “Actually, can I ask you something?”
-[x] About Yukari
-[x] About Gensokyo
-[x] About the shrine
-[x] About the girl with the teddy bear.
-[x] About the possible ways that a person could end up here.
>> No. 106467
[0] “Actually, can I ask you something?”
-[1] About Yukari
-[2] About Gensokyo
-[3] About the shrine
-[4] About the girl with the teddy bear.
-[5] About the possible ways that a person could end up here.
>> No. 106476
[X] “Actually, can I ask you something?”
-[X] About Yukari
-[X] About Gensokyo
-[X] About the shrine
-[X] About the girl with the teddy bear.
-[X] About the possible ways that a person could end up here.

Well, that may explain Yukari's new look, if that really was Yukari and not some look alike (daughter perhaps?)
>> No. 106514
[ø] “Actually, can I ask you something?”
-[ø] About Yukari
-[ø] About the girl with the teddy bear
-[ø] About Gensokyo
-[ø] About the shrine


Reimu ;_;
RIP, all the human Touhous that we know of
>> No. 106537
>>106514

Mokou's still around.
>> No. 106538
File 126004624452.jpg - (94.75KB , 497x697 , 6699e748bb2d44dafd53738bf9f7e04d.jpg ) [iqdb]
106538
>[x] “Actually, can I ask you something?”
>-[x] About Yukari
>-[x] About Gensokyo
>-[x] About the shrine
>-[x] About the girl with the teddy bear.
>-[x] About the possible ways that a person could end up here.

You look at the miko, an apologetic expression on your face. It’s obvious to you that she’s tired, and you don’t want to keep her up any longer than is needed, but you know that as long as you have these questions in your mind, you won’t be able to sleep soundly, so you just suck it up and ask.

“Actually, can I ask you something?” Well, it’s more like a few things, but you’ll gauge how to proceed with the conversation as it goes along.

“Yeah, sure, why not,” Yume replies, shrugging beneath her robe. “I’m not really that tired anyway.” She’s not great at lying, as she yawns literally right after saying that. She turns away from you and walks to another section of the shrine. You follow behind her, doing your best to keep your distance. You weren’t really aware of it until just now, but you need a shower and a change of clothes. Whatever was in that lake is still stuck on you, and it is not pleasant. The maiden doesn’t seem to mind, though, which you are thankful for.

You wind up in a small dining area. Yume lights a few candles, providing you with at least some light, and sits down at the table. You take the seat across from her and fold your legs up underneath your body. It’s an old-fashioned way to sit, but this is an old-fashioned place, so it seems appropriate.

“You sure you’re a human?” she asks suddenly. You realize that she has been staring at your eyes for a few seconds now. You idly wonder how many people in Gensokyo have heterochromia.

“Positive,” you say in return.

“Hmm. You look a little like a youkai from around here with those eyes.”

Well, that answers that question, anyway. You quickly explain that’s just how you were born, and Yume seems satisfied with that. The maiden looks you over once again, waiting for you to ask whatever it is you were going to ask, but you have so many questions that it’s tough to decide where to start. However, the biggest thing on your mind is that Yukari person, so you decide to start there.

“Both you and Cirno mentioned Yukari, but she didn’t give me any real details on her…can she really bring people here?”

“Yes.”

That was certainly a short answer, but it isn’t exactly what you were looking for, so you elaborate a little bit.

“How?”

“Manipulation of boundaries,” Yume says, as if expecting you to understand it without any sort of explanation. However, once the miko gets a look at the blank expression on your face, she sighs and continues. “She can…make gaps in space and bring things through them. That’s the most common method she uses to bring people here. Did you see anything like that before you ended up here?”

You pause and think about it for a moment. That white void you fell through…could that have been one of those ‘gaps’? You aren’t sure, really, a fact which you relay to the maiden. Yume blinks at what you’ve described to her, looking vaguely confused, but she quickly returns to normal, or at least what you think is normal for her.

“Well, anyway, yeah, Yukari has been known to bring people here, but she hasn’t for a while now. These days, most people accidently walk through the border.”

“You mean Gensokyo’s border in the outside world?”

Again, her expression changes from neutral to something different. This time, it’s surprise. “Yeah...you know about that? Most people that end up in here don’t.”

“I have a…an acquaintance that says she can see it.” You aren’t sure why you hesitated to call Maribel a friend, but there’s no taking it back now, so you just keep on talking. “Could I have accidently walked in here?”

“Sure doesn’t sound like it.” Yume purses her lips and looks off to one side, seemingly lost in thought again. A few seconds later, she looks back up at you, shaking her head. “From what I’ve heard, when you walk through from the real world, things just change from there to here instantly. You said you fell through something when you went home…I doubt that the border’s right there at your house, or that you would be unlucky enough to just stumble through it like that.”

“Well…is there another way to get here?” you ask, scratching at the back of your head. It sure doesn’t feel like you’re getting any closer to figuring out how you arrived in this land, and every answer you do get just raises more questions. Nothing like going in circles.

“Dying is another way, but that doesn’t apply to you.” You are still alive, or at least you think you are, so Yume’s right in that regard.

So from what you’ve learned, there are three basic methods to get here – gaps, walking through the border, and death, but you get the feeling that none of those apply to your particular situation. Letting out a quiet sigh, you rub at your temples to try and stave off the incoming headache. For right now, you need to get your mind off of how you got here. Besides, you still have a few more questions.

“All right, let’s change topics…” you say finally, shaking off any other questions about how you arrived. “What about this place? What is it?”

“The shrine?”

You were really asking about Gensokyo in general, but now that she mentions it, you are curious about the shrine as well, so you just nod in response. Yume grins a little bit and straightens up some before launching into her explanation.

“This is the Hakurei Shrine,” she begins, pausing to presumably allow you to absorb that information. “The Hakurei’s have been charged with maintaining the border between Gensokyo and the outside world for many generations. I am the current gatekeeper, like my mother before me, and her mother before her.”

You aren’t really sure you understand, but you decide to just let her keep talking.

“This place exists on the border, so this is actually the closest point to the outside world you’re likely to find…”

On hearing that, you suddenly become very interested in what she has to say. You lean in closer, practically breaking the table as your slam your palms down onto it. “Does that mean you can send me home?!” you ask, your sudden enthusiasm shocking Yume a little bit. She quickly recovers, though, and shakes her head a few times, the universal symbol for ‘no.’

“Sorry, but…I don’t know how.”

“Wh…how can you not know?! Aren’t you the gatekeeper?!” You don’t mean to sound as angry as you do, but you see a chance to put all of this behind you, and you just aren’t willing to give it up without a fight.

“It’s not as simple as all that!” she cries, placing her hands on her hips, looking vaguely annoyed once again. “I’m…still in training, I don’t know the intricate workings of the border just yet…”

You aren’t sure, but you think that, for a moment, she looks a little sad, maybe even disappointed. That quickly passes, though, and she looks back up at you, letting out a long sigh. “Sorry, I really do want to help you, but…it’s hard. There is a lot to learn, and I haven’t been doing this very long…”

“No…no, I’m sorry,” you say as you settle down, running a hand through your hair. “I…just really want to go home…”

“I can understand that...look, tomorrow, we’ll go find Yukari and have her send you back.”

You nod at that and shift around to a more comfortable position. The two of you sit in silence for a good minute or so before you finally start talking again.

“What about Gensokyo? Why does this place exist, anyway?”

“Huh? Oh…well, the short version is that this place is kind of a sanctuary…it used to be a massive stretch of haunted land inhabited by youkai that would terrorize the humans, but eventually it was sealed away, mostly because people just…stopped believing.”

Stopped believing, huh? You know that you didn’t give much weight to the fairytales of old, living in a world of science and rationality. But in the ages long past, you can see why people would come up with these things, if only to explain what was happening in their reality. Of course, almost everything has some kind of reasoning behind it, and the world you came from is built on those reasons. Still, there are people like Maribel and Renko out there, people who still believe in things that go bump in the night, and now you know that they aren’t all totally insane.

You decide to stop there for the time being. You need time to sort all of this out. Giving your thanks to Yume, you stand up and walk over to her, offering her your hand. She accepts, and you help her back to her feet as well. Exchanging good nights, you begin heading back to the room she had assigned to you, only to stop when one final question enters your mind.

“Hey, Yume?”

“Mm?” She turns to look at you, the fatigue she’d been trying to hide now plain as day on her face. “What is it…?”

“Do you know a girl who carries a teddy bear around with her? She’s probably about your age, blond hair, green eyes, blue dress…”

The miko tilts her head in thought, only to give you a shrug a few moments later. “Sorry, I don’t think I know anyone like that. Why do you ask?”

“…No reason…” you reply weakly. Defeated, you wish her good night once again and enter your room, unrolling an old futon and falling face first onto it. The stress of the day catches up to you all at once, and in spite of the turmoil in your mind, sleep comes rather easily.

…..

…Tomorrow…

That voice again. You sit bolt upright and look around your room, quickly spotting its owner. The girl with the bear is standing near the doorway, staring down at you. For the first time, you get a good look at her. The basic features are there – hair, eyes, dress, doll, but there’s something that you missed before. Her expression…it’s the saddest look you think you’ve ever seen.

…It will happen…tomorrow…

What will happen? What is she talking about? You try to ask her, but as usual, no sound comes out. Even movement is impossible now. You struggle against whatever force is holding you back, but it’s all in vain. All you can do is listen.

…Time will…

You get the feeling that she said something more, but for some reason, it’s cut off. She appears to try communicating again, but her voice doesn’t come. However, her eyes say it all. She’s pleading for you…to help her.

Any other thoughts are erased by another headache. The world spins, and you collapse back onto the futon, clutching desperately at the sides of your head, doing your best to drown out the horrible ringing in your ears. You feel like you’re coming apart at the seams, like if you let go you’ll just cease to exist.

And then, it stops.

You can move again, so you look for the girl, only to find that she has vanished as quickly as she had appeared. The pounding in your skull keeps you from dwelling on that too much longer. With an annoyed grunt, you shut your eyes and beg for sleep to take you again. Mercifully, the world of dreams comes quickly, and you finally get some much needed rest.

…..

Sunlight hits your face, rousing you from your slumber. You fumble around for something to cover up with, but can’t come up with anything, so you sit up to get out of the beam, still incredibly groggy. For a moment, you wonder where you are, but it all comes back to you rather quickly. Part of you still hoped it was all just a dream, but it seems that, for now, this is your reality.

Instinctively, you pull your cell phone from your pocket to check the time and are unsurprised to see that it’s no longer functional, presumably due to being submerged. You’re pretty sure that the only way it could possibly be used out here is as a clock anyway. The world of fantasy likely doesn’t have cell towers. You place it back in your pocket and produce your wallet in its place, checking its contents. Most everything in there is damp, but still usable. Small mercies, but you find yourself wondering if the shops in Gensokyo will accept modern currency. With any luck, that won’t be an issue for too much longer.

Slipping your wallet back into its place, you get to your feet and exit your room, glancing around the shrine. No sign of Yume. You aren’t sure if she’s still asleep or already up, but you do know that you want to find Yukari as soon as possible so that you can get back to reality. However, if how she looked last night is any indication, she does need her sleep, and you aren’t so sure you want to wake her up. With that in mind, you…

[] Go look for Yume. The sooner you leave, the better.
[] Explore the shrine grounds. It should be safe enough.
[] Wait in your room until Yume comes to get you.
[] Write-In
>> No. 106540
[x] Explore the shrine grounds. It should be safe enough.

We're not leaving that soon that much I know, so I think we should try to take a look around until she finds us.
>> No. 106541
[x] Explore the shrine grounds. It should be safe enough.
>> No. 106544
[x] Explore the shrine grounds. It should be safe enough.
>> No. 106549
[x] Explore the shrine grounds. It should be safe enough.

Such misfortune.
>> No. 106550
[0] Explore the shrine grounds. It should be safe enough.
>> No. 106552
Exploration it is. Updating.
>> No. 106571
File 12600645517.jpg - (215.60KB , 1200x1693 , 1256144766854.jpg ) [iqdb]
106571
>[x] Explore the shrine grounds. It should be safe enough.

Now that it’s a little brighter outside, you want to take the time and get a better look at your surroundings. You walk to the entrance and slip your shoes on, stepping out into the cool morning breeze. You move to tighten your jacket around you…

…only to realize you left it at the lake. Dammit.

Your day is already off to a wonderful start. At least it can only get better from here, right? You’ll survive for a little while without a jacket. From the looks of it, it’ll be a pretty nice day anyway.

In the morning sunlight, you can finally see the shrine and the area around it more clearly. You almost wish it was night again. The place looks even worse than it did when you arrived. To say it needs an extreme makeover is an understatement. The shrine looks like it could fall down at any moment, and you get the distinct feeling that it’s been rebuilt at least once. Weeds and other assorted detrimental plants have overrun the area, and most of the trees are outright dead rather that dying like you’d originally assumed. Why anyone would choose to live here is beyond you, but Yume appears to stay here by herself. She’s must be pretty tough, or totally insane. You lean toward the latter option.

Letting out a yawn, you stuff your hands into your pockets and just start walking around, determining the boundaries you shouldn’t cross by yourself – the large gate and the surrounding forested areas, pretty much, leaving you the open ground around the shrine to explore. It’s still a pretty good amount of space to check out, so you decide to get to it before it’s time for your trip to find Yukari.

As you look around, you find yourself wondering if Yume can hire a groundskeeper or something like that. You highly doubt that she could clean the place up by herself, even if she spent the rest of her life trying to. If you had more time, you might have considered helping her out, but should be going home today, so it’s already a lost cause to think like that. Shrugging, you walk around behind the shrine, wondering if there’s anything back here to see.

Much to your surprise, you find a large pool. Steam rises from the water, leading you to believe that this is a hot spring of some kind. Considering what the rest of the shrine looks like, this place is paradise on earth. It’s clearly been lovingly maintained, and everything about it is in pristine condition. You stare at the pool for a few more moments before deciding to get a better look. A few steps puts you just on the edge of the water, and you kneel down, dipping a hand into the liquid. It’s hot, but not uncomfortably so. You could take a bath here if you wanted, but without any way to clean yourself, all you’d really be doing is getting wet.

Then, you notice something else. Not too far away from you, there are a few bottles and a bar of soap. This place just gets weirder and weirder, doesn’t it? Curiosity gets the better of you, and you walk over to the items, looking them over. Like you thought, its shampoo and conditioner, as well as some body wash. However, they’re all brands you’ve never heard of, and something about the containers is off as well, but you can’t quite put your finger on it. Picking one of them up, you turn it over in your hands, not really looking for anything on it until something weird catches your eye. It’s a copyright date, but there’s no way it can be right. It has to be a typo of some kind.

It says the year is 2209.

Two hundred years more than what it should be.

Your mind goes blank as you try to comprehend that. Not only have you been transported into a strange new world, you’ve also been sent into the future? What kind of sick joke is this? Your stomach does a somersault, forcing you to sit down. You stare at the ground, completely and utterly defeated. Even if you get sent back to the real world, will you be sent to the right time frame?

Then, more implications hit you like a ton of bricks.

Everyone you’ve ever known is long dead. Family, friends, acquaintances, everyone.

Your life as you know it is over.

You don’t even want to breathe right now. Even if you do get back, what’s the point? You may as well just stay here now, content in the knowledge that there’s nothing left for you out there…

“…ou okay?”

The voice seems to come from miles away, but it does break you out of your thoughts, if only for a moment. You blink your eyes and look up at Yume, who’s standing a few feet away from you, now dressed in what you recognize as a traditional miko outfit. The only thing that differs from the norm is the large red ribbon she has in her hair. You stare at her for a few seconds before you let the bottle drop from your hands, getting to your feet and moving in close to her.

“…What year is it…?” you whisper, unable to muster the strength to even talk at this point.

“Huh?” She looks confused by your question, but she does provide you with an answer. “It’s…324…”

What the hell does that mean? You shake your head violently, dizzying yourself slightly, but you shove that feeling aside and grab Yume by the shoulders, glaring down at her. You aren’t sure how pissed off you look, but you know how pissed off you feel.

“Outside! What year is it outside!?” You’re doing your best not to scream at her, but that’s becoming increasingly difficult. The despair you felt only moments ago is quickly being replaced by rage. You want an answer and you want it now.

“Wha…ah…” Yume looks away from you, muttering something to herself for a few seconds before returning your gaze. “It’d be…2209.”

She has no reason to lie to you. Confirmation by two independent sources. You tighten your grip on her shoulders for an instant before breaking contact and turning away from her, watching the steam rise from the pool, the blankest of expressions on your face. You can’t even think straight, so you just stop trying. Yume’s trying to say something to you, but her words are just barely getting through. Still, you do hear her ask what the problem with that is.

“…I’m…from the past…” you manage to say. “About…two hundred years in the past…”

Yume blinks at that and looks you over once again before shaking her head, sending her hair flying all over the place. “I thought your clothes looked a little weird…” she says. “Sometimes stuff from outside ends up in here. All the clothes that we get nowadays look different from yours.”

If you knew that then why didn’t you say anything!?

That’s what you want to yell at her, but you hold yourself back. You know it’s not her fault, its Yukari’s or whoever the hell brought you here. Swallowing the anger that’s building up in the pit of your stomach, you face the miko, doing your best not to show any emotions, knowing that you could fly off the handle at any moment.

“Guess there’s no point in finding Yukari, huh?” you mutter. You fully expect Yume to agree with you, but her reaction is quite the opposite. She’s…laughing? Is your situation really that funny to her? The world flashes white for a moment, and you prepare to lash out at her, but before you get the chance, she starts talking.

“I wouldn’t worry about it,” she says. The heat in your heart is doused with those five little words. You stare at her, confused by what she’s just told you, but you’re so totally stunned that it’s hard to speak. That really doesn’t matter, though, since Yume keeps right on talking for you. “Manipulation of boundaries, remember? I’m sure Yukari can send you back to your own time. She’s done all kinds of other crazy things before, so it shouldn’t be a problem. Don’t worry about it, okay?”

What is this feeling? Could it be…hope? For the first time since all this started, you think you can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. You break out into a huge smile and sink to your knees, letting out a long breath. It only takes that much to calm you down. The miko grins some at your reaction and pats you on the shoulder before taking a few steps away from you, looking at the hot spring.

“Yukari sleeps during the day, so we’ll have to go visit her tonight. If you want, you can bathe here. Afterwards, we can go to the Kourindou and get you some new clothes, since yours smell like the lake.” She pinches her nose as she says that, but she’s smiling, so you can only assume that she’s joking. Still, you’re more than willing to take her up on that offer, so you give her a nod. Satisfied with that, Yume walks back into the shrine, giving you some privacy.

You peel your still-slightly-damp clothes off and set them aside, slipping into the water as soon as you’re ready. It feels good to be in hot water for a change, and you lean back against the wall of the pool, letting out a long sigh. As you thought, things are starting to look up. Maribel and Renko are never going to believe this.

The sound of splashing water gets your attention. Blinking a few times, you look around the pool for any sign of the source. It only takes you a second to spot it. A few feet away from you is a buxom figure with long ginger hair and bright brown eyes. But that’s not what gets your attention. What you’re really curious about is the two large horns that protrude from her head. In fact, those things are so shocking that you barely even notice that oh hello she’s very naked.

“Mm…” She smiles down at you and glides through the water as if it wasn’t even there, and before you realize what’s happening, she’s standing right in front of you, her face colored a deep red. There’s an odd smell about her, something familiar, but you can’t quite put your finger on it. Still, you’re really more focused on the fact that she’s NAKED.

“Uh…h-hi,” you stammer, trying desperately to suppress the urges of your groin. You fail miserably, and blood that might have been put to a more productive use is instead redirected downward. The woman seems to take note of this, and her smile gets a little wider.

She gets a little closer to you, and your face turns about as red as your right eye. Her body is pressed up against yours, her breasts rub against your chest, she leans in toward you and cold water rains down on both of you, sending your busty companion reeling back and killing any arousal you might have felt in one swift motion.

“Suika!”

The woman with the horns looks behind you, and you whip around as well, looking up at your savior. As you suspected, it’s Yume, holding a now empty bucket. She’s glaring daggers at the one called Suika, but the only real reaction she gets from the woman with the horns is a loud laugh.

“Hiya Yume!” she says, waving to the miko. “How’s things?”

Yume doesn’t respond so much as she growls quietly. The maiden puts the bucket down on the ground and sighs, shaking her head. “Get out of the spring…and turn back to normal!”

Normal? Blinking, you turn to look at the pool’s other occupant, only to find that you’re now looking at what amounts to a naked child. If the cold water that Yume dumped on you didn’t take care of your erection, that sight did. Suika laughs again and pulls herself out of the water, wrapping herself up in the towel that Yume provided her.

“Sorry, sorry, but I saw a new face and thought I’d have a little fun~” You can’t be sure, but you think she’s slurring her words some. You recall the scent you detected on her a few moments ago and realize what it was – alcohol. The girl reeks of it. She’s…a drunk child? What?

“Go put your clothes on…” Yume lets out an exasperated sigh and shoves Suika away from her, looking down at you as soon as the smaller girl is out of sight. “Sorry, she can be a handful if you don’t know how to handle her…I saw her flying over and thought I’d make sure she left you alone. Good thing I came along....”

“Er…huh…?” you say, totally confused by what just happened. “W…was she…drunk?”

“Yeah, she always is.”

“She’s a child!”

“Huh?” Yume blinks at you, looking as perplexed as you feel. “No, she’s an oni…oh, right, you wouldn’t know, would you.”

“Know what?”

The miko shrugs and turns away from you. That action serves to remind you that under the water you are very naked. Embarrassment overcomes you, and you turn your back to her as well, covering yourself up with your hands. What a day this is turning out to be…

“Suika might look like a child, but she’s older than almost everyone else here…she might be older than Yukari.” Yume finishes her explanation and begins to take her leave, only to stop and add, “I’ll make sure she doesn’t bother you again, so take your time.”

You can’t even reply. Fairies, youkai, magicians, oni, mikos, boundaries, what else could there possibly be in this world? Sighing loudly, you dunk your head underwater, praying that nothing else interrupts you.

…..

About ten minutes later, you’re clean and clothed. At least now if Suika assaults you with her nudity again, you won’t be quite so…exposed, as it were. It doesn’t take you too long to find the two girls. Thankfully Suika is dressed now, wearing an off-white sleeveless shirt and a purple dress, as well as a few chains, for some reason. Her hair has a few ribbons in it now, and beside her rests a large gourd, which she occasionally takes a swig from, much to Yume’s apparent dismay. You suppose that’s where the oni keeps her booze, but you’re really not keen to find out.

“All set?” Yume calls to you. You nod in response and walk over to them. Suika grins mischievously at you, but you do your best to ignore her. If this is her natural form then there’s no point in getting all hot and bothered around her. Still, you have to wonder how she changed forms like that...

Your thoughts are interrupted by Yume pulling out what looks like a piece of paper and placing it on the ground. She takes a few steps back and clasps her hands together, causing a small explosion to occur. When the smoke clears, a large turtle is sitting before you. What’s more, the turtle has a beard, but compared to a few of the other things you’ve seen here, that doesn’t bother you too much.

“This is Genjii,” Yume explains as she hops up onto the creatures back. “I can’t fly, so I ride around on him when I need to go somewhere.”

“Wait, he can fly?” you ask. The thought of a flying turtle does seem a little strange to you, but you recall an old manga you read once wherein one of the characters used something similar to get around. If you remember right, he always threw up when he got off. You just hope that Genjii doesn’t spin.

Yume offers you her hand, and you take it, pulling yourself up onto his back. It’s a bit of a tight fit, but you have enough room to get comfortable. Suika stares up at the two of you, her bottom lip trembling some.

“I wanna ride with you guys!” she cries, tears welling up in her eyes. Yume completely ignores her, save for reminding the oni that she can fly under her own power. On realizing that, Suika perks up some and breaks into a huge grin. She doesn’t just look like a child, she acts like one, too. Both you and Yume sigh at roughly the same time. You’ve already guessed that Suika is going to tag along, which you’re a little wary of, but there isn’t a whole lot you can do about it. You’ll just have to suck it up.

Yume pats Genjii on the head, and the turtle springs to life, lifting up into the air fairly quickly. You nearly fall off, but you manage to maintain your balance. For a turtle, Genjii moves surprisingly fast. The trip doesn’t take very long, and before you know it you’re in front of a small building on the outskirts of a forest. Yume slides off the turtle, and you follow suit. Suika lands behind you a few moments later, but instantly loses her balance and falls on her face. Part of you wants to help her, but a larger part doesn’t feel like getting assaulted again, so you let her help herself.

Yume opens the door to the building, which you’ve identified as that Kourindou place, and steps inside like she’s the owner, looking around for a few seconds. “Huh, looks like Rinnosuke’s out,” she says. In spite of that, however, she beckons for you to come inside.

“What? If the owner isn’t here, shouldn’t we wait?”

“Everyone does this,” the miko replies, motioning for you to follow her. “C’mon, it’s fine, really.”

Sighing, you enter the shop, taking stock of what’s in here. You recognize a lot of items, but there’s a few that you don’t. You can only assume that those things are from this era and not the past. You really want to look them over, but Yume shoves you over to a pile of clothes similar to your own.

“Go ahead and get some new things. I’m gonna do a little browsing mys—“ She’s cut off by a loud crashing noise and turns her head to see Suika standing over a broken vase, a huge smile on her drunk little face.

“Oopsie~” the oni coos, giving a loud laugh. Yume sighs and walks over to her small source of annoyance, leaving you alone with the clothes. Well, might as well start searching…

[] Choose a new outfit
- [] Write-in
[] Browse the shop a little, see if you can find something useful
[] Write-in
>> No. 106573
[x] Browse the shop a little, see if you can find something useful.

Either Yume has yet to learn how to fly or she can't.

Well that's a twist, I though he was already living in the future.
>> No. 106578
[x] Choose a new outfit
-[x] A grey with dark red trim jacket emblazoned with a black and yellow lightning bolt on back. Looks futuristic.
-[x] A pair of black gloves that didn't hinder your movement at all. 100% fireproof and water resistant.
-[x] A black long sleeve shirt.
-[x] Blue-black jeans made out of an odd material. Lightweight but incredibly durable.
-[x] A pair of boots.
[x] Browse the shop a little, see if you can find something useful
>> No. 106579
[ø] Choose a new outfit
then
[ø] Browse the shop a little, see if you can find something useful

Oh my, 200 years in the future? The non-immortal/near-immortal residents of Gensokyo must've grown older by now (ie) Youmu)
>> No. 106580
>>106578
Adding these to my vote >>106579
>> No. 106581
[x] Choose a new outfit
-[x] A grey with dark red trim jacket emblazoned with a black and yellow lightning bolt on back. Looks futuristic.
-[x] A pair of black gloves that didn't hinder your movement at all. 100% fireproof and water resistant.
-[x] A black long sleeve shirt.
-[x] Blue-black jeans made out of an odd material. Lightweight but incredibly durable.
-[x] A pair of boots.
[x] Browse the shop a little, see if you can find something useful

I guess this works.
>> No. 106583
[0] Choose a new outfit
-[1] A grey with dark red trim jacket emblazoned with a black and yellow lightning bolt on back. Looks futuristic.
-[2] A pair of black gloves that didn't hinder your movement at all. 100% fireproof and water resistant.
-[3] A black long sleeve shirt.
-[4] Blue-black jeans made out of an odd material. Lightweight but incredibly durable.
-[5] A pair of boots.
[6] Browse the shop a little, see if you can find something useful
>> No. 106584
[x] Choose a new outfit
-[x] A grey with dark red trim jacket emblazoned with a black and yellow lightning bolt on back. Looks futuristic.
-[x] A pair of black gloves that didn't hinder your movement at all. 100% fireproof and water resistant.
-[x] A black long sleeve shirt.
-[x] Blue-black jeans made out of an odd material. Lightweight but incredibly durable.
-[x] A pair of boots.
[x] Browse the shop a little, see if you can find something useful
>> No. 106585
[x] Choose a new outfit
-[x] A grey with dark red trim jacket emblazoned with a black and yellow lightning bolt on back. Looks futuristic.
-[x] A pair of black gloves that didn't hinder your movement at all. 100% fireproof and water resistant.
-[x] A black long sleeve shirt.
-[x] Blue-black jeans made out of an odd material. Lightweight but incredibly durable.
-[x] A pair of boots.
[x] Browse the shop a little, see if you can find something useful
>> No. 106596
[x] Choose a new outfit
-[x] A grey with dark red trim jacket emblazoned with a black and yellow lightning bolt on back. Looks futuristic.
-[x] A pair of black gloves that didn't hinder your movement at all. 100% fireproof and water resistant.
-[x] A black long sleeve shirt.
-[x] Blue-black jeans made out of an odd material. Lightweight but incredibly durable.
-[x] A pair of boots.
[x] Browse the shop a little, see if you can find something useful
>> No. 106606
[x] Choose a new outfit
-[x] A grey with dark red trim jacket emblazoned with a black and yellow lightning bolt on back. Looks futuristic.
-[x] A pair of black gloves that didn't hinder your movement at all. 100% fireproof and water resistant.
-[x] A black long sleeve shirt.
-[x] Blue-black jeans made out of an odd material. Lightweight but incredibly durable.
-[x] A pair of boots.
[x] Browse the shop a little, see if you can find something useful

Interesting. Kinda straight forward so far. Only the start, though.
>> No. 106667
Kogasanon confirmed for not lolicon.
>> No. 106668
>>106667

Likes'em healthy.
>> No. 106688
Update in progress, may not be up until later tonight.
>> No. 106692
File 126012600421.jpg - (289.88KB , 750x616 , 8ce97b6d4decbced57075f31582c8738.jpg ) [iqdb]
106692
>[x] Choose a new outfit
>-[x] A grey with dark red trim jacket emblazoned with a black and yellow lightning bolt on back. Looks futuristic.
>-[x] A pair of black gloves that didn't hinder your movement at all. 100% fireproof and water resistant.
>-[x] A black long sleeve shirt.
>-[x] Blue-black jeans made out of an odd material. Lightweight but incredibly durable.
>-[x] A pair of boots.
>[x] Browse the shop a little, see if you can find something useful

Trusting Yume to deal with Suika, you dig into the pile, deciding to prioritize a new jacket above all else. There’s one right at the top, making the search easy. Pulling it down, you examine it. The material feels weird to you, so you check the tag out. It’s made out of something you’ve never heard of, so you can only assume it’s from the future…wait, you’re in the future, so it’s from the present, but you’re really from the past and…that train of thought hurts your head, so you abandon it and roll to a halt before you reach your destination.

You examine the jacket. It’s not bad looking, about the same size and style as the one you left at the lake. The only really strange thing is the lightning bolt design on the back, but that doesn’t really bother you much. Provided it fits, you’ll wear it. You pull it on, determine that it’s perfect, and remove it, tucking it under your arm as you resume your search.

Your shirt still smells of lake water, so you grab another one from the pile, just a plain black long sleeve. It’s your size, so you don’t even bother trying it on. You assume that your jeans are in the same condition, so you dig around for a new pair. It takes a bit longer than the other two things, but before long you grab something with two legs. Again, the material is strange, but they are definitely pants, and they’re your style; loose fit, to be precise. A size check confirms that they’ll fit you well enough, but you might get a belt, just to make sure they don’t fall off.

That takes care of the basics, but you grab a new pair of socks and boxers as well. You’re basically set, so you start browsing some, looking for any other interesting items. This place has a very strange collection of…well, everything. You see skate boards, legal pads, a model of a Gundam, all sorts of random things that would seem out of place in another world, but for whatever reason, it all seems perfectly natural here.

A pair of gloves catches your eye. You pick them up and turn them over in your hands. They look like leather, but they don’t feel like it. Again, future clothes. You’re starting to get used to the idea, but it’s still very discomforting to know that, at least for the moment, you’re stuck in a time that’s not your own. Shaking off the feelings of temporal displacement, you examine the label on the gloves. ‘100% Fireproof and Waterproof,’ huh? They might be useful, so you pocket them. You fully intend to pay for them, but until the owner comes back, you’ll just hold onto them.

The final thing you pick up is a pair of plain black boots, mostly because you don’t see any tennis shoes around. Your new attire complete, you look around for a changing room, but you don’t see anything like that. In fact, the only thing you do see is Yume desperately trying to keep Suika from wrecking the place. You take that opportunity to step outside, away from prying eyes, and quickly change into your new outfit. You know the clothes are supposed to be from the future, but the style is surprisingly contemporary. It seems that even after two hundred years, not much has changed in the outside world. You don’t know if that’s a good thing or not, but you do hope that civilization is still intact.

Carrying your old clothes, you step back inside, a little surprised to see a new arrival standing inside. What really surprises you, though, is that there’s another man here besides you. You were beginning to think that this place was inhabited solely by women, and while that thought did appeal to a certain side of you, you’re glad to see another male.

“Oh,” he says as you step back inside. “A new face…I see you’ve already sampled my wares.”

“Ah, yeah,” you reply, looking down at yourself. “Sorry, but you don’t have a changing room.”

“It’s fine, at least you came back. A lot of my…’customers’ just get what they need and run off.”

Even in the world of fantasy there are shoplifters. This place isn’t so dissimilar to the real world, it seems. You nod to the other guy and look him over. Silver hair, golden eyes, glasses, blue colored clothing. You can only assume that he’s the Rinnosuke that Yume mentioned when you arrived. He takes stock of you as well, and his eyes fall on the clothes you’re holding, a slightly confused expression on his face.

“Those clothes…” he says, ignoring the ruckus that Yume and Suika are making. “They’re over two hundred years old…”

“Yeah…” You blink at him, wondering what his interest in your old clothes is. Then, you recall what kind of shop you’re in. He seems to specialize in things from the outside world, so you figure it’s only natural that he would be interested in such things. “Up until a few minutes ago I was wearing them.”

“I’ll make you a deal, then,” he says, adjusting his glasses as he speaks. “You can keep the clothes you got from me if you trade me those old ones.”

It’s the strangest deal you’re ever likely to make, but you accept his terms and add your old things to the place he directs you to. At least you don’t have to carry them around now. After giving Rinnosuke your thanks, you walk over to the miko and the oni. Suika instantly stops fussing once you arrive and looks up at you expectantly, her eyes seeming to shine.

“Heyyy~” she says, still staring at you. “You wanna drink?” She thrusts her gourd in your face, and you get a whiff of what’s contained within it. That’s not alcohol, that’s paint thinner. The smell is powerful enough to knock you back a good foot and a half. As soon as you recover, you shake your head, deciding that a little booze isn’t worth your life.

“Leave him alone, Suika…” Yume sighs, bopping the oni on the head lightly. Suika just laughs like normal and runs outside, leaving you alone with the miko.

“She’s…certainly lively,” you observe.

“Yeah, she loves hanging around the shrine and tormenting me…but she’s really a good person.” The miko grins and looks over at you, taking checking out your new outfit, giving you an approving nod. “A little weird, but…it works on you.”

You aren’t sure if that’s a compliment or not, so you’ll take it as one and carry on. “Hey, do you mind if I look around a little more? We’re not in any kind of hurry, are we?”

“Yeah, go ahead. Just make sure to be careful with everything…I probably owe Rinnosuke something for that vase Suika broke…” With an exasperated grunt the miko heads outside as well. A few moments later, you see the two of them run past the door, the miko chasing the oni around. Part of you wants to go and help, but even if you caught Suika, what could you do with her? She’s an oni, after all. Leaving it to Yume, you resume your search of the store.

There isn’t a lot that catches your eye, really. You examine a few of the more advanced devices, but you have no idea how to work them. Asking Rinnosuke about them doesn’t help much either – in spite of knowing exactly what everything is called and how it’s supposed to be used, he can’t operate any of them. You find that kind of useless, but you can’t complain. He did basically give you your new clothes for free.

A few more minutes of searching doesn’t turn up anything interesting, and you’re just about ready to call it quits when suddenly, you see it. It’s nothing special, just a standard acoustic guitar, but it’s better than nothing. You walk up to the instrument and look it over carefully, idly wondering how old it is. After determining that it’s safe to touch, you pick it up and pluck at the strings with your fingers, wincing at just how badly out of tune it is. You grab the tuning keys and twist them around, pulling the sharps and flats of the instrument back to their proper places. The entire process takes about forty seconds, and the next time you strum it, the difference is immediately apparent. It has a nice tone, but the strings are a little rusty, so you don’t know how long it’ll stay in tune, but at least you found something familiar.

You were so engrossed in your new find that you didn’t even notice that Rinnosuke, Yume, and Suika had walked up behind you, each wearing an interested look on their face. You blink at the trio, wondering what their problem is, but Yume quickly clears that question up for you.

“Do you know how to play?” she asks. You nod in the affirmative, and both her and Suika smile at you, the oni more than the miko. Rinnosuke remains more or less stoic, but you think you see his expression change a bit as well. “Will you play something?” the maiden continues, her eyes alight with childlike excitement. Never one to turn down a request from a pretty girl, you nod again, glancing around the general area for a guitar pick. You find one easily enough and run it across the strings to test how it feels. Satisfied with it, you take a deep breath and strum out the opening notes to…

[] Write-in
>> No. 106696
[x] Gitaroo Man - The Legendary Theme - Acoustic Version

Go for it.
>> No. 106697
[0] Gitaroo Man - The Legendary Theme - Acoustic Version
>> No. 106699
[x] Gitaroo Man - The Legendary Theme - Acoustic Version
>> No. 106700
[x] Gitaroo Man - The Legendary Theme - Acoustic Version

Seems appropriate.
>> No. 106715
[x] Gitaroo Man - The Legendary Theme - Acoustic Version

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zacUcCCOoRw&fmt=18
>> No. 106723
>>106692
[X] Circle Erratica, by Colin Hay

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xa9gKl_SD8M

Come on, put that voice of ours to good use!
>> No. 106780
[x] Gitaroo Man - The Legendary Theme - Acoustic Version

Bandwagoning.
>> No. 106787
heh, Gitaroo Man sounds really nice.
However, I'm voting for
[ø]Improvise something, you're a music major, of course you can improv.
Now, the improv should sound like 'A Maiden's Capriccio' or 'Broken Moon' for irony.
>> No. 106820
File 126020118270.jpg - (318.72KB , 500x706 , d0bd5fce2242363e413e154a7c44a46b.jpg ) [iqdb]
106820
>[x] Gitaroo Man - The Legendary Theme - Acoustic Version

It’s a song that Renko made you learn, a short and simple acoustic piece from some video game she played once. As you learned to play it, however, it actually became one of your favorite songs to play when you got bored. Its title sounds a little silly, but the song itself is excellent.

“The Legendary Theme,” you say, ticking out the basic rhythm of the piece. A few measures later, you start in on the main riff, your fingers moving expertly around the fret board. It’s a complicated technique, what you’re doing, but you’ve been doing this so long that it’s as easy as breathing to you. The music flows through you, and muscle memory takes over, allowing you to put a little soul into the song, making it into something more than just a piece of music.

You throw in a few improvised bits from time to time, just to spice things up, and you even nail the whistling section perfectly. It’s all natural to you, having played the song enough to know it by heart, and as you strum out the last chord, you feel at peace with the world once again. For a brief moment, everything makes sense to you. That is why you love music.

Your crowd of three applauds your effort, but Suika is especially enthusiastic, practically knocking you over as she runs into your personal space yet again. For an instant, she’s the woman you met in the spring, but that thought quickly passes once you remember that she naturally looks like a child.

“Wooow, you’re really good!” the oni says, smiling up at you. It must be nice to travel through life totally blitzed all the time.

“Thanks…” you reply, gently pushing the smaller girl away. “I’ve been playing for a few years, so…” You trail off intentionally, feeling that you’ve said enough.

“I should introduce you to the Prismrivers.” Yume smiles at you and pulls Suika by the horn, giving you some much needed breathing room. “I’m sure they’d love for you to play with them.”

“Prismrivers? They a band or something?” Would Gensokyo even have something like a band? You find the concept a little hard to grasp, but at the same time realize that there is still a lot you don’t know about this world.

“Something like that,” comes the response. “Anyway, we should go ahead and head out. I need to go to the Human Village and pick up some food.”

On hearing the word ‘food’ your stomach growls in response. It’s understandable that you’re hungry, really. All you’ve had to eat since you arrived is a sole grilled lamprey, so you could really go for a bite. Nodding to the maiden, you set the guitar aside, thanking Rinnosuke for his time and following Yume and Suika outside. Genjii is still sitting there, and you climb up onto his back, helping Yume up as well.

The turtle rises into the sky again, taking you along for the ride. You shield your eyes from the breeze and decide to take the time to examine the land once again. You recognize a few things that you saw with Cirno the first night you arrived here, but in the sunlight you can actually see what it is you’re looking at. Some smoke rises from the forest near Kourindou, but you don’t think it’s a fire or anything serious like that, so you can only guess that someone lives there. Aside from that, though, you don’t see anything new, so you decide to talk to the miko for a little while.

“So,” you begin, but you don’t get any further than that. Genjii comes to a halt, and his reason for doing so quickly becomes apparent. Hovering in the air before you is a familiar figure – about sixteen, blond hair, green eyes, blue dress, teddy bear.

It’s her. You can’t believe your eyes. She’s right there in front of you. You don’t think that anything weird is happening this time, but you still wonder if Yume can see her as well.

“Hakurei Yume…”

That appears to answer your question, but what really surprises you about this whole situation is that, for once, the girls mouth moves. The miko herself blinks and looks back at you, an inquisitive expression on her face.

“Is that the girl?” she asks, turning back to the person before you as soon as you nod in the affirmative. “Yes, I’m Yume…”

You aren’t sure what happened next.

You’re flung from the turtles back and sent flying through the air. That isn’t so bad, until you remember that a fall from this height would definitely kill you. Fortunately enough, you’re sent right into the arms of a tiny oni. Suika grabs hold of you and pulls you away from what you can only describe as the fireworks display from hell.

“Wh…what the fuck?!” you cry, struggling to get free of the onis grasp. Suika refuses to let you go and instead brings you back to the ground, watching what’s going on along with you. “What the hell is that?!”

“Danmaku.” Suddenly, that child-like aura the oni gave off is completely gone. You look down at the small girl, noting that her expression has become very serious.

“Dan…maku?” Curtain fire? It’s an odd term, but for some reason it seems very appropriate for what you’re seeing. If you think of the lights in the sky as bullets, then danmaku is the perfect way to describe it.

“But…something’s wrong…” Suika narrows her eyes slightly, a look of intense concentration on her face. You can’t help but feel that the expression looks incredibly odd on her, but that really isn’t important. You’re more worried about Yume’s safety at the moment. There’s no way she can survive such a situation unscathed, is there?

And yet, when you look back at the action, you can clearly see the maiden and the turtle dodging every single shot. What’s more, she’s firing back with…something, you can’t tell what from this distance, but it appears to be a mixture of paper seals and needles. Yume’s attacks are striking the girl with the bear, but from what you can tell they aren’t doing any damage. That’s cause for concern in your book.

“Can’t you help her?” you say to Suika, but the oni shakes her head in response.

“This is a one-on-one battle,” she states, keeping her eyes locked on the sky. “Yume should be fine, she is excellent at danmaku, but I don’t know what that other girl is thinking, challenging her out of the blue like that…”

A strange sound echoes through the area, and when you look back, all of the bullets that the girl with the bear had been firing have vanished. Yume has stopped shooting as well, and she appears to be just fine. It looks like the fight is over, and now the two flying girls are conversing. You’re too far away to hear them, though, so anything they might be saying is left up to your imagination.

“Is it over?” you ask the oni, glancing down at her. However, Suika is no longer looking at the girls in the sky. Rather, her attention is focused on the ground now, and you quickly notice why. It feels like the entire earth is shaking. Suika’s eyes widen, and she turns her gaze skyward once again, staring up at the maiden. It’s hard to tell as you haven’t known her for very long, but…you think that expression on her face is fright.

“Yume! Watch out!”

The ground erupts, and a tendril-like…thing tears through the air toward the miko. Yume looks at what’s coming, but it’s far too late for her to do anything to stop it. She manages to avoid taking a direct hit from it, but she doesn’t escape unharmed. Even from where you are, you can tell that she’s bleeding badly, but what’s more important than that is that the force of the blow knocked her off of Genjii. She’ll definitely die if she hits the ground.

Your body acts on its own. You charge forward, moving as fast as you can in spite of knowing that there’s no way you’ll be able to make it to her in time. Once again, it’s Suika who saves the day. The oni literally flies past you and catches Yume as she falls, setting the miko down gently. You catch up a few moments later, winded from the exertion, but your own pain can wait. Yume comes first.

“Dammit,” Suika growls, kneeling down beside the maiden. “She’s bleeding pretty badly…can you take care of her for a second? I’m gonna signal for help.”

You don’t know what else you can do, so you just nod dumbly. Suika shoots into the sky again, raising her hand and summoning up another fireworks display. It’s hard to tell from the angle you’re at, but you think the lights in the sky form the characters for ‘Eirin.’ You have no idea what that means, but figure it’s not important. You turn your attention back to the miko, wondering what you can do to help her.

Suika returns a moment later, wearing an annoyed expression. “Whoever that girl was, she’s gone now…” The oni looks at Yume, concern welling up in her eyes. You can’t stand that sight, so you have to take action. You…

[] Treat Yume’s wounds the best you can with your meager medical knowledge
- [] What steps do you take?
[] Ask Suika to take over
[] Wait for help to arrive
>> No. 106846
>>106820
[X] Treat Yume’s wounds the best you can with your meager medical knowledge
-[x] Locate the source of the bleeding
-[x] Try to remove any large pieces of debris
-[x] Cover her with your coat
-[x] Tear off a sleeve (either yours or hers) and apply pressure to the wound
-[x] If the wound is on an extremity, elevate it above her heart

Coat option prevents lose of body heat. This is just some basic first aid stuff; anyone know if any alcohol could be used as a disinfectant? I know vodka's a safe bet, but I'm not sure about sake or whatever Suika might have in her gourd.
>> No. 106848
[X] Treat Yume’s wounds the best you can with your meager medical knowledge
-[x] Locate the source of the bleeding
-[x] Try to remove any large pieces of debris
-[x] Cover her with your coat
-[x] Tear off a sleeve (either yours or hers) and apply pressure to the wound
-[x] If the wound is on an extremity, elevate it above her heart
>> No. 106852
[X] Treat Yume’s wounds the best you can with your meager medical knowledge
-[x] Locate the source of the bleeding
-[x] Try to remove any large pieces of debris
-[x] Cover her with your coat
-[x] Tear off a sleeve (either yours or hers) and apply pressure to the wound
-[x] If the wound is on an extremity, elevate it above her heart
>> No. 106853
I know that reaction images are frowned upon, but I would post one if I had an appropriate image that says "what da fuck?"

That was so sudden... who is this girl attacking the Hakurei shrine maiden out of nowhere like that? Also, it doesn't sound like she needs any 'help'. So the girl attacked Yume, but she also said that "[something] will happen tomorrow", hell, does that mean that Yume might not get a proper treatment and die, resulting of the collapsing of Gensokyo?

That was just some of the thoughts that went through my head as I read this update. Hopefully nothing nearly grimdark will happen.

My metaknowledge is screaming at me to tell Suika to change the density of ethanol in her sake so that it could be used as a disinfectant, but of course Red doesn't know that.
[ø] Treat Yume’s wounds the best you can with your meager medical knowledge
-[ø] Locate the source of the bleeding
-[ø] Try to remove any large pieces of debris
-[ø] Cover her with your coat
-[ø] Tear off a sleeve (either yours or hers) and apply pressure to the wound,
or use the belt if possible.
-[ø] If the wound is on an extremity, elevate it above her heart

>Manipulation of plants and boundary
This must be what happens when Yuka and Yukari get drunk together.
Yuka planting her "seeds" inside Yukari, or Yukari manipulating the border of pregnancy
>> No. 106858
[0] Treat Yume’s wounds the best you can with your meager medical knowledge
-[1] Locate the source of the bleeding
-[2] Try to remove any large pieces of debris
-[3] Cover her with your coat
-[4] Tear off a sleeve (either yours or hers) and apply pressure to the wound
-[5] If the wound is on an extremity, elevate it above her heart
>> No. 106864
>>106853

Yeah, since that girl clearly broke the spell card rules.

seems our lead will be running into her in the future many times.
>> No. 106868
Updating and all that rot.
>> No. 106879
File 126023682869.jpg - (278.66KB , 800x599 , 38fb4aa9dcc7e356663070ef751d9ba7.jpg ) [iqdb]
106879
>[X] Treat Yume’s wounds the best you can with your meager medical knowledge
>-[x] Locate the source of the bleeding
>-[x] Try to remove any large pieces of debris
>-[x] Cover her with your coat
>-[x] Tear off a sleeve (either yours or hers) and apply pressure to the wound
>-[x] If the wound is on an extremity, elevate it above her heart

“Suika…” you say, getting the onis attention. “How long will it take for help to get here?”

“A few minutes, at least…” Apparently, the sight of the miko down and out like that sobered her up. You aren’t sure you like this side of her. You shake your head and look back down at Yume. Her breathing is shallow, but she’s breathing, so there’s that. You close your eyes and let out a sigh, calling up whatever medical know-how you have. Time to see if all those medical dramas you watched back in the real world paid off.

“Okay, we need to try and stop her bleeding,” you state, motioning for Suika to come a little closer. She complies, and you direct her to pull Yume’s top up some. You think she was struck in the side by whatever that tendril was, and once you see her body, you realize you were correct. The smell of blood combined with the sight of the gash is almost enough to make you empty the contents of your stomach, but you swallow it back down and shake your head to clear it. You have no idea how bad it is, but you know how bad it looks. That only increases your anxiety. You can’t panic, though. If you do, she’ll only be that much worse.

“Shit…” you whisper, trying to figure out what to do next. It’s a clean cut from what you can see, no left over pieces from whatever hit her, so there’s no need to dip your fingers into the wound. You really want to disinfect the cut, and while you know that Suika has alcohol, you doubt it’s suitable for your needs, and you really don’t want to make it worse than it already is.

The mikos body shivers. You slip out of your jacket and drape it over her, making sure to leave the wound exposed. You don’t even care if it’s medically appropriate; you just want her to stay warm while you finish taking care of her. Gripping the sleeve of her haori, you give it a tug and tear it free, folding the fabric into a makeshift rag. Placing it on the wound, you gently apply pressure, doing your best to stop the bleeding, but you honestly don’t know if you’re helping or hurting her. Yume cries out in protest, and you almost stop what you’re doing, but Suika places a hand on your shoulder, giving you a small nod.

“This is good,” she says, looking down at Yume. “When Eirin gets here, she’ll take care of the rest.”

“Is Eirin…a doctor?” you ask, surprised to find yourself short of breath. It feels like you’ve just run ten miles – your heart is racing, you body is covered in sweat, hell, even your muscles are sore, but at least Yume’s still alive.

“Best in Gensokyo,” the oni replies. She pops the top of her gourd and takes a long swig before plopping down on the ground beside you, watching the miko closely. “You ain’t bad yerself. Good thing too. If Yume dies…”

There’s more to that statement, but you don’t get to hear it. Two new arrivals touch down not too far from you. The first one you notice is dressed in a red and blue outfit decorated with constellations. She has long silver hair tied in the most outrageous braid you’ve ever seen, and her hat bears a red cross upon it. You deduce that she’s Eirin.

With her is a girl with what looks like crumpled up bunny ears. She wears a white button up shirt with a red necktie and a long purple skirt. You’re a little surprised by that, mostly because it wouldn’t look at all out of place in the outside world. Her hair and eyes, however, would, as they’re purple and red, respectively. She has a bag over her shoulder, which you hope contains medical supplies. Normally, you would have found her ears odd, but compared to Suika’s horns, they’re perfectly normal, so you barely even acknowledge them.

“My oh my,” Eirin says, moving up to you. “What has our young shrine maiden gotten herself into?”

“Hell if I know,” Suika replies, taking yet another drink from her gourd. “She got in a duel with some girl I’ve never seen before, and then this big black thing came out of the ground and hit her.”

Eirin nods at the onis explanation and looks down at the miko, examining the work you’ve done. “A little amateurish, but you may have saved her life. You can leave her to me now.”

Thankful to be relieved of your duty, you step aside and watch as the doctor goes to work. She’s completely silent as she examines the wound, and you get the sense that, as Suika said, this woman is a true doctor. After a few seconds, she finishes checking out the damage and turns to her companion

“Reisen, prepare to stitch up the wound.”

Wordlessly, the rabbit goes about her assigned task, handing Eirin the bag and putting on a pair of rubber gloves. You watch them in silence, marveling at how efficient they are. They move like a well-oiled machine, and a scant three minutes later, Yume is more or less patched up. She’s heavily bandaged and still unconscious, but she should be fine now.

“All better,” the doctor says. She gets to her feet and dusts herself off, nodding to the rabbit as she does so. Reisen begins cleaning up the area and placing everything they used back into the container, while Eirin walks up to you and Suika, looking from you to the oni and back again before speaking.

“What did you say cut her?”

She directs the question at you first. You blink and try to recall what you had seen. It looked like a black tentacle of some kind, but you know it wasn’t anything natural. At first you thought it was a plant, but now that you think about it, there is no way that was the case. You relay what you saw to the doctor, and Suika does the same, although she’s a bit more colorful with it. It seems she’s regained a measure of the personality you had come to know her for, which comforts you a little bit.

“I see…” Eirin places a hand on her chin and looks away from you, her brow furrowed. “I believe I know what may have caused it, but I’ll need to do some research to confirm that…for now, please take Yume back to the shrine and make sure she gets some rest.”

You just nod, feeling that words would just get in the way at this point. However, before the doctor and the rabbit leave, you give them your sincere thanks. They just smile and lift into the sky, headed off to wherever it is they came from, leaving you alone with the miko, the oni, and the turtle. You aren’t sure when Genjii touched down, but you’re glad to see him. You don’t want to burden Suika by having her carry both of you, so instead you have the oni help you get Yume up onto the creatures back. Once you’re all set, you return to the shrine, remaining silent during the trip. You have a lot on your mind, after all, and you’re just getting more and more frustrated by this whole situation, but when Yume begins to stir, all your thoughts focus on making her comfortable. You can go home tomorrow. For now, you’ll stay here and make sure she’s out of danger.

…..

Daylight gives way to night, and you find yourself sitting on the grass outside the Hakurei Shrine, staring up at the stars. Yume settled down a few hours ago and appears to be on the way to recovery, so the stress of that situation has passed. Suika lays passed out on the ground beside you, snoring like a beast. You’re glad to see her back to normal as well. Being serious doesn’t suit her.

Sitting becomes a chore, so you fall backwards, tucking your arms behind your head. It’s a fairly cool night, but your new jacket is doing an incredible job of keeping you warm. You’ve already forgotten that a scant few hours ago it was covering a girl on the brink of death. In fact, you never want to remember that again. What your thoughts do eventually focus on is the girl.

“…’Save me,’ huh?” you spit, recalling what she had asked of you when you first fell into this place. “Why the hell should I?”

…Because this world depends on it…

Son of a bitch.

Before whatever magic she always casts over you is set, you sit up and glare at the girl. She’s to blame for all of this, isn’t she? Your being here, Yume’s current condition, everything. If you never see her again, it’ll be too soon.

“What now?” you ask, surprised to find that your voice still works. “Come to finish Yume off?”

…I did not do that…

The expression on your face says it all. You don’t buy that answer for a second. “What? I saw what you did to her!”

…That was me, but it was not me…

Great, now she’s speaking in riddles. You want to yell at her, but before you get the chance, she raises her hand. Even though you know you can still talk, you remain silent, watching as she points off into the horizon.

…Look…

As if on cue, the sky seems to explode, flooding the realm with a bright white light. You shield your eyes and cover your head like you’d always been told to do in the event of a bombing, fully expecting to die. However, you survive, and when you look again, that area of Gensokyo is occupied by some sort of swirling vortex. Things just keep getting worse and worse.

…There is no time…you must protect the Hakurei…if she dies…Gensokyo will be destroyed…as will the world you come from…

“W…what?” You’re too stunned by what you’ve just seen to care about what the girl with the bear is saying to you, but you do get the gist of things. Before you get the chance to say anything else, she moves up to you and places her hands over yours. When she removes them, you find you’re now holding a card of some kind and two small pins. Sensing your incoming question, she gives you the information you want.

…Wear the pin…and give the other one to the Hakurei…they will prevent you from being separated by the fractures…

“Fr—“ Again, she stops you from speaking, shaking her head at you.

…I have little time left…if you must question me…please ask only one…

Well, that kind of limits you, doesn’t it? Still, this is a rare chance to get some concrete answers, so you don’t want to pass it up. You have one question, so you’d better make it good.

[] Why did you attack Yume?
[] What is the vortex?
[] What are the fractures?
[] Who the hell are you?
[] Write-in
>> No. 106882
Doesn't Yukari use tentacles or something?

...Actually, where is that idea even from? IaMP? I've heard it said it's canon, but I don't know if so, or where it's from.
>> No. 106887
[] Who the hell are you?
>> No. 106889
[x] Who the hell are you?
>> No. 106893
[x] Who the hell are you?
I hate cryptic comments. Speak plainly or don't
>> No. 106895
[ø] What is the vortex?

Ah this story is getting better and better.
The atmosphere kind of reminds me of
http://www.touhou-project.com/th/res/95844.html
>> No. 106900
[x] Who the hell are you?

Most reasonable.
>> No. 106906
[x] Who the hell are you?
>> No. 106918
>>106879
[X] "Why me?"

Seriously.
>> No. 106936
[x] Who hell are yo-- Wait, you'll just say something cryptic again, won't you?
>> No. 106947
File 126029583292.jpg - (78.27KB , 650x548 , c5d4002f32331520b8399c46820f97fb.jpg ) [iqdb]
106947
>[x] Who the hell are you

There’s really only one question you have. One that’s been burning at the back of your mind ever since you landed in this place. One that you’re going to get an answer to right now, come hell or high water.

“…Who the hell are you?”

…I do not have a name…

“That’s not what I asked!” you shout, the sudden noise causing Suika to come out of her slumber. You don’t care about that right now, though. What you want is a straight answer from this girl, and you’re not leaving until you get one.

…It wouldn’t be inaccurate to call me a youkai...but I am different from the others you will encounter…

That doesn’t clear anything up. You aren’t satisfied with what you’ve heard, but any other questions are cut off by a simple wave of her hand. Even if you wanted to talk more, you now find it quite impossible, and that familiar headache is starting to build up again.

…I will contact you again…for now, go to the Hakurei…the first fracture is about to occur…

“Mmph…? Who’er yoo talkin’ too?” Suika’s fully awake now, and far more intoxicated than you’ve ever seen her in the short time you’ve known her. The oni rubs at her eyes and glances around before catching sight of the vortex. “Whooooa…that’sh new…”

You only took your eyes off of the girl for a moment to check on Suika, but when you turn back, she’s already vanished again, leaving no sign that she was ever there, save the items she gave you and the pounding in your head. Thankfully, it’s nowhere near as bad as it normally is, and you’re able to function normally almost immediately.

“You didn’t see the girl, Suika?” you ask her. The smaller girl looks at you, the expression on her face a combination of wasted and confused.

“Wut gurl?”

You consider mentioning that it was the girl with the teddy bear, but you doubt that Suika would appreciate that the way you do. You shake your head and direct the oni to go back to sleep. She immediately complies and curls back up on the ground, snoring loudly again.

Alone again, you take some time to investigate your new possessions. The card is completely blank, amounting to little more than a white piece of somewhat thick paper. The pins appear to be made of gold, and they bear the character for ’Time’ on them. You can only speculate on what that means, but, as directed, you stick it into the collar of your shirt.

Maybe you should just stop doing things.

A din like none you’ve ever heard starts up almost immediately after you put the pin on. When you recover from the shock of hearing such an incredible noise, you see yet another unnatural event occurring in front of you. It vaguely reminds you of static on an old television set, but much more menacing. You think that it was generated from a point near the vortex, but it’s impossible to be sure, and once you see that the disturbance seems to be moving, you just stop caring.

You scramble to your feet and dash inside the shrine, not even bothering to remove your boots. You have to get to Yume before whatever the hell that thing is reaches you. You practically kick the door to her room down as you enter, causing the miko to stir. She remains asleep, though, cutting down on the amount of explaining you’ll have to do. You kneel down beside her and fumble with the other pin, trying to get it through the fabric of her haori before all hell breaks loose. You’re so focused on that task that you barely even notice when she opens her eyes,

“…What’re you doin’…” Yume says, staring up at you. You aren’t surprised that she woke up, considering how loud it still is outside, but you really don’t have any time to tell her what’s going on.

“Just trust me,” you shout over the ever-increasing noise. “I don’t know what’s goin’ on either, but…I won’t let anything happen to you, okay?!”

Finally, the pin cooperates with you. You latch it into her clothes and turn around in time to see the static bearing down on you. If you’d been a second slower…well, you don’t know what would have happened, but you’re almost positive that it would have been a very bad thing. You vaguely hear Yume ask you what that is, but frankly, you’re too scared to even respond.

The static is getting closer.

You face the miko once again. Like you, she’s afraid.

On impulse, you help her sit up and wrap your arms around her.

“Don’t let go!”

You aren’t sure if she can even hear you anymore. God damn, it’s loud…

You brace yourself for anything.

Nothing ever comes.

You blink and look around. The static is gone now, and you don’t appear to be any worse off than you were before. The miko pulls away from you slowly, visibly wincing as she does so. You direct her to lie back down, and she obeys, albeit reluctantly. As soon as she’s covered and comfortable again, you exit the room, closing the door behind you.

Something hits you from behind, and you fall to the ground, clutching at the back of your head. You instinctively roll to the side to avoid another blow and try to get back to your feet, only to find that your arms and legs have been pinned to the floor by something that looks like glowing paper charms. As much as you struggle, you can’t free yourself, but at least you can see your attacker now.

It’s…Yume? But she should be resting, right? And why are her clothes different now? She’s not wearing tradition miko clothes anymore. Her top is red, and her sleeves are detached from the rest of her clothes. About the only thing that’s the same is the ribbon in her hair.

“Are you responsible for this?” she asks, brandishing some kind of stick at you. “Where did you take Marisa?”

“…Shouldn’t you be sleeping?” you reply, still trying to figure out just what the hell is going on now.

“Shut up!” she shouts, causing a bit more pain to your already ringing ears. “You invade my shrine and send my friend God knows where, and now you expect me to sleep? You’ve got a lot of nerve, youkai!”

Youkai? Doesn’t she know you’re a human already?

“I’m not…”

Before either of you can say anything else, the door behind you opens, and Yume steps out, still clutching at her injured side. All three of you sit in stunned silence, and a moment later you realize you can move again. You get to your feet in time to keep Yume from falling on her face, but your mind spins as you try figure out what’s happening here. There are two Yumes now? How is that possible? Well, you can only think of one way to clear all of this up.

“You!” you say suddenly, getting the other girls attention. “What’s your name?”

“Hakurei Reimu…”

Reimu? You’ve heard that name before, but where?

”…I’m Yume, okay? Reimu’s been dead for a long time…”

”…You look just like her, ya know…”

Oh, that’s right. Reimu is Yume’s ancestor.

Wait…does that mean you’re in the past now?

Shaking off those thoughts, you look back at Reimu, doing your best to appear serious. “Look, I promise you, I have nothing to do with whatever happened here, but as you can see, this girl is injured. She needs to rest. I’ll tell you everything I know, but please, just let her rest.”

Reimu slowly nods at you, and you take that as your cue to lead Yume back to her bed, telling her not to strain herself any more. As soon as you’re satisfied the shrine maiden you’ve come to know won’t be moving anymore, you exit the room and look at Reimu, trying to sort out what might have happened before finally giving up and beckoning for her to follow you outside. You doubt that you’ll be able to explain what happened and why you’re here now, but at the very least you can tell her that you have nothing to do with it.

And that you’re not a youkai like everyone seems to think. Damn your eyes…

.....

PROLOGUE COMPLETE

Next chapter will begin soon.
>> No. 106948
>“You!” you say suddenly, getting the other girls attention. “What’s your name?”

>“Hakurei Reimu…”

>Reimu? You’ve heard that name before, but where?

>”…I’m Yume, okay? Reimu’s been dead for a long time…”

>”…You look just like her, ya know…”

>Oh, that’s right. Reimu is Yume’s ancestor.

>Wait…does that mean you’re in the past now?

FFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

Fucking timetravel!
>> No. 106949
AWESOME
>> No. 106952
>>106948

Good news: Who better to teach Yume about being a miko than her ancestor?

Though this might be closer to our lead's time than previously.

Perhaps our goal is to prevent whatever affected the future like that. (We never did get a good look at the future Gensokyo)
>> No. 106957
This... is... awesome.
>> No. 107031
File 126034674269.jpg - (390.70KB , 678x962 , 415c473aa72ea47bafecc43c55845490.jpg ) [iqdb]
107031
“…and that’s about the size of it.” You finish your explanation to Reimu, taking a long draw of your tea. Normally you don’t touch the stuff, but with everything that’s happened, you just needed something to drink. Besides, you’ve eaten eel already, so what’s a little tea to you?

“I see…” Reimu says, letting out a sigh. “So she’s my descendant, huh? Guess that means I have a child at some point…”

“Seems like it, doesn’t it.” Another sip.

The miko from the past pours another cup of tea and brings it to her lips, gently blowing on it to cool the liquid. As you watch her, you can’t help but notice just how much she looks like Yume. It’s a little strange to you, knowing two women who look almost exactly like each other, but at the same time, it’s a little thrilling. After all, they’re both very cute.

“Sorry I attacked you back there,” Reimu says suddenly, breaking the silence that had fallen over the two of you. “When I saw you come out of my room like that, I just…”

“It’s fine.” You wave off her comments, shaking your head as you do so. “I know if I’d found an intruder in my home, I’d have done the same thing. No hard feelings, all right?”

She nods at you and gets to her feet, stepping outside. You finish your tea and follow her, your eyes immediately drawn to the vortex in the sky. A quick glance at Reimu confirms that she’s looking at the same thing you are. The two of you stare at the anomaly for a solid minute before you decide to speak up.

“What’s over there, anyway?”

“That’s just it, there’s nothing there…that entire area is mountains, nothing else.”

The red-white miko sighs and looks up at the section of the sky that’s still normal. You keep you eyes firmly locked on the vortex, wondering what its true nature is. You know that it and the girl with the bear are somehow connected, but is she the cause? You suppose that the only way to find out is to ask her directly the next time she contacts you.

“Dammit…” You growl and grab a sizable rock from the ground, throwing it with all your might toward the sky. You aren’t sure what you hope to accomplish with that, but it’s really all you can do in this situation. You’re only human, after all.

“It’ll take more than a rock, but I like how you think.” Reimu grins at you and turns back to the shrine. “Well, I don’t know about you, but I need some sleep.”

“Yeah, I think I’ll join you…wonder if Suika slept through all of this…”

“Oh, is Suika here?”

You blink at the question, figuring that the answer would be obvious. “Yeah, she’s right over th…” As you point at where you think the oni should be, you’re surprised to find that she’s gone without a trace. “Well, she was over there…” you say, shaking your head. You don’t know why the inebriated girl’s sudden disappearance shocks you so much. With everything else you’ve seen, vanishing people is hardly unusual here, and it’s entirely possible that the static wall took her away like it did that Marisa girl.

“Do you think that ‘wall’ you saw might have taken her away?” Reimu asks. You’re a little confused by the emphasis on the word ‘wall,’ but you shrug that aside and give her your reply.

“I don’t know…” you say. “I still don’t even know what the hell that was. Best I can figure it, that’s how the fractures look.”

“Well, I didn’t see anything. I was just talking to Marisa and…”

“Wait, you didn’t see anything?” You have no idea what to make of that. That wall was as clear as day to you, after all, so how could Reimu not see it? As you’re about to question her on that, though, she walks back into the shrine with a simple ‘Nope’ as her answer.

“…Tch.” You know you should feel at least a little annoyed with her attitude about this, but you’re really just too tired to care now. If you had to guess, you’d say it was about three in the morning, but you’re no good at telling time. For an instant, you wish you were like Renko. You still have no idea how she did that, she just looked at the sky one day and told you exactly what time it was without looking at a timepiece of any sort. A neat trick. Would be nice to know how she did it right now.

Thoughts of life on the outside fresh in your mind, you enter the shrine as well, following Reimu to Yume’s resting place. The two of you poke your heads in, checking on the injured girl. She seems to be sleeping soundly, all things considered, so you’re content to leave her alone. However, by the time you pull your head out of the door, Reimu has already taken your room as her own. You try to object, but she puts a finger to her lips and points to the door beside you, reminding you of the existence of the other occupant. Defeated, you slump your shoulders and slide down the wall, closing your eyes. It won’t be comfortable, but you’ll have to persevere. At least your jacket will keep you warm enough.

…..

You ended up sleeping in an incredibly awkward position, and now you’re paying for it. Your entire body feels like it’s been folded in half, and then folded again for good measure. Groaning quietly, you push yourself to your feet and fall backward almost immediately due to a sleeping foot, cracking your skull on the wood behind you. You swallow the cry of pain that’s building up in your throat and feel tears well up in your eyes. Not the best way to start your day.

“You look like crap,” Reimu observes as she steps up to you, appearing well rested. You hate her for that. “What did you do?”

“I head my head,” you say in response, only to realize a moment later how badly mangled that came out. “Hit my head, I hit my head…”

“Ow.” Her sympathy seems sincere enough, but you’re still a little upset at her for stealing your room like that. In spite of that, you take her hand when she offers it to you and pull yourself up again, stomping your foot a few times to get the blood flowing again. Pins and needles force themselves into your extremity, causing you to wince, but you suck it up and look at the miko, letting out a sigh.

“Well, what do we do now?” you ask, not expecting any kind of reply from her.

“Honestly, I have no idea. I’ve never had to deal with anything like this before. Fighting vampires and ghosts is one thing, but I don’t think that thing in the sky’ll play by Spell Card rules...”

What the hell is a Spell Card? You want to ask her, but before you get the chance, Yume interrupts you by coughing loudly. Concern overrides curiosity, and you step into her room, Reimu following close behind you. The other Hakurei is awake now, and when she sees you, she lets out a quiet laugh.

“…You look like crap,” she whispers. Yup, these two are definitely related. Ignoring her comment, you kneel down beside her and peel her blanket back, examining her bandages. Surprisingly, there’s no blood present on them. Eirin must have done more than you realized at the time. Making a mental note to thank the doctor again the next time you see her, you pull the covers back up onto Yume, looking her in the eyes.

“How do you feel?”

“Better than I did yesterday…” she says, forcing herself to smile. “Your friend owes me an apology, though…”

“She’s no friend of mine,” you reply, narrowing your eyes slightly. While it’s true that the girl with the bear isn’t exactly what you’d call a companion, she does seem to be trying to help you accomplish…something, but you have no idea what it could possibly be. Still, you don’t want to show such a serious face in front of the injured miko, so you do your best to smile, or at least look as neutral as possible.

“Hmm…that looks like Eirin’s work.” While you were lost in thought, the red-white girl had moved up beside you, checking out the bandages for herself. “Good to know she’s still around to take care of my bloodline. She’s a little strange, but she really is a good doctor.”

“Yeah, she is,” you say absently, your thoughts still occupied with the girl with the bear. You have no idea what to make of her, but then again, none of this situation makes sense. Just thinking about it is making your head hurt, so you push it to the back of your mind and look from one Hakurei to the other before focusing on Yume. “You want some water or anything?”

“That would be nice…”

With a nod, you exit the room and get a cup of water for Yume. As soon as you give it to her, you leave the room, and Reimu follows behind you. After all, the girl still needs her rest, so the two of you decide to sit in the dining area once again. A few questions bubble to the surface of your mind, and there’s no time like the present to ask them, so you just start talking.

[] Ask about Marisa
[] Ask about the card you got
[] Ask about the pins
[] Write-in
>> No. 107033
[x] Ask about Marisa
>> No. 107043
[X] Ask about Gensokyo in general
[X] Ask about Marisa
[X] Ask about the card you got
[X] Ask about the pins
>> No. 107048
[ø] Ask about Gensokyo in general
>> No. 107059
[X] Ask about Gensokyo in general
[X] Ask about Marisa
[X] Ask about the card you got
[X] Ask about the pins
[x] Ask what year it is.
>> No. 107088
[X] Ask about Gensokyo in general
[X] Ask about Marisa
[X] Ask about the card you got
[X] Ask about the pins
>> No. 107096
[x] Ask about Gensokyo in general
[x] Ask about Marisa
[x] Ask about the card you got
[x] Ask about the pins
>> No. 107176
Eh, gonna call it here. Updating.
>> No. 107193
File 126043247977.jpg - (1.31MB , 1500x1034 , 46cdf75e07cb4953984279883fa06cfa.jpg ) [iqdb]
107193
>[X] Ask about Gensokyo in general
>[X] Ask about Marisa
>[X] Ask about the card you got
>[X] Ask about the pins

“You were talking about vampires and ghosts,” you begin, getting Reimu’s attention with your words. “Are there…a lot of them in Gensokyo?”

“Oh, not really. There’s only two vampires, but there are quite a few ghosts around. The only really powerful one is Yuyuko, though, but her gardener’s pretty strong, too.” She’s talking to you like you should know these people, but you don’t really bother her with any other details. Filing that information away, you keep talking.

“All right, so there’s vampires, ghosts, fairies, magicians, onis…what other kind of weirdness is there here, anyway?”

“Pretty much anything you can imagine.” The miko shrugs and begins ticking off the various races you’re likely to find in this land. You stop listening after ‘tengu,’ deciding that any and all legendary races you’ve ever heard about, and a few you haven’t, are real.

“Okay, okay,” you say, stopping her before she gets too carried away. “I get the picture...what about…uh…Marisa? What’s she?”

“Marisa? She’s an ordinary human.”

That’s actually pretty surprising to learn. You figured she’d be some kind of weird magical creature. Now that you’ve asked about Marisa, you can’t help but wonder what happened to her. You’re pretty sure that the static wall did something to her, but you don’t know what it could have been. Reimu has all the answers, so the only way to learn is to ask.

“What happened to her? You said you were talking to her, and then…”

“She vanished…” Reimu snorts and narrows her eyes some, turning her gaze to the shrine entrance. “Just gone in the blink of an eye. I’m sure she’s fine, but it’s annoying not knowing what’s going on.”

“Tell me about it…” you reply, pinching the bridge of your nose. You still aren’t sure why Reimu didn’t see the wall like you did, but if she doesn’t know why, then neither will you. Having exhausted that line of questioning, you close your eyes and lean back a bit, trying to sort out what you’ve learned, but all you’ve really gleaned from this conversation so far are the names of most of the races that inhabit the land.

No other topics enter your mind, at least until you slide your hands into the pockets of your jacket, feeling something that shouldn’t be there. Blinking, you pull whatever it is out and find yourself staring at that blank card again.

“Hm?” Reimu suddenly looks very interested in what you’re holding. She leans forward takes the card from you before you can object, examining it closely. “Where’d you get this?”

“Huh? The girl with the bear gave it to me…do you know what it is?”

“It’s a Spell Card, but…it’s sealed?” She narrows her eyes at the item in her hands, clearly concentrating very hard on it. You can’t help but wonder if she’s willing something to happen with it, but after a few seconds she tosses the card back to you. You snag it out of the air and pocket it again without looking at it. After all, what’s the use in staring at a blank piece of paper?

“What is a Spell Card, anyway?” you query, looking to the miko for an answer.

“Well, they’re kind of hard to explain without seeing them…do you know what danmaku is?”

“Kinda,” you reply, recalling the fireworks display you’d seen back when Yume had been attacked.

“Ah, well that makes things easier,” Reimu says, clapping her hands together. “A Spell Card is a specialized danmaku pattern. I’d show you one myself, but you’re not suited for danmaku, so you might get hurt if I do. Suffice it to say they’re powerful. I’ll let you hold onto that one for right now, mostly because I can’t do anything with it.”

“Gee, thanks.” Nothing like carrying what could very well be a bomb in your pocket. Of course, that wasn’t the only thing you got from the girl. You tug at the collar of your shirt and show Reimu the pin you’re wearing, hoping to get a little insight into what it could possibly be. “What about this? Can you tell me anything about it?”

She looks it over, but the only response you get from her is a shrug. “Not really…another gift?”

“Something like that…” More unanswered questions. The more you learn, the more questions you have. You can’t help but feel like some outside force is screwing with you, and there’s nothing you can do about it. You thank Reimu for her help and get to your feet, stepping outside and staring into the morning sky. The vortex is still there, swirling ominously, but you’re already growing used to the sight. Maybe it’s a good thing that you quit trying to rationalize this place.

“…muuu!”

Did someone say something?

“…imuuuu!”

Okay, you definitely heard something that time. You scan the area slowly, looking for the source of the noise. It quickly becomes apparent when you see a figure approaching at high speed from the sky. It looks like everyone in this realm can fly except for you and Yume.

“Reiiiimuuu!”

On hearing her name called again, the miko from the past joins you outside and watches the new arrival approach, tilting her head once she gets a good look at the person in the sky.

“Chen?” she says, blinking a few times. “That’s weird…must be on an errand or something…”

The newcomer lands in front of you, her cat-like ears twitching a few times as she tries to catch her breath. It’s funny how such sights barely faze you anymore. Her outfit is mostly normal, though; a red dress with white sleeves covers her body, and a green hat sits atop her head. You think you can see a tail behind her, but another look shows you that she actually has two of them. A little odd, but whatever.

“Reimu…have you seen Ran?” Chen pants, not even acknowledging your presence. “I…can’t find her anywhere…”

“Ran’s gone too?” The miko sighs and places a hand to her forehead, sighing loudly. “Great…what about Yukari, can you find her?”

“No…”

Hearing a familiar name, you speak up. “Yukari? You know her?”

“Yeah, of course,” Reimu says, looking over at you. “Why?”

“Yume and I were going to find her so she could send me home, but…” You turn your attention to Chen, who seems to have finally noticed you. “You can’t find her?”

“No…” the cat says again, tears welling up in her eyes. “I was helping Ran out with a few things yesterday when she just disappeared, and now I can’t find either of them…” She looks like she’s on the verge of crying, but you have no idea how to calm her down. Fortunately, someone else intervenes for you.

“You too, huh?”

The voice comes from above, so you look up. Floating there like it’s the most natural thing in the world is another girl, this one dressed in red overalls and a shirt that looks like it’s been scorched over and over again. She looks down at the three of you, her long hair blowing in the morning breeze. “Keine’s gone, too,” she continues, dropping to earth as she does so. “Went to find her this morning, but she ain’t in her house or at the school. You got any clue what the fuck’s goin’ on, Reimu?”

“None at all,” the miko replies, shaking her head for emphasis. The new girl sighs and stuffs her hands into her pockets, turning her attention to the vortex.

“That’s gotta have somethin’ ta do with it,” she says, narrowing her red eyes some. “The hell is it, anyway?”

“Mokou, I’m just as in the dark as you are…” Reimu tries to continue talking, but she’s interrupted by yet another arrival, and another, and another. Soon, the shrine grounds are occupied by a good twelve girls, each trying to be heard over the others. Before things can get too out of control, Reimu steps up and forces everyone to be quiet by shouting at the top of her lungs.

“All right, look!” the miko says, clearly incredibly annoyed by what’s happening here. “I understand that people have gone missing, but you all need to calm down, okay? Screaming at me isn’t going to fix anything…” She pauses for a moment to take a breath, and then continues. “I think we can safely say that the disturbance in the sky is cause of all of this, but there’s still a lot we don’t know about it. Normally I’d be all for flying in there, but it’s most likely too dangerous right now. Until we figure out what’s going on…we should try to find the people that have vanished.”

The small crowd murmurs in agreement, bowing to the mikos will without a fight. You find yourself in awe of what you’re seeing. You understand that the Hakurei clan is an important part of Gensokyo, but you had no idea she commanded such respect. She looks like a natural leader, but at the same time you get the feeling that she really doesn’t care for all the responsibility of her position. It’s an odd contradiction, but for whatever reason it fits her like a glove.

“All right…” Reimu scans the crowd for a moment before nodding to them. “I suggest we split up for now. It’ll be easier to find everyone that way. You should probably search your home grounds, stick to places you know…let’s meet back up here in a few hours.” She finishes talking and glances over at you, suddenly remembering that you were standing just a few feet away from her during that entire thing. “Oh, uh...I hate to leave you and Yume here alone, but…”

As if on cue, Yume exits the shrine, clutching at her side. You ignore the commotion her arrival causes and move to her side, propping her up. “Hey, what the hell’re you doing?” you ask, trying your hardest to conceal your annoyance with her. “You need to rest...”

“That’s a little hard to do with all this noise…” she states plainly, looking out at the others for a moment before turning her attention to Reimu. “I’m helping!”

“What?” you and the red-white girl say in unison, each of you staring at the injured miko. “No, no way,” you continue, trying to pull Yume back into the shrine. She resists and breaks free, standing before the crowd.

“I’m Hakurei Yume,” she states proudly, but the impact of that statement is somewhat deadened by the fact she’s clearly struggling to stay on her feet. Unable to deny the maiden’s willpower, you move up beside her and give her something to lean on as she speaks. She nods wordlessly to you before continuing. “I don’t know what’s going on either, but we’re all into this together…I can’t promise I won’t hold you back, but this is my problem, too!”

You admire her heart, but at the same time you wish she would cooperate with you and get some rest. Still, you know that there’s not a whole hell of a lot you can do to stop her, so the only thing you can do is go along for the ride. You hear a sigh from behind you and glance back to see Reimu standing nearby, the faintest of smiles on her face.

“We’re definitely related,” she says before looking at the others. “Well, all right then. Who’re you gonna go with?

“I’ll let my caretaker decide.”

Caretaker? Who the hell decided that? Well, you can’t fight it, so you’re pretty much stuck at that position, at least for a while. You gaze at the crowd and note that most everyone is divided into a group of some kind, which makes the process of choosing who to tag along with that much easier. So, who’re you going to follow?

[] The green haired girl with a snake hair decoration, a dog-eared girl, and a girl with her hair tied under her chin
[] The girl with mouse ears, the girl with the umbrella, and a girl with a bandanna
[] Mokou, a short bunny-eared girl, and the girl with what looks like antenna coming out of her hair
[] The other cat, the green eyed girl, and the other oni
[] The short blond girl, the red haired girl, and the maid
[] Chen, the girl with the green dress and the swords, and the girl with the pink outfit and blue hair
>> No. 107195
[X]Mokou, a short bunny-eared girl, and the girl with what looks like antenna coming out of her hair
>> No. 107196
[x] Chen, the girl with the green dress and the swords, and the girl with the pink outfit and blue hair

As much as I'd like some UFO, this option makes the most sense, since his current objective is to locate Yukari and return to his time (no wait, isn't he already there? So confused...)
>> No. 107198
[x] Chen, the girl with the green dress and the swords, and the girl with the pink outfit and blue hair

Must go with Youmu.

>>107196

Gensokyo is home!
>> No. 107205
Gah, it's hard to decide.
[ø] The other cat, the green eyed girl, and the other oni
>> No. 107217
[x] The girl with mouse ears, the girl with the umbrella, and a girl with a bandanna
>> No. 107219
[X] Chen, the girl with the green dress and the swords, and the girl with the pink outfit and blue hair

CHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEN!
>> No. 107220
[X] Chen, the girl with the green dress and the swords, and the girl with the pink outfit and blue hair
>> No. 107221
[x] The short blond girl, the red haired girl, and the maid.

Flan and Meiling are fun and don't seem to show up in the same scene often enough, and I'm always curious to see an author's Sakuya, since her personality is open to a wide range of interpretations.
>> No. 107222
[x] Chen, the girl with the green dress and the swords, and the girl with the pink outfit and blue hair
>> No. 107223
PCB Group it is. Updating will commence shortly.
>> No. 107240
File 126047911990.jpg - (421.32KB , 716x956 , 46dd10b0001c3e1f68dfb4483466bd97.jpg ) [iqdb]
107240
You scan the faces, wondering idly if these girls all know each other. The way they were talking before, you can only assume that they do, but you don’t really have time to ask them all about the nature of their various relationships. You have a decision to make, after all.

It’s then that you realize that practically everyone is staring at you now. You blink and gulp quietly, not accustomed to being put on the spot like that. However, you recover quickly enough and start getting a good look at everyone. There’s a maid, a girl with an umbrella (that has a tongue?), a mouse, another rabbit...it’s like looking at a cartoon. In the end, though, there’s only one choice you can really make.

“Chen…if we’re gonna find Yukari, we should follow Chen.”

Yume nods at your reasoning and smiles gently at the cat, who only tilts her head at the miko from the future. “Are you Reimu’s cousin?” she asks, curiosity evident on her face.

“Something like that…” Yume’s smile widens a bit, and she steps away from you, still a little wobbly. You take a step toward her, just in case she falls again, but she seems to be managing on her own, so you keep your distance. To see her up and about after such a serious injury is cause for concern to you, but it occurs to you that Eirin might just be that good.

“Okay, everyone,” Reimu says, motioning to the rest of the crowd. “I’ll go with them, too. We’ll meet back here in a few hours. Try and stick together…we still don’t know what’s causing everyone to disappear.”

Most of the crowd nods, and everyone who isn’t in your party takes off. The two girls you don’t know turn to you and Yume, staring at you expectantly. Do they want an explanation? You aren’t sure what to say, so you just raise a hand a give them a wave. “Hiya…”

The girl in pink suddenly charges you and grabs your hand, examining it like it’s the most interesting thing in the world. After a few seconds, she tears herself away and looks you in the eye.

“Are you…a musician?” she asks. You’re a little confused, not sure how she could have deduced that by looking at your hand, but then you realize what gave you away. Your fingers are pretty heavily calloused, after all. You nod in response, and the girls eyes quite literally light up. “What do you play?!” she cries, seeming to entirely forget the reason everyone gathered at the shrine.

“Uh…piano and guitar…and I sing, too…” You’re still a little confused by her interest in you, but that’s all alleviated when the girl with the swords grabs your attacker by the shoulder and pulls her back, giving you a little breathing room.

“Merlin, leave him be,” she says, her voice carrying a serious edge. “Don’t forget why we’re here.”

“Oh yeah…sorry, Youmu.” Merlin scratches at the back of her head and gives your savior a nervous smile before turning back to you. “Once we find my sisters, you should play with us!”

That phrase pulls up a memory, and you put it all together quickly enough. Merlin must be one of the Prismrivers that Yume told you about. You aren’t sure what their connection to music is, but at least you’ll have something to talk about with someone.

“Okay, let’s head out,” Reimu says. “I assume we’re going to Hakugyokurou?”

It’s Youmu who responds first. “Correct. Lady Yuyuko went missing sometime during the night. I believe that locating her should come first.”

“Ehh?” Chen steps up and shakes her head, causing her ears to flop around noisily. “No! We need to find Ran and Yukari first!”

“But what about my sisters?!”

The girls bicker amongst themselves for a bit before Reimu steps in and breaks them up with the promise that everyone will be located eventually. In spite of the truce, you can still sense the tension in the air. This little trip of yours is already becoming lively.

As soon as all the preparations are complete, you set off for your destination, that Hakugyokurou place Reimu mentioned. You don’t really know what to expect, at least you won’t be alone.

“Hey.”

Yume nudges you in the ribs, and you look down, blinking at her. As usual, the two of you are riding on Genjii’s back. She’s sitting in front of you and leaning back against your body, but you’re doing your best to ignore that fact. She’s just using you as support, nothing more. “Yeah, what’s up?”

“The other night…what happened? What were you so afraid of?”

“Huh? What’re you talking about? It was that wall…”

“What wall?”

Most of the blood drains from your face when she asks you that. She didn’t see it? You blink and shake your head, trying to figure out what that could possibly mean. You already knew that Reimu didn’t see anything, but Yume was right there beside you when everything was going on. How could she not see it?

“You...are you sure?” you ask, though you already know what the answer is going to be.

“Yeah…you were trying to put that pin on me, and I woke up, and you were shouting…I didn’t know what was going on.”

Were you the only one who saw it? The only one who heard it? The only one who almost had a heart attack because of how terrifying that entire experience was? Once again, you feel very alone in the world. Yume tries to ask you what the problem is, but you can’t find the words to answer her. You spend most of the rest of the trip in silence, trying to figure out why you saw what you did, and why no one else seemed to notice it.

“Hey…doesn’t it seem different somehow?”

Reimu’s words pull you back to reality, and you glance at the red-white miko, wondering what she’s talking about. Her words aren’t directed at you, though. She’s talking to the other members of your little group. Youmu looks back at the maiden, giving her an inquisitive look. “What do you mean?”

“Gensokyo,” Reimu continues, scanning the earth as she speaks. “Does it look the same to you?”

Everyone looks at the ground below, yourself included. You don’t claim to be an expert on the geography of this land, but everything looks the same to you. Of course, you’ve only been here a grand total of about three days, so you really can’t speak on the matter.

“…Maybe a little,” Merlin says, blinking a few times. “I don’t really go anywhere, though, so…”

“I don’t see any appreciable differences, but…something does feel strange,” Youmu adds, her eyes narrowing a bit. “Perhaps whatever is causing all of this has caused a shift in the land as well?”

“Maybe…” Reimu shakes her head and turns her gaze to the vortex for a moment before focusing her attention back onto the trip. For a while, the only thing you hear is the sound of the wind, but before long, you enter a new area. You pass by a few large pillars before stopping at a large gate. Youmu takes the lead and raises a hand to the barrier, tapping it lightly. A wave of green light radiates from the point of her touch, and the gate opens up, revealing the most awe-inspiring sight you’re ever likely to come across.

The world beyond the gate is beautiful. There is no other word to describe it. It stretches into infinity, and the realm is dyed pink by the numerous cherry blossoms that float about like snowflakes. Occasionally, you see a blob of light float by randomly, but you aren’t sure what they could be. Off in the distance sits a building of some sort, which you assume is your final destination, but you’re too awestruck to care about that. You just want to stay here in this paradise forever.

“It’s amazing, isn’t it?” Yume asks, smiling up at you. “No matter how many times I come here…this is probably the most beautiful place in all of Gensokyo.”

“Yeah…” you say breathlessly, taking in as much of the area as you can. “What is this place, exactly?”

“Hakugyokurou. This is where Yuyuko and Youmu live, and a lot of ghosts come here to take in the sights.” She indicates one of the blobs as she speaks, and you nod wordlessly, accepting that this place is inhabited by spirits without question. However, her words do bring up one question you want to ask her.

“So you know them?”

“I know all of them,” she says. “I knew everyone at the shrine, except that girl with the snake in her hair. They’re all younger here, but they’re all still around in the future.”

That means that most of the girls you saw were beyond human. That’s a little disconcerting, frankly.

The rest of the trip passes without incident, and you all touch down in front of the building, which you now acknowledge as being some kind of mansion. That makes two of them that you know of. You idly wonder what the mansion on the lake is like, but those thoughts can wait until later. You’re part of a search party, after all.

After you slide off of Genjii’s back, you help Yume down to the ground as well. It looks like she’s almost fully recovered, but you can’t be too careful, so you resolve to stay by her side until you’re sure she’s fine. The two of you stand near the back of the group and listen to Youmu speak.

“I ask that you don’t touch anything while you’re here,” she states. “Lady Yuyuko would be upset if she returned and found that her home had been ruined by strangers.” You get the distinct feeling that she’s directing her words at you and Yume. That annoys you a little bit. You’re not a child, you know better than to touch anything that looks expensive. Still, this isn’t your house, so you have to follow the rules your host has laid out.

You enter the mansion, finding that it seems to be larger inside than it does outside. Again, you stop, and Youmu speaks once again. “I’ve already determined that Lady Yuyuko isn’t anywhere in Hakugyokurou, but…”

“If she isn’t here, then why are we looking for her here?” Chen raises what she believes to be a good question. Youmu glances at the cat for a moment before continuing with what she was going to say.

“We may still find a clue as to why she disappeared here. Most of you have been here before, so please feel free to search at your own leisure, but those who have not should stay close to someone who is more familiar with the realm.”

Again, you feel like you’re being talked down to. Is she always like this, or is the stress of the situation getting to her? Either way, you don’t exactly approve of her condescending attitude, but you know better than to voice your feelings on the matter. After all, she has swords.

“All right,” you mutter, looking around at the others. You figure that they’re going to split up and search individually, and you’ve been asked to stay with someone who knows the area. You glance at the faces of your party, wondering who you should shadow while you’re here.

[] Reimu
[] Chen
[] Merlin
[] Youmu
- [] (Optional) Have Yume follow one person while you follow another
>> No. 107243
[x] Merlin

I voted music way back at the beginning because of Prismrivers, so I'm going to keep voting for Prismrivers.
>> No. 107246
[x] Merlin
>> No. 107247
Tough choice for me... Youmu is love and Merlin is the best Prismriver, to me.

I'll vote in a bit.
>> No. 107248
[X] Merlin

I'd like to have some time alone with Reimu and Yume, but I get the feeling that Merlin might need some supervision.

Also, I like Merlin.
>> No. 107251
>>107247

[x] Merlin

Just to help the votes along, then, I'll go with Merlin.
>> No. 107252
>>107243
Your dedication is commendable.

[X] Merlin
>> No. 107253
[x] Merlin

I think it's too soon to set up targets when we haven't met all the characters. I'm voting this as to best keep her on task.

Not to say I'd mind a Merlin route, but one should keep possibilities open. Surprises do happen (Shizuha in Fragments of Memories, Flan in GH)
>> No. 107256
You want Merupo, you get Merupo. Updating in a little bit, need time to recharge my creative batteries.
>> No. 107289
[X] Merlin

Going with the flow here
>> No. 107311
File 126050653424.jpg - (105.29KB , 627x730 , d1723606b3d4de4c522ed87a42994c09.jpg ) [iqdb]
107311
>[x] Merlin

You think that Chen and Reimu will be fine on their own, but based on your limited interactions with the Prismriver, she might not be quite as careful. As such, you decide to stay close to Merlin, if only to ensure that she doesn’t break anything. As soon as you relay your decision to the others, the search begins – Youmu heads into the deeper recesses of the mansion, Chen opts to explore the upstairs area, Reimu heads to the kitchen for some reason, leaving you, Yume, and Merlin to explore the garden area.

The trip doesn’t take terribly long, and before you know it, you’re standing in what you recognize as a Zen garden, only one that’s much bigger than any you’ve ever seen before. You want to be awestruck, but Yume nudges you in the back and urges you onward. You comply, but you really have no idea what you’re looking for, or how to find it without upsetting the delicate balance of the garden. After all, there are a lot of places that you can’t walk on in here.

“Do you know what we’re looking for?” you ask the miko, getting only a shrug in response.

“Not really...I really don’t think we’ll find anything here, but if Yuyuko turns up, she’ll come back here.”

You give a quiet humming noise start searching as best as you can, only to notice Merlin hopping about in the sand in the center of the garden. You start to shout for her to stop, but then you notice that she’s not actually touching the ground. It must be nice to be able to fly. Even still, you tell her to be careful out there and start searching again. You’ll have to leave the center to Merlin, since all you and Yume can handle is the wooden walkway. It doesn’t take long for you two to finish up, which is fine, since it’ll give Yume a chance to rest some more.

“Here, sit down for a while,” you say, directing her to the corner of the walkway. She tries to resist, but gives up when she sees how serious you are. You sit down beside her and watch Merlin work, but before long the flying girl gets bored with the search and floats up to you, beaming like a child.

“Didn’t find anything,” she sings, still looking incredibly happy for whatever reason. “But that’s okay, Lady Yuyuko will show up again before long.”

“Does she do this a lot?” You’re really just thinking out loud at this point. Both Yume and Merlin nod at your question, though, so you decide to let them elaborate.

“Yuyuko is…kind of a free spirit,” Yume says. You suppress the urge to groan at her for that one, and once she realizes what she said, she puts a palm to her forehead and sighs loudly, apologizing for her wording.

“Oh? Do you know Yuyuko, Yume?” Merlin asks, looking the miko over. You’d figured that the answer to that question would be obvious, but then you recall that no one explained your situation to any of the other girls.

“Ah, actually, Merlin…” you begin, but Yume speaks up before you can continue.

“Reimu has told me a lot of funny stories about her. She seems like an interesting person, if a little carefree.”

“Ahaha, yeah, that sounds like her. I’m gonna look around again, I don’t get to play out here too much!” Merlin grins again before turning away from you and leaping back into the sand, leaving you alone with Yume. You decide to take that chance to talk to the maiden about what just happened.

“What was that?” you ask. You don’t know why she had made the decision to lie to Merlin like she did, and you’d like to get an answer.

“For now, let’s just keep where we’re from between Reimu and us…you can tell them you’re from outside, but letting on that we’re from the future would complicate things, don’t you think?”

“Yeah, but…you told them your name earlier, didn’t you?”

“They know my name, and they know that Reimu and I are related, but that’s it. For now…I’m her cousin, okay? Just like Chen said.”

You sigh quietly and scratch at the back of your neck. There’s a certain logic to what she’s saying, but you still don’t feel right lying like that. Still, you agree to her terms for the time being. If the need arises, you can always reveal the truth, right?

Merlin gets bored again a few moments later and returns to you. After some quick discussion, you decide to go check out some other parts of the mansion for any clues. Careful to leave things the way you found them, you leave the garden behind. As you search the halls, Merlin starts questioning you on your musical knowledge, and you answer each question to the best of your ability. Still, you had no idea what to say when she asked if you had any sounds her sister could have.

During your exploration, you come across a large set of doors, which Merlin pushes open without any hesitation. You reach out to stop her, but she’s already inside before you can. Exchanging worried looks, you and Yume follow her. You hope that because she opened the door so quickly she knows what’s in here, but before you can locate her again, you hear something break.

“Oh crap,” you mutter to yourself as you scan the room, which you’ve identified as some sort of antiquities closet, hoping that whatever the musician just broke is replaceable. Unfortunately, once you see what looks like a vase of some kind in pieces on the floor, you know that’s not the case. Why the hell do vases always seem to break around you?

“That’s not…supposed to be there…” Merlin says, staring down at the shattered piece of art. “Why was it there? It’s…”

“What are you talking about?” you ask, blinking at the blue-haired girl. On hearing your voice, she turns to face you, tears beginning to well up in the corners of her eyes.

“The…vase…it’s never been there before…” You think she might be on the verge of crying, so you move up to her and place your hands on her shoulders, wanting her to calm down before she starts making too much noise. The last thing you want is Youmu walking in here while you’re trying to figure out what to do. The thought of getting cleaved in half by the white-haired girl enters your mind, but you shove it aside and start trying to handle the situation. You probably won’t have a lot of time to act, so you’ll need to decide what to do pretty quickly.

Choose only two
[] Find out what Merlin meant about the vase
[] Try to clean up the mess
[] Ask Yume to take Merlin outside
[] Leave the room before anyone can show up
[] Write-in (Two write-ins are acceptable)
>> No. 107312
[x] Find out what Merlin meant about the vase
[x] Ask Yume to take Merlin outside

Didn't really know what to pick second so I went random.
>> No. 107313
[x] Find out what Merlin meant about the vase
[x] Try to clean up the mess
>> No. 107319
>“For now, let’s just keep where we’re from between Reimu and us…you can tell them you’re from outside, but letting on that we’re from the future would complicate things, don’t you think?”

Thing is our lead might be from around this time. (Hence the asking about the year option)

[x] Find out what Merlin meant about the vase
[x] Try to clean up the mess

Something is suspicious about that vase. Makes me wonder where it came from and if anyone else got them. (Such as Yukari, Ran, Remilia, and other area heads)
>> No. 107321
>>107319

Perhaps it contains Layla's ashes or something.

[x] Find out what Merlin meant about the vase
[x] Try to clean up the mess
>> No. 107325
[-] Find out what Merlin meant about the vase
[-] Try to clean up the mess

>“Hey…doesn’t it seem different somehow?”
>“Gensokyo,” Reimu continues, scanning the earth as she speaks. “Does it look the same to you?”

>“That’s not…supposed to be there…” Merlin says, staring down at the shattered piece of art. “Why was it there? It’s…”
>“The…vase…it’s never been there before…”

So... I'm gonna out on a limb here, and guess that we didn't actually travel back in time. Everyone else just got pulled forward. Which would mean we're still in Gensokyo: 2209.

Of course that would mean everyone's (as far as we know) future selves have disappeared along with the missing individuals from the past. It's likely the pins are the only reason Yume and the MC are still around.
>> No. 107326
[X] Give Merlin a nice, big hug to calm her down.
[X] Find out what Merlin meant about the vase.

Need to be more careful, Merlin!
>> No. 107328
[x] Find out what Merlin meant about the vase
[x] Try to clean up the mess
>> No. 107331
Updatin'
>> No. 107366
>>107325
[x] Find out what Merlin meant about the vase
[x] Try to clean up the mess
>> No. 107439
File 126059539652.jpg - (61.98KB , 512x384 , lang.jpg ) [iqdb]
107439
in b4 langoliers
>> No. 107444
File 12605975291.jpg - (90.41KB , 650x867 , 711c94771acbafedc2a54110b863233f.jpg ) [iqdb]
107444
>[x] Find out what Merlin meant about the vase
>[x] Try to clean up the mess

“Merlin, calm down, okay?” You doubt your words carry any weight with the girl, but surprisingly enough, she does seem to relax a bit. She gives you a small nod and sniffs back her tears, waiting for you to talk again. You don’t disappoint her. “What did you mean about the vase? What were you talking about?”

“It…wasn’t there the last time I was here…I didn’t know about it, I swear, I was just going to check something…”

“I believe you, I really do, but…” A noise outside cuts you off. You turn to the door, fully expecting someone to walk in, but no one shows up. Questions can wait. You have to take care of the mess before someone finds you. You release Merlin from your grasp and move past her, picking up the larger pieces as fast as you can.

“Hey, Yume!” you hiss, getting the mikos attention. “Keep watch, okay? Tell me if anyone’s coming!”

“Yeah, sure.” You hear her shuffle around behind you, presumably to she can get to the door. Unfortunately, she informs you of someone’s arrival almost immediately, and it’s the last name in the world you want to hear in this situation. Youmu’s coming down the hall. Great.

You sigh and finish gathering up the pieces, giving Merlin a quick glance once you’re done. She really is about to cry. Setting the pieces on the stand from which they came, you pat the pink haired girl on the shoulder, doing your best to look supportive and hide the fact that you’re freaking out just a little bit as well.

The white-haired girl steps into the room, glaring at you as she does so. You can’t help but wonder if her face is stuck like that. “I asked you to be careful, did I not?” she says, her voice cold enough to freeze fire. You give a nervous nod in response, but not much else. You know you aren’t at fault for this, and you’ve already accepted that she would probably place the blame squarely on your shoulders.

“N-no, Youmu…” Merlin says, poking her index fingers together in front of her chest and looking up at girl with the swords. “I…broke it…I didn’t know it was there, and I bumped into it, and I couldn’t catch it, and I…”

Youmu closes her eyes and exhales slowly, walking to the broken item as soon as she’s finished doing so. She takes one of the pieces you collected in her hand and looks it over, but rather than show anger, the expression on her face is one of confusion. You wonder what that means for a moment before you get your answer from the girl herself.

“I’ve never seen this vase before…”

The same thing Merlin said, pretty much. The blue haired girl perks up almost instantly when she hears those words and begins nodding vigorously. “Yeah, yeah! That’s right! It’s never been there before, right?”

“Are you sure?” Yume moves in after saying that and examines the pieces for herself. When Youmu nods in the affirmative, the miko gives you look that you recognize as meaning ‘We need to talk.’ Having only known her for a few days, you’re a little surprised you got that message, but you don’t question it.

“I suppose there’s no point in getting angry over a vase I’ve never seen before,” Youmu observes, setting the piece in her hands back on the stand. “Even still, please take care not to break anything else.” Synchronized nods from all of you follow her orders, and the white haired girl leaves the room, taking her oppressive atmosphere with her. You let out your breath and suck in fresh oxygen. Being around her is shortening your lifespan.

Once Youmu is out of earshot, Yume smiles at the Prismriver and pats her on the head. “Try to slow down next time, okay?”

“Okay…” Still looking a little dejected, Merlin floats out of the room, leaving you alone with Yume. You look to the maiden, wondering what it is she needs to discuss with you. As soon as she’s sure the coast is clear, she walks up to you and starts talking.

“That vase…it’s always been there.”

Okay, now you’re confused. “But Merlin and Youmu said that…”

“I know, I know, but…every time I’ve come here, that vase has been right there.” She moves past you and examines the stand carefully. You aren’t sure what she’s looking for, but it’s not terribly important since she looks back at you a few moments later, shaking her head. “Hey, this might sound crazy, but…”

Before she can finish, Merlin pokes her head back in and calls for you to follow her. Whatever Yume has to say can wait for a little while. The two of you leave the room behind and try to keep pace with the Prismriver, which is a little difficult given that the miko is still pretty badly injured. You manage to persevere, and your little trek leads you to what you can only assume is a kitchen. The fact that it’s a very well stocked kitchen doesn’t escape your notice. You didn’t know that ghosts had an appetite.

“Lookit this!” Merlin says, pointing toward a wall. Both you and Yume blink at her and follow the vector her finger is indicating, but you can’t see anything.

“Uh…what is it, Merlin?” you ask.

“Huh? It’s right th—“ She finally looks at where she’s pointing and is surprised to see that she’s pointing into empty space. “Ehh? I saw something there a second ago, I really did!”

You look again, just to make sure there’s really nothing there. You’re fairly sure you’re correct in your assumption, but then, something does happen. The air near where Merlin is pointing seems to shimmer to a degree, like heat waves rising off of asphalt in summer. You try to focus on what you’re seeing, but the effect is already gone by the time do.

“Sorry, I don’t see anything, Merlin,” Yume says. The Prismriver pouts some and drops her arm, looking dejected once again. You aren’t sure, though. You do think you saw something, but you don’t know what it could have been. Again, you focus on the space where you saw the shimmer, but nothing comes of it. It was probably just a trick of the light.

Since you’re already in here, you decide to search the kitchen for any signs of life (wait, can you say something like that in the realm of ghosts?), but it’s a fruitless endeavor, so you call it off after about five minutes. If Reimu had found anything in here, she would have let you know. Defeated, the three of you walk out toward the entrance and are promptly joined by the others. They weren’t any more successful than you were, so you haven’t actually learned anything from this trip.

“Jeez, I was hoping we would find something,” Reimu mutters, tucking her arms behind her head. “It really looks like she just vanished, doesn’t it?”

“Yeah…” Chen looks particularly downcast now. “If we can’t find Yuyuko, how will we find Ran and Yukari…?”

“Or my sisters…”

Everything sure got depressing all of a sudden. You hate to see everyone looking so down, but there really isn’t much you can do to help them. After all, you don’t know any of the people they’re trying to find. All you can really do is hope for the best.

You all trudge back outside, deciding to head back to the shrine for the time being. You can only hope that the others groups have had more luck than you. The six of float back out of the gate, and Youmu ‘locks’ it behind you, letting out a quiet sigh as she does. You aren’t her biggest fan right now, but you still hate to see her looking so out of sorts.

As you scan the faces of the girls, you get the distinct feeling that you’re currently the happiest person here, and even you’re feeling a little down. Maybe you should try to lighten the mood somehow.

[] Tell a joke
- [] “A man walks into a bar…”
- [] “What does a guitarist say…”
- [] “Have you ever…”
- [] Write-in
[] Sing something
- [] Write-in
[] Try to make conversation
- [] Talk to a specific girl (Optional)
[] Write in
>> No. 107448
>>107325
Wow... it's starting to look like you're right about everybody else being pulled forward, not Yume and Red being sent back.
>> No. 107451
[ø] Tell a joke
-[ø] to Merlin - "What do you get if you drop a piano down a mine shaft?"
A Flat minor(miner)
[] Sing something
- [ø]
Hmm I can't think of a cheerful song atm.
[ø] Try to make conversation
- [ø] Find out what Yume wanted to say
- [ø] Ask Youmu about Yuyuko
- [ø] give Chen a hug, "I heard that Lady Yukari is powerful, so she should be fine, right Chen? I'm sure Lady Ran is fine as well"

Just throwing some ideas out there.
>> No. 107452
[x] Try to make conversation
- [x] Find out what Yume wanted to say
- [x] Ask Youmu about Yuyuko
- [x] give Chen a hug, "I heard that Lady Yukari is powerful, so she should be fine, right Chen? I'm sure Lady Ran is fine as well"
>> No. 107455
[x] Try to make conversation
- [x] Find out what Yume wanted to say
- [x] Ask Youmu about Yuyuko
- [x] give Chen a hug, "I heard that Lady Yukari is powerful, so she should be fine, right Chen? I'm sure Lady Ran is fine as well"
- [x] Tell Merlin that the others might have more luck.
>> No. 107459
[x] Tell a joke
-[x]A neutron walks into a bar. "How much for a drink?" To which the bartender responds, "For you, no charge."
[x] give Chen a hug, "I heard that Lady Yukari is powerful, so she should be fine, right Chen? I'm sure Lady Ran is fine as well"
[x] Tell Merlin that the others might have more luck.
[x] Find out what Yume wanted to say
In that order.
>> No. 107473
adding
[ø] Tell Merlin that the others might have more luck.
to my vote >>107451
>> No. 107508
Gonna get started, then.
>> No. 107514
File 126066683648.jpg - (70.31KB , 1000x1000 , 3f3e2f411b30ae769ddc1cf40666ae4a.jpg ) [iqdb]
107514
>[x] Try to make conversation
>- [x] Find out what Yume wanted to say
>- [x] Ask Youmu about Yuyuko
>- [x] give Chen a hug, "I heard that Lady Yukari is powerful, so she should be fine, right Chen? I'm sure Lady Ran is fine as well"
>- [x] Tell Merlin that the others might have more luck.

You aren’t comfortable just listening to the sound of wind for the remainder of the trip, so you might as well try to talk to them. Your first priority, though, is to find out what Yume wanted to tell you before Merlin interrupted you back at the mansion. You tap the girl in front of you on the shoulder, causing her to turn to face you.

“What’s up?” she asks, tilting her head a bit. Good Lord, she’s cute up close. You shrug those thoughts aside and ask your question before you get sidetracked with idle fantasies.

“Hey, what were you about to say earlier? Before Merlin took us to the kitchen, I mean.”

Realization dawns over her face as she recalls what you’re talking about. “Oh yeah, that…” She quickly checks to make sure you’re far enough away from the others before looking back at you. “What if…what if we didn’t travel back in time, like we thought?”

“Huh?” It’s a strange thought, but it would make sense, given what you’ve learned. You ponder what she’s saying for a moment before giving her a small nod. “So…you’re saying that we haven’t moved…it’s everyone else that’s been pulled here.”

“Yeah…” Yume sighs and leans back against you again, wincing slightly as she does so. As you suspected, she’s still not fully healed yet. You’ll have to keep her from exerting herself too much. “We can’t prove it, but…it might be the case. Until we have some real evidence, we should just assume we’re in the past. Really, there’s no way of telling what happened here yet. Don’t tell anyone for now, all right?”

“Yeah, sure,” you say, shifting around a bit on Genjii’s back. If someone had told you three days ago that you’d be riding a flying turtle around the land of fantasy and fancy outfits, you’d have walked very quickly in the other direction, but now that you’re here, it all seems perfectly natural.

You look at the other girls, feeling a little disheartened by their expressions. Chen and Merlin look especially depressed now, while Youmu looks pretty much the same as always. Well, you say that, but you don’t really know the girl well enough to make that assessment. Maybe you can change that.

“Youmu…mind if I ask you something?” You have to talk a little louder than normal to be heard over the sound of the wind. The girl with the swords glances in your direction, appearing uninterested at first, but she eventually drifts in your direction so that neither of you need to shout to be heard.

“What is it.” It’s more of a command than a question. You’re starting to get the distinct feeling that she doesn’t like you very much. You have no idea how you transgressed her, and thus no idea how to correct her opinion of you. You can only hope that, with time, she’ll warm up to you a bit.

“Ah, well…I was just wondering about Yuyuko…”

“LADY Yuyuko,” she says, putting particular emphasis on her master’s title. “Do not assume such a familiar tone when you have never met the person about whom you are speaking.”

“Okay, okay, sorry.” Yeah, she definitely doesn’t like you. Yume giggles quietly as she listens to the two of you talk. You resist the urge to give the miko a pinch and turn back to the white-haired girl, shaking your head. “Has Yuyu…has Lady Yuyuko ever just disappeared for no reason before?”

“You’re suggesting that she vanished of her own accord.” Again, she makes it sound more like a statement than a question. “That is not the case. Lady Yuyuko rarely leaves Hakugyokurou, and besides that, there is the fact that she is not the only person who has vanished.”

“All right, I get the picture…I’m just trying to help.”

Youmu looks a little surprised by what you’ve said to her, but that passes before long. “And what’s in it for you if you aid me?”

“Well…nothing, I guess,” you reply, shrugging your shoulders. “Really, the only thing I want is to go home, and I don’t think that Lady Yuyuko can help me with that.”

“’Home,’ is it?” She examines you as if seeing you for the first time before coming to a realization. “Ah, you’re from outside the border. That explains your strange appearance.”

You aren’t sure you like how she worded that, mostly because you’re not sure whether she’s referring to your outfit or your physical features. You know you look a little odd, you don’t need people pointing it out to you all the time. Yume suffers from another fit of giggles, and this time, you do pinch her uninjured side, getting an elbow to your ribs in return.

“What’s she like, anyway?” you ask as soon as you get your breath back. “She seems like an interesting person.”

“Lady Yuyuko is a spirited individual.” Youmu apparently doesn’t realize what she’s just said and continues talking. “However, in spite of how she comes across to people, she is very intelligent. You would do well not to cross her.”

You open your mouth to ask her just what she means, but before you can start, the sound of someone crying gets your attention. Ahead of you, Chen has broken down. Tears begin rolling down the cat’s cheeks, and her sobs echo through the sky. It’s an almost heart breaking sight, really. You look down at Yume, who has her attention focused on the crying girl as well, and ask her to move Genjii up to her. She complies, and the turtle floats up beside Chen, who turns her attention to her, doing very little to hide the fact that she is very obviously upset.

“Hey, Chen,” you say, carefully reaching a hand out to her. You really don’t want to fall from this height, after all. The two-tailed girl stares at your gesture for a moment before taking your hand in hers. You gently guide her in and scoot back from Yume, putting your arms around Chen as soon as you have enough room. The cat looks up at you, a little confused by what you’re doing, but her sobbing stops after a few seconds, and she even returns your hug.

“Listen…” you start, trying to figure out how to word this properly. “I heard that Lady Yukari is really powerful. Is that true?”

“Uh-huh…” Chen nods and sniffs back her tears, looking you in the eye as you talk. “She’s my master’s master…they’re both really strong…”

“Well, that means that they’re okay, doesn’t it?”

She blinks at your words and tilts her head, looking away from you as she thinks about what you’ve told her. A few seconds later, she looks back up at you, nodding once again. “Y-yeah, I guess so…”

“Then there’s no need to worry, is there?” You put on your best smile and pull Chen’s hat down over her eyes. The girl protests and adjusts her headwear once again, smiling back up at you once she’s finished.

“Yeah, you’re right!” She beams at you and pulls free of your embrace, taking flight once again, her spirit renewed. “Thanks! I feel a lot better now!”

Your good deed done, you slide back up to Yume, feeling a lot more comfortable now that you’re centered on the turtle’s back again. The other girls are looking at you, and everyone save Youmu is smiling, but even her expression looks just a little softer now.

“That was a nice thing to do,” Yume says once you’re back in your former position.

“Well, I can’t stand to see a girl cry,” you reply, glancing at Merlin as you talk. “You hear that, Merlin? You can’t give up either! I’m sure that the others have found something!”

The Prismriver looks a little surprised with what you’ve said, but she gives you a nod a few seconds later and puts on a determined face. Your performance was a little over the top, but it seems to have made everyone feel better, so it’s alright in the end. You feel pretty good right about now, except for that ringing in your ears.

It started a few minutes ago, and you thought it might just be due to the altitude at which you’re traveling, but it seems to be getting worse and worse with each passing second, and any attempts to relieve it are apparently in vain. You sigh and stick your fingers into your ears for a moment before removing them. As expected, that does little to help you. Well, at least you don’t have a headache to go along with it.

“Hey…are your ears ringing, too?” Chen asks, blinking at you. You look at the cat and nod, wondering why it is that she’s experiencing the same thing as you.

“Mine are, too,” Yume adds. “I wonder why…”

The other girls confirm that they’re going through the same thing as you, and no one can explain why that is. It’s not unbearably loud, though, so you decide to just continue onto the shrine and wait for it to go away on its own.

Of course, because you’re involved, that plan immediately goes straight to hell.

A figure appears in front of you, forcing you all to a halt. The new arrival grins a toothy grin and blows a tuft of her dark hair out of her face and crosses her arms in front of her chest. You take stock of her during that time. She’s a little shorter than you, but taller than most of the other girls. She wears what you might call a black gothic Lolita outfit with a few skull designs decorating her dress. Her hair is cut short and topped with a small hat that, like her dress, has a skull on it. But beyond all of that, she has a set of bone-like protrusions sticking out of her back like wings. It only takes you a few seconds to figure out that she’s not human.

“Hehehe~” Her laugh sends chills down your spine. She’s certainly a creepy girl. “I finally found you, Hakurei Yume.”

Yume blinks on hearing her name and stares at the newcomer. You can already tell that the girl in black is a threat, but you don’t know what Yume thinks at the moment. You can only hope that she realizes the danger and doesn’t try to do anything.

“I guess you’re here to kill me?” Yume says after a few seconds of silence. The other girls turn their attention to the injured miko when she says that, and even you find yourself staring at her, at least until the goth starts laughing again.

“That’s riiiight~” she says, dancing about as she speaks. “You’re pretty smart, ya know! Well, come on, let’s get started!”

“Wait!”

You aren’t sure what possessed you to shout out like that, but now that you have the girl’s attention, you need to come up with an excuse for it. Fortunately, one comes to you quickly enough. “Yume is still injured…it wouldn’t be a fair fight, would it?”

“Ehh?” the black-clad one balks at your logic and tilts her head to the side, only she ends up turning her face almost completely upside down. That’s definitely an unnerving sight. “I don’t care about ‘fair,’ human! My master wants her dead, so she’s gonna die!”

“Spell Card rules.”

It’s Reimu that speaks up this time, floating to the front of your group as she talks. “If you want to fight, we’ll have a Spell Card duel.”

“Aww, but I don’t have time for thaaat!” The new girl returns her head to its proper position with a sickening crack and pouts at Reimu. “Come on, I don’t wanna have to do that…”

“It’s that or nothing,” the red-white miko says simply. “Besides, isn’t it more fun that way?”

“Ahh! Yeah! I like to have fun!” Again, she bounces around, full of excitement. After a few seconds of that, she stops and points at you. “This was your idea! I wanna fight you!”

“Wha…? I don’t know the rules! I don’t even know danmaku!” For an instant, your heart feels like it will burst from your chest out of sheer fear. Fortunately, Reimu comes to your rescue once again.

“One of us will face you,” the maiden from the past states.

“Fiiine, but I want Yume to choose!”

All eyes settle on the miko in front of you. Given the situation, Yume looks surprisingly calm. She thinks for only a moment before coming to her decision. “Youmu…will you fight in my place?”

The white-haired girl nods and moves up beside Reimu, her hand resting on the hilt of her blade. You aren’t sure why she chose Youmu, and you don’t want to question her on it, but if you want to object, now’s the time to do it.

[] Say nothing and let Youmu fight
[] Suggest that Yume chooses someone else
- [] Reimu, Chen, or Merlin
>> No. 107516
[x] Say nothing and let Youmu fight.

Someone wants Yume dead? Kinda funny since youkai generally avoid such a thing for the sheer risk of Gensokyo becoming undone.

But this minion seems to be a skeleton youkai, but who is her master and why does she want Yume dead?

But Youmu's a pretty able combatant so she should do alright against a mere flunky.

Her and Reimu are the best ones, though not sure if asking Reimu to go is a good idea, time paradoxes and such in a worse case scenario. (Though unlikely, since unless things are different, Reimu'd be the best overall in spell card battles)
>> No. 107518
[x] Say nothing and let Youmu fight

I feel like Youmu should be able to handle this quite easily, stage 1 boss and all.

Though I am curious as to why someone apparently wants the Hakurei Barrier to collapse and some bad things to happen.
>> No. 107520
[x] Say nothing and let Youmu fight
>> No. 107525
[x] Say nothing and let Youmu fight.
and
[x] Resolve to speak up sooner when you see/hear something unusual. As bad things seem to consistently follow. Kidding, sort of. I get that he thinks he's imagining things. Though it does get annoying when overdone.
>> No. 107529
>>107525

That heat haze that he noticed might have been her hiding, though I wonder how that youkai hid her magical presence from everyone else.
>> No. 107532
[ø] Say nothing and let Youmu fight.

Hack Youmu is probably the second strongest here besides Reimu. I believe Yume needs more training, perhaps by Reimu herself. Also, after losing countless lives to Youmu in PCB, I have no reason to doubt that she'll be fine.
>> No. 107533
Updating.
>> No. 107567
File 126072813267.jpg - (1.45MB , 1920x1200 , 6a3455f9b1016fdfd1723c444845e731.jpg ) [iqdb]
107567
>[x] Say nothing at let Youmu fight

Yume must have a good reason for choosing Youmu to fight in her place, so you decide to keep your mouth shut and let things play out. After all, you have no idea what’s about to play out.

“I assume she had a reason for choosing me,” the gardener says, glancing at Reimu as she speaks. “I expect an explanation once this is finished, Reimu.”

“You’ll get one,” the red-white miko promises, floating away from the two of them. The rest of you follow suit and give Youmu and the goth girl some room. You’re actually a little tense. After all, this will be the first danmaku fight that you’ll see without getting knocked out of the air. You’ll need to keep your eyes on them.

“I, Konpaku Youmu, will be your opponent,” the girl with the swords states.

“I, Kuroshiro Dokuro, will kill you!” A fitting name, you think. Dokuro spins around and does a little curtsey before Youmu, grinning once again. You swear that for a moment her mouth is bigger than her head. That’s a little frightening.

“Declare your intentions if you win.” You wonder what that means, making a note to ask someone about it later, once this is all said and done.

“Hmm~” Dokuro presses a finger to her lips and turns her eyes skyward for a moment before answering. “If I win, I get to kill Yume!”

“Very well. When I win, you will tell me about your master.” Youmu literally radiates confidence. It’s obvious to you that she fully expects the bout to end in her victory. Dokuro is less than amused by that statement, though.

“What do you mean ‘when’ you win!? We haven’t even started yet!” The skull girl pouts and crosses her arms, glaring at her opponent. If this were a cartoon, you would likely see sparks flying between the two of them.

“One card.” Youmu ignores Dokuro’s childish outburst and continues determining the rules of the game. “That is all I will need to defeat you.”

“Oooh, you’re sooo annoying!” Dokuro glares daggers at Youmu, but the gardener remains stoic. “Fine! Three cards! Now let’s get started!”

“Are you sure this is okay?” you whisper to Yume. The miko from the future gives a nod, but she doesn’t look at you. Her eyes are focused on the two combatants in front of you. You’ll just have to be satisfied with that.

“Begin, then.” In all this time, Youmu hasn’t changed her stance at all. She gives off an aura of calm, and you’re starting to think that things might work out for the best. Seeing her opponent so calm seems to have angered Dokuro, though, and she accepts Youmu’s invitation, floating away from the girl with the swords and extending her arms out to her sides. A white object appears in front of her, which you identify as a card. It spins around in front of her for an instant before vanishing once again.

“Break Sign 「Spiral Fracture」”

You wonder what she’s talking about, but only for a moment. The sky around them seems to darken, and Dokuro does a pirouette in mid-air, unleashing a barrage of bullets toward Youmu. You can see why she calls that attack ‘Spiral Fracture’; the pure white shots are being generated from a point near her body, starting life as a wide circle before shifting into a double helix pattern and moving toward Youmu, the spiral growing ever smaller as they move toward her. You honestly have no idea how the gardener expects to get away from such an attack. Is the fight already over?

“Just watch,” Yume says, not taking her eyes off of the action in front of her. “Youmu is about to start.”

As soon as the miko finishes that statement, Youmu takes action. Rather than drop back like a sane person would, she moves forward without hesitation, slipping through the space between the bullets. Your jaw drops when you see such suicidal action taking place before you, but none of the other girls appear to be fazed by what you’ve just witnessed. You can only assume that Youmu’s decision is an integral part of danmaku.

Even though Youmu had moved to what you assumed was a safe place, she slips back out of the spiral shortly after entering it, and you soon see why – the bullets are tracking her movement, and the point at which they converge is constantly seeking out the gardener’s body. Youmu doesn’t seem to mind that fact and continues avoiding Dokuro’s attack, moving with grace and agility through the labyrinth of white that constantly threatens her. From what you can tell, she’s not fighting back, she’s just dodging. You don’t know what that will accomplish in the end, but none of the others seem too nervous about it, so you decide to follow their example. They know what they’re doing, after all.

White lights appear beside Dokuro, and suddenly, the spiral isn’t the only threat. From those four points come even more bullets, firing at regular intervals, each one moving at a high rate of speed toward Youmu. The white-haired girl takes note of this and adjusts her actions accordingly, moving her body just enough to avoid the oncoming blasts of white. You swear that you see a few of the shots graze her body, but she doesn’t appear any worse for wear.

The bullets firing from beside Dokuro increase in speed and intensity, and Youmu increases her abilities to match, moving in all three dimensions with the greatest of ease. After what feels like an eternity, the fireworks end with a loud popping noise, and the gardener floats before the goth once again, showing no signs that she just waltzed through a hell of bullets without breaking a sweat. You feel a whole new level of respect for the white-haired girl and resolve to never cross her. If she’s capable of avoiding that kind of thing with no trouble, you don’t even want to think about what she can do to you.

“You’re supposed to fight back!” Dokuro cries, putting her hands on her hips. “Don’t just treat my beloved Spell Cards like they’re nothing!”

“How would you have me treat them, then?” Youmu maintains her calm demeanor and watches her opponent with a calculating eye.

“Like a threat!” Dokuro replies. And then, something strange happens. For the first time since you’ve known her, Youmu smiles.

“Perhaps you should put more work into your patterns, then. As it stands, I believe I could defeat you with my eyes closed.”

Hearing that statement sends Dokuro off the deep end. The skull girl screams at the top of her lungs, revealing that, like you’d suspected, her mouth actually is bigger than the rest of her head. After a few seconds of ear-splitting loudness, Dokuro shuts up and raises her hand in front of her, summoning up another card. Youmu raises no objections and watches in silence as the goth begins her next attack.

”Cord Sign 「Dorsal and Ventral Roots」”

Again, the sky darkens, but Dokuro remains stationary in the air this time around, her arms extended to her sides. Two beams of light appear in front of her, barely moving at all, but they streak forward before long, shooting toward Youmu. As promised, the gardener has her eyes closed, and she doesn’t move as the lasers close in on her. You want to shout at her to move, but before you can speak, something strange happens.

You see Youmu move, but she remains stationary.

You see branches come off of the lasers, but they remain singular beams of light.

You see the gardener take a hit, but she remains unharmed.

You see the ghost of what’s about to happen, but you also see the present.

The images of what you’ve witnessed fade from sight, leaving you confused and disoriented. If you’re right, then Youmu will be when she tries to dodge this newest attack. What you’ve seen has yet to transpire, and you aren’t even sure if it will happen. You still have a few seconds to inform the gardener of what you think is about to go down, but if you’re wrong, then you’ll have distracted her for nothing. You have to make a decision. Tell her and risk her wrath, or stay quiet and potentially let her get hit?

[] Tell her not to dodge the way she’s planning
[] Stay quiet and see what happens
>> No. 107574
[x] Stay quiet and see what happens

Our lead doesn't know Youmu's abilities so that vision might be inaccurate.

But I'm not 100% sure on this.
>> No. 107575
[x] Tell her not to dodge the way she’s planning

The vision has to mean something. We must act.
>> No. 107577
[x] Tell her not to dodge the way she’s planning
>> No. 107579
[ø] Tell her not to dodge the way she’s planning

Wow, I hope Youmu will graze unscathed.
>> No. 107589
[x] Tell her not to dodge the way she’s planning
>> No. 107592
"Hey, person I barely know doing something I'm not familiar with! Whatever you're about to do, don't do it! It won't work!"
I doubt she'd listen anyways. She was acting incredibly cocky.

[x] Stay quiet and see what happens
>> No. 107593
>>107567
[X] Tell her not to dodge the way she’s planning

You might want to open your eyes for this part, Youmu.
>> No. 107612
Screaming at her to dodge wins. Will update sometime tomorrow, had a hell of a day at work, need time to recover.
>> No. 107689
File 126083036344.jpg - (781.32KB , 1000x750 , 7cc0640ed929d6addb877b2285239acc.jpg ) [iqdb]
107689
>[x] Tell her not to dodge the way she’s planning

You don’t know what you saw, but you’re positive that you saw her get hit. You can’t allow that to happen, can you? Yume’s life is on the line, and if you’re right, Dokuro still has one attack left, while Youmu only has one attack period. Someone needs to explain how these battles work to you, but for now, you need to make sure Youmu wins this fight.

“Youmu! Don’t go right! Go…up!”

The gardener turns her attention to you briefly before looking back at the approaching lasers. She needs to react or she’ll be hit anyway. She considers her options…and goes right.

The second she does, that branch appears, only this time, Youmu stops short of running into it. The branch breaks away from the main body of the laser and flies off harmlessly, and you breathe a sigh of relief. The fight continues normally, and you finally get a good look at what those lasers are capable of.

It seems that they branch off when Youmu passes them, but they’re limited to only one shot at a time. The branches themselves appear quickly and break off just as fast, making it dangerous to stay in one spot. Even if she had gone up, like you’d suggested, the branch still would have appeared. You can’t help but wonder if she stopped because you told her not to dodge that way, but it’s not important. She’s fine, and that’s all that matters.

“Why did you say that?” Reimu asks, giving you a surprisingly hard punch in the arm. “Don’t do anything like that again! It’s hard enough to concentrate on dodging without some idiot yelling from the sidelines!”

“Hey, I thought I saw her get hit!” you reply, grabbing at your shoulder. She put a lot of force into that blow. “Yume’ll die if she loses, right? We can’t let that happen!”

“Wait…what did you say?” Now everyone is looking at you like you have a third eye or something. You blink and play the last few seconds back in your mind. Oh yeah, you did say something a little weird, didn’t you?

“I...saw something. It was like an afterimage or something…I saw Youmu move to the right, and then that laser split off and hit her. I don’t know what it was, but…”

Reimu has gone silent now, while Chen and Merlin are both staring at the danmaku battle again. Dokuro has started to fire larger bullets from her body, forming a large globe of green lights around her, meaning that Youmu has to worry about dodging even more than before. She seems to have risen to the occasion, though, so there’s no need to worry. You turn your attention back to the mikos, who still have their eyes locked firmly on you.

“Can you still see it?” Yume speaks first this time. You shake your head at her and look back at the fight. No matter how much you focus, you can’t cause the effect to repeat itself. For an instant, you think you do see something, but it turns out to be a trail left by one of the bullets.

“No, not right now…but I did see something, okay? I knew that her attack would break off like it did, didn’t I?” You feel like you’re on trial, and probably for good reason. After all, you did just interrupt the fight because you thought you saw something that might have happened in the future. Maybe this place is finally starting to get to you.

Reimu responds with a quiet humming sound and looks back at the fight for herself. “You’re right…I thought she was too weak to do something like that, so I wasn’t expecting it...maybe Youmu wasn’t, either…you might have saved her.”

You feel a little better now that you have Reimu’s approval, but decide that the next time you speak up like that, you’ll have a damn good reason to do so.

Before too long, that popping sound hits your ears again, and all the bullets that were there disappear back into the nothingness they came from. Youmu repositions herself in front of Dokuro, but she gives you a quick glance as she does so. You aren’t sure if she’s thanking you or criticizing you. You sincerely hope it’s the former because you aren’t sure you’d survive the latter.

“Gaaaah!” Dokuro screams again and clenches her fists as tightly as she can. The skull girl is clearly enraged by what’s happening, though you aren’t sure why. Another question you need answered. You’re starting to think that you’ll never understand this world.

“One left,” Youmu states plainly. “Declare your final Card so we can end this.”

“Yoooouuuu…” You seriously doubt that you’ve ever seen someone so completely enraged before. It’s actually a little funny, seeing a girl like that looking so angry, but once you remember just how big her mouth really is, it’s decidedly less amusing. After all, she could probably bite your head off. Literally.

Dokuro springs into action for what should be the final time, conjuring up another card from nothing. It explodes into flecks of light, and once again the area around them darkens. This being her last attack, you fully expect the skull girl to pull out all the stops and go all out against her opponent. She doesn’t disappoint.

”Angelic Sign 「Club To Death」”

As soon as she finishes stating the name of her final card, a massive bat appears in her hands. She pulls it back over her shoulder and swings it with all her might, sending a multitude of lights of all shapes and sizes toward Youmu. However, they’re mostly spread out, giving the gardener plenty of room to maneuver, and the left side of the sky where they’re battling is completely empty. Dokuro quickly fixes that by swinging her weapon in the other direction, filling their battlefield with bullets. Youmu looks like she might be in trouble, but she maintains her composure and dances through the fireworks as if they weren’t even there. It’s an awe inspiring sight, and as you watch, you being to see the logic of what she’s doing. It’s not just a suicidal dive, she’s actually planning ahead and using her opponents pattern to her advantage. There’s more to danmaku combat than you’d originally assumed.

Dokuro continues to swing her bat about, and she starts to move through the sky as she does so, disrupting the pattern of her bullets. Youmu continues to act like the entire situation is no big deal, but you find yourself glad that you aren’t on the receiving end of Dokuro’s rage. You’d definitely be dead before you could do anything to save yourself. And yet, you get the feeling that this is nothing more than a game to the girls. What does that say about them?

You can tell that Dokuro is getting frustrated now. While she had been swinging the bat about once every three seconds, she’s now flinging her weapon around as soon as she’s completed her previous motion. It’s a hell of a sight, and the sky around them is filled with lights. You can just barely make out Youmu’s figure among the bullets, but you can tell that she’s doing okay. In fact, you can tell where she’s going to move before she does.

Wait.

You’re seeing it again. The afterimages. But it’s not just Youmu, it’s the bullets as well. You know where they’re going to be before they get there. You can see it as clear as day.

“…She’ll move down, then right…”

Yume and Reimu look at you for an instant before turning back to the battle. True to your word, Youmu drops a few inches to get away from one of the larger bullets and then slips right to dodge the smaller one that had been following the first.

“Up, left, she’ll stop for a second, then fly toward Dokuro…”

The gardener flies according to your predictions. The mikos stare in awe as you tell them exactly what’s about to happen. However, the longer you stare at the fight, the harder it gets to see the images. It feels a little like going cross-eyed; you can do it for a few seconds, but it quickly becomes disorienting. The images disappear again, and you place a hand to your forehead, feeling dizzy and light headed. What the hell’s going on? Why can you see those things? What does it mean?

Pop.

When you look back at the fight, the bullets are gone. Dokuro looks completely worn out, and her weapon has vanished as well. On the opposite end of the spectrum sits Youmu, who doesn’t look at all winded. The gardener smirks at her opponent and rests her hand on the hilt of one of her blades, narrowing her eyes ever so slightly as she calls up her one and only Spell Card. It’s her turn now.

”Hell God Sword 「God’s Flashing Slash」”

A light appears above her and starts generating two rows of large blue spheres. The initial row sweeps down toward Dokuro quickly, while the second lingers behind Youmu, not moving too fast at all. The gardener herself moves to one side, watching with idle amusement as Dokuro slips through the tiniest of gaps in her attack. You wonder if that’s all that Youmu intends to do, but before you realize it, the white-haired girl has moved, following a horizontal path to the other side of their little battlefield, her sword now drawn. You can distinctly make out what appears to be five cuts in the sky. You have no idea what to make of that, but it’s really not important. When those marks fade away, each of the spheres she had been firing explodes into a mass of red and purple balls of light that spread through the area. You turn your attention to Dokuro and find yourself smiling when you see the expression on her face. She’s realized just how terribly screwed she is.

The lights hit her body over and over again. Youmu’s attack stops after you lose count of just how many blows she’s taken. The fight is over, and the gardener is the victor. Youmu floats before her broken opponent and sheathes her sword once again, glaring down at the skull girl for a moment before speaking.

“Now…tell me about your master.”

The rest of your party moves back up to the two combatants, presumably so you can hear what they’re talking about. Dokuro sniffs back a sob and looks at each of you. It’s a little pitiful to see her like that, but she wants to kill Yume, so you don’t really have any sympathy for her. As far as you’re concerned, the skull girl can rot in hell.

“My master…wants Gensokyo to disappear!” she shouts at you, tears now flowing freely down her face. “My master wants to destroy everything! Even time itself! And once you die, Yume…that wish will come true!”

Before you can comprehend what she’s just said, Dokuro’s face twists and contorts, revealing her true nature in the most horrifying fashion possible – what had previously been the face of a girl becomes a skull of massive proportions. Dokuro makes to grab at Yume, but before she even gets close, her arm is severed at the elbow courtesy of a sword swipe by Youmu. Reimu, Chen, and Merlin all move in front of you and unleash their respective attacks as well, pelting Dokuro with a countless number of bullets. The girl reels back, and Youmu moves in for the final blow, striking down the beast with both of her weapons. Dokuro lets out an unearthly scream before gravity takes hold of her and pulls her back toward the ground. She vanishes before touching down, leaving behind only the echoes of her final cry.

Well, you’re going to have nightmares tonight.

“Foolish girl…” Youmu sighs and slides her weapons back into their proper places, wearing her neutral expression once again. In fact, none of the girls look particularly curious about what just happened, leaving you in the dark, as usual.

“A Gashadokuro,” Reimu says, crossing her arms under her chest. “An odd creature to send after you, but if you had been alone…she might have gotten you.” The red-white miko looks at Yume and shakes her head. “You’re going to start training under me once we get back to the shrine.”

Yume nods at Reimu’s words, but remains silent. And suddenly, all eyes are on you once again. The pressure of having so many girls stare at you is more than a little uncomfortable. You scan their faces slowly, wondering what their problem is.

“What?”

“How’d you know what Youmu was gonna do?” Chen queries, peering at you intently.

“Yeah, how?” Merlin joins the cat in staring at you. You blink and scoot back just a little bit, feeling terribly boxed in now.

“Uh…I’ll explain on the way back…” you manage to say, averting your eyes from their piercing stares. You had no idea that girls could give off such intensity with so little effort.

“Good,” Youmu says, looking off into the distance. “I’m owed one as well. I don’t like being kept in the dark about such matters.” She might as well have cut you with one of her swords when she said that. She’s seriously a scary person.

You resume your previous flight path and being telling your story to the others. No point in hiding it anymore. They deserve to know what’s happening as well. After all, the destruction of Gensokyo affects them, too.

…..

You managed to finish explaining things as you know them by the time you reach the shrine again. Merlin and Chen were completely taken by the tale, while Youmu remained more or less static in her response. Fortunately, the girls have more or less exhausted their questions once you return and grant you a few moments peace. Reimu and Yume are off training, Chen and Merlin are playing around in back, and Youmu sits on the roof of the shrine, leaving you alone for the time being. Grateful to finally have some breathing room, you rest on the porch in front of the shrine, burying your face in your hands. You don’t normally drink, but you feel like a little alcohol might do you some good right now.

After a few seconds, you look up and stare at the vortex in the distance. There’s so much that you don’t know, and it’s starting to eat at you. You feel like screaming, but that won’t accomplish anything, and besides that, it’s bad for your vocal cords. So, you just keep looking at the vortex and curse its very existence silently. You’ve never felt such hatred for an inanimate object before.

Something beside you gets your attention, so you turn your head to see what it is. It appears that nothing is there at first, but the more you look, the more you see it. The air is shimmering here as well, much like it had been in Hakugyokurou, and this time it doesn’t fade away. You blink at what you’re seeing and get to your feet, moving a little closer to it. It doesn’t get any further away like you’d expected it to. In fact, if you wanted to, you could probably reach out and touch it.

“What the hell…” you whisper, narrowing your eyes some at the disturbance. You consider calling someone over, but by the time they arrive, it might go away. Yet, if you try to interact with it, something might happen to you. It’s a tough call. You’ll need to act fast.

Choose only one
[] Touch the disturbance
[] Call someone over
- [] Specify
[] Do nothing and observe the shimmering
>> No. 107692
[x] Call someone over
- [x] Reimu

Since it might be something in hiding perhaps and perhaps her senses can pick it up.

I'd say Yume, but she's kinda helpless at this point and not worth the risk.
>> No. 107694
[ø] Call someone over
- [ø] Youmu
However, don't wait for her to arrive.
[ø] Touch the disturbance

I enjoyed that duel, a lot.

>She doesn’t disappoint.
and
>You feel like screaming, but that won’t accomplish anything, and besides that, it’s bad for your vocal cords.
Awesome.
>> No. 107702
[ø] Call someone over
- [ø] Youmu
However, don't wait for her to arrive.
[ø] Touch the disturbance

Good
>> No. 107707
[y] Call someone over
- [y] Youmu
However, don't wait for her to arrive.
[y] Touch the disturbance
>> No. 107793
>>107689
[X] Molest Touch the disturbance

What do we have here?
>> No. 107811
[X] Call someone over
- [X] Yume

Just plowed through this story, and have enjoyed it so far. Thanks, anon.
>> No. 107828
[ø] Call someone over
- [ø] Youmu
However, don't wait for her to arrive.
[ø] Touch the disturbance
This
and yeah, good job with the story so far
>> No. 107851
Glad to know you're enjoying it. Calling for Tewi Youmu and touching the disturbance wins, for all intents and purposes.
>> No. 107900
File 126094433944.jpg - (510.43KB , 1006x716 , 0fe2b56cc8b0eca94ac1c74132089fbb.jpg ) [iqdb]
107900
>[x] Call someone over
>- [x] Youmu
>However, don't wait for her to arrive.
>[x] Touch the disturbance

You don’t want to disturb Yume and Reimu, and while Chen and Merlin aren’t as busy, they’re not as mature as the others, leaving only one feasible option.

“Youmu!” you shout. “Come here for a second!”

You honestly don’t expect her to join you given that she really doesn’t like you all that much, so you begin to prepare yourself mentally for what you’re about to do. Before the shimmering can stop, you reach out and touch it with your index and middle finger. You aren’t sure what it is, but you definitely feel something there.

And then you feel that something grab you.

You try to jerk your arm back, but whatever has you is just too strong for you to break free. You dig your heels into the ground and grab your arm with your free hand, trying desperately to get away. You fail spectacularly. Well, at least it doesn’t hurt, it’s just freaky as all hell.

“What is i—what are you doing?” the white-haired girl says from behind you. You glance over your shoulder at her and give a quick explanation of your situation, but she scoffs at what you tell her.

“There’s nothing there. Don’t call me over here unless you have a good reason to do so.”

So she can’t see it? Why is it only you? Why are you the crazy one? Before you can tell Youmu you aren’t making this up, whatever has you yanks you forward with such force that you leave your feet and fall flat on your face. When you recover, you realize that you’re free. You push yourself back to your feet and rub at your nose, checking for blood. Your fingers are free of anything crimson, so you deduce that you’re fine.

“Now do you believe me?” you ask, turning to face Youmu again, only to find that everything around you has become incredibly foggy, making it impossible to see just about anything. You can tell that you’re still at the shrine, but you can’t see anyone around you. You don’t even know why you’re surprised that the world you’d come to know has vanished. At this point, that’s par for the course. “Awesome…”

“Not really.”

The voice, naturally, comes from behind you. You turn around to face its owner and find yourself looking at a witch. Black and white outfit, blond hair, gold eyes, a brown apron marked with a large ‘M,’ and a broom in her right hand. She catches you looking her over and blinks, raising a hand to her cheek.

“What? I got somethin’ on my face?”

“Ah, no…I’m just a little surprised to see someone else here…speaking of which, where the hell is ‘Here,’ exactly?” You look around your new reality, but all you can see is fog.

“Ya got me,” the witch says, plopping down on the ground and folding her legs under her dress. “I was jus’ talkin’ ta Reimu, and then everythin’ got all foggy’n shit, ze.”

Talking to Reimu? That would make her…

“Marisa?”

“Yo,” she says, raising a hand to you. “Dunno who ya are, but at least ya’ve heard of me.”

So you’ve found one of the people that vanished now. That’s nice and all, but right now, you just want to get out of this place. Unfortunately, you get the distinct feeling that Marisa has no idea how to accomplish that. After all, if she knew, she wouldn’t be here, would she?

“Hey, sorry ‘bout pullin’ yer arm like that, but yer the first person who could see me, so I had ta act, ze?”

“Yeah, don’t worry about it…”

Wait. What?

“Whoa whoa whoa!” you cry, kneeling down in front of Marisa. The witch blinks at your sudden vigor and scoots back a little bit. “You said…you grabbed my arm?”

“Well, yeah. Ya reached out, so I was like, ‘Hey, maybe he can see me!’ and I grabbed ya and…well, I was hopin’ ya’d pull me out, but we know how that worked out, don’t we?”

You consider her words carefully before coming to your next conclusion. If she could grab you, maybe you could grab someone else, and they could get you out of this world. You open your mouth to speak, but Marisa waves you off before you can start.

“Forget about it,” the magician states. “We can’t just go where we want. There’s some kinda barrier around us right now. Here, watch.” Marisa gets to her feet and readies her broom. After a moment’s preparation, she throws it like a javelin into the distance, but it gets all of fifteen feet before striking something solid and falling back to the ground.

“…Great,” you mutter, stuffing your hands into your pockets. “So you’re telling me that we’re stuck here unless someone from the outside manages to pull us out?”

“Looks like it, ze.” The magician retrieves her broom and rejoins you, giving you a defeated shrug. “I’ve tried everythin’ I can think of to get outta here, but nothin’ works. Hell, I had ta use a lotta power jus’ ta reach you! It’ll take a little while for me ta get enough power to try again, so…looks like we’re gonna get ta know each other, ze!”

She’s certainly acting happy, but you aren’t so sure that you share her enthusiasm. After all, this is the second time that you’ve been yanked from the reality that you’ve grown accustomed to, and you have no way of knowing when you’ll be able to get out of here again. You’re seriously starting to feel like an anime character. ‘Such misfortune,’ or something like that.

Defeated, you slump to the ground and run a hand through your hair, considering your options. You can’t think of any, so you can only assume that you have none. This entire situation is starting to wear away on your sanity. For an instant, you entertain the theory that you actually lost your mind a long time ago and that this entire adventure is the product of your diseased brain. Maybe this place represents your nice little white room with the padded walls, and Marisa is your weird roommate. That would be a nice way to wrap things up, wouldn’t it?

”…over here…”

You look up and glance around. Someone said something, but it wasn’t Marisa. Actually, you think it was Youmu talking, but wouldn’t she be beyond the border of this place? A quick check of the magician sitting beside you confirms that she didn’t hear anything, meaning that either you’ve just lost your mind, or…

”…id something grabbed him…”

“Marisa!” you cry, pulling the black-white girl to her feet. “They’re looking for me!”

“Wha…what the hell’re you talkin’ about?” The magician looks at you with a skeptical expression, but you ignore her and move to where you think the voices are coming from. The barrier around you keeps you from moving too far, but you think you can just barely see the figures of the other girls.

“Hey!” you shout, pounding your fist against the invisible wall. “Hey! Can you guys hear me?!”

“What’re you doin’?” Marisa asks, moving up beside you as she speaks. “I know it sucks here, but don’t be goin’ crazy on me…”

[/i]”…something here…I can sense it…”[/i]

That was Reimu. Your eyes light up, and you start punching the barrier with everything you have in you, hoping to get some kind of reaction from it. It’s strange, though. You know you’re hitting something, but you’re not feeling any pain. You could do this all day and still walk away totally fine. That doesn’t really matter, though. You have to get out of here, and you have to do it fast. Otherwise, the others might give up on you and walk away, and then what? You don’t even want to consider that possibility.

You can see someone’s hand. Based on the length of the fingernails, you figure it belongs to Chen. Not the ideal person to pull you free, but she’s better than nothing. Summoning up all of your willpower, you push against the barrier, hoping for something, anything to give way.

And suddenly, it does.

Your hand slips through the invisible wall like it’s not even there.

No hesitation.

You grab hold of Chen’s arm and feel the cat jerk back in shock. You maintain your grip for as long as you can before losing hold and falling back onto your ass. You can hear them discussing what just happened from the other side, and you can tell that they’re trying to figure out how to rescue you, but you can’t make out their exact plan. Well, it’s not like you could clearly hear them before, but now it’s just too muddled to make out at all. You wish that whatever is happening with you would at least happen consistently.

“Hey, how’d you do that?!” Marisa is beside you now, looking you over like you’re the most interesting thing in the world. “It took me all day to get the strength to grab you and you jes’ push through like there’s nothin’ there!”

“I don’t know, okay?!” you shout in return, getting back to your feet. “But we have a shot at getting out of here! Just…I don’t know, follow my lead!”

Even though you said that, you really have no idea what the hell you’re doing. You can’t back out now, though, so you turn back to the wall and place your hand to it again, willing yourself through the barrier like you’d done a moment ago. Once again, your hand slips through easily enough, but you don’t get very far. Not willing to give up after coming so close, you put your other hand against it and feel it slide through the wall. You’re making progress, anyway. You pull back and stare at the wall, wondering just how far you can go without aid.

Well, only one way to find out, isn’t there?

“Marisa…take my hand.”

The magician blinks at you for a moment before complying with your wishes. Before she can object, you push into the wall once again, this time with your whole body. There’s a bit of resistance, but that quickly passes, and the two of you enter the space between the world you’d been occupying and the ‘real’ world of Gensokyo.

Everything here is murky and disorienting, and you really aren’t sure with direction you’re headed anymore. You sure don’t recall passing through anything like this on your way in, but you get the distinct feeling that the place you’re escaping from was designed to keep people in, not let them out.

You turn back to face Marisa

You try to tell her that everything’s okay, but your words just don’t come out.

It’s getting harder and harder to move.

Harder to breathe.

Is there any air here?

You feel like you’ve been running forever.

Your body wants to give up.

Your mind says ‘Fuck that shit.’

With one final burst, you pull the magician forward and reach out. You aren’t sure why, but you just know that something’s waiting for you there.

Someone grabs hold. You return the favor.

They pull. You push.

You’re out.

You collapse in a heap. Marisa falls on top of you, forcing the air out of your lungs, but you’ll get over that before long. At least you’re free now.

“Are you all right?” That’s Merlin. You wheeze in response and roll over, looking up into the faces of five very concerned looking girls. Well, four concerned girls and one Youmu.

“Hey guys…” you manage to say, forcing yourself to smile in spite of the fact that your lungs are on fire now. “Sorry ‘bout that…Marisa wanted some alone time with me…”

Seeing that you’re more or less okay seems to loosen up everyone, and they all return your smile. Suddenly, you’re very tired. Fatigue overtakes you, and you close you eyes, deciding that it’s a good time for a nap.

…..

...Can you see it now…?

That familiar voice. You open your eyes and find the girl floating above you. That’s fine, you really don’t feel like sitting up right now.

“…See what?” you mutter, still incredibly groggy. You really wish she’d find better times to talk to you.

…Time…

You have no idea what she’s trying to tell you, and frankly, you’re too tired to care. You roll over and bury your head in the pillow you’ve been provided, letting out a quiet sigh. “Bother me later...”

When you look back, you’re alone again. With a thankful sigh, you close your eyes and go back to sleep. Still, what she said to you starts to dig at the back of your mind.

Seeing time…

Huh. That’s a hell of a thing.

.....

(Part 2 coming soon.)
>> No. 107935
>>107900
awesome, I guess we know what to look for, in order to find all the disappeared people now.
We already know where Yuyuko's stuck in~
>> No. 107947
Hmm, that's interesting ability
>> No. 107951
Cool. Looking forward to the second part.
>> No. 107968
File 126098462759.jpg - (358.31KB , 800x879 , 91230884aa21f347e1c0e359345e86cc.jpg ) [iqdb]
107968
You wake up a few hours later. You get the feeling that your head should be splitting open, but oddly enough, you feel fine. Another small mercy, you suppose. With a shrug, you get to your feet and stretch out, feeling fully refreshed and ready take on anything.

The door to your room opens…well, it will open, anyway. You’re seeing afterimages again. They’re disorienting, but at least they fade away before long. Still, you did get a good look at the person who’s about to come in. She was tall, with long red hair and a green Chinese looking outfit. You recognize her as one of the girls from earlier, the one with the maid and the little blond girl in the black dress, but what she wants with you, you have no idea.

“…You can come in, ya know,” you say, eliciting a quiet yelp from behind the door.

“I’m sorry, did I wake you up?” she says as she slides the door open, poking her head inside. That doesn’t match what you saw earlier, but you shrug that off and shake your head at her. She gives a sigh of relief and opens the door all the way, bowing before you. “Ah, they sent me to make sure you were okay…it sounds like you’ve had a long day…”

“You could say that, miss…”

“Oh!” The girl stands bolt upright once she realizes that you don’t know her name. “Hong Meiling! I’m Hong Meiling…”

She’s certainly acting nervous. Maybe she doesn’t get out much? “Well, it’s nice to meet you, Meiling...” you say, grabbing your jacket as you speak. “I’m fine, though. I guess everyone else is back, too?”

“Oh, yes, we all returned a little while ago…” She looks vaguely disappointed, leading you to assume that her group wasn’t any more successful than yours in finding whoever they were looking for. You can’t stand seeing someone so cute looking so down, so you decide to speak up.

“Didn’t find anyone, huh?” you ask, just to confirm your suspicions.

“No…Lady Remilia and Lady Flandre are still missing, as well as Patchouli…”

So she lost three people? Ouch. Well, you don’t want to leave her feeling depressed, so you continue talking. “Hey, we’ll find them eventually. I mean, we found Marisa earlier, so they’re out there somewhere.”

Meiling considers your logic for a moment before giving you a small smile. It seems that your words reached her. Content with your good deed, you pull your jacket on and step out into the hall, the redhead following behind you. It only takes you a moment to locate everyone else, but it wasn’t exactly a difficult task since they’re all just outside, talking amongst themselves. You don’t see any new faces, so you figure that no one else had any luck finding whoever they were after, either. That’s just great.

“Hey.” That’s Yume. The maiden stands beside you and looks the crowd over, sighing quietly as she does so. “You hanging in there?”

“I’m fine,” you reply, joining her in her examination. “How’s Marisa?”

“She’s up and about, been talking to Reimu for a little while. Speaking of, you should thank her. She’s the one who pulled you out, after all.”

You’d been wondering about that, actually, and now you have your answer. Making a note to thank the red-white miko later, you turn to where you saw the disturbance earlier. It’s gone now, which is probably a good thing. You just wish that you knew what the hell they were, and why you can see them. Maybe they’re related to what the girl with the bear told you. You still don’t know what she meant by seeing time, but you can think about that later. For right now, it might be best to mingle a little and try to get to know some of the others. If you’re going to be stuck here, you might as well make some friends.

[] Talk to someone (Specify, feel free to use their names)

.....

Short update and stuff, but it's my birthday.
>> No. 107970
>>107968
Happy Birthday!

[x] Talk to:
-[x] Youmu
-[x] The girl with her hair tied under her chin.
-[x] Reimu
[x] Has anyone seen Suika?

Youmu so we can make plans to go back and retrieve Yuyuko.
Hina because I want to see her reaction to what must be the absurd amount of misfortune we're carrying.
Reimu to help us decide which group to help next. Also, she's likely the last person to have seen Suika, and finding her may open up a few more options of people to search for (Tenshi, Iku, possibly Mima).
>> No. 107975
[x] To Youmu: Thank her for actually hearing your instruction earlier.
- [x] Explain in detail how did you find Marisa and that her Mistress could be found in the same way.
[x] To Merlin: Ask her if she'd like to compose a celebration song once all of this is over.
[x] To Reimu: Thank her for the save and ask her how did she found the disturbance.
-[x] Ask Yume if she could see it as well.

Wall me.
Oh, and... have a happy birthday.
>> No. 107976
[x] To Youmu: Thank her for actually hearing your instruction earlier.
- [x] Explain in detail how did you find Marisa and that her Mistress could be found in the same way.
[x] To Merlin: Ask her if she'd like to compose a celebration song once all of this is over.
[x] To Reimu: Thank her for the save and ask her how did she found the disturbance.
-[x] Ask Yume if she could see it as well.

>Happy Birthday!
>> No. 107977
[x] To Youmu: Thank her for actually hearing your instruction earlier.
- [x] Explain in detail how did you find Marisa and that her Mistress could be found in the same way.
[x] To Merlin: Ask her if she'd like to compose a celebration song once all of this is over.
[x] To Reimu: Thank her for the save and ask her how did she found the disturbance.
-[x] Ask Yume if she could see it as well.
[x] Has anyone seen Suika?

Sounds good for now
>> No. 107983
Happy birthday!
[ø] To Youmu: Thank her for actually hearing your instruction earlier.
- [ø] Explain in detail how did you find Marisa and that her Mistress could be found in the same way.
[ø] To Merlin: Ask her if she'd like to compose a celebration song once all of this is over.
[ø] To Reimu: Thank her for the save and ask her how did she found the disturbance.
-[ø] Ask Yume if she could see it as well.
[ø] Has anyone seen Suika?
>> No. 108017
Thanks. Gonna go ahead and start updating now.
>> No. 108050
File 126103557579.jpg - (552.39KB , 1024x768 , 0c76b0788ee35c4329cf571a3bd85852.jpg ) [iqdb]
108050
>[x] To Youmu: Thank her for actually hearing your instruction earlier.
>- [x] Explain in detail how did you find Marisa and that her Mistress could be found in the same way.
>[x] To Merlin: Ask her if she'd like to compose a celebration song once all of this is over.
>[x] To Reimu: Thank her for the save and ask her how did she found the disturbance.
>-[x] Ask Yume if she could see it as well.
>[x] Has anyone seen Suika?

Familiarity might breed contempt, but at least you know a few of the girls already. With that in mind, give Yume a quick nod and slip into the crowd, noting that almost everyone is looking at you as you pass. Are you really so unusual? Or did someone tell them what you’re capable of? That’s certainly a possibility, but it is a little weird to consider. You never expected to be a person of interest here, after all.

Pushing aside any weird feelings, you eventually work your way over to Youmu. The white-haired girl gives you a nod as you approach, but doesn’t pay you any real mind aside from that. Well, at least she isn’t totally frigid toward you now. Still, you came over here to talk, so you’re not leaving without saying your peace.

“Hey,” you say as you take the final few steps toward her. “Uh…sorry about yelling at you earlier…”

“You’ll have to be more specific,” Youmu replies, that familiar chill creeping back up on you now.

“When you were fighting Dokuro or whatever her name was…when I told you to dodge…”

“Hm.” It’s not really the response you were expecting, but at least she acknowledged it somehow. “You explained your reasoning behind that to me, but I’m still not sure I fully understand why you felt the need to distract me like that.” That said, she leans in a bit, examining you with a critical expression on her face. You’d really never noticed before, but she is kind of cute. However, you keep those thoughts to yourself for fear of losing your head to one of her blades.

“Tell me which arm I will raise.”

She says it like it’s no big deal, but you don’t even know how the hell this little ability of yours works. You haven’t even had a chance to experim—

“Left,” you say suddenly, the image of her lifting that arm to the side appearing before you. “You were going to raise your left arm.”

Youmu’s face doesn’t really change, but you think you see a bit of shock in her expression now. That passes quickly enough, leaving the stoic person you’ve come to know. “I see…perhaps you weren’t incorrect in informing me of the danger you saw…”

“Still…sorry. I mean, if you lost, Yume would have died, and then…well, I guess everything would have ended…”

“Indeed…” Youmu sighs quietly and turns away from you, gazing at the vortex in the distance before continuing. “How did you find Marisa?”

“Huh?” You consider the question, wondering how to word what you saw. “Well…it was like a heat wave, you know?”

“A heat wave?”

“Yeah, and I reached out, and she grabbed me and pulled me…to wherever the hell it was she pulled me, and then we got back out.”

As you talk, memories of what happened in Hakugyokurou surface. You saw something like that in the kitchen, didn’t you? So maybe…

“I might I know where Yuyuko is.”

You were starting to doubt that Youmu would ever show any real emotion, but when those words fall on her ears, she seems to become an entirely different person. All pretenses of being serious fly out the metaphoric window, and she grabs you by your shoulders, shaking you violently.

“Where?! Where is she!?” She looks almost frantic now, but when you inform her that shaking you will only result in you getting sick, she relaxes a bit, though she keeps her fingers pressed firmly into your flesh. “Where…did you see it? The ‘heat waves’ you described…”

“The kitchen, back in Hakugyokurou…I only saw them for a second, but they were definitely there.”

Mercifully, she releases you from her death grip and takes a few steps back, presumably to regain her composure. “Then we will mount a rescue at once,” she states plainly, having returned to normal now. “Come with me.”

“Whoa whoa whoa!” you say, waving your hands in front of your body. “Sorry, but I don’t feel like doing a repeat performance…I just barely got out of that place with Marisa. Until we can figure out just what we’re dealing with here…”

“Unacceptable!” Again, she shows emotion, only this time it’s one you really hoped to avoid. “We must rescue Lady Yuyuko immediately!”

“Hey!” Your sudden outburst causes her to back down a bit and grants you a few seconds to figure out how to continue. “Listen…you want her saved, right?”

“Of course! That’s why we must tend to this right now!”

“I know, and I appreciate what you must be feeling, but…I don’t know if I can get her out safely. Whatever’s happening with me…I can’t control it yet. I’ve been lucky so far, but I don’t know how long that’ll hold out, so until I can get a better idea of what it is…”

You trail off after that, noting that Youmu’s face has become decidedly less enthusiastic now. It’s not like you wanted her to get depressed, but she had to see things from your side of the argument. Still, you hate to see her like that, so you place your hand on her shoulder. She responds by swatting your arm away.

“Leave me,” she says, her voice ice cold now. Unwilling to test her, you start to walk away, only to pause after you take a few steps. You can’t just leave it like this. You have to say something.

“…We’ll find her, and everyone else…I promise…”

You don’t know if your words mean anything to her, but you’ve already said it, so there’s no taking it back. Before you can worry yourself to death over it, you see another familiar face, that of Merlin Prismriver. Even in the fading light of dusk you can tell she looks depressed. If your sisters were missing, you’d likely feel the same way. Time to play Mister Happiness again.

“Hey,” you call to her. Maybe you should think up a different greeting, that one is starting to feel a little tired. “You okay?”

“Not really…” the blue-haired girl says, giving you a weak smile and inviting you to sit beside her. You accept her offer and plop down on the grass, joining her in staring at the sky. The first stars are just staring to make themselves known now, and you expect the sun to set any time now. You forget all that once Merlin starts talking again.

“My sisters would love this…being here with everyone…playing music…making them smile…” You think you hear her voice starting to choke up a little bit, and a quick glance confirms that tears are welling up in the corners of her eyes. You can’t stand that, so you put your arm around her shoulder, giving her a kind of half-hug. She responds by leaning against you and sighing. “Thanks…”

“Yeah…I can’t imagine what you’re going through…I’ll tell you what, though. Once we find everyone, let’s compose a song.”

She seems to perk up on hearing your idea, which you just came up with all of a second ago. The Prismriver looks at you, her eyes alight with a combination of tears and inspiration. “Really?”

“Of course!” Well, you’re on the right track, anyway. Maybe you can seal the deal so you don’t have to worry about keeping her happy for a while. “But you have to promise me that you won’t give up, okay?”

“Okay!”

At least she’s easy to entertain. Satisfied, you get to your feet and leave Merlin alone to get started on the music. Aside from your failure with Youmu, you think you’re starting to get pretty good at making everyone feel better. Not a bad skill to have.

Now that that’s taken care of, you have one final stop to make. It doesn’t take long to find Reimu, mostly because she’s talking to Marisa, and Marisa has a very distinctive look. You opt to just give them a quick wave as you close in on them, and they return the gesture, each one smiling broadly at you.

“Yo!” the magician says, her grin getting just a little bigger. “Hey, didn’t get a chance to earlier, so here it is – thanks for gettin’ me outta there, ze.”

“No problem,” you reply. “Actually, that’s what I wanted to talk to you about, Reimu…thanks for pulling me out. I couldn’t have made it without you.”

“About that…” The maiden gets a little closer to you, presumably so no one will hear what she has to say next. “Don’t do that again…I just barely managed to find you. Next time, you might not get so lucky…”

“Yeah, I wasn’t planning on going back any time soon, at least until I can figure out what the hell’s going on with me…” You turn to the other girls, wondering if you’ll be able to see the afterimages again. They’re faint, but they’re still there. You focus on them, and they become clearer. You stop, and they fade. It seems simple enough, but it’s hard to maintain enough concentration to do either for long, so you just relax until you can get a better grasp of what exactly it is you’re doing. Then, something occurs to you, something that’s been in the back of your mind since you discovered that Reimu was your rescuer. “Speaking of, how’d you find me, anyway?”

“I…left this reality for a few seconds and managed to stumble across you before you got lost.” It’s a bit of a cryptic answer, but you don’t really feel like listening to a technical explanation right now, so you’ll just have to live with that for right now.

“I still think that’s cheatin’, Reimu,” Marisa says, folding her arms across her chest. “I mean, s’not like we can touch you when yer like that, ze.”

“It wasn’t a danmaku battle, it was a matter of life and death. You should be thankful. If I hadn’t been there, you’d have been lost, too.”

“Oh…yeah…” Marisa bows to Reimu’s logic and scratches at the back of her head nervously. You get the feeling that this is a common occurrence between them, but again, you don’t feel like getting the specifics. You’re still at least partly asleep, after all.

“Uh…you said you could sense something there?” you continue, wanting to get a few more answers while you’re here. After all, if Reimu can tell where those things are, maybe they won’t need to rely on you so much.

“Sort of,” the red-white girl states. That kills that idea. “I could just barely tell that something was wrong there, but what it was, I had no idea. It looks like you’re more in tune with what’s happening than any of us.”

Great.

You exhale your exasperation slowly and rub the bridge of your nose. It was too much to expect to get off the hook that easily. Looks like you’re still in this for the long haul. Well, you still have one last question you need answered, and you’re pretty sure Reimu can give you what you need. “What about Yume? Could she see it?”

“No. She needs more training before she’ll be able to sense things of that nature. That’s why we’re training, though. I think she might be more talented than me, so maybe it won’t be too much longer before she’s capable of it.”

There’s that, anyway. At least some good is coming from this situation. Having exhausted all your questions, you made some idle conversation with the girls and prepare to go about your business when Marisa grabs you by the shoulder.

“Hey, where ya goin’?!” she exclaims, causing you to blink a few times. “You gotta stick around! I’ve decided I’m gonna take care of that damn vortex, ze!”

As soon as she says that, all eyes are on her. Grinning like a madman, the magician calls to her broom, which flies up to her almost immediately. Before anyone can react, she’s up in the air, balancing on her ride like she was born to do it. She has something in her hand now, but you can’t make out what it is. Some kind of box?

“Oh dammit!” Reimu kicks off of the ground and shoots toward Marisa, but you already know she’ll be too late, mostly because you’ve already seen what she’s about to do.

Whatever it is, it’s big.

”Love Sign 「Master Spark」”

What you can only call mass destruction given form tears through the sky, quite literally splitting the heavens as it careens toward its destination. The vortex waits off in the distance, and for a moment, you think that the end of this entire situation might be ensured. However, once the blast hits its target, it gets sucked in harmlessly, leaving the world no worse than it began.

“What…the fuck…?” you manage to say. You have no idea what just happened, but you are very glad that you were nowhere near that thing. You know for a fact that nothing human would survive a direct hit.

“Marisa, what the hell are you doing?!” Reimu shouts from above you, giving the magician a whack to the back of her head. “Do you even think befo…”

The rest of Reimu’s words are lost on you as any sounds you might have heard are replaced by a loud roar. You recognize the din instantly and turn your attention to the vortex. As you expected, another static wall is approaching. You don’t know if Marisa’s actions triggered it or not, but you do know that once it hits, nothing will be the same. However, the others don’t seem to notice it. You can worry about that later. Right now, you have to act. You think that Yume will be fine because of the pin, but the others...are you willing to just let them get swept away?

[] Try to get everyone’s attention
-[] Formulate a plan of action
[] Do nothing and see what happens
[] Write-in
>> No. 108052
[X] Try to get everyone’s attention
-[X] Formulate a plan of action

Maybe we could fly over it?
>> No. 108054
[X] Try to get everyone’s attention
-[X] Formulate a plan of action

Get everyone to grab a hold of each other in a circle, make sure you and Yume are a part of it.
>> No. 108059
[X] Try to get everyone’s attention
-[X] Formulate a plan of action
>> No. 108069
Since I forgot to mention it, no one has seen Suika. That's what I get for updating while passing out.
>> No. 108076
[X] Try to get everyone’s attention
-[X] Formulate a plan of action

I wonder if Reimu skill can be used to phase out all others for a few seconds? It's either that or dodging it, since, for what we've seen, direct attacks only seem to make their penis harder.
>> No. 108077
[x] Try to get everyone’s attention
-[x] Formulate a plan of action: Get everyone to grab a hold of each other in a circle, make sure you, Yume, and Reimu are a part of it.

I get the feeling we're going to lose some people no matter what we do. Let's at least make sure we grab Reimu so Yume's training can continue.
>> No. 108078
Allrighty, gonna start updating, but it won't be finished until later.
>> No. 108083
>>108077
Since he didn't ask for a 'specify' I believe that the plot will take care of the specific plan. If I were you, I'd let it to handle because the 'holding hands' thing always seem to fail at the last moment.
>> No. 108108
>>108083
I disagree, there's no reason to split "formulate a plan" into a lone sub-option unless it's meant as a command.
>> No. 108152
File 126112310247.jpg - (337.70KB , 742x986 , 2b81d0ef23e1bf10f3b7ad2ca0f157f2.jpg ) [iqdb]
108152
>[X] Try to get everyone’s attention
>-[X] Formulate a plan of action

No, you can’t risk that. They have to know what’s coming. You doubt that they’ll believe you, so you’ll just have to make them listen. Let them think you’re crazy, so long as you don’t lose anyone else.

“Hey! Everyone!” It’s hard to hear your own voice over the roar of what’s coming, but at the same time you realize that no one else can hear it, so they can actually hear you without you needing to yell like that. Once all eyes are on you, you give a quick synopsis of what you’re seeing. As you expected, most everyone looks at you like you’ve lost your mind, but Reimu and Yume seem to accept what you’ve told them without question.

You have a hard time hearing what they’re saying, but they seem to be handling the situation easily enough. Before long, everyone is organized and informed, but you really have no idea how to proceed from here, and the wall is getting closer with each passing second. Things are going to hell pretty fast.

Yume is next to you now. You can see her lips moving, but you can’t make out anything she’s saying. You relay that information to her, and she responds by talking a little louder for your benefit.

“Do you know what we can do?” she asks, earning her nothing but a shake of the head from you.

“I have no idea,” you say, keeping your own volume toned down. You know what you’re saying, so there’s no need to yell. “Whatever the hell that thing is…I don’t think we can stop right now…the best we can hope for is to save as many people as we can from what’s coming.”

“Dammit…” Yume puts a hand to her forehead, looking annoyed with this entire situation. You can’t say you blame her, since you feel the same way. “Would be nice if everyone had these pins…”

Pins.

You and Yume exchange glances before coming up with the same idea at same time. As soon as you confirm that you’re in agreement, you both charge up to Reimu and tell her your plan. You have no idea if it’s going to work, but it’s better than nothing. If even one person can be kept from being swept away, then you’ll have succeeded.

“It’s a long shot, but…okay!” Reimu sets things into motion easily enough, and before long, everyone at the shrine is gathered in a circle and holding hands. It looks a little silly, but you’re hoping to God that whatever makes the pins work like they do will transfer to the others, allowing them to remain here with you. After all, you haven’t even talked to most of them yet.

“You’re sure something’s coming?” someone says. You glance to your right and see the maid looking at you. A quick nod is all you give her before you turn your attention back to Yume, who’s standing directly opposite of you now. The miko shows you a nervous grin and tightens her grip on Reimu’s and Marisa’s hands, just in case. You do the same, making sure you have a firm hold of Meiling and Youmu. After all, you don’t know what’s going to happen this time.

“All right, the wall’s coming up now!” you say. “I don’t know what’s going to happen, but...don’t let go, okay? I know a lot of you are strong, so just hold on for dear life…”

The girls all nod in unison, and you exhale slowly, watching as the static gets closer and closer. Something about it feels different, though. It’s not quite as…staticy now. You can almost see through it. Maybe it’s because of your new ability? You really don’t know, but it’s there. As with most other things, it’s not important. All that matters right now is making sure that everyone gets through this safely.

“It’s here,” you say plainly.

An instant later, it hits.

The entire world goes white and foggy, much like it was when you were with Marisa. It feels like you’re standing in a strong headwind now, but you know that’s not the case. Whatever is passing you by is desperately trying to pull you away from the others. You grab their hands the best you can, and they return the favor. Meiling and Youmu are surprisingly strong, and for an instant you think that they might break your hand as they hold on to you. You push that pain aside and set your feet as best you can, trying to catch your breath again. It’s so hard to breathe in this place. You don’t know when this will end, but you pray that it’s over soon. You really can’t imagine staying here for too much longer.

Fortunately, it all stops quickly enough. The strain it placed on your body causes you to collapse almost immediately afterwards, but you stay conscious. The others fare much better than you, even the supposedly human among you. Maybe being magical or whatever their nature is has its benefits.

After a few moments of lying on the ground, you push yourself back to your feet and do a quick head count. It looks like everyone came through okay. That’s a relief. You let out a sigh and sit back down, feeling like you just ran two marathons back to back. You’ll be fine, but you don’t really want to repeat that experience for a long time.

“Looks like we made it,” Yume says, rubbing at her hands as she walks toward you. “You gonna survive?”

“I’ll tell you tomorrow,” you mutter in response, burying your face in your hands. “I feel like crap…”

“Yeah, me too...don’t know why it hit us so hard that time, but we’re still here, so I guess that counts for something…”

“Yeah…” You’re too beat up to say much more. Shrugging off your fatigue for a few moments, you stand back up and make for the shrine again, only to pause when you catch a glimpse of the vortex.

It looks…bigger?

“That’s probably not good…” you observe, indicating the disturbance in the sky as you speak. Yume takes a look for herself before nodding in agreement. “Looks like things are gonna get worse…great…”

“Everyone’s accounted for,” Reimu declares as she joins your little discussion. The red-white miko glances back at the vortex and shakes her head at what she sees. “We need to find out what the hell that thing is before much longer…and I think we need a more permanent solution to your little ‘wall’ problem.”

“Yeah, I know…we were lucky that even worked at all…” You shake your head and glance at the pin on your shirt collar, wondering idly if it would be possible to get one for everyone. For right now, you keep that thought to yourself, partly because you aren’t sure it’s even possible and partly because your head is about to explode as it is. Still, there is one thing you’re one hundred percent sure about at this point.

“I’ve gotta learn, too…I’ve gotta learn how to survive here.”

Reimu blinks at your words, but she gives you a smile after a moment. “All right then. Let’s get some rest. We’ll start your training tomorrow.”

.....

CHAPTER 1 COMPLETE

Chapter 2 will commence sometime tomorrow.
>> No. 108159
Gee, thanks a lot Marisa.
>> No. 108166
[ø]DAMMIT MARISA!

Unique story and good narrating. I'm waiting warmly for Chapter 2.
>> No. 108175
YEAAAAAH! THE MOST RETARDED BASIC IDEA IN THE BOOK WORKED! APPARENTLY!

CELEBRATION!
>> No. 108202
(200 years later)
"oh hey what's that li-OHGODITBURNS"
>> No. 108206
File 126120629165.png - (563.62KB , 757x841 , 6461e395f2d657bd2d7ef79b60cb5342.png ) [iqdb]
108206
Already to the second chapter and we aren't even in autosage yet. I think I'm doing it wrong...

.....

After a few more minutes of conversation, everyone piled into the shrine to get some much needed rest. Being quite literally the odd man out, you ended up sleeping in the hall again while everyone else crowded into the rooms, only this time you were smart enough to lay down. You aren’t particularly tired yet, so you end up staring at the ceiling, thinking on things as they come to you and dismissing them just as quickly. It’s a passive way to tire yourself out, and it’s not working very well, frankly. What you really want is answers, but you know you won’t be getting any tonight.

“Tch…” You exhale slowly and sit up, leaning back against the nearest wall and staring down the corridor. You can hear the others talking quietly. Part of you wants to join them, but a larger part of you doesn’t feel like being brutally beaten for walking in on a room of potentially naked women. You’ll just enjoy that mental image for now.

One of the doors slides open, and someone steps into the hallway. It’s tough to tell who it is due to the lack of light, but as they close in you can see it’s the maid. You think you caught her name a bit ago, Sakuya or something like that. You don’t plan on interacting with her, but that flies out the window once she walks up to you.

“You look cozy,” she says, standing before you now. “Done this before?”

“Yeah…” You take stock of the woman, noting that, like most everyone else here, she’s quite attractive. It’s almost like this world was designed by someone who only creates girls for some reason. You wonder what would motivate someone to do something like that, but before you can dwell on it too long, Sakuya starts talking again.

“You know…that was a silly plan you came up with.”

She says it so naturally that you barely even feel her words stab you until it’s too late. You give her an apologetic smile, but she maintains her critical expression. You aren’t really sure what her problem is with you. Making enemies seems to be one of your specialties. Probably not a great skill to have.

“I know…” you say after a few incredibly awkward moments of silence. “But I really didn’t know what else I could do. I mean, me and Yume are safe from whatever the hell those things are, but you guys…”

“I didn’t say it was a bad plan, just that it was silly.” The maid finally softens her expression a little and places a hand on her hip, looking you over as well. “So, how could you see it, anyway?”

“I really don’t know,” you reply. “It started yesterday…well, I guess it started with the first wall, but after that…”

You give Sakuya a quick rundown of the things you’re beginning to see. She nods every so often, but remains silent. The maid ponders what you’ve told her for a few moments before speaking again.

“I’m going to do something. Tell me if you sense anything strange.”

Before you get the chance to question her, you become aware that something exceedingly weird has just happened, but you have no idea what it could be. Sakuya catches the expression on your face and smiles, giving you a nod.

“I stopped time,” she says, making it sound like that fact is nothing special. “You could tell, couldn’t you?”

“…I don’t know…” You blink at the maid, trying to comprehend that, for at least a few seconds, time was stopped. Was it really that simple? “Did you really…?”

“I did. Most people here can’t tell when I do that, but you’re a little different from the others, aren’t you?” She bends over at the waist and leans in close to you, pressing her index finger to your forehead. There’s a smile on her face now. You aren’t sure if that’s good or bad, but you decide that it’s good once you hear what she has to say.

“Would you like to learn about your power?”

“What?” You blink again. She’s offering to teach you just like that? Well, time does seem to be her domain, so she’d likely be the ideal person to learn from, but you aren’t sure you’re prepared to answer her right now. “Uh…can I think about it? I mean, I kind of asked Reimu to train me already…”

“Yeah, sure, take your time.” Coming from someone who can stop time at will, that kind of comment seems a little ironic. “Listen up, though…from what I can tell, you seem to be in tune with whatever’s happening, so the sooner you figure out what you can do, the better, right?”

She raises a good point, but you still aren’t totally sure what you want to do right now. You’ll decide in the morning. All that fatigue you’d been holding back has finally caught back up with you, and you’re ready for sleep to come. After assuring Sakuya you’ll answer her in the morning, the maid leaves you be and re-enters the room she came from.

Now that you’re alone, you find yourself wondering what to do. Learn about your powers, or get some general training. It looks like paths are starting to open up before you. Still, it would be nice if one of those paths led back home…

.....

Morning comes before long, and you sit up, feeling more or less like you would if you’d slept on an actual bed. The only real difference you can feel is a slight stiffness in your neck, but that goes away quickly enough. Now your main problem is hunger. After all, it’s been a while since you really had anything to eat.

You wander through the shrine and end up in the dining area. A few of the girls are already awake, Sakuya and Reimu among them. The former is serving breakfast while the latter is consuming the aforementioned food. It looks like a natural routine, so you slip into the flow the best you can, getting a plate for yourself. You find yourself wondering just how this whole set up is being accomplished, but once you sense Sakuya stop time again, you decide that’s how most of this is being pulled off.

“Morning,” you say to the others as you settle in. They return your greeting, but don’t say much else. Now that you look, you realize you don’t know any of them that well. The girls you’ve been spending time with either aren’t awake or are somewhere else right now, leaving you mostly in the company of strangers. Right now, you’re with the girl with what you can only call a ‘ponybeard,’ the short rabbit girl, the girl with the bandana, and the girl with extremely green eyes. You aren’t totally sure why they aren’t talking to each other, but you just can’t stand the silence. Might as well try talking to them.

[] Choose a discussion topic (Write-in, feel free to pick one for each girl)
>> No. 108210
>>108206

Not really, it means you don't have shitstorms, but civil discussion.

My ideas

[x] Hina
- [x] Ask what she usually does, and try to respond in a kind manner.
[x] Parsee
- [x] Compliment her on her eyes; they're really pretty.

This isn't so much flirting but breaking the ice.

[x] Tewi
- [x] Ask about any good tales
-- [x] Don't make the mistake of treating her like a kid, she might be older than you think.

Dunno what to do about Ichirin.
>> No. 108229
[x] Hina
- [x] Ask what she usually does, and try to respond in a kind manner.
[x] Parsee
- [x] Compliment her on her eyes; they're really pretty.

This isn't so much flirting but breaking the ice.

[x] Tewi
- [x] Ask about any good tales
-- [x] Don't make the mistake of treating her like a kid, she might be older than you think.
>> No. 108233
I agree, you're fine, more than fine, really.

[ø] Hina
- [ø] Ask her about the fabric that's wound around her wrist.
[ø] Parsee
- [ø] Compliment her on her eyes; they're really pretty.
[ø] Tewi
- [ø] Ask about any good tales
-- [ø] Don't make the mistake of treating her like a kid, she might be older than you think.
>> No. 108235
[x] Ask that bandanna one if they use hand signals while flying to avoid collisions, and if there have been any serious crashes.
>> No. 108236
[ø] Hina
- [ø] Ask her about the fabric that's wound around her wrist.
[ø] Parsee
- [ø] Compliment her on her eyes; they're really pretty.
[ø] Tewi
- [ø] Ask about any good tales
-- [ø] Don't make the mistake of treating her like a kid, she might be older than you think.
>> No. 108248
[x] Hina
- [x] Ask what she usually does, and try to respond in a kind manner.
[x] Parsee
- [x] Compliment her on her eyes; they're really pretty.
[x] Tewi
- [x] Ask about any good tales
-- [x] Don't make the mistake of treating her like a kid, she might be older than you think.
>> No. 108249
How convenient, a choice right when I was about to start updating.

Gonna combine the Hina options, since everything else has reached a general consensus. Commencing now.
>> No. 108254
File 126132573561.jpg - (200.63KB , 436x600 , 9ea5759f5f451cb3d10f3dca27fb259f.jpg ) [iqdb]
108254
>[x] Hina
>- [x] Ask what she usually does, and try to respond in a kind manner.
>- [x] Ask her about the fabric that's wound around her wrist.
>[x] Parsee
>- [x] Compliment her on her eyes; they're really pretty.
>[x] Tewi
>- [x] Ask about any good tales
>-- [x] Don't make the mistake of treating her like a kid, she might be older than you think.


”Read any good books lately?”

You almost ask that. Almost. Honestly, you can’t really think of anything to start things off, but when you catch the green-haired girl staring at you, things just start to flow naturally.

“Something wrong?” you ask, getting a quiet gasp for your trouble. The girl averts her gaze for an instant before looking back at you, something of a nervous smile on her face now.

“No, it’s just…you’re very unlucky, aren’t you?”

Is it really that obvious? You shrug and give a nod, deciding that you are indeed totally devoid of anything remotely related to fortune. “You could say that, I guess…why do you ask?”

“It’s my job to notice that kind of thing,” she replies. You aren’t sure what she means by that, so you decide to inquire further.

“Your job?”

“Oh, yes. I’m a curse goddess, after all.”

Why can they say such things with a straight face?

“Curse…goddess?” You repeat what she’s just said, tasting the words as they leave your mouth. It all seems so completely absurd, but then you remember where you are and everything makes a little more sense. Still, your sense of self-preservation kicks into high gear when you consider that you’re sitting very close to someone who apparently curses people.

“That’s right…” Once she sees the expression on your face, her own becomes a little forlorn. Well, she seems like a nice person, so maybe she doesn’t like cursing people? Or does she curse people at all? Only one way to find out, of course.

“So…what’s that like?” you ask, doing your best to look interested. That’s pretty easy since you’re already curious about it. “I mean…do you only curse bad people or…”

“Oh! Oh no, no, I don’t curse people!” She looks appalled by the very thought, and she waves her hands in front of herself, clearly eager to defend herself against your accusations. “I absorb misfortune so it doesn’t cause people harm!”

“Oh.” That’s actually pretty cool, you think, but you decide to keep that to yourself for right now. A large part of you does want to ask her to remove all bad luck that surrounds you, but you don’t want to come across as needy, having just met her. As you look her over, an odd piece of her attire catches your eye. She has a ribbon wrapped loosely around her left wrist, and she fidgets with it every so often. Curiosity overcomes you, so you let go and decide to ask about it. “Is that bothering you?”

“Hm?” The goddess looks over at you, tilting her head to one side. Realization dawns over her face once you indicate the ribbon, and she sends another smile your way. “Oh…this is why I use to remove misfortune and other things…it’s reacting to your aura.”

Damn. You must really be unlucky.

“Well…I wouldn’t mind being a little luckier,” you say idly, wondering if she’ll get your hint. She seems to understand what you’re trying to tell her, and a moment later the ribbon unfurls itself and flies toward your face, stopping short of wrapping around you. The goddess has her eyes closed, and she chants quietly. You can’t make out what she’s saying, but you get the feeling that it’s just part of her job.

As she works, you can almost feel the oppressive aura you’ve been carrying leave you behind. The world seems a little brighter now, a little more optimistic, like everything might turn out okay.

And then you end up dumping your breakfast into your lap.

You cry out in shock and fall back, fully expecting to suffer some kind of burns from that little ordeal. However, you sense Sakuya stop time again, and once that sensation passes you note that your pants are clean, any mess you might have made is gone, and a new plate sits before you. It’s like the entire incident never happened.

Of course, once you think about it, you realize that Sakuya had to have taken your pants off to clean them. You aren’t sure what to make of that.

“Try to be more careful, Hina,” Reimu says, looking very nonchalant about what just happened. “If he’s as unlucky as you seem to think, you’ll just end up leaking out whatever you absorb from him.”

“Oh, yes…you’re probably right, Reimu.” Hina gives you an apologetic smile, and you resolve to be more careful around her, lest you trip over your own feet and bite your tongue off or something stupid like that.

The others look unconcerned by what’s just occurred, but you think you see the rabbit snickering at you. Not the nicest gesture in the world. You make a note of that and scan the table again, your eyes focusing on the green-eyed girl now. She gives you a quick glance, but otherwise looks uninterested in everything about you. You, on the other hand, find yourself a little stricken by her eyes.

“They’re lovely,” you say suddenly, causing everyone in the room to look at you. No turning back now. “Your eyes, I mean.”

“You think so…?” She doesn’t really look at you as she speaks, instead focusing on playing with the food on her plate. “Bet you wish yours were like mine…both the same color and everything...”

Now that she mentions it, you kind of do. It would save you a lot of explaining, and maybe people would quit staring at you. Why’d you compliment her in the first place? Sure, she’s got incredible eyes, but you look like a freak when put up against something like that. Where the hell does she get off, waltzing around with those things in her head? Why should she get such amazing looking eyes while you’re stuck with boat lights?! You hate her! You hate everything about her! You just wanna-

“Parsee, knock it off.”

Reimu’s words seem to break whatever had been holding you hostage, and all hostile thoughts leave your mind. You blink a few times and put a hand to your forehead, trying to figure out what the hell just happened. A glance to the girl called Parsee doesn’t yield any answers, since all she does is grin mischievously and stand up, leaving the room. Still confused, you turn to the red-white miko for answers. Reimu sighs and starts up her explanation.

“Parsee can manipulate jealousy,” she states. “I saw you getting all annoyed and stuff and figured that she was messing with your head, so there you go.”

“Uh…thanks?” you say in response, still a little unclear on what exactly just happened. It’s true that you’re a little sensitive about your eyes, but did she pick up on that just by talking to you, or did she plant the seeds in your head and let nature take its course? You really have no way of knowing, so you push the issue aside. You still feel a little muddled, after all.

“She’s really not a bad person,” Hina adds, turning her attention to where Parsee had gone. “She just…doesn’t get along with people very well. It’s a long story…”

“I’ll keep that in mind…”

Giving the green-eyed girl one final thought, you look at the remaining girls. Once again, the rabbit is snickering, presumably at your situation. She seems to be enjoying herself, but you can’t help but feel a little annoyed by that, so you decide to speak up.

“Something funny?” you ask, being as vague as possible. While you think that she’s laughing at you, there’s also a chance she’s laughing at something else. You still want to give her the benefit of the doubt. The rabbit looks over at you, still laughing quietly.

“Yeah,” she says. “Just…thinking of something that happened once s’all.”

It’s a lame excuse, but you’re too worn out to call her on it. Still, you could use a laugh, so if it’s as funny as she seems to think it is, it might do you some good. “Oh yeah?” you continue. “What happened?”

“Oh, it was a trick I played on Reisen,” she states. “I put one of Eirin’s drugs into her water one morning, and she ended up going blind for most of the day. She broke just about everything Eientei until Eirin fixed her. Kaguya was piiiiissed.”

The rabbit laughs out loud this time, the memory of her joke seeming to make her feel proud of herself. You, on the other hand, are less than amused by what you’ve heard. Having met both Reisen and Eirin already, you feel a little annoyed with the kid. Wait, is she a kid? You recall what Yume told you, about how she knew everyone here already, leading you to believe that this rabbit is at least two hundred years old. She’s not a child, that’s for sure.

Doesn’t make you feel any better, though.

You shake your head and dig into your breakfast, deciding to finish it before anything else happens. Now that you’ve started the conversation, the others have become a bit livelier. The rabbit, who you learn is called Tewi, relates to you a few more tales about the various jokes she’s played on people, including one time she got one over on the maid, something about replacing her masters umbrella with a plastic one on an especially hot day. Tewi starts laughing again, but stops almost instantly after Sakuya froze time and stuck a knife in the table beside her. You’re not sure what frightens you more, the fact that Sakuya can use knifes or the fact that you can sense when she does that and can’t do anything to stop it. Both prospects are frightening as hell.

Before long, your little group has finished eating breakfast. Ichirin, the girl with the hood you initially identified as a bandana, left without saying too much. She looked a little depressed when she took off, but you aren’t really sure why. Maybe she lost someone important to her? You aren’t a mind reader, so you can’t speak on the issue.

“Well then,” Reimu starts, looking at you from across the table. “Are you ready to get started? I can at least teach you how to fly today.”

That’s right, you asked her to train you. But Sakuya wants to help you as well. You aren’t really sure what you want to learn first; general survival skills or how to control your new abilities. If only you could do both at once…

[] Train with Reimu
[] Train with Sakuya
[] Try to train with both of them
>> No. 108256
[X] Train with Sakuya
>> No. 108257
[x] Train with Sakuya

We need to learn our skill first so we can help people.
>> No. 108258
[ø] Train with Sakuya.
If Sakuya can stop time in a limited space like in ASSM where farmer learned danmaku, we could try training with both Sakuya and Reimu in our given time limit.
>> No. 108259
[x] Train with Sakuya

This should leave Reimu to train Yume, since I see it's best we train our ability as to help people out and such. Then we can learn general survival (until then we can have someone back us up)
>> No. 108260
I agree with the above.

[x] Train with Sakuya
>> No. 108261
Man, you guys voted fast today. I'll get started here in a bit.
>> No. 108265
[x] Train with Sakuya
>> No. 108277
[x] "Train" with Sakuya

Or wait... Too soon for that.
>> No. 108283
[x] Train with Sakuya
Yume could use the training more than us, I think.
>> No. 108350
File 126136744294.jpg - (67.17KB , 552x800 , 17e830aef24c17f27cad47e12122fa72.jpg ) [iqdb]
108350
>[x] Train with Sakuya

“Ah, actually, Reimu...Sakuya offered to help me figure out what’s going on with my powers, so I think I’ll get started on that today. And besides, I think Yume might need the training more than I do.”

The miko glances at the maid, who gives her a nod and a smile in return. “It’s true, I did offer. If what I’ve heard is true, the faster he learns about this powers, the faster we’ll find everyone, right?”

“Good point…all right then, go to it. I’ll focus on Yume while you two work on whatever you need to do.”

You’re about to speak up, but before you get the chance, Sakuya freezes the world again. When things return to normal, you’re somewhere else. Your brain struggles to catch up with the sudden change of scenery and fails miserably, forcing you to close your eyes and come to terms with what just happened. You recover from that shock a few moments later and open your eyes again, finding that you’re now standing on the roof of that building you saw on your first day here. There’s a clock tower not too far away from you, and Sakuya stands before it, a faint smile on her face.

“Welcome to the Scarlet Devil Mansion,” she says, spreading her arms out before her. You don’t know when she got them, but she now holds a multitude of knives in her hands. “Let’s begin, shall we?”

You really don’t like the sound of that.

Fortunately enough, it seems that Sakuya isn’t actually that serious about this. She drops her arms to her side and steps up to you, giving you a gentle grin. “Relax, kid. We’ll take it slow to start. No point in you dying, right? After all, you won’t be able to save my employers if you’re dead.”

Flawless logic on her part, to be sure. You nod in response and finally get your bearings. You’re fine now, so it’s time to get started. “So…you’re going to teach me how to stop time?” you ask, still a little unsure of what exactly you’re trying to accomplish here.

“It’s not as simple as you’d think,” the maid says. “And it’s not something I can teach. But…maybe you’ll figure it out for yourself. Don’t count on it, though.”

You don’t know why, but you feel vaguely disappointed once you hear that. Well, it’s no big deal. You’ve gone most of your life without being able to stop time, so you’ll survive without the ability for a while longer. “Okay, so what are we going to focus on here?”

“From what I understand, you can see afterimages, right?”

“Yeah, something like that.”

Sakuya nods at your confirmation and gives her own theory in return. “I believe that what you’re seeing is where objects will be in the future. For instance, focus on this knife.” She raises the implement as she speaks. You do as you’re told, calling up the images. You see Sakuya pull her arm back and throw the knife off into the distance, and a few seconds later, she does just that. “Did you see what I was going to do?”

“Yeah,” you reply, turning your attention back to the maid. She’s holding up another knife now. Or is it the same one? You didn’t sense her stop time again, but you can’t be sure about anything with her.

“Good. Now this time, I want you to stop me.”

“What’s that?”

“Just grab my wrist before I throw.”

She makes it sound like no big deal, but you find yourself wondering if you can do it. You watch her carefully, and before long, the image appears before you, only it shows her throwing the knife. Before you can wonder what that means, Sakuya pulls her arm back again. You react instinctively, reaching out and wrapping your hand around the maid’s wrist. She doesn’t follow through. Your vision didn’t come true. “What...?”

“You saw me throw it, didn’t you?” She hits the nail on the head, like usual. You nod and release her from your grasp. Sakuya lowers her arm, grinning at you. “Like I thought, you can interrupt the timeline if you want to.”

“Interrupt?” You blink at her words and wonder just what she means by that. “Uh…I don’t follow…”

“Let’s try something else, then,” she says. “I’m going to move somewhere. You move there before I have the chance to.”

You nod, still a little confused by what Sakuya is telling you. The image of her taking a step to the right appears before you, and you slip into the space she’s about to occupy. The maid smiles and turns to you, placing a hand on her hip. “Starting to get it now?” she asks. “What you’re seeing isn’t set in stone. You can change what happens.”

The weight of the world suddenly works its way onto your shoulders. You shake your head a few times and try to work out what she’s just told you. “So…I can…change the future?” you say.

“Sure you can. Everyone can. You just happen to be able to see it.”

“...How do you know all of this?”

Once again, she smiles. “I’ve been around for a long time. I know a lot about how these things work. And besides…you weren’t the only one who knew that thing was coming.” The maid pats you on the shoulder and takes a few steps back, holding more knives now. It bothers you that she can just do that. “I think you might have a bit more potential in you, so let’s see if we can’t draw that out.”

You swallow your nervousness and give her a nod. Looks like you’re in for a long day.

…..

“How’s your tea?”

“It’s fine.”

To prove your statement, you take a sip of the liquid Sakuya had so graciously provided you, ignoring the bandage on your hand the best you can. Most of your training for the day involved dodging low speed knifes, but sometimes you just weren’t fast enough, and your body shows signs of that. You’re covered in small cuts, mostly on your hands and face. The worst came when you decided it would be a good idea to try to bat a double edged blade away. Needless to say, the knife won that fight. Still, you feel you have a better grasp of your abilities now. At least you can shut the images off now.

“I think it’s time we took a break,” the maid states, having stolen your now empty cup away from you. “You made a lot of progress today. No reason to push yourself too hard.”

“I guess,” you say, feeling too worn out to properly reply. “Don’t think I’ve ever worked out so hard before…”

“You’ll get used to it.” Sakuya freezes time again, but this time you’re much more aware of it. It feels like being trapped in ice. Not a pleasant feeling at all, but it only lasts a few seconds. Once the maid releases her hold on the world, you notice that she no longer has the cup she took from you. Does she use her powers to clean? That seems a little odd, but this place thrives on the strange, so you write it off as nothing to worry about.

“Now then…while we’re here, I wonder if I might impose on you a bit.” The maid kneels down before you, a look of utter seriousness on her face. “Can you…find my mistresses? I’m not asking you to save them right now…I just want to know that they’re safe.”

“Well…” you start, blinking at Sakuya. “I…guess I could try, but don’t expect too much…”

“That’s all I ask.”

Sakuya motions for you to follow her, and you comply. She leads you down into the mansion, through various corridors, past all manner of rooms, before finally coming to a halt near a large set of double doors. She pushes them open without hesitation and leads you inside. Within lies an elegant dining room, furnished with all the amenities one would expect in such an extravagant home. The maid stands near the head of the table, staring at an apparently empty chair. You, on the other hand, can clearly see those heat waves. There’s someone there.

“I can see it,” you say, moving up beside her. “Is this where she went missing?”

“Yes…I was serving her dinner. She vanished when the distortion hit.”

You let out a quiet hum and narrow your eyes some at the disturbance, turning your powers up a notch. The waves clear up slightly, allowing you to see inside to an extent. Within sits a young lady, maybe ten or eleven, with short blue hair and a mostly pink outfit. The most noticeable feature about her, though, is the pair of bat-like wings that protrude from her back. “Is she a vampire?” you ask, glancing over at the maid.

“That’s correct,” she replies. A moment later, she realizes what you’ve said and looks over at you, blinking. “Wait, can you see her?”

“Kind of, if I focus on it. She looks fine, if that’s what you want to know.”

Sakuya lets out a sigh of relief and looks at the chair. You can tell that she feels a lot better in knowing that her mistress is safe. Still, you know she’d be a lot happier if you could somehow get the blue haired girl out. You consider the possibility of attempting a rescue, but you aren’t sure if you’ll be able to get her out safely. However, if there’s even a small chance you can get her out right now, shouldn’t you take it?

[] Attempt to rescue the girl now.
[] Wait until later. You want to be absolutely sure you can get her out.
>> No. 108354
[x] Wait until later. You want to be absolutely sure you can get her out.

That and a matter of man power, since we needed help to get out.

But we might be able to do it with just Sakuya, but it'd be risky.
>> No. 108356
[x] Attempt to rescue the girl now.

Take a risk. You could also that a lot worse than have a vampire and the best person suited to training you indebted to you.
>> No. 108357
[x] Attempt to rescue the girl now.
Gogogo
>> No. 108364
>>108350
[X] Attempt to rescue the girl now.

It felt like crap telling Youmu we knew where her mistress was but didn't do anything. Don't wanna feel like that again. Worse comes to worse, Sakuya wrangles Reimu to help I hope
>> No. 108365
[X] Attempt to rescue the girl now.
>> No. 108366
[x] Attempt to rescue the girl now.

Rescue mission go
>> No. 108367
[ø] Wait until later. You want to be absolutely sure you can get her out.
Last time, we were lucky that Reimu was there for us, but such is not the case right now, unfortunately.
>> No. 108370
Rescue mission it is. Updating.
>> No. 108381
File 126137477666.jpg - (226.67KB , 1684x1200 , 5b42644351ded904c8c2856c25f68740.jpg ) [iqdb]
108381
>[x] Attempt to rescue the girl

You’re already here, and you’re more confident in your abilities now. May as well go for broke, right? With that in mind, you turn to Sakuya and give her a quick nod. “I’m going to get her, okay? Wait right here, I’ll be back soon.”

Before the maid can object, you step forward and touch the disturbance. It gives way easily enough, and you enter the other side. It was a lot simpler this time, which you decide to take as a good sign. The girl looks up at you as you make your way inside, a vaguely curious expression on her face.

“And you are…?”

“A friend of Sakuya’s,” you reply as you walk over to her. “I’ve come to get you out.”

The girl breaks into a huge grin as you speak, and she hops down out of the chair she’d been occupying, waltzing over to you with all the grace you’d expect from a young noblewoman. “Oh really? And how do you plan to accomplish that?”

“Well, I got in here, didn’t I? Stands to reason I could get out again.”

The vampire doesn’t question your logic any further. You lead her over to the barrier that separates you from the real world and press your hand to it, willing it to give way like it did before.

Your hand just barely slips through.

You pull back, staring blankly at the foggy world in front of you. You can make Sakuya’s figure out on the other side. She’s waiting for you to return, like you’d promised. You can’t disappoint her.

“Is something the matter?” The vampire’s words cause you to turn to her. Unwilling to look like a fool before her, you shake your head and focus your attention on the barrier once again, trying to push through to the other side. You get a little farther a little easier this time. Your confidence renewed, you motion for your new companion to take your hand. She complies, albeit a little reluctantly, and you start your journey back home.

The world of fog very nearly overwhelms you, but you manage to push on, struggling valiantly against the oppressive nature of this place. Every so often you glance back at the vampire, just to make sure she’s doing okay. Like you, she appears to be suffering due to the otherworldly nature of this realm. Seeing that only bolsters your determination, and you press onward, trudging through the unknown toward your final destination.

A good ten minutes later, you’re no closer than you were when you started.

Your entire body is on fire. Your lungs are holding less and less air. Your brain is trying to shut down, but you force it to jump-start and keep moving forward. You have to make it. You have to.

Your companion loses her grip and falls over, unable to continue. You try to turn to her, but when you do, you find that you’re very alone now. She’s nowhere in sight.

This was a mistake. You weren't ready. And now...

You try to call out for her, but your words don’t come out.

You try to keep moving, but your body won’t cooperate.

You try to breathe, but there’s no air left.

You stare into the distance, wondering if anyone will save you this time.

No one comes.

You’re alone.

You’re…
compl…
ete…
ly…
a…
l…
o…
n…
e…

BAD END

.....

Enter The Sleeper’s Study?
[] Yes
[] No
>> No. 108384
[X] Yes

I think we know why though.
>> No. 108386
[x] Yes

>>108364

Oh really now?

I must say I wonder if some people's brains are there only for decoration.
>> No. 108393
File 126137872729.jpg - (28.41KB , 353x335 , 1209631686977.jpg ) [iqdb]
108393
[x] Yes

apparently, some of us need it
>> No. 108414
I knew this would happen...
>> No. 108420
[x] Yes
>> No. 108422
Thank you, I was hoping you'd bad end this stupid choice. Seems people already forgot that we shouldn't be doing this without Reimu around.

[x] Yes
>> No. 108423
>>108422

Well it seemed fairly obvious that it would happen.
>> No. 108428
>>108414
>>108420
>>108423
>>108386

Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever you say guys. I'm sure that ALL of the '[x] Attempt to rescue the girl now' where someone else's votes, right?
's easy to predict the future once it becomes the past.

[x] No.
Anyway, I got what I came here for. I'd rather not waste an update hearing an explanation of how you shouldn't risk doing something that 6 hours earlier would have killed you if not for someone else's help. Specially if that someone else's is nowhere near. I'd rather go for another update: after this bad end, I like this story even more.
>> No. 108429
>[x] Yes

”You kinda screwed the pooch there, didn’t you?”

You open your eyes and find that you’re somewhere else. The whiteness is gone, replaced by a well-furnished room. A fire burns in the corner, various books line the walls, and in the center of it all sits a sharply dressed young man. He looks down on you with a mixture of compassion and annoyance. You try to speak, but as you so often find, you just can’t get the words to come out.

“Didn’t really think that decision through. Well, I’m not totally without sympathy, you thought you were doing the right thing. But an afternoon of training with Sakuya isn’t going to prepare you to rescue everyone.”

He leans back in his chair and places his hand in front of him, summoning up a large sheet of paper. As far away as you are, you can still clearly make out what it says.

Leadership: 2
Charisma: 3
Creativity: 5
Guts: 2
Luck: 1

Strength: 1
Speed: 1
Magic: 0
Intellect: 2
Stamina: 2

Skills

Piano Lvl. 2
Guitar Lvl. 4
Singing Lvl. 5
First Aid Lvl. 1
Time Perception Lvl. 2


“That’s you,” he says plainly. “Not really built up too much yet, are you? Well, that’ll change, just keep at it. You still have a lot of work to do. Don’t let this discourage you. I’m a pretty nice guy, after all. And because I’m such a nice guy, I’m going to send you back to the time where you decided to rescue Remilia. This time, I suspect you’ll act a little differently.”

He sends the paper back to wherever it came from and prepares to snap his fingers, only to continue speaking before he does. “You won’t remember any of this, but the people watching over you will.” He turns his gaze away from you and looks up at the ceiling. You can’t help but wonder who he’s talking to now. “And for that matter, coming here is totally optional. I’ll always send you back to where you were just before you shuffled off this mortal coil, unless you specifically ask to return somewhere else. Don’t abuse that. Oh, and I’m keeping track of your inventory and relationships as well. If you want to see those, just ask.”

He looks back down at you and grins. “Are you ready to go back?”

You nod.

He snaps his fingers and…

.....

Sakuya lets out a sigh of relief and looks at the chair. You can tell that she feels a lot better in knowing that her mistress is safe. Still, you know she’d be a lot happier if you could somehow get the blue haired girl out. You consider the possibility of attempting a rescue, but you aren’t sure if you’ll be able to get her out safely. However, if there’s even a small chance you can get her out right now, shouldn’t you take it?

[] Attempt to rescue the girl
[] Wait until later. You want to be absolutely sure you can get her out.
>> No. 108431
Oh, I forgot to mention. I'm starting a five day stretch at work today, something I almost never do, so updates might be a tad sporadic over the next week what with Christmas and all that stuff. Just a fair warning.
>> No. 108432
Uh, do we really need to vote here?

I mean, there's only one option and a write-in would be pointless so...
>> No. 108433
I suppose you don't...I'm tired and hungry right now, not really thinking clearly. I'll get started in a bit.
>> No. 108450
Can't believe that "Rescue now hurrr durr" option won. The only write-in that might have saved our asses was if we [ø] asked Sakuya to fetch Reimu, wait for Reimu to arrive, point to exactly where the gap is, and then we went in.
>> No. 108454
>>108450
And yet not a single person thought to write that...
I'm beginning to wonder if anon ever thinks before he votes.
>> No. 108457
>>108454
More like; where were all these people saying anon was dumb when the voting was being done?
>> No. 108461
>>108457
I did vote (>>108367), despite voting late.
>> No. 108465
>>108454
This is one of the problems with the "first to five" system. It encourages people to make a quick decision, without a large amount of discussion or consideration.

(the system has advantages as well such as being faster...it's a tradeoff.)
>> No. 108484
>>108465

speeed != quality.

and you should have been suspcious when some faget named "fishing for a bad end" voted for an option.
>> No. 108494
>>108465

What else would you suggest though? How many votes are needed to make a decision, and how long would it take to get them? I know there've been times when I post an update then get two votes in half a day. Then again, considering I'm a worthless faget when it comes to updating my own stories, maybe I deserve it.

Just saying though.
>> No. 108504
>>108465

Also that mainly works with more planless/brainless stories, something like this, a hasty first to 5 votes style would be a disservice to it.

>>108494

Gensou Coil Updates WHEN?

Just kidding, I wouldn't want a shit rushed update
>> No. 108505
>>108504

Yeah. I'm sure Sleeper will come back and probably change the vote style now that the pace of his story has picked up a bit and reading these few posts.

In the meantime before he gets back though, any suggestions as to what would be good?
>> No. 108506
I'd been thinking about that, actually. Something like "Most votes in x amount of time," but that doesn't really work out in the long run, I believe.

I'm open to suggestions, guys.

In the meantime, updating now.
>> No. 108528
New thread: >>108527