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File 127681623633.jpg - (61.17KB , 400x266 , but you had no appetite.jpg ) [iqdb]
119163 No. 119163
And then you realised you were out of time.

---

The hall seemed infinitely large, stretching out on either side as far as you could see. It is a familiar “dream”, of course. You didn’t need to see through the thin blindfold to remember what it looked like. The blindfold itself was probably unnecessary as well – you are as afraid to look at the other seated diners as much as they you.

The food is safe, though you doubt it would provides any sustenance back in reality. Your most gracious host walks alongside in purple and white. She is not the architect of all this. You doubt anyone is. Nevertheless, for whatever arcane reason she has brought everyone together again.

"It’s most likely the start for some of you. For others, it’s nearing the end. You all should have worked out the situation you are in, as well as the rather… permanent consequences. But let me tell you. I will brook no significant interference with the rest of Gensokyo."
She stops on the far side of the table, all eyes blindly focused on her.
"This land may accept all."
Her stern gaze sweeps the hall, and you shudder as you feel it staring at you right through the blindfold.
"I do not."


---

You awake in unfamiliar territory.

[ ] Short stone steps
[ ] Long stone steps
[ ] Narrow wooden steps
[ ] Wide wooden steps
[ ] Natural boulders
[ ] Lake
[ ] Hidden dark steps


---

((First quest for a new writer! Please bear with the moderately tedious prose, the run-on sentences and perhaps lengthy time between updates! This quest's got some structure and plans to it and is supposed to be mildly grim-serious, but feel free to take it in any direction you wish. Choices may lead to death. Death may be useful in places and/or temporary. Other than that, have fun! And tell me if I'm making any serious misstep or error!))

>> No. 119164
Well, if I had an option between sorts of steps--

I think I'd pick the shortest, or the widest ones. And maybe wood over stone, since wooden steps in my head tend to be less slippery.

So.

[X] Wide wooden steps
>> No. 119165
[x] Wide wooden steps

Stone steps and boulders could have moss and other shit that could make them slippery. Narrow steps are annoying.
>> No. 119170
>>119168
I didn't think that was what the author thought; I was just explaining my thought process in picking which one to choose.

Better than flipping a coin or rolling dice, in any case.
>> No. 119171
Who the hell automatically thinks the steps have anything to do with whether or not you survive stepping on them? Who thinks the writer intends death on the very first choice? Poor starting move for your reputation, in my opinion.

I'm more inclined to believe they have something to do with our starting point, like most people would.

[x] Natural boulders

Getting sick of shrines.
>> No. 119172
[cross-eyed mary] Natural boulders

Nature. 'nuff said.
>> No. 119173
>>119171

It wasn't that. Stone is just more of a pain in the ass to go up if it is not used/cleaned all the time. Yeah it will probably lead to a shrine, but I am fine with that.
>> No. 119175
[x] Long stone steps
As far as the eyes reach.
>> No. 119176
[x] Natural boulders
>> No. 119177
Post >>119170 was a response to >>119168 which was replaced by >>119171 FYI.

Sincerely,
>>119170
>> No. 119183
>>119171
It say "Choices may lead to death," not "This choice may lead to death". Chill; I'm sure this is just a (semi-)random number vote.

[X] Natural boulders
>> No. 119184
[ ] Long stone steps
>> No. 119187
>>119177
You don't have to explain yourself. It's easy to see what you're responding to.

Fixing fucked up posts with a slow browser is annoying.
>> No. 119212
Seven votes so far, will wait until afternoon (GMT) before throwing up an update.
>> No. 119218
[x] Natural boulders
>> No. 119219
[x] Natural boulders
>> No. 119245
>the warning the purple-wearing woman made you shudder.
Huh?

[X] Help
I need someone~
>> No. 119248
File 127689530114.jpg - (54.01KB , 500x375 , Not a colour you know.jpg ) [iqdb]
119248
>[x]Natural boulders

The steps... the sheer number of steps, staircases and inclined trails and paths always amazed you. Everyone could fly, after all.

A flash of pain crossed your side - your wound still hadn't healed yet. No amount of medicine would help it recover - only time.

Wilderness surrounded the rocky slope - sparse forest and forlorn undergrowth that partially obscured the view. But what you could see from the open path to the land below was a quiet one, one untouched by the gears of industrialisation and progress.

Ascending the slope, you could hear the faint sounds of rushing water. And just around the bend -

The waterfall.

But it was different. Oh, so different. No hum of turbines, no watching the individual flushes of water wash over the dam.

This was not the Gensokyo you knew.

Distant movement startled you from your introspection - faint shapes moving high above, from the top of the waterfall. You pause a second, frantically considering your options. Even if you were in a condition fit for battle, the warning the purple-wearing woman had given you made you shudder.

Yet... would asking for help be allowed?

[ ] Help
[ ] Hide
[ ] Aggress

---
>>119245
I apparently need some kind of magical machine to compare my writing to the text I'm wording before I hit submit -_-
>> No. 119252
[x] Aggress
>> No. 119254
[X] Help
>> No. 119257
[x] Help

I'd like to use a lifeline.
>> No. 119258
[X] Help
>> No. 119260
[x] Hide
>> No. 119270
[x] Hide
>> No. 119299
[x] Hide
>> No. 119302
[x] Help
>> No. 119318
File 127697828312.jpg - (499.93KB , 796x907 , A sword is at your throat - what do you do.jpg ) [iqdb]
119318
>[x]Help
It was no time to be a loner. Those you were after were your equals in every way, and any edge might help.

...Had they seen you? The distant shapes had spread out into the woods - some winged, some with... tails? This was Youkai Mountain, after all, no matter how it would have changed. But would the inhabitants be willing to give aid?

You clutch your side suddenly, dropping to your knees as you feel the phantom pain from the gaping hole in your flesh. It was only partially an act - the memory of the initial wound was still agonisingly fresh and it hurt to think about it.

There was a sword in front of you. It was absurdly large, with intricate engraving and scrollwork along one blunt side. The other side, just like the tip that was hovering far too close to your face, looked quite sharp. And except for the faint reddish-brown stains around the hilt the sword was very shiny indeed.

You suddenly have an intense desire not to find out how sharp the edge is.

"Help me... p-please-!" Your plea makes the wolf tengu on the other end of the weapon hesitate, holding the blade steady as you worked out how she got so close. Teleported? Dropped from above while you were distracted?

Well, it wasn't important.

She glances behind you and pulls the sword back sharply, and then something sharp strikes you in the back of the neck. An old-fashioned dart, laced with a magical sleep effect, as far as you can tell. You tumble bonelessly forward and the last thought before unconsciousness takes you is that you wish you had your old
[ ]rifle
[ ]toolbox
[ ]garrote
[ ]medical kit
[ ]lockpicks
[ ]PDA
>> No. 119319
[x]medical kit
>> No. 119321
[X]medical kit
>> No. 119331
[x] lockpicks

Probably more useful than a medical kit in escaping from jailers.

>A flash of pain crossed your side - your wound still hadn't healed yet. No amount of medicine would help it recover - only time.

Especially given that it won't help you to treat your wound.
>> No. 119334
[x]toolbox
>> No. 119352
[x]lockpicks

Thieving time~!
>> No. 119390
[anyone know a good joke about lockpicks?] lockpicks

This might work for me.
>> No. 119394
Tied for lockpicks and medical kit at the moment, will wait again for a few more votes to swing it.

Note: this is a big career-defining choice that'll have a significant effect on the whole perspective of the quest, though it might not be permanent.
>> No. 119396
File 127703327942.png - (142.59KB , 546x490 , toolbox.png ) [iqdb]
119396
[x] Toolbox

"I solve practical problems."
>> No. 119398
With lockpicks, we could possibly snatch the rest of the items.
>> No. 119399
[x]toolbox

More ties!
>> No. 119400
>>119398
>With lockpicks, we could possibly snatch the rest of the items.
You don't get the items. You just wish you had them.
>> No. 119401
>>119398
That doesn't mean we know to use them.
>> No. 119402
>>119401
With >>119394 in mind, one would assume we do know how to use them. Even if we didn't, that doesn't mean we can't practice. We might find a new pair, >>119400
>> No. 119404
>>119402
Career defining kind of implies that's what we used before whatever happened happened, i.e. if we had a medical kit we'd be a doctor or something, or if we had a set of lockpicks we'd be a thief. No idea what the PDA's for though.
>> No. 119405
I'm curious about how we got to that scene at the beginning. The whole "Royally pissing off Yukari" bit usually happens later.
>> No. 119406
>>119404
A tech for the kappa.
>> No. 119408
[x] Toolbox
>> No. 119409
>>119406
>A tech for the kappa
Now I'm imagining Nitori and Mokou casting Antipode.
>> No. 119420
>>119409
So awesome I'm changing my vote.

[X] Toolbox.
>> No. 119481
File 127713355052.jpg - (37.63KB , 540x539 , oh dam.jpg ) [iqdb]
119481
>[x]Toolbox
A modern miracle of engineering, a miniaturised nanolathe and fabricator all in one, with every design and schematic you had ever devised and half a billion more. With it, you could have built crude tools - pneumatic hammers, tungsten chisels, basic chips, and with those, you could have built a large fabricator.

With a large fabricator, you could build anything.

As far as you were concerned, it was a plaything, a status symbol. It paled with what you could do with the Kappa's industrial factories. It lay to one side as you argued.

"I let you outside Gensokyo for you to learn something useful, not to fool around with silly ideas! And now you come back, and I hear you're involved in building that- that thing!"

"It's not a thing, mother. It's a dam. And I only designed and oversaw it's construction(!)"

She was oblivious to sarcasm, apparently.
"It's a blight on the landscape. There's a new river right through the Forest of Magic!"

"We went and checked personally with each of the displaced fairies, they were fine with it. As well as most the residents, which were happy to see a new source of magic they could tap from the mountain." You paused, thinking about the benefits that you'd repeated to other doubters.
"The only people complaining were from the Mansion. Look, we're no longer dependent on just the Hellcrow for power! Irrigation for the farms on the plains means that the humans aren't dependant on the whims of rain fairies, and there's a reservoir now to stop droughts! And the Suwa Lake is large enough to have a reservation set aside to house sea youkai!"

"It's an incident waiting to happen. What would occur if someone blasted a hole in the dam? If someone breached the salt-water area?"

"We've got purifiers built in the dam already. Moon technologies. Nothing goes through but water and divine power. And it'd take a Class A bomb or danmaku attack to get through it."

"Why couldn't you have settled down instead of all this... nonsense?"

The questions continued unabated, but you were happy. It was one of the more peaceful conversations you had with her.

---

You wish you had your toolbox now. Without it, you felt painfully naked. As you awake from the muddled memories, you overhear the tengu talking close by.

“…And she said she needed help. We’ve relieved her of her weapon, and brought her here without being seen.”

“Such arrogance by humans nowadays. Ever since the Oni left, they’ve been always pushing their luck, trying to get away with trespassing. It would probably have been easier if you’d just thrown her over the waterfall, but since she’s already here.. Well, good work. She seems to be waking up, so let’s see what she has to say before we do anything else..”

Your eyes flutter open, and you instinctively try to get up. Unfortunately, the bonds round your hands and your seat prevent you from getting far, and you end up sprawled on the floor with a chair on top of you.

“Easy, there.” It was Momiji, though of course she didn’t recognise you. Come to think of it, you should have realised it was her earlier, though her sword at your throat had been more prominent in your mind. She helps you up gently, sitting you back on the seat. The other speaker seems to be an older, higher ranked tengu, looking on in amusement. The room is small, a wooden hut that looked like a rough bunk room for one or two watchmen.

“So, Ms human who appears out of nowhere and asks us proud tengu for help. What is your problem? And why shouldn’t we just break your neck and throw you off the waterfall?” Only two sentences in, and you already dislike Momiji’s superior.

The bonds on your wrists are tied securely, but not overly tightly. You reckon you could, if you were very lucky, kill or incapacitate both of them and escape. However…

“I’m sworn Yūjin-ka to the Kappa.” The older tengu appears surprised.
“Friend to the kappa? That’s an unusual oath for a human.. can’t say it’s hasn’t happened before, but I haven’t really heard of that happening for a while now.”

You were here for help, after all, not to escape. And, besides you not being a killer and not wanting to hurt a friend (even one that didn’t know you yet) trying to fight your way out seems like a bad idea for other reasons.

“It’s true. I’ve done.. some services for the kappa, though it’d shame them to admit to it. And I’ve come to warn you about this dangerous group of people after me who’ll destroy anything in their path to achieve their aims.”

Momiji had stepped back by now, standing in the familiar at-ease pose that somehow managed to combine a relaxed stance with the appearance of always being ready to spring into action. You wonder how much she believes of what you say, what her sharp mind makes of all this.

“Oh, a very nice tale, Ms Human. The kappa won’t inform us if you’re telling the truth or not, since what you’ve helped them with is ‘shameful’, and if we give you to their custody they’ll undoubtedly free you. And we can’t take the risk of throwing you over the waterfall or eating you, because of the risk the kappa’d find out. You’ve thought this out very carefully, haven’t you?”

Actually, you’d only thought of saying what you did was shameful a couple of seconds ago, because it’d have been pretty easy to verify the dam you built wasn’t there, but this outcome was fine too.

“But if you are telling the truth, then what’s stopping us from throwing you to the mercies of whoever’s chasing you?”

Well, maybe not.
“These people who are after me don’t want to just kill me; they want to unmake me, as if I never existed. And.. well, that probably doesn’t matter to you. But they’re going to trespass on Youkai Mountain no matter what you do – if you defeat them, it’ll demonstrate to everyone that the tengu are not only magnanimous, but not to be trifled with. That would be a feather in your ca- tokin, wouldn’t it? Sir Tengu.”

“Perhaps. How many of these dangerous folk are after you?”

“I believe.. five, at the moment? Though they might come one-”

The older tengu laughs, cutting you off.
“Only five? Corporal Momiji, take your squad of five and go with Ms Human here and deal with any intruders. You can do what she asks, but don’t let her out of your sight, that shouldn’t be too hard. If it turns out she’s lying, go ahead and kill her. If you do find someone, deal with it and come back and tell me.”

[ ]Thank you, Sir Tengu, for helping this poor human. But my name is ______
[ ]I’m not a human! I’m a
---[ ]half-______! And my name’s ______
---[ ]__________ youkai (?lie?)! And my name’s ______

(Pick two)
[ ]Attack!
[ ]Enhance!
[ ]Instruct!
[ ]Observe!
[ ]Uh… Run away!

---
((In an ironic note I had both [x]Medical kit and [x]Lockpicks written up because I was fairly sure it was going to be one of those. Curse you, fickle voters!!

Also, please forgive my terrible faux-Japanese which I got from Google translate. And my delete/creation of wasteful extra posts due to a single misplaced letter or so, which must play hell on the index fairies.))
>> No. 119482
>references to being in the past
At first I found this to be a nice type of plot
>from deliberately coming to the past and apparently shit's about to go down
But then there was sudden dramatic story-line
>the character is a woman
And then my mind was fucking blown

[x]I’m not a human! I’m a
---[x]half-magician! And my name’s Kohane

[x]Enhance!
[x]Instruct!

Strange options. The name doesn't mean much to me, but I think this would be an interesting blood-line. Latent magical power + science = time travel It all makes sense! I want to see what else we can do.
>> No. 119483
>>119482
I had the feeling Yukari dumped her in the past, possibly as a result of said Dam causing a mess.
>> No. 119503
[x] Thank you, Sir Tengu, for helping this poor human. But my name is PAINIS CUPCAKE Kate.

[x]Instruct!
[x]Observe!

Ignore this vote if you don't like it. I'm uncertain myself.
>> No. 119655
File 127736993617.png - (219.11KB , 690x308 , waaah.png ) [iqdb]
119655
So... uh... two votes after four days. Should I try and continue? Or should I wait for more votes? Or just stop?
I'm not sure if it's just that other quests are more interesting at the moment or my own story's dull/confusing, or that I'm just not very well established.
>> No. 119660
>>119655
Waiting for votes when you want to write is silly. If your readers didn't bother reading, then they'll learn to when you update on two votes - and you'll get more readers for being a frequent updater.
>> No. 119666
>>119660
Good point, though I'm more worried about not having many readers to begin with. Oh well, updates tomorrow in that case!
>> No. 119668
[x] Thank you, Sir Tengu, for helping this poor human. But my name is PAINIS CUPCAKE Kate.

[x]Instruct!
[x]Observe!

>>119655
Complicated votes aren't exactly quick to gain votes.
>> No. 119671
>>119668
>PAINIS CUPCAKE
Damn, this was supposed to be a joke.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtkyAJlRXNg
>> No. 119777
File 127751446233.jpg - (338.87KB , 1600x1071 , this is a bad post.jpg ) [iqdb]
119777
>[x]Instruct! 50%
>[x]Observe! 33%
>[x]Enhance! 17%

[x] "My name is-"

"Yes, yes, I'm sure that's nice. Give her back her little blade, and do amuse me with your report, Momiji."
The elder tengu doesn't bother listening to you, and has already started walking out without looking back. You start to stand in anger-

No. There wasn't any point in going after her, especially since you had no time to lose.

"All right.. Momiji, was it?" The wolf tengu nods, cautiously eyeing you as if you were about to bolt off at any second.

"I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your assistance." You bow before her deeply - pride was the one thing you could use up at this time - and take a deep breath.

"And.. I'm sorry, but I've got to show you the danger of the threat you face." You grab her hand.

And seize the moment.

"Wha-" The wolf tengu gasps as the air turns grey and creaks to a halt. You tug her close as she fumbles clumsily for her sword, and gently lead her from the cabin.

This colourless world is a cold, desolate place. Each movement is a drain on your willpower, a struggle through what felt like pinpricks of ice. It is worse for your unwilling passenger – she does not understand why all has changed colour, why wind howls in her ears as the air displaces around you both. As Momiji stumbles against you, wincing at the sudden shock to her system, you pull your own tool from her belt and tuck it away.

Outside, everything is stopped. One tengu guard is caught lighting a pipe, wispy trails of smoke unmoving above her head. You reach out and pluck it from her hands, hold it in midair and let go – it barely drops a few centimetres from your hand before stopping.

Momiji has stopped resisting so fiercely. Eyes wide and beginning to understand, she follows your movements closely. One hand is still wrapped fiercely around her sword-hilt, but the other clutches yours.

It’s the only thing that feels warm in this faded world.

A few more steps into the forest, and you let go. Colour comes back, and with it the quiet of Youkai Mountain and the faint, faroff rumbling of the waterfall.

“The enemy, like me, can control time to an extent like that. You’ve.. you’ve just seen a tiny fraction of what someone with that kind of power can do.” The words are hard to form, your breath wheezes under the exertion.

“I could.. probably escape from you using just that method. But I can’t run from those chasing me. Will you lend me your help so I can protect myself?”

She is wary. Of course she is – despite you knowing her as a friend, you can’t expect her to trust you. She, after all, doesn’t know you.
”...I’ve been ordered to help you, and as such I will. But I won’t lead my girls into hopeless or honourless battles. Is what you’re doing winnable and right?”

“It is.” The words come out thoughtlessly. You can’t afford to tell yourself otherwise. “I wouldn’t risk my f- my allies of my friends on something suicidal or unworthy.”

She gazes at you as if her farsight eyes could look through you to see the future all the way to the Enma. Finally, she speaks.
“Then tell us how we can help, Miss Kappa-friend.” Her words are enough to make you smile.

---

You had asked Momiji to help set up a defensive perimeter after explaining to the other tengu guards what they were up against. There was only a little muttering, especially after she had ordered them to get moving, but you had the feeling that they held quite a bit of antipathy for you. In between your bouts of slowed time, you asked her if it was because they’d be breaking the spellcard rules, or if it was because of your heritage.

“Spell-what? There’s no rule up here but what the Wise Tenmas say. And it’s not as if we encourage people from the outside to integrate.” You decide not to press the matter in case you triggered paradox.

Around the cabin you had strung up fishing wire round several trees to give an early warning of where the enemy was going to come from. It was a weak system, one which was easily circumvented by both time-stopping and simply flying over it, but you knew by experience trying to stop time in an unfamiliar place was difficult enough as it is – trying to timestop was even worse while flying. Slowing down time was easier, but you had the advantage there – the best scout you could have hoped for was at your side, used to looking out for superfast flying objects and spotting just for you. That left you to work alone.

It had been a long time since you worked with your hands. Improvised tools dug crude designs in wood, uncalloused hands pieced together components. It reminded you of the lonely nights in design stages, putting together last-minute plans and drawing up scale blueprints as you stretched the hours before the deadline into days. But it was already late to start. The time spent explaining to Momiji and co and setting up watch had slowed you enough that you only had prepared the first three sets of defenses you had thought up. You had makeshift exploding traps, but they had to be set off by hand. You had some cover to make sure you weren’t as easily sniped as you could be. And you had talked with Momiji about your last-ditch gambit. But your deadline had caught up with you.

The wooden warning sticks marking out the north-west quadrant moved first, a tiny *clack-clack* sound that you anxiously hoped not to hear.
”Movement! North side, hig-aaargh!” The returning guard goes down in slow motion, ever so much blood splattering from her shoulder as her arm came off to fall to the forest floor.

A non-fatal wound for a youkai. If she wanted to kill, she would have aimed for the head as well as blowing the body apart. Wait- she has a gun. She has a gun! How did she get a-

*Clack-cla-*

You slowed time even further as you grab Momiji and pull the both of you into your makeshift ditch. There wasn’t any sight of your would-be hunter-killer, but that just meant she was going to get the drop on you.

Unless you managed to get her first.



[ ] Blow them up! Blow them all in one shot!
[ ] Daisy chain explosions
[ ] Wait for the right time
---[ ]You’d make a good bait
---[ ]This cover is too comfy to leave

[ ]...(Write in)
---

Note: This is unlikely to lead to death unless a very silly combination of things is chosen. Any write in can be phrased as a suggestion of where to take this or a whole order. Any votes would be nice~
>> No. 119779
[x] Daisy chain explosions
>> No. 119780
[x] Blow them up! Blow them all in one shot!

BURN IT WITH FIRE
>> No. 119812
[x] Blow the traps nearest to where the hunter could be.

The way this story started out, it seemed a little pretentious or something.

But it seems to have gotten quite interesting while I wasn't looking.

Also, a gun that's capable of blowing off an arm in a single shot? Holy fuck.
>> No. 119813
File 12775944844.png - (473.26KB , 500x496 , hotd.png ) [iqdb]
119813
>>119812
Hey, we're in the past now. Even a good old handgun has that type of power here.

But seriously, if our opponents can stop time, there ain't much keeping them from pressing the barrel of a shotgun right against someone's shoulder. Who needs accuracy when you have point-blank range?
>> No. 119905
[x] Blow them up! Blow them all in one shot!

Smells like victory
>> No. 119918
File 127782848229.jpg - (139.69KB , 413x550 , How do you start an exploding tree.jpg ) [iqdb]
119918
>[x] Blow them up! Blow them all in one shot!
>[x] Blow the traps nearest to where the hunter could be.
"Stay low, Momiji."
You knew not whether it was bloodlust or sheer terror that propelled you out of the cover, but leaving your startled companion behind you bowled into the undergrowth like a mad thing.

As you run while crouched past felled logs and You try and visualise the layout of the surrounding area, where you had put your traps and and where the shooter was positioned, but the knowledge flies out of your head as you hear the bass boom of another round fired and you dive to the ground.

Ahead of you, one of the other tengu guards has both her kneecaps shot out simultaneously. With time slowed, her shrill scream a low pitched-drone barely piercing the sound of rushing air. Blood and gristle spatters outwards as she crumples in slow motion to the ground, still yelling. You barely avoid throwing up.

And then you realise that from the angle of the blood spray, the shooter had to be on your right, somewhere to the far side of the last of the rigged trees. You grab the string trailing from the tree and pull hard.

---
The actual scientific mechanics of time travel are beyond you as an engineer; you are no properly trained physicist to solve the conundrums of "how does one move in four-dimensional space without shredding yourself or everything around you". No, as an engineer, you focused on practical applications. For instance, "What would happen if you slowed down time around an explosive in an enclosed area?"
The answer? A much more powerful explosion. And if you slowed it down even further?

More explosion.

---

The signal flare you had buried under the bark of the tree ignited. Normally, it wouldn't have done much other than made a bright light and perhaps burnt the wood, but under the accelerated time effect the entire far side of the tree exploded outwards under the pressure of superheated sap and air. You don't pause but move to the next tree, pulling on that string and holding it for a couple of seconds. Each moment, even with the time dilation, seems like an eternity as you wait for the flare to light. As you start for the third tree to detonate, a third gunshot rings sounds. You spin round in horror, and see a spread of bullets aimed at you - the air visibly rippling around them like a bad action-movie film - and with a strangled cry you throw yourself once more to the ground.

Fortunately, you fare better than Neo - your awkward fall prevents you from being hit, and the only injury you receive is a sharp pain in your side where your earlier injury is flaring up.

Scrabbling along the forest floor, you reach the next tree and light it, listening for another bang. Instead, you hear a shout of pain - you look back, and finally see your opponent.

She's wearing an outfit not all that different to yours - casual modern clothing, a khaki-camouflaged set of trousers and a light shirt and jacket. It looks like she ran right into the path of the first explosion, bits of bark and flying wood having scythed into her and made her drop her time-stop. Unlike your perpetual sped-up actions, she seemed to have been jumping in and out of still-time, shooting multiple shots in one go, before moving to a new location to line up another set of shot. The tactic has failed her this time - it's next to impossible to see shrapnel in absolute time-stops, whereas the slight movement in slow time allows you to distinguish them and avoid them.

What looks like an old world-war two bolt-action rifle is held pointed at the ground, a clip of bullets in her other hand. Her face is contorted in pain, and you wince at how similar it is to your own. You wonder why she's been so careless. And then realisation strikes you - she's not used to fighting people who can manipulate time.


Well. That made two of you. You weren't very good at fighting, period. If she caught up to you while still armed it'd be over, no matter how you looked at it.

She abruptly vanishes, and you decide to keep moving as you explode the trees behind you.

[ ]Mordenkainen's Sword
[ ]Delayed Blast
[ ]Tanglefoot Bag
>> No. 119922
[x] Mordenkainen's Sword

This feels like a video-game trailer.
>> No. 119925
>>119922
Waaaiit... is that good or bad?

You're in Chapter 1, by the way - the demo only goes to Chapter 3.
>> No. 119926
>>119925
I meant that I was imagining it like those slow-mo cutscenes you see in the trailers but not to such extreme detail in the actual game. This was like Prince of Persia meets Gears of War. The trailer for a game like that would melt your brain-stem.

So, yeah it's a good thing. With a little work on detail and EPIC-DIALOG, you could make these fighting scenes a lot more awesome.
>> No. 119947
[x] Malavon's Rage
>> No. 119990
[x] Mordenkainen's Sword
>> No. 120079
>[x] Mordenkainen's Sword
>-([x] Malavon's Rage)?

It was a deadly game of blind danmaku.

She, behind, grazing the edge of the shrapnel of the trees as close as she dared, desperately trying to move round the explosion before she exhausted herself and dropped into realtime whereupon the blast would kill her if she was too close.

You, ahead, weaving in and out of the very same trees, similarly trying to avoid the fast-moving bullets that hounded you, trying to hold onto the slippery magics of slowed time while finding and holding the fuses of the flares you had planted. A single slip would drop you out of your dilated time, stop you long enough for her to bypass the tree’s discharge and get a clear shot. Or just blow yourself up.

Neither of you could let down for a fraction of a second.

How many bullets did she have? Certainly more bullets than you had prepared trees. And you were rapidly running out of those - there had been only a pack of 20 flares in the small cabin, for whatever purpose the tengu had, and you'd placed them all around the perimeter. A loose rock hidden under the fallen leaves breaks your stride, skidding away as if a stone on the moon, tumbling in a leisurely manner down the shallow slope. You give a slight scream as you turn, another bullet whizzing by your head as you instinctively look to see where the threat is.

You can see her just to the right of the tree you just detonated - she'd got there before the blast had time to expand. In the grey light she seems like a statue, grimacing as she brings up a clip to reload inordinately slowly. You dive to the left, trying to give yourself a bit more lead and a scrabbled handful of extra seconds.

And then she is onto you, the rifle jammed into your back mid-leap as you both shift to the same timeframe. You twist, and so the bullet merely rips through your wounded side instead of killing you outright. You scream.

The landing forces you apart, and you tumble in agony over a shallow drop, mercifully not hitting anything too sharp. And then you reach out, and grab hold of your last ploy.

The unknown soldier vaults the edge and meets Momiji's sword head-on. She scarcely parries the strike with her weapon, the long-arm's wooden frame shattering under the blow. The second blow breaks the gun in half. In the next instant, she had blurred back five or more feet, paused in the act of pulling out a wicked-looking serrated dagger.

---
-Earlier-

"So the backup plan is to lure the target here, where I'll grab hold of you and speed you up. That should give you enough of an edge to defeat her. By that time we should both be worn out, if we're lucky, and you'll have the advantage."

Momiji nodded, looking at the rough map you had sketched.
"How will you draw her in? She might be a spellcaster, or an archer."

"She's going to fall back to using a knife. Other magic isn't.. very compatible with time alteration, and she won't be able to retrieve her projectiles with another time manipulator around. She'll end up using a blade."

---


You had positioned yourself behind Momiji as you tried to focus through the blinding pain. Oddly enough, the wound felt dry, as if untouched by blood. You daren't look at it now, however - jumping back into an attack in one discontinuous movement, the soldier lunges forward with a wild slash. Her face contorts in anger - ugly thin lines of redness can be seen where the explosion had struck into and through her. The tengu is only just able to respond fast enough, each step of her opponent a series of freeze-frame images of a dagger-wielding girl caught mid-swing. Both you and your enemy were exhausted – she from her accelerated journey here, you from the extended preparations. Her stuttered attack and chase, your hasty traps and sped-up time.

Her wooden shrapnel. Your bullet wound.

You realise in a moment of clarity as the pair of you were pushed back by a powerful swipe that from her perspective, you and Momiji were moving in exactly the same freeze-frame motion as you saw her.

*Scrsh*

The sound of metal grating on metal repeats as the blades clash once more; Momiji's longer reach offset by your hindrance from having to grip her back. You feel on the verge of perpetual collapse, as if this fight would go on forever.

A spray of blood catches your attention - you jerk upright as you feel yourself keeling forward. The dagger-wielding girl has struck true, it seems, her blade stabbing right into Momiji's left hand. Yet it has hung up there, and she tugs at it, trying to free it from the pierced extremity that has closed around it, not realising that single act dooms her.

She's moving in the same timeframe as you.

Momiji's lunge breaks your grip, and both of them momentarily vanish as you lurch forwards, your handhold gone. You spot the pair ahead - the youkai's attack had gone straight through her chest and pinned her to a tree. It was a deadly blow, you imagine - she struggles to breath, and while her hands move almost with disbelief to the giant blade piercing her, her legs twitch and shiver as if no longer hers. Momiji has stepped back, pulling the knife from her hand with a series of curses, and you hobble towards the girl, side still in agony.

The world had filed with vivid colour again as you let time flow normally once again.

It takes her several attempts to speak audibly.
"..Why? Why did you think you're better?"

It takes a tired moment to come up with a reason, but you manage to say it unflinchingly.
"You're a soldier. You killed people. That's why.."

"I SAVED peop-" She cuts herself off with a cough. Her face has turned ashen, and you have to stare at her face to stop looking at the gaping entry wound. "I saved my squadmates. My friends! I stopped, I stopped whole wars! What did you do?"

"...I'm sorry." It was pointless to argue with her. There wasn't anything you could do that would make her feel better, and it wouldn't matter shortly anyway.

"..Fuck you." Her breathing had been reduced to short gasps.

"I'm sorry," you repeat. And hear the sound of a metallic *ping*. You notice the falling pin, the round object held in her hand, and start turning towards Momiji. Exhausted as you are, you can only manage to slow down reality by a fraction. In two steps you grab and drag the startled wolf tengu with you, pulling her away from the dying soldier and trying to get behind a tree. Behind you, the grenade falls to the ground before exploding.

I'm sorry. But the dam needs to be built. And I don't want to die.

[ ]Recover
[ ]Move on
>> No. 120085
[x]Recover
>> No. 120088
[x] Move on

Time paradox! We are the soldier! She is our future's future.

Nice update.
>> No. 120090
This is getting very interesting.

[ ] Recover
>> No. 120102
[x] Recover
>> No. 120337
[x]Move on
We will have time to rest and recover when the dam is built. Also when we are dead.
>> No. 122323
File 12829328579.gif - (40.96KB , 398x415 , Not 2 or 4 - 5 is right out.gif ) [iqdb]
122323
>[x] Recover

The effect of a generic fragmentation device varies in nature. However, it can be modelled with a few simple approximations.

You push the limits of your ability, mentally clawing hold of the slowed time with the last of your strength. With the final act of contempt of your opponent dropping to the damp soil behind you, it was once again a do or die moment.

Hadn't you had enough of those already? Come to think of it, today’s events seems stretched out to an awful degree. More than a lifetime.

Firstly, the main charge of fragmentation devices will create a rapid expansion of gases due to the burning of the chemical propellant. This will be a relatively small effect, as it is intended to boost the power of the second damage mechanism.

Step. Step. The crunch of leaves underfoot and the rush of air the only things you could hear, the bare twilight woods filling your vision.

Momiji is asking something, carrying most of your weight, but you can't really make heads or tails of it.

Step.

The second, and more physically reactive mechanism is the metal fragmentation that gives these devices their name. Shrapnel or other sharp pieces of metal will be thrown at high speeds in all direction, given energy by the explosion. The effective bursting radius of penetrating fragments was found to be 30 feet, though smaller, less damaging fragments may reach up to 100 or more feet.

Just managing to clear the second tree-

The propelling charge consists of a percussion cap and propellant. When the firing pin strikes the percussion cap, the propellant is ignited and fires the grenade.

Boom.

---

Incident report - Battle(?) outside reserve outpost 15 [153,27,66]

At 1625H Observational Squad 23B (Wind Squad) Cpl Inubashiri sent up a magical flare to request immediate aid at her coordinates [153,27,66]; this was responded to swiftly by Squad 22C (Ice Squad). Enroute they saw mild damage to the surrounding area consistent with explosives and projectile weapons of the outside world. Several of Wind Squad had been significantly nonfatally injured to the point of immobilisation. They had already been treated on site with basic medical aid. Cpl Inubashiri herself was slightly injured in her weapon hand, and unable to give a full accounting of events, and on searching the area more thoroughly Sgt Nakamura discovered signs of equipment and material having been taken from the reserve outpost. Later questioning of the other troops provided any answers as to why they were there, or what had occurred.
Traces of unknown magic have been detected in the area and specifically on Cpl Inubashiri; however both the injured and her show similar symptoms of localised amnesia. Magical alteration is not ruled out.

More worryingly, General Tokamishi has been picked up in the vicinity by Observational Squad 46 (Free Squad), with similar symptoms of being unable to explain why she was there.

It is the recommendation of the Intelligence Board that General Tokamishi be placed on gardening leave for an indefinite period, and that Observational Board 23B be split up and kept monitored for an indefinite period while they continue in their roles as border scouts.

There was no sign as to what caused the incident.

---

An unfamiliar lurch leaves you on the verge of throwing up – only the fact that you hadn’t eaten in quite a while prevents an embarrassing incident.

You had managed to rest and recuperate a while with Momiji for a while, helping her carry her fellow wounded into the small hut. They had been remarkably stalwart considering their injuries, though the medical alcohol and drugs in the kit had seemed to help with that.

”She was right, you know.”

You had stared aghast at Momiji, feeling abruptly betrayed and guilt-ridden at what had happened.
”You mea-“
“Oh, not that it was wrong to stop her. If someone’s trying to kill you there’s nothing wrong with defending yourself. But soldiers aren’t just ‘people who kill other people’. You shouldn’t write people off like that because of their profession.”
The thought weighed on your mind heavily, gloom settling in at your actions.
“Stop that.”
“Hm?”
”Stop that- look, it was her or you. You’ve got more people after you, right? Well, save all that damn introspection for later, you idiot. Right now you look like you’re about to break down and cry. The MOST important thing is you’re alive right now, and in a battle, that’s all that matters. You can worry about all the rest after you get out the other side. Alive.”

“…Thanks.” Momiji nodded as you had restlessly touched your hand to your belt, feeling the two knives sheathed there. They had been of the same make, one you had chemically milled and rebrazed yourself, the other the salvaged blade Momiji had caught through the palm. That was the only thing you had salvaged from you the enemy, the body having vanished. It wasn’t going to come back, had never existed. The only thing left was the chipped and worn blade.

Momiji had looked puzzled for a second, glancing round as if wondering why she was there. And as mild panic crossed her face the reality around you shifted and you were seated again at the great hall. Familiar words crossed your ears –
“…rather… permanent consequences. But let me tell you…”
The reality shift had – has you feeling ill, and you miss the rest of the speech. You’re pretty sure you won’t miss anything new as you try to calm down, slowly gathering yourself. Still wounded, though your side feels a bit better.
On the edge of your vision, something flickers and vanishes – an empty seat is all you catch sight of through the grey blindfold.

“…Now that the pleasantries are out the way. Feel free to remove your blindfolds. And please, eat up~ I can’t possibly finish all this myself!”

The purple woman’s words take a couple of seconds to sink in, and then you reach up, start to pull the blindfold from your eyes, almost dreading what you will see.

[ ] Complain
[ ] Observe
[ ] Chat
[ ] Kill pre-emptively
[ ] Sleep

---
I'd say sorry for a ridiculous update schedule but if I do that I'd probably spend more time apologising for updates than actually updating.
Will update again next week due to lack of internet from going to Cornwall.
>> No. 122344
Wait. Did we just die, or... did we become the attacker, or something? We weren't mentioned in the report, and yet we were talking to Momiji after it had happened, and yet, now we're back at Yukari's table and oh god I don't know anymore.

Or maybe we go back to the table in between missions? It did mention an empty chair. Or maybe that was engineer-us, because we died?

MY HEAD IS FULL OF FUCK

[x] Chat.
>> No. 122356
[x] Chat
>> No. 122357
[ ] Chat
>> No. 122376
>>122344
hard to say, but I suspect our interference had negative effects on Momiji's supervisor I think.
>> No. 122433
[x] Observe
>> No. 122473
[X] EAT!!!
>> No. 122520
>[X] Chat

The blindfold falls from your eyes, and you take your first look at your fellow diners. As you glance over the crowd, familiar faces all around look back. It was a face just like that of the unknown soldier; the face you saw each time you looked in the mirror.

There are some differences of course; some subtle, some not. The one wearing your face on the far table, for example, had tired lines etched across her brow. And the scowling person in a black jumpsuit four seats over was missing one ear and her face crossed with livid scars. 
"How-" 
"Firefighter. It's not exactly a safe profession. But hey, it's the best use of my talents I could think of. What about you?"

"Well-" you begin, about to talk about your engineering background. But your words are cut off mid-sentence. 
"How can you talk so casually like this?We're going to be killing each other and you're discussing your jobs?!" 
The speaker, a pale faced girl in what looks like a tattered evening dress had started to shake, both body and voice trembling. 
"Well, no skin off my nose. It's not really killing, either, more like.. stopping them from existing, or something." 
"Collapse their probability waveform," you mumble, trying to contribute. The scarred firefighter nods in your direction. 
"Yeah, summat science-y like that.  But it doesn't mean we can't talk. We're all equal here." 
"Hah!" Another woman cuts in, drawing her knife across the table. All eyes were drawn to the point being dragged through the varnish, ripping a furrow into the wood.

"If the rest of you don't think yourself worth existing, why don't you save yourselves some pain and off yourself now? Me, I'm the only one who's going to survive this, and you're all just useless would've-been-"
Once again, the sentence is cut off midway through as she flickers and vanishes.

Must be another shared trait, you muse. No-one ever manages to finish speaking.

Experimentally, you try a bite of the tagliatelli in front of you. It was a tad cheesy for your tastes but you guess when catering for practically infinite possibilities you couldn't suit everyone's tastes. That fox youkai serving the dishes certainly looked overworked.

"Uh, so... I met someone who knew me in the past-uh, in the future... I mean, I met someone I knew. But when I knew her back.. in normal time.. she never mentioned anything about seeing someone with my powers, and they aren't exactly common." The question about Momiji had you wondering - it was depressing to think whatever you and her had been through was gone, just like that. But it also made you wondering about the paradoxes involved. How did it all work out?

"If I knew that, I'd probably know how to get out of this damn cranberry trap. But I've met up with that immortal firebird a couple of times now and she didn't remember either time." The firefighter barks out a rough laugh at your crestfallen face.
"Cheer up! We're just possibilities of the future, girl! Just half-remembered shadows barely touching reality with the tip of a knife. And remember what Mother always said?"
The oft-repeated saying of hers flashed into your mind and for an instant you share a sense of kinship with the scarred woman opposite. 

"...My mother died in childbirth." 
Both of you look over at the short-haired girl at the end of the table. You begin to speak, but your vision starts to shimmer. The last you see of the table is the firefighter giving you a rough salute. 

Out of time again.

[ ] Sunlight
[ ] Moonlight
[ ] Lanternlight
[ ] Firelight
[ ] Light-Emitting-Diode Light

---

Left my trip and ability to post pictures in my home computer. C'est la vie.
>> No. 122521
[ ] Firelight
>> No. 122526
[Q] Lanternlight

Must say, this is actually rather intriguing.
>> No. 122527
[x] Moonlight
So we are fighting for the right to exist, against ourselves? All the while trying to further our agenda and prevent future catastrophes? This is going to be one long trip, isn't it?
>> No. 122532
[X] Light-Emitting-Diode Light
>> No. 122540
[x] Light-Emitting-Diode Light

Pleasantly weird.
>> No. 122565
[x] Light-Emitting-Diode Light

interesting story so far.
>> No. 122614
[x] Firelight
>> No. 122619
[x] Light-Emitting-Diode Light

Long-lived, efficient, and reliable, if not particularly bright.
>> No. 122679
File 128377184687.jpg - (39.55KB , 254x153 , Must be some sort of strip club.jpg ) [iqdb]
122679
>[x] Light Emitting Diode Light





The shrill squawking cuts through your reverie, and you slam down your hand by instinct on the table beside you. This, of course, only serves to send the digital alarm clock tumbling onto the ground. You are forced to lean over and search across the floor for it to turn it off, the blue and red numerals hanging in the air above your eyes which is strange because the clock numbers were normally green.
You feel as if you’ve awoken from a terrible dream, one so bad your bed appears to be damp with (you hope) sweat but now you don’t have to worry about that, you’ve got to make a big speech today on effective materials to aid fluid dynamic motion of liquid mana and you haven’t prepared anything and there’s a crowd by the side of your room waiting for you to start and you don't have anything on under your blanket but the reason why you’re feeling damp is because your bed is a swamp and you’re running away (towards?) from something horrible that you can’t avoid but you so desperately want to avoid and your side is in agony from where you were shot and where it devoured you and the squawking is back and you realise this is a




The raucous shriek of songbirds wakes you. Properly, this time.
The forest floor is damp underneath you, and you ache all over. Someone had seen fit to place a blanket on you, but not take you anywhere actually safe, like that building a few meters away.
The sign on the door, a flashing “OPEN” in blue and red, barely illuminates the twilight skies, and the large glass windows are dark, with dim unmoving shapes on the interior. A faint yellow light is vaguely visible at the back of the building, perhaps, or perhaps you’re just fooling yourself. There’s no sign of your mysterious benefactor, and a quick stockcheck of yourself reveals while you’ve kept your two knives tucked away safely, you’re still bereft of anything but the clothes on your back. Which are now slightly soaked.

The forest… assuming you’re still in Gensokyo, you hazard a guess you’re in the Forest of Magic – not many areas had this kind of deciduous tree (you guess? You’re not exactly a tree expert) and the ground was too flat to be on the Mountain any more. You didn’t recall any buildings there at the time of the survey, though…

You don’t feel like there’s much danger present, but the urgency of your dream is still there, though faint.
[ ] Building exploration
[ ] Aerial reconnaissance
[ ] Just sleep
[ ] Go for a walk

---
I’m beginning to learn not to put strange options in because they always get chosen. Or at least prepare a story-arc which is a bit more thoroughly thought through.
>> No. 122687
[x] Building exploration
>> No. 122709
[x] Building exploration

>I’m beginning to learn not to put strange options in because they always get chosen. Or at least prepare a story-arc which is a bit more thoroughly thought through.
Good that you learn that now rather than realize it too far down the line.

Me, I just made all my options weird.
>> No. 122718
[x] Building exploration
>> No. 122758
[x] Aerial reconnaissance
Are we going to climb a tree? I thought we were a semi ordinary human who couldnt fly.
>> No. 122784
File 128394035084.jpg - (11.28KB , 236x164 , not a genji joke.jpg ) [iqdb]
122784
>>122758
This is Gensokyo, everyone can fly with the bare minimum of accoutrements.

Of course.
>> No. 123248
File 128456298835.jpg - (245.26KB , 768x1024 , Engrossed in a good book.jpg ) [iqdb]
123248
>[x] Building exploration

You were never a fan of the outdoors when there was civilisation around. Folding the blanket under one arm, you walk up the muddy path to the store entrance, and carefully push the wooden door open.

A bell chimes as you enter, the sound echoing around the various artifacts on shelves and tables, a reverberation that hangs in the air. It distracts and enchants, causing you to glance at the delicate antiques on display. It almost causes you to miss the girl lying on the couch near the middle of the store-

"Welcome back~"

She hasn't bothered turning around, too engrossed in her book. Red and white wings adorn her back, and she bobs her head back and forth as she reads each line.
As you pad gently closer you cough discreetly, not wanting to-.

"Eh?-Kyaa!"
-scare her. So much for that. The songbird youkai practically flies off the sofa before getting a good look at you. You manage to give her a slight wave in greeting before awkwardly putting your hand down.

"Er.. is the shop open?" you ask, your voice faltering. The girl catches her breath as she sees you not intending any harm.
"Oh! Oh... the hu- person outside. The shopkeeper went out for a bit to look for their partner and told me I shouldn't eat you... You really frightened me!"

"That's... that's great. I'm glad you didn't.. eat me. Um, do you know when the owner will be back? And.. who's blanket is this?" And why put a blanket on someone who'd most likely be eaten if you left them outside unconscious?

"Oh, the owner put it on, 'cause you might have been cold. But there were more important things to do, I guess. Asked me to keep the shop safe and went off like a flash. I thought it was them returning now, actually.. they've been gone a while." She seems quite chatty after calming down. "Say, why were you passed out in front of the shop anyway?"

"Well-"

[ ] Looting
[ ] Sheltering
[ ] Sightseeing
[ ] Birdwatching
>> No. 123258
[x] Sheltering
>> No. 123267
[x] Birdwatching
Hitting on Tokiko? Sign me up.
>> No. 123277
[x] Sheltering

Don't mind us; nothing to see here.
>> No. 123279
[x] Birdwatching

How interesting~
>> No. 123485
File 128493992968.png - (1.25MB , 653x841 , Ms Not appearing in this first part of the update .png ) [iqdb]
123485
>[x] Birdwatching!
>[x] Sheltering
"I was actually looking for you, miss. You, and a safe place.”
The girl blinks, once, twice.
“Y-you’re after me?” she stammers, uncomprehending.
“That’s right. You’re perfect! Just what I need!”
“What you need?!” Abruptly she scrambles up from the couch, book forgotten in one hand. You must have looked predatory, for as you step forwards she starts retreating.
“Yes, everything I could have wished for!” And as she starts flying upwards you tackle-hug her legs, trying to keep her within reach.

She’s surprisingly light, with barely any heft to her at all. Even you, less than average height and hardly a paragon of strength, could carry her on your shoulder with ease. Birds have lightweight hollow bones to make flying easier, don’t they? You vaguely recall this, and try not to be too rough as you pull the flailing girl down by the skirt.
“Stop struggling! I won’t hurt you,” you say as you manage to wrestle one hand around her waist.

“Wait! This is too sudden! I’m an ascetic! I’ve already got a family! I’m under a magical curse that makes people explode if they touch me the wrong way!”
As you manage to catch both of her hands she topples back and both of you land on the couch – it seems to knock the fight out of her as she goes limp.

The feel of her on your lap was a rather pleasant feel.
“I-it’s my first time…” she mumbles.

The entrance bell rings, and the shop owner pads in soundlessly. Both you and your captive freeze, watching the newcomer’s stately progress across the shop floor. Watching as the fallen blanket is inspected, picked up and deposited to one side in a half-folded pile.

The owner climbs onto the counter, and transfixes you with a stare worthy of an imperious king. And with such majesty and cold power, asks a question with a simple sound – what in the world do you think you are doing?
“Mew?”

“Sokrates-san!” The girl on your lap cries out in relief. You stare at the feline on the desk for a stunned moment.
“You’re a kitty!” The inane statement leaves your mouth before you can stop, and you curse yourself for it as you are once again caught by Sokrates’ gaze.
“Um.” Complex speech slips from your mind as the cat idly licks one paw and jumps to the floor. In a single bound, Sokrates arrives on the girl’s lap and settles down. Any more speech on your part is hushed by the bird youkai, and the store is silent once more.
>> No. 123486
File 128494009041.jpg - (4.27KB , 315x190 , Something inherited.jpg ) [iqdb]
123486
“Always move forwards. Never look back.” Mother had been lecturing you again. That quote. Even the other possibilities heard it when told off, huh.
It was only just your second week in school, and you’d managed to collapse the playground jungle bards with two sticks and a metal washer.
“But, but we can mess with time! Sinchai lost her arm and now everyone hates me! Can’t we do something, like go back and stop it before it happens?” You had to stay in detention for over two hours, which in those days was a lifetime. And you’d been sentenced (unfairly, you’d thought) to a whole week of detention. That was practically a week of lifetimes! And you felt bad about crippling your classmate for life, even if you still felt she was a horrible horrible person.

“No. It’s impossible to change the past. What’s done is done. All you can look to change is your future, what’s in front of you. You can move slow or fast, or even stand still, but you can’t go back. Always move forwards.” Mother sniffed, and her hand fidgeted over the throwing knife. “Besides, the doctors managed to reattach the arm.”

These had been serene days, you recall, days of hectic learning and petty, simple squabbling and childhood traumas that were horrendously important at the time but now felt like silly incidents. Hardly a thing to worry over. I wonder if that firefighter or the soldier ever heard this talk?

“Now listen, young woman. You go get cleaned up, and then help your brother with the table.”

…Huh?

”I don’t have a brother.” Mother gave you an odd look, shaking her head.
“Have you two been fighting again? Honestly, you children.”
“No, I never *had* a brother.”

“What’s wrong, sis?” As always, he had that insufferable smirk on his face. For once, it was you in trouble and not him, and he never missed an opportunity to gloat. Who is this and why can I remember him?
“This is wrong. You shouldn’t be here.” He shrugged nonchalantly.
“So I skipped rugby after school to see you getting yelled at, is that such a terrible crime?” You tried to shove him backwards and he caught your arm, twisting it slightly. This never happened! What-
“You don’t exist! It didn’t happen like this! She just said you can’t change the past!” Your own words, and his response, had always puzzled you. It wasn’t the worst argument you and your brother ever had. But it had got out of hand, you remembered. His grin suddenly looked twisted and dark on an innocent child’s face.
“Change the past? Oh, but this just hasn’t happened yet, has it, dear sister?No no no
“Something wrong? Did my pets hurt you, perhaps?” He prodded you in your side where you were ticklish, and you wondered what he was it hurts it hurts playing at. What pets? Nothing wrong with your side, either.
Mother had told him off afterwards, of course, but then again both of you had acted strangely. Just another memory…
>> No. 123487
File 128494029999.jpg - (382.00KB , 424x600 , Fuwafuwafuwafuwa.jpg ) [iqdb]
123487
The shop bell rang again, rousing you. Movement from your lap as the cat jumps down to the floor. With bleary vision you see a light pinkish-white and a purplish blur bending down to meet the animal.

“Oh! You were here all along, Sokrates! Naughty girl! But who’s this? Have you and Tokiko made a new friend?!” The voice is girlish, almost squeaky, and not one you recognise. But the next lances through the pain in your side and makes you blink the sleep from your eyes.
“An outsider? Oh. It’s her. Not exactly an outsider, then.”
Yukari Yakumo. Youkai of Boundaries. Mastermind behind the spiriting away. The uncanny smile.

You would have jumped to your feet but the girl – Tokiko? on your lap had put your legs to sleep and your arms are still locked round her waist. She mumbles something and leans back into your shoulder, looking remarkably peaceful despite the commotion.
You daren’t say anything yet.

“You, you you… you have been busy, haven’t you.” Yukari inspects you as if you are a strange specimen that might be ready for dissection. “Even though I don’t technically know who you are – yet – it looks like you’ve shown some promise to survive this far. I shall have to keep an eye on you – yes, what is it, Ellen?” The pinkish blur, a young girl in a witches outfit, is tugging on Yukari’s dress.
“Is this a friend of yours, Yukari? Sokrates says she was sleeping outside the store near here.”
“Oh, no, this is the first time I’ve laid eyes on this girl. Though her sibling has been causing Keine and I some problems-“ The wound in your side flares again, though muted-
“I’m sure you wound be so troublesome, will you?” You shake your head.

Ellen is crestfallen, but only for a second.
“Then she can be my friend instead, can’t she Yukari? What fun!”
With a motherly smile the border youkai pats the girl on the head.
”Of course she can. But I must be off now, seeing as you’re back with your pet.”
“Oh! Well, thanks for helping me find Sokrates!”
“Yes, dear.”
“Mew~”
“Yes, Sokrates. I’ll tell Chen when I see her. No, Ellen, thank you, but you should offer the cookies to your guest, not me. And now I really must go-“
And with that, waving away proffered baked goods and catlike purrs in equal measure Yukari vanishes through a gap.

”Huaah~. She always comes and goes whenever she please. Right, Sokrates?”
“Mew…”
“AH!” But you!” She rounds on you with bubbly ferocity.

“Me?”

”Yes! You! I’m Ellen, fluffy fluffy Ellen! What are you here to buy? Are you human? What’s your name? Do you have any cool powers? Why are you holding onto Tokiko like that?”

“I-“ It was a good question. Why were you holding onto this girl?

You were here
[ ] To buy an accessory
- [ ] A bow!
- - [ ] Of great purity!
- [ ] A hairband!
- - [ ] It must hold back hair, hell and high water!
- [ ] A hat! (Please describe)
- - [ ] WHICH SHOOTS LASERS!


[ ] (Also) For this girl!
- [ ] To eat her!
- [ ] To take her as a bride!
- [ ] She’s my best friend!
- [ ] ??? (Write in)

[ ] And my name is __________,
- [ ] An ordinary human.
- [ ] A half-vampire!
- [ ] A (half?) magician.
- [ ] (half(quarter?)) ghost.
- [ ] ??? (Write in)

---
Massive update. Pick as many or as few options as you want.
>> No. 123488
[X] this girl
[x] To take her as a bide

[X] I am a half vampire.
>> No. 123492
[x] To buy a hairband
-[x] It must hold back hair, hell and high water!
[x] (Also) To eat this girl!
[x] And my name is spoiler. An engineer.
Our brother, who previously never existed, is in Gensokyo and starting shit? He seems pretty malicious too.
>> No. 123493
[x] For this girl!
- [x] To take her as a bride!

- [x] A half magician.
- [x] quarter ghost.

"Enchanted by her beauty, I knew~! This was the one fated to be with me until the end of days~~!"
>> No. 123508
You were here
[x] To buy an accessory
- [x] A hairband!
- - [x] It must hold back hair, hell and high water!

[x] (Also) For this girl!
- [x] To take her as a bride!

[x] And my name is Jane,
- [x] (half(quarter?)) ghost.

God help Wriggle if we meet her.
>> No. 123515
[x] To buy an accessory
- [x] A hairband!
- - [x] It must hold back hair, hell and high water!

[x] (Also) For this girl!
- [x] To take her as a bride!

[x] And my name is Jane,
- [x] A half-vampire!
- [x] A (half?) magician.
>> No. 125360
File 128716269776.png - (145.79KB , 558x304 , A dramatic re-enactment of a historical event.png ) [iqdb]
125360
You laugh to yourself. The questions were reasonable, but answering them? What kind of madness would it sound like, of the past and future and hunting yourself down and of the creatures in the cracks of time and the infinite feast and all the other happenings that surrounded you?

What kind of madness would it be to bring your battles before these young girl and put them in danger? Better to answer false, and not involve them.
And so you concoct whatever outlandish claim that pops into your head...

"As a part member of the nosferatu, and having been born into the circle of the Arcane, and after consultation with my quarter-ghost part, Jane, I came here to find an appropriate hairband for myself."
"But," you temporise, "I've become smitten with this girl here! And I declare that she will be my bride, or my name isn't-"
A squeal of eeeeeeeEEEEEEE interrupts - Ellen is literally sparkling with, well, sparkles - bright white flecks of magic gleaming in the light, and her eyes shine with excitement as she claps her hands onto her cheeks. You barely have time to realise your error- the winged youkai on your lap stirs and rubs her eyes, groggily wondering where she was.

"Mrh-haaau~ -Ellen? I was having a strange dream... some strange woman came up and hugged me, and wouldn't sto-" She squarked as she realised she was still being held. This time you let her go, your half- reasoned thoughts slipping from your mind as to why you had taken hold of her in the first place. Get a grip! you tell yourself.

Trying to salvage something from your jest, you try to think of a retraction. But Ellen has already overridden you, babbling to her winged companion about what she’d heard.
“-and she’s a half-vampire-magician-ghost, and she has taken one look at you and fallen madly in love with you isn’t it romantic? What do you think?”
“L-love? I, uh…” Tokiko blushes furiously, avoiding Ellen and your eyes. “But we’ve only just met…”
”There’s nothing that stands in the way of true love,” Ellen declares pompously. “If your destined partner falls out of the sky to declare themselves your bride how can you refuse?"

Tokiko's answer is abrupt and to the point.
"-Don't wanna." She pouts as if mortally offended and flops onto the sofa with crossed arms.
"Well, I never-! Hmph!" The girl in the witch outfit appears flummoxed by the outright refusal and turns away.
"Why don't you think about it for a while. Now... you were looking for something, wern't you? A hairband?" You self-consciously run your fingers through your hair, knowing it had subjectively been several weeks since it had last been tended to, let alone washed. "Yes, but-"
She pulls you by the hand to the back of the store and climbs one of the rickety ladders to rummage through some of the shelves.
"Um, Miss Ellen..." you start, trying to avoid breathing in the cloud of dust kicked up, "about what I said about taking Tokiko as a bride..." A clunking sound interrupts your confession and you turn to see - yourself. A moment of breathless flinching in slow-time - and you start to breathe again as you realise it's nothing but a mirror. The cat stalks out haughtily from behind it, not deigning to look in your direction.

"Just call me Ellen! Fluffy Ellen! But yes?!" Not waiting for a response she places something round your head, looking at it with a critical eye. "How's that?" The headband is not...precisely to your liking, what with the two golden bobbles on springs sticking out the top.
"...No... That won't do at all," she mutters. Just as quickly she pulls it off and fits another in its place.

"Are you living nearby, or just visiting the forest?"
"Ah, no, I, I haven't found anywhere to stay yet-"
"No accommodation?"
"Well-"
"This one!" The third hairband was a delicate silvery construction, with filigrees of dark blue threader through it. "Perfect!"

It was indeed a good fit, but you were more worried about how you were going to pay - there hadn't been any cashpoints around and a bank l account that didn't exist yet wouldn't be very fruitful anyway.

"Oh, heavens, don't worry about payment! Except... how about... how would you like to work in my shop for a while? If you don't have anywhere to stay you can have a room for a while, too!"

The surprise Job offer makes you blink - it was wholly impractical, of course, but there was something in Ellen's innocent smile that makes it hard to refuse outright...

"I'll, uh, think about it, Ellen."
She claps her hands together with joy and as you adjust the hairband she pulls you back to the couch.

---

"Is she always like that?" Tokiko, only her head and arms visible from her position up in the rafters, looks up from her book.
"Kinda. She's always been really impetuous an' weird, but she's nice most of the time. But she is a bit lovelorn. Not sure why."
"No, I mean- she wants me to pay for the headband she gave me by offering me a place here." It was cool to the touch, and you could feel the faint tang of magic about it as you twirl it round your fingers.
"...I think she's just lonely. There aren't many customers, and Schro an' me aren't very talky.
"Mew."
"Well, of course you're fluffy, but that doesn't make up for no vocal co-kyaaa!"
"Fluffy!" Ellen's head appears next to the youkai, her hands busy tickling her under her wings.
"E-ellen! It's too, too ha-haha- I'm going to fall, sto-ah-AHH!"

Another mew draws your attention from the molestation assault happening above as Sokrates settles on the table next to you.
"Well, I'm still thinking about it. I don't want to intrude..."

"Mew...?"

[ ]Take your leave
-[ ]Go for a walk (Where? -Write in)

[ ]Stay a while
-[ ]Forward depot
-[ ]Hidey-hole

Bleah. Long time for an update - I've reviewed this three or four times and am STILL not fully happy with some of the dialogue. Must go back and play Recettear for another week for research into young female shopkeepers.
>> No. 125383
[ ]Stay a while
-[ ]Forward depot
>> No. 125385
[x]Stay a while
-[x]Forward depot

Well hopefully next update will come sooner.
>> No. 125395
[x] Stay a while
-[x] Forward depot

First I thought this read like Palingenesia.

But now I see it's more like All You Zombies combined with Battle Royale, with Tarantino-esque, non-sequential scene order.

That's not a bad thing!
>> No. 125400
>And then you realised you were out of time.

Now that caught my attention, and got me to read.
>> No. 125433
[x] >>125383
>> No. 125440
[ ]Stay a while
-[ ]Forward depot
>> No. 126174
File 128796529524.jpg - (247.82KB , 960x725 , forest with bugs in.jpg ) [iqdb]
126174
>[x]Stay a while
>-[x]Forward depot

"Mew?"
"I'm still considering.."

But despite your show of recalcitrance there really was no real choice - that innocent smiling face that offered a place to stay so earnestly could not be refused.

Truth be told, you didn't like the idea of staying in the shop too long - the prospect of involving these girls in your battles pained you. But realistically, you told yourself, they were not in any permanent danger - any opponent after you would know killing anyone but you would almost certainly have deleterious effects on the timeline, and would likely be... dealt with accordingly. That alone would make them safe. And as opposed to the last timejump you just didn't have that same feeling of an attack imminent - if instinct were to be trusted you had more time to prepare this round. Would it be so wrong to stay with them, at least for a little while?

You quite consciously try not to think about the wolf tengu with shot kneecaps.

"I guess it wouldn't hurt to stay for a few days, I guess." You solemnly look back up to the rafters to give Ellen your answer-

She wasn't there. Only a rather worn-out Tokiko slumped over the edge, unmoving. You begin to panic, wondering if you'd got it wrong and you had been tracker and they were here right now-
"Fluffy!!!" With surprising accuracy and speed, Ellen sticks both her hands under your armpits. And tickles.

"Hyaaa!! What, wha-"

She does not let up as you try to squirm out of her grip.
"Have you thought about it?"
"Yes, I-haha, I'll stay a while! Can you sto, stop please?"
With a squee of delight her light touch transforms into a hug.
"I'm so glad! Did you hear that, you two?"
Sokrates holds an unimpressed expression at the overwhelming news, while Tokiko is apparently too shellshocked to respond in-depth.
"That's... good?" She ventures.

Ellen's response is emphatic.
"Yes!!!"


---

You do not dream that night.

---

The morning is a bright one, and surprisingly free of sudden deadly attacks and painful incidents. Ellen had provided a hot meal of stewed vegetables and there was an actual warm bed with blankets and pillows - you hadn't realised how much you had missed such simple amenities.

Tokiko has vanished someplace, but more importantly your host is refusing to let you out.

"If you're staying for a while, you should have a look round the store to familiarize yourself where everything is." She has a point, though you chafe at the delay at preparing defences. Inexplicably, though, you obey. Perhaps, you muse, you had thought there was something of use to be found in the inventory, or that you didn't want to upset the young girl.

Many of the items were magical in one way or another, and ill sorted. Almost by instinct you scrounge a pen and paper and start cataloguing. It takes almost an hour, objective time, and two wads of paper to make a list of half the shop stock,Asking Ellen if there already was one got the response she'd do it when she remembered to.

Nevertheless, while you manage to identify a number of trinkets there isn't anything terribly useful.

"A set of chopsticks that clean themselves when tapped together three times... a magical focus for children... assorted healing gauzes... nothing that can't be done mundanely." An errant hair slips free of your new hairband and you tuck it away, suddenly very conscious of your new gift. You were hardly skilled enough to divine something quite so finely enchanted.

You nearly ask Ellen about it over lunch, but Tokiko's new novel took forefront of the conversation, some derivative fantasy work about romance and pirates in a faroff world.

It was a pleasant, if inane, meal conversation.

---

Socrates questions you going out after lunch, an inquisitive purr enough to make you stop and address the cat seated next to the door.

"Just going for a walk. I wanted to see what the forest is like around these parts."

The cat's warning hiss is hardly necessary - you were already on edge from not having a visible threat - but still both comforting and patronizing at the same time.
"Yes, I know there's dangerous youkai out there, but I should be able to handle myself, thank you."

Sokrates sniffs as if to state "Don't say you weren't warned."

Setting up basic alarms proves to be a challenge in problem-solving. With the heavier foliage and no-one to watch the skies anyone could easily bypass the simple warning systems you could make simply by flying over without being seen. And customers would already be coming from ground level causing all kinds of false positives.
Stringing out the tripwire all the way to the shop bells makes you feel a tiny bit better though, so you do it anyway.

---

"Had a nice time in the forest?"
"Eh? Oh, it was interesting. There were over twelve different types of insect that I counted." You improvise fast, a simple hobby of bug-catching as an explanation.
"Can I see them?"
"Oh, I don't actually capture them.. just look at them." Bug watching, then.

"Bugs are nicely crunchy, but they've an awful flavour." Both Ellen and you turn to look at Tokiko, who is nonplussed at the looks on your faces.

"What? That was a while back. I prefer eating other stuff now."

"Mew."

"..Yes, Sokrates, you're probably right."

---

On the third day with no sign of anyone attacking - or customers, for that matter - apart from the ever-present humanoid ibis, you start to rethink your position. Yes, you'd shored up the shop defences discreetly and had a look round the landscape of the forest, but you can't just stay cooped up forever. While you could still come back to rest, you had decided a while back it'd be better to start looking further afield. The more time you had, the more time the enemy had too.

[ ]Where? (Write in - location)
[ ]What? (Suggest a course of action)
>> No. 126275
Awesome. Too tired to vote right now.
>> No. 126407
[x] Ask Tokiko and Ellen if they could take you to meet any of their friends. You'd like to get to know more of the land and its people.

Some thoughts.

I'm assuming the 'contestants' are all versions of the same person from different timelines, justifying the Highlander nature of the game. Yukari is just selecting the most capable addition to Gensokyo. If she wanted to do this arbitrarily, she could more easily throw together a bunch of disparate people from the same timeline. This way the contestants have a justification to murder, since they're really just possibilities being eliminated, and therfeore the contest doesn't select so much for those with the most murderous tendencies, just those with the greatest will to survive. It's really quite insidious.

The ultimate end is obviously integration. Forming bonds may increase the Player's profile, but will probably be increasingly important in the end game when the most destructive contestants have already eliminated each other. Visibility could also be a good thing, as the Player has a utility skill set, which might be attractive to a contestant looking for a temporary alliance. In that case, befriended Touhous provide insurance against backstabbing.

Hunting is probably out of the question, as the Player is decidedly a defensive fighter.

I suggest fortifying a home base enough to seem a capable opponent or ally while not allowing it to interfere with social interactions. Seeing as time muckery has deleterious effects on the memory of Gensokyo's natives, the Player should put off revealing her situation unless absolutely necessary. Just by surrounding herself with Touhous, the Player is provided a credible deterrant by increasing the probability of unacceptable collateral damage. We must hope that by this time reckless opponents like the soldier have begun to eliminate each other in droves.
>> No. 126461
I really want some art of Tokiko being tickled now...
>> No. 126677
File 128830602940.png - (323.92KB , 700x701 , Meilingbutterup.png ) [iqdb]
126677
Shameless self-bump for hopefully at least another vote.
>> No. 126687
[x] Ask Tokiko and Ellen if they could take you to meet any of their friends. You'd like to get to know more of the land and its people.

Here's a vote, now what am I reading? One moment please...
>> No. 126697
>>126677
Not to be rude, but where'd you get that image?
>> No. 126703
>>126677
I'd butter her up, if you know what I mean.
>> No. 126720
File 128833871935.png - (55.97KB , 371x327 , yorihimeyum.png ) [iqdb]
126720
>>126697
Break, by Chado - one of the Yukari vs Ran series, of which the last has recently been translated, so if you haven't read it you should!
>> No. 126780
[x] Ask Tokiko and Ellen if they could take you to meet any of their friends. You'd like to get to know more of the land and its people.

Next time you might want to offer some actual choices, instead of just write-in.
>> No. 126803
>>125360
>"...I think she's just lonely. There aren't many customers, and Schro an' me aren't very talky.
>Schro
As in Schroedinger, I'm assuming, but as you've done in every post after, her cat's name is Sokrates.

Slip-up, or hint?
>> No. 126854
>>126803

Ellen probably forgets its name from time to time. It's sort of her trademark.
>> No. 126858
File 128846778169.png - (492.99KB , 1076x534 , reimumarisaletsnotseethat.png ) [iqdb]
126858
>>126803
>>126854
That was Tokiko speaking, and it was technically an error in that I was going to cut that plot point out. But oh well, I might as well put it back in I guess. Good spot.

>>126780
Sorry; I was slightly at a loss for interesting strategies - by subcontracting the decisionmaking to you guys you've come up with an interesting idea I wouldn't even have thought up of. I'll be sure to include more choices next times round instead of just "write in"
>> No. 126876
>>126858
At least some pre-existing choices might help inspire write ins.
>> No. 128516
File 128926005515.jpg - (20.22KB , 289x212 , Tokiko doesn't know it's rude to point.jpg ) [iqdb]
128516
Stitches 3

>[X]Ask Ellen and Tokiko if you can meet with their friends

Slow steps. Rushing off to hunt down your enemy wasn't something you were eager in doing, but neither was cloistering away in a hole.


Grimly you decide the best way to survive was to involve as many people as possible on your side. It might not be the most honourable or even brave method - hiding behind other people was bound to get someone injured at the least, but you see no other option.

"Ellen, Tokiko," you ask, trying to use your cheeriest voice. "How much of Gensokyo do you know well? I'd love to see more of the place, and meet some of your friends and family!"

Silence is the response.The girl in witches clothing has a frozen smile on her face, and Sokrates' back arches as if you are attacking.

Tokiko kicks the back of your shin sharply.

"Ow! What did I-"

"Oh, I'm sure Ellen would love to show you round Gensokyo, but she's far too busy watching over the shop! Don't worry, though, I can show you around!" As you are dragged to the exit by the ibis-coloured youkai, you watch as Ellen's face unfreezes, a faint look of - desperation? - hidden behind a grin.

"Oh! Well, have a good time, you two lovers!" The blush has barely reached your cheeks before you are pulled from the store, and the last you see of
Ellen is her petting her cat, not meeting your eyes.

---

"So what was that all about?" Your hasty exit has dragged the both of you into the sunlight. Tokiko rounds on you, as if about to shout -
"Gah! You don't really know about it, so I can hardly tell you off about it, can I..."
With that, she turns and in an act of unmitigated violence kicks a bush, which rustles disapprovingly at her actions.

"Stupid foliage! That'll teach you! Come on! "

Outside the confines of the shop, Tokiko appears to be much more forceful, you muse. Certainly, it's the first time she's spoken too much since you've met her.

"Ellen doesn't leave the shop much. It's weird, 'cuz everyone she meets absolutely loves her... but basically she really only keeps Schrodinger close."
"Schrodinger?" You ask.
"The cat. She's now called Sokrates by Ellen, don't ask me why. I dunno how she puts up with her owner calling her the wrong name all the time. Arg, don't interrupt me like that!"

It only occurs to you now that you've been moving in the open without any cover for almost five minutes, and flinch when a shadow passes overhead.

"Sometimes a bigwig youkai shows up and gives her a pat on the head - "
"Sokrates?"
"What? No, Ellen! And then there was one who.."

You tune Tokiko's voice out, pausing to take a look around your surroundings.
No sign of danger. You try to tell yourself no-one would have been able to physically track you, that no-one should even know you are here, but your shoulderblades itch at the the thought of magical scrying or technological tracking.


"...and that's why it's not a great idea to ask about friends an' family in front of her- are you listening?" You quickly get back up to speed.

"-Ah, sorry."

Your guide fumes, struggling with her small satchel to pull out her hardback book and clutch it to her chest.

"A-anyway, you wanted to see my family, right? My sister's usually at home at the moment. Are you allright? You look kind of jumpy..."

"Many people wouldn't appreciate the idea of a half vampire magician ghost human existing," you say with a completely straight face. Tokiko just rolls her eyes.

---

Tokiko's sister chirps as you hold her, and pecks at your fingers.

"Still young?"
"She's nearly twenty. Not very smart, but she's still growing."
Both of you look at the small horned bird.

"Very beautiful.. plumage. Just like yours." The compliment earns you another eyeroll, though it's accompanied by a slight blush this time round.

You guess it's an accomplishment as good as any.

---

"I guess your sister's quite a cute chick," you remark.
"A fine looking bird, one might say. A bit of a -"
"One more joke and I'll ask her to peck out your eyes," she states matter-of-factly. "Or perhaps just break out bat jokes."
"I'm only half-bat- ok, I'll be good."
Tokiko nods absentmimdedly.
"My other friends are usually quite near the human village, so if you wait - there -" she points, "I'll see if I can't drag them over here."

And she leaves you there, not far from the road to the village.

---

You had just managed to set up a tidy piece of camouflage when you feel, rather than see, a heavy cart coming down the road. Curiosity gets the better of you, and you peer out between the tress to see what the heavy load coming to the village might be. And you straighten in shock, which might be your undoing.

Even as the short-haired woman on the cart stiffens and tumbles away from the person she was talking to you start to slow time, trying to claw a few moments of speed in readiness. Yet she has seen you, and is doing the same. She rotates slowly as she falls closer to the ground. And as she scrambles to her feet and you start to emerge from the edge of the woods, she turns and runs. Away from you.

[ ] Chase. The hunt through time.
[ ] Investigation. Queries of carts and plots.
[ ] Flight. Return to "safety".
[ ] Patience. Longing for birds.
>> No. 128546
[ ] Patience. Longing for birds.

uggh this is probably wrong..
>> No. 128557
>>128546
Oh, one last thing to note.

Just like you, she's drawn the same kind of knife from her belt. And has the same face as you.

(I have no idea how I missed that vital line of description out. So yeah.)
>> No. 128565
[x] Investigation. Queries of carts and plots.
-[x] But only until Tokiko returns.

Granted, we can't expect to survive if we're always avoiding confrontation. However, we don't yet have the means--just the same knife and time manipulation. Now, if this woman has made any allies, then we may be able to use her connections; as the author notes, she has the same face as us. At the very least, we can learn something about who we're up against this time. Since the opponent flat-out ran instead of holding her ground, we might assume that the woman she was talking to isn't exactly going to fight us to the death if approach her, and pretend we're the same person or the opponent's twin sister or something.
>> No. 128578
[x] Patience. Longing for birds.
We aren't a fighter by any meaning of the word. The only way we are going to kill her is by relying on friends, or luring her into our den of traps.
>> No. 128635
[x] Investigation. Queries of carts and plots.
-[x] But only until Tokiko returns.
>> No. 128638
[x] Patience. Longing for birds.
>> No. 129773
File 128993108929.jpg - (12.41KB , 275x183 , It menaced with spikes of wood.jpg ) [iqdb]
129773
>[x] Investigation. Queries of carts and plots.
>-[x] But only until Tokiko returns
>[x] Patience. Longing for birds.

Damn and double-damn! With her headstart she'd be gone before you can catch up - or worse, as you recall your own methodology, leading you right into a trap. Watching the rapidly receding figure speed away in slow-time, you turn your attention to the cart-driver.

She looks round quizzically, probably wondering where her passenger had vanished to, and the start of a mad, bold plan forms in the forefront of your mind...

---

The cart-driver looks up as you approach.
"Oh, where'd ye vanish off ta'?"
"Had to... *huff* get changed.. thought I saw...*huff* a youkai." The woman laughs as you pant in (mostly) fake exhaustion.

"I told'ja, t'aint no youkai'd attack ye when yer' so close ta t'village, aight? Yet dinnae have ta' be so widdlin'!"
Your brain takes a moment to translate.
"I'm just a bit jumpy-" As you start to step onto the cart it groans worrisomely, then the wheel comes off and, once more, "you" fall off the wooden vehicle.
"Gods, girl! Ye tannit'?!"

"I'm sorry! I'm so sorry!"

You were sorry for having to sabotage the cart, having just now unbolted the axel and bent back the flanges during a timestop for this very effect. It was a shame, but if you were to gone when Tokiko returned it'd probably be the final straw. You really shouldn't have made so many bird jokes, you guess.

"Well, leas'n' yeh all rooit. Ah, 'tarnit, 'ow's we 'gan get back 'fore nightfall now?"

"I don't think it's broken, actually.. if we unload the cart we should be able to put the wheel back on..."

"Well.. I'll be 'cost! But i'shou' nae've break in't first place... Ahell.. Help'n ol' folk out'n, nae?"

---

While your distraction/stalling had successfully thown the carter off your admittedly poor excuse for a change of appearance, you hadn't expected it to involve this much heavy lifting. Setting down one of the heavy sacks with a clunk, you sneeze as a puff of earthenware dust emerges from the loosely-tied top.
"That's a lot of plates..."
"Ar, dinnae nae know 'ow yeh gonnae sell all' it fast. Least'na give you time to wait fer yer sistah, eh?" The carter winks as she adjusts her straw hat, and you nod in assent while trying not to mind her smell.
"Yes.. I hope I get to her soon. If only I had more information on her!"
"I 'kin tell yeh nae more'n what ye 'eard already. Long wheet 'air, pretty face loik yez, helluva bonesetter 'n fleshstitcher. An' a most harmless gal I've ever seen. I 'ope she does come back, fer yeh sake an' ours."

Another sack comes down, this time with a satisfying crunch.

"Another one- wait, she left?"

"Aye, I tole ye, a week back or summat she took off in a' mighty rush. Ye tarnit in t'head girl? I only tole ye that yesterda'!"

"Right, right, sorry..."

A few crunchy sacks later and you were hearing about the latest incident with the interdimensional ship in the ruins and how those folk had been granting wishes until someone blew it up, and how that girl in the forest, bless her heart, had started up a magic shop.

"'Course, 'sall sorts'a mystic doodads, 't'aint nothing wholesome n'like whut yez whut sellin',eh?"
"I guess I've gen'- I've got my work cut out for me, huh.."
With a heave of effort, the two of you pull the cart up and force the wheel back into position, and you quickly hammer a wedge in to stop it falling off again. The horse in the cart harness whickers.

"Honestly, I can hardly remember half the stuff I've got planned."
"Hmph. Find yez sister an' make a buck ain't much've a forecastin'."
You glance over as you replace the bolts, but not much more seems forthcoming.

And then-
"-Youkai! Youkai!!"
"What- oh, grashnx!"
In a thrice, both of you are under the cart, peering out through the cracks in the wood and between the sacks.

"No dumb youkai'd nae fear th'village! Why'd one come so close? This is nae gud!"

"Its circling...I'll try and lure it off. Don't worry about the plates, just make sure ye-you get back to the village safe, ok?"
"Ye nae thinkin' a fightan' the beastie, are yeh?!"
"We can't just stay here until nightfall, and I bet I can run faster than you. Don't worry, I'll be fine.. I think..."
The old lady catches your arm before you leave the safety of the cart.
"Lissin' here, girlie. Ye mebbe nae gud at bashin', but I swear yesterda' you coulda charmed th' hind legs offa donkey n' sold it back at thrice t'price. If that beastie 'kin talk, you bloody make sure it carries yer goods back fer yeh and yez use't as a pack-mule, k? Yeh dinnae get offski, now!"

You nod, and run for the woods. The youkai follows, and the cart, after a minute and much lighter, rumbles onwards again.

---

In reality, you'd already been keeping an eye open for movement in case your time-clone came back to stab you in the back and had noticed the familiar winged shape returning some time ago.

Returning to the earlier meeting-place, you nod to Tokiko as she lands lightly on the forest floor.

"Couldn't find your friends, then?"
"Yeah. Usually a few of 'em are hanging around, but.. oh well, I'll bring them over next time. I see you've been making friends too, though?" She tilts her head in the direction of the road.
"Oh, just thought I'd say hi to some folks in trouble is all. The usual." Tokiko shrugs it off, seemingly uninterested by your antics.
"Well, then, shall we head back?"

---

This time around for dinner, Ellen serves up a delicious steamed trout with oriental mushrooms and rice; your mouth had started to water just by smelling it.

"So how did it go? Did you get on we'll with Tokiko's family?"

"Er-well, I met with her sister. I'm not sure she understood who I was, but she she certainly liked me."

Clapping her hands together (not a fantastic idea with any utensils in hand, you note to yourself, even if they are chopsticks), Ellen smiles beautifically.
"I'm glad! It'd be terrible if you didn't get on with your future in-laws!"
You and Tokiko share a weak smile.

---

You ponder your options while lying in sleeplessly in bed. Today might not have provided a whole host of allies, but it had served up a mess of data, most of which would really only be useful if sorted out and looked into. You could pursue one or all options, but succeeding at any would depend on how much time you sank into it.

(Pick your preferred option(s))
[ ]Long-haired trail
[ ]Short-haired chase
[ ]Catching friends for fun and profit
-[ ]Man
-[ ]Monster
[ ]Running a Fortress

(Pick one:)
[ ]World of Dreams
[ ]Facing Reality

So as it turns out writing and posting solely from a phone is horrifying to updating. On the plus side, the as-promised abominable update schedule has prevented any of the apparent newcomers from making silly comments.

...Yeah, I just suck at keeping a decent rate of updates.
>> No. 129777
[x]Running a Fortress
-[x]Facing Reality
We are an engineer, we need to play to our strengths.
Normally, I would be all down with gathering allies to fight in our stead, but it appears our current enemy is far more eloquent and persuasive than we are.
>> No. 129834
>>129777 makes good arguments.
[x]Running a Fortress
-[x]Facing Reality
>> No. 129915
>"That's a lot of plates..."
>"Ar, dinnae nae know 'ow yeh gonnae sell all' it fast. Least'na give you time to wait fer yer sistah, eh?" The carter winks as she adjusts her straw hat, and you nod in assent while trying not to mind her smell.

The girl who ran off owns these plates, probably with the intent to sell. So she likely has a mercantile skill set. She must be skilled to get the capital necessary to acquire this cargo.

>"I 'kin tell yeh nae more'n what ye 'eard already. Long wheet 'air, pretty face loik yez, helluva bonesetter 'n fleshstitcher. An' a most harmless gal I've ever seen. I 'ope she does come back, fer yeh sake an' ours."

We have another player who is socially active and well liked for her medical skills. She's being hunted by the player who just ran off.

>"Aye, I tole ye, a week back or summat she took off in a' mighty rush. Ye tarnit in t'head girl? I only tole ye that yesterda'!"

She might be a noncombatant, but she's certainly looking out for her own survival.

>A few crunchy sacks later and you were hearing about the latest incident with the interdimensional ship in the ruins and how those folk had been granting wishes until someone blew it up, and how that girl in the forest, bless her heart, had had started up a magic shop.

The player who just ran off likely knows about Ellen's shop then. Or possibly Marisa's.

[x]Running a Fortress
[x]Facing Reality

I agree that making allies will be key to future survival. However, if we don't secure our home, we might be forced to abandon everything if an enemy finds us. We don't want to be like that player with the cart, forced to run off from her wares and her friend.
>> No. 129935
x]Running a Fortress
[x]Facing Reality
>> No. 129975
[x]Running a Fortress
-[x]Facing Reality

Wait, so what was that about Tokiko's family? I'm so lost.

Also, if PoDD just finished, we went back a looong ways.
>> No. 129986
>>129975
We met Tokiko's sister, who was a bird. This was not massively useful ally-wise, but seemed to make Ellen happy, and improved your relationship with Tokiko.


I had actually planned on going even farther back, but there's already one Ancient Gensokyo and it'd have been boring to go through all that history one fight at a time.
>> No. 130022
File 129011639539.jpg - (29.47KB , 291x620 , There are no images of angry bride Tokiko so I gue.jpg ) [iqdb]
130022
>[x]Running a Fortress
>[x]Facing Reality

Disheartened by what you've learned, you decide to focus on making sure you, and your hosts, were well protected. If your opposition was as skilled in speechcraft as you predict, trying to defeat her in a battle of allies seems like a poor choice. You could have chosen to hound her down, but...

In the days that follow, you feverishly work on designs of all types, fiendish traps and complex automated defenses. You draw them all up, paper sheets of sketches, eyeballed calculations and construction requirements piling up on the shop counter.

Sourcing the materials proves difficult, but you have a few ideas on how to scavenge or work around their sparcity. The work is both frustrating and intoxictingly challenging, and you soon slip into the famiiar routine of the 72-hour working day.

Only Sokrates seems bothered about your work, and even then only to the extent of pointing out flaws in some of your initial plans.
"Yes, I know that a hidden ballista behind the kitchen would be easily visible from the garden. No, it's not an issue because to get to the garden you have to go through the tripwire-and-spike field and would be too busy watching their own feet to notice."
"Mew."
"No, I'm not going to get myself killed. All the triggers have double-locking safety catches. I DID read about how Moriaty killed himself."
"Mewwww.
"I'm not arguing this with you. You are a cat."
Later, in secret, you add the extra linkages to the trigger mechanisms.


That morning Sokrates is suspiciously smug. Must have been about something else, definitely.

After two months you have manufactured and installed about half of the evil little traps, things that would maim or injure or kill. Working in secret was a difficult proposition, but you manage to secure a supply of steel from some a shopping cart and a half-wrecked table. And with a little time-trickery, even the cooking stove is useable as a makeshift forge.

You worry about the recycled metal, but figure if the mechanisms explode on triggering it would serve just as well.

---

At the start of the third month you marry Tokiko.

It doesn't actually mean anything, you tell yourself as you walk up the makeshift aisle. Ellen had, through a combination of bullying and persuasion and very fast talking, got the the bird youkai and you to set a date for a "special ceremony", and on the actual day successfully stuffed the two of you into a suit and bridal gown respectively (Both perfectly fitted. This was probably the most alarming thing, as after asking Tokiko it turned out neither of you had provided measurements) and paraded the both of you up and down the shop while magicing up wedding music.

Watching Ellen try to be bridesmaid, happy family and priest all at the same time was almost disgustingly adorable, but eventually you cough, and suggest she stops throwing confetti and skip to the vows.
"Oh, all right~ Do you take this ibis youkai as your lawfully wedded partner?"
"I do," you say, still bemused at how you arrived at this situation.

"Tokiko, do you take this halfvampiremagicianghost as your lawfully wedded partner?" Tokiko is looking everywhere, trying to avoid Ellen's bright eyes and searching for an escape from her predicament. Finding none, she settles for scowling at Sokrates, who has been sniggering silently throughout the whole affair.

"Fine, ok! I do!"
Ellen screams with excitement as you give Tokiko a chaste peck on the cheek and she blushes violently. And even though it was just a silly joke of a marriage, you really were suddenly, truly happy.
Ellen sniffs.
"Weddings are so romantic!"

---

You find lying next to Tokiko on the small bed not the most comfortable of experiences. Yes, you could definitely categorize the sensation of her warmth as 'nice', but the silence accompanying it was incredibly awkward.

"You're not thinking anything weird, are you?"
"Absolutely not, Tokiko."
"Oh, good. That'd be, like, really..."
"Awkward?"
"Yeah."



"Is it really so terrible? This wedding?"
"It's silly, is what it is. There's no reason behind it, it's too fast, you're always doing some weird drawings and don't tell anyone anythin', and I don't know why I suddenly like you!"

"Eh?"

"And I don't know why, and it makes me feel really, really.. this whole thing is silly! I wanted to read this afternoon."

"...Sorry."
"Hmph. Anyway, I'm just gonna blame the whole thing on Elllen."

"...Yeah. It's all Ellen's fault."

Tokiko rolls over as if pondering something, then pulls her book from the nightstand.

"Here. Since I didn't get to read most of today, take responsibility and read me something."

"If it makes you feel better, I guess. 'With a final tortured snap, the last cable cut itself free from the orbital, and it began the slow journey back to the planet. The occupants were uncaring of their slow descent - they were already dea-'"

"Not the beginning! From chapter 27!!"

"Right, right. 'Drake dove behind the wrecked hovertank as they opened fire, the gauss rounds tracing a spray of holes across the side of the building. He scrabbled for his pulser...'


---

The two weeks that follow are both blissfully happy and almost painful in nature. Every time you see Tokiko a smile blooms on your face, and she responds by staring rather more intensely at her book. Ellen continues to be full of ebullience as ever, and Sokrates... well, who but Ellen could tell?

It has a horrific impact on your productivity. After you put the makeshift firebomb in the toilet ceiling, you fail to make any more progress booby-trapping the place, your mind constantly wondering.

And by the fourth month, the mob arrives, and it didn't matter any more.

---

You swear to yourself as you struggle with your clothing and count the number of torches in the distance. More than forty people in the crowd, faces indistinct in the weak light. Their angry mutterings could be heard from two fields away.

Why were they here? You were sure you hadn't let your location slip out, and it was impossible to even think that Ellen or Tokiko would anger anyone. Maybe they were at the wrong magical store?

"We're here for the doppleganger youkai!"
Your own voice with someone else's demands, amplified with a microphone and incredibly chipper, booms over the sound of the mob. Your heart sinks lower. How did she find out? No matter. If they were after you-

Of the sixty or so traps around the store, most of them were designed to be fatal or very wounding to a time accelerated person. Using them against youkai would not have been a deadly problem, but normal humans would simply die, painfully. And the incapacitating traps if they didn't screw up and kill someone, were only meant to hold a person until you could take care of them, and were useless against groups that could free each other. You began to regret allowing your counterpart to take the initiative..

"Mm? What's with the noise?" Ellen has come out, dressed in her nightgown. She rubs her eyes as Sokrates bounds up to the window and hisses.

[ ]"It's an angry mob. Wake up Tokiko, we can probably escape out the back."
[ ]"Just some people I know. I'll go out and deal with their leader, and the rest should all go home."
[ ]"I think they're some troublemakers, I've got some stuff around the store that'll deal with them if they come inside."
[ ]"Ellen, they're after me. I don't know what to do!"
[ ]"...It looks like they're after me. If I give myself up I'm sure they won't bother you and Tokiko."

-----

So I went to the IRC channel for storytelling advice. It's true, dicks ARE mentioned a lot there.
>> No. 130034
[x]"I think they're some troublemakers, I've got some stuff around the store that'll deal with them if they come inside."

Shit. I did not expect regular humans.

It sucks. It's absolutely terrible. It'll probably make us hate ourselves... but they all need to die.

We can't afford to play this any other way. To protect our happiness with Tokiko, not to mention furthering our Highlander game, they have to die. Our only line of defense is our fortified fortress. We have nothing else. We can show no mercy to our counterpart and her mob, as they will not show any to us.

And we will just get ported to a slightly different timeline, where this never happened, anyways.
>> No. 130042
[x]"Just some people I know. I'll go out and deal with their leader, and the rest should all go home."
-[x] "Seal all the entrances. There might be someone that looks exactly like me, so don't open up unless I give the [password]."


Even if they can help each other, they'll still take a lot of time to get through all the traps, and we can (hopefully) take out our opposite number by the time they get anywhere near the house. Time warp, and everyone forgets everything.

I'm worried that the other "us" will use the mob as a distraction to take Ellen or Toki hostage.
>> No. 130045
>>130042
That won't work. You don't bother taking hostages when you hold all the chips. If we go out there alone, she's just going to tell the mob to kill us, and that will be that. She's playing to her strengths with this mob. We need to do the same, or else we die.
>> No. 130052
[Q] "It's an angry mob. Wake up Tokiko, we can probably escape out the back."

Ah, shit.
>> No. 130088
Will wait for a week for tiebreaker votes, write ins are fine too. Please note as per initial post that sudden death flags are enabled.
>> No. 130094
[x] "I think they're some troublemakers, I've got some stuff around the store that'll deal with them if they come inside."

We run now, and even if we escape this one, we'll have no hiding place, no traps, and no materials protecting us next time we run into another piece of work like this.

Mobs are fragile things. They're expecting one or maybe two youkai who put up a fight--and whatever Ellen or Tokiko's reputations are in the Village, they're probably not considered 'violent'. Traipsing across a darkened forest littered with deathtraps is a different matter.
>> No. 130100
[x]"I think they're some troublemakers, I've got some stuff around the store that'll deal with them if they come inside."
>> No. 130299
[x]"Ellen, they're after me. I don't know what to do!"
[x]"It's an angry mob. Wake up Tokiko, we can probably escape out the back."
Hold on to our happiness hold on to our happiness aw FUCK we're screwed
>> No. 130303
[x]"Just some people I know. I'll go out and deal with their leader, and the rest should all go home."
-[x] "Seal all the entrances. There might be someone that looks exactly like me, so don't open up unless I give the [password]."
>> No. 130330
[x] "I think they're some troublemakers, I've got some stuff around the store that'll deal with them if they come inside."
[x] "...Permanently."
[x] Make some kind of innocuous mark or password so that Tokiko and Ellen can distinguish you from the doppleganger.

Wait, what. She actually married her?

Awesome.

Also, I loved the bit with Sokrates and the plans.
>> No. 130332
>>130330
Yeah. Great isn't it? We get to taste happiness before the writer kills us off at least. I loved that part. I'm totally serious.
Fuck reverse psychology I bet you still think I'm being sarcastic.
>> No. 130564
File 129060451321.png - (760.82KB , 424x635 , Fallen on the forest floor.png ) [iqdb]
130564
>[x] "I think they're some troublemakers, I've got some stuff around the store that'll deal with them if they come inside."
>[x]"Just some people I know. I'll go out and deal with their leader, and the rest should all go home."

As you consider the various options available each seems more dangerous than the last. Simply charging into the horde was obviously not going to work – your counterpart wouldn’t have brought along a crowd without having some sort of countermeasure against time-stopping. And trying to escape – well, possible, but the nonlethal traps wouldn’t slow down the villagers for long, and getting Ellen and Tokiko away would probably slow you down enough for that woman to catch up and kill you. And killing the villagers was right out.

Unless…

The plan you swiftly devise is simple in its elegance. It is also hideously risky. If it weren't for the fact that the other one, the trader, might hurt your friends, you wouldn't have considered it.

But that terrifying possibility is there all the same, and you so you grab at your plan as a man in quicksand struggles for a grasp on anything at all.

"It's all right, Ellen," you repeat. "I'll deal with this." She looks at you half suspiciously, half worried, but nods and steps away.
"Oh, one more thing - when I come back, can I show off the ring you gave to me again?" She smiles wanly as you wave your left hand in the air, the thin silver ring gleaming in the night. She nods one more time.
"I'll expect you to thank me for it as soon as you get back!"

Once you are sure she is safely in bed, you pull the triggers for the traps - both the nonlethal and the lethal. And listen to the creak of springs, the tightening of wires and shifting wood. And pray.

The first two of the mob step forward, slowly trudging towards the front door. You stare at them through the spyhole, almost willing them forward. How dare they? Coming here with feeble, easily-swayed minds, to kill you and yours just like that? This wasn't your fault, your intent. They chose to walk into the traps of their own accord. It wasn't your responsibility.

You can see the look of surprise on the first villager's face when she trips and falls over the crisscrossed wires and is impaled on the wooden stakes in the grass. It was the old carter you'd met several months ago, and she lies motionless, deathly still. The younger villager puts her hands over her mouth, and screams shrilly.

---

The thin chittering tells you that the true danger had arrived, and you stop time. Your side aches uncomfortably as you recall the last time you heard this noise.

Stepping out of the house carefully, you catch sight of one of the creatures making that scritching, high-pitched cry. Amongst the stopped world of grey and whites, it is smoky black, its movements too liquid and smooth for a place without time. Spiderlegs and mandibles and wisps of a dark mist pull this nightmare creature over an unseen floor, ghosting through fences and traps alike. It seats itself almost daintily next to the fallen carter, and bites in joyfully.

The woman... dissolves. A slow fading that spreads from the point of the bite outwards, and engulfs her. Within this split second of frozen time she is gone, as if never existing.

The words of Yukari run through your mind - "-will brook no significant interference-" - and you recall the soldier's choice, disabling shots instead of fatal ones. Your own thoughts on why no-one sane would choose to kill Ellen and Tokiko.

You recall the first battle you had, where your opponent had killed a child with a misaimed throw. Her apologies and rationalisations turning to screams as she was eaten.

More chittering, from behind you. No taking back the choice now. You press on.

Stopping time was wearying, but the prospect of being erased from existence appeals even less, and you clear the last traps and run amidst the frozen villagers to confront her, the cause of all this. She is caught unawares, jaw slack at seeing these unnatural monsters, and fails to fully twist out of the way of your knife's lunge.

The chittering is louder now, a vibrant hum of a hundred tiny mouths opening and clicking shut all around. You dare not take your eyes off your opponent, who slashes wildly in front of her, stopping you pressing the attack. They will go after you first, you know, but will cheerfully attack any other timeshifter in the vicinity - the wound on your side from your very first battle attesting to that only too well. Using these creatures as a distraction to kill the trader and then evading them for long enough to return to that grand hall - foolish, foolish, but you have no choices left.
"What did you do? What have you done?!" You do not answer her, and bring your knife round for a throw - is that a car battery she's holding-

The ground shifts under your feet and you tumble. And then spasming electric pain, quickly over. You come to your senses just as the trader throws the car battery over you, the silvery mesh underneath you and attatched to it following, entangling you in a metal net.

You stare at her. But she is not looking at you. Beyond the encroaching circle of darkness, towards the store.

It is being devoured. Swathes of it are already gone, and the creatures are systematically chewing the rest of it away, wiping out your traps, your room, anything you've touched... you scream in impotent rage and despair as you try to struggle free, but it is too late, they are upon you.

They take your legs first. There is no real pain, only the bizzare disassociation of feeling/knowing your legs never existed while remembering you were standing just a few seconds ago. You still struggle to get away, even as your lower body vanishes, the ancient agony in your side melding with the fresh hurt of existential uncertainty. Though you know it does no good you cling tighter to your timestop in the hope the creatures will stop moving or go away, please go away and keep struggling forwards in the hope of at least seeing Ellen and Tokiko get to safety. It's not fair, you think. You didn't choose to send those two into the traps, she did. And they walked in themselves. And even if you were responsible, the punishment shouldn't fall on the ones you love-!

Your view of the house is unobscured briefly, and you catch a glimpse of a figure in purple holding onto two others? please let it be two before another creature appears before you, chittering and screeching.

They must be safe, you decide. They must be.
The creature opens its mouth impossibly wide and bites dow

Continue
[ ] Yes
[ ] No

Posessions identified?
[ ] Yes
[ ] No


---

Out of the five choices, three were death-flagged (one obvious, two not-so-obvious). I kind of feel bad about not foreshadowing it better and making it feel a bit diabolus ex timeline-a, (I doubt anyone who chose those options expected SUDDENLY GIANT MONSTER SPIDERS EAT YOU) but hopefully you can see the reasons behind the death. Still, I am aware it seems rather caparicious, but there you go. Hopefully it won't put too many of you off.

Feel free to ask any other questions about the last bit, they'll hopefully be answered in the next update.
>> No. 130570
[x] Yes
[x] No

You lost me.

If I am understanding this correctly, we cannot be the cause of death for anyone outside of our game, lest GIANT MONSTER SPIDERS come and eat us dead? Please correct me if I am wrong.
>> No. 130571
>Still, I am aware it seems rather caparicious, but there you go. Hopefully it won't put too many of you off.

It was a reasonable vehicle as any for explaining the mechanics of how the game is regulated, providing back story on the MC's first fight, and the source of that initial injury.

>Continue
[x] Yes

>Posessions identified?
[x] Yes
>> No. 130587
>Continue
[x] Yes

>Posessions identified?
[x] Yes

Would this mean we try again with mechanic? Than yes i would vote for that. But, if its to go with someone else, than disregard the vote.
>> No. 130594
>Continue
[x] Yes

>Posessions identified?
[x] Yes
>> No. 130601
>[?] Yes
>[?] No

Continue as in "you done fucked up, restart" or as in "back X choice/s?"
>> No. 130606
>>130570
>we cannot be the cause of death for anyone outside of our game, lest GIANT MONSTER SPIDERS come and eat us dead? Please correct me if I am wrong.
If you manage to gain the ire of the GIANT MONSTER SPIDERS you have a very low chance of continued existence as anything whatsoever, let alone being dead. Killing people is one way of drawing that ire.

>Would this mean we try again with mechanic? Than yes i would vote for that. But, if its to go with someone else, than disregard the vote.
>Continue as in "you done fucked up, restart" or as in "back X choice/s?"
Can't go back, bro. Only forwards
>> No. 130608
File 129062888578.jpg - (1.49MB , 1300x1050 , tokiko8.jpg ) [iqdb]
130608
>>130606
Sad times.

[x]Yes in both fields, then.
>> No. 131125
File 129142578518.jpg - (766.42KB , 1400x1980 , Yukari is only sixteen years old.jpg ) [iqdb]
131125
>[x] Continue
>[x] Inventory identified

Trees were very useful objects, you think to yourself. Here I am ready to be climbed, they call out, just when utter obliteration seems imminent. And so you had clawed your way up the tree trunk and reached the branches to escape the swarming creatures below.

They seemed only interested in you and your lookalike, fortunately. If they had actually started attacking the villagers, you'd weren't sure you had the guts to lure them off or do something equally brave and suicidal.

You are very glad that you didn't have to test your bravery.

It is only when the creatures cease their.. feasting and leave - quietly scuttling through the undergrowth to simply vanish - do you belatedly drop the timestop, almost marvelling at the ability to forget something like that, like forgetting to eat or even breathe. Your gaze lingers where your counterpart had fallen, but there are only a couple of shiny objects to mark the spot now.

Your first move is towards the space where the house had been, but the insectoid... things... had done a very thorough job - not a fragment of the old woman remains, nor the trap that killed her. You stare at the bare forest floor, unsure where her final moments had even been.

But there is no time to be remorseful - right now, there is a group of people you're responsible for wondering what the heck is going on. And you don't have a ready answer for it, either. The fact that there had been a store here, there had been a compatriot who had perished mere moments ago was suddenly an abstract notion, divorced from reality, and it took an effort to keep in mind their previous existence. You doubt the others remember them, and that made its own problems.

"Ano... why are we in the woods again?"

And... there's the first question.

"Beats me. Weren't we.. after someone or something?"

"Maybe?"

"I guess.. we lost 'em? I can't remember who we were after."

"...Let's just go home. There're dangerous youkai out after dark. Looks like it's going to snow, too."

With a murmur of general agreement, the unruly mob moves off. Not the best of diversions, but in the dark no-one can tell who's speaking, and that makes slight nudging of conversations easy.

They leave you alone in the woods, unnoticed. You don't worry about them, as people from the village tend not to be so easy to defeat, especially in a group. And you have your own task.

Before you start, you check over the ground where your opponent had met her end. There had been a couple of metallic objects that had caught your eye, and on looking around, you find two knives, a ring and a broken hairband. One of the knives is scored on a centimeter and millimeter basis, with measurements marked out on it. The other is worn and has been worn down by repeated grindings, but is still (as always) sharp. The ring is warm to touch, and you idly wonder why she had it.

You shallowly bury the hairband, not wanting to waste much time on it. In the clearing where the shop had been, you begin to dig, searching for something. A few minutes later you pull up a stone slab, rough round the edges but still intact. While the... whatever they were things had erased most of the store, there was a few pieces of it remaining.

You drag it up against a treetrunk, and get to work.

---

Snow has indeed started to fall, but while it may be a nice sop to the futility of the battle just fought, it just makes you cold and tired.
A fleeting flash of purple at the corner of your vision and you turn halfway before sitting back down, continuing to scratch grooves into the rock. You don't think there's much you could try if the person behind you decides the world would be a better place without your presence.

"What are you doing?", she asks quietly, coldly.

You do not respond directly, but instead shuffle slightly to one side so she can see the marker and the words you've carved on it.
"'Alas, poor Teresa! I knew her well.'"

The youkai behind you bristles audibly. "The quote goes 'I knew him', not 'I knew him well'. I suggested that change to the Bard personally. And you're making.. a grave marker? For the offshoot possibility you defeated?"

"Not for her. For my friend." You carve another stroke into the stone, the hard surface dulling the knife's edge as you hack at it.

"I met her while she was still a child, back in my first battle. She wanted to be a great teacher, and look after all the other children. She had a boyfriend when she was a young woman, and found a place for me to hide away for a while when I saw her that time. Of course, she didn't remember me, but when we talked of her childhood dreams she opened up to me again. And now this last time she'd grown old, without marriage or children. She had many regrets, and had just as many friends and loved ones. So I think a gravestone for her here is something necessary, even if no-one remembers her now." It is half an explanation, half-eulogy, and for who's sake, you do not know.

The woman grunts, taking in your words and ruminating over them briefly.

You pause, glancing over your shoulder at the figure looming there.

"Are you here to kill me, too? Because I sent someone into a trap I didn't know was there?"

Yukari Yakumo, youkai of boundaries and borders, looks at you disdainfully.
"Kill you as well? The only thing I've done is rescue someone quite dear to me, and her friend, from your... foolishness. I've had no part in this, otherwise."

This revelation takes a moment to sink in.
"You mean- those creatures aren't yours?" You had been sure they were some kind of shikigami or creation of hers, but you couldn't see much point in her telling you lies. Not that you could hope to decipher her schemes enough to know if a lie for her was advantageous for her or not...
Too much overthinking and paranoia. She continues to speak, regardless of your suspicions.
"Those creatures.. 'Paradox eaters', Keine named them. A bit ostentatious, but apt enough. Its similar enough to her ability, but those things have been turning up all over the place wherever you lot go, and have been a huge pain to clean up after."
"...Keine?" You ask, uncertain. Yukari scowls and shakes her head.
"Never you mind. But anyway, that's the reason I've been telling you to be aware of the consequences. And here the other you promised me not to cause trouble... Tch."
She opens her metal fan in one smooth motion, obscuring her face, and turns away.
"At least you hadn't intended to get anyone killed, did you? Even if you were willing to send in your so-called 'friends' to die in your place."

"I never meant for-" Your heated words trail off as you try and compose yourself.
"It was a business risk. I never intended for anyone to get hurt except my other self."

"Good." In an instant she lunges at you, faster than time itself, and pins you to the floor with a single hand, crushing you down into the mud. Cold metal rests against your throat, but it is nothing to the terror produced simply by looking into her blazing eyes.
"I, frankly could not care less about the individual humans, but your little act with yourself very neath brought harm to someone very dear to me. I could do such horrors upon you that the very essence of reality would cry out in rejection of it. I could transfigure you into a state of distilled pain, and multiply you and use you as the points of creation for a new universe that its entirety of matter would be comprised of your agony, more than a million to the million times over in every single particle of existence. I could replicate even that to an infinite amount, and replace you with a copy of yourself right here, without ever knowing the original self was screaming endlessly, unheard."

You dare not even flinch, not even tremble. Every muscle seems to have locked up in absolute terror.


"I would like to inform you that fortunately no harm came to my friend today, and I doubt you will have the chance to put her at risk again." Yukari smiles, an obcsenely innocent look for one that had just uttered those threats.
"Of course, you won't cause this sort of trouble in the future, will you? No? Excellent." The fan clicks shut on your throat, and only now you flinch as you feel the skin tear slightly. But she stands daintily, brushing herself off as if nothing happened.
"Now.. I believe you have a dinner to get to.. ah? Yes, I see you will be leaving shortly. I trust this warning will be taken to hea-"

The voice, and your vision swim, and a jolt of temporal movement sends you flying away.

Just in time.

[ ] Questions for yourself (write in anything you want to ask Yukari or other versions of you at the feast)
[ ] Low profile

---

Exams are in a week, so am having trouble concentrating on writing. Should have a voting thing up next.
>> No. 131127
[x] Ask about the Paradox Eater's
-[x] Ask about "Keine"
--[x] Ask about Yukari Yakumo

>>129777
and
>>130034 here

I'm sorry, everyone. Our beloved engineer is worse than dead, and I can't help but feel it's my fault. I dropped the fucking ball on this one.
>> No. 131128
[x] Ask about the Paradox Eater's
-[x] Ask about "Keine"
--[x] Ask about Yukari Yakumo

Fucking eldritch history spiders. They always have to fuck everything up, don't they?
>> No. 131129
We're the Trader now?

Fuck yes you are the best continue system ever!

[x] Questions for yourself
-[x] Ask about "Keine"
-[x] Ask about the "paradox eaters"

I don't know about asking the others about Yukari while she's present is very smart. She's probably already shown us what she wants us to see. Descriptive image filenames are descriptive.
>> No. 131133
[x] Questions for yourself
-[x] Ask about "Keine"
-[x] Ask about the "paradox eaters"
>> No. 131134
"Know yourself but not the enemy, and you will lose one battle for every one you've won. Know your enemy but not yourself, and you will lose one battle for every one you've won. Know yourself and your enemy and you will never be defeated" - Sun Tzu
[x] Low profile
We don't need to know about Keine yet and all we need to know about Yukari and Paradox eaters is, that we should stay the fuck out of their way. Low profile so that we don't expose ourselves too much to the others.
>> No. 131137
>>131127
Eh we didn't know the main threat was those things as opposed to the humans. But I'm finding my self struggling to care about the remainder of the arc.
>> No. 131139
[x] Questions for yourself
-[x] Ask about "Keine"
-[x] Ask about the "paradox eaters"
>> No. 131934
[x] Questions for yourself
-[x] Ask about "Keine"
-[x] Ask about the "paradox eaters"

The paradox-eaters make me think of the Auditors from the Discworld books (in purpose) and of the 'shadow people' from John Dies At The End (in means).
>> No. 131961
File 129271558218.jpg - (83.45KB , 350x1056 , yukarisleepwhat.jpg ) [iqdb]
131961
I haven't forgotten about this, just getting over my exam finishing celebrations and then getting snowed in and hibernating. Will have something up by monday.
>> No. 131991
>>131961

Hooray!
>> No. 132020
Hurray indeed!
>> No. 132051
File 12929013486.png - (30.92KB , 450x450 , keinedeletehistory.png ) [iqdb]
132051
>[x] Ask about the Paradox Eaters,
>[x] Ask about "Keine"
>--[x] Ask about Yukari Yakumo

While you are unsure of the mechanism of how it happens, it is with exceeding thankfulness that your clothes and body mostly revert to a more unharmed state on entry to the feast hall - while it did not work on significant injuries, for one, your pants were no longer wet with.. fear, so to speak. And it is with this relief - or lack of - that you remove your blindfold.

"Well, I guess that could have gone worse?" you mutter in thanks.
The warm light of the hall is comforting to the eyes. The aroma of the sumptuous foods may have made others feel ill after going through a similar death-bordering experience, but it just made you hungry.
"Sounds like you've a story to tell." That drawl - another voice from your own past speaks to you from across the table - but she was dead and buried already. Or at least, that's where you had left her. You untense and smile back openly at the person you'd already killed.

"Giant spidery things came out of the walls and tried to eat me. Not exactly sure what that was about, but they went right through a timestop. Then-" Abruptly, you reconsider whether explaining your verbal chewing out by Yukari was a good idea. While she couldn't do any more harm, others were certainly listening, trying to get an edge on the competition. Your hand brushes the skin on your throat where the fan had sliced, and you wince imperceptibly as you touch a newly formed scar.

"'They're coming outta th' goddam walls'?" The other speaker quotes, and you force a short chuckle out as you take the time to examine her once more. It was difficult to distinguish her from looks alone - just another one of your endless replicas - but the slight smirk on her face hiding ugly plots was one you wouldn't forget anytime soon. Idly you wonder if you, yourself, had been killed in someone else's timeline, just like you killed this scum before now. Not like you could help that if it was the case.

"Well, do you know anything that'd be able to move in stopped time? Apart from us, obviously. And.. mum..." Your thoughts on how the time-travel ability ran in families and that the paradox eaters also seemed to be able to use the same power makes your mind contort horribly for a second.
"Welp, there goes my appetite."

Another copy of you leans in to snag the salt shaker.
"I think I saw something like that.. when I got too close to the Scarlet Lake some of them showed up. But I thought they were just some freakish youkai."

"Strange monster things that show up when someone is doing something paradoxical, is my guess." Someone interjects from behind - no-one you recognise. "Saw them a while back when someone - other than fairies - got killed by a fellow timetraveller. But that doesn't make sense at all. If we're able to cause paradoxes by killing people, then why isn't everything else we do causing paradoxes and triggering their appearance? Maybe the memory-loss effect? But that doesn't change the other stuff, like stockpiles or other leftover stuff." As you mull over that point, you catch sight of Yukari's shikigami making rounds with a comically oversized tray. You wave her over gratefully and she hands over a jug of fruit juice.
"Thanks, Ran.. wasn't it?" She nods and starts to turn away, but you catch her sleeve. "Could I ask.. is Yukari really not interfering with this event?" The kitsune purses her lips, unwilling to talk. "I thought she was the one behind all this at first, especially since we're all gathered here, but she said she wasn't the one behind the spider things, the paradox eaters. If she's not behind that, doesn't that mean there's a third party involved? Or are those things natural?"

Ran is pulling at her sleeve now, visibly irritated.
"I can't talk about that and I've got food to serve, still-"

"Then would you at least tell me why we're here, at this dinner? If Yukari isn't involved, what's the point of bringing all of us here? Surely.."

Ran has stopped pulling away and is smiling sweetly.
"I'm afraid I can't help, like I said... but I'm sure if you direct your questions to Miss Yukari, I'm sure she can help you answer your questions..."

You drop the sleeve. You did not want to look at the terrifying visage of this person's master so soon after what just happened. And even though it might have been subjectively longer to Yukari, you didn't really want to face her without at least an idea of what you were talking about.

And so you let her go, and return to your seat, a preoccupied look on your face.

"Looks like you didn't get much answered for the price of pissin' off Yukari's shikigami." Without looking, you know she has that smirk on her face, the one you associate with burning fairy flesh..
"She knew exactly what I was talking about. When I mentioned 'those spider things' she recognised their title. And she didn't deny anything, and redirected me as soon as I asked why we're here. She had orders to do so, I'd bet." You speak to yourself out loud, as if by accident. "There IS a third party out there, Ran all but confirmed it. But what does it mean? It's useless without further information. Who or what's involved, and how does that help?"

Your counterpart across the table snorts in disgust.
"Shouldn't you be more concerned about stayin' alive in the next match rather than worry about that? I mean, it's no skin off my nose if you get toasted."

You ignore that remark.

"Has anyone here met or know about Keine?"

The question draws glances.
"Perhaps.. why?"

"I've passed her a couple of times in the village but she's avoided me mostly. Anyone know about her future or stuff?"

"She's that teacher, right? Mother wanted me to have nothing to do with her."
"Really? I studied with her for several years, it's what got me interested in history-"
"She's dead in my timeline, hit by a bus-"
"Keine could just erase that from her timeline, couldn't she?"
"Not when it's not full moon-"
"I think she's avoiding us, I tried visiting her but she was out-"


The topic spirals across the grand table without stopping, even with only two or three of every ten willing to talk. You listen to the flow of conversation as best you can, gleaning bare bones of information from the rumours and hearsay.

It seems that Keine, the historian and teacher of Gensokyo, is definitely avoiding contact with the game players. While your abilities would appear to affect her, she would have some countermeasures of her own. And - in the timelines where she survives and meets with you - she always takes special interest in your.. family.

No significant leads, it appears. Perhaps if you - ah, but that familiar lurch distorts time again, picking you up and throwing you out into the cold once more.

Out of time again.

---

[ ] Bridgeside
[ ] Riverside
[ ] Countryside
[ ] Outside (almost!)

---

It's still Monday! It's still Monday in parts of the world, probably!

I've come down with a bad case of Cosmic Break due to exams finishing. It is a good pain.
>> No. 132053
Time-spiders clambering out of the woodwork when a player goes near SDM is probably no coincidence considering the potential for paradox there.

Narrator has familiarity with killing others in this game, and mentions dozens more present at the table, all apparently survivors in their own timelines. With POV switch upon death and memory tampering of all others involved, I don't know if this is a game we can 'win' by trying to survive as any one of these entities.

[x] Outside (almost!)

Anything connected to the border might help us understand Yukari's involvement or our collective situation.
>> No. 132054
[x] Countryside

It's too early to confront Yukari, or anything related to her. Our time would best be spent finding Keine. She's avoiding us for a reason, we must find out why.
>> No. 132055
>>132051
>Bad case of Cosmic Break

Cosmic Break is a good thing, silly. Speaking of which, get all those soon to be RT bots yet? I finally got around to getting Shino today.

[x] Countryside
>> No. 132086
[x] Outside (almost!)
>> No. 132118
[ ] Outside (almost!)

I think Reimu might be interestingly unknowing, or knowing.
>> No. 132386
[x] Bridgeside
>> No. 132400
Calling it for Outside! (almost). May take some time, have prepared this option the least.
>> No. 132422
>>132400

Hooray!
>> No. 132979
File 129469438922.gif - (157.75KB , 320x320 , brush brush brush.gif ) [iqdb]
132979
It is hot. An unbearable heat shining down from upon high. You manage to open your eyes and stare at the blueness high above, blinking at the shining light that pierces through all.

There is a sense of peacefulness, of calm, in this searing heat. A sense of fatality and simple clear skies without complications.

You doze off without thinking, with but a hint of regret that you cannot keep something important in mind.

---

A puff of dust makes you cough and brings you awake. You sit up, trying to escape from the choking particles. As your eyes clear, you reflexively try to stop the problem, freeze time with a thought, taking away the cloud of dust's time.

Nothing happens. The dust continues to swirl about and irritate your eyes. Sitting up, you don't immediately realise the significance of this until you see the girl in front of you, abd by then you have other things on your mind.

She's young, younger than your daughter is/would be. Long purple hair and traditional shrine-maiden clothes - who this is doesn't click until you see the broom in her hand.

"Oh, you're awake. I tried to get you up earlier, but you looked pretty tired." As if finding strangers in one's courtyard was nothing out of the ordinary, the wonderful shrine maiden of paradise, Reimu Hakurei continued to sweep the shrine grounds.

"..Thank you?"

At first, she does not respond, concentrating on the extermination of dust in the courtyard. As you stretch, though, trying to work out kinks in your back, she turns abruptly, and brandishes her broom at you.
"So what's with you barging into my shrine like this and sleeping wherever you please? It's not some rest stop for people, you know!"

Tone:
[ ] Brusque
[ ] Humble
[ ] Evasive
[ ] Bargaining


Action
[ ] Assault
[ ] Escape
[ ] Petition
-[ ] Direct intervention
-[ ] Minimal aid

---
Over the new year, due to a burst pipe in the ceiling my garage flooded and put to waste half the stuff in storage inside it. The might not have been so bad, but for the fact that two years ago, another burst pipe inside the house itself wrecked half the contents and we had to deposit the stuff we could save... inside the garage, where it had been malingering until now.

This is not an excuse, especially since the time I haven't been helping clear out several years worth of memories I've been trying out World of Tanks and grinding my seraph crimrose in Cosmic Break, but has given me fantastic insights into how Reimu must have felt when her shrine got destroyed.. not once, but twice in a fairly short period of time.

Unfortunately, the Reimu here hasn't suffered quite those hardships yet, so all that tangent was kind of moot. She's harder to write than I first thought.

...In other news, whee January, the month where all the self-assessment forms are due in. More spotty updates, ahoy!
>> No. 132982
[x] Humble

Action
[x] Petition
-[x] Direct intervention
>> No. 132997
Ouch, damn. I'm really sorry to hear that, man.

Tone
[x] Humble

Action
[x] Petition
-[x] Minimal aid

I am curious as to how Humble + Assault could possibly work.
>> No. 133002
[x] Humble
[x] Assault

I imagine this to be apologies and excuses. Assaulting her with our humbleness, as it were.
>> No. 133053
[x] Bargaining
[x] Petition
-[x] Minimal aid

"That's a pretty nice broom you have there. But with a small investment..."
>> No. 133059
[x] Humble

Action
[x] Petition
-[x] Direct intervention
>> No. 133410
Waiting for a tiebreaker between minimal aid and direct intervention, but am starting writing. Anyone want to tip the vote?
>> No. 133421
-[x] Direct intervention
>> No. 133555
So, if I'm understanding this correctly, the dead people are stuck with the memories up to the battle they died?

I guess that's one way to make sure you can't tell how many people are left in the game using a bodycount.
>> No. 133615
>>133555
Not exactly. The timeline in the Great Hall is not linear considering each timetraveller is jumping in and out of it. You met a the past self of someone you previously killed.
>> No. 136380
>[X] Humble

>[x] Petition
>-[x] Direct intervention

Well, what did you have to lose? Without resources on hand to offer, tired and without any tricks prepared, you gamble on the shrine maiden's generosity.

---

Sitting on your knees with hands tied behind your back and an ofuda stuck to your forehead, you ponder how that could have gone worse. At least you were intact, and out of the heat.

The shrine is spacious and cool, shaded. Far off to the side you can hear the faint drip, drip of a poorly made pump, and the faint chirping of birds help pass the time.

"How dare you try to beg for charity!" she had said, pulling back from your humble bow. "Away with you!"
Your continued pleading had not helped your case, and then you'd tried to reach out to her, to grasp her hand and look her pitifully in the eye.

On reflection, trying to grab hold of an already jumpy shrine maiden was a poor idea. Still, she didn't have to give you quite so many bruises... And thus, you had found yourself tied up like this.

Anyway. This hadn't been useful. Time enough to leave.

You fold you power in on itself, trying to age the rope bound around your hands.

...Nothing happens. With a slowly rising sense of panic you try to slow time, to stop it, and finally bend or alter it in any way possible.

Nothing. You can sense the flow of time around you, instinctively feel the movement of each item's history, but trying to reach out and manipulate it with your powers was like trying to lift the moon with naught but your hand.

More than slightly perturbed, you fail to dislodge the bonds again. The rope is securely tied to the post behind you, and though you could probably think of some effective escape methods - if you had a bit of time!

Time that you didn't have. Light steps approach from outside the paper door, each monent failing to take an eternity. The door opens.

"Well, what do you have to say for yourself?"
Clad in white and red, Reimu's appearance is both worrying and a relief. While you know not what she intends, you are glad its not someone definitely out to kill you.

As frantic as you were, you seemed to have one more chance.

[ ]Plead (again)
[ ]Bargain (with what? If you leave blank a penalty applies)
[ ]Intimidate
[ ]Stall for time

Any option can include a write in, which may affect the chance of success of that choice.

---

Ahh, I feel really rested for some reason, like I could update forever and even start a couple of new quests.
Wait, what do you mean its March alread
>> No. 136382
[x]Plead (again)

Now that she has had some time to examine the situation, determine that we are not a youkai, and cool down, I'm sure if we just explain ourselves she'll let us out easy.

Also, rereading a bit, that's the second time our timefuckery has failed us. Here's hoping that this loss of power will only last until we are appropriately far enough away from the shrine.
>> No. 136390
[x]Stall for time
Good morning! Glad you're back
>> No. 136393
Hooray!

[x]Intimidate

It's Raymoo. She isn't going to kill us.
>> No. 136396
[x]Plead (again)
>> No. 136412
[ ]Plead (again)
>> No. 136567
[x] Plead (again)
-[x] Half BS, half diplomacy. Spin something believeable that's politely worded and less desperate-sounding.
>> No. 136588
[x] Plead (again)
>> No. 137364
[x] Plead (again)

Playing strengths.
>> No. 137783
File 130071047275.jpg - (327.56KB , 950x785 , Unfortunately its not Reimu whos doubled and shes .jpg ) [iqdb]
137783
>[x]Plead (again)
>-[x] Half BS, half diplomacy. Spin something believeable that's politely worded and less desperate-sounding
If being tied up and powerless wasn't a good time to beg for your life, there's never been a good time.
"You're in danger the longer you keep me here," you exclaim, "someone's after my life!" You hear a muffled sniffle, and hope it wasn't you.
Reimu nods absentmindedly, kneeling down before you and examining your body almost critically.
"Please, keep talking.." Grabbing your hair not unkindly she pulls on your eyelids, and you try to wince as light blinds your vision.
"Agh, w-what are you doi-"
"Keep talking."
Discomfited, you do so, starting to weave a tale about how a doppleganger was after your identity, and wished to do away with you to complete the disguise. Reimu doesn't respond enthusiastically, more interested in her analysis more than anything else.
"...And that's why you've got to let me go, and get ready.. are you listening?"

Reimu finally sits back with a sigh.

"I honestly can't tell what you are. You're.. at least part human, but I can't tell if the rest of you is or not. And that's really suspicious!"

"The doppleganger's trying to mask my humanity-" your voice trails off as she pins you to the pillar with a stare, and pulls back the door behind her fully.

Tied up in the same way, sniffling and trying to hold back tears, with bizzare, mistlike probability-scattered wings sprouting from her back and wearing a is a girl slightly smaller than Reimu in a tattered dress.

It's younger, of course, but as expected, she shares your face.

"Before you say anything," Reimu interjects, "I found her bawling outside the shrine and spouting a story about how she had to hunt down a youkai who was stealing her future. And she looks more youkai than you, but she's got the same weird semihuman aura! Looks can be deceiving."

[ ]Press the story
[ ]Change your tune (what?)

[ ]Go for the kill (literally)
[ ]Demand satisfaction
[ ]Sue for peace

[ ]Other - Write in

---

Sorry for the delay, got caught up in a one-shot.
Also,
>play to your strengths
Though it was far from your worst choice, the first [x]plead got you beat up by Reimu. Just sayin'.
>> No. 137785
[x]Sue for peace

Another person in the same predicament? Let's play nice in front of Reimu, maybe try killing the others, and stab her in the back later.
>> No. 137804
[x]Demand satisfaction

Act with vindication. Be so thoroughly convinced that this girl in front of you has wronged you in some manner, that even Reimu will start to believe it.

We should probably press the human issue, also. I mean, she has wings, and we don't. We can use that.
>> No. 137809
>>137804
Reimu's bullshit detectors are second to none. She'll never believe it.
>> No. 137812
>>137809
Even the most stalwart of people can be convinced with sufficient devotion. With time, I'm sure we can persuade her to see our side. After all, we are tied up, and have nothing but time and words to sway her.
>> No. 137825
[x] Change your tune (what?)
-[x] Yukari did it.
[x] Sue for peace

Neither of your stories are strictly wrong, and Reimu has no reason to take one over the other. If you both just claim the other is lying, she might just arbitrarily decide which of you is the youkai and exterminate her out of frustration. I think this is the only testimony the other you would be likely to confirm.

I want to hear how this whole thing started, and being forced to explain it to Reimu is as good a vehicle as any. This other player doesn't appear to be an immediate threat, and the wings are one of the oddest features yet; I wouldn't mind hearing more about them, either.
>> No. 137829
[x]Sue for peace
>> No. 138434
>>137825
Have you forgotten that we can't talk about this to anyone? Literally, it is an impossibility.

...Unless I'm thinking of the wrong story?
>> No. 138435
>>138434
Wrong story, you might have been thinking of my other quest but probably not.

Voting called, by the way.
>> No. 138437
>>138435

Hooray!
>> No. 139772
File 130317898685.jpg - (651.89KB , 940x1330 , and other weird freakish halfbreeds too probably.jpg ) [iqdb]
139772
>[x]Change your tune
>[x]Someone's been using forbidden templates

>[x]Sue for peace

Looking at Reimu, clad in old-style priestess outfit and dangling purple hair. To your doppelganger, still sniffling as she stares at the floor. Back to Reimu.

Sadly, this isn't at all what you'd been planning for. But if you just make some quick alterations to that scheme-!

You sigh, leaning back again as various options are considered and discarded one by one. And it's a worrying discovery that explaining the unvarnished reality appears to be the best explanation.
"I've told you the truth, Reimu. She really is out to kill me. But then again, what she said isn't that far from the truth. Not, not that it doesn't-mean-you-needtoexterminate-" It's amazing how a shrine-maiden can give off such a fearsome aura just leaning forwards towards you.

"All right, then. Tell me everything."

So you do, to the best of your knowledge. You describe your bizarre situation, what you know of the great hall in the end of time and life, of the cruel battles again and again and again, forced to fight for no discernible reason.

"Wait, wait, back up. A youkai of boundaries?"

"...She meddles a lot. Apparently even with you."
"Hah, fat chance of that happening. Anyway, keep going."

You describe Yukari's disclaimer of her disinterest of anything but the safety of Gensokyo and her mention of the schoolteacher, and the repeated trips back and forth from that place and the 'real' world, each time with no-one remembering anything that happened before. The spectral, ghostly spiderlike things that negated anything they touched, your brother that never existed appearing in your dreams, and you barely gloss over the deaths you caused yourself.

All of it.

By the time you finish your throat is sore and your doppelganger had become mute, her particulate wings curling around herself in a misty protective shape as she appears to sleep.

"...and that's everything. I... I don't know if you understand each part of it, but..."

Reimu nods, her face impassive. This must be what she looks like when facing down incidents, you believe, an expression you had never imagined or hoped to see.

"Sounds like someone's dealing with the main situation, so it looks like you've just got to deal with your own problems." The purple-haired girl strides past you to undo your bonds, then raises her hand at the other, the seal on the rope engulfing itself in a silent flame and the rope itself unraveling, setting her free. She does not seem to notice, resting her head on her arms. She looks almost peaceful like this...

"You're not going to wake her up?" Reimu shakes her head at your question.
"I've risked my life enough facing down youkai with my normal job. And I know to let sleeping youkai lie."

You approach the sleeping timetraveller with trepidation, picking your knife up on you way, ready to plunge it into her back - on an already sealed person a clean kill is relatively easy - and... hesitate. Reimu stands to one side watching with those calm, terrifying eyes.

You sheathe your knife, and embrace your counterpart. For a moment - a horrible gut-wrenching moment - you fear your action would be your last as you feel her swiftly reach up with both arms and wings and grip you in a tight hug - and only then you feel her crying again, wracking sobs that shake her tiny body.

"I'm sorry... I'm sorry, I'm sorry..." You hear a dull clink behind you, a knife falling from onto wood from an unseen hand, and out of the corner of your eye you see Reimu lowering her gohei.

Remembering when you had to do the same for your own daughters, you hold the childlike, teary form in your arms for a long time.

---

"It was a test, wasn't it?"
"Hmm?" Reimu does not respond as she watches you pull the threadbare sheets over yourself.
"You wanted to see what we'd do if we had a chance to kill each other." She grins mirthlessly at this, stretching as she does so.
"Like I said, I risk my life too much already facing down youkai and disabling instead of killing them while they're trying to kill me - it's much easier to do so if they're trying to kill each other, instead. I just wish there was some way of getting them to act a bit less lethal, too..."
"Well, if that's an issue, I could think of a good solutio-"
Reimu waves a handful of paper in front of you, the dim light just about making the header "Spellcard draft" readable on most, each in different sets of handwriting.
"And if you're going to suggest what I think you're going to suggest I finally understand why several someones keep shoving these flyers into my donation box. Hah, not that I'd remember it. I don't think it'd catch on, anyway; I don't have THAT much sway over all the different youkai."

"I'm sure you'll manage it somehow, Reimu."
"Only if you win this, eh? But," she hesitates, the hard look she's been wearing softening for a second. "Thanks. If there's a way to make my life easier, it'd help. I know for sure there's a method to play your game without having to kill anyone. Now, go to sleep. I've set up a divine ward to protect both of you for tonight, and you both get kicked out tomorrow and can do whatever, as long as you don't bug me about it."

"Right, ma'am~" you reply to the shrine maiden probably less than half your age.

You sleep.
>> No. 139773
File 130317917132.jpg - (20.47KB , 300x421 , Totally just an incidental inspiration.jpg ) [iqdb]
139773
>>139772
Today, he's looking after your children again. You smile as you watch him give chase, and he lifts them up when he catches them I can hear chittering.

"Uppity up-!" He cries, carrying your oldest daughter round the room as she laughs. The younger sister now chases him in a bizzare turnabout.
"You always get on so well with the kids what do you want, you bastard?"
He turns to face you, a broad grin plastered across his visage.
"Do you want to hear a story, you two?" The children nod eagerly, though you brother's outlandish tales had been heard again and again.
"Once upon a time in ancient Persia, there was a brave prince who had done some very bad things by releasing some magical sands and distorting the very fabric of time itself. The forces of nature would have none of this, and they created a monsterous beast called the da'haka to remorselessly hunt him down in order to punish his impertinence!" The children oohed at this, enraptured by his voice. They're getting closer, I know he can hear them, why isn't he worried?

"But alas, the Da'haka was as dumb a creation as it was remorseless, and it was destroyed by the wily prince." He smiles once more at the children's cheers, sitting the younger on his lap.
"And the prince went home with a beautiful woman, only to discover his kingdom in ruins, and eventually was left with his love dead and his life in ruins. But that's a different story. Now, the same great powers needed a replacement for their beast, something more merciless and evil, and decided to take another time-manipulator, and rip him from the timeline itself to use as raw material." He gesticulates wildly, pinpointing each sentence with a wave of his hands. The colour is draining, they're nearly here

"SO!" He continued, loudly over the clicking sounds. "This man of vengeance thought and thought of his predecessor's many flaws, and decided to take a different approach. He took the power of the lost beast, and granted it.. to a countless number of monsters so none he needed to punish would be able to escape! My pets!!" They come through the walls, the ceilings as if they do not exist. They crawl on invisible, intangible surfaces, almost happily squawking as they start to circle, more crawling overhead, atemporal, twisted shapes not wholly visible in this timeframe with furred spider legs and slit, buglike eyes and dripping probosces emerging from parts not present in this moment. All around us. I can't move in this memory of wrongness

"Of course, that person was angry with being ripped from his own time to be used as a slave, even after great power having been thrust on him. And so, he envied his siblings who were allowed to enjoy their lives peacefully, allowed to live and die at their own pace. So using his power as a judge of time! He chose to set a trial for those individuals, a just and fair and proper challenge. Isn't that only the right thing to do, kids?" You could see the moral of the story go over their heads, and give a warning comment.
"Hey, hey, don't give get away from them nightmares or anything!"

He waves you off, carrying the younger daughter near to you, just out of reach.
"Oh, don't worry your pretty little head over them, I'm a fun uncle to play with! Aren't I?"
"Now, where was I.. Ah, yes, there were those who who wanted to bring this avatar of time down, those jealous and paranoid, and so they sent spies to trap him. Like this one-" Your brother pulls at something around me and something tears free- and a woman in purple stumbles forward as if dragged out of me, her long, golden hair wrapped painfully in his grasp before showing it off.
"Oh, more of your magic tricks? Honesty, what will the kids learn from this..."
The woman flails, hissing as she is yanked round before getting her balance and sits abruptly as he pats her head.
"Release me at once, or-"
"Ah, and of course the hapless spies were taken care of!" He pushes his hand out again and the paradox eaters swarm her before she has a chance to even blink - an instantaneous movement from there to here, draining the colour from her until she lies in midair, frozen in time, all temporal potential drained.

"Of course, the ones who helped the spies..." He turns to look at you for some reason.
no
"Don't they need to be punished too?" He laughs a contented malicious sound.
please don't
"But enough about that... shouldn't we spend more time together, dear niece? After all, time is so very precious..."
take me instead

He lifts your youngest child up, then lowers her again, lifts her and spins her, reveling in the child's giggles and joyful excitement.
no, no, anything but this, no! NO
"Uppity up!" He cries again, throwing the girl into the air right into the jaws of a waiting paradox-eater and she vanishes, never having existed.

"Ah, it's nice to grow up without siblings, isn't it?" He pats your daughter on her head and shoos her into your waiting arms, and you hug your only child.

Your arms are trembling for some reason.

---
{Choice 1}
[ ] Readied to knife
[ ] Untrusting alliance
[ ] Implicit aid

{Choice 2}
[ ] Hunting grounds
[ ] Forest stockading
[ ] Learning process (silly-hat seeking)
[ ] ??? (Write in)
>> No. 139777
[ ] Implicit aid


[ ] Learning process (silly-hat seeking)
>> No. 139782
[x] Untrusting alliance
[x] Hunting grounds

Was that the story of how the clock spiders were made, or the story of who started this incarnation deathmatch, or what? I'm terribly confused and a little freaked out.

anyway, silly hat = Keine, probably. Do not want Keine.
>> No. 139787
[x] Implicit aid
[x] Learning process (silly-hat seeking)

Reimu implied that Yukari has the overall picture fixed, but is leaving it to the various renditions of the MC to thin each other out. But what if there was a better way to do this? That's something else Reimu hinted at.
>> No. 139795
>>139791
Thing is someone else made massive time paradox mess, Yukari's just cleaning it up her way. Whoever that man is, he had a role in making this mess.
>> No. 139799
>>139791
Just to mention this because now I look at it again it's not very clear; first choice explicitly refers to the treatment of the player's temporal doppelganger rather than her brother.

Should have been more specific, sorry.
>> No. 139804
>>139799
I knew that much.
>> No. 139812
>>139799

Oh. Color me surprised.

[x] Implicit aid
[x] Learning process (silly-hat seeking)
>> No. 139822
[x] Implicit aid
[x] Learning process (silly-hat seeking)
>> No. 139831
[x] Readied to knife
[x] Hunting grounds

>Now, the same great powers needed a replacement for their beast, something more merciless and evil
>he envied his siblings who were allowed to enjoy their lives peacefully, allowed to live and die at their own pace

What a pathetic person. Entrapped and enslaved to some unforeseen destiny, he takes his frustrations out on his siblings. I wonder if he was always this way, or if he grew jaded after being slaved for eons.
>> No. 140468
[x] Implicit aid
[x] Hunting grounds

Like Idea of Alice, I'm scared about voting for anything.
>> No. 140469
>>140468
Why? It's not like our current instance is particularly interesting. Now, engineer, there was a good instance.
>> No. 140472
>>140469
>opinions
>> No. 140474
>>140472
Name one thing this instance has done that compares with marrying Tokiko.
>> No. 140479
>>140474

Having a motive more compelling than 'I don't want to die'? To have at least one of your children ripped out of history by a psychotic, incarnate paradox ranks up there in justifying ruthless acts, like whipping a village into a lynch mob.
>> No. 140483
>>140479
That's her backstory? I was too busy being creeped out and tired to pick up on that shit.

I still find the engineer's dam more appealing. It helped people.
>> No. 140484
At the moment we're trying to do something different than killing any other version of ourself.
>> No. 140485
>>140484
No, we aren't. We can't do anything about that. All we can do is survive, and that means killing.
>> No. 140486
>>140485
Did you not read the update where Reimu suggested a way of doing things that doesn't invove killing?
>> No. 140487
>>140486
I did. Suicide is not the answer.
>> No. 140494
>>140487
she didn't suggest suicide, but rather using the newly drafted spell card rules to avoid needless bloodshed.
>> No. 140498
File 13043551003.jpg - (50.42KB , 580x347 , Remiliaohshitabunny.jpg ) [iqdb]
140498
Oh wow, discussion. Anyway, thanks for voting, post will probably be up soon.
--
I was a bit worried that killing off the engineer for the trader would turn some folk off the story, but it looks like at least some folk are happy with her, or at least not wholly irritated enough to stop reading right there, which I'm very glad to hear. At least it adds some proper tensions to bad ends, eh~?
>> No. 140505
>>140494
How would that help? You're still erasing someone from existence. Killing them. There's just less blood.
>> No. 140521
>>140505

Surviving by bringing down other contestants isn't going to bring about an actual resolution. The number of possible contestants in the game is endless.

Whatever happened to Yukari probably isn't permanent, but it might give us some breathing room if she isn't around to proctor the game. The trouble would be convincing the others that anything has changed.
>> No. 140522
>>140521
>The number of possible contestants in the game is endless.
Pretty sure there's a finite number in the room. Unless there's some really weird shit going on.
>> No. 140524
>>140521
This life and death battles might be just Yukari's way of A) amusing herself and B) Cleaning up the mess. Reimu said that Yukari most likely took care of the root of the problem.
>> No. 140566
>This life and death battles might be just Yukari's way of A) amusing herself and B) Cleaning up the mess. Reimu said that Yukari most likely took care of the root of the problem.

While I'm sure that she derives some amusement from this, the severity of her reproach to the Trader suggests that the game is putting things that she cares about in danger, even if she professes not to care about the fate of its players. Second, her 'solution' may have just uncreated her. If we hadn't seen that, I'd be happy to work under Reimu's blithe assumption that she has everything under control.
>> No. 140570
>>140566
Didn't Yukari warn the trader not to kill any villagers? I recall her doing so, though it was assumed before the whole thing going down that it was merely Yukari being bossy as opposed to unleashing those things.
>> No. 140571
>>140570
>Didn't Yukari warn the trader not to kill any villagers? I recall her doing so, though it was assumed before the whole thing going down that it was merely Yukari being bossy as opposed to unleashing those things.

It wasn't the villagers she had a problem with being killed. It was Ellen.

>"Kill you as well? The only thing I've done is rescue someone quite dear to me, and her friend, from your... foolishness. I've had no part in this, otherwise."
>[...]
>"I, frankly could not care less about the individual humans, but your little act with yourself very neath brought harm to someone very dear to me.

She isn't directly involved. However if there's any truth to the antagonist's crazed Prince of Persia tale, Yukari is probably related to the 'great powers' responsible for creating him, his pets, and the game.
>> No. 140572
>>140571
The time spiders only came out when one of the mob fell into the Trader's trap, indirectly killing him/her. I recall Yukari warning her about that not so much out of concern for the other folks but rather what would happen if she were to go and kill someone. I remember very clearly the Trader making it a point to avoid directly killing them.
>> No. 140750
New thread: >>140637