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138443 No. 138443
I stir and awaken from my slumber

My eyes open just a little, and I see a soft, white light shining upon me.

Am I... Am I dead?

It feels like I’m lying down on something.. something grainy, moist, dirty. Ah, I think its soil.

Feeling my head throb just a bit, I open my eyes all the way,

A pale, white, shining orb suspended in an infinite darkness alongside thousands of tiny dots of light looks down upon me.

Ah. Its a very lovely night tonight. A full moon, a starry sky, a temperature that is not too cool, not too hot, and an air that smells very faintly of flowers. Some crickets chirp from somewhere afar, and the wind makes soft blowing noises; the exact amount of ambient noise for perfect relaxing.

Could I have died?

I hold my breath and a moment or two later, my lungs threaten to explode.

I exhale with a wider smile. Nope, not dead yet.

Unfortunately, before I can even think to take advantage of this peace, my memories catch up with me; Yukari’s Death, the rotting city, the tentacles and my death..

I shudder, my smile flipping upside down, as I tenderely touch the part of my chest where I had been impaled.

Or least where it felt like I had been. There is no hole, no mortal blow; my chest is in normal condition. For whatever reason, it seems like the tentacles did not actually hurt me. Maybe they were a figment of my imagination?

Or what if there are tentacles around me, right now? What if I’m not out of the city?

Those questions set my heart beating faster than if lightning bolts were responsible, and I jolt upwards, scanning my horizons feverishly.

What confront me is a surprise. In front of me, I see I’m lying in a patch of dirt amongst some tall plants. Before me however, are rows upon rows upon hills of sunflowers. And not just any sunflowers-- my jaws drops a little-- but Beautiful. sunflowers.

Perhaps among the most breathtakingly pretty, proud and healthy plants I’ve ever, ever seen. So vibrant, so green, so.. yellow, that even in moonlight I can tell they’re abnormally refined. Combined with the hump-like mountains in distance,.. this-this this must be the best view I’ve had of this land since I got here.

And I’m no longer in that city too. I think as my fear subsides as I stare off into the landscape, appreciating nature’s beauty. Or perhaps its not nature; for the sunflowers seem neither earthly nor artificial. Perhaps a master gardener of some kind spent his whole life cultivating, and crafting this wonderful field.

I look behind me and I see even more sunflowers, towering over me. Or perhaps an obsessive individual with a sunflower fetish is to credit. Either or, it looks simply amazing, so amazing that for a moment, I feel like I could make a peace.

… But isn’t this just like how it was when I was in that city?

Wake up, see beautiful scenery and then calamity strikes. And its just like how it was when I began my day in this land.

The warmth in my heart becomes cold, and I find the sight no longer as intoxicating as it intially once. With that the floodgates open; questions, concerns, and that same overwhelming emptiness that I take to be disturbance, fill my head to the brim.

Feeling stressed, tired, and vaguely robbed of happiness, I bring up my knees, and I rub my forehead.

What happened... and more importantly, why did it happen?

Because you are a weakling Anonymous’s words come floating back to me.

Of course, II know I’m lacking in both physical and mental capacities, a.k.a. weak.At the same time, their words and their actions during my time with Yukari are a cause for even more troubling doubts.

Why would Anonymous act the way they did? Is it because they know I’d make it out alive and in one piece? Did they know that opening the door would kill Yukari? Did they know of the horrific beasts such door contained? And if they did know, why didn’t they consult me? I don’t think I wanted Yukari to die. Sure she was ugly, ugly ugly, and sure her threats to kill me were a bit irritating, but still...

I shake my head. What is most troubling, the number one thing that unnerves me the most, is that how they approached my seeming death. To call me a weakling, to shrug off a demise so vivid, so real, that I’m honest to god surprised I’m alive... I must ask; do they really care about me?

As my stress continues to gnaw at my sanity, I come to no satisfactory conclusion, although I will say that they seem less llike guardian angels and more like scheming demigods.

Not that I’m grateful . I trust them, as I have emerged alive from that ordeal, and all the other ordeals relatively unscathed thanks to their help. And.. And...

I sigh. Doesn’t help they can hear all the thoughts I’m having. I hope they don’t take offense.

Anyway.

If Anonymous isn’t my friend, then who in this world is?

I pause, expecting an answer. None is given, it seems I’m all by myself, here in this huge sunflower field. Maybe no one will help me out then. Maybe I’m fated to be alone, lost and confused in a world which is dead set on killing me.

A sad, slightly flattering, thought, but still one that causes my hopes, my will to relax, diminish. Self pitying? I don’t know. If I am, maybe I deserve it.

I hear a rasp just then. My ears perk up.

Another rasp. Demonic, grating... Cornelius.

I look down at my side and a small white object shimmering a bit under the moonlight lays on the dirt next to me.. All this time and I hadn’t seen him.

“Cornelius!” I almost exclaim, adjusting my sitting position to address him.. “is.. is that you?”

“...Yes.” his voice, though it seems far weaker and softer than before, is indeed his.

“You’re alive.” I say with wonder.

“I’m alive.. yes” he says in that same weak voice, without moving at all. He’s as vulnerable as I’d ever see him.

“Are you okay? I say, tempering the enthusiasm in my voice. As happy as I am to see another living soul, I still have my reservations about this guy.

“Yukari... flung me against a tree with half of her strength. I... lost consciousness..” Cornelius says, regaining some strength in his voice, though it doesn’t sound sarcastic. “and now I regenerating.” He groans, and I frown, and I reach to.

“Regenerating?” I ask.

“I... need to rest until tomorrow morning..." He gives another rasp "... to get better is all. Unfortunately, our situation at the moment is not ideal for that.”

“Situation?” I say. I predict unsavory news, and I notice that, maybe as a consequence of tentacles, I feel the stress to fray my nerves.

"The youkai who lords over this land does not take kindly to humans treading upon it. If we don't leave before sunrise.. she may kill us... That is the most immediate, pressing, problem, though there are many other issues, like how we arrived here, that we will discuss.. when I am in a better state of... mind”

My mind distills his info sessions down into one sentence. Another life or death situation. Another life or death situation

“.. so.. we should move.” A sliver of resentment works its way into my tone.

"Not while my internals are smashed to bits. We stay." Cornelius states without any edge to his voice.

Somehow the finality in his decision irks me. “Don’t I get say in what we do?”

“I move, I die. You leave me and you’ll die. Nothing else to say." He rasps.

Nothing else to say.

...After all I’ve been through, I have to get stringed along some more... by Cornelius. By this little contradicting, lying, thing. He doesn't even care about what happened to me. I've been through so much and yet he’s already making plans and..

I catch myself before anger consumes me.. He’s been through a lot too. Though I was almost eaten alive by imaginary tentacles, he almost got his head rammed in by a dangerous fairy; - if anything we suffered the same, if he not more.

As much as I want my peace, I'm not about to take my frustrations out on a crippled Toad. I’m not some kid who can’t deal with some hardship.

“At the moment, I am a burden upon you, flesh bag. For that, I am sorry." he says.

Flesh Bag. Sorry.... How can he be sorry while being so rude?

He can't. The resentment in me starts boiling, and I grit my teeth.

Because he isn't sorry, he's manipulating me, like I'm sort of an idiot.

He's probably right that I need him. But I don’t want to need him.

Struggling against fate, only living to survive.

This toad.. This Toad is my enemy.

“...Are you really sorry?” I finally ask him.

“I am.” Of course he would say that.

“I don't believe you." I say, firmly.

"You're upset over how I pretended to betray you?"

"Of course... I am." I almost seethe. "You... You.. You've been lying to me since we met.. or at least when.. you betrayed me" I say, fumbling with my words due to my anger.

Not for me. I expect a sarcastic retort. Or maybe just a "it had to be done". Had he done so, I might have just walked away. And stayed away.

Instead he simply says "I'm sorry." His voice carries with it no airs, no tone, not even that sarcasm that I’ve become so accustomed to hearing from him. Unlike the soulless voice he used with Yukari, his right now sounds.. honest.

I blink, taken a bit aback. but I steel myself waiting for the "but.", the justification that he would use to make everything okay. Like some sort of a sociopath.

"I had to manipulate you when were with Yukari. The collective had slowed us down too much. But.” he says “I am sorry. I should have told you that I was going to put on act. I should have trusted in your ability to play a hapless fool. But I did not. Therefore, I am sorry. I do not want to lie to you.”

I'd call him out, I’d call him a liar. And yet... out of everyone thus far, he is raw, no pretense, he’s being himself in this moment.

Is this the same Toad who claimed the only thing he wanted to do was live? Unable to stop myself, I verbalize all the questions building up in my head.

"Why.. the hell are you sorry? Why not lie to me more? You could do that right? Why not just manipulate me into worshipping your or something? Why did you risk your life to save me anyway? Why didn't you just let Yukari kill me?" By the time I’m done, my breathing is labored and voice, more than just a bit raised.

"Because I don’t need, Yukari, fleshbag.” I frown “ I need you." he says,with a sudden forcefulness that takes me back. He emits a tortured rasp, but continues on. "For me.. For me to survive, you must survive. That is what it means to be partners... we work together as equals, and that is why I can't afford for you to be some mindless minion.... Especially not when you can be something more.”

He needs me? As equals? His reply shatters the little hatred that had built up just now. “Something more?" I say, feeling more less unbalanced.

“Of course. I saw insight when you confronted Abigail, I gleaned fearlessness when you looked down Yukari and above all, I see you may have potential. " Curiosity takes hold of me.

"Potential for what?" .

"Greatness. The power to control your fate." he says.

“You can’t be serious..” I start to say without smiling. Could he have misunderstood me too?

"Don't make light of my words, I have spoken that potential for one and only one other person in my lifetime. "

He should be unbelievable. “... who?” I say. Yet I believe him.

“She’s not important, right now. Right now, I want to know; do you want to realize your potential, and by extension, do you want my respect?” his tone is icy, which coupled with its inherent iciness makes for quiet a serious ultimatum.

That’s what it came down to isn’t it? Being treated with some respect? “ Uh Yes?”

“Do you?!” he repeats fiercely.

I think for just a second. If greatness is the power to control my fate.. then it is the power to relax when I want to relax.

… The power to have peace of mind.

“uh Yes... Yes!” I almost shout.

“Ssh! “ He chastises me and I close my mouth, pulling back my head “...Then earn it, fleshbag.. Earn it by accepting your woeful fate, and by obeying me like the wretch you are.”

I look at him, a bit stunned, and bit confused as to what he means. “But--” He lessens his sterness “..in time- perhaps... perhaps I will do the same for you... Abe” he rasps, and he closes his eyes. Did he just say he’ll obey me in the future? And... did he just speak my name?

I sit there, feeling just a bit floored.

In his own verbally-abusive way, it feels like Cornelius just made an offer of friendship.

….

Despite his complete and utter lack of bravado, I think... I think I’m touched. More than touched, I’m happy. "Cornelius, I.. I.." The words I want to use to express myself, don’t come out right as they never do.

"Cornelius is Toad’s name forced on me by Toads. Stop using it.." he grumbles, his tone reverting back to normal.

"Then what... what should I call you?"

>> No. 138444
File 130137466073.jpg - (113.90KB , 350x487 , skeleton_by_bntevn.jpg ) [iqdb]
138444
He rasps what sounds like a sigh. "I was born without a name and I will most certainly die without a name. But... call me, Skeleton." he says without any dramatic intonation.

Skeleton?.. Skeleton? He’s white but...

But ….

“Skeleton.” I say, testing how it rolls of my tongue, and then I say to him, unable to repress my smile, “Skeleton, I don't know about this...”

"Save it. If this trite discussion goes on for any longer, I fear I'll have an aneurysm."

Is that an insult or is that the truth? ".. Thank you, Skeleton." I ultimately decide to say.

“You’re welcome. Thank you too." He says as if it were rote. "Silence yourself now, we’ll talk more tomorrow... if we have one.”

I nod, wondering if I should get back to being worried. And its then do I notice his legs are twitching. All four of them are in the air, quivering just a bit.

Is he cold? Or is he... I observe him just a bit more and then I realize it.

Ah, he’s in pain. Has he been this way since he woke up?

I stare at him quietly, as my white toad-thing writhes quietly on the ground.

He said I had potential, and yet.. I feel kind of useless at the moment. I sigh. He totally misunderstood me. I don’t change the flow, I go with it. I’m a weakling as Anonymous says, no amount of potential can change...

Actually, maybe I can do something.

"One more thing." I say.

“Just like that bloody peasant." he almost roars. “What. is. it.”

Oh this idea was stupid, I better not... "Do you want a bed time story?” I blurt out before common sense can stop me.

...

He tilts his head at me in a questioning gesture, which is either the look if I abruptly turned into an ostrich, or the look as if I just said the sky is green. "You know.. to help you relax and rest..." I scratch the back of my head, and I look to the full moon for support.

"...Alright." he says.

Wait. What. "Really?" I ask.

"If you are half the bard they claim you to be, then It a story should distract me from my injuries.” He rasps again. “Perhaps I’ll even enjoy it” he murmurs, his voice going quiet.

Is this really the same white toad who only wants to survive? Or did Yukari's toss ruin more than just his body? Or is there something more to him? Did I just make a friend? Should I be worried about the whole host of inexplicable things waiting for us? What about the tentacles?

"Hurry up, fleshy, before I pass out." he interrupts.

Ah screw the tentacles. Maybe its a little childish to refuse to consider un-pleasantries ... but at the moment, I can’t do anything about them, I don’t want to ruin some amazing scenery with anymore worry, and most importantly...

...I have a story to tell.

Who knows how much time I’d have left until another impossibility crosses my path anyway.

As I look out across the sunflower field, I breathe in the scent of the plants around me. A good short story pops into my head before long.

Ah.. this one. This one will work. Don’t know where it came from but it will work.

After all, I have the freedom, the time to take advantage of such freedom and...

… a friend to share it with?

I look at Cornel- no, Skeleton. Flopped on his back as he had been since the beginning, eyes closed, mouth open.

A friend to share it with, I decide.

... I must be desperate for company. Ha ha.

But for a lazy good-for-nothing in a “accursed” land, I suppose its good enough.

Feeling both old and young and smiling a content smile, I throw my arms back as I lie and I stretch on the cool earth. I’m as dirty as humanly possible, but that hasn’t bothered me before and it certainly won’t now.

Putting my hand behind my head, I look off into the night, beginning the story and beginning to finally... finally... relax...

As the wooden door opened quietly, an old man walked into the room...







Part Two of Two
End of Day One.



[ ] write in a message for Glenn when he sleeps
[ ] write in a new title, if you think “Laziness” no longer fits.


———

This one was a hard one to write, thus the two days. Even then, I ran out of time. Please forgive stupid errors.

Side note; I was originally going to go on hiatus at this point, at this was just an experiment but your reviews and your input have convinced me otherwise. I have a novella that needs to be rewritten/edited, but I’ll see if I can fit that in somehow...

Sorry if the choices are a bit limited- its only because this is the end of a day.

I will post my answer to the user feedback in a separate post.


I was thinking “The Adventures of Skeleton and his sidekick Abe

eh heh heh
>> No. 138453
[x] You're weak now. There's no denying that. But I also believe you can become strong. Strong enough to relax. Strong enough to help others relax. That should be your goal: to spread relaxation whereever you go.

A hiatus would be fine too. I do like this story, but if you have other things you need or want to do, you should put those first.
>> No. 138458
File 130138321724.jpg - (97.05KB , 400x291 , _arquivo_hannibal_lecter-copy.jpg ) [iqdb]
138458
Anonymous banter:

[x] "One of them has been opened, It shouldn't be too much trouble for us to fix, but we advise you to stay away from children for the time being"
[x]That toad remins me of Lector.

What we are thinking:
[x] You're weak now. There's no denying that. But I also believe you can become strong. Strong enough to relax. Strong enough to help others relax. That should be your goal: to spread relaxation whereever you go.
[x] Don't mention the collective to many others, who knows what trouble it migt get you in.
>> No. 138459
[X] Leave for a bit and everything goes crazy. Ugh...
-[X] Well, lets start with some exposition.
--[X] The fate comment? There is someone that we know of that can control fate. She goes by the name of Remilia Scarlet, a.k.a. The Scarlet Devil. She lives in the Scarlet Devil Mansion (Yes, she named it after herself) which resides at the Misty Lake. She's one of the powerhouses in Gensokyo. If you meet her, try not to get on her bad side.
---[X] And try to avoid her sister as well, who goes by the name of Flandre Scarlet. She has the power to destroy anything. Instantly. While Yukari seems to need to get into physical contact with you to kill you, Flandre just needs to see you before disintegrating you.
--[X] The sunflower field you currently reside in? It belongs to an Elder Youkai named Yuka. For comparison, Yukari is an Elder Youkai. Yuka is thought to be of similar strength to Yukari.
---[X] And it would be a good idea to not damage any of the flowers. If you do, then she will hunt you down and simply gut you like a fish if your lucky, and nothing we could do would help beyond extending the time it would take to get you.
--[X] By the way, I'm sure that Yukari is still alive, due to manipulating the border between life and death. Just heavily damaged. It will take her a while to regenerate, so you have at least a day without Yukari actively trying to kill you.
---[X] Do note that Yukari is usually lazy, sleeping during the day and hibernating during the winter. Your average human gets irritable if they don't get a good nights sleep. Yukari was up for an entire year. She is very cranky due to not only not getting the required amount of sleep necessary, but also from not getting to be lazy. Because of this, she probably isn't thinking straight. Still, watch out for random holes filled with eyes.
-[X] As soon as you can, try searching for a Shrine Maiden in red-white miko clothing named Reimu. As the current Incident Resolver of Gensokyo, she has a certain degree of power. What I mean is that she can beat up pretty much anyone in Gensokyo. This includes Yukari (heck, she did beat up Yukari already at least once). Yukari will think twice once your under Reimu's protection. But as Yukari's thinking process is rather shot right now, you should try to stay in Reimu's line-of-sight as long as you can.
---[X] You should also donate some money to Reimu as well, as she'll be more likely to help then. Not because she's greedy, but because she barely gets any donations in the first place.
-[X] If there is anything else, do tell us. But you should also note that we encompass the entire range of human emotions and mindsets, so yes, there will be times when it seems we're being total assholes. So yes, the scheming demigods comment would be an appropriate thought process.
--[X] And next time we're in that mindscape, try to think up a man in a black and white business suit without a head. We'll try to take it from there.

[X]Anonymous is legion.
>> No. 138460
This story brings horribly wordy write-ins to a new level by allowing fourth wall breaking.
>> No. 138462
>>138460

Oh be quiet you. It makes things interesting.
>> No. 138489
>>138459
As implied, Abe has a limit over how much he can process at once, meaning he will probably only understand/make sense of all this information when his situation somehow calls for it, e.g. someone asks him a question. also, I'd be wary of making some assumptions.
>> No. 138494
>>138459
Yukari was in our mind.

She's most likly in a coma as we speak. or inside of our collective trying to regenerate. Either way Gensokyo hasn't fucked up so we can assume she is unable to do anything for the time being.
>> No. 138495
>>138489
Also, was that really Slenderman back in thread 1?
>> No. 138502
>>138495
Although I can't confirm or deny theories, where in thread 1 are you talking about? all I see are thousands of tentacles

>>138459
a red and white figure was beaten up by Yukari although Abe didn't get a good look at her. Make of it what you will.

as for the feedback;

>t's not exactly great at the moment, and is usually rife with errors. This would turn off many people.

I agree. Until my proofreader/copy-editor stops having so much work, I'll try to do a better job.

>fast pacing of the story

I'm not sure if its going that fast, but if anyone begs to differ please say so.

>fourth wall breaking

Abe is none the wiser to the truth, so I don't think thats an issue.

Thanks for the feedback guys; I'm glad its enjoyable despite its flaws.
>> No. 138503
For new story names, try to think along the lines of gaps holes and frogs,
gapmind would be a good idea but It lacks length.
holes perhaps?
expectations of a fragmented mind?
The frog the collective and me?
Disturbences of an unfortunate soul?
>> No. 138508
All of these write-ins so far are absolutely horrid. If there were an option to unvote them, so to speak, that's what I would do. I mean god, what the fuck are they thinking with those retarded walls of stupid comments.

Anyways, as for a title to this story, I'm particularly enthralled with The Toad Whisperer, right now.
>> No. 138514
title suggestions:
Fragmented or Fragmented in a World of Fragments
eh, I don't much like anything I think up.
Fragmented Mind(s) in a World of Fragments?
>> No. 138516
Laziness is fine. Maybe Tranquility if you want something with positive connotations.
>> No. 138532
Keep the title. Or change it to what you want it to be. I don't want some dumb new title. This one serves it's purpouses quite well
>> No. 138535
>>138508

You don't like them, then create a better one yourself instead of complaining how much your butt hurts.
>> No. 138581
>>138535
No. Unlike those pieces of shit, I recognize the fact that I have nothing of note to say at this moment. Instead of vomiting all over the board with some godawful garbage, I think I'll stay silent and wait for the writer person to update. Maybe next time you'll do the same, yeah?
>> No. 138589
>>138581
That may be true but whether those write-ins are bad or not is entirely your opinion. Trying at least gives the author the impression of readers actually caring for his story so even if they suck they're still good from that perspective. If you just blankpost votes or don't post at all the story eventually dies. Ongoing or not.
>> No. 138635
to Abe:
enjoy this respite :)
and listen to Skeleton!
>> No. 138639
>>138589
Though I mostly agree with you, there comes a point where a write-in is just objectively bad. Those have reached that point, and blew right by. They are horrid votes by any intelligent persons standards. It truly says something when I doubt even Random Anon can come up with something that bad.

>>138635
>:)
To Abe:
Ignore the worthless piece of shit I am quoting.
>> No. 138651
File 130154963152.jpg - (515.87KB , 750x1000 , d1ba23f3c46641957db043c29ff75192.jpg ) [iqdb]
138651
[ ] Everything written in.

That night I dream. I dream I’m lying down, legs crossed, underneath a warm bright sun and a nice blue sky, in the middle of a most beautiful sunflower field...

Gosh, this place feels oddly familiar, but since its a dream, I find my mental abilities even more impaired than normal.

Thus, the most important issue to me is what shape the clouds above me are.

Are these clouds toads?

I hear some chattering and I glance at my side.

...Or are they eyes?

A headless, well-built man in a black business suit with a black tie is standing next to me. From his neck comes many voices that combine into one, divine-sounding voice. How interesting.

You're weak now. He speaks then, looking off in the distance. There's no denying that. But I also believe you can become strong. His body turns towards me. Strong enough to relax. Strong enough to help others relax. That should be your goal: to spread relaxation whereever you go.

Spread.. relaxation?

I smile at thought. Spread Relaxation.

Of course, I'm not actually processing what he's saying. Not that he minds it seems. He continues to talk and talk, about a wide range of things that all elude my grasp. Over time, his voice progressively devolves back into a bunch of squabbling and bickering lesser voice.

A weirdo.

I yawn. He becomes silent at that yawn, and nods his head as if realizing I’m not in a mood to be thinking much. The headless man then stands over me, grabbing my oddly clean vest with one hand, pulling a bit while bring his hand back.

I smile at him and for a second, I think he smiles at me.

So..... are those clouds eyes or toads?

Down comes his fist, right into my face.

...

OUCH.

I awake to the feeling of my nose being smashed in. My legs, my arms, and even my head, spasmodically jerk upwards, in a painful, instantaneous, return to consciousness.

In the few moments I have, I notice the sky is a dark blue. There is no moon and just the beginnings of sunlight. In front of me, a plaid dress with womanly legs is behind a parasol of somekind.

I blink a few times, pieciing together the world.

Someone...

That parasol is just a hair above the bridge of my nose.

... is attacking me?

As a little blood trickles from my freshly damaged nostril, I stare at the tip of this new object, which, though slightly angled, is pointed at me.

A few choice memories hit me like a sack of bricks. Namely the ones featuring a certain blonde haired monster.

“Who are you?” a female voice says. Could this be.. Could this be Yukari?

Wait. Her parasol is different. Not pink or purple, or even shaped like Yukari’s was; its more like an umbrella, which has a most tasteful light-green and white color.

For a weapon that has just delt me an injury, it also has a most flowerlike flragrance.

“Abe.” I say. Perhaps the attack was a mistake. Perhaps I won’t die. “Abe Glenn Gray... And you are...?” I say as my gaze slowly travels upwards, past her flowerlike umbrella, past her slender, exposed hand gripping its handle, past the feminine arm its attached to, which is covered by a white, fluffy, shirt, and past her neck to see her.. her...

Face.

...

Gory Grenshaw.

What is wrong with her face?

My hands tremble, one wishing to shield my eyes, the other wanting to cover my mouth for fear of regurgitation. I look away, back down to my legs, as I try to collect myself.

“What are you doing here, human?” she says, with all the interest of a dead sloth.

Human? She's not human? Well the green hair was a dead give away.

“Sleeping.” I say, softly,as I look back up at her, though I do try to not see it altogether. She has wavy green hair cut to shoulder-length, a face slightly rounded, and a button nose, smaller than that of Yukari’s. Furthermore, unlike Yukari’s crazy dress, she wears a rather tasteful plaid skirt and a plaid vest over a white shirt.

As for her expression, with her half lidded red eyes, and tight frown, It seems she’s passively annoyed at me. Though I wonder why, it doesn't seem like...

Actually, scratch that. I feel that vibe, that horrible-death-incoming vibe I got from Yukari, all over again. Skeleton told me about... about something in this field. Where is he anyway?

“Among my sunflowers?” she replies, the barest hint of a smile creeping on her face. Her voice sounds bizarrely nice, come to think of it. Not like Yukari’s which was shrill and cat like, this woman’s voice is rather smooth, and very womanly.

I smile back at her, feeling a bit sheepish. Perhaps I've misjudged her. She could just be a nice, albeit serious gardener for all I know.

“Oh they’re yours? Well...“ Youkai. Lords over this land. Will kill us if she finds us. Skeleton's words hit me and the rest of my speech goes to babble. ”Well! They’re very pretty... very pretty... Really... you did great job here."

Perhaps Skeleton is fetching a stick? I hope its a large one..

As if to allay my fears, she smiles warmly murmurs something that sounds accepting, and pulls her umbrella back.

I relax after a moment. Cancel that hope, Skeleton. Truly It seems I have misjudged her..

She then whacks me over over the head with her umbrella.

Ouch.

“Youch!” I shout as I cover my head, pulling my legs up. With considerable skill, and in a brief instant no less, the now-obviously-dangerous woman takes a step forward and twists her umbrella so its underneath my chin, at a diagonal angle. Though I’m still in much pain, the way she’s looking at me makes it seem like her umbrella is a sword, with which she could lop my head off.

Ha. Thats impossible. Umbrella’s aren’t that sharp.

Of course, one look at her murdersome eyes and her umbrella suddenly seems like its on fire.

“ I don’t take many early morning strolls, but when I do, I don’t want to have to deal with this.”

“This being...?” I say, quietly as I try, with one of my hand to nudge her umbrella away. A sudden red electrical spark crackles all over it, like a lightning rod, and my hand pulls back.

“You— ” she says as she produces a little something from one of her back pockets. "- and your companion"

That little something happens to be a pale white toad with black eyes. "Skeleton!... are you okay?!”

Skeleton does not immediately talk to me.

“You may speak, Toad.” she says.

“Regenerated. Otherwise. No.” Cornelius says and then he rasps painfully.

“She hurt you?” I ask, and upon realizing its rude to speak about people in second person when they're near you, I then ask the crazy lady. “You hurt him?

“It defended a human in my garden. Of course.” she states.

Alright. Strategy. Clearly, she’s powerful and clearly she got to Cornelius before me. Clearly, Cornelius is in no position to save me. So... “Thank you for letting us to stay the night...” I say. Might as well tell the truth.

“You’re not welcome” she says flatly. Alright, round two.

“In that case, I’m very sorry...” I say, trying to figure out how to bow down, or even to move my head. That umbrella lifts up by one centimeter, ending that little thought.

“Human, say sorry if my morning stroll is already ruined by two filthy trespassers? why say sorry when you've robbed my precious flowers of their slumber? why say anything when you can do nothing?" she says almost conversationally.

Ah. Did she just say she believes sunflowers could sleep?

Oh... she insane.

More insane than Yukari, it seems...

That... that doesn’t bode well for the both us...

"But do you know what can fix my predicament?"

"What’s that?”

“Fertilizer.” she says.

"What?" I say.

"You will make great. fertilizer." she says, each word dripping with malice. Her smile curls into something far nastier.

“uh... That's pretty neat.” I say, scratching the side of my face. “You think I can make fertilizer?”

Her eyebrow raises and she smiles even more.... softly. "Your flesh, human. Converted into food for my flowers. Are you trying to play a fool?"

"oh." Really you couldn't fault me for my alternate interpretation. Who would have guessed she was going to kill me and stuff my body under her field as plant food.

Its too psychotic, horrible etc. Nevermind those adjectives, the weight of my situation comes down upon me, and I frown, still looking straight up at her eyes.

What can I ask her? what can I say that would dissuade her against such a seemingly vindicative action?

Perhaps I slept too well because nothing comes to mind.

"No, no, no." I say. Cornelius rasps hard but otherwise says nothing. Its just my second day here and already its like a repeat of YUkari.

"Uhhhhhm." I murmur looking up at her, probably looking as lame as a human could possibly be. There's nothing I can give her... "Well... I'm alot bigger than Skeleton... and I'll probably make better fertilizer... so..." I tighten my face and I sigh shortly.

"take me instead." A poorly worded and cheesy offer. Nonetheless, its the best I got.
Survival for Skeleton; A peaceful end for myself. I look at Skeleton and I give him a small smile.

Her fingernails claw into Cornelius’s head with what seems like boredom. “I already have both of you. So no" she says, her face darkening into... softness.

And to think yesterday it seemed like our troubles were only beginning... SI gih.

She pulls her umbrella back and casts it straight into the ground, which cracks under the blow, forming a small hole that keeps the umbrella perfectly upright.

“From the earth, you lower life forms spring..." Too fast for me to see, her free hand grabs my face. Less Yukari’s tender press of death, and more like the beginnings of a facial implosion. "... to the earth, you should return. As nutrients, alive, thinking, suffering nutrients, as the seeds of my friends, of my flowers grow in you and out of you. " She looks at me, her smile widening, like a predator having loads of fun with its meek, worthless prey.

"A fitting punishment for defiling my garden.” she says with a very soft, almost motherly tone.

As a predator who seemingly recited a speech from memory, she must be expecting a select range of responses from me, the prey. Fear, most likely. Of the groveling kind. Of the sobbing kind. Or mybe defiance. Or maybe just oodles of fear, manifested in me defecating in my literally soiled clothing.

I can't act. I can't speak. So what should I do?

...

I yawn. Not a little one but a full, loud, lion's one. Once down, I then stare at her blankly, feeling quite a bit more awake, and a bit better too. Some of that hardened, psycho-killer dangerousness she’s exuding fades away too, subsumed by some kind of resentful confusion.

From an outsider's perspective, yawning may seem stupid. Well, okay. It is stupid, pretty stupid to yawn in the face of danger. But seeing as I've run out of options, I might as well have my peace. Even if it means taking hers.

That brief flicker of indecisive anger fades as her eyes narrow. “I see... you’re just an an idiot.”

Her sharp nails make themselves even more at home in my face. So sharp. A little bit harder and she’ll probably tear my skin away.

Well, I suppose the best thing is that there’s at least one person who doesn’t misunderstand me. “But.. lucky you. I can't end you just yet.”

I glance and I see she’s inflicting the same squeeze on Skeleton. I better calm her down or something.

“really?” I say, trying to inject some measure of fear into my voice.

“Not while I have a question that needs an answer" she says, all that violent killing intent, almost imperceptably, slipping behind a mask of cool resentment.

I look to skeleton though he can offer me no guidance in his position. How could he anyway, when our adversary is stonking unstable? "...uhm.. okay?"

"Lie to me—- once— and I will disfigure you for life.” she says offhandely, as if giving a standard disclaimer. “Tell me. How did you get your hands on this?” She lets go of my face, and with a jolt of pain, I pull back. She rummages around in an unseen back pocket and pulls out a tattered, purple and pink thing

It takes me just a second, before I realize its Yukari's mobcap, flattened, dirty, but there's no mistaking those silly ribbons.

...

How did it get here? Why does she think I have it? I don't remember holding it when I woke up here..

"Human." she presses.

“oh well... uh... Its a long, long story” I begin to say.

“Make it quick then.” she says, her eyes narrowing ever so slightly.



First Choice Set:
[ ] We don’t know the truth but tell her...
[ ] We know the truth and its....
[ ] We kinda know the truth and its that...


Second Choice Set:
[ ] ...You killed Yukari
[ ] ...A friend of yours killed Yukari
[ ] ...Yukari killed herself and you happened to witness it
[ ] ...On second thought, just tell her as much of the truth that you know, Abe


———-

Ran out of time in tandem with alot of work. I should have a disclaimer.

In regards to certain comments:
Unless it affects content of the story, I wouldn't worry about writes in that suck. Bad ideas tend to be unpopular ideas, in my opinion, so don't expect the title to change to anything stupid. Thus, the write in for the title will stay open, though Laziness will remain the default.

Finally, more people replying does make me happier, although, shitstorms are something we can do without obviously.
>> No. 138660
[x] We don’t know the truth but tell her...
-[x] ...You killed Yukari

Once again, it all comes down to the truth. Unfortunately, we are no closer to discovering anything about our circumstances then last time.

>Ran out of time
You really need to stop believing there is some arbitrary time limit. Take as long as you need to make the update presentable. This isn't some kind of race.
>> No. 138705
File 13015882241.png - (93.22KB , 677x335 , 1270163965597.png ) [iqdb]
138705
[x] To put it bluntly, I killed the owner. Unintentionally of course. If anything, all that spilling my blood would do is poison your plants or let out of me the thing that killed her, and then you'd have that to deal with.
[x] By the way, nice speech, have you ever considered writing a book or starting up a religion or cult?
›Books = dead plant matter = MAXIMUM YUUKA TROLLING.
>> No. 138712
First choice set:
[x] We kinda know the truth and its that...
Second choice set:
[x] All of the above
>> No. 138719
[x] We know the truth and its....
[x] ...On second thought, just tell her as much of the truth that you know, Abe
>> No. 138721
[x] We don’t know the truth but tell her...
[x] ...On second thought, just tell her as much of the truth that you know, Abe

Honest Abe
>> No. 138998
File 130180961825.jpg - (780.29KB , 859x935 , 3a163b8106ac0c845d548ee0c8d574ea.jpg ) [iqdb]
138998
[ ] We don’t know the truth but tell her...
[ ] On second thought, just her the truth you know, Abe

Anonymous says. Or at least, they say by not saying. Aside from a rather suicidal recommendation, their lack of consensus ultimately makes clear that the truth is up to me to determine.

I sigh. If I could only lie...

“Uhm.... " I summon my memories of yesterday "...I was in Toad Pond, being initiated by the toads, to go out in the world on some sort of a quest to become a brother." I say, knowing that to slow down is for me to slip up.

"Yukari.. this youkai.. fairy thing... interrupted this ceremony and the toads went to war with her... or something. And Toad Lord, uh Lord of the Toads, told me to run away while he fought with her. So we, Skeleton and I, did. Run away. But she caught up with us. And then she uh...”

As I’m saying this, the green haired woman raises her eyebrow progressively higher. Skeleton, on the other hand, does nothing, though that's more or less because she still has a firm handle on his head.

"... knocked us out? So while I was knocked out, I woke up in a city... “ Is the truth really this thing that sounds like a lie wrapped inside of a lie, coated by lies? It is.

I just don’t understand why Anonymous cares so much about it.

“...which turned out to be my mind, because Yukari bended the boundary between uh.. something and something?” I smile, to cover my awkwardness, though, she gives in return a disinterested look. Not my best piece of storytelling, but a better rendition would almost certainly end up with me exaggerating, which could be seen as lying, which would up with me having a face like hers.

Better play it safe. I continue on. “So.. .she found and opened a door in there, and a horror beyond my wildest dreams killed her.” My voice quivers, as I recall the images, but I keep moving “And then that thing killed me. And then I woke up in your field sometime last night with my partner. And then uh..."

Adding in how I told a bed time story would probably be one abnormal element too many. "...then I went to bed... End of story." I finish.

“And the hat?” she says. Meanwhile, the sun begins to blanket the field of sunflowers with warm light. Really quite beautiful

“As for how I got the hat... your guess is as good as mine. Really. I have no idea whats going on.” I say I scratch the side of my face, smiling as cluelessly ever.

The green haired woman pays me no mind though, eyeing Yukari's mob-cap, giving it the same bored treatment as she did me.

“...Plausible.” she says.

I blink. She believed me? Really? Just like that?

Then again, she is a denizen of this land... and then again, she does think flowers can think and feel. Gullible? Or merely insane?

Anyway I stuff back a “really!?” and I nod my head sagely, saying “Yes it is.”

“Could you be one of the disturbances she was talking about...?” she says, still without looking at me.

“Uh Yukari did say that... About me. Yeah” Skeleton’s head budges a little, an indication that he’s either he's thinking at speeds light years beyond my own—- or trying to free himself.

I should get him out of there. "Could you let my friend..." I start to say.

“Could she have been slayed in an insertion?” she says to herself. This woman knows Yukari? Also, Insertion? Is that what you call invading a perso’s mind?

“...It seems that way?”

“Intriguing.” she says, as she tosses the mob-cap over her shoulders carelessly. Maybe Yukari and her have no love lost... and maybe she's willing to move on and allow Skeleton and I to depart quickly. I smile. Maybe I can talk my way out situations.

“So.. so uh.. what is going on?” I ask.

She shrugs and says, with a rather condescending tone, “It beyond your mortal comprehension."

… Well that was frank. As I'm about to try another question, she turns to me and says "And now you die.”

Maybe I should ask for a fresh change in cloth... Wait. “What?”

“You trespassed on my garden. Did you forget?“ she states, as if I had committed murder. Her soft face begins to both tighten and energize, a twisted smile working its way onto the surface.

A little creepy, I will admit. “Wait. Wait. After all that you’re just going to.." I say, frowning, before I recall she never actually said she would let us go. "... to kill me?”

I feel my shoulders and the tendons in my foot tense, but one look at Skeleton, and I force them to relax. As much as I should be fleeing for my life, I can't just leave him behind.

Also, from what I’ve learned, I can't outrun an umbrella-wielding monsters

“I said I was going to kill you, didn’t I? Do you want to call me a liar?" she replies with a mockingly caring tone.

Yes? No? How am I suppose to reply to that?

Multiple green vines of some kind, rise up from the soil ground and cover my feet, latching on with some uncanny and unreal strength.

What the...?

I try shaking them loose, though all I end up doing is upsetting balance, and I almost tumble over.

How did she..?

As I look about, her smile twist some more. "You didn’t take my warning seriously before... because you don’t know me.".

Feeling as weak as ever, I look up from my feet at her face, which was once a little too bored with me, and now a little too interested. As disgusting as ever though; I stay my gag reflex.

A rose bud suddenly appears in palm of her hand and grows, blooming into a full rose in almost a second or so.

What. How.. How?

The green haired psychopath carefully examines her creation. “I can make seeds sprout and grow anywhere I will them to be...” Without looking at me, she casts it like she would a throwable dagger. The roses’s threat cuts the side of my cheek, and immediately I feel some blood leak out.

Ouch. I put on of my hands on it.

”... even in the inside your skull, particularly in that grey matter you humans are so fond of.”

By that she means my brain I'm guessing “Those seeds will mature and grow in you... Pushing away entrails, organs, bones as they reach for the sunlight they deserve..." she grins wickedly. Suddenly a soft green appears on my arm, spreading outward like... a plant?

I look at it. A herb of some kind, without any soil or any reason for that matter, is growing on my arm.

"... The moment I use my power... you will be ripped apart from the inside out. Slowly. Painfully."

Intrigued, I pull my arm-herb, and though it comes off without much effort, it also tears off a bit of my skin, and feels sort of like if I had just done the same to molar hair. I wince.

"This is what it means to be my fertilizer. Do you understand now, you idiot? she says.

I look at my arm, expecting more to grow. However, none do.

...I think she was demonstrating for effect. I look back up at her, and she's smiling as wickedly as ever.

I don’t trust myself to answer to her liking, so I give her what I’m best at; an utterly blank, maybe even a dopey look.

Really. Its a threat that should be horrifying as her threat but.... don’t feel any more perturbed then the first time she made that speech. I guess its because being turned into a walking bag of soil is small nothings compared to the tentacles, or at least for me.

“... Go ahead. Yawn.” she says with a slightly less patient voice.

Why is she so dead set on scaring me?

Instead of yawning, I sigh a long labored sigh as I ponder the reasons behind her behavior.

Yukari wished to kill me because I had somehow deprived her of her sleep, a terrible crime indeed If am I responsible. Similarly, there could also a reason for this woman's insanity. I mean she can't just be sadistic for no reason, right?

Somewhere along the lines, I notice her cold eyes narrowing and her smile curls as she raises her hand up toward me. Apparently she did not appreciate my sigh.

Anonymous, I think your need your help.

Actually before I die... “May I at least know who you are before I die?” I ask her.

“Yuuka Kazami, Youkai of Flowers.” she says in a voice as sweet as poisoned honey. At this point, I think she thinks I’m too stupid to give a proper reaction... which means I’m at the end of her patience.

“Ms Kazami” I say. For a half second, I notice her gaze darts off to her right, to something inside the flower field. But then she's back to giving me her cold glare as if she had never looked away to begin with.

Strange but... I look to my shoes, feeling a little more vexed by my incoming death, as I think of how to phrase my question.

I hear her voice, as carefully controlled as it is, leak a tiny bit of triumph. “Good. Give in. The brain has no receptors for pain anyway... it'll be painless.. for the beginning half at the most."

I imagine if I were a normal man, this would be the time where I'd break down and beg. But for better or for worse, I don't believe I'm a normal man.

As I realize the question I want answered, I suppress a light chuckle. “No that’s not it....” I say, looking back up with a fresh smile. In response, her smile widens and she tilts her head, though I suspect its not because she's being polite.

“Not it? You want more pain?" Yuuka says. "We can start with your liver, and then your lungs and then your.." she says, her eyes deadening.

Her gaze switches between me and her flower field again, for a slightly longer time. Skeleton watches her and only her, and has stopped moving around totally, though I still can't tell what is going through his head.

“No, no... ” I raise my hands, palms first.

“I just... I just want to know...” She's not paying attention to me again. What is so distracting about that field? Ah never mind. I have a question.

"Why...!" I say raising my voice.

She looks back to me at the sound of my voice, with a vaguely perturbed look.

"Why do you enjoy people suffering? “ I say as firmly as I can.

For a moment, she regards with that same psychotic look, probably searching me for facetiousness.

True, its a little dumb to ask a crazy person why she does crazy things, especially when you're their victim. Also true is that, that sort of question I imagine is what most people ask serial killers eventually...

But my reason for asking is different, or at least I think it is.

I just want to hear a good reason, more or less, to make my peace.

Her eyes droop then and her smile fades, as if it dawns on her that I’m still not scared.

"... Because I do." she finally says rather emotionlessly.

Because you do?... Because you do?

You’re going to kill me... for no reason?

I flashback to yesterday. Namely when Skeleton stabbed Yukari in the eye.

Her raised hand flares with a translucent green miasma at that moment. Her eyes keep darting back and forth between the field and herself, possibly slowing whatever she’s about do to me.

Death it definitely coming though, no doubt about it.

I don't look away or wince. As poor as her response was, I think I’ve made my peace, or at least my great rest last night did anyhow.

Really I wouldn't feel that bad were it not for the regret I feel for Skeleton.. and the pity I feel for Yuuka Kazami.

She's a sociopathic monster. And yet...

...I feel sorry for this pathetic creature.

Just then, Yuuka's hand trembles and she brings it down, the deadness in her eyes giving away flashing into something more inscrutable.

With one sharp, razor-blade sharp, look, she scans the field around her. One moment, mutual hatred is written in her face, in the next, confusion, and then.. a viciousness, directed at me, that is well beyond what a human should be capable of.

…. Its as almost if I had lit all of her sunflowers on fire while we were talking, somehow.

‘What did you do?” she says slowly. Thee feeling of resignation I had so recently cultivated in the past day falls to the wayside as a new, more irking, feeling takes a hold of me.

“...What?” What is this feeling all of a sudden? Its the same as when I had with Yukari? This feeling that I’m about to blamed for circumstances beyond my control?

“What did you do to my friends?” she says, danger almost seeping out every syllable of her words.

… I should choose my words carefully.

“What?” I say again, ignoring my previous warning.

“Answer me.” she says, her voice clear yet unrelentingly firm.

Answer. “Answer you?” I say. How can I answer anyone if I have no answers?

“They don’t want you to die. My sunflowers don’t want you to die. You... did something to them. Didn’t you?” Inflections... Uncertainty? She sounds uncertain. Crippling delusions can do that to you, I bet.

Before I can respond, she continues. “What magic did you use? What spell? What curse? What hex?” Though she speaks slowly, I see some of her measured calm slipping away. Does she... not know whats going on?" With my peripheral vision, I see Skeleton wriggle free of her hand.

She gets a handle of herself just then. "What did you do to them?!" Yuuka says, becoming deathly quiet, and her face.. Gah. Now is not the time for me to be looking at all of it at once.

My near-throw-up is mistaken as resilience as she speaks again "... You're not going to answer me?" her hand that has that faint green aura reaches toward my head.

I should say something, anything. "I know nothing." I say. Not that. Curse my honesty.

Skeleton jumps down onto the ground, out of my sight.

"Liar." she says.

Everything begins to go green...
>> No. 138999
File 130180963731.jpg - (14.30KB , 400x300 , hamblin-mark-rabbit-youngster-emerging-from-burrow.jpg ) [iqdb]
138999
“Stories!” a demonic voice shouts.

Stories?....

The green hazes dissipates.

Stories?

“What?” I say, looking at the source of that incredibly random word. Even Yuuka follows my gaze down toward...

Skeleton?

“Stories! That is what you all want." Skeleton says looking about the field of sunflowers, and hopping around in all directions, as though he were giving a presentation. "That is what you all heard last night. That is what he did to you."

"Toad...?" Yuuka says with a soft though dangerous voice, moving from me to the white toad, who to me, seems like he’s lost it.

Skeleton turns to Yuuka, and without giving her a chance to speak, addresses her. "Last night, a story was told to your flowers.”

“A story.” Yuuka says.

Skeleton returns to talking with his audience, as if harping a product. "This man, this bard, Abe Glenn Gray, told a most interesting tale to you all... for your entertainment!” he proclaims boldly.

I look around myself. Who is he talking to? People in the air? People underground? People hiding? No.. it couldn't be....

"What kind of a... story?" she says, with some peculiar emphasis on the last word.

He’s talking to invisible people? No... No. That doesn't make sense.

“A fine, relaxing, invigorating story.” Skeleton quips, and he turns back toward the field. "Do you all not want to hear more of where that came from? Fiction. Fun... Adventures? Escapades into other realities, into other fantasies... that is what you all heard last night." Like a little showman, he continues hopping around.

What would cause Yuuka to stop and allow for Skeleton to act like this? Who could Sk...
As composed and as dominating as she has been, an incredulous look fights its way on Yuuka's face.

I blink a few times as a similar look takes ahold of mine. The Sunflowers.

"Enough." she says darkly, swiping at him. "They don't care for your stories."

They can think? They can hear me? They can understand me? Oh, insanity.

Skeleton nimbly leaps out of the way, before turning back to her to address her. "Then why haven't you pulverized me yet? Why have you hesitated in killing my fellow bard?"

The slightest twitch of her lips seems to indicate she's at a loss for words"... I said."

".. Because they want to hear more stories?" I volunteer an answer, though I’m as confused as ever.

“Indeed!” Skeleton says. “As Bards, we are offering our services as entertainers for you all...” Skeleton turns to Yuuka “...the flowers you call your friends.” Skeleton says.

What? Bards? Entertainers? I didn’t sign up for this.

“You are not.” she says though it seems less directed him and more as though if she were on the floor for a debate. She’s right, Skeleton. When did we ever...

“Now we are.” Skeleton retorts in a voice thats firm, but without a shred of deviousness. Oh this toad...

Yuuka continues. “... I am their guardian. I decide what is best for my garden.” she says.

“Of course. Of course." Skeleton says with zero inflection."But as much as you want to kill us horribly, and as dangerous as we are compared to you.. Don't you want your flowers to be happier instead?" Skeleton says.

She looks at us, blood-lust overflowing the dam of refined hate. Her hand grows an even darker green... Skeleton keeps his gaze focused on her.

Another staring match? This won’t end good. I should do something.

Something. Something... Support Skeleton.

"Uh. Yeah. I think I can tell you... you all....!" I say flailing my arms a bit at the surrounding sunflowers. "...some more good stories!" I smile, though its as weak-willed as ever.

I dart my eyes, hoping for an applause of some kind. Alas, being flowers, they simply sway slightly in place.

Silence for a brief few moments, as Yuuka watches the both of us darkly. The miasma around her hands begin to lighten then, as all emotion, anger or otherwise drains from her face.

"... Consider your deaths delayed." she finally says.

Skeleton closes his eyes. Wow. I.. Uh....

… Everything is moving too fast again. Just too fast. "Thank you, Ms. Kazami" my chords say almost instinctually.

"Only delayed. I will... " She shoots me quite possibly the nastiest glare I've ever seen, and I tilt my head and blink at her, totally unable to process what’s going on."... kill you both, soon enough." Yuuka says, while retrieving her umbrella from the ground she stuck it in.

"Of course." Skeleton says, hopping over to me.

She looks off to the right, somewhere in the air. I see her lips move, and her brow furrow.

“Ah. Looks I have a guest to attend to.” she says, with a dead look in her eyes.

She looks back to the two of us.. "... Once I've sent her away, we’ll discuss the terms of your service. Stay within my garden. Or fertilizer.” she says simply.

With one last look of what seems to be absolute yet cool displeasure, she shoots upward, into the sky, off in the direction she had been looking at, leaving behind a strong gust of wind.

Skeleton and I watch her go.

...

Did...

Did we really just survive that?

My gaze slowly turns to Skeleton, who looks up at me, as expressionless as always.

We did, didn't we?

I think...

I think.. I need to take a nap. Anonymous... uh.. any words of wisdom would be very helpful.

"We need to have a talk." he says.

Before I can say no, my stomach rumbles and I look down at it, placing my hand on my belly.

I look back at him. I don’t think I need to say I’m starving.


….


This isn't going to be an easy day.




******



I hate you, Skeleton.

I charge after my target with all my might, but it evades me as easily as I had thus far. It dashes down the rolling green field, and I groan right along after it.

“Theories aside, Yuuka and her flowers... Move faster, fleshy!” I hear Cornelius say from my shoulder.

"....Trying to." I grunt unhappily. Here I was expecting to sit down and have a nice long chat after that debacle with Yuuka. Certainly hair raising situations demand a respite afterwords, don't they?

Alas, Skeleton refused to talk in the flower field, for fear of her flowers listening or something. But once we got here, he sees a brown, cute rabbit and tells me to go chasing after it. To eat it.

Ugh. The rabbit jerks off to the side, and I twist and go after it. Hard to believe this field counts as apart of her garden, but whatever. I more things to be concerned about.

Like how I’m about to eat something I’d rather be petting at the moment.

"So you were saying about... Yuuka?" I reach out toward it, and I very nearly make contact.

Skeleton assured me the rabbits of this land are disease free but still...

"... Yuuka and her flowers share a harmonious relationship with each other" Skeleton says.

"... and I... disturbed that?" I say. My furryed adversary feints left, and I fall for its move, and it whips around me, barely backward. Ah crick.

"A small disagreement but yes. We lived because of it." Skeleton says.

"so how did you.." I twist around in my increasingly uncomfortable shoes, trying to keep track of the rabbit. "...figure all this out?"

As I go after the rabbit, Cornelius explains, though interrupted somewhat by my bucking up and down. “Yuuka said you "robbed them off the slumber" and you did talk a lot last night..."

"To tell a story" I interject Fields aren't meant for running. They're meant for sleeping. Fortunately, for whatever reason, the rabbit seems not to want to leave the garden.

"Yes, and since storytelling is the only unique action you took compared to the myriad of others who’ve died here.. I could then reason storytelling was the root of the disagreement, at which point it became elementary."

My head spins a bit and not just because I’m chasing a rabbit. Anonymous its set in stone and buried;I am not cut out for the mind games this world requires.

“Careful, flesh bag” Skeleton says.

"I see.” I jump over a rock, which was in path. “... but... how did you know it was going to work...?" I'm starting to pant, and this rabbit... why doesn't it just run in one direction?

"As intelligent as she is, she was holding multiple conversations at once, while also being confronted by a disagreement with a dilemma she’s encountered few times before. I took a risk and those factors combined made it pay off."

"So.. you saved us again?" I say, swiping at the rabbit.

"I took advantage- Get ahold of it already!- of the disagreement to win us a delay." he says.

Do I detect false humility? You can’t manipulate me that easily, Skeleton. "So my story saved us then?" I say.

"Saved us? Its entirely possible that had you not kept those flowers up with your story, they would have rested and Yuuka would have less set on killing us. A delay is a delay. Now move your rancid flesh." He rasps.

Working with this guy...

I stumble a bit, and the rabbit disappears over the next hill.

... doesn't seem that bad actually.

“Thanks anyway, Skeleton” I say.

"Thank you too, flesh-bag" he replies, as courteous and as rude as ever.

Wait... as I reach the top of the hill, something hits me. Aren't we back where we started?

Which means... I see the rabbit scurrying off into his hole, down into the burrow we had first chased him out of. I run towards it and..

I drop my head.

All that running for nothing.

Stifling a curse, I ask Skeleton. "...Why am I doing this again?”

“No nets, no bows, no hunting dogs.." He rasps.

"I just wanted breakfast." I say. He had just ordered me off without really explaining his reason.

"I don’t have breakfast. That youkai doesn’t have breakfast. But look, before you... breakfast.” he says as he beckons with his head to the rabbit, poking its head out of the hole a bit. As soon I see it, it darts back in.

“You’re crazy” I say simply.

“Thank you for the compliment. It is what it take to survive.” he says, he rasps and to my frustration, I'm unable to tell which part he was being sarcastic over. Perhaps neither. "Sit down in front of it and wait, flesh bag. Its trapped in there.”

“But” I say. Still not keen on eating that bunny.

“We can’t have you collapse later.”

I’d question how he knows its trapped but my stomach gurgles hungrily, concurring with his statement. Well he says he’s hunted before so...

Shaking my head, I plop myself down and I sit pretzel style before the opening.

I stare into it, waiting for the little guy to come back out. He doesn’t and I sigh, taking in the landscape.

Similar to the view at the fields... not as astounding but...

A breeze blows across the land, and I close my eyes, tilting my head upwards.

Good enough.

I’ve had an eventful day and its barely even noone time. I breathe in. It feels like I’ve had enough excitement for a lifetime it feels like.

I feel a little weight leave my shoulder and the sound of something medium-sized hitting the grass.

"Until the opportunity arises to feed you, I believe we need to talk." Skeleton says.

I open my eyes and I regard him quietly, feeling not too relaxed... but not as stressed anymore. "So what we will we talk about?"

"I want you to know as much as you need to know and I want to know as much as I need to know. Once we’ve synchronized knowledge, we will plan."

Plan? over what? how much does he need to know? how does he want to know?

"... okay" I say. I’d stretch backwards but I have a feeling he’d just scold me for not being vigilant or something.

"I want you to tell me everything you know and everything you remember." he says..



[ ] allow Abe to reveal your presence and everything he knows about you
[ ] allow Abe to cite your presence, but only at a shallow level
[ ] tell Abe to lie to Skeleton about your presence
[ ] tell Abe that Skeleton should self-disclose first

[ ] write in any message you want to communicate to Skeleton, via Glenn.



--

Question and Answer time. Finally. Three Day update but at least 4,500 words.

When I say run of time, its more or less the time I allot myself. I like making deadlines for myself for my motivation and for current workload. Kind of like right now. I can’t afford to have this thing in the back of my mind for the next two days or so, so I’ll release it as is (second or third draft)

Depending on your answer here, Glenn will ask his questions first and then write ins will be accepted for extra questions.

I hope this was enjoyable.
>> No. 139037
[x] allow Abe to reveal your presence and everything he knows about you
[x] Tell him I said "Fuck you."

I still don't trust him.
>> No. 139041
>>139037s
vote +
[x] Fuck you, you piece of shit Anthony Hopkins reeincarnation, now we have to come up with another fucking story to save us and our host's asses, everything was fucking peachy, we could have let some of us out via our host's blood to corrupt the sunflowers minds so plant bitch would see us as very bad fertilizer, letting us go, but NOOOOO YOU HAD TO COME IN AND FUCK EVERYTHING UP. IF WE EVER GET BODIES OF OUR OWN I SWEAR TO GOD WE WILL CRUCIFY YOU IN ALL POSSIBLE DIRECTIONS.
>> No. 139044
>>139041
jesus look at all those assumptions
>> No. 139057
A little harsh don't ya think?
>> No. 139070
[x] Tell Abe to lie to Skeleton about your presence

None must know of our presence. We are the hidden guiding hand in Abe's autism.

>>139041
Is this some sort of sick game for you Random Anon? Do you honestly try and make your every vote subsequently worse then the others? I sound like a broken record here, but seriously now. Shut the fuck up.
>> No. 139094
>>139041
wut
>> No. 139098
[x] allow Abe to cite your presence, but only at a shallow level
Nice tie
>> No. 139207
File 130207076990.jpg - (317.42KB , 1280x1024 , green-graas-blue-sky.jpg ) [iqdb]
139207
[ ] Everything said

Anonymous speaks just then.

I smile, though I wonder whats been keeping them. Has the time we have to talk been getting longer? Or have they been keeping silent? Could they have known I would have survived no matter what I would say?

Yes, in one moment, they are cunning, mysterious, intelligent and then the next...

A stream of gibberish unleashes itself upon me.... The next they are as insane and insulting as imaginary voices should be.

Is this really my guiding? Now I may be hapless and I may be hopeless but...

...

But...!

… My poor attempts at rationalizing aside, Anonymous offers me some good advice; don't hide anything from him.

Not that I would be able to. I do have to give pause and wonder if he would he call me crazy for hearing voices. Or does it not even matter since he says needs me? Ah whatever. He deserves what little knowledge I have, what with saving my life and everything.

“Stop staring at me, fleshy.” Skeleton says flatly. Ah, I should really stop spacing out. I look at the ground, grinning a bit sheepishly. "... Are you ready yet?" he says, with barely disguised impatience.

Although I haven't been ready for anything save for sleep, I answer him. “I think I am." Speaking of sleep though, the grass looks so soft, so long, so comforting and.. “Everything I know... huh.”

“Don’t lie down.” Skeleton says promptly, right as I’m about to recline backwards. "You have a rabbit to kill."

Well, it was a worth a shot. “Ah ha.” I say, leaning back up with a grunt. I don't see any trace of fur in the burrow, and I doubt it'll come out after the chase we gave it.

Hunting questions aside... “... Where do I begin?” I say. It takes my partner a second or so to realize that I wasn't asking it rhetorically.

Skeleton rasps, which I take to be both a groan and sigh. “Something important, something I don’t know.” he says grabbing a few leaves with his mouth and bringing it over to the pile. The grass is pretty long, so I have hard time seeing him once he dives in.

Well if Anonymous wants me to tell him about them, I guess I should start with them.

“Okay so; there is a.. " Passive aggressive, schizophrenic, collective of voices in my head. "... organization or something that has been giving me advice since the moment I woke up here and they call themselves Anonymous.” I say.

Though for him to nail me with a couple questions right out of the gate, he does not do so. Instead, from what I can see, he's hopping around a few meters away, pulling sticks and leaves together in a pile, for what I assume is the fire we'll roast that rabbit in.

... I’m still not sure about the whole rabbit thing...

“Continue.” he says, his tone neutral.

I wonder if he believes me or not. “.. And so far, I think they want to help me and have been helping me." Though that statement is generally true, I think I’ll tell him later about their indifference to my life, and their coincidental fascination with explosions.

"I don't really know why they are helping me... but...” I bob my head “I do know they're like voices talking to me in my head."

“They talk to you in your head” Skeleton reiterates slowly, his neutral tone being replaced by what seems like thought fullness. His pile of refuse grows larger, although he keeps within seven or so feet of me. "Voices are talking to you in your head."

Skeleton hops over to me, apparently ending his collecting for now. I may be getting a handle of his grating voice and rasp but his face remains a mystery. Is just really good at a poker face or does he is unable to use facial muscles?

“Well every ten, twenty minutes, yeah..." I wag my finger at him. "But-but as crazy as it sounds, I'm not crazy." I say, as sternly as I can. Keep a straight face, don’t show him my now characteristic. “...I hope.” I add on.

Ugh. I close my eyes in slight frustration, but I continue on before Skeleton can beg to differ. “They can’t just be voices though, because they know alot more about this world than I do... and they don’t sound like me and uh... they say they're omnipotent demigods.... And that's’ all the important stuff.”

“Is this Anonymous responsible for your behavior?” Skeleton says, finishing up with his little pile.

I wonder if by that he means the potential he saw in me.

"They give me advice... but I'm the one responsible for my actions." I say, and feeling a bit adventurous, I try some bravado, pointing to my chest with a thumbs up. "I’m not a total idiot.”

Being as visibly impressed with me as a rock would be, he continues on. "Anonymous advises you periodically on matters, for reasons yet unknown to you?"

More like guiding me but.. "Yes."

Skeleton pauses his stick. “And they told you to say that phrase, ‘Fuck you’ was it?.. to Yukari Yakumo?"

Oh that's right. "Uh.. kind of. They give good advice and bad advice... and I normally have to deal with the repercussions”

Skeleton says nothing for a moment or so and then asks me, in a still thoughtful tone. "Do you know what it means to be a disturbance?"

"Besides having gaps in my head... no." I say.

Skeleton closes his eyes. "Are you sure you don't know? Need I remind you, I demand total honesty." I hesitate to think what would have happened if I had tried omitting things.

"I know I don't know so many things.. how much more honest can I be?" I say. I wonder if he was expecting me to know something.

"Do you also not know who Anonymous is? Or why they are helping you"

"Well, no but I said that before...” I say. That shouldn’t be a problem right? I mean if they could have helped me, they would have....

"Your ignorance.. is incredible." Skeleton says with a slight shudder his tone. "Almost, almost as that bad as that peasant." he says, looking away from me.

He got traumatized by a peasant? "Maybe if you explain to me what a disturbance is..." I offer.

"My team was never able to dissect one of you. That is why I asked you.” Wait. Team. Dissect. Huh? “More importantly... ." He looks back me "why is this Anonymous helping you and who are they specifically?"

Oh no. Confusion, I can feel it wrapping around my brain, inhibiting my thoughts. "I said I didn't know... " I begin to say.

"I'm not asking you. I'm telling you to ask them, Anonymous, those two questions.”

Huh. “Why?”

“The reason, we're having this talk to begin with is because, as partners, as allies, we need to know each other, right?"

"R-Right." I say.

'Yes, so you must know them. It is one thing to be without knowledge, it is another not to pursue when you lack it" There is a whiff of his now-customary sarcasm, but at the same time a hardness, not unlike that from when he proclaimed that he didn't want to be my partner.

"I am pursuing it." I didn't have the time. I have amnesia. I have been asking questions. Those reasons pops into my mind, but for some reason, they feel more like excuses.

"They may be gods, people who can change your fate, who can save you... and you're not trying to find out for sure? That is the ignorance I see in you, and where I hail from, it is a death sentence in of itself" he says looking at me.

Do I really sound that ignorant? Have I been ignorant in trying to obtain my inner peace?

….. Maybe I have. Maybe I can learn something from Skeleton.

"You're right.” I say, looking him straight in the eye while nodding my head. “ I'll ask them those questions.. and I-I’ll try not to be ignorant”

Up to a certain point. I won’t just follow him blindly. I won’t just let this world take my inner peace

Even if it means that I have to show him the value of peace. Even if I have to change the world.

Despite the ludicrousness of that thought, I smile softly. Oddly enough, its a thought that falls right along the lines of Skeleton and Anonymous were saying.

Very skilled manipulators, they must be.

Skeleton rasps quietly, in what I hope is approval. "Don't smile. You've not ascertain if they are more than just voices in your head anyhow"

What. He isn’t done targeting Anonymous? But that was a perfect finish. "I said... they know things I don't know." I start to say.

"Not good enough. You could be simply recalling your past, and your mind could be fractured so much that confuse your own thoughts as voices. I’ve seen this case happen before”

Sounds logical, but-- ha-- he fails to see the following critical flaws "They say they're not me.. and they don't sound like me and..uh... I trust them?" I say.

… Why must my arguments die when they enter reality?

"Faith without question is blindness... Ignorance." Skeleton says, and I try to keep from looking at his black eyes of endless condescension. "...Have they proved conclusively, beyond a shadow of a doubt, they are what they say they are?"

They showed Toad Lord, and Toad Lord believed me.. but then again he turned out to be a liar so...

"..They haven't." I say. But I haven’t submitted just yet. "But I think... no. They can. They can demonstrate to you, they aren’t me at the very least."

"I do hope so for the sake of your sanity." he says, sarcastically.

He turns around toward his pile but hesitates turning back. "... Is there anything else I should know about Anonymous?" he asks me.

“Well, they sorta told me to tell you..." Am I really going to say this? Anonymous, why do you want me to say this? "...fuck you." I say, curling my legs a bit away from the monster.

"Fuck me?" Skeleton pauses "Fuck... means what in your language?"

My language? "Uhm... Its a curse."

"A curse.... A curse. Fleshbag, Demigods don't curse.” He pauses and right before he jumps off into the tall grass, he says without any sort of lightness to his voice. “...They smite."

Almost as if he’s talking from experience.

"... Describe to me exactly what happened with Yukari." I hear him say. “And then we’ll take care of your ignorance.”

Oh yes. Yukari.


[ ] write in a way to prove to Skeleton, you’re not just voices in his head.

[ ] write in an answer for Abe for those two questions.

[ ] write in a message for Skeleton

----

small update despite the days due to writer's block. sometimes, the words flow. sometimes, I slam my head against the keyboard. eh heh.

next update will probably begin Skeleton’s answer depending on the answers written in.

In the absence of consensus, Abe will take what he finds to be the most appealing/most intelligent write ins not necessarily the ones I want . He has already been doing this for a while since there tend not to be enough vote, but I just want to make this clear.

I hope I’m not annoying anyone with my choices/my choice offerings
>> No. 139212
[x] Ask anonymous to tell us something we don't know about Gensoyko, anything really.

Even skeleton dosn't know everything, so lets hunt through the wiki for some usefull information, or we could give a full explanation about magic, or gensoykyo as a whole.

Actually, why havn't we asked anonymous to teach us sects of fighting and magic?

They would clearly be capable at teaching us powers from diffrent worlds, as they have access to all the knowledge, and it would help us to stop being a weakling all the time, sure we are relying on them, but at least when we fight it will be independently.
>> No. 139216
[x]Ask us anything.
[x]We're helping him because we want to. Because we are just a collective of bored fags.
[x]Cool story, Cornelius

>>139212
Jesus christ, shut up. That is beyond retarded.
>> No. 139217
[x] We can't prove we aren't voices. As Cornelius said, Abe could be recalling his own memories.
[x] I'm helping you because you're interesting. I don't care whether you live or die, provided the death is suitably interesting.
[x] Hey Cornelius, prove you aren't a toad.
>> No. 139220
[x] Ask us if what'd like
[x] The cold, hard difference between gods and demigods is that the latter can't smite. We may have knowledge about this world but we can't control it directly. That's why advice and an incredible amount of luck is all we can give. If you wonder about the latter, think about it for a second, why are you stll alive?
[x] And we are helping you because we'd like to see you live through this. Believe it or not this place is a nice place to live once you don't have anyone trying to kill you.
>> No. 139233
>>139220
what'd like?
>> No. 139235
File 130210501119.jpg - (130.77KB , 858x988 , A Scholar 1631 By Rembrandt.jpg ) [iqdb]
139235
>>139216
How is it?

We ask anonymous something that skeleton wouldn't know, they give us the answer, and skeleton belives us.

What could possibly make my vote retarded?

You fucking guys tend to forget this is ANONYMOUS we are talking about here, information that the MC wouldn't know can be given at any given time. All we have to do is ask.

Sure, I wasn't specific with my vote, but at least I gave us something to work with.
>> No. 139236
>>139235
How would that prove anything? Cornelius already gave his response. He'll just think we're idiots for trying the same thing again.
>> No. 139237
>>139236
Wait a second, I have no problem with Cornelius thinking you're an idiot. Just make sure he knows we're separate. Come to think of it, nobody has explained what we are yet. I'll give it a shot.

We, that is, the voices you're calling Anonymous, aren't a hivemind. We're individuals, with distinct goals, personalities, and abilities. We're also completely, 100% human. I have no idea how you're hearing voices, by the way, on our end we're writing plain text.

I feel dirty typing that. Explode, damn you.
>> No. 139239
>>139212
Changing my vote to
[x] Factual overload
Fuck it, lets tell him shit his primitive mind would have never known or achieved, starting with Geography, Science and space shit, he already thinks we are an idiot, so telling him something smart would probably suprise him.
>> No. 139244
>>139235
My fault. Your vote was actually decent and appropriate. I should have specified the parts I was calling stupid.

>Actually, why havn't we asked anonymous to teach us sects of fighting and magic?
>They would clearly be capable at teaching us powers from diffrent worlds, as they have access to all the knowledge

This shit is completely retarded. You should feel bad for even thinking it.
>> No. 139327
[x] Factual overload.

With the impression that we are already an idiot, something smart coming out of our mouths, will be enough to make skeleton belive that we are not alone in the slightest.
>> No. 139380
File 130232269398.jpg - (36.93KB , 600x379 , albino toad.jpg ) [iqdb]
139380
[ ] Everything said.

Anonymous speaks just as I’m about to start my story.

"Uh, can you give me a moment..? th-they're talking to me right now" I hold the left side of my forehead, as my brain fills with their messages. Skeleton hops back to his pile with a large stick in his mouth and rasps softly.

"Hurry up, fleshy." he says and goes back into the grass, rummaging around for more wood stuff. I close my eyes, trying to process it all.

….

The general sentiment seems to be that they want to help me because... they just want to?

Yes, though more specifically, they each given different reasons. Some seem selfless, others seem selfish and others seem positively sociopath...

Well, as long as their intentions are mostly benign, I’m satisfied. Or at least I would be, if I knew what they were. Demigods channeling good fortune? Mere humans? A collective of 'bored fags'?

Shouldn't they know what they are?.. Or do they not know? Could they be as confused as I am?

I shake my head. The last thing I should do is open up a whole new can of worries. Instead, I should probably figure out what the truth is for myself.

Ugh.

Anyway. Demigods giving me luck. I'm wearing worn muddy clothing, about to eat an innocent woodland creature, and, as far as a green-haired youkai-fairy is concerned, I’m going to be dead rather soon.

As happy as I am to be alive after such near-overwhelming adversity, I really don't think Anonymous is giving me much fortune. I also question their abilities. "Hey, Skeleton what are demigods exactly?" I ask.

"Lesser gods, sometimes humans imbued with godlike powers" I hear him say from somewhere to the left of me.

"... Can they smite?" He pops out of the grass, pushing a small log into the pile.

"Of course." he says, disappearing back into the grass. I check to see if the rabbit has come out. Nope.

Okay, So Anonymous are not demigods, which makes sense since they can only hear what I hear, and see what I see. I don't know what fags are als, so that leaves humans.... Humans, individual humans, as flawed as I am, observing and helping me?

That sound remarkably sane and it would explain alot of their actions. Perhaps this view is correct...

Explode?

... No, no, Anonymous couldn't have....

Yeah. Yeah, they whispered it.

Even though I'm not in a life or death situation, they just told me to explode.

Although I've tried not to think about it... I really have to ask. What kind of humans tell others humans to explode? Can humans explode? Or is there a cultural difference at play here? Or they having fun playing with my poor mind?

Regardless of their answers.I can these strange, whimsical voices are actually be humans who actually want to help me? I think about that for a few seconds, noting its similarity to the question I thought over last night.

At the very least though, I know, I know these “individuals” can’t be me.

I sigh, feeling just a little stressed. I'd ask Skeleton for some help understanding these guys, but he probably wants proof they exist before anything else.

Ugh. And it seems the best proof they came up with was “ask a us a question”. As whiny as it sounds, I was kinda hoping they could have unveiled some sort of secret magical power or something...

"Uhm, Skeleton." I can’t see him so I raise my voice.

"Yes, fleshbag?" Some of the grass behind me rustles and out he comes, bearing more medium-sized sticks for his small and circular pile. Probably the perfect size for breakf- the rabbit. The rabbit.

Anyway. "... Anonymous says they'll, uhm, answer any question you have, as proof they’re not me"

"Any question?" Skeleton says quietly, coming to a halt "...Any question?" he repeats with a both skeptical and slightly-murderous tone, as he turns to me.

Ah yes; they're not omniscient. "Okay... not any question. Just a question that they would know... that I... wouldn't know." My stupidity senses is tingling.

"Tell me, fleshy..." He says. "...how I should I know what you shouldn't know?" he says.

Okay, that was stupid, and I don’t know the answer. But surely Anonymous knows.

I raise my finger, and I open my mouth, ready to speak their wisdom.

….

Except nothing comes to mind, save for “factual overload”, which makes no sense

"... Good question." My shoulders slump and my finger falls,; defeated by both logic and his cold stare.

Maybe Skeleton can ask a question about something that's happened since I woke up and...

No, that wouldn't work. Anonymous doesn't know whats going on more than I do. For all their knowledge about their world, Skeleton can just say all their responses is me recalling my past.

"I see you and your voices have offloaded the burden of proof onto me." Skeleton says, sounding not very pleased.

Wonderful, now I’m selfish. ".. I’m sorry." I say, scratching the side of my head.

“Very well.” he says, looking to the ground in what I presume is silent contemplation.

Today is not being nice to. How lovely it would be to just sleep and then try again at living tomorrow. Alas the world is not a nice place.

After a few moments of silence, Skeleton says "...Here’s my question.” I nod my head, ready to hear it.

“What is the particular solution of 'y' to the three prime, minus five 'y' to the two prime, plus eight 'y' prime, minus four 'y', equal to one." he says.

….Did he just start speaking another language?

It takes a moment or two before I realize he just posed me a math problem. . "... I'm confused." I conclude.

"Good." Skeleton says, nodding his head. "This is no question for the slow or the ignorant."

I manage a dry look, though it has little effect on him. "Yes, I don’t understand... but how does this math problem prove they exist?" I say.

"Simple, flesh bag. If your answer is correct, I can interpret it in two different ways. " he says. " The first is that you did it by yourself; you’re a genius, capable of mental math wizard-ry. The second way is that you didn't do it by yourself; you’re a miserable ignoramus, albeit being assisted by forces far more intelligent than you."

Wait a second...

He hops a bit closer to me, almost like he’s leaning in. "Now of these two interpretations... which do you think I would find more likely?" he asks, and though his face is as blank as always, his tone makes it seem like he's grinning.

….

Why... Why does his neck look so.. appealing to me, right now?

"Precisely" he says after one look at the expression of my face.

Before I can indulge in any dark fantasy, or even sputter incoherently, Skeleton's tone switches to something less jovial. "... But if you answer this question incorrectly, I will judge you insane."

I exhale. “Okay... fair enough”

"I won’t let you be a burden on me, fleshy. " he says, in a quieter voice, as he trots back to his pile. Could that be a threat? Or just a passing reminder?

Well, at least Anonymous can prove they’re real. Even though I don’t understand the question, I have faith they will.

Speaking of which.. "Do you want to hear their answers to the other questions" I ask him.

"Until they solve that problem, I couldn’t care less." he says. Cold, but reasonable from an outsider’s perspective I guess.

I close my eyes, trying to clear my mind. With the sun beaming down upon me, the breeze blowing past me softly and, the temperature so very temperate, my mind clears rather quickly... and I feel relaxed.

Not as relaxed as I could be due to the absence of a true inner peace but hey.

I open my eyes and I watch the sky. Yuuka’s sunflowers get this treatment every single day, I bet. Without lifting a finger or having to worry about food and water and...

... Gosh, I think I'm envious of them.

“Fleshbag. Yukari” Ah what. Oh shoot. I spaced out.

“Uhm uh.” Oh and there was one thing I wanted to ask him. "Wait, there’s one-one last thing I want to ask you... “ He turns away from sorting his pile, sending a very intense gaze my way.

I think he’s losing his patience. “Sorry for a.. uhm.. bringing this up last minute.” I half-mumble.

"No, no, please continue wasting my time." Skeleton replies, very, very peeved.

I recoil a little. Perhaps I shouldn’t say this since he seems to be losing his patience, but...

"... Yeah so uh... Anonymous uh.. wants you to prove you're not a Toad."

Anonymous had piqued my curiosity. "Why?" he asks, flatly.

"Good question" I say right off the bat. "But uh.. I think its because..." I trail off, unsure how to word the reason why I had brought up to begin with.

Skeleton rasps somewhat loudly, and then says. "Your voices see a contradiction over how I demand proof of their existence, though I provide no proof of my status as a non toad? how I expect you to trust me on that matter, yet I can't trust you over your voices?"

I pause and then I nod vigorously. "uh yeah." I try a smile reassuringly.

"I am colored white. I have an infernal voice. I don't have a speech impediment. I do not croak. More supports my assertion of how I'm not a toad, than your assertion of the voices beings outsiders." Skeleton says simply as he begins to hop away.

… Sounds good to me.

But just I’m about to say that, he continues. "However, that proof lacks hard evidence. I have none at this time, to show that I am not a toad. And since we’re on the subject, what I will tell you very soon I cannot prove as I do not have hard evidence also. You’re going to have trust me on the basis of my words..... Does this bother you?” he says, and I’m not sure if he was being sarcastic in the end.

I look up at the sky, putting a finger on my lip. That was a whole lot at once, though I suspected he was going to tell me a bunch of crazy stuff since the get-go of this talk.

“No. Not really. ” I decide to say

“So you’ll believe whatever I say?” Skeleton presses me.

“I’ll try. Anonymous may not.. but... I trust you” I say.

He looks at me and then nods slightly. “Good. For a moment it seemed you had forgotten your place our relationship.” He turns back to arranging his pile.

Perhaps I shouldn't have implicitly agreed to obey him unswervingly.

“How could I possibly forget?” I grumble slightly.

“Oh you’re dumb enough to find a way, I’m sure” he quips, dragging his sticks around.

This toad... My left eye gives a tiny twitch. this toad disturbs my peace.

He rasps and his tone grows more serious. “...Thank you for submitting so quickly and painlessly; I will not abuse what you’ve entrusted with me.”

That was.. a weird turnabout. “You’re welcome” I say. “....But uh why not?”

Skeleton stops sorting through his pile and moves over to me “We’re partners, of course.” he says simply.

Though I want to ask him more questions, his voice hardens as he says or rather he commands “No more delays. Tell me what happened with Yukari. Omit nothing. Spare me no details." he says. He sits down before me, his pile now looking more like a proper campfire.

My stomach rumbles something fierce, but alas, no rabbit still.

“Alright.” I say.

Having nothing else to say and no reason other than a slight uneasiness to not tell him... I begin my story over what happened with Yukari.




[ ] write in the answer to Skeleton's question after Abe is done.

[ ] write in a message to Abe





———

The new choice systems is going through several revision in my mind, but I'm considering those permanent choices, e.g. write in messages for so and so. Tell me what you think.

Also, yikes, 3 days and only 2,000 words? With the amount of time I put in, should have gone faster; no dice though. Sorry for the slowness.
>> No. 139384
>What is the particular solution of blah blah math math
>"This is no question for the slow or the ignorant."

Oh shit. He's on to us! Not voting because I couldn't solve this if I tried.

>write in messages for so and so. Tell me what you think.
I don't like it. While it keeps the spirit of the voting, and "talking" to Abe, it also serves to deny us actual votes. I guess what I'm trying to say is it's turning this story into a write-in only affair.
>> No. 139385
>>139384
not only write ins, I will have interesting choices when I can think of it/general choices to guide how you want to respond to Abe
>> No. 139386
> "What is the particular solution of 'y' to the three prime, minus five 'y' to the two prime, plus eight 'y' prime, minus four 'y', equal to one."

So you guys don't have to search for it.
>> No. 139389
Oh, wow.

Author:
1) It's pronounced "double prime"; I've heard "two prime" occasionally, but never "to the two prime". Ditto "triple prime".
2) I'm not sure if you were trying to be clever with the math problem, but this is a story, not Diff EQ.
3) I'm also not sure if you were trying to be clever by choosing the first result of a search for "third order differential equation" as the problem, but this is a story, not some bizarre test of Google skills.

Skimming through the rest of the thread, it looks like most of the decisions you've made regarding this story are as bad as this decision to include a math quiz in the most recent update. Clearly, you have an audience of some sort, so I won't bother you again, but I thought you should be told.

P.S. "Its" and "it's" are different words, sentences start with capital letters and end with punctuation marks, and ellipses have three dots.
>> No. 139393
>>139389
you repeat yourself a bit but I'll address your arguments.

> skimming

that invalidates some of your criticism.

>bad decisions regarding this story

I would like to see some examples.

>double prime etc

okay.

>story not Diff EQ

Character B claims that the voices in his head are real people. Character A is skeptical so he poses a hard question that Character B does not understand.
If B abruptly says the correct answer for this difficult question (without using pencil and paper and without having time to think about it), A has the choice of either believing he's a genius, or he's recieved outside assistance somehow.

its a story, not diff eq.

>trying to be clever

see above comment. also; I gave the community the chance to figure out a way to prove it. they didn't so Skeleton had to. I try to write my stories naturally.

>one google search away

that was actually unintentional. I may have written down the wrong problem. Even then its not too bizarre, the community should solve problems using whatever resources they have, e.g. wolfram alpha if need be. In the future it won't be so simple, though I'm still experimenting and trying to better involve my audience.

>various grammar errors

well aware already, thanks. I don't have a proofreader and the amount of time I spend daily on this precludes anymore proofreading than what I do already.

> won't bother me again

naysayers with coherent and valid arguments are always necessary, imo.
>> No. 139396
>Except nothing comes to mind, save for “factual overload”, which makes no sense.

Either Abe is too dense to decipher this, or you just insulted me.

Next time I'll more specific then.

Douche.
>> No. 139397
>>139390
>I would like to see some examples.
It was more of a roundabout way of saying that I don't think the story is very good. I'm having a hard time putting my finger on what exactly is so bad about it (besides the grammar), which is why I didn't press the issue in my first post, but since you asked, I'll try:

* The blank slate protagonist. I'm halfway through the first thread, and I cannot think of five words to describe him, because he doesn't have enough personality to fill five words. Apart from what Anon tells him to do, he just wanders around, waiting for life to happen to him. I checked the first 5 pages of /th/; all the other stories that have made it past thread one have a main character with an identity and a purpose.
* No plot. Wander, Cirno appears; wander, frogs appear; wandering with frogs was almost a change of pace, but now whoops, Yukari appears. The only time something marginally interesting happens is when it falls out of the sky, unrelated to anything that has come before it. Abe is currently being true to himself, and I'm just waiting for the next event after Yukari, which I'm sure will be soon enough. (Yep, skimmed ahead, and five posts later, Yuuka. It looks like Yukari is still being mentioned in passing, but it doesn't look like we have actually gained any long-term goals as a result of her existence.)
* Anonymous directly interacting with the character. Maybe if the main character had a personality and was interesting to talk to, this would be more worthwhile, but I doubt it; Owen tried that and it wasn't that great either. Here, though, it's a pointless exercise in padding: "Do this, says Anonymous. Why, yes, I will do that! Thanks, Anonymous!" And then he does it.
* Bad writing. I'm sorry I can't put a finer point on this, but I'm not a good enough writer myself to pinpoint the particular rules of pacing/sentence structure/word choices/whatever you're breaking; I just know that it's making it hard to read. I have to work to identify the jokes, because they're not funny; the moments that are supposed to be dramatic do not make me worry; I'm down to the bits with Yukari now and I guess I'm supposed to be intrigued by the long-awaited emergence of something that might be a plot, but I'm just bored by this point.
>> No. 139400
>>139397
>No plot.

Notsureiftrollingorjuststupid.
>> No. 139401
>>139397
Why are you even here? You just don't like the story. You're criticizing something you "skimmed" and are doing a very bad job at it to boot.
The point of the story is for the author to write it the way he wants to write it not for you to like it. Whoever does like it reads it.
>> No. 139402
>>139397
Abe has a long-term goal. To relax. You should try it yourself.

Anyway, math problems aren't interesting. Abe can be considered insane for all I care.
>> No. 139403
Oh, and Owen's story was devoted to kicking the shit out of the 4th wall. It did a terrible job of it.

This story keeps the 4th wall firmly in place. They're completely different.
>> No. 139406
On third thought, I can have some fun with this.

[x] The answer is 42.
[x] I'd stake my life on it.
>> No. 139407
[x]6x8=42
sex time eat = death
>> No. 139413
>>139396
The write ins have never been conducted where you can say '[ ] Something' and then Abe will automatically know what that something means.
Even then, Abe won't understand a huge list of random facts. You can see how he responds to the giant write somewhere in the beginning of this thread.
However, he will store that knowledge for future reference should he ever need it. E.g. “what is so and so”… “oh yes so and so this”
No insult was intended; just try to pay more attention instead of cursing the poor writefag. ha.

>139397
I don't believe you're a troll, but your skimming makes me wonder why you even bothered typing out this response.
For the record, here are the points you dropped:
>story not Diff EQ
>trying to be clever
>skimming

Now for your new ones:

> I cannot think of five words to describe him

Simple, Slow, Lazy, Fearless, Quiet, Stressed, Unfortunate

The last two don't count since they're not adjectives describing his personality, but I like thinking of them when describing him to others.
It’s true this story was boring to begin with and that Abe is not the strongest character so far, but he's evolving as is the story.

>Identity and a purpose.

Abe sees himself as a rather lowly and pathetic individual, though he doesn’t complain that much.
His purpose (stated very explicitly) is to find his own peace of mind. So far, he believes its through relaxing, taking life for what it is and going with it.

the world and skeleton on the other hand, have a slightly different idea about this...

>No plot.

Originally this story had no plot, it was an experiment. However anonymous stuck with me and I realized I should starting writing this a lot more seriously.

At this point in time, ‘no plot’ is utterly incorrect.

Main plot thus far; Abe is out in Gensokyo on a quest to become a brother toad under the penalty of death, after somehow being transported to Yuuka's flower field after the events of the first day.

Subplots thus far; Yukari's death inside Abe's mind, the tentacles, who or what Abe is, who is skeleton/Cornelius, where did Yuuka have to go off to in such a rush, will they actually become bards for Yuuka’s flowers?

There are forces beyond his understanding at work, all of which seem to want to kill him.

Furthermore, it’s wandering around if the author isn’t building anything, and if the author forgets story elements/never brings them up again. I don't think I'm wandering. See my below comment for more.

>wandering with frogs

How are they wandering? Abe narrowly avoid death by telling a story, the toad lord takes interest in him, and he drags him over to become an initiate.
After learning about how bad his predicament is, he chooses Skeleton as a partner. And then the toads get initiated. And then they are given a list of ten items they have to bring back.

>The only time something marginally interesting happens is when it falls out of the sky, unrelated to anything that has come before it.

What falls out of the sky?

>we have actually gained any long-term goals

I don't understand this one. Abe clearly wants to figure out what happened, on at least some basic level. Skeleton has been pressing for an explanation of Yukari from the get-go.

Really, it’s right there in the last updates which you claim to have read. Or skimmed, sorry.

>it's a pointless exercise in padding

It happened once. Moreover, this "exercise" is not pointless since Anonymous has basically thus far refused to answer the question. The story may progress for the worse because they have not.

You should bother to read the write ins. Some have been quite funny and have served as a motivation for me to continue to write. Others not so much but hey.

> I just know that it's making it hard to read

I write and I ready weirdly. I should really go find out why.

>I have to work to identify the jokes, because they're not funny

They're not laugh out loud funny, I admit, but I don't think any of them fall flat in particular.
The dramatic rendition Abe gave for that story was funny to me.

>dramatic do not make me worry

That’s good. Abe thinks and processes most situations so that they don't worry him. He may get pounded by questions, though that’s because he’s not an ignorant man.
In your case though, since you don’t connect with the characters or their plight, I can see why you don’t care.

>long-awaited emergence of something that might be a plot

See above comments about plot.

>I'll try

You tried and you...

>skimming
Failed. I understand the first day is like 50,000 words and that the writing style was bad going in, yet many of your points seem to be meritless because you don’t know what’s going on.
On the brighter side of things, analyzing this story was a nice exercise.




>>139401

I appreciate your argument but I think the larger the audience I can write for, the better. Without pandering would be great too.
>> No. 139414
File 130236471589.png - (8.43KB , 263x213 , 1295049305087.png ) [iqdb]
139414
>>139413
This post deserves the following image.

You sir, Are fucking awesome.
>> No. 139415
>>139413
Err, I'm going to disagree with the majority of this. Unlike that guy, I actually have read the entirety of this story, from the first update or so. All of his complaints are actually quite valid, and this giant wall of fuck you didn't dispute much of them.

It really doesn't matter all that much. I read the story despite these glaringly obvious flaws, so it's all whatever.
>> No. 139416
>What falls out of the sky?
Yukari literally fell out of the sky.

Just sayin.

Reminder to everyone reading that you can find the answer to this question with a simple google search. I don't want it answered, but hey, you should be able to if you like.
>> No. 139418
>>139415
if you want to, please support your opinion in relation to the arguments already made. Otherwise, I'll probably continue as I always have.

It will be helpful to know what I am failing in besides proofreading since, as I've stated, I want to write a good story.

>>139414
I have too much time, sometimes.

>>139416
Are you the same guy? or different? Because he said "it" a few times in that sentence so I'm not sure if thats what he means.
>> No. 139419
>>139418
Different.

If anything, this story feels like... railroading. There's not much agency; we're reacting to events beyond our control and understanding.

I'm not saying that's a bad thing. I quite like it. And we do have a major choice facing us right now.
>> No. 139420
>>139418
Get back to wrti- wait, no one's voted anything yet.

Get to work do some votes people Ctulu is active today so we can expect a update at best!
>> No. 139421
>>139420
We are voting. By not giving the answer.

And I already voted to give him a wrong answer.
>> No. 139423
>>139413
>Abe is not the strongest character so far
I guess this is really the crux of my issue with the story. He's just so tepid that it's hard to care about anything that he does. Even during the moments when he's broken character and grown a personality at Anon's suggestion (antagonizing Cirno and Yukari), it seems like he's just pretending to have emotions, and he snaps back to being cardboard as soon as the event is over.

>plot
I guess I wasn't clear about what I meant here. There is a plot in the sense that events are progressing in a sequence that obeys the laws of logic; the problem is that in many places, it seems like that's all that's holding them together. We went from antagonizing Cirno to eating the offering in a very uninspired sort of way, and while that was the worst offender by far, several other transitions between events have seemed similarly forced.

>long-term goals
Yeah, I was wrong about that. I had only read up through thread 1 when I posted >>139397, and since, like you said, that's somewhere in the vicinity of 45,000 words without much of a goal for the protagonist, so I figured a more cursory examination of thread 2 would be okay.

That and we're back to the boring protagonist: the desire to take it easy is a boring goal. Stories need conflict; in this case, someone whose goal is to prevent Abe from taking it easy. It looks like Yukari may be filling that role, but again, it's just too little, too late.

>talking about Anonymous in-story
Once? Virtually every update starts with "Anonymous says", followed by a one or two sentence in-character summary of the votes. I'm sure it doesn't seem like that big of a deal to you, but it's just more slowness in a story that is already really slow.

>>139401
Did you just get off the bus from FF.net? Criticism of things we dislike is how we roll here on THP.
>> No. 139438
>>139423
I don't feel like wall of texting right now, even though I feel like your remaining arguments (the ones you haven't dropped) are more or less incorrect.

there is one argument I need to address however.

>broken character; antagonizing Cirno and Yukari

first situation, he's think he's dreaming, and Cirno seems to be disturbing his said dream. he has not broken character given that, in fact his character wasn't even established at this point.

second situation, he told Yukari to fuck you and that you're a weakling. the former was because he couldn't think of any last words, the latter was because of aspects of himself yet undiscovered, though hinted at. Again, no breaking character. He may be tepid and easygoing, but he doesn't want to die.

When I find the time again, maybe I'll get back to you on all your arguments.

But maybe not. You have trouble reading my fail style and, as a matter of taste it seems, you dislike the core aspects of this story, so there's really nothing left to be said.


As for updates.. I will start writing when I have the time.
>> No. 139471
Question translated equals as so:

> y’’’-5y’’+8y’-4y=1

Damn it Cthulhu, no one here has taken physics.
>> No. 139472
It's a third order differential equation.

Calculus not physics.
>> No. 139476
>>139472

It has numbers with letters supposed to be numbers. The only numbers most of us care are those that defines a girl's age and bust size.
>> No. 139480
>>139472

Same thing, no one here's taken that course.

>>139476

For you maybe.
>> No. 139526
>>139480
I have but I don't see much point in going through the effort of solving it.
>> No. 139566
File 130263566387.jpg - (131.08KB , 450x340 , image1.jpg ) [iqdb]
139566
[ ] 42
[ ] I stake my life on it

Someone says.

But I pay little attention for I am confronted by tentacles. No, no, that’s not right. I am surrounded by tentacles. They are everywhere, as far as I can see, numbering in thousands, if not millions.

Like a hollow sphere, the world I see is comprised solely of these monstrosities. Slurping, interlocking, separating, extending over each other under each other, for no clear reason other than that they can.

“Fleshbag” Another someone says to me.

I can barely hear them, over the sounds of a million orifices smacking together in twisted cacophony.

I look down, I look up, I look from side to side. I can't see myself... I can't feel myself either.

"Fleshy. Stop talking." that someone says.

But I can see a woman in the distance. Half naked, half covered in tentacles suspended midair, she is a pale, blonde, dot in a middle of a very angry ocean of black, odious black.

Tentacles undulate across my vision, and I see their vile cups and holes spewing ichor in all directions.

If there is a hell, this is it.

But I'm not scared.

“That’s enough!” the voice shouts, no louder than a mouse.

I’m also not breathing.

Something hits me on the back of my head rather hard. The tentacle world disappears in a blink of an eye, and bright light, daylight enters my vision.

I blink.

Before me lies a rabbit's burrow, around me a green field, above a blue sky and a sun. I look down and I see my ruined clothes and wrinkly hands. I am here.

I feel something press down on my shoulder and I turn my head to look at it. A white toad holding a thick stick in his mouth is there.

Skeleton. "What happened?" I say softly, as I rub where it feels like that stick had thumped me.

"You. tell. me." Skeleton says with emphasis on each word.

I clear my throat, as a headache sets in. “I.. I.. was...” A memory emerges “telling, uhm, I was describing Yukari, and the city and then the..." The next few words die in my throat. Tentacles.

Crippling nausea and mindless terror from nowhere seizes my heart and my mind. I shiver.

Skeleton jumps down from my shoulder onto the grass. He eyes me and then says, with a careful tone. "You told me about the events that had transpired in your 'mind' with incredible detail. So much detail, its as if, fleshy, you were not merely recalling but reliving." he says.

I nod my head jerkily, though I’m barely listening.

"Once you reached how the tentacles enveloped you, you became fully catatonic." he finishes.

There was nothing past that point, right? They ate me? That was that. "I'm... I'm not sure I follow." I say, my voice quivering.

He moves around me slowly, as if he examining me as if I was a specimen of some kind. "Jabbering in a language I don't know of, a distant look in your eye, and now, a withdrawal of some kind." I watch him with my eyes and he comes to stop at the other side of me.

"... Symptoms of demonic possession." he says, his tone low yet somehow vaguely irritated.

A demon took control of my mind while I was telling a story. Ha. Ha, ha, ha.

"You think.. I-I'm possessed." I say, in my best skeptical tone. Just thinking about something can’t just drive a person nuts. That’s crazy.

I try smiling but all I am capable of is a brief twitch my lips.

“Maybe you were possessed.” He corrects me but rasps slowly. “... I can't make that assumption, I can't make any assumption. You could be lying— you should be lying"

A wet, slurping noise. A scream claws its way upwards, through chords, as I look over to its source of the rustle. Just a butterfly, landing on dandelion a way off from me, I force the shriek down, allowing only a yelp to escape.

Skeleton sends me what I think is a sharp look. "You could be insane... Yet if these tentacles are what you claim they are.... I need to ask you some questions” he says in a voice that precipitates a full blown interrogation.

“However, there’s one item that need to be addressed foremost It is an order. Break this order and I will make terrible things happen.. Do I have your attention?”

“Yes.” Just barely. I breath a bit raggedly.

He approaches me and says rather forcefully. “Unless I say so, Do not. Do not. Do not contemplate the tentacles."

"I won’t.” He doesn’t have to tell me twice “... I won’t’” I close my eyes, having half a mind to curl into a ball and descending into the oblivion of sleep.

He lightens up seemingly, and pulls away from me. ".Do you wish to rest, flesh bag?” he says.

I open my eyes, and say with a weak, maybe even a little desperate smile, “... I would s-strongly appreciate it.”

“Stomach it." Skeleton’s voice hardens again "Even without this new trouble, we don’t have the time. Yuuka may return from god knows where any second now.”

I wince. Even in this idyllic green pasture, we have no time. No time, even for me to catch my breath.

I massage my temples, trying to allay the feeling of both emptiness and wrongness inside of me. "Please. Please May I rest. You have no idea..”

"As terrible as it was, survival demands a quick recovery almost always" he spouts. I pick up a whiff of aloofness in his comment, or at least I imagine that it is so.

"Are... A-Are you trying to be my teacher?" I ask him, barely able to keep the resentment out of my tone.

"You're old enough to be your own teacher." he says, and I’m unable to deem his voice sarcastic or deadpan. Whatever it is, it softens somewhat as he then says"... But as the truism goes, you're never too old to learn. Learn to get over it.”

I sputter for a half second. Clearly, I’m in no shape to debate with him.. “...Please give me a moment.” I say. Skeleton says nothing in response and he merely begins trotting forward, in a line perpendicular to me.

I close my eyes, and I consult my thoughts.

I had seen something terrible, horrifying, and possibly mentally scarring and he... he just wants me to get over it. Just like that. Almost like he doesn’t care.

I could curse him. I could lash out. I could transform the near-overwhelming anxiety I’m feeling into a destructive rage.

Instead, I take a deep breath, concentrating all my energies on clearing my mind.

Skeleton... is not my enemy. Cruel, uncompromising.. but he’s right about moving on.

My enemy is… my enemies are the tentacles, the disgusting and invincible aberrations that haunt my mind.

Upon thinking of them, revulsion sweeps through me.

I stop thinking about them and I focus. I focus hard, forcing them out of my mind.

I won't let them beat me. I won't let them.. or the world for that manner, take my inner peace.

I exhale.

This is no different from when Skeleton spoke his mind about ignorance. I made up my mind then, and I’ll stick to it. I will relax one day. I will laze about like an oaf, wasting my days away under the glowing sun and the shimmering moon.

With that, I push the remnants of my horrible mood right out of my mind and...

Peace. Brief, fleeting peace. My it seems like every moment or so I need to escape from this world. But to live in it.. I have to do more than just escape.

Until the day I can relax, I must be strong, for my peace, I must be strong.

Strong enough to change the world Anonymous’s words float into my skull.

….

What am I thinking?

A chuckle springs out of my chords, taking with it some of my worries.

This place is going to eat me alive.

I smile, feeling just a tad better, and I look down to Skeleton who ‘s stopped moving, and now looks at me with an odd look“... I don’t think I can rest without knowing what these things are.” I say. “So you’re right; let’s talk”

Skeleton gives me a slight nod. “Try to recover faster.” he says with an approving tone so slight, I swear it’s not even there. “Do you remember what you saw while catatonic?”.

Not even a moment to pause for thought. Well, he wanted me to learn how to survive. If this is what I means. “No... It’s all a blur to me” I say.

..Maybe I should learn from him.

He rasps shortly. “Have you answer for the problem I gave you?”

"Problem?... The math one?” I say, trying to push my mind to keep up with him.

“Yes.” he says.

“How... How does that relate to the tentacles?” Whatever comes to mind, I push it out.

"Whatever is going on inside those few cubic inches you call your skull is related to those tentacles. Have you answer?" he says curtly.

“No. Maybe. Let me think.” I say. I think he's trying to make certain I’m insane.. Well, according to Anonymous....

Forty two?

…. Why did only one voice and some gibberish respond? Normally there’s so many but now...

This answer sounds a bit funny too.

“I...” Then again I didn’t even understand the question.

"Answer." Skeleton demands. Even though I’m trying, I just can’t move at the speed he’s moving. It’s not that I don’t trust Anonymous, it’s just that I need to think.

"Can I have more time to think?” I ask, looking away from him, while scratching behind my hear.

“... Any answer is better than none, flesh bag.” he says in coaxing manner, not unlike that of a nice school teacher.

Being easily manipulated, I quickly decide Anonymous is right. I answer in a confidant voice, while raising finger up. “Forty two.”

“Wrong.” he replies, with the force of a ruler slapping my imaginary thighs. He rasps hard, in seeming frustration.



Wrong? I blink and my finger falls back down. Wrong?...

That was unfort-.. No, no. I can’t just give in. I have to ask my own questions.

"Uhm.. how wrong were they?” I ask him.

“Imagine if I had asked your age, and you responded grapefruit.” he replies, as he begins to crawl back and forth along a line of the ground.

Ouch.

Their answer couldn’t have been that stupid.

...Could it?

Was he just being overly sarcastic? Or was it really a not-so-hard question that any learned individual could understand and complete?

...Could they they be as dumb as I am?

That last question and the implicit answer lingers in my mind; another element as ill-suited to living as myself.

… Possible horrors aside, I wonder if this has anything to do with what they said they were.

"From what I determine; you’re insane.” Skeleton mutters, as he resumes what I think is the toad’s version of pacing.

Oh now there’s the matter of my sanity. I’ll just add that to my list of worries and doubts, that I now, being strong, have to answer. “So is that a.. “ Think of a smart question, come on. “... bad thing?” Phooey.

“Not necessarily.” he says. What? Its not a stupid question? ”If you are insane is not important. How you are insane, why you are insane, and, above all, how helpful your insanity, is important... in relation to the beings you described”

He rasp slowly. “I need to consider this for longer.” He turns around, and starts crawling in the other direction.

Should I worry about whatever he's worrying about? Or should I be glad some one's doing the worrying for a change? Or should I worry along with him? Or am I worrying about worrying?

Despite my initial exuberance, it seems I’ve hit a mental brick wall; I cannot just concentrate on more than one thing at one time. I notice that the grass looks soft, and ever so inviting, if I could only lay on it I...

I can’t, not yet. I have to discuss with Skeleton matters that will probably gol beyond my comprehension and cause me endless stress.

….

Since he’s still thinking... I guess I can just close my eyes and take a quick breat-

“Are you trying to sleep?” he interrupts me, looking at me in his walk.

“No, no.” I correct my posture and I look at him eyes open.

“Really.” he says sounding unconvinced.

“Uhm uh, uh.. what-what. what was the answer to the math problem?" For a dodge, that’s actually a good question.

"Find it for yourself." he states, crawling along the wrong.

I tilt my head "what? you're not going to tell me?" I ask him.

"If the question is not for the likes of you, the same can be said for the answer.” he replies.

"wh-uhm.” What’s will get me nowhere. “But that’s not fair. How do I know you know...”

He casts me a certain look. “... the.. answer.” I trail off, feeling increasingly uncomfortable with glare.

“... A-Alright you know. But why not tell me?”

He walks off toward the pile and inspects it. “I said the reason. Now it is up to you to search for the answer, so that you can stop being slow and ignorant” he says, his tone indicating he’s not really focusing on me.

“You have to be joking.” I say simply.

He stops pacing, and hops back over to me, looking me squarely in t

"Are your voices related in any way, shape, or form to the tentacles?" He says, changing the subject.

His question hadn't occurred to me actually. The tentacles are the voices? I contemplate it for a moment before discarding the thought entirely. One is a manifestation of absolute, alien evil and the other...

"No. The voices are..." After all my experiences with Anonymous, what I can say about them for sure? After seeing a range of the emotions, what I can say about them? "... Something" I say.

“What something?" he presses me. “What are they”

"They aren’t... dangerous." I say. “They are...” Like it had been with Yukari, a word touches and tickles the tip of my tongue.

Strange beings who want to help for no pressing reason... who fight amongst themselves... who tell me to do strange things. I close my eyes.

"Anonymous is... silly." Yes. I open them right back, and I beam. That’s the word. “Very silly…Well. Maybe not very silly... But they’re silly.”

“Silly.” he says.

“Yes, kind of harmless, kind of of funny.” Not so much me, but themselves probably... though maybe if I ever do achieve my peace, I’ll share a few laughs over my current inability to do anything.

“Silly.” he repeats with a low, dangerous voice.

“...Q-Quite so.”

Skeleton stares at me quietly, as if he’s trying to wrap his mind around that word and maybe because its a bit weird. I've described a possible source of insanity as silly, which could be seen as nonsensical... which could be a few steps away from telling me to burn everything to the ground.

I think I just screwed up again. "...Sorry for seeming so crazy?" I say, trying my hand at damage control.

Skeleton rasps and his tone become less low, and more normal. “You are annoying. For the sake of practicality, I will operate as if they did not exist unless shown otherwise.”

I sigh a little. “Fair enough.” It could have been worse, he could have thought they were unhelpful or hurtful to us... which wouldn’t have been too far off the mark.

“Sit here.” He motions to over his circle of wood, and I trudge over. “Talk with me while making a fire in the process. Here.”

As I kneel down in front, he rears his head back, and then vomits. Wait.

No, actually... he just chokes up a small, inch size white rock, and then a curved black disc from his throat. “Flint. Steel.” He says, pointing to the two.

I look from those two things to him, and back. “How did you...?”

“Magic is what you fleshies call it.”

I offer him my now customary look of confusion. “what.”

“Magical toads have the benefits of magical stomachs. I keep some things in there, like the paper for our quest”

Although I’ve tried up until now to follow the “don’t be ignorant” lesson... I’m going to pretend I didn’t here for now.

Skeleton continues. “Strike the steel against the flint several times, and then catch the spark on this tinder” he points to some different-colored wood on the pile. “Spark makes fire. Fire good.” he says with what is otherwise a normal, instructive voice.

Oh his neck. I wish to clutch it.

“You make me laugh” I say without laughing.

“Understand?” he asks as I prod the materials he had expelled carefully.

“.. Yes.” I grumble. Neither are covered in a gunk strangely, so I grab the large disc with one hand, and the smaller rock with the other. I pause, waiting for some instructions from Skeleton.

They don’t come, and I take it to mean I ought to try it myself. With great force, I ram the steel against the flint, succeeding only in bending the steel against my finger that hold it. Ouch.

“You’re never too old to learn the basics” he says, watching me for a bit longer, I think, to make sure I don’t hurt myself.

One day, Skeleton. I’ll find something you don’t know and then... then you’ll be sorry.

I move the objects around the air, trying to find the best striking angle.

Skeleton goes and sits himself down at the entrance of the rabbit burrow. “.. I’ve concluded I lack the information to determine what has occurred in your head, thus, our most pressing concern at the moment, besides our immediate survival is to find you an exorcist.” he says.

“An exorcist?” An image forms in my mind and speak it "Like a priest holding a cross, reciting from a bible, exorcist?"

“A bible, fleshbag?” Skeleton inquires.

“I don’t know?” I reply back, shrugging.

Skeleton rasps a little. “Exorcists are experts who can diagnose and expel foreign, demonic or human influences in a human’s vitae and its corresponding" he catches himself, upon seeing my struggling-to-understanding. “Soul doctors, fleshy.”

“Ahh...” I say. “So they’d be able to help?”

“An exorcist’s diagnosis would yield valuable information... assuming we can find one in this accursed land” he says with ever the calculating tone.

For something as terrible sounding as demonic possession, and as insane as I must seem to him, I notice he seems to be taking me into stride. A little weird since he was threatening me a few moments ago.

“We have other things to discuss now.” he says.

… I should probably ask him what he’s realized that I haven’t realized... as distressing as it could be. “Wait. Wait. Are you.. Are you really sure you don't know what the tentacles are?”

“Fleshy, I don’t know, what I don’t know.” Skeleton states simply.

“Come again?” I try hitting the flint against the steel with less force. No results.

“I know I don’t know much about your tentacles. However, I can’t dismiss them as lies or mere insanity, due to.. prior experiences. As it stands, there are infinite amount of questions to consider regarding what they are; most of which will never cross my mind”

I scrape them against each other, in a quick, hitting motion. No results again.

“This means, fleshy, that it is possible I will never be able to comprehend these tentacles on a sufficient level, that even if I learned that is humanly possible to learn about them, I would still be unable to say ““I know I don’t know them” because I wouldn’t even know what them ‘means’ or is to begin with”

He rasps a sigh.

“If they are exactly how you claim they are, they are the unknown unknowns... of the worst type.”

I look to him, and his eyes aren’t on me, but on the rabbit hole.

“Where I come from, we call them horrors” he finishes.

Horrors. I turn back to striking the flint and the steel together.

“Where do you come from?” I ask him, quietly.

This time the strike generates one single spark. I smile just as it fizzles out of existence.

Phooey.

“Hell.” he says.

I turn to him.

“...what?”



About Abe’s view on you:
[ ] Whatever. As long as you listen, we don't care how you view us.
[ ] Impudent mortal. You fear the tentacles? Your soul is ours to command.
[ ] You hit the nail on the head about us.
[ ] Explode.

About the tentacles:
[ ] Don't worry about the tentacles; just don't think about the tentacles
[ ] The tentacles are your ultimate enemy. Focus on killing them.
[ ] Think about the Tentacles in detail again. See what happens!

Optional:
[ ] write in a message to Skeleton





————


A four day update? Could I be slowly but surely fading away on touhou project?

I hope not, I’ve just had quite a bit of work. I do want to get back to two day, or I’m lucky, daily updates.

Write in question time will come in after this, most likely.
>> No. 139567
[x] You hit the nail on the head about us.
[x] Think about the Tentacles in detail again. See what explodes!
[x] First you're not a toad. Now you're a magical toad. Make up your damn mind. By the way, white toads exist.
>> No. 139575
[X] Whatever. As long as you listen, we don't care how you view us.
-[X] Just don't make us angry.
[X] that pale person within the mass of tentacles? That was Yukari.
-[X] She's most likely alive. Bound and maybe in some sort of pain, but alive.
[X] Incomprehensible beings that you call horrors? Sounds similar to what we call Eldritch Abominations. Let's just say that one look at one of those and your brain will eat itself. Literally.

And we need to figure out the answer to the question damn it! Stop being lazy Anonymous!
>> No. 139579
[X] "Fuck your third-order linear ordinary differential equations; the answer is always 42."
>> No. 139580
>>139579

This isn't The Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe, so don't treat it like it is.

Old Meme is Old.
>> No. 139581
>>139580
It's kind of too late for that, isn't it?

I wouldn't have made the 42 joke myself in the first place, but now that someone else has already made it--what the hell, I'm sticking to it. Geddit?
>> No. 139582
>>139575
Fine

y = A*e^x + B*x*e^(2*x) + C*e^(2*x) - 1/4

where A, B and C are constants

I hope that I don't have to supply working?
>> No. 139589
File 13027172759.png - (1.06MB , 602x726 , Slenderman was here.png ) [iqdb]
139589
About Abe’s view on you:
[x] There Just Tentacles man. Grow a pair.
[x] By the way, we managed to narrow down who they possibly belong to into three distinct culprits!
[x] Though we are not telling you. It makes it more fun that way.
About the tentacles:
[x] Don't worry about the tentacles; just don't think about the tentacles
[x] After all, if they killed Yukari then they must only attack young women right?
Optional:
Write in a message to Skeleton
[x] If we get out of here, where are we going to get me diagnosed at?
If Reimu is our exorcist then we NOPE like a giraffe and run like hell.

Please Cthulu, let them belong to the slender man.

>His victims were either mutilated and put back together or had their facial features 'contorted'.

Think about it:
The ability to contort anything.

Pic related, it's what will happen to flowerbitches face and body
If she fucks with the Slenderman.
>> No. 139590
>>139589
Gimme twenty dollars, gimme twenty dollars...
>> No. 139665
>[x] There Just Tentacles man. Grow a pair.
>There should be they're.

Just sayin'.
[x] Impudent mortal. You fear the tentacles? Your soul is ours to command.
[x] Think about the Tentacles in detail again. See what happens!
[X] "Fuck your third-order linear ordinary differential equations; the answer is always 42."
>> No. 139667
File 130283852390.png - (60.93KB , 332x371 , 6ce9a10a7557bc2b984ced1e790a88ca.png ) [iqdb]
139667
Update will come later than normal due to abnormal painful workload
>> No. 139676
Is someone ghostbumping this?
>> No. 140346
File 13041479797.jpg - (34.33KB , 500x547 , haunted-bible.jpg ) [iqdb]
140346
I’m alive!

------

[X] Whatever. As long as you listen, we don't care how you view us.
[X] Think about the Tentacles in detail again. See what explodes!
[X] First you're not a toad. Now you're a magical toad. Make up your damn mind. By the way, white toads exist.
[X] Incomprehensible beings that you call horrors? Sounds similar to what we call Eldritch Abominations. Let's just say that one look at one of those and your brain will eat itself. Literally.
[X] "Fuck your third-order linear ordinary differential equations; the answer is always 42."


Hell? What is hell?

"I said Hell, fleshy" Skeleton repeats just as Anonymous speaks up.

I set the stones down at my sides and I close my eyes. "A moment... please" I say.

"Can you not believe I hail from another world?” I hear him say.

"No just... Anonymous..." I trail off, unsure how to word my perceived craziness in a way that’d appeal to him.

He saves me the trouble. "Every ten minutes. You have thirty seconds." he says, rather curtly.

“Thanks." I say. Was that a wry comment or did he just establish a rule that lets me indulge in my supposed insanity?

Anyway, despite one or two overblown declarations, Anonymous seems passively indifferent about my new-found view of them. Surely that can't be all they have to about that? Perhaps some have expressed quite remorse for their past ludicrousness?

I listen a bit more closely, and I hear their piece of advice. With firm conviction, and no dissension whatsoever, they order me to think of the tentacles again. In detail.

I also I think one of them mentioned explode.

...

Alright. I tug at a strand of my hair. They're silly. Or insane. But I’m sticking with silly. Onto the next bit of their business; messages to Skeleton. "What is the best way to plunge a twig into a man's chest?" Skeleton asks me.

I listen to their messages. Eldetrich abominations? Not a toad? Third order what-tey what? Twig in man's chest… Twig? “I don't know?" I say a little absentmindedly.

Something hard and a little sharp prods the skin off to the side of my shoulder blade. Ouch.

…My eyes blink open. Did I just get stabbed?

With sloth-like reflexes, I take a slow peek behind myself. Near my bum lies a small wooden chip, and at the burrow a good few feet away is my little white oppressor, seemingly having not moved all this time.

"Your thirty seconds are over." he says, without looking towards me.

I look between him and the woodchuck. Nasty trick." I mutter.

"I can’t have you possessed again, flesh bag.” Skeleton says, with neither a light nor a hard tone. Wait, was that not a joke? “Begin your questioning."

“A-Alright.” I say. Should I ask if he thinks Anonymous can possess me? No, I’ll ask about his suspicions what I can understand them, after he’s told me more about himself.

I’ll just ask about what Anonymous told me to tell him; as their seemingly mad gibberish carries some of that mysterious intelligence I’ve subscribed to them since the beginning of this story. “So... the tentacles, are they uhm- eldetrich abominations?" I tilt my head as I scratch my chin.

Skeleton rasps a displeased rasp. "Are attempting to classify matters that are outside of our comprehension, let alone our ability to describe them?"

"Uhm, it does l-look like that. But...!” I say, looking for a quick subject change. Anonymous may be right over what the tentacles are, but it seems I’ll have to keep to myself for now.

"But..." The next point they brought up is good though. "You're not a Toad but you’re a magical toad. W-What are you? I mean…” I say, trying to express myself properly.

Skeleton quickly cuts me off. "Stop jumping around. Stick to one line of questioning.”

Jumping around? What? “Uhm but uhm.. didn't you say I could ask any question?” I say, frowning a little at what is sure

“You’ll have my answers soon enough. For now, focus, fleshy. On hell.”

I sigh a little. Its a good thing I’m not innately curious otherwise, I’d be rather set on getting that big question answered. As long as he’s truthful, I can stomach this question. "Alright."

Skeleton then rasps and motions meaningfully with his head, down below me.

Ah, yes. I still have to make a fire. I pick the limestone and the flint up and I angle them in the way I had done before.

"So. Hell. Hell.” I bring the flint down upon the limestone, though not with enough force to cause a spark. Rats. Wait. Limestone. Limestone- Brimstone.

Fire, eternal suffering, and damnation. Ah ha, that’s what it is. Hell; an little unpleasant tidbit somehow ‘connected’ with a bible.

Okay, so I have an idea of what hell is. How do “begin my line of questioning?” I get the feeling my little oppressor desires for it to be strong or something.

Perhaps I could do what I did with Abigail and her Toads? That questioning worked out. Well I guess? Yet this time my aim is not to blurt out whatever is on my mind. I have to ask deep and insightful questions. Yes, a deep and insightful question.

"Fleshy." he says, his voice puncturing my otherwise blank mind.

“You’re really from hell?” I say, blurting out what is probably not a deep nor insightful question.

Instead of lashing out at me, Skeleton says, in a tone like that of a self-correction. “It is how I describe it, fleshy”.

I put two and two together. “Uhm, so... uh ‘Hell’ not your world's real name?” I say.

Skeleton rasps yet again. “A real name? A name is a construct used by certain sapients to designate objects and people. My world has no "real" name; it was born without one, it will die without one."

I blink. There’s that phrase again. Why did he use it?

“Keep questioning me”

Ah crick. I should keep that one for later. Where do I even begin though? Why would he say that about names? Am I still getting to know him or is he testing me or are we verbally sparring?

Well if we are sparring, he has a sword and I have a stick. Right. I know what to do then. "Uhm. This may sound uh...stupid.” No better but could you uh just tell me everything?” I scratch the back of my head, grinning as awkwardly as ever, trying to make my surrender more palatable to him.

"Everything." Ah somehow he's giving me that same look when I say Anonymous could answer anything. "Of course, we have the time for me to tell you all of my knowledge and memories.."

That was sarcasm. "Everything I need to know?" I try clarifying.

"Which would be what?" he counters.

"What I need to know..." I say, averting my eyes.

"Has your brain atrophied beyond that of a rotting corpse? Or are you so indolent that your body no longer provides it with oxygen?" he says with a rather mocking tone.

Skeleton, I am quite possibly the laziest man alive. Even when I’ve lost all my memories, I know that much. But that’s not the issue here anyhow. "What I mean is I-I... think it would do us both some good if you just made more sense to me."

"Amazingly, the world is not so a simple place, flesh bag." he scoffs.

Ah wouldn't it be great if it was?, I have half a mind to say. Like if toads were just toads, and if hair did not came in all flavors of the rainbow...

After all this concentration, I think my mind is giving way. "Yes, I get that." I say "But still."

Skeleton continues. "There are matters you must understand before you can understand me. You must ask your own questions and realize what you need.”

I stare a little less happily at him, though I acknowledge his point. “… I’ll try” I say.

“Good. In return, I will attempt to simplify where I can..." He pauses and then adds in, probably unable to contain himself. "... for you, the simpleton."

“ Thank you" I smile slightly. Ignoring that last bit; perhaps I'm making some progress in our friendship.

"You're welcome, flesh bag" Or maybe not. “Try questioning me again." He says, tossing me right back into the fire.

Skeleton turns back to the burrow. I look around a bit, drawing some more willpower from the scenery, and clearing my mind a bit.

Alright. Time to Focus. I tighten my lips, and I muster a little concentration.

His world doesn't have a real name. He calls it hell. His little view on names not withstanding... then.. What do other people call it?

"What ... what do the people of your world. Well most of them... call it?"

I brace for a firmly uncertain answer but he merely says. "Jupiter."

I strike the rocks together. “...Jupiter?" I say. This time, a bright spark lights up, and falls right onto the wood below, which I notice is mixed in with dry-looking stuff.

Could it finally be? Have I made fire?..

“Jupiter is the commonly accepted name of my world." The sparkle fizzles out just as it plops onto the wood. Bollocks.

I reflect a bit more on his response though. Why would he be coy about the name of the world? Why lecture me on the unimportance of names and needing to know things? "So if its called Jupiter... why would you, uh, call your world, hell?" A smarter question dawns on me. "Why-Why is your world hell?"

Skeleton rasps an approving way. "Good. It’s getting some oxygen."

I smile in response. So I can ask a good question. Wait. Getting some oxygen? What- oh he’s referring to my brain.

"Do you believe in God?” he continues before I can contemplate how wring-able his neck is.

God? Another memory surfaces rather quickly. An all-powerful being with one heckuva beard. Very strange.“ No, I-I don't think so. Why do you ask?"

Skeleton says nothing for an odd moment, and regards me quietly. ".. To know why my world is hell, you must first believe in God." He begins to say.

"Alright." I say to which Skeleton pauses. Was that too quick a reply? Really, after all the strange and incredible stuff I’ve witnessed, I could probably believe just about anything.

"Don't treat what I tell you as a story, its history, it has happened. It is happening now." His tone grows a bit darker; almost like he ways to say 'I demand for you to believe me."

Did he take my reply as something facetious? "I will… try to believe you, Skeleton.” I smile a little “… I'll probably believe you anyhow. cause uhm, I-I have amnesia after all"

Skeleton rasps softly and turns back to the burrow for the umpteenth time, looking into the dark pit. I turn back to my flint and stone. Where am I going wrong with this?

Skeleton begins. "Five aeons ago, God created Jupiter and everything upon its soil in an event called Genesis. This much is certain. There are legends and myths surrounding Genesis, but they’re not provable, and thus unimportant. What is important is God; namely his ability to make something from absolutely nothing." he says.

"Something from nothing?" I say, as I have another go at fire-making. Another spark comes out of the collision of my tools, though it fizzles before it even reaches the wood.

"He or she or it, could will matter or energy of any size or complexity into existence from total nonexistence, fleshy. Matter synthesis; the power of life, from which all other power flows. Like the power to rewrite reality, distort space, manipulate time… That is why God is God. He is his power.”

“Makes.. some sense..” I say, looking at him. I do a few more strikes in quick succession. No results except now my left hand hurts.

He continues "Genesis was the first and last time his power was observed and thereby used, meaningfully, in this universe. Many have claimed to have represented God’s interests, his “divine will”, prophets, kings, popes, priests, chieftains... but none have shown the power that was God's and that was God. Consequently, we had assumed God was gone."

My brow furrows. "We? gone?" I say, setting my materials back onto the ground.

He half glances at me and says. "We, the majority of sapients living upon Jupiter at any point during the last Aeon, implicitly, and unconsciously believed that God was not directly affecting our daily lives. Salutary neglect in other words. Never minding the unfortunate or the radical, we did not think he had abandoned us, or was neglecting us. "

“So,b-because he left... ” I revolve my left hand in my hair, trying to grasp

Skeleton answers me coldly.” No. The wheel of time of my world spinned neither heavenly or hellishly for most of history.“

“what?”

“The world was neither a good place nor a bad place; and it was not built to be either so far as my organization can tell. Nations rose and fell, cultures thrived and stagnated, people lived and died in ways not dissimilar to the outside world that you belong to… Jupiter was just a world.”

“then what changed that?” I asked, finally getting some of what he’s saying.

He looks at me, and says somberly. "To simplify… God died."

A wind blows over the land, feeling just a bit colder than normal.

There goes my comprehension. "What?"

"Dead, fleshy. More than just gone. No longer existing in any meaningful sense of the word. Inside or outside of the known universe."

I try wrapping my mind around this. ”.. Okay so God died then... Uhm." I say, understanding finally escaping me. My eyes stray to the grass, and I fantasize about an impromptu siesta. “So.. how...”

"How is a question for much later. Same goes for why. They’re both of no concern now; rather his death meant he could no longer protect us from the outside.”

"The outside?" I say.

". Those who were lying in wait the outskirts of the universe, waiting for their chance. We call them the other Gods”

“Other Gods?”

“Other gods, who descended on Jupiter the moment it was vulnerable, not in the form of goliaths, spirits, wisps. But in the form of text, flesh bag.”

“What?” I feel almost totally lost.
Skeleton rasps loudly, snapping me back to attention. “The day God died.. “ he says a bit more slowly “these tomes appeared on the world, in the hands of a few idiots scattered of across Jupiter, of varying importance. These idiots would go on to read these strange curiosities written in archaic, near-unrecognizable scrawl, and eventually, the idiots discovered how to use the tomes.”

“By repeating certain segments of text listed in these tomes, word for word, the other Gods of the tomes would grant the person power. A few words jotted down on a scroll and jet of fire could spring to life and dance around in the air for hours on an end. Another example; with two or three spoken sentences, a colossal wooden horse could galloping across a battlefield, slaying all in its path. Or maybe, immortality, super-strength, beauty. Almost anything you could think of, fleshy, the gods would give.”

“Like-like the power of life?”

"Almost. They almost offered something from almost nothing. But don’t be fooled. The tomes are nothing but a collection of contracts. The other gods demanded sacrifice for their power. Ten kilos of gold, in return the sacrifice needed would be your arm, or maybe your leg, or maybe your wife, or your child.. it all depends on which contract you have with which God, for there are many powers, for many gods, for many tomes.”

“On a relevant note, the ability to use this power was not restricted to the nobility.... Even the lowliest of the low could form contracts with the other Gods to use these powers, as long as she or he knew the words and had the right sacrifice."

Skeleton pauses.

"By accident, by choice, by coercion, it took little time for these idiots to publicize their discovery. Magic, they had stupidly proclaimed. The contracts weren't contracts, but wonderful spells, they had said, which could be used to make magic."

"It was not. At the time though, they were ignorant of it. The Gods, their tomes, and their contracts, were translated, duplicated, communicated to all sapients, across Jupiter, to the planes, to the tundras, to the caverns, to the tropics..." Skeleton stops abruptly and his tone shifts back to something vaguely mocking.

“In the Uniphone section of Jupiter, Mages call this period the "awakening". Peasants call it the "calamity". The church calls it "the holy consecration" Some sapients called it the "godsend"..." Skeleton look to me. "The godsend. the god's end ... Do you see, flesh bag, how names can be so meaningless?"

I nod a little.

"... It has been maybe eight or seven centuries since God died, since others gods came onto my world, since magic was discovered."

A bird chirps somewhere off in the distance.

"My world is now hell." he says, a little bit more emotionlessly than I had heard from him before.

He goes silent and I turn to him.

….

I’m sorry to hear that. That’s crazy. I hope things get better. I…

“I believe you.” I finally say.

Skeleton rasps what sounds like a sigh. ".. The fire won't ignite itself, flesh bag." He says with a lighter tone.

Oh. Yes. That’s right. I sigh a little. I pluck them from the ground again and I ready myself for another round of struggle.

"Try to be less gullible around other sapients, flesh bag.” he says, presumably in response to my I believe you. “Thank you.”

I smile a little. “I'm going to uh asking a lot of... questions, you know." I say, trying to seem less gullible.

"Save them. The background of my hell is but a half of my story. The other is my purpose for being here in this accursed land.”

Wait there’s more of this stuff? Oh no "...w-w-which is?" I say, remind myself of my pledge to be strong.

I move a bit closer to the fireplace, and I strike the flint and limestone together a few more times, getting a few insignificant sparks, all of which do squat when they land on the dry wood.

Skeleton begins to talking once more. "Two terms ago, an organization on Jupiter, which I belong to, stumbled upon a waypoint broadcasting extremely unusual, let’s say, “magical” signals. One term ago, the organization tasked me along with other sapients to investigate these signs in the hopes of finding the source of these signals. Shortly thereafter, my team entered the waypoint and arrived here on this world, in Gensokyo." He’s apart of a team? Strange. Where is that team now?

“This particular piece of land however, was not the source of the signals we are looking for. They are coming from the outside, which annoyingly was closed off from us. Thus, this land held little merit to my team, outside of some boring peculiarities, and we endeavored to leave as soon as possible."

My stomach rumbles and I look over into the blackness of the burrow. I look back. What am I thinking? I’m not going to eat a rabbit.

.. I do find that I’m hitting the limestone and flint together a bit more quickly though.

".. As fate would have it, we had the misfortune of being caught up in the small crisis spurred by so called “Disturbances”. Coupled with the restrictions we placed upon ourselves before entering this world, and our intention to leave, our efforts were not successful.” Half a term ago, the last member of my team was slaughtered by youkai. I myself was almost... sealed.” he says without any particular care in his tone.

Wait. What. “S-Slaughtered…Sealed?” I say, his words once again putting a hold on my striking.

He doesn’t care for my concern and goes on. “My would-be murderer’s euphemism for murder. Obviously, I managed to escape from her unlike my fellows, and I also managed to find my way to the Dominion of Toads. Not in one piece however; my body was shattered, far past acceptable bounds.”

“So y-you were dying?” I say.

“Had it not been for Toad Lord who took a passing interest in my plight, we would not have met today.”

“He uhm saved your life?” I say, pausing my striking.

“He gave me a choice; Assume the body of a toad, serve him, and live... or die as I was. Can you guess what I chose, fleshy?" he says. I tilt my head, knowing the answer

“I chose to live. After which, he offered me another choice for reasons I’ve yet to deduce. Become a brother "the proper way" and he would free me and restore my true form. Or don’t become a brother, I would stay trapped as one of his followers for the rest of my life. I chose to play his game, to survive, flesh bag to continue my mission… to survive” he says.

I stare at him quietly; gradually beginning to understand why he is the way he is. “I believe you… But-but.. are you sure that’s.”

“I’ve simplified but I haven’t lied. Believe what you need to believe so we can work together.”

“Okay… Your struggle sounds really horrible” I begin to say.

“All in a life’s work. Hurry up and question me, flesh bag.” he says, verbally shrugging off my words. I’m not offended; but a little confused. Does he really not care about the death of the other people in his team? Is he just an incredibly selfish person?

Or is he strong? Either way I’d like to know more about what’s actually happening in that skull of his which means I have to ask... a deep and insightful question. I rub my forehead a bit. With the many points in which I could question him on, I don’t even know where to begin.

Wait. On second thought, there is this question. "Can you uh, please tell me what you are now?"

“Take a guess." Skeleton says, as though he were rolling his eyes.

“A guess?” I frown rather deeply. Is he dodging my question or is he saying its obvious?

Wait. He's white. He sounds like a demon. Calls me a flesh bag. Less facial expressions than that of a Toad. Tells me to call him ‘Skeleton.’

Wait.

Ah.

Oh. My mouth forms a small oh, as I turn to look at him.

"Yes, my true form is a walking, talking, human, skeleton” he says, looking over to me.

This cute amphibian is really a human skeleton in disguise?

….

I snort, just barely suppressing a laugh of relief.

“Yes, flesh bag?”

“Nothing… Nothing.” I smile.

I knew I could do this.

One question down. Plenty more to go, but still. One less question and one more iota of peace for me. “Okay.” I say, forcing myself to be a bit more serious Feeling a bit better, I strike one more time with the limestone and flint and....

… And like that, a tiny flame sprouts on top of the wood.



Maybe this survival thing won’t be that bad.



About what Skeleton said:
[ ] He probably told you the truth.
[ ] He probably told you a lie.
[ ] There is no truth. Despair.
[ ] We don't know if what he says is the truth. Find it for yourself.

Questioning Direction:
[ ] Dig deeper into the history of his world. Who knows, maybe you'll find something.
[ ] Ask him for more detail on his activities in Gensokyo, prior to being a toad.
[ ] His story is irrelevant; Ask about the current circumstances of Gensokyo, disturbances especially.
[ ] Choose your own direction, Abe

Message to Abe (Only one of these will get chosen)
[ ] Good luck.
[ ] We hope you like rabbit


-------

Excuses:
Please consider my absence a hiatus, which I am sorry for. I do hope I can get back into the natural swing of things, despite the fearsome amounts of work soon to deluge me.

Important stuff:
I have a question for you all; when I post choices and don't specify a write in, do you all still want to talk to Abe; a.k.a. permanent write in to Abe? I believe it’s wise to limit choices on some occasions, but I'd like to hear what you guys think.

Also I wrote a story parser web app which takes URLs from touhou project and converts only the story portion of the inputted thread into a text file (html will be done soon). Would anyone be interested in using it/am I duplicating something that’s already been done?

Random:
Just a fun little side thing (new) readers can use to get a sense of what’s going on. If its stupid, just tell me and this will be the last time you’ll see it. Feel free to fixate on as many or as little quests as you want/or suggest some. This isn’t the new choice system (no idea when that’s coming out), this has no effect on the story.

Abe's Quests:
[ ] Protect and cultivate your peace of mind
--[ ] Become strong!
[ ] Obtain the ten items needed to become a brother Toad
[ ] Figure out your bizarre circumstances
--[ ] Successfully question Skeleton
[ ] Become a Bard
--[ ] Survive Yuuka
[ ] Find an exorcist or someone tantamount to.
[ ] Find an answer to Skeleton's “Ignorance” Question.
[ ] Explode
>> No. 140354
[x] We don't know if what he says is the truth. Find it for yourself.

[x] Ask him for more detail on his activities in Gensokyo, prior to being a toad.

[x] We hope you like rabbit

[x] Explode
Haven't had this in a while
>> No. 140379
File 13042068183.jpg - (144.85KB , 700x662 , nyarlathotep_black_web.jpg ) [iqdb]
140379
>Other gods
>Authors name is cthulu
You put the Crawling Chaos himself in our Brain didn't you?
Going by this, I assume anonymous is the collective of the human conciousness.
Whats next? Summoning personas? After all, his favorite passtime is leading mortals along driving them to madness, and many people already believe us to be insane,so I assume he is using this as a tactic to actually drive us to madness.
Too bad that he didn't count on our stupidity.
>> No. 140384
[x] We don't know if what he says is the truth. Find it for yourself.
[x] His story is irrelevant; Ask about the current circumstances of Gensokyo, disturbances especially.
[x] We hope you like rabbit

That's... certainly a backstory.
>> No. 140385
Jeez thanks for reminding me how bad I felt for voting for explode when you first started your story.
>> No. 140387
>>140379
Cthulhu. I can't confirm or deny anything else that was said.

>>140385
how bad you felt? how did I remind you of that?
>> No. 140403
>>140387
Cthulu?

Wait its the preist?

How the hell did that happen?

More importantly, Cthulu is all beard tentacles, nyarlathotep is All tentacles.
>> No. 140406
>>140403
Nyarlathotep is also the Black Man, the Pharaoh, the Crawling Chaos...
Cthulhu doesn't have that many forms.
>> No. 140527
>>140403
I was correcting you. My pen name is Cthulhu. Cthulu is the guy over on others who chose that name two weeks after I did my own.

Also, if no one objects (no one has so far) I'm axing the permanent write in option to Abe, if there was ever one.

EDIT: Work is killing me so update will be slow again. Unlike the hiatus however, I will try to keep writing daily.

Thank you all for your patience and/or indifference. ha ha
>> No. 140606
[x] He probably told you the truth.
[x] Ask him for more detail on his activities in Gensokyo, prior to being a toad.
[x] Ask about the current circumstances of Gensokyo, disturbances especially.
[x] Good luck.

[x] Figure out your bizarre circumstances
--[x] Successfully question Skeleton
>> No. 141169
File 130565171972.jpg - (86.23KB , 640x480 , 31988usflag_med.jpg ) [iqdb]
141169
[x] We hope you like rabbit.

Anonymous says. Oh yes that's right. Survival means I have to devour woodland creatures.

“Skeleton, I-I made fire.” I say, before I can sigh.

“Shield and blow the fire onto the rest of the wood, then, add the kindling at your side intermittently.” he replies. Next to the flint I set down is some more sticks of wood, a bit lighter in color than the fireplace. Hmmm. assuming shield means protect the fire from the wind, I cup my left hand and bring it around the tiny flame.

Ouch. Too close. I retract my hand somewhat, and I look for a burn though I find none. Keeping my hand just a few inches behind the flame, I pull closer to the fire and puff a few times against it. The flame bends and expands just a little but otherwise remains stubbornly fixed in place. Annoying, but after this much struggle, I shan't give up.

Anonymous speaks up then.

[x] Everything said.

Well. They don't know if Skeleton is telling the truth. Would have been nice, but alas. I'll trust him unless I or someone else can indicate otherwise. Am I processing them faster than normal? Perhaps it’s because there's a lot less of them?

“Continue your questioning, flesh bag." Skeleton says.

Alright. So what should I ask him about? Anonymous says I should ask him about... his activities? Or about the circumstances of Gensokyo? Both lines are equally valid and probably beyond my ability to grasp and...

"Flesh bag." he presses.

"W-What is Gensokyo" I blurt out, choosing the more immediate worry; the land itself. "…exactly?"

Skeleton looks to me, opens his mouth a bit but closes it quickly, as if reconsidering his words.

"S-something the matter?" I say, before I blow softly on the flame a few more times. Still it has barely grown— perhaps the fireplace itself is not up to snuff?

He rasps for a moment and then the rasp becomes a loud, tortured, choking noise. Huh. I look back. A pencil slides out of his gaping mouth onto the dirt followed by a folded piece of paper, each dry and not covered in toad slime. He stops choking right after.

"..I-Isn't that painful?" I ask, scratching my cheek.

"..No." He beckons to the pen and paper. "Take these two things, fleshy.'

Shrugging, I pick myself up—- and I feel my ruined clothing chafe against every single part of me. Not too comfortable. I move over to him, and grab the two things off the ground. Looking at them a bit more closely; a long black pencil- its lead indistinguishable from its body, and white parchment similar to what the Toads gave us.

"Alright, uhm, now what?" A breeze blows by, carrying with it a sunflower-imbued fragrance.

"Go back. Firstly, go back and protect our fire." he says pointedly. Recalling my envy for Yuuka's friends, I trudge back to the fireplace a little less happy.

"Using that pencil, write down the name of an imaginary place." he says.

"What?"

"What is a poor place. Try something a little more creative." he says.

I'm assuming that's wordplay. Alright a better question than what to figure out what he's talking about. "... Why?" I ask.

"The first place that comes to mind, write it down, flesh bag."

I scratch my head. Okay. He's testing me again. I tend to fail these things so I might as well wing it. First place comes to mind is... my hand almost writes the word the moment it enters my head, as if I had known it all along. I don't think so; it’s a strange word that I've written in rather ornate, distinctive cursive.

"Done, I-I think." I say, looking back up.

"What is the place, fleshy?"

I smile as I re-read it again. Oh yes, this word is good. It comes off my tongue, peaceful, nice, simple, like all the other relaxing words, like 'weakling' for Yukari, like 'Sun', 'Sky', 'Moon, 'Green'...

"R'yleh." I half-say and half-proclaim, showing him my handsome handwriting

Skeleton says nothing for a moment and ask, without visibly sharing my satisfaction, "Do you know what— R'yleh—- is?"

"N-No. Not at all." It just sounded nice, honestly.

"What you hold in your hands is a Gensokyo." Skeleton says.

Gensokyo? I tilt my head. I just said R'yleh, didn't I? "Uhm, Skeleton. It says R'yleh."

"It says scribbles, fleshy." I frown. Scribbles? Can he not read it? Is he insulting me? "Nonetheless, with those scribbles, you have created a land, similar in properties to the one you and I are present on in this moment."

I blink. Similar properties to Gensokyo? Is this... My jaw drops a bit, and I do a double take between him and the paper. Could it be? "Is t-this paper... m-magical?"

"It’s a piece of paper." he says, rather flatly. Oh. Well. If it isn't magical, what could he mean then?

"Alright, so how, uhm, how is a whole land just a piece of paper?" I ask.

"The data on the paper; not just the paper." he corrects.

Data? Ah he must mean the... word? "So... the word is the data is the land?... But h-how? How is it possible?"

"When the land itself is not real." he answers.

"I know R'yleh is not a real place but..." Wait a second. "...Y-You're not referring to R'yleh, are you?"

Skeleton rasps what sounds like a chuckle. "Good. The demonstration worked. Yes, Fleshy. Gensokyo isn't real. According to my teams' findings, Gensokyo is generated by a medium— a paper we'll call it— placed somewhere in the outside world."

We're on a piece of paper right now? Actually Skeleton said it was the word that was running... No, no, no. That doesn't make any sense either. "H-How...?"

"Not important." He states.

Yes I'm an uncurious man, who would rather avoid the details... but denying the existence of basically everything is a bit more than I can tolerate. "B-But."

"The how; the proof for Gensokyo as a paper requires more oxygen than your flaccid flesh will allow." He rasps what sounds like a smirk. "I'm doing you a favor, fleshy. "

Did he just equate intelligence with oxygen? My gaze drifts toward his neck. Take it easy, Abe. Take it easy.

I run my hands through my hair, and I close my eyes. Breathe in.. Okay. Avoid his complexity like they're landmines. Don't get distracted. Connect my own dots. Land is not real. We're on this land. Therefore.. Breathe out

"Are we not real?" I open my eyes, and I look at him.

"No, we're alive. Everything that has a conscious on this land, is alive and real." Skeleton says.

"Okay. Okay. Good." I then nod vigorously. I exist. That.. That is a good starting point.

"But the 'powers' enabled by the land, and the events that transpire in it do not— meaningfully— exist."

"...how?" I say, before I can stop myself. Slightly faster than before, he hacks up another sheet of paper with densely packed writing on it.

"I warned you, fleshy." Skeleton says as he flattens the paper before him with his tiny legs, and hops back. "Day Seventeen. Paul Isdador" His voice speeds up a bit, though remains flat as though he were reading a newspaper. "...Merely the land itself is an illusion, a layer of unreality existing upon a layer of reality, perpetuated by several forces, youkai or otherwise, each presumably possessing varying degrees of access to this layer of unreality. Nonetheless, consciousness, actions, events etc. are replicated and manipulated in accordance with the laws of the original layer, the quote on quote outside."

Skeleton stops reading, and looks back to me. "It doesn't get much simpler than this?"

My mind reels a bit. "...But R'yleh is just a word." I say.

"Chasing your own tail?" he says, with a "how expected" tone. "Yes, Gensokyo is a fair bit more complex and systemized than one word. But it’s still just data on a medium, processed into information."

I stare at him. "Information?" I say.

"Yes, information. Very powerful information." he says.

Alright. That's it. I'm confused. Taking one more glance at the recalcitrant fire, I close my eyes.

What did I learn from asking him this? Skeleton may be more nuts- Paul Isador writes in a confusing tongue... But from what I can understand, it sort of sounds like everything we do, doesn't matter, or well doesn't actually happen. Oh, bother.

Well there's one way to make sure. "So, uhm, can I die in Gensokyo? I mean if I.. Uhm, stabbed myself... would I die?" I say

"...Maybe, fleshy" he says. Maybe? I can maybe die? Shouldn't that be more certain? Ah. Actually.

"Toad Lord!" I exclaim and Skeleton shoots me what I think is a "quiet-down-shut-your-face" glare.

"Uhm.. Uh he uhm, he said something similar and-" Remembering that didn't actually help, but at least there's some corroboration. "... W-why can't we die?" I look back to him and I see he's in the middle of smoothing out another piece of paper. What? How did he do it so quickly?

"We can die. Day Fifteen. Paul Isador." Oh, not him again.. "Xanos continues to refuse my teachings regarding the anatomies of the most interesting specimens.. Skipping longwinded rant..." he murmurs, as if searching through the passage. I raise an eyebrow anyway.

"Death is not the end in the layer of reality. Instead four avenues, hell, heaven, reincarnation and a fourth place of no particular interest or merit, are offered for the freed soul by a judge; a 'Yama'. Oblivion, permanent death of consciousness (see volume two, section three of UEM), is not possible; however strong the rules governing the souls in the afterlife are." he stops and looks to me.

That was... a little less esoteric. Still confusing, but I can work with this.

"So, uhm, we can't really die? We-we go to different places somehow, when we die?.." Skeleton gives the vaguest hint of a nod, "Uhm, i-is that why Toad Lord says try again?"

"Clearly, flesh bag." he says. "Toads tend to be offered reincarnation upon death, so they can repeat the task of becoming a brother as much as Toad Lord demands."

"So w-when you said you didn't fear death-" I begin.

"No. Those who are not native to this layer may not necessarily governed by all of its laws, flesh bag." he says.

Perhaps there's something good about this world not being real. Maybe If Skeleton is invincible, I can be invincible too? "Can you die?" I ask.

"My team is dead, flesh bag, and I am of the same substance as they. I can die, not meaningfully, but enough to be trapped upon this paper, forever."

"...Okay." Squashed that hope pretty quickly. I briefly have to wonder though, how feels over the deaths of his comrade.

Skeleton rasps. Ah yes, reality. What can I ask next? Actually, what can I conclude based on his answers "So besides the craziness I-I've seen, I can see this land and feel it, so..." Yes, I think this is it. "... It has to be real, uhm, at least real enough to be dangerous."

"Treat it as you would if it were real, but know it is not." He rasps what sounds like a smirk. "Took you long enough" he snidely adds in.

Insult notwithstanding, I've learned something concrete about this world. Good. "So... if it might as well be real, uhm, why make a point saying i-it isn't?"

"Do you care for R'yleh, flesh bag? Would you give your life for it?"

"No." I say slowly.

"Had you considered the possibilities when you started writing on this piece of paper?"

"N-not at all." On the downside, Skeleton's sanity is bit vaguer.

"How would you enjoy being trapped inside of that piece of paper?" I reflect on it, by looking up at the gorgeous sky, over the pastoral mountains, overlooking a pleasant landscape.

"Well, uhm, it is beautiful..." I say.

Skeleton gives an unpleasant rasp. "Nothing is truly beautiful, flesh bag"

Nothing? "Are you sure about that?" I say with a half-smile.

"Appearances are meaningless. We're all wretched, unpleasant, abominations on the inside." he replies with a shadow of that strangely emotionless, somewhat listless, yet serious tone he held before when describing his world.

My smile lessens. Even though I feel like he's wrong about beauty, can I say he's wrong? Honestly, how can I say anything when I may have demons in my soul?... Literally?

"And sometimes on the outside too." He turns to look at me. Outside?

Unpleasant, wretched...

Okay, Never mind that moment's doubt. Skeleton is a spawn of hell, seeking to destroy me, my peace, and all that is good in this land and the world.

I scoff a little. "A-Anyway, I guess understanding is important to be less... ignorant?"

"Yes, flesh bag." he says, with a "hurry-up" tone. Onto my next bit of business, the source of the oddities I have witnessed thus far. "So... what are youkai?" I ask.

It’s a simple question, but I see he feels the need to vomit more paper. Slow, frustrating work, mixed in with obtuse dialogue and strange paper—- I think I understand why Anonymous keeps disappearing on me. I wouldn't want to watch myself suffer either.

Skeleton reads through this half page quickly, and then he rasps. "Paul never finished defining them properly." I turn to the fire to hide my thankful smile.

".. Well h-how about in your own words?" I say over my shoulder.

"Being similar to the demons of Jupiter, yet with much more limited 'abilities'" he says off the top of his head.

Well now, that wasn't so hard. "Limited?" I say.

"Do you recall what Paul was referring to about the Youkai? Direct access to the paper?"

I look at him blankly. I do vaguely recall him saying something similar. Out comes another piece of paper, this time with scrawl, not precise handwriting, scattered all over it.

"Day Seven. Xanos Der Chung. Dear Object-called-Diary, if Isador keeps dissecting my children, he will find one of many proboscises nestled rather unpleasantly up h- Skimming threats." he murmurs.

... Skeleton must have had odd company.

"...Youkai; the agitprop used to describe the cretins rule the land. Ha. Paper-bound imaginary ingrates more like. By the Dark Gods, if that blasted undead didn't restrict me I'd... skimming threats... Even their command of the paper is fractured— definitely, definitely slipshod. Why else would they employ illusions in this illusionary land, but to make themselves seem even more powerful." Skeleton finishes.

...I get the feeling he was omitting some exclamation points. "Y-You're saying they're weaklings?"

Skeleton rasps. "They're the elite, flesh bag. They designed the paper to be their paradise; and they control it thusly. Conversely, the Youkai are not almighty, and absolutely not infallible. Off the Gensokyo paper, they are powerless. Even then, most of my team, me included, would make the same claim for on the paper."

A memory, not distant, and somehow recognizable floats into my brain. "E-Even youkai like Remilia Scarlet and Flandre Scarlet?... You think they're weak"

Some of the gibberish Anonymous said before; it’s making sense. Just a bit. Power to manipulate fate, power to destroy anything... I get it now. Sorta. I don't quite understand and yet I understand.. Somehow. I put a bit more kindling into the fire. My head hurts.

"How do you know about those two?" Skeleton says, in a slight accusatory tone.

I shrug. "A-Anonymous told me" A while ago. What else have they told me, that I didn't understand before, but now..? "...But how can they be weak?" I'd like to ask why everything, but I'll take whatever concise question is as it comes.

"Flesh bag. What is a person?" he asks. I smell another test, or an exercise or... I look off into the horizon, appreciating its ever-constant beauty.

"I'm a person." I say.

"Is that the best answer you can manage?" he almost seethes.

"You're a person too, right? We're both persons." I say to him, smiling a little. My stomach rumbles a bit and I check on the fire—- which is really burning now.

".. Yes, I am a person." he says, a little more slowly— and I'm not sure if it’s just to help me understand. "What is a beast then?"

I'd say an animal. But since I've yet seen any creature less intelligent than I—- including that little rabbit.. "I-I don't know."

"What is a man and a beast combined into a singular form?" Did he just ignore how I didn't have an answer just now?

I scratch my head. I don't think he cares actually. "What is it?" I pose the question back to him.

"Something less, fleshy. Something less." he says, not looking at me. I allow his words to sink in as I return my gaze to the fire, which crackles with life, and energy.

It’s quite a nice, warm, fire.

...

Alas, his words don't make much sense. Youkai are something less than a person and a beast combined? "What.. What do you mean?"

"Interested in learning some more of Isador's theories and his proofs, fleshy?" He slowly begins to open his mouth, in what seems to be a threatening gesture, which works rather well.

"N-N-No thank you" I say, already feeling the mental stress of trying to comprehend Mr. Isador's works.

"We can discuss the Youkai in detail later." he says, ending that line of questioning.

I don't take issue though; I learned that they may seem more powerful than they actually are, and that they rule this land. If Anonymous has anything to add, I'm sure they'll speak up soon enough.

Onto the next troubling bit of business.

".. So w-What are the disturbances?"

"Does the abbreviation ' U.S. ' mean something to you?"

U.S? United... Seagulls?.. What the heck are seagulls? "N-no." I say after some thought.

Skeleton rasps a little softly. "...Disturbances are human sapients who've been attempting to break the boundary between the outside and Gensokyo. To this end, they have been causing numerous, though minor incidents throughout the land." he says.

"Incidents?" I ask.

"The Gensokyo Shrine Maiden-" He begins.

"P-Pardon?" I blurt out.

"Shrine maiden; a magical peacekeeper who keeps Gensokyo operating according to the whims of the elite, the Youkai." I blink a few times "She's a constable, fleshy"

Ah. A constable. I nod firmly and when Skeleton turns away, I let out a quiet, though, relieving yawn. All this complexity is making me tired.

"Is.. Is the constable, a youkai?" I ask.

"A human."

That's weird. "A human? But-But they're- we're weak..."

"Not all humans are as weak as you, flesh bag." That's true. "Incidents are acts that disrupt the peace of this land. The constable has been unable to put a stop to such incident, because she has not been trained to deal with outsiders, nor does this land's 'constitution' accurately describe recourses to do so. Consequently, the disturbances have been— quietly— running amok."

Supposed constitution? Describe Recourses? I bet he and Paul were good chums. I'll just stick to my certainties. Youkai are strong. Most humans are weak. So. "Wow, uhm, these humans must be powerful." I say.

"They must be." Skeleton replies.

"... But what are they?"

"I don't know for sure. Armsmen, maybe. From what little my team could observe or hear, they move fast, they cover their tracks, and otherwise were as professional as we were. Some of my comrades even believed they were entering and leaving this paper, on demand."

"So.. Uhm, why don't you try asking them for, uhm a way to get to t-the outside world?" I say.

"That was an option— but also just a possibility. Our goals were different than those of the disturbances; thus we chose not to pursue.

That's strange. "But, the signal you're looking for..."

"Our circumstances precluded hair-brained experimentation, flesh bag." He says sharply. "We had to concentrate our increasingly limited resources, on one plan, and one plan alone to reach the outside... which did not succeed." he concedes.

I don't think it’s wise to question his methodology. "I'm sorry, Skeleton."

"What is your next question." he says, as unconcerned as ever.

"... So w-What, uhm, what do disturbances have to do with me?"

"Without your memories, your guess is as good as mine. As Yukari revealed, you have.. things in your head that by itself, is disturbing the "balance" of this land. "

He only knows as much as I. He said as much before an hour ago. "W-Which means..."

"Which means you are now wrapped up in a covert war between the disturbances and the youkai- presumably for control of the paper."

I frown a bit and he notices.

"But have no fear, flesh bag; you're pretty insignificant." he says.

I smile and nod to him. "Good." He rasps, and I think he's not happy I took his remark as a compliment. I look back to the sky. Sure I can feel terrible about my fate as it is, but I'd much rather feel good while also thinking things through.

Balance, Elite, Disturbances... Well I don't know much about the disturbances but what they're doing, and what Toad Lord said... Gensokyo is dangerous and repressive land... that needs to be changed.

No, not just changed. Its needs a revolution.

"I think I'm a little- " I look up. Far off in the sky I see a black dot flying high in the sky."—confused."

"A little?" he questions. The fireplace gives a good crack; and I look down, I think it’s ready.

"A whole lot." I correct myself. I stretch and I lie back on the ground, arms folded across my chest as I leisurely think through everything.

"Do you cede the rest of your questioning time?" he asks, apparently not annoyed by my relaxing action. I wonder why. Oh and I think that black dot is a bird.

Well, unless Anonymous has any good question. "Until, uhm, Anonymous tells me..." I look at him and I see he's suddenly produced a sharp point sticky in his mouth. "... W-What are you doing with that stick?"

"Why I'm raising a flagpole." he says as he gives it once over with his eyes.

"Oh... Interesting." It would be nice to have some silly cute and ornaments for our little camp site.

He hops into the rabbit hole.

Hey, wait. You can't have a flagpole underground...

I hear some shill shrieks.

Ah... Poor rabbit.

I sigh a little, and I go back to looking up back at that bird in the sky. So high, so free, and yet here I am bound the ground and... Wow. Its flying pretty fast, I think. I can see two clouds, long and thin on each of its wings... Are they wings?

More shrieks and some scampering noises come from the burrow.

I nestle my head into the soft grass. What a weird bird. Gosh, it probably a youkai—- messing up the perfect blue mind-sink. Oh and now the sun is above my head.

Midday already? I sigh and I raise the paper above my head to cover my eyes from the light. Yep, at least I wrote two rather nice. cursive words

...Two words? Since when did I write two words on it?

I blink a few times. Still two words. I bring it closer and read it.

Skeleton lies

I look up, and I look around. Did someone come and write on my paper?

I turn it over. R'yleh is gone. Erased, but I don't see any erasing marks. I turn back the two words, and I study it closely. Who could have written this? The handwriting is somewhat frantic looking, like it was written in a hurry, and...

It kind of looks like... my handwriting.




[ ] Don't trust these words. Tell Skeleton right away.
[ ] These words ring true. Keep it a secret from Skeleton.


[ ] Write in your questions. (Only three-four will be asked, so be sure to include the ones written in already, in your write ins if you like them.)

——-


Work is trying to kill me as per always. Critiques, comments, concerns appreciated as always.
>> No. 141172
[x] Don't trust these words. Tell Skeleton right away.

>Critiques, comments, concerns appreciated as always

Get the story moving again. We've been sitting here around this fire shooting the shit with Cornelius for months now.
>> No. 141173
>>141172

I suppose you're talking about my story pace and my update pace. The update pace is due to work, as for the story moving, consider this build up. it will lay the foundation for the expansion of the story, so I hope. I still made a strategic error in regards to pacing; so my apologies to anyone who has gotten bored.

I guarantee the next bit will be the last fire scene, which will be shorter than the current.
>> No. 141175
[x] These words ring true. Keep it a secret from Skeleton.

I'm not trusting skeleton, he himself said that he wouldn't give a damn as to what happens to the paper, and the paper is telling us he is lying to us, as he has kept things from us before, so the best thing would be this option.

The paper has no power over us, so even if we take this option nothing will go wrong.
>> No. 141177
[x] These words ring true. Keep it a secret from Skeleton.
Don't trust the skull. Goddamn Morte.
>> No. 141190
>>141177
Unless anyone has any write in questions between now and ten hours plus, I will begin writing based on the current input.
>> No. 141603
File 13067293792.jpg - (700.90KB , 650x800 , e5387d73b2b96468571c5372484632d2.jpg ) [iqdb]
141603
In which relaxing time is over

---

[ ] These words ring true. Keep it a secret from Skeleton.

Anonymous says though I’m a little too confused to hear them properly. I stare a little longer at the strange scrawl, hoping to find something about them that would show they were written by someone else.

...No, it’s definitely my handwriting.

How did this happen? Did I somehow write these two words and forget? Or was someone responsible?

Anonymous said nothing about their source, and being rather fixed in my head, I don’t they could be responsible.... unless they beg to differ.

So, as far as I can tell, I don’t know who is responsible at all. Moreover, Anonymous says to keep it a secret, offering no questions, hints, or otherwise, not even over what Skeleton said. Could have they understood him completely? Or are do they have faith in my ability to question?

Well the questions are swarming my brain like angry ants over holed cheese. I scratch my head. It hurts.

I hear something splatter deep in the burrow, and I shake my head. Honestly, the last thing I need is for some bizarre force telling me its version of the truth-- Anonymous and Skeleton do a fine job of that already.

... So I think I'll be fair and let my other partner know about what I saw. Anonymous is probably not going to like it but if I'm wrong, I'll be sure to think twice when questioning their orders next time. I nod. If there is a next time, of course.

A branch breaks behind me, presumably just outside the burrow.

I turn around. "Skeleton, I...” I pause, seeing his back coated in reddish liquid, a fresh, almost-pulsing gut lying on the top of his head, and a few entrails wrapped around his stubby little foot.

He turns to me and with the motion, pulls an eviscerated corpse out from the burrow. Multiple puncture wounds, severed skin, the vague remnants of a warm, fuzzy ear... the recently alive rabbit.

As I searching for a word to describe the miniature-carnage, I walk over to him and bend down.

"It moved." he says, simply, reading my face rather easily it seems.

Not resisted, but only moved? Poor rabbit .I do hope he finds his afterlife toad-free.

"Flesh bag." he says. "There’s something I found down there, I want you to identify."

"Related... to the disturbances?" I say.

"Possibly. Take a look?" Hey, I’m getting better at picking up on all this craziness.

He turns around and pulls from the burrow a metallic, green, rectangular thingamajig with something on top. A long black rod... an antenna? What is an antenna?

He lets it fall onto the dirt and I touch it carefully, noticing that though it’s covered in dirt, it’s very smooth, and highly unnatural; artificial almost. I grab the object and lift it upward, in the process flipping it over. I see some buttons, some gauges, a bunch of little holes punched uniformly on the bottom part of its surface, and a phrase emblazoned in black capital letters on its side.

"Property of USRMM" I say out loud. Skeleton replied? USRMM? Related to US? "...No idea, Sorry." I say.

Skeleton rasps what sounds like a sigh. "”Keep it on you, as it may prove useful." Wielding his stick, he pokes hole in the rabbit’s fur and cuts a line through it.

Ah yes. Before I get anymore distracted-- "Skeleton, wait, there's something wr-" I look over the paper again quickly. Wait."...r-right?"

Somehow, Ry’leh’ is right smack in the middle- and 'Skeleton lies' is gone. I scratch the side of my head slowly. Skeleton says nothing and pulls some of the skin off, revealing a gushy, pink layer of flesh.

"Skeleton, uhm, I saw 'Skeleton Lies' appear on this very paper, and... now it’s gone." I say.

Skeleton holds his stick.

"Flesh bag, are your hallucinations telling you to kill me? Are they impairing your performance in our partnership?" he says.

Hallucinations? "..I thought had demons in my soul?" I say.

"Soul-bound demons tend to communicate to their victims through hallucinations” he says. “Are they hurting you?"

"No... Not yet" His stick severs a few more tendons and more skin of the rabbit just falls off.

“Ignore them then" he says. “...unless they strengthen their grip on your mind”

"...Really?" He’s talking as if I only have the common cold. Perhaps, in Jupiter-is-hell-terms, I do, perhaps there's very little to fear, since it seems he has seen and dealt with my condition before. “Still...”

"Deal with your own demons, fleshy." Skeleton says and rasps a little.

I sigh. And that’s the end of that. I imagine we can’t do anything about my ‘condition’ until we find an exorcist or something.

Anonymous, tentacles, now an evil piece of paper. Surely there must be some limit to the craziness in my head.

Skeleton gestures with his leg at the freshly skinned rabbit. "...Help me get this over the fire, flesh bag."


Uh oh.




***

Huh.

Anonymous, as it turns out, I do like rabbits.

To my complete surprise, I find the creature has a most unusual and flavorful texture, and being so freshly slaughtered; the blood marinates the softer, chewy bits quite well. Makes each part oh so very juicy and moist and....

In sum, tastes a lot like chicken, though I'm not too sure what ‘chicken’ is.

To my left just off from our smoldering, now-dead, fire, Skeleton quietly watches me finish my meal. I had offered the still-covered-in-blood toad his half of the meal, yet he claimed to be full. What do Toads eat anyway? He ate his papers and the tools but I'm not sure if that counts. Could it be humans? Could he be fattening me in preparation for his dinner?

Had I not been enjoying a scrumptious meal, perhaps I would have had the mind to ask him. But I don’t think he would have; we’re partners, and if anything it’ll take more than one rabbit to make a full-course meal out of scrawny old me.

"Thank you, Skeleton." I finally, dropping the last bone, picked clean on the ground. "It was delicious and... filling."

True, an altogether fine and monologue-free meal--perhaps Skeleton though I deserved a break? Well, I yawn with a smile, after all that heavy-duty thinking, I look forward to just closing my eyes and just...

"You're. Welcome. Fleshy." he says, sounding a little disgusted. Hm? Did I make a mess? I look at my hands, which are dirtier, and bloodier— but not that bad.

“Fleshies eating fleshies” he then murmurs, almost too quietly for me to hear. Fleshies eating fleshies? "Do you see that tarantula crawling over there” Skeleton says right after, beckoning with his head. Tarantula? Oh, does he mean that furry bug that's about the size of my hand, lackadaisically moving across the dirt? That has many black shiny eyes, eight legs, and furry pincers?

"I want you to remove its legs. All of its legs." he says.

I should have known he would have ruined my meal with something weird at the end. "...Why?" I ask.

"We're planning." he says. Ah yes, he said we would plan, but if I remember correctly, which I may not, planning does not entail mutilating a little bug. "How-"

"Just do it." he says. An exercise, or maybe a demonstration, or maybe he’s screwing with me.

"W-Will it feel pain? Will it uhm-" Whatever is, the result is probably going to bedevil me to no end.

"Lower life forms don't feel, fleshy." Skeleton says with a rasp. "They are not people."

Not people. Alright. "..Can it hurt me?" I say, turning around one last time.

"Stay away from the pincers, and you should be fine. That type does not carry disease."

“Okay.” I reach over to the tarantula, swiping it right off the ground, and into the air, daintily holding its topmost leg with my index finger and thumb. The unpleasant being spasms as if jolted by lightning, and all of its legs begin wriggling around. With the two hairy things I guess are its pincers snapping. More fuzzy than furry, I notice, and though gross, definitely nowhere near as gross as the faces of the youkai.

"Begin." he said.

I wonder, one more time, if I will feel bad if I harm it... Only one way to find out...

I pull on one leg with one hand, while holding the midsection of its little body gingerly with the other. Like the fabric of a rope slowly ripping in two, the leg tears off and the thing tries to bit my hand, though it fails. I gauge my inner peace... No disturbance detected. I must not care for bugs.

I tear its next leg off, Rip Two. The tarantula violently but futilely continues its struggle. Hush, Tarantula, I’m only going to cripple you. Rip three. This leg pops off a little more easily. Rip four. Ah, now it’s starting to calm down. Rip Five. Or is it just dying? Rip Six, Rip Seven...

Rip Eight. The final leg comes off and from the mutilated joints of the legless thing leaks some pus like substance. Strange. I drop it on the ground, and I wonder if there’s a stream or something where I can wash my hands.

"Flesh bag." Skeleton says, right after. “Squish the fattest part with your foot”

Is he displeased with my performance? Did I not do it quickly enough? Shrugging, I follow his order and... The skin tears and a bunch of mini-tarantulas flow outward. Or Babies? Yes, I think killed a pregnant tarantula and the white things flopping around my feet are its aborted children.

Curious. I step away and I wipe my shoe against the dirt, scraping off, and probably killing the buggers that latched onto my shoe.

“Uhm, Skeleton, what was the point of that?"

Skeleton does not reply quickly and instead, gives me a look.

“What?”

"Did you notice how quickly, easily, and ruthlessly, you killed that which you thought beneath you?” Skeleton says, seeming a little surprise by my lack of surprise.

"They were just bugs” I reply. Is he implying I’m a sociopath? Or is there something else in there? Surely anyone could do what I did as easily and as efficiently? “I don’t understand the point of this exercise”

"Never mind, fleshy; what matters is that we can use this skill you to our advantage.” Before I can stop him, he moves right ahead. "Is your acting skill as impressive as your story telling skill?"

I look up from cleaning my shoe. "I-If I can pretend I'm all by myself. “

“Good. From this point forward, flesh bag, unless I say otherwise, I want you to act as our leader."

Gosh this one little baby tarantula won’t get of-wait a second. "E-Excuse me?" I say.

"Not to be our leader; obviously that role is mine to hold in our partnership. But to any person or youkai we encounter or confront, I want you to seem fearless, intelligent, and calculating; as if you were in control. So much so, that when I talk, I want you to take responsibility for my words."

I take a second to process what he just said. "You want me to pretend I'm in charge? B-But why?"

"Flesh bag. Isn't it obvious?"

My eyes droop and I resist the urge to just lie back and ignore the small white bundle of insanity. "No. Not at all."

“Potential foes will overestimate your abilities; and accordingly concentrate their mental resources on 'defeating' you- instead of concentrating those same resources that person that is actually keeping us alive.” he points at himself with his leg. “me."

Okay."... What is the point of such trickery though?" It occurs to me just a second too late this toad likely wishes me to be his human shield.

"We have no other meaningful weapons than our words. Thus, our survival depends on our skillful use of communication, especially when regarding Ms. Yuuka."

… I guess that makes sense. “You mean manipulation?”

“Whatever it takes to survive.”

I rub my head. Okay. I can’t just accuse him of being a totally self-serving monster since it does make sense to me.

Regardless, he’s asking for me, a simple-minded, middle-aged, socially incapable, man, to act like a dynamic, socially able, man. Not possible, definitely not possible.

Skeleton speaks up again, as if reading my face. "Flesh bag, I know you're incapable of lying. I'm merely ordering you to reinforce the impression you've already been giving to people."

Impression I’ve been giving? ".. What?"

"Flesh bag. You seem like a calculating genius. Don’t you remember the events of Toad Pond?"

Yes, Abigail and her collective did believe in some rumor for about a few hours, but surely they were a minority?

"A hair more consciousness in your behavior, and you will perfect your illusion of control. Moving on."

No, no. This is too crazy. "Just a second, d-don't I get a say in how I behave?”

"No. It’s an order, fleshy. Moving on... according to the list, Toad Lord gave us, there is something in this field we have to procure from Yuu--.."

Skeleton trails off, looking somewhere behind me, and rasps, a loud short rasp, as if suddenly cursing.

"You'll have to talk behind my back a little bit later” a certain, soft, womanly, firm voice says.

I slowly look behind myself. Oh no.

It’s Ms. Yuuka.

Back from where ever she was, and whatever she was doing, floating in thin air, some ways behind me. Or at least that's what her forehead, green hair, and plaid dress evinces, as I can’t really afford to look at her face now that I’ve just eaten.

Did she forgive us for trespassing? Or is she here to finish the job? And is that a potted plant she's holding?

"Hello, Ms. Yuuka." I say, bowing my head a little. When in doubt, be polite. “How do you do?”

Ah yes, it is a potted sunflower.

“Not well.” she says. “I've spared and saved the lives of two annoyances, dealt with one larger annoyance, and when I came back, I discover those original annoyances are off gossiping about me." she says, her tone suggesting she's smiling in her placid, psychotic manner.

Were we gossiping? Nothing of the sort, but I gather correcting her will just make her angry.

"I’m sorry to hear that, Ms. Yuuka. Thank you for sparing and saving our lives though." I say, smiling and bowing my head just a little.

Skeleton rasps something unpleasant and Ms. Yuuka-- judging by her aura-- seems less than thrilled with my apology. She floats down to earth, with, I notice, one arm wrapped firmly around the potted sunflower.

Why is she getting annoyed? I wasn’t lying; I am thankful she didn’t just go ahead and kill us. Moreover, wouldn't she enjoy my subservience? She just considers me an idiot, right?

"Take" she grabs my hand and jerks me toward her. Ouch-. “Hold.” She twists my arm, so that I can hold the sunflower in the same manner she did. Ouch. “Treasure my flower.” she says as she looks up at me.

I look up from my hurting arm to her and pick up on two things; one that I'm at least a head taller than her . And, two- not the face- not the face-

And... Two her clothing seems to have little tears on it. Did she fall down or something?

I blink and try to focus. Could it be a...? "A present?" I blurt out with a hopeful tone. To answer my question, she grabs me by the front of my vest and gives me a good, violent, shake back and forth.

Youch. Why would she hate me?

"Treat any of my friends like things, and I will strike you down." she says as she steps back, allowing me a moment to recover, which I use to reflect.

Does she think I'm being sarcastic like Skeleton? Surely not, she called me a through and through idiot, didn’t she?

Unless she changed her mind for no reason, which I doubt since if anything Skeleton was the one who verbally sparred with her and..

Wait a second. Although Skeleton was the talker last time, he pointed the finger at me. Her flowers also told her I was a ‘great’ storyteller which would contradict my appeared image of incompetence and... I yawned at her.

Oh yes. I yawned at her.

… I think there's a misconception afoot.

"The master does not appreciate an informant." I hear a demonic voice say. Oh the sunflower is a spy for Yuuka. Wait? Master? Did he just call me master?

Before I can disagree or even turn to Skeleton with an incredulous look, Yuuka continues, ignoring Skeleton. "Speak anything I dislike, from now till the end of your days, and I will hear it. and you will pay.”

This is not good. I am not a master. I should say that, say something, anything. And yet I don’t know what to say.

So I merely look at Yuuka’s informant, trying to decide what to do about it. I start with its simple brownish, pot, all the way up its stem to its head. Do I mind having this gorgeous, green and yellow, sunflower accompany me for the rest of my days?

….

"Alright." I smile. Maybe I'm not grasping the gravity of my situation, but gosh, something about it just softens my mind. “I don’t mind.”

She lifts off into the air. "So-called bards, I have decided to let you both live, so as long as you entertain my garden. Once you’ve becoming boring I’ll kill you both." Her tone stays level, though I swear there's some annoyance mixed in there. “Rather simple isn’t it?”

Yes, so far she’s speaking pretty unambiguously, do this, do that, or else this. I nod my head quietly, trying not to smile reassuringly, since she seems to not like my smiles.

"Speaking of my friends, they are expecting another performance, Mr. Gray" Mr. Gray? “Be in my inner garden ten minutes." s

"Ms. Yu-" I say.

Before I can say anything more, a burst of wind hits me like a whip and I shield my eyes. A moment later, I open them, and I catch a glimpse of the green haired youkai flying, or perhaps at her speed, rocketing, back to the field.


I wonder how I should be feeling.

.. I look to Skeleton who looks up in the air watching her go.


"Who or what could have occupied an Elder Youkai for so long...” He rasps, and turns to me. “Whatever the case, she flew in behind you, master." he says, that last word rife with a deep, but blatant sarcasm.

Though I feel the urge to object to his use of ‘master’, I instead I find myself transfixed by the sunflower again. Bright, yellow petals. A healthy brown center. A firm reliable stalk that goes up- just above my head. Yes, yes I’m sure of it now, this sunflower relaxes me.

"She also gave us that which we needed for our quest.. Excellent” Skeleton say as he begins hopping away. “We’ll try and finish planning along the way”

"Y-You know, you look really good.." I blurt out.

“Excuse me?” Skeleton says, stopping in a place.

The sunflower sways slightly in the breeze. Is that a yes? A no? Looks like a no. "No, I mean it. I mean it. I like looking at you!"

"What are you doing." he asks, sounding none too happy. Uhm. Gosh, what am I doing? Well, if I think about it, they’re people, people who are keeping us alive so..

“Uhm, uh, I-I'm introducing myself to our new partner.”

"Why." he says. Good question.

Fortunately, I have a simple answer “This guy is going to be with us for, uhm, forever, so I think we should be nice and you know.. Get along" A person who I can get along with...

A new friend maybe, just maybe, that I can relax with. The prospect sends a jolt of motive through my body.

"It can't respond." Skeleton points out, sounding a little confused by my behavior.

"True but... it can hear me. That's what counts." I smile widely, wondering if I’m as nuts as Ms. Yuuka. Then again, Quiet, good looking, always there for you-- talking to sunflowers seems pretty rewarding.

The head of the sunflower shakes a little again, and I feel—somehow—it doesn’t believe me. "No, No, I-I’m not just saying things." Ah pretty words won’t show this flower my feelings.

I ball my free hand into fist. "Alright. I promise you, if I say anything bad about Ms. Yuuka, you can just go ahead and tell her. I won’t get in the way of your duty. I won’t stop you” I give it a moment to reflect on it and then I say “See? Now there’s no other reason for me to compliment other than I-I want to.”

I grin, my new companion doesn't respond of course but I'd like to think I’ve persuaded it a little.

Skeleton rasps what seems like a snort. "Stop playing- fl-Master. Our lives are the line again" he says as he hops in the direction Yuuka had flown..

The sunflower still says nothing, expectantly I guess, and I frown a little. “... Alright.” I say to Skeleton.

But before I go and follow my partner, I look back to the sunflower and ask. "My name is Abe... sort of. Abe Glenn Gray.. Sort of. W-What is yours?" I smile a little nervously.

"Names don't matter. Hurry up." Skeleton shouts.

"Do you not have one?" I whisper, while trotting along in the direction Skeleton went off in.

It shakes a little, like a head nodding motion and I don’t think I felt the wind on that one. ".. Can I call you...” What would be a good name befitting such a strapping, healthy, grand sunflower such as this one? “..Alfred?" I say.

For just a second, I swear it nods its head.

"Then Alfred..” I grin broadly. “Let’s be friends." The sunflower does not respond-,well if it had ever responded to begin with. But I don’t really mind; I’m just happy to have a person near me who won’t drive me bonkers.

Alright so before I go, I’ll check myself. I got my demonic-paper, my newfound flower-friend, my rectangle-box...

"Move!" Skeleton hollers.

I shake my head and begin jogging after the sound of his voice.


The future is uncertain as ever, but perhaps I’ll manage.




*******




“Welcome back. " I hear Yuuka say as Skeleton and I arrive in another larger, circular patch of dirt, surrounded by a horde of story-deprived sunflowers.

“Your audience has been waiting patiently for the both of you, the so called bards, Gray, and Cornelius? She says, standing on the opposite side of the circle, with her parasol back on her shoulder, shielding her from the sun.

“..Or Skeleton?" Ms. Yuuka said, standing on the other side.

Skeleton says nothing as he hops over to my side.

"I won't ask again." she says, in her trademark, softly dangerous way.

"Skeleton is my real name." he replies. “Cornelius is my stage. Master prefers Skeleton." Concise and to the point as if he were a prisoner, though I guess we both are.

As for his master shtick, I have no choice. Trying to tell Yuuka otherwise is just going to make her angry, and probably make Skeleton want to kill me too...

"Cornelius." she chooses, and then looks at me. "Are you both ready to perform?" she looks at me.

Skeleton had asked, well, ordered me to go first, since ‘he’s ‘poor at making a fool out of himself.’ There’s an insult in that statement, I’m sure, but I’d like to think I’m contributing something to our partnership.

"We are. May I begin?" I say, managing to keep the uncertainty off my face.

"No. Take your clothes off first." Wait. I raise my eyebrow, trying to not to give her a look as if she suddenly turned into an ostrich. What?

"They reek of the swamp and are an eyesore.” I stare at her blankly. Really now? “Take them off.” she says, danger oozing out of her voice.

… Well, I guess the reason given does sound plausible...

"Master, would prefer them on for his performance" Skeleton says, taking a hop forward. Is he trying to defend I me? Alas- a glimpse tells me her smile grew by an inch with Skeleton’s defiance— Yuuka gets what she wants.

“Dearie me, I wasn’t asking--”

"Skeleton, Ms. Yuuka, I can tell a story.. Even when stripped bare." I say with only a little bit of pretending.

Truth to be told, I feel no aversion to nudity- merely the randomness of her order was what bothered me. Skeleton looks at me and then bows his head stepping backward. "Yes, master" he rasps quietly.

Well, time to get naked. I set Alfred down next to me and unbutton my vest. I slink my arms out of each hole and then I try taking off my shirt. It has no buttons so I try pulling it over my head, though the fabric, tightened and rendered useless by my experience thus far, gets stuck over my chest, I try tugging a little, but to no avail. Bollocks. I pull it back down. Well, the shirt is ruined, and it’s rather warm so . I grab each side of my shirt with my hands and pull. After so much stress, the shirt practically shreds itself- revealing chest hair in abundance.

Well, now my black pants. These come off much more easily—- though I'm careful to make sure my items don't just fall out. Hairy, meaty, but toned legs—- the kind that's good for running for my life I'm sure.

My boxers come off next, and another patch of hair greets me. Yep, everything flesh wise seems to be in order; surprisingly I don't seem to be as unhealthy or as scrawny as first as that my skin is white, but not pale, nor noticeably deficient.

I hear her "ahem". Ah yes. I give my busted, black shoes a shake, and they fall right off. I then pull of my now foul-smelling socks, imbued with an unpleasant mixture of sweat and swamp odors. Perhaps Yuuka had good reason after all?

Anyway, I’m naked now. Question is; how do I feel? The sun rays touch every portion of my body, almost as if the good day itself were embracing me. Feels kind of good . Yet, I must ask, should it? Shouldn’t I be mortified? I look to Ms. Yuuka, as I feel being the most human in shape, she may be best aware of etiquette.

She greets my naked form with cruel eyes, and a sneer are plastered upon her face. I think she thinks I should be feeling bad.

Honestly though, Ms. Yuuka, ordering helpless people around to get your jollies off says more about you than it does about me. Instead of saying that, I merely roll my eyes, and yet another flicker of anger streaks across her face, only to be masked an instant later by cold indifference.

Yep, she would like nothing better than to smash my face in. I wonder if this is first time she's ever had to restrain herself when it came to people she didn't like.

"Long." I hear Skeleton say, looking at me.

I say. "What?"

He says nothing. Long?

"Mr. Gray, my friends want a grand story lasting for at least thirty minutes." Yuuka says, leaving me presumably with the freedom to tell whatever story I want.

In the end, for three or four hours of intense conversation, none of it will help now. It’s just good old fashioned storytelling, which shouldn't be that bad as long as I pretend I'm all by myself- and that the story is a way for me to relax before bed.

.. I hope at least.

Question is what kind of story should I tell?







Choice 1:
Something...
[ ] Hilarious, send her to the floor, giggling like a school girl.
[ ] Heartwarming, shatter her heart's coldness.
[ ] Depressing, jerk some tears from her dry eyes.
[ ] Awesome, astound the thousand-year-old monster!
[ ] Horrifying, reveal to her that there things far worse than herself.
[strike][ ] Something arousing, make her feel like a woma[/strike]
[ ] Combination of the above?

Choice 2:
[ ] Write in a story/story name.

—-

The slowness comes from a lot of self-imposed work; but also because this piece of writing has taken a back seat to a rewriting of a work I did a year ago.

Surprise coming within the next day.
>> No. 141605
[x] Depressing, jerk some tears from her dry eyes.

Yuuka may be our most harsh critic, holding our lives in her hands, but we mustn't forget the most important thing. We are not doing this merely for her. We are not trying to impress her just for something lame like our continued survival!

No, that isn't why we are here. We are a bard. This is what we live for, and we have an audience a thousand strong tonight. Today, we will give our heart and soul to the performance. We will interject our very essence into this. We will show these sunflowers a world they cannot imagine.

To that end, we should tell them about the beautiful blue of the sky. The tranquility of a still lake. The soft, gentle, tickling of the swaying grass on your bare skin as you recline and observe the nature around you.. We will tell them about every single little thing that makes this world relaxing and great. We'll recite it all; the things they are missing out on, stuck and limited to one place as they are, never to see, never to feel, never to interact. We will make them weep for the worlds beauty that they will never know outside of words.

Or we can hop around like a retard such as when we told the frog fable. Either is good, I guess.

>[strike][/strike]
It's just [s].
>> No. 141606
>>141605
I have insomnia again and reading a reply like yours inspires to me write at 3:00 in the morning.
>> No. 141608
[x] Depressing, jerk some tears from her dry eyes.
Storytelling began with comedy and drama. If I had to choose one of those, I'd choose Drama. Sure, it might sound Alien to a Youkai, but I feel Bards should make one cry as good as they make one laugh-and we already did the latter.
It might be my mood, but a story about star-crossed lovers/and or losing a family member to the horrors of war or anything that shows utter feelings of weakness and impotence against a cold and indifferent world is what I feel that would be adequate. Show Yuuka that, for all her power, there are things she can't change, thing she will never have and things she will never know.
>> No. 142370
File 130802568090.jpg - (155.86KB , 1600x1200 , mi1_722.jpg ) [iqdb]
142370
[ ] Something depressing, jerk some tears from her dry eyes.

Anonymous suggests..

Show these flowers a world they haven't seen, offer them an escape which not only excites, but.. saddens. Unfortunately, I don't know anything too depressing-- Yukari's untimely death, and Skeleton's explanation of Jupiter may count, but I don’t they fit the bill

… Wait a second, is Anonymous beginning to believe they're myself? I hope not, if haven't lost more of my mind, I'm pretty sure I've been the one telling the stor--

Ah, there’s the Yuuka-is-going-to-whack-me again-for-being slow-aura. Better move along.

I walk forward into the center of the field as I regard my audience or rather, as I begin filtering them out. Something depressing for Yuuka and her flowers? They have no eyes, they cannot speak, nor can they weep...

No story, no ability to gauge the reactions of my audience... a terribly powerful, probably insane, creature across from me....

I close my eyes and I breathe. No worse than the unflappable Toad Council of yesterday. All I have to do is pretend that I'm readying myself for bed somewhere alone.

I breathe out. Tranquility comes to and brings with it... a tidibt of knowledge. A story, I think, though I am uncertain of its origins. What kind? a story of a struggle? of a plight? or is it of a hardship?

Misfortune. My breath fall short. Like a long lost memory, that little tidbit becomes an emotional lion, rushing through my body, seizing me almost—-and leaves my lips.

"The greatest misfortune in the world..." I say softly as I open my eyes. I raise my voice as I look around, the scenery just a blur.

No planning, no hesitation, I’ll just say and do what comes to mind and pray its for the best.

"The greatest misfortune in the world is the one you have no control over." I say, not proclaim, in a tone similar to Skeleton's lecturing. "It is an occurrence that can happen in a blink, in an instant, for no reason. An earthquake strikes, burying me under tons of debris. A tornado rips through a field destroying everything in sight."

I smile emptily.

"The other type of misfortune is that which you control, where you can exert some measure of your will upon your fate. I didn't do a good job because I didn't prepare myself. I broke a leg while walking because I wasn't careful. I was punished because I ate my brother's food. IIn all circumstances and at all times, controllable misfortune means nothing compared to great misfortune."

I brought my arms out, in open gesture. "How do I know? Why do I believe in this maxim so very much?" I look around, and I hover my hand over my chest.

"Because I am the most unfortunate man alive."

"Some people in this world live very short lives, some die very violent deaths, some people have good lives, but spiral into misery later on. Yet no other, I am sure, no other person has consistently suffered through what should have been a decent life. I am not poor, I do not live in a tyranny, my family was not bad... yet from my troubled birth, to my hideous form, my life has been nothing but a series of tragedies."

I find myself making very slow, but deliberate motions, as I slip deeper and deeper into my storytelling.

"Friends have betrayed me, that decent family has forsaken me, failures have crushed me, opportunities have passed me by. What can wrong, will go wrong, will go horribly wrong, for me, only me, for no reason. Yet, for most of my life, I've learned to not wallow in the misfortune that is my self pity. I've adapted. I've learned to to restrain myself mentally, emotionally, physically, to control the misfortune I can. I withdrew into my private space from others who could hurt me, I worked as hard as I could to just barely make ends meet, I said very little for fear of hurting others."

I look down to the ground, and shudder.

"I thought I could reduce my suffering through restraint; I thought my tiresome, arduous efforts would be enough to live, a just barely, decent existence."

I look up, clamping down on a swell of sudden emotion.

"So I thought... until my mother, the last person in the world who honestly and unconditionally loved me, died. It feels like it was yesterday—-" I smile again with no warmth and I bring my hands together. "No, it was yesterday, a sunny day, a day just like any other. We were driving along, when a small part of the car; a tiny, miniscule thing really broke, for no reason.”

My hands come apart.

"Shooting fifty kilometers per hour straight into a wall, unable to stop, we were confused, concerned, terrified—-"

My hands swiftly reconnect, and I look around again.

"We crashed. My door ripped off and I was thrown out, onto the curb. Broke a few bones, lost some flesh. But my mother, she stayed... trapped in the wreckage as it caught fire. Her voice, so kind and nice... how that voice coarsened into a guttural shriek .Her eyes, so loving and tender... how those eyes became mindless and empty.”

I suppress a gurgle in my throat.

“Yesterday, I watched the skin of my good mother melt right off her body."

I pause.

"They told me in the hospital there was nothing I could have done. Ha. I knew that. I know that. I could have believed I could have gone into the blaze, and freed her from those metal jaws of life. I could have lied to myself. But, while I watched her burn, a most familiar sentiment overtook me. It was both understanding and a feeling of powerlessness, of fate being sealed, of inevitability." I realized at that moment what had killed her. My curse that afflicted me for my whole life, my misfortune murdered my mother. Or maybe I did “

Another look at my hidden audience, giving them a look as if daring them to speak.

“Today, I ask myself... What is the point in trying anymore? I'm not strong enough to overcome my curse. I can't stand the suffering it brings anymore. And most, most importantly, my misfortune is... dangerous." I say as though it were the most painfully obvious thing in the world.

"It has hurt people and now it has killed someone. I can’t go on, if I risk the well being everyone else. So I say; damn restraint. Damn trying to survive. Damn me."

I reel back in the emotion in my voice which keeps on threatening to trickle out.

"Today, I plan on killing myself. But, but, before I do, before I end my pathetic and worthless life, I'd like to have one day of fun. That's right. I'm only eighteen years old. I'd appreciate one last day of freedom, without having to restrain myself."

I gesture toward an imaginary wall.

"Why else am I standing here in an empty warehouse? Why else would I have called my classmate, standing opposite from me, to come here?"

I twist head to my left and then to my right.”

"Yes—- my first order of business on my last day, is to confess my true feelings to my unrequited love." I point at the imaginary girl. "Her."

"Even though, I know for a fact, I will be rejected. Firmly, probably cruelly, because even now, she looks at me with such cold eyes. Beautiful but spoiled rotten... it is my misfortune that something about her, touches me so."

I sigh a little. "But I don't really care for her hatred, or even her for that matter. I actually wanted to be rejected; I want to hear her unleash a stream of sharp vitriol, straight into my heart. Because I want to suffer by my own hands, because I want to be free, to feel a distracting pain... and most importanltly, to have misfortune that I will control. It's been so long— Ah" I look up, my eyes opening wider as if someone called my name.

"No more time to ponder, she grows wary of silence." My stance shifts, becoming less rigid, and more uncertain, as if I was actually before this girl, nervously about to confess my love for her.

"I must speak.. I must declare." I say. "I... I..."

I ball my hands into fists.

"I love you!" I scream at the top of my lungs, speaking for the first time in the story.

"... I then await her reply." I say, staying in the same pose, shivering a bit with the energy it brings. I stare straight in front of me.

"First, she looks shocked then, slowly but surely... a caustic sneer forms."

"Yes." I smile, as my hand tenses again. "Just as planned"

"Misfortune I will control. With it, my day of freedom shall begin" My breath stops, and I raise my hand in a stopping gesture.

"Just then a loud, sharp sound. It cuts her off before she can even say a single syllable. The sound becomes a whistling in the air. I look upward. She looks upward." I do so, relaxing the hand still balled in a fist.

"Something is falling? Dropping nearby... About to hit the grou-"

My eyes widen.

"An explosion, a blaze of fire goes off, blowing right the thin metal wall of the warehouse behind my classmate.” She flies headfirst into the concrete ground." I bring up my arms, trying to shield myself.

I stagger backward, and fall right on my butt. “What.. What is going on? I try looking up, but the sunlight is too bright. I hear more blasts go off in the distance and quickly, my eyes adjust to the glare. In the horizon over the city skyline, I see them."

I exhale slowly and my voice shifts into something.

"Bombers. Monsters of the sky, hundreds of them, flying over the city, unleashing hellfire upon the ground. Air sirens begin blaring and wailing, buildings collapse and implode upon themselves...

I grab the dirt on the ground below, feeling it leak through the gaps of my finger.

"I stare. I don't understand.” I twist my head slowly. “I notice my crush lying there, disconsolate.. Is she.. is she okay?"

I crawl, hands on knees and dirt.

"My legs hurt a little, but I get over to her and I take her pulse. “There is some, she’s only unconscious, bleeding a little... she needs to be somewhere safe, maybe medical attention too and..."

I tense, as and I slowly regard the imaginary bombing onc more.

"... What am I thinking? I can't stay. I can't worry about this girl; I have my own life to save. I should be escaping... I should be running for my life." I tense all over, readying myself to bolt.

A moment later, and my shoulders droop. "And yet.. I know I can't leave this girl behind."

She'd die if she’s left in this inner city. I can't let her die. I can't let my misfortune kill again." My voice that wishes to become a cry, transforms into a demand.

"Never, ever again." I look to the imaginary city with a hard look. "I pick her up, I place her on my back, draping her arms my shoulders... and I turn to go out the opening in the warehouse wall, and into the warzone."

I stand up, brushing the dirt off myself. I close my eyes, and I breathe in and breathe out.

Next part.

"A few hours later.. and I am still moving.” I say, opening my eyes.

"I move through the crumbling streets, clutching my classmate upon my back. Minute pass by like seconds, people go by in a blur, their faces filled with urgency, panic, sometimes hopelessness. But I don't care what they're saying, where they're going, who they've might have lost."

I shake my head, and I look forward, panting a little.

"I have my own direction; to a river in the outskirts of the city, farthest from the fighting, safety for her. It is also the place where I will kill myself."

I smile just a little.

"Yes, nothing has changed since now and the start my day. I still desire oblivion and that desire has kept my mind off my bleeding wounds, and my body moving despite its aches... Is it strange that I try to live, even though I detest my own existence?"

I look around at my audience again.

"It isn’t. Besides the safety of my crush, I try to live now simply because I am a coward. I fear painful death. If a rifle unloads into me, then my body will be riddled with holes. If a bomb explodes next to me, then the force will splatter my organs Just the thought of them sends shivers down my spine. I can’t, I won’t die like that. Rather I will drown myself in the river as planned."

"It is the only death I can stand for I've experienced half of it and did not mind it all. Not the feeling of my lungs filling with water, not my consciousness fading slowly... it was painless. I don't know why. But I need not know why; it is a means to an end and all I care about is the end."

"The end" I breathe sharply, and I stumble a bit in my walk. “No more time to think. I must keep moving.”

I close my eyes, taking another quick breather.

I open my eyes. "Eventually... eventually, I reach my destination. The chaos has died down, and I have found a safe place among others to place my crush. he moment I do, I forget about her. Whatever she does with her life, free of my misfortune, is up to her now."

I smile whimsically as I turn around and walk a little in one direction.

"I care no more; for as I walk up the stairs, careful not to break my weakened legs, I know great happiness awaits me.When I reach the roof overlooking the river, before the setting afternoon sun, I see... the edge." With that, I loosen my body.

"The edge." My breath becomes ragged as I take one painstakingly slow step after another on the dirt. "And below it lies the river..." I grin widely. "An end to problems. An an end to a lifeless life. A freedom I want more than anything else in this horrible world, a freedom so simple, it leaves no room for doubts for questions. One answer, one choice, one hope, one destiny lies just... over... the.. edge." I say.

"But..." My smile twitches, and my jaw slackens.

"Something has gone horribly wrong."

I trace the outline of the imaginary scene. "The shape of the river is there but....” I stretch my arms, sketching its expanse. “..rubble from a destroyed bridge or building has ended the flow of water from one side. The river is no longer a river but a puddle.”

A queer feeling of emptiness consumes me.

"I stare." My shoulders slouch. "I wonder." I look down as if survey the landscape below me.
"Is the water deep enough? No it isn't, it is completely empty."

"Could I jump anyway? Falling and hitting the concrete, entrails bursting from my body. No, I can’t but I...”

I take a step forward, letting my foot dangle in the air.

"I... I...."

I retract my foot, shivering all over.

"I can't do it. I'm too scared. I..." I open and close my mouths as my knees give way. "After all that struggle... after all I've been through. This is too.. too... too.” I stop. “No." One hand goes to my head, fastening around my ear. "No. This, this can't be happening."

"No." My other hand grabs my cheek. "No." They both begin pulling, clawing, trying to kill me. "No." My head twists from side to side. "No... “ Abject fury, sadness, everything swirls into my mind at once.

It’s too much. I rip out some hair.

It’s just.. too... much.

"No!” I scream. Quietly, softly, to myself.

I crumple to the ground I had been staring, feeling no strength in my limbs, my voice, or even my heart.

A moment or two later, I speak, in a voice that sounds far away.

"As I lay upon the concrete... as I hear the bombers return... as I hear firefights erupt in the distance.. I realize I was wrong."

I stare dully straight ahead.

"The greatest misfortune is not simply the one you can't control."

A single teardrops makes its way down my cheek.

"It is the one which won't let you die."

Moments pass as I lay there. There’s more to this story;... but right now, I’m in no mood to continue.

"To be continued." I say, as I stand up, shedding my make believe.

No words greet me however. It’s very quiet. I think I hear a cricket chirping off somewhere else.

What did they think? I look around. Sunflowers being sunflowers, they offer no response, and Yuuka offers nothing in the slightest upon her face.

"A nice story." Skeleton says and I turn to see him, peering up at me. I try smiling at his encouragment, but the most I can manage is a slight nod.

How could a story have disturbed me so.. It was a just a story?... right?

"Mr Gray." Yuuka says. "What was the intent of your tale?"

Its intent? Originally it had been to depress, but now I don’t know. It seemed... it all seemed just a little too real. That city I had envisioned too, I now realize, seems just like the one I had been in with Yukari and.. I think I have a headache.

"A tale is what you make of it." I finally say. Another way of saying, I really don't know.

"Small amusement then, Mr Gray." She smiles a cruel smile. "Is that the best you could do?"

"Ms. Yuuka." Say whatever is on my mind; don't stutter. "Although I am sorry I could not entertain you.—- you are only one of many. I can't please everyone." I say. If she's playing with me again, so be it. Right now I would like nothing more than to just go to bed and rid myself of this most foul mood.

Yuuka merely smiles in return, though I notice her hand clench just a teeny tiny bit. Skeleton speaks up. "How did your flowers react, Ms Yuuka?"

She smiles softly and turns to Skeleton “Your turn."

Ah, It appears the flowers have saved yet again. I take a step back as Skeleton takes a step forward, in the process, shaking my head a little. I can't afford to be out of sorts; what if Skeleton needs my help? I take a look at Alfred, my proud sunflower, and then back to the gorgeous day. I feel spirits rise just little, as I turn around.

Until, I get an exor.. excorsomething to take a look at my soul, I'll table the story, just like I did the paper, the tentacles, my general amnesia.

... I wonder if they mean something altogether. I close my eyes, and I breathe in, and then out, pushing some more of the bad feelings out of my mind. A breeze blows by, tickling some parts of me it did not tickle before. Ah yes, I’m still butt-naked.

Just then, I hear a rustling noise, and Skeleton and I look toward it.

"We have guests." Yuuka says, not batting an eye.

The dirt trembles somewhat and cracking open as two vines push upwards, holding, near enveloping, light green, smallish, toads.

Toads from Toad Pond?

"Friends of yours?" she says. Friends, I'm not sure, but initiates, definitely. What could they be doing here? They don’t seem to notice me, though I guess its because they’re half covered by vines.

"They tried to steal a sunflower from my garden... by severing its root" she says, walking toward them at a leisurely pace.

… That explains why she’s captured them.

"I wonder how I should kill them." she bends down a little to get a better look at them, and it seems her attention is off me for a moment. One of the toad's eyes look around frantically, the other merely closes its eyes, seemingly in resignation.

She’s going to kill them? Why does this creature have to solve her problems so violently?

Skeleton quietly observes the green haired youkai, without hopping back to me. Does he have a plan? Is he going to say something? Or does he not care for their lives?

"Fertilizer could work..." she suggested to herself.

Well, can I as a fellow initiate, nay as a fellow person, stand by and watch them be... fertilized?


[ ] "Let my people go!"
[ ] Do nothing. They were stupid enough to be caught.
[ ] "Personally I'm in the mood for toad legs"
[ ] Request a compromise. Their lives in return for something.
----[ ] Think of a compromise, Abe.
----[ ] Ask Skeleton to think of a compromise.
----[ ] write in


[ ] theories? (abe won’t hear them at this point; just interested in what you all think is going on)

——-

For those who are wondering, I haven’t lost interest in this story. If anything I have a lot of interest, despite some strategic errors I’ve made. Even considering the pretty small amount of (but in high in quality) votes I’m getting, I want to see Abe Glenn Gray move at the pace I had during my first month and a half.

Yet with my other pursuits being of more importance, with my lack of time, I’m not sure what I can do. Not an excuse (I could be writing even more than I am now; or at least better...) so my apologies to my three or four readers out there.

I hope I can figure something out soon.
>> No. 142371
[x] Do nothing. They were stupid enough to be caught.

I'd like to save those frogs, but it's impossible. Abe just ain't the kind of person who can march up to Yuuka with only hotblood as a shield and make demands. It's a pity, but those frogs have doomed themselves to this fate. It's up to them to weasel their way out.

I ain't got any theories right now. We've been stuck in Yuuka power-hour for far too long to form anything concrete.
>> No. 142372
>>142371
I'd like to give hints, but alas, all I can say is not to underestimate him.

Abe hasn't met a bad end yet for good reason, though there have been a few close calls.
>> No. 142378
>>142371
While I do agree, Abe's moral compass probably would demand him to do something otherwise. Though, the best he could probably offer (that would still be safe) is the continuation to his story which may or may not tickle Yuuka's sunflower's interest enough to do anything. Though maybe a line of condolence about dragging the frogs into Abe's story would garner the flower's interest enough for them to pester her about hearing more about the story. Maybe.
>> No. 142383
>>142378
If that's the best he can do, I'm not sure it can work... but It's worth a write in at least.
>> No. 142393
>>142383
okay, then my vote is:
[x] Do nothing. They were stupid enough to be caught.
However, if Abe has to play the moral ground then continue the story:
[x] "...And even now my curse still pulls other in. To my brothers/sisters, I send you my deepest sympathy." -Then continue your story Abe.
>> No. 142395
[x] Abe, your curse just rages on, it seems.
>> No. 142415
>More fucking toads.

No.

I have had it up to here with those fuckers.

The Toad idea originally was horrible and i resent ever choosing it so you know what?

Fuck em.

Fuck em hard.

Quite frankly, having Yuuka kill them would be fucking mercy at this point, and we need something to vent our frustration on, and by god we are going to do it.

[x]Request to perform the execution yourself
[x]Make them go Mad
I Don't care how we do it. We could even use Japanese water torture at this point, I just want some fucking Grimdark. We haven't relaxed in peace thus far, so help me god we are going to find another outlet even if it costs use a piece of our sanity.

Also something I've noticed between us and a particular lovecraftian horror:
>Nyarlathotep, however, is active and frequently walks the Earth in the guise of a human being, usually a tall, slim, joyous man
>tall, slim, joyous man
>Nyarlathotep delights in cruelty, is deceptive and manipulative, and even cultivates followers and uses propaganda to achieve his goals. In this regard, he is probably the most human-like among them.
How many people have we screwed over at this point?

Anyhow, when we are asked to perform another time, and she requests a dance We should totally sneakily pull off a summoning ritual and use the diversion to make our escape.
>> No. 142446
>>142415

This wasn't a general write in; the write in was only for a compromise.

Calling votes, and writing.
>> No. 142449
>>142446

Hooray!
>> No. 142710
File 13087147229.jpg - (218.96KB , 760x608 , SR-71A_04.jpg ) [iqdb]
142710
In which Abe digs himself into a deeper pit.

————-

[ ] Everything said.

Anonymous speaks, and what they have to say-- I lack the characteristics to face her head on like Skeleton, they brought it on themselves-- doesn’t sound very encouraging.

Still, they mostly seem serious about my situation, and save for one or two dissenters, seem to want those Toads not get fertilized.

But how? How can they be saved without the loss of limbs?

Yuuka’s hand encapsulates the toad with frantic eyes and I think she’s merely going to squish them instead.

I should do something. Or not. I really shouldn't try to save them. Instead, I should follow Anonymous's words and Skeleton's example, by not lowering my already abysmal chance of survival and...

"Stop."

A firm word uttered softly. Who said that? Yuuka's hands cease their slight motion and I hear a rather unpleasant rasp to the next of me.

Oh, it was me. Darn my subconscious. Perhaps I could pretend I sneezed or something?

The green haired youkai turns her head slowly, directing that playful look of murder from the Toads, onto me.

Well scratch that idea. If I back down now, that facade of control will fall apart, and who knows what she would do to Skeleton and I from there.

So I meet her look straight on, and say, suppressing my gag reflex. "Ms. Yuuka. Do you really have to kill them?”

She brushes a few strands of her green hair out of the way, with an almost carefree wave of her hand. "They are in my domain, under my rules, about to receive my punishment."

Yet despite her peculiar emphasis on punishment, she doesn't turn around to finish them off, but walks toward me.

"True." I say.

"But?" she says.

But... something. That’s the big question right now. What is the something I should give her or to do for her in exchange for their lives? Tell them more of the story and appeal to the flowers? Wait, Anonymous thinks that story I told was a part of my life? That the young man's curse is my curse?

"What?" I say. No, no, that lad was much too terrified and emotional for the likes of me--

"You will offer a proposal to change my mind or else I'll dislocate your finger permanently, and then kill your toad friends." Yuuka says with a both annoyed and amused smile.

Alright, never mind whether or not that story was my own. Uhm. I’ll do what Anonymous said; continue the story that appeals to the flowers and that will save the Toads... somehow. I don't know how, but I'll trust them.

….

Crick. The story isn’t coming to mind. Where'd it go? It was in my head a moment ago, I’m sure. Or did I accidentally flush it out when I was trying to improve my mood before?

"Don't you ever tire of staring me down, Mr. Gray?" Yuuka says.

Crick again. I don’t have the time to try and remember it. I need another idea. Perhaps Skeleton can assist? But wouldn't Skeleton have said something already? Not to mention if I tried getting him to help Yuuka would notice, and well, it's not like he has to worry about one measly finger of mine.

I restrain the urge to sigh, rack my brain for an answer as her smile grows ever more playfully demonic. Does she know I not know? Did she know from the very beginning there's nothing she or her flowers would like from these Toads?

Too many thoughts race through my head, causing the onset of another headache. What could save these Toads? What can save me now? What could change her mind?

What? What? What? What?

And like that the question pops out. "What would change your mind, Ms. Yuuka?"

"Ah." Her eyebrows droop, and for a brief instant, I see my face upon hers; a look of befuddlement.

I blink a few times. She’s surprised? Really? With a rhetorical question?

Why it’s almost like she had been mentally preparing for a more definite answer to strike down. Well whatever the reason, I can't stop now. Say anything that comes to mind and pray it doesn't kill me, just like always.

"Yes, what would change your mind?" I repeat myself, taking a step forward, "I can't claim to know you, I met you just a few hours ago. Don't you think you'd know what's change your mind much more than myself?" the words come out quickly, and it takes all my will not to jumble them up.

I point at my chest with both of my hands, vigorously.

"You called me an idiot. I am an idiot..” I point exuberantly at her, and her half smile goes straight. “ I But you, you're creative, you're intelligent. You know what you want."

"Are you attempting to flatter me? Or, per chance, are you making a fool out of me?" she frowns and takes a slow step toward me.

With slight indigence, I walk around her, waving a hand in the air. "I'm stating facts!.. And the fact is, you must know you want... right?” I say, pivoting around.

"To kill trespassers." she says, sounding highly un-amused but still confused.

"True but...!" Okay, what else would she like? Elder Youkai. Been around for a long time. Said that other people have wandered on her land. "You must have killed a thousand trespassers already. That's all well and good, but--- but it's the same, old, thing, isn't it?" I say.

"Mr. Gray." she says, letting a sliver of confusion leak into her voice. "Explain."

Do I even know what I’m talking about.

"Uh—" Crick I almost stuttered. Keep going. Keep moving. "For example, I want to take it easy, but I don't want to take it easy all the time in one place. I want to mix it up a bit. Go on a mountain, sleep, go in meadow, sleep, go in an inn, sleep..."

Annoyance finds its way back onto her face—- but fortunately, my mind finally stumbles upon a tiny bit of substance to my proposal.

"Surely there is something more interesting, no” I glance to the side “better—- you could use trespassers for?"

"I despise humans, Mr. Gray." she says, sounding both annoyed and a little... curious? Or maybe I'm hearing more things.

"Toads aren't human." I say. How are they not humans? "They're much more magical than humans, they're much nicer, and they’re not as big.” Can’t think of anything else. Oh well, when all else fails, repetition.

“There has to be something you could use them for, in your dominion?" I say, adding another tiny bit of substance.

Yuuka grabs ahold of me once again by my shoulder, just as my train of thought goes right off the cliff. I’m out of ideas, and one very, very quick look at her face tells me two facts, one, she's running out of patience and two, no matter how many questions I ask her, she's not going to think of an answer for me.

“Mr. Gray. I do not appreciate shenanigans.” she says, and I feel her hand dig into my shoulder blade.

Ouch. I have to say something. I know there’s something more I can say. All I have to do is answer my own question. But nothing comes to mind. Darn. If she won't think of anything, and I can't think of anything then who will--

"Ms. Yuuka, the master was hinting, and heavily implying, the toads would make good slaves." a certain demonic voice speak up.

Wait, Skeleton? My little white partners hops forward to my side.

He's helping me, despite my irrational action, he’s… he’s being a good partner. I struggle to contain a both relieved and immensely gracious smile towards him.

Skeleton, I... Wait a second. Slaves?

"I've taken care of this garden for many, many years. I have no need for servants." she says, her smiling fading a bit.

Slaves.

"Slaves are different, Ms. Yuuka. As the master pointed out by referring to them as objects, slaves will obey you unswervingly—-"

"—- until their master loses power over them, toad." She cuts him off, looking down with a rather cruel smile.

His offer, however much I dislike it, is the only option we have now to save those toads.

"Do you think you'll lose power?" I blurt out, what I think is a simple question.

She refocuses on me with a glare, but pauses for just a slight moment. "...I cannot trust their filthy hands upon my precious flowers."

…Do we have her on the defensive?

Well if speaking my mind has got us this far, might as well continue. "Yes, Ms. Yuuka, your flowers are indeed precious. They’re beautiful, apart the most beautiful garden I've ever seen. Truly, they deserve the best.”

Confusion blows across her face, followed by a narrowing of the eyes.

"... Deserve the very best, by having personal retainers." Skeleton adds in, making relevance of my random, but honest, comment.

Without missing a beat, he continues. "You can train your slaves to do common, tedious garden work; sprinkle water, kill insects. Moreover, these types of toads are bound in pairs; you may force one to do errands on the outside, as long as you hold the other in thrall. Finally, as my master has hinted, toads are generally much more reliable, controllable, and maintainable than humans." Skeleton says with great speed.

Was he preparing a speech while I was asking my questions?

I almost scratch my head, but I catch myself in the act, transforming the motion into a gesture toward Yuuka. I say, in a voice far more confident than I actually am. "Exactly, Skeleton.” I look back toward her. “Wouldn't you and your flowers like to relax some more?"

"Silence." she says, with eyes and a voice that leave little room for dissension.

I close my mouth and Skeleton backs away. She looks between us, as if mulling the idea over, and-- of course--- her dark, dark glare settles on me.

… I hope we convinced her.

"It has been a long, long, while since I've had servants, let alone slaves." she begins to say.

Oh, perhaps we have convinced her?

"Unfortunately for you, I have also lived far too long to be manipulated."

Bollocks.

"Ms. Yuuka, I am no manipulator" I say, and her left hand immediately Cricks forward and latches onto my face. My, what sharp fingernails. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

"Lie boldly and I'll rip your face off." she says. It’s kind of dark in here.

"Ms. Yuuka, your flowers—-" Skeleton interjects but Yuuka cuts him off.

"My friends are only vaguely interested in Mr. Gray's proposal." she says. Okay, judging by the pain I’m feeling, I think we didn’t have her on the defensive.

… Not to self, Yuuka’s hands smells like flowers..

"Ms. Yuuka, if my master could speak, he would tell you, even though you oppose persuasion, there are more benefits to keeping those toads as slaves, instead of simply killing them."

… A most relaxing fragrance. I wonder if she would mind if I...

“I’ve set an example, toad. Do I want other trespassers to forget that example, and waltz into my garden expecting no consequences?"

Ah, yes, Life or death situation. "Ms. Yuuka, I don't think I'd trespass on your property if you'd enslave me." I somehow manage to say, in her hand.

She offers me a look of contempt and releases my face. Ouch.

“Master.” Skeleton says, with a worried tone.

“Pay my pain no mind, Skeleton” I say, back with a smile.

"Even then, maggots like your selves make mistakes all the time. How many of my friends must die for my slaves to be perfect in their work? Shouldn't I also feed them, direct each and every one of them, and punish them too?"

"There are some slight startup costs with toad slaves." Skeleton conceded.

"I am not new to slavery, toad. I know the visible and hidden costs of up keep."

Skeleton can argue all he wants, but if she’s had experience managing and training slaves, and she thinks there's a lot of extra work involved..

An idea goes through my mind and out my mouth.

"Ms. Yuuka. Since you demand..." She looks back to me and I bang my fist against my chest. "…I will take responsibility for these Toads."

Wait... What- What am I saying? I can't even take responsibility for myself. This is terrible idea. Stop talking. Stop talking. But one look at the toads still trapped in the vines.

I’ve come too far. I can’t stop now. The passion flows forth out my mouth.

"I will monitor them. I will ensure they stay loyal to you, and if they screw up at all; I will punish them, and you may punish me, torture me, skewer me, instead of them... Please.” I say, with a bow of my head.

For a moment, there is silence, as she regards me quietly. Skeleton rasps a little. “The master says a middleman will significantly reduce the costs of upkeep.” he says.

Yuuka walks a bit closer to me. "Why do you care so much for these lives of these toads?’.. Let me guess. Anything for your friends?” she says, as if she had met a man like myself a thousand times before.

“No.” I shake my head. "They're not my friends, Ms. Yuuka.. I simply would be disturbed if I did not try to help them. That’s all."

Her gaze hardens, becoming as piercing as a thousand-year old being could make it, so piercing that it's as if she's prying open my soul and taking a look.

...

I scratch the side of my face, as a breeze blows by, tickling the sensitive skin of my naked body.

"Slaves, it is." she says, breaking the stare.

Yes. We did it. I smile broadly, and her face sours almost immediately. “But, I will hold you to your words, Mr. Gray. The slightest screw up, and I will be seeing you.” she turns away. “These toads better be worth more as slaves than fertilizer."

I don’t know if they will be-- I can’t guarantee that they will, but I’ll try. "Thank you, Ms. Yuuka" I say.

"Story time will be postponed until later this evening." she raises her voice somewhat, as if she were addressing a crowd "My four slaves need to get to work."

Four? But there are just two toads?

… Have I lost the ability to count?

"We weren't apart of the deal." Skeleton juts in, with a rather displease voice.

We? Us? We're slaves? When did that happen?

"You can't have everything. Accept or die." she says, casting me a look, I can’t quite put a finger on.

Skeleton says nothing in response, so I too say nothing. I guess that means, she means it. We managed to scrape together a bargain, but in the end, Yuuka decides. That strength is going to take a while to accumulate.

The green haired youkai, now our slave driver, goes to the toads still trapped in the vines, as they begin to unravel.

As for myself, I wonder what being a slave is like. Backbreaking labor, no time to relax...

Yikes. I sigh a little. Anonymous will probably dislike my circumstances as much as I and they'll be sure to tell me that.

Well, at least Skeleton, after helping me through thick and thin like a good partner, will show me some kindness...

"Master, do you see this stick?" Skeleton says with a very, very flat tone.

I turn to look down at him, and I see he’s produced yet another stick with a sharpened end. "Yes.. I do."

Skeleton jabs the stick at his eye without flinching, and then, points it toward me, nice and slow.

Ah.



*****



Hard work. Hard work is not very relaxing.

Maybe an hour or so after Yuuka instructed Skeleton, the toads, and I on how to do proper sunflower care, we are now finally getting down to business. For me that’s killing all these little worms in the dirt right below the sunflowers, careful not to harm their roots.

And what business it is. Despite her holding power over all flowers, weeds included, her garden is so large, that there's work to be done almost everywhere.

But, as Skeleton had predicted, it seems we're merely increasing the comfort of her already pampered friends. Like Alfred, sitting in comfort in his nice pot right over there, all he has to do is watch over me, the lucky guy.

On the bright side though, all this work has prevented Skeleton from stabbing/punishing me for my unilateral action. Yuuka has separated us into pairs-- I have one of the Toads with me, and Skeleton has the other--and put us different parts of her garden. For what reason, I don't know, as she departed the moment after she finished instruction. Or was it after her threats?

I don’t think I have much to worry though; during her demonstration, the toads we saved have shown themselves surprisingly able at the tasks she asked of us, if a little quiet. I suppose they're either not fluent in whatever language I am speaking, or terribly afraid of Ms. Yuuka.

Speaking of which, Anonymous has been pretty quiet since then.

Anyway. Hard work. I squish some more worms with my fingers. Ugh. Groan. Moan. Bleh. I scratch some dirt out my nether region, and I again have to wonder why my pen--

"Glenn." a voice speaks up. Hm? Who is that? Sounds female, but her voice is more shrill and softer than Yuuka's.

"It's me." the toad below me, the one who had closed its eyes in resignation when trapped in the vines, says.

"Hello" I say. Strange, didn’t I hear this voice before? "Who are you?"

"You don't remember me?" she says, and I sense the faintest hint of hurt in her voice.

"I met you?.." A nervous smile comes on my face as my left, dirty, hand scratches the back of my sweating head. "I'm sorry. I-I'm losing my mind; must have forgotten you by a-accident."

It feels good to stutter, though not so good to reveal a most worrying truth. "Uhm, remind me who you are?"

The toad stares at me quietly. Is she angry? Flabbergasted? Or something else?

I shift around uncomfortably. Yes probably angry, after all, Skeleton and I pushed these Toads into slavery; the most unpleasant life imaginable.

"I am Atich" she says, carefully, as if holding back some emotion, that I fear is anger. Oh wait, Atich? I think I remember chatting with for a bit during the choosing of partners yesterday. Small world, isn’t it? Perhaps she’ll forgive me for my rash action an hour prior?

"Oh. Nice to meet you again” I say. Oh and I think I remember that she was rather intolerant of my ‘trickster’ ways and what’s more, toads value honor, don’t they? Did I strip her of an honorable death?

Good Heavens, how presumptuous was I? Is it too late to say I’m sorry?

"Thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart." I tilt my head.

Huh? "Huh?"

"Abe Glenn Gray the Trickster, you saved our lives." she says, bowing down before me.

She's not mad? "Yeah... I-I did, but...” I trail off, wondering if my perception of toad culture was wrong.

"Would you prefer Glenn or Mr. Gray?” she says with a reverent tone.

"Uhm, either?" I continue to work, digging my hands into the dirt, searching for those little buggers.

"Mr. Gray." she decides. Okay, I think I see where’s she going, and it’s best to cut off her off before she lavishes any undue praise upon me.

"Y-You're welcome for my help." I say. Really, it was Skeleton who ended up saving them-- and/or Ms. Yuuka for sparing their lives.

"Mr. Gray, please don't shrug off your heroics. You, a toad initiate, and a mere human, confronted Yuuka Kazami, Flower Master of the Four Seasons, and lived. Nowhere in toad history is that kind of event ever recorded." she says, as she methodically digs through the ground with her little stick, searching for insects.

I nod my head slowly. For someone so thankful, she’s a little demanding, but nice nonetheless. ".. Okay." I say.

Maybe if I let her get her thanks out of her system.

"Nowhere...has “she repeated slowly, as if I, by all rights, should be dead and buried under Yuuka’s garden. ”Ninety five percent of all initiates fail to obtain a flower from Yuuka Kazami's Garden, and of those that fail, all have perished. Until today, we have been spared.. you have spared.”

"That I do.” Ouch. Another woodchip or something got stuck underneath my finger nail. I bring my hand up, and I shake the stuff loose.

"More than spared; you even possess the required sunflower, with Ms. Yuuka's insistence, no less." she says.

Alfred is one of the items we have to get for our quest? Well that is somewhat convenient—- when I have time, I'll have to thank my green haired captor for forcing him upon me.

Anyway, Yuuka said she inspect our work afterwards, I hope I can get my share done.

"The courage to challenge an incredibly powerful youkai, the wit to convince her, the humility to come and work beside me, Mr. Gray- " Atich says, as though she were lost in thought

Ah yes, she doesn’t know it is only thanks to my quirks, and my strange, strange friends, that I have survived for this long. "About that..." I begin to say.

Being a viciously thankful person, Atich continues.. "We are in your debt, completely in your debt. My partner's and I's quest is over. It is now upon our honor as initiates, we shall help you in any way you see fit."

I blink at her a few times. I said I'd take responsibility for them but it’s almost like she wants to be my slave or something.

"Uh, uhm, uh.... Mhmmm." Wait. That was not the noise I wanted to make. "Uhhh, I need to think your offer over."

"Yes, of course." she says almost bowing her head, completely not recognizing how out of my depth I am at the moment.

So. Time to think, or rather, time to let these thoughts fade into the background, and hope to hell nothing brings them back up.

"Mr. Gray, may I ask another question before you?"

No. Not another one. The last I thing I need is another question. “Go for it” I manage to say, stuffing my will to utter laziness back down. Someday, but not today.

"I was skeptical, but after seeing you today, I really need to know, are the rumors true?" she says.

"Rumors? What?” I say.

"The dominion of toads has yet to send formal word of what transpired.. Yet informal word has spread quickly. You... you did something to the most powerful youkai in the whole world, who wished you dead... and now she's gone.." she says as if reciting a legend. “Is it true?”

I have a half a mind to tell her she's wrong, based on a tone alone. But taken at face value.... that is basically what happened. "It's a little bit more complicated than that." I say.

"So it is true.” She stops working altogether and stares at me once more, this time with her eyes wide.



I turn to look at her.

“Mr. Gray, you really are the man that lived."

… Is there a scar on my fore--- I shake my head a little. What am I thinking?”

“Uhm, H-How quickly has, uh, these rumors spread?" If I'm lucky, this gigantic misunderstanding will only resonate with a few crazy toads. If anything Toad Lord was only protecting me for the honor of Toad pond.

"All the Toads know, Mr. Gray... it’s only a matter of time before all of Gensokyo knows of your great feat.”

Oh...

Oh no. "... A moment please." I say. I stare dully into the ground, eyes wide. If only Alfred was here next to me... I really need someone to whine my heart out too.

"Yes, Mr. Gray. I will also do your share, while you ponder.” she says, as she-- like clockwork almost--- doubles the speed she was going at, breaking no sweat.

… Wow. “Thank you” I say, sighing a little.

Millions of things are happening without my knowledge, and I seem to be stuck right in the middle of it all. I can only wonder what else has been happening outside this little patch of beauty in this most inhospitable land called Gensokyo.

I look upwards, hoping to find some solace in the beautiful day.

Ah, there's that black bird-youkai again, and I think I can hear it making a sound. A constant, soft, screaming, shearing sound.

Strange. I squint to get a better look. It has unflapping, metal? Yes, unflapping, metal wings, and it’s rising higher and higher into the air becoming a mere black, near-unnoticeable black dot in a few seconds.

Too high for a bird or a living creature I’m sure.

A plane. It's a plane.

… I wonder what a plane is.


Over the compromise with Yuuka:
[ ] Abe, you idiot.
[ ] Not a bad job, Abe.

About Atich's opinion of you:
[ ] encourage her. You deserve some underlings.
[ ] Disabuse her of that notion. Remember, you're an idiot.
[ ] Be neutral. Alfred, and by extension, Yuuka, is listening to your every word.

General:
[ ] write in any questions you have for Atich.

About the plane:
[ ] write in any possible warning you have.

———


This was fun to write. All choices are optional, so don't feel pressured to make a decision on them all.
>> No. 142712
[X] Not a bad job, Abe.
- [X] <b>Don't do it again.</b>

[X] Be neutral. Alfred, and by extension, Yuuka, is listening to your every word.
>> No. 142719
[x] Not a bad job, Abe.
You ain't dead. So, as long as you live, opportunities and options for the future still exist. Though you might wanna tell Atich to watch her tongue the sunflowers can hear and speak too.

About Atich's opinion of you:
[x] Be neutral. Alfred, and by extension, Yuuka, is listening to your every word.

General: for Atich

[x] Ask her if she and the other toads have some means of communication across Gensokyo. If she does...well, Skeleton might have a few ideas how to manipulate the rumor mill to his (and by proxy) your favor.

About the plane:
[x]Unless it's bothering you, you should ignore it. Though, you might wanna mention it to Skeleton if you can ever get time alone with him. He might understand it's appearance better than you.
>> No. 142757
[x] Not a bad job, Abe.
[x] Be neutral. Alfred, and by extension, Yuuka, is listening to your every word.
[x] Ask her if she and the other toads have some means of communication across Gensokyo.
[x] A plane is a mechanical vehicle for long distance aerial transport for humans outside of the border. They do not exist in Gensokyo-they're too technological advanced to fit in this land of magic and horror.
>> No. 142886
[x]half of anonymous says "good job abe." and the other "Abe you idiot."
Seems fair, we ended up screwing over ourselves more in exchange for saving more so, to be truthful its a 50/50.

[x]As for Atich lets not bathe in the glory as it will mean peopIe will look towards us as a role model and we won't get to relax.

Also, if the fact that our slaying of gapbitch is going around, then chances are a gensokyo higher up may try to get us out fo personal motive,or negotiate us out, this in turn may
>> No. 142888
>>142886
result in us being seperated from the toads due to said person rushing or a firefight, if anything, seeing as slaves are property, I hope Marisa will "borrow us"

At least we will get out of this hell.

And no meeting Alice!
I don't even want to conjur up what would happen if the crawling chaos were to meet her version of wonderland.

Just try to imagine American mcgee's Alice but written by lovecraft.

Not a very positive thought, is it?
>> No. 142901
>>142886

Noone besides you has said "Abe you idiot".
>> No. 143296
File 130940607487.jpg - (481.60KB , 768x800 , 1d34ec6eceaf1c62efc2e9135bff35ad.jpg ) [iqdb]
143296
[x] Most everything said.


Anonymous speaks up randomly and I barely have the time to brace myself.

Yet scathing criticism does not come, instead Anonymous gives me the verbal equivalent of a pat on the back, seemingly... satisfied, I guess, with the recent turn of events. It is a hard pat however—- I think they'd rather me not risking my life so willingly again.

Believe me, Anonymous, I don’t want to either. However, since my conscience seems to have a bizarre predilection for helping people.. we’ll really have to see, won’t we?

I sigh a little.

Well disregarding future moral dilemmas, Anonymous advises neutrality over Atich's reverence of me. Although I'd much prefer to tell her the full but unbelievable, truth, I suppose there's some sense in keeping quiet while surrounded by Ms. Yuuka's eavesdropping friends.

Still, there's one thing I should clear up.

"Atich." I speak, turning to my new companion.

"Yes, Mr Gray?" she says, halting her progress and looking up to me.

How to phrase what I want to say... “...I view myself as but a man, but h-how you choose to view me is how you, uhm, choose to view me."

For a moment, I can hear only the faint chattering of insects flying about in the background as she seemingly mulls it over, tapping the dirt out in front of her.

"I view you as my savior." she seems to decide. Not merely in an awe inspired manner but dare I say, nice. No insult lying in wait, no murderous but fragrant hands upon my face; simply an honest to goodness kindness that basically spurs an almost ingrained response in me.

"Can we be friends?" I ask, suddenly feeling rather cheery.

"...I would be honored." she says, giving me a small smile, and bowing her head a little.

"Friends." I bow my head too. I don’t think we share the same definition of friends, for now it's good enough. Perhaps, she can be another person I could potentially relax with. Perhaps, perhaps.

She returns to plowing through the dirt and killing the vermin, with the enormous expertise only a professional trained to survive in this strange land would have.

Realizing it wouldn’t be right for me to laze about her expense, though a part of me insists otherwise, I buckle down and get back to smushing those foul worms with my hands.

Squish. Squish. Squish. Yuck.

As I continue working, I listen to the rest of Anonymous message. There's a question I should pose to Atich, a question I should I ask Skeleton, and the definition of a plane… They know what a plane is? I listen more closely.

...

A curious definition, but for some reason, something mechanical flying makes more sense to me than something magical. The big question though is why something from the outside is on the inside when it shouldn't be and how something off the paper could come on the paper and...

... I think I'll ask Skeleton to make sense of it all later-- the presence of the plane is not high enough of a bother to warrant fruitless worrying. On an unrelated note, thank you, Anonymous for your help. I hope your collective lucidity last for a great while longer.

Ah— there's that question they wanted to ask.

"Atich, a-a question if you don't mind." she looks to me, but I don't stop working as Ms. Yuuka was fairly adamant we fulfill certain near-impossible quotas by day's end, which looking at the sun, is about a few hours away.

Atich takes the hint, and continues to work.

"Ask me all the questions you wish, Mr. Gray. I won't mind." she says.

"Do toads have some way to, uhm, communicate across G-Gensokyo?"

"Yes, Mr. Gray. We toads operate the largest and most resilient intelligence network in this land... even greater than that of the tengus." she says with some pride in her voice.

I don’t know what tengus are, but if they are inferior to the toads, I don’t suppose I should care too much. "Uhm, but weren’t all the toads, Toad Pond?" I ask.

She nods slightly and says, with her patient, smooth voice. "The dominion of toads does not end where the pond stops, Mr. Gray. Scattered throughout this land are several toad intelligence outposts we call nodes, commanded by brother Toads. Each node transmits, stores, and processes information about the local happenings of their area.”

I scratch my cheek. "I see." And now there are bug guts on my cheek. Bollocks.

"These nodes are interconnected by routes, which are manned by other brother toads, couriers we call them, who pass along the information for the other nodes."

Like writing letters to other people? A postal service? "T-then what does Toad Pond do?”

"All information is sent to Toad Pond, the nexus of the network, to be validated, processed, and then resubmitted as directives to the rest of the nodes.”

And now I’m confused. I almost scratch my head again, but I catch myself in the act right before my hair meets mud.

“Permit my asking, but did you receive any training whatsoever before being initiated?"

Was I supposed to know about the toad network? Well Toad Lord told me a bit about this world... then again, he didn’t even tell me I needed a partner for my quest...

“Not really.” I say, as I crawl over to the next patch of dirt, where the pests are crawling about.

"...Amazing." she says quietly, her work slowing just a bit.

Is dumb luck really that hard to believe? "What’s amazing?"

"You." she answers me quickly.

... Perhaps my new friend may not be as easy to talk to, as I had once hoped.

Well one last question related to the Toad’s network, and then I should be good. "Why, uhm, do you guys want to run such a complicated intelligence n-network?"

"When the day of revolution comes, we will need all the resources we can get."

A simple statement, but her tone shifts a little, becoming vaguely darker, harder.

I think Atich believes in Toad Lord and his plan for a revolution against the elites, the youkai. But I still don’t really have any idea what this revolution would entail. Should I ask for her to elaborate?

"Mr. Gray, may I ask you another question?" she asks me.

"Hm-- oh yes-- street goes both ways." I say, almost absentmindedly.

"Street?" she says, interrupting my train of thought. I scratch my chin. What is a stre—did I just bring another bout of gunk onto my face?

I sigh a little. "Uhm, Never mind. Please ask away."

"Do you trust the jovian?"

Jovian? Oh jovians, the otherworldly people being tormented by a race of all powerful beings. "My partner?"

"Cornelius." she says. She knows he's a Jovian, but does she not know his real name?

Well anyway, the question she asks is a simple one, if only because it’s been popping up since I entered into the partnership with Skeleton. "With my life." I say, firmly.

… Although, if I am totally wrong and if Skeleton is totally untrustworthy, it’d be nice to see my demonic paper show me the errors of my way.

Atich nods. "Then I shall trust him with my life too; rumors be—--" She croaks loudly at the end, eyes bugging out, in a manner similar to Abigail's curious speech impediment. I smile, though I quietly wonder if I should investigate those rumors...

Something bites me on my left hand just then.

"Ouch." I say reflexively, as I center my attention on my palm. I see I now have a reddening welt itching something fierce; and a beetle ant thing upon it. I quickly squish the culprit with a smack of my hand and let its corpse tumble right off.

Right as I'm about to ask if it was poisonous, Atich leaps into the air, onto my arm, and proceeds to lick all over the welt.

.. Huh. The slight burning sensation subsides, and I have to wonder a few many things. Do these toads have magic tongues to go along with their magic stomachs? Are all toads as professional, and as capable as the ones I rescued? At what point will the grime and muck leave my skin?

And possibly most importantly, is it belittling for me to find my fellow initiates, who are much more capable than I.. cute?

Never the one for appropriate action, my hand strays to Atich's head as she finishes up licking.

I then pet a little, almost patting her head.

"Thank you." I say. Her heads feel bumpy, probably because it's covered with warts... but somehow it feels nice.

In response, she seems to freeze up, and her tongue retracts quickly.

“Please don't do that, Mr. Gray" she says after a bit and going off my hand, and plopping back to her side of the field.

"I'm sorry." I say, unhanding her, feeling a sheepish smile come upon my face. I wonder if other humans object to being petted randomly, and on that thought, I make a mental note to ask Skeleton about etiquette.

“Don’t be, but please, Mr. Gray, be more careful next time." she says, as she returns to her work.

"I'll try." I say as I look at the work we have left to do. A lot clearly, but we’re making progress. Perhaps later if we have time, I can show my new friends the value of a good night’s...

“It would do me a great dishonor for my savior to be harmed” she says.

... Why is there a pair of angry eyes maybe four or six inches before my own?

A trick of the light? I blink a few times. They're still there. Were they, there before?

Red but not bloodshot pools of hate, unmistakably belonging to a certain someone I met recently...

Uh oh.

I slowly look upwards and downwards.

Kneeling almost upright before me is Yukari Yakumo in the flesh. Literally in the flesh. Exposed belly button and tummy shaped by womanly curves, heavy-looking breasts jutting outwards unsupported or perhaps unrestrained from her chest, blond hair unencumbered by a silly hat or ribbons, long pearl white legs, a shaven clitoris... why she's as naked as I. And on her face, which seems less unbearably gross and more plainly ugly, is a smile far too sharp to be human.

I sit up, and cross my legs. My, she looks quite happy to see me. As incredibly odd as this is, I put on my best smile. Perhaps I can make amends for whatever it was I...

In short order, her hands go for my throat, curl around it, and press with what looks like great force. Immediately, I cut my breath.

She's choking me. She's escaped the tentacles, somehow, appeared before me, somehow, and now she's choking me, somehow... as I was about to apologize.

"Mr. Gray, Do you have a fly in your throat?" Atich asks, with her ever respectful tone.

Atich, I’m being strangled by a crazy powerful youkai. I need help. Anything. She's going to...

I breathe out. Wait a second. Her look of triumph cracks and shatters. I breathe in again, and I breathe out.

A ripple of uncertainty breaks the remnants of her cruel smile, as she tries twisting her hands I look down at them and I see that though she is 'touching' me, she isn't, or at least that it doesn’t have a physical presence.

"Mr. Gray, are you seeing something?" Atich asks me as the naked Yukari reclines backwards a bit, releasing her imaginary grip on my neck.

... I think I'm hallucinating. But neither Atich nor Alfred has to know that just yet.

"Atich, would you mind if you could, uhm do a bit more of my share. There's something I..."

"Anything, Mr. Gray." she says, almost unswervingly. Really such a nice toad, I'll have to figure out how to repay Atich for her labor today...

I shake my head. Focus on the insanity. I look back at Yukari, possibly a figment of my imagination, and I see she has a very, dead look.

I hear a voice then, not through my ears or from the outside, but somehow from inside my head.

What did you do to me.

Who said what? Yukari?

Yes. she says, the tense lips of her frown not moving to produce words.

... Wait.

Did she just hear me? And talk to me? Without moving her mouth?

Yes.

… Until I can confirm anything, I should probably ignore her as per Skeleton’s orders.

Yukari’s gaze hardens a bit more, sending me a rather irked glare. Well, panicking won't do me any good. Neither will asking millions of questions, all of which I know I won't know the answer to anyway.

It’s just another inexplicable insanity among so many others... I wonder if Anonymous is keeping track.

Anonymous. she says without any seeming interest, or curiosity.

Actually, I can start by trying to figure out what she is exactly. I reach out to touch her, and my hand passes right through her. Yes, definitely not of this world, unless she's a… Ghost? Ghosts… They haunt people. So is she a ghost that will haunt me for the rest of my life?

Egad.

Well actually, on a practical level, having another formless creature talking to me isn't that different from Anonymous, except she’s has tried kill me and may not care at all for my life.

Wait a second.

Stop rationalizing your circumstances. Answer me. she demands, with an extremely authoritative but calm voice.

Ms. Yuuka and her have a similar voice, I notice. I also notice it’s a bit harder to think with her talking over me.

I don't have time to play games. she says.

I’d like to answer her, but Skeleton warned me; she could be a demon out to possess my soul for all I know.

but if you insist...

Well technically, she is a demon, who has gone into my mind and mucked around with my soul... so, again, maybe this isn’t all that different.

…I'll kill you. she says, sounding very, very, serious.

How should I respond to that? if at all?

Do not ignore Me.

Well, she says don't ignore her, but I do find it relaxing to be able to ignore a source of such incredible potential trouble. I see her long blonde hair rise up a bit, as though each strand had a current of electricity flowing through.

… On second thought maybe ignorance isn’t such a good idea.





Message to Yukari:
[ ] Hello Yukari.
———[ ] write in a message.
[ ] Ignore her.

Message to Abe:
[ ] Clearly she is a manifestation of your suppressed libido.
[ ] Skeleton's warning applies; besides, there's no more room in your head.
[ ] Engage her, investigate her appearance, but don't go obeying or falling for her tricks.
[ ] Genuflect.
[ ] Explode.
>> No. 143297
[x] Yukarin~! Good to see you're okay, more or less, but could you please stop trying to kill him? He was trying to apologize!

[x] Engage her, investigate her appearance, but don't go obeying or falling for her tricks.
-[x] "Things are going to start exploding again. Soon." That is a message from a being superior to us. No idea what it means, but it sounds like trouble.

You wanted a new name for the story? How about "Out of the frying pan..."? Because his life seems to get worse and worse each update.
>> No. 143300
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>>143297
>> No. 143306
[X] - "Yukari, could you please explain just why you want to kill him? Yes, we know about the border thing in his head, and yes, we know this has kept you up for a year (you sleep too much anyway), but other than that, we don't have any idea why you want him dead so badly. So tell us damn it!"

[X] Engage her, investigate her appearance, but don't go obeying or falling for her tricks.
>> No. 143310
[x] Hello Yukari.
[x] Talk to me once you've had a change of heart you crazy old hag.
[x] But seeing as from a technical viewpoint your are under MY captivity, I will ask you to answer me a question.
[x] Why the fuck did you not use drugs or forcibly manipulate the border of whatever to force yourself to sleep?
[x] More Importantly, why are you asking me this when you can find the answer out for yourself? you ARE in my head after all.
[x] Think of the tentacles, just conjure them up in you're head.
If nothing happens then, [x] Ignore her.

Message to Abe:

[x] Ask Atich to knock us out if things take a turn for the worst.
>> No. 143315
>your are under MY captivity,

We're not Abe.
>> No. 143319
>>143315
Well our captivity, or us or whatever the correct term is.
>> No. 143587
>>143319
Update will hopefully come a bit later due to workload. Forgot my sage the first time.
>> No. 143603
[x]Hey Yukari. Looks like your stuck with us now. Come on in, we want to talk. Some crazy shit is going on.
[x]Conjure up a replica of her old cloths.
>> No. 143607
Called update a while ago. I should probably say something next time.
>> No. 143624
>>143603
Make it to be a skimpy embarrasing costume with the words GAP BITCH on it, then I'm game.
>> No. 143862
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143862
>You wanted a new name for the story? How about "Out of the frying pan..."? Because his life seems to get worse and worse each update.

Maybe that or "Into the fire". I should probably sit myself down soon and get cracking on a non-stupid sounding one.

———-


[ ] Everything said minus late voters (although that would have been fun)

Anonymous speaks up in the nick of time, flooding me with a bunch of orders that thankfully have some consensus. As I cobble together their input in my mind, Yukari's gaze wanders upward, her eyes darting about the sky.

I wonder if she saw something... or if she heard something. Could she have heard Anonymous speaking? Out of the corner of my eye, I also see her left-hand fingers clasping, and unclasping around her thumb. Tensely. Anxiously. Worryingly.

No, no, I must be over-thinking...

Reminder. I can hear you. she says looking back down to me, sporting a sneer, which, unlike Yuuka's rather warm, down to earth, I'm-going-to-kill-you smile, speaks of a most refined, intellectual, coldness. On a side note, I do wonder how I'm able to look at her face this long without feeling nauseous.

Do you take issue with my form? she says.

I shrug, unable to finger exactly how her face has changed. Well, anyway, Anonymous says to engage her, but also to not fall for her tricks. They also give me... a warning, a very strange warning. Things are going to start exploding soon? What things? What explosions? What superior being?

I pause to think it over. Without much regard for my pondering, Yukari stands up, almost floating, and looks over her hands and her arms, her digits moving upwards and downwards in quick succession, as if mimicking a wave. A gust of wind blows on by, a mite cold to my naked self, and I notice Yukari's hair doesn’t sway at all.

Trouble is coming, is the only bit of their warning that makes sense. Trouble is coming. Question is what kind of trouble?

The blond haired youkai continues to... inspect her body I suppose, with a purposeful, yet somehow unnatural grace. Her eyes flick about her skin meticulously, never lingering for more than a half second, as her hands scoop, caress, feel her fleshy parts... Well if the blonde youkai’s sudden appearance is not troubling, then what could be even more trouble?

The United States. the blonde haired youkai says, almost absentmindedly, as she stops her strange motions, with her face opposite of me.

United States? That— Mmmmm, or the USRMM, or the AU or any of those acronyms you humans love to death. she turns around.

...What?

"Mr. Gray, may I ask you to move off to the side?" Atich interrupts, with her ever respectful voice. "I need to do your part."

She's done already? Well, before I forget. "T-Trouble is coming, Atich." I warn.

"...What trouble?" she asks. A sense of unease prods the back of my mind, and I let my gaze wander away.

"I don't know but uhm... " I start walking away, avoiding the sunflowers’ leaves, back to Alfred and my belongings. "...if I start seizing up, or stop moving or acting really weirdly, t-try and wake me up please." I say, say over my shoulder.

"You're versing an unseen opponent, Mr. Gray?" she says, and I stop, doing all in my power not to do a double take. How did she guess that? Could she have seen my sort of behavior before? Could she... have met a disturbance before?

Vacuous questions of a terribly vacuous mind Yukari says with a half yawn, floating next to me as I walk.

"Kind of?" I reply to Atich.

My, Yuuka will be ever so pleased to hear that. Yukari comments dryly. Ah, crick. Now Yuuka knows I've been slacking off and also, that I’m nuts.

.. Well, I’ll cross that life-or-death bridge when I come to it... again. With a quick bow of her head, Atich says, with her ever soft but authoritative voice, "I am at the ready." and then turns back to her work with seemingly all of her attention, and without a question, or doubt spoken or visible. She’s at the ready. I scratch the skin behind my ear, as I turn and finish my quick walk over. Whatever training and preparation these initiates went through, surely I would not survive it.

Your inability to make a living upon this land means little to me, fool. Hurry up and talk. she says, somehow sounding even less patient than before. Well, time to start engaging her. Well then. How's this for engaging?

Hello.

My name is, well you already know my name so uhm... The gaze she gives me kinda looks like she wants to spit on my face, and upon that thought, she smiles at me-- sharply.

I guess what I really want to say is that, Ms. Yakumo, I'm sorry for-- well-- whatever I did back there in my mind. Honestly, I am. I'm also sorry for ignoring you, as my circumstances have not been...

The blonde youkai waves her hand slightly, repeatedly—- dismissively, cutting me off. Your apology also means nothing to me. Ouch. Yet while you blathered, I answered my foremost question, so here, have is something new for you to reflect on... Who are the children of your gap?

Children? Gap? What?

Who, fool, were the children mouthing off in my head?

You have voices in your head too? Well, that would explain the craziness—

Her head comes closer, and I can see her eyes; dark, deep, seemingly infinite pools of anger. The voices in your head speaking through your gaps into my own mind. Were they—- how you call them— your Anonymous?

My Anonymous? I blink a few times at her. Ms. Yakumo, can you please move back---

… And she moves a bit closer, her hands pressing or at least would be pressing on my legs if they had mass, and her nipples brushing against my hairy chest. Individuals acting like children, identifying themselves with an asinine name... Are you in a coma, fool? she says.

What? Am I in a coma? …I’m pretty sure I’m not?

In that case, hasten your responses. Honestly. she sighs heavily with half lidded eyes.

I shift around a little. Well Ms. Yakumo, silly and bored as Anonymous may be, calling them children is a little...

Insulting? For posturing and silliness to be met with mere bluntness in desperate times like these... is unconscionably forgiving, don’t you know? On further thought, maybe I don’t care about who they are, fool.

Did Anonymous say something to Yukari I didn't hear? Or should I be insulted that she keeps calling me a fool?

Your fake name is barely an improvement over fool. she says, as she pulls away from me.

Wait. You know, Abe Gray is not my real...

Now I do. Ah, a trick. I rub the side of my face, having long given up on maintaining any sort of cleanliness. Disturbance number one-hundred-and-twelve, I will call you whatever best fits my plans, my views, and your lowly, almost nonexistent intelligence. She crosses her legs as though sitting upon an invisible stool, hanging in midair. Have I made myself clear?

I sigh. Ms. Yakumo... I already have an evil, white, toad and another psychotic, crazy-powerful, youkai stepping all over me. I'd like to have not anymore.

Have I made myself clear?

Very. On a side note, I sound much more coherent in my mind than I do when I talk. Who would have thought?

Your response to stimuli is ever so tiresome. Yukari says, levitating next to me. Simple-minded questions, joined together with simple-minded jokes in a dreadfully boring, never-ending loop. Outwardly presenting some semblance of control, inwardly, having nothing of merit or sufficient mental caliber. Can’t you stop, it fool? she rests her hand on her hand seemingly.

I've been telling jokes? Her left lip quirks, in seeming displeasure. She finds my thoughts funny?

Ah actually, I think she intended that as another insult. Huh.

Unflappable, aren't you, fool? But only because you cannot grasp the many terrible fates awaiting you... she shakes her head. Ignorance is a poor substitute for courage, fortitude..." She looks back to me "...for the many qualities demanded for in these times, you spineless dog." she laughs a little to herself.

Spineless dog. Well, I could say you're wrong, I could say my recent most actions have certainly showed I'm not a completely cowardly git...

.. But what do I know? I’m only a lazy bum, searching for the strength to have some peace, in a most turbulent, queer, land. Somewhere along the way too, others like you seem to have mistaken me for something or someone important.

[b] Don’t even bother, fool. Whatever sympathy I once felt for you disturbances, has long since been extinguished by the harm you’ve wrought time.
Yukari says, casting out her hand, in a half pointing gesture, half dismissal. Rather, in the meantime, you should be very, very grateful, my alliance has yet to exterminate you.. .

Alliance? Exterminate?... I shake my head. Ms. Yakumo, I don't want sympathy. I just.. I want peace of mind.

.. But she clearly isn't listening to me. So I look to cheer myself up, with the sight of Alfred. His big, yellow, petals splendidly shining under the bright sun, relaxes me, allowing me to close my eyes and clear my head.

Yukari says a few more words but I can't hear her. Instead a question floats into my mind. Out of all the pressing dangers I’ve had to deal with... do I have to deal with her? I open my eyes. I don't think so.

I've not finished my inquiry, fool Yukari says, as I find myself walking back toward my work, which though not enjoyable, is preferable to talking with this strange, nude, murderous, woman-monster.

My, aren’t you a petulant child? she says with undisguised contempt.

Another insult? I sigh, stopping for a bit and look over my shoulder.. Ms. Yakumo, Can you... can you force me to listen to you?

A pause. "In due time." she says.

But not now? No response. Not now, it is. So I guess you can't hurt me either? I look at her side, at the hand that had been fidgeting before. Yes, it kinda looks like you've been trying the moment we met with all your powers and gobbledygook....

Your weak, mortal, mind cannot even begin to comprehend the power I wield over any and all boundaries, human.. she says.

Yes I understand you're incredibly dangerous, but if what Skeleton told me was correct, you only have power in this land...

She continues on, as though I had said nothing at all. The seal you've placed upon me cannot hold for much longer. It and your distorted gaps will inevitably shatter, and in an instant, I will be all over you. A terrible, horrible instant which I can extend for an eternity, if I so choose"

I give her too curvy body a once over-- her breasts, buttocks and thighs seeming awfully heavy, and then with one look at her face, I imagine her being all over me would be at the least, highly unpleasant. Her nose wrinkles.

Well anyway, Ms. Yakumo, though I'm sure you meant every word of that threat, I'm afraid I'm not afraid. I mean, you'll kill me just the same never-minding what I do now, right?

Comply and I can grant you a painless, quick death the moment I am free. she says simply.

Well until that unfortunate day comes, I do need to get to back to helping Atich.

I am not finished with you yet. Her hair gets a little bit electrified again, as she straightens her long legs, standing on the ground before me.

I'm sorry, Ms. Yakumo. I'm not smart enough to verbally spar with you, but maybe Skeleton could put up a good fight.. Ah actually, he isn't here right this second, so... I bow my head again. Time to get back to bug squashing. Ugh.

A moment or two passes as I walk away.

I'll compromise. Yukari speaks up.

Hm? Compromise?

"My personal objections mean little when concerning the peace of this land." she says, floating her way over to me... a few feet above me; making it quite hard to see her face over her sizable breasts. "But soon, there will be many hells to pay, dear fool."

So my list of people of who wish me harm includes Cirno, Abigail, Yuuka, Yukari...

I shake my head. Well, first off, why do you want to compromise with me? I don't understand.

Yukari scoffs. It's not obvious? Read between the lines, fool.

I shrug and I continue my brisk walk back to Atich, my forehead going right through her navel. I do wonder why youkai insist on seeming superior if they're already superior...

Fine, human. You have problems and I have problems. Both need answers and both need solutions. Desperately. Does that answer make you happy? she says with still a murderous look, floating around me, this time at my side.

I twist around and I meet her eye to eye. Yes and thank you, Ms. Yakumo.

Then let’s put an end to tea time, human. Yukari growls, or well growls in her own bizarrely refined way.

Well, as long we're nice to each other, I'm all for finding what’s what. I reverse course, walking back to Alfred and my possessions. Once there, I gesture to the ground, and Yukari gives me a funny look. I sit down, pretzel legged to demonstrate what I thought was obvious.

Please sit, Ms. Yakumo

She replies with a stern, firm, No.

I smile regardless, feeling like I’ve made some progress has been made and— ouch, my nether regions are beginning to chafe with all this dirt—- I shake my head and look up to her. Anyway, Ms. Yakumo, do you want to ask me questions first?

Mmmm, no, human, you may go first. she says, crossing her legs and pretending to sit again, her feet dangling very nearly, right in front of my face.

Wait.. What? I thought.. Dominant people.. well, dominate the conversation?

She stretches her arms above her head, and bends backward in the air. I'm not as stubborn as Yuuka, human... and I am far greater tolerance for games.

What?

She rights herself, and twists her head from side to side, seeming a little bit less antsy or kill-crazy than when I had met her just a few moments ago.

You wish to know the logic? Human, you don’t work properly with threats, or demands... but a pinch of guilt on the other hand.. I reason will cause you to sing like a canary.”

What?

[b] Since I will go first and be forthcoming, you will feel compelled to reciprocate-- completely and truthfully, of course, as I have realized how poor a liar you are.
she places her arm on her thigh, head on her hand, and the other gesticulates at me. Basic Logic.

I blink a few times. Okay, so she's smart enough to outwit me, predict me, manipulate me, trick me... but to have analyzed me that much, and to have planned for all this to happen..

...I think you need to relax, Ms. Yakumo.

Her expression sours. I am more tired than I’ve been in all my sleepless nights combined, and I am more awake than I’ve been in any of my desperate struggles. Relaxation will come when I've escaped this seal... and obliterated you. she smiles sweetly, and I smile a little.

… I hope she can get over that sometime soon. Anyway, questions, questions.. Well I think Anonymous, Skeleton and I, would like to know...

... what disturbances are? A lucky guess? Or is my mind easy to predict?

Dead simple, human I hang my head, feeling a little nostalgic for the days my self-questions were just self-questions. .

Her own gaze wanders off into the distance as she rubs a strand of her long, blonde, hair with her left hand. My, my,... what are disturbances?" I hear a playful tone, snake its way into her voice. [b]My shikigami asked me that question sometime when all this began...

Shikiwhati? She eyes me, with a look of pure business....when I was more certain of them, than I am now."

I tilt my head. Ms. Yakumo, I don't think I understand.

Human, is it hard to believe that my conception of the disturbances is as limited as yours?

... You don't you know what they are? But you're, you’re...

Oh I've ascertained many facts; humans with irritating gaps embedded in their minds, who interfere with my ability to control Gensokyo's border, and thus my slumber. For example. That was just an example? But I lack sufficient knowledge over their purposes, their master's, and many other details, to claim I do know them.

I blink a few times. This conversation is starting to sound an awfully a lot like...

Trouble, human? But the disturbances are somewhat worse than trouble. They are... ah what's the colloquial phrase.. 'living lies'

Living lies?

A trickster who once inhabited the bamboo forest coined that term, mmmmm... Yukari closes her eyes and bites her lip as if in deep thought ...a day or two before the disturbances outsmarted her. She opened her eyes. Killed her.

I'm sorry to hear..

You would not know of her.. You can’t pretend to care about her. she snorts softly.

But I wasn't...

However horrible it was for her to be buried alive underneath the cinders, and the rubble of her destroyed home, the war for Gensokyo is a much larger consideration.

I sigh a little as I lean in a bit. The War for Gensokyo?

... I'm getting ahead of myself. You do want to know why we call disturbances living lies don’t you?

Yes, please, Ms. Yakumo..

Livings lies means they are humans who have fake memories, fake intentions, fake organs... fake everything really, mmmm... Props, actors, devices--- basically, tools for their controllers to use in both random and purposeful ways, here in Gensokyo.

I scratch my head.

...An example please, if you don't mind.

She barely shrugs, as she continues quietly, An example, hm? An example would be a disturbance who befriended a friend of mine a while back.

Who were they?

Both will go unnamed.

.. Alright.

This disturbance entered Gensokyo a few months ago. He or she quietly, built up a nice, if boring, existence, and then one day--" she balled her free hand into a fist. "—that disturbance ran up to me--" She released it and her mouth made a small 'o' shape. "--and detonated.
>> No. 143864
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Explode. Though I feel no fear, the thought sets off a little alarm in my head, as my hand begins rubbing the skin over my stomach.

The blast itself was not a concern--- My, it was but a warning of events to come.

Wasn't exploding, wasn't that just a silly little joke Anonymous...

Human, afford me the same kindness I do you, and listen.

Ah yes, yes. I table that thought for later, though I wonder if that little table can hold anymore worries.

Disturbances you see, can transpose inside Gensokyo's border, wherever they want, and leave whenever they want. As a consequence, they can do whatever they want without impunity... despite the best efforts of my alliance.

Best efforts? of your alliance?

Therein lies the aforementioned war; our attempts to contain, suppress, and find out more about these disturbances and their incursions into our peaceful land. So far, it's been less like a war and more like a game, or maybe a mystery, in which I’d like to believe I’m a player. I can’t tell how many I've gapped, manipulated, killed... yes, I’ve killed so many of you so many times...

Her gaze wanders over to me and I look away, detecting a slight bit of restlessness, and maybe sleep deprivation creep into her voice.

But for every measure my alliance, my group of players, has undertaken—- the disturbances and those who control them, have deployed counter measures. Terrible counter measures.

Like when they killed that trickster? Yukari merely nods, as she resumes braiding her hair. But how can disturbance— I mean- they're only human aren't they?

"A butterfly flaps its wings... and just yesterday, I beat a good friend of mine into unconsciousness because I had to kill her Oni."

A butterfly? an oni? Her friend was that red white girl back in the toad pond?... an Oni? What’s that?

"The disturbances do something seemingly small and seemingly, inconsequential and only later, much later, does Gensokyo suffer the consequences." she clarifies.

Oh okay, but why did.. you.. beat your friend unconscious? and kill her oni, whatever that is?

"Better at my hands than theirs, for theirs are as cruel and ruthless as I've ever seen them. Yet the disturbances and their controllers are worse than simply evil--- they are cognizant. More cognizant and more capable than any sentient I’ve encountered ever before. If a chessboard was on my person, I could illustrate to you how it feels fighting against them."

Her voice sounds more and more exhausted as we go on... and the weight of her words weigh heavily on my mind. But I think my biggest question right now is...

...What's a chess board? Yukari closes her eyes, puts her hand on her forehead, and sighs something unpleasant. Ah, that was probably a dumb question-- sorry for being so slow, Ms. Yakumo. I reach out to her, but her eye opens in between her fingers, sending me a dark, probably bone-chilling look. Although not frightened, I take the hint and retract my hand. Me wanting to touch people is starting to become a bad habit.

Well... at the very least, it is a beautiful day, I think, looking outwards toward the bucolic scenery which relaxes my mind so very easily. To that thought, Yukari brings her hand down to her cheek and glances toward the landscape. Her eyes soften.

Every day is a beautiful day in this land. she says, perhaps admonishing me, perhaps agreeing. Her answer does give me an idea though.

... Do you fight for its beauty, Ms. Yakumo?

She looks to me, with a surprised look, as if she hadn't expected that question.

Oh I did, I merely am astonished at your sheer banality.

…You're not very nice, Ms. Yakumo.

But in way, you are correct, a charred, and ravaged Gensokyo would mean as much to me as the out... she trails off, bit down on her lip, as though not meaning to say that word.

Outside? I guess.

My, who knows? I can no longer envision it. she says looking back at me. .... Have you forgotten? You disturbances have ruined my ability to control the border and even before then, most of the borders have been mostly sealed for two decades...[b]

And that’s it, no more questions come to my mind. I imagine it’s because the topics we’ve gone over are too detailed and deep for me to comprehend. Instead all I am left with is a strange sinking feeling.

Could it be perspective?

Yukari examines her hand again, though with a more lackadaisical expression. In the end, despite my whining and blubbering, dark, foreboding conversation... is nowhere near as stressful or as painful as what Yukari must have struggled through.

With that I turn to her. Ms. Yakumo,, I'm really sorry to hear you...

[b]Do you remember the trouble you spoke of, human?
she says, dismissing me with a few more impatient waves of her hand.

The trouble? Ah yes, 'trouble is coming'’, right?

You can tell me what that trouble is. You know it already. she smiles... what seems like a nice smile.

Uh oh.

Who controls the border of this land, human? She raises one hand with one finger.

Uhm, you do.

What prevents the outsiders from coming in? She raises another hand, also with one finger.

The border, right? Why are you asking me questio---

And what happens to the border when the person who controls it... no longer does? She brings those two hands together, and makes a two with one hand.

And that question, I look to my dirty legs, to my dirty midsection, and my now dirt encrusted chest and back up. No idea.

... It will weaken. Considerably. she says, her eyes drooping with probable annoyance, resting her head fully on her hand. With the other borders of Gensokyo compromised... can you tell me who will stop the incursions from the outside?..

Well you wi...

Wait a second.

Finally you understand... Gensokyo is ripe for the picking. The humans of the outside will come inside, no longer mere incursions but a full invasion, marching and goose-stepping.. in an attempt to conquer us. Should the disturbances be but the tip of their arsenal... She trails off, perhaps purposefully.

… Then what? Will the youkai have trouble repelling them? Will the war became a real war... or, could it be that she think they'll lose? An image of a sky filled with bombers, raining fire upon helpless citizens enters and leaves my head before I can grasp it quickly enough.

Bombers. Bombers are planes.. aren’t they? I think, making a small connection.

Yukari shows no care for my aside and continues. Human, surely you can articulate the reason why I despise you now? she says, her voice become infected with a touch of overwhelming, hate.

Ms. Yakumo, I'm sorry, I don’t....

She speaks quickly. A disturbance filled with incredibly, exasperating, gaps which attracts the attention of the disturbance's number one obstacle, who has slowly lost her patience over these many months who, they know, must want to see and understand the inner workings of at least one of these disturbances, once and for all.

I look up, trying to make sense of what she said… They knew you’d want to come to me?

Your masters created a trap and I fell for it. Hook, line... sucker. Her free hand points to her face, straightly. Exactly as they or he or she knew I would have.

So they planned everything out...?

They are not prescient, human, though they may appear to be so. As it stands, the only they had to had plan, to initiate this sequence of events, was you.

Me?

Of course, human. You were, designed, built, constructed, manufactured... whatever; endowed with one purpose; to serve your masters. To seal me. You are a trap and nothing more.

I smile nervously and I rub the back of my head. Ms. Yakumo, surely you..

I'm not laughing, human. But I should be. No existence is more pathetic than that which has a fake mind, fake bod, fake everything...“ Despite her words, Yukari’s expression remains placid, no sharp smile, or sneer in sight. The perfect slave, doesn’t even know he is a slave... doesn’t even know, I’ve seen his exact face plastered on another disturbance a few moons ago. You are but an empty shell to me..

….

I'm not.. I'm not sure how to respond.

Is... is that the truth?

Pretend you’re not, hide from my words if you find your lies comforting... your belief means nothing to me.

Not quite an answer, but what can I say to that?

Nothing will do, because your response would mean nothing to me or to anyone worth anything. she replies..

For some reason, that insult rings of sage advice somehow, and I comply, looking at the ground, perhaps bit dumbly.

.Gosh. I put my hand underneath my chin, and I wonder why what she says...

… Sounds so right. Somewhere along in my confusion, I notice it’s quiet. The birds, the insects-- they've stopped chirping.

Hm? Human, did you think something?

You didn’t hear me, Yukari? You.. weakling. That word surfaces again, and Yukari merely narrows her eyes.

{b] Name-calling.. again? [/b]

No, Ms. Yakumo, I didn’t mean to think that. It was... It was not in my voice, not at all. Could I have misheard?

I have a question for you now, human. she says, not caring at all for what I have to say.

Ms. Yakumo, I think I need a moment or two..

Master Yukari

Wait. I turn my head, did someone..? Or was that just the breeze? But the wind isn’t blowing, and it’s still almost deathly quiet...

What happened after I opened the gap in your mind?

Gap in my mind? I look back to Yukari.

The object you conceived as a door, human, in your mind-scape.

Oh that, well...

I can't feel her presence

Well inside the door was the tentac--- An image, of something black, shiny, and slithering, a tentacles fills my vision.

The what?

A pain shoots through my head, and straight into my heart, which as though on cue, stops beating.

Reimu, I can't...

My hand clutches at my chest, digging around at the hair and into the skin. My eyes go wide. It hurts.

Human? It’s an awfully simple question that even empty shell... she says with a tone mildly more concerned, as though she can’ t see my pain.

As suddenly as it came, the tentacles depart, and my heart resumes beating. I look to the ground, panting, and then back at her, trying not to flop over in relief.

Did she.. did she not see that?

See what? The tentac... Again the same image, the same pain hits me, though just for a second or so.

The moment I’m lucid I look back at her. How...? How are they doing this? I’m not thinking about them deeply, at all, they can’t be.

Human. Yukari says, with her growling tone.

… Could the demons have gotten a better grip of my mind?

Eternity will last only for... And that noise... it sounds like a voice, but I can’t make sense of it.

Human, what on earth are you blabbering about?

Ms. Yakumo, I... I really, really, don't think I should tell you what happened.

I answered your questions. You answer mine. Aw, you don't want to be fair to little, old, me?

She's blatantly playing the guilt trip.. but it’s working. I squirm a little. Ms. Yakumo, you... really don't understand, I think, as my left hand agitatedly claws at the back of my neck.

It is because I don't understand, that I must understand, human.

But, Ms. Yakumo, it’s dangerous..

If it is a danger, then it is a danger I'm willing to risk.

If the slightest thought of them will bring pain... I can't imagine what would happen if I just thought of them in detail.

Lady Kaguya, please stand back. That voice again, this time I almost heard it.

Your anonymous?

No, not Anonymous, something.. something far worse. Please, Ms. Yakumo. I bow my head. I'm begging you, please don't force me on this.

He is unlike anything I've sensed....

Too much is going on at once, and it feels like.. it feels like something is about to happen soon.

Even an empty shell like you has to face reality. A flare of impatience and anger lights up her face, as she gestures all around us, with a sweep of her arm. ..Look at the land you so adore.. would you let it burn? Would you fall asleep while the grass you find so soft is trampled on by stone-faced soldiers? While the air you breathe in is sullied by the gas of war machines?...

I stare at her, mouth open a little. I think not, human. I think you aren’t that selfish.

… I can hope not. But no, she’s manipulating me, guilting me. But my partner, Skeleton, said--

Whoever or whatever your backstabbing swine of a partner is, he’s of no concern in this moment in time.

Regardless, my partner ordered me not to...

Human. I’ll make it simple, mkay? Disturbances have a barrier preventing them from accessing large parts of their knowledge. That barrier is made painful so they and you don’t become self-aware... Thus, all you need to do, empty shell, is suffer a little pain, and then all that knowledge will reveal itself

Just a barrier? The.. the things are just guardians of a barrier or something? No, Skeleton says I’m possessed-

Possessed? Your partner is wrong, for reasons too esoteric for you to fathom. she chuckles lightly to herself.

But...

Let me make this clear, human. I know more than you, I know more than your partner, I know more than your children, than everyone you’ve ever trusted combined. I am not merely smart, nor am I not merely knowledgeable nor am I merely wise.. I am an elder youkai, human. Don’t take me lightly.

… Arrogant, perhaps. But truthful, very. I think I’m being persuaded.

Two or three minutes left, give or take one...

Yukari smiles.

What should I do?




Important:
[ ] Tell your Yukari, in detail, what happened.
[ ] Do not risk thinking of the tentacles, stay silent.


To both of them:
[ ] Danger is coming. Prepare yourselves.
[ ] Fun times ahead!
[ ] (Say nothing)

About Yukari's opinion of your existence:
[ ] Probably true...
[ ] Probably a lie..
[ ] Ambiguous; as always, find the truth for yourself...

To Abe:
[ ] write in.


Misc.:
[ ] Tell Abe everything you tell Yukari from now on? [Y/N] (you may vote to change this option later)



—————-

Another fun update delayed by other work.

Pick and choose the choices, though as I’ve indicated, the first one is important. Except for the write in to Abe, only the ‘winning’ votes will be presented to Abe.

Finally, I’m going off to a certain south Asian country for a bit and I may be taking a month-long hiatus, but I’ll update this thread saying if I’ll take one or not.
>> No. 143867
Important:
[X] Do not risk thinking of the tentacles, stay silent.

To both of them:
[X] (Say nothing)

About Yukari's opinion of your existence:
[X] It doesn't matter, anyway. I think, therefore I am, and if I wasn't before, I am now.

Misc.:
[X] Tell Abe everything you tell Yukari from now on? [Y]


Yukari's a jerk.
She's a jerkface.
Maybe she's right, what she's saying. Heck, she's probably right.
But she's a jerk. A jerkacious jerky jerkface jerk jerk jerk. The best you can, you oughtn't to mingle with jerks. Because they're jerks.
>> No. 143879
Important:
[x] Tell your Yukari, in detail, what happened.
It was part of the deal. She did tell you she did kill Suika (the oni) and Twei (the trickster)did die. It wasn't exactly the easier thing to talk about for her either.

To both of them:
[x] Danger is coming. Prepare yourselves.

About Yukari's opinion of your existence:
[x] Ambiguous; as always, find the truth for yourself...

To Abe:
Abe, remember in the end Yukari's pointing to you and saying, "you aren't natural" and Skeleton's pointing to Gensokyo and saying "this ain't natural." At this point, neither party has nothing besides their word and their own memories to say that they are right. Furthermore, Yukari dropped the bomb on us saying that people's memories and bodies could be a lie. With Skeleton's and Yukari's truths combined, either of them could be this "distortion." Though, if Yukari's a distortion, that implies Skeleton is right and viceverse. It's probably going to be a big hassle thinking about it right now, so try not thinking about it too much. It's probably easiest to just keep those thoughts in the back burner and remember that this "distortion" is based off the perspective of whoever's talking.


Misc.:
[x] Sure, go ahead. If we're forced to deal with her, we might as well try to make use of her.
>> No. 143903
[ ] Do not risk thinking of the tentacles, stay silent.
[ ] Fun times ahead!
[ ] Ambiguous; as always, find the truth for yourself...
An outside threat that seems to be based on SCIENCE! I like it.
>> No. 143999
Sorry guys. I'm going to have to go on hiatus. But I'm not quitting yet, as there's an extremely fun point around day 3 I want us to get to that will make or break this story in my eyes. Assuming Abe doesn't get murdered by then, of course.

Have a great day, my four to five readers.