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139775 No. 139775
[Ʋ] This is but the first conquest of many!

"No, I'm, uh... I'm kind of a guest. Or a patient. Something, I dunno." Well, that could have come out better. Maybe something about her is throwing me off a little? I don't know what, though.

The four horns coming out of her head might be a candidate. Maybe.

She freezes that smile for a moment, like her whole body got put on pause. Then recognition seems to kick in, and she does the bowing thing. "Oh! My apologies, Mister..." —and another pause, but it's more like a flicker— "...Hendricks! Most of Ms. Hakurei's visitors and clientele are already known to me, and I had not recently refreshed the visitor logs."

I don't exactly recall any kind of sign-in sheet. Did Koishi fill something out while I was kinda-dead?

She takes a step closer, looking me up and down. "Have you recovered, sir? All vital signs appear nominal, but they cannot always account for an optimum mental state."

"Yeah, I'm good, I'm good. Thanks," I tell her. Then, as an afterthought, "Don't think I caught your name."

Another bow, but quicker. "I am the Extended Shrine Maintenance trinary spirit of Hakurei Shrine, Shingyoku. It is a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Hendricks."

"...Uh, you too. So you're a janitor-gardener-broom pusher kinda thing, but... more ?" I say after a few moments of trying to puzzle that title out.

"Very, very, very broadly speaking, that is partially correct, sir." She doesn't look at all put off by that, thankfully.

"Looks like you're doing a good job, then. Keep it up."

I think I wanted to ask her some actual questions, but it's really hard to stop thinking about those horns. Two I get, but four? And pointing down? It looks like somebody got bored and started messing around.

Before I can start saying anything else, I feel that not-quite-body-heat right near me. I turn to see Mima standing right next to me. Like, right next to me. Grinning.

"Gah!" I jump, which gets a snicker out of her. Didn't hear her coming near me even once. ...Then again, she doesn't have any feet to make footsteps with, but you'd think that Horny here would have at least said som...

Huh. As I turn back to say something to the horned woman, I see that Shingyoku is now down on one knee, head respectfully bowed. "Good evening, Glorious And Most Learned Lady Mima," she says meekly. "Are my efforts worthy today?"

Traces of the evil little smile still lingering, Mima looks over the place briefly. "Yes, you are doing well. Rise." The redhead does so at the floating woman's command.

Mima points at me, then jerks her thumb back over her shoulder towards the shrine. "The satori and her dead little entourage are almost back. Might want to start getting ready; we'll be having dinner soon."

"Oh," I say. It's earlier than I'm used to eating dinner, judging by the light, but I guess it makes sense. This place isn't exactly Technologyville, so people don't always have stuff to keep them up very long after sunset. No prime-time TV, no video games, no computer, and I gotta wonder about how much they have to read. It's not like they're constantly getting new material, are they?

Then again, they sure as hell seemed to have electric lighting and more than a few modern amenities underground. And I seem to recall something about a reactor on the trip heading topside, so...

I don't really know what to think. Some got it, some don't? I should ask about that, later.

Thanking Mima, I wait for a second or two for her to take the lead back, but she's already fallen into quiet conversation with Shingyoku. Business to discuss, and none of mine. That's cool, too.

Putting my hands in my pockets, I head on back to the shrine. When I look back over my shoulder towards the path down the hill leading up here, I see a few small dots in the air that slowly grow larger. Looks like Mima was right. More magic, I guess?

I head up into the shrine, but pause in the middle of taking my shoes off. I've got a few things to ask Koishi about, for sure, but I don't know what'll be happening after dinner —most of all, I don't know what'll be happening to me— so I have no idea if we'll have time to talk after. I'm not really sure what's going to happen before, either, though.

And then, footsteps.


[ ] You'll spoil your appetite
[ ] Don't talk with your mouth full

________________________________________________________________________________

At last, I have finished Fallout 2, and am thus free of its prison-rape-like dominance over my spare time. Thank god my netbook can't run F3 or New Vegas; I wouldn't trust myself around either.
...Though I'll probably play Fallout of Nevada when it's undergone the first round of patches and bugfixes after it's released. If they can deliver on even half the things they promise, it'll be neat. Nevertheless, I can't let what happened this time happen then. That was straight-out bullshit.

As for Touhou 13, I've never been one of the OH GOD PLEASE SAY MIMA WILL BE BACK IN THIS ONE crowd, but now I find myself hoping, hoping. The various little hints and bits of exposition (that word feels so weird to use for talking about a Touhou game) that are being dropped make me want to believe it'll happen. If it isn't Mima, then Zun is the biggest tease ever and I will pout very hard in the direction of Japan. That'll show him.

>> No. 139776
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139776
Previous thread:
>>133161
>> No. 139779
[x] Spoil appetite

Nice update. And I lol'd at the pout comment. Here we are hoping to see Mima again as well. Much better than some random new character and really appropriate for her mischievous behaviour.
>> No. 139780
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139780
[x] Don't talk with your mouth full

I'd much rather see a new Touhou than Mima. Nothing against her, but I've always liked newer Touhous. Fresh blood~
>> No. 139781
[x] Don't talk with your mouth full
I have bad news for you.
>> No. 139783
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139783
[X] Don't talk with your mouth full

>I've got a few things to ask Koishi about
That's right you do.
>> No. 139793
I'm liking the orb visitor's information personification thing. And Mima of course.

[x] Don't talk with your mouth full
>> No. 139811
[x] You'll spoil your appetite
>> No. 139820
[x] You'll spoil your appetite
>> No. 139840
[Ξ] FEED ME, SEYMOUR!



... marginally more seriously:
[Ŧ] You'll spoil your appetite.
>> No. 139906
I have unwittingly brokered a tie.

Now I need to breaker that tie.

Please?
>> No. 139908
[x] You'll spoil your appetite

I somehow find myself never voting in this story, even though my interest in it is high. Though if you insist on tiebreakin, I'm here.
>> No. 139913
Ugh. I want to reread The Game, but that fucking ending keeps stopping me.

[x] Don't talk with your mouth full
I'm not sure what I'm voting for here.
>> No. 139916
Tie broken... and subsequently repaired.

New break, please?

>>139908
Always, always vote in a story you read.

Something even better is to provide some kind of useful, thoughtful commentary, though it's not a requirement.

But don't sage your votes. I know there's a handful of you out there who have some theories about how it's better, or more polite, or somehow respectful to other writers, or something about board posting speeds, but let me assure that it's a ridiculous idea, and more than a little irritating.

>>139913
If you're on IRC at all, I'd like to hear more about what, exactly, bothers you about it.
>> No. 139917
[x] You'll spoil your appetite
>> No. 139918
[x] Don't talk with your mouth full
>> No. 139919
[x] You'll spoil your appetite.

>>139913
Why?
>> No. 140114
[+] Don't talk with your mouth full.
>> No. 140175
[X] You'll spoil your appetite.
>> No. 140276
>>139916
>>139919
Never gone to IRC and never intend too.

I don't exactly have a problem with how the story ended. It really couldn't have ended any other way. But that doesn't make it any less agonizing to read.
>> No. 140277
>>140276
what made it agonizing

the huge fight scene?
>> No. 140279
>>140277

Not that Anon, but the graphic description of slicing Sanae's throat open could be factor.
>> No. 140298
>>140279
That was the best part! seeing reading her suffering after all that she did was amazing!
Although I almost felt some pity for her. Then she killed our MC. Again.
>> No. 140451
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140451
[➛] You'll spoil your appetite

Oh, screw it. I'm worrying over this too much. I'll just wait until dinner's done and stuff is winding down to talk to her. She ought to be more open to conversation then.

After I finish taking my shoes off, I walk down the little hall. I can hear dishes clinking and the other sounds of a kitchen somewhere nearby, but there's also an undercurrent to the noise: what sounds like chittering, almost, and lots of little pitter-patterings, like rain starting to fall on something dry and rattle-y.

thuppita-tappita-tappita-bumpita-klackita-tappita

...It's coming from just ahead, behind one of the numerous sliding doors in this place. Without really thinking about it, I walk over to it and slide it open.

Well.

I found the kitchen, all right. But somebody apparently decided to get all Gulliver's Travels up in this bitch, because the room is swarming with a bunch of tiny, tiny people.

...No, wait: Tiny Suikas.

A bunch of them carry plates over their heads, chirping out a little marching song that I can't make out. Another group is swarming over a large pan of sorts where there's something frying that smells pretty good. Three or four of them are grasping the handle of the pan while another group hoists a bottle of something dark about ten times the size of any single one of them and pours out what I'm guessing is some kind of sauce into the pan, making a hiss and a sizzle.

I just stand there in the doorway, frozen, not even having let go of the recessed handle yet. It's cute, yeah, but it's... really fucking weird. And unexpected. What the hell is going on?

I feel a thump as something small drops onto the top of my head and then begins moving oh god what get it off get it off oh god it's on my hand now—

"wheeeee~"

—What?

I pause in the middle of my out-freaking and frantic attempts to shake off whatever it was that landed on me. Perched on my hand is an even smaller Suika, clinging to the back of my hand and giggling a bit unsteadily. Once she realizes my hand isn't shaking around anymore, she lets go and springs to her feet, bringing her up to her full one-inch —maybe inch-and-a-quarter?— height. She looks at me, sniggers more evilly than I'd have thought she could muster, and then clears her throat.

Frowns.

Takes that purple double-ball-bottle with the stickers on it, pops the cork, and takes a long, solid chug that would have any jackass frat boy seeing green.

Puts the cork back on, and grins.

"got everything under control here, champ, so bugger off to the dining room! we'll be ready in about five!" declares the tiny girl. She hops into the air, and gives me a shove with those tiny hands—

—And I'm actually sent stumbling back out of the room. She waves, floating in the air, then floats drunkenly over to the door, like some kind of horned, giggling bumblebee, and slides the door shut in my face.

...

I obediently go to the dining room, correctly guessing it to be the one I drank the tea in. Reimu is already in there, sitting at a table wider than the one I remembered originally, probably so she can accommodate the extra guests. She sips tea quietly from a crude-looking cup. the person that painted it didn't bother doing more than just splash on the glaze around the top.

Looking up as I walk in— no, she was looking this way before I walked in —she gives me a nod, then goes back to... whatever. I have a seat, and don't say anything, either.

Until she snickers.

"You've this look on your face," she says, when I look up. "It usually means my turtle's been telling you dirty jokes, Shin was reciting Mima's supposed history, Suika split apart, or Mima was telling you dirty jokes."

"The Suika one, kinda."

She nods in sympathetic understanding, but the smile doesn't go away. "It's like a cross between having kids running around and an ant infestation. Although at least it's cuter to watch than ants."

I'll admit that much, at least.

...I think it's also time to admit that I'm never going to get as used to this place. Every time you start thinking you can handle what Gensokyo throws at you, along comes a curveball. Only instead of a ball, it's a toaster.

For example, the legs in front of me. I'm pretty sure they weren't there a minute ago, but I don't recall them having actually shown up at any point. They're long and smooth, and I follow them up to where they disappear under a dark brown skirt worn by their owner, one Koishi Komeiji, who is sitting on the table in front of me. She flashes a smile when she sees that I've looked up at her.

"Two people, forty-six seconds to notice! I've still got it~" she hums happily to herself, and there's a squawk of anger from behind her.

"What the hell are— no, forget it, just get the hell off my table!" Reimu starts pulls out that paper-streamer stick from... somewhere; I'm not really sure where, but Koishi hops off the table and assumes a place next to me before she can make use of it.

"Just keeping my skills sharp, Reimu. I can't just practice on fairies and pets all the time; every race has a different kind of mind to work with. Variety, you know~?"

Putting the stick away, Reimu sighs the long sigh of someone who deals with this kind of thing more often than they'd like. "Then go and mess with the oni."

Koishi makes a face. "Can't do that anymore these days, not for fun. Satori made me promise I wouldn't."

The shrine maiden raises an eyebrow. "And since when have you been concerned with keeping promises?"

There's no immediate reply, and when I look over at the girl next to me, her face has gone that odd sort of blank I've seen a few times before —and like before, it vanishes, replaced now by an almost comedic pout. "Whaaaat? That's just downright cold, Reimu. You know us better than that!"

Reimu is kept from replying by the entrance of Mima and Shingyoku, who take seats at the table on her side. They both give Koishi and I a smile, although in Mima's case, her gaze lingers on Koishi for just a moment longer. There's a strange awkward silence for about ten seconds, and just as everyone is about to try and say something just to break the ice, she holds up a finger to keep us quiet, as if expecting something.

And it's right then that Suika bursts through the doors with what looks like a large, gooey rock that she carries over her head like it was made of styrofoam. Reimu rolls her eyes and looks like she's biting back a sigh as the horned girl totters in, humming some unfamiliar song cheerfully to herself. She gives the rock-thing a light heave onto the table, which startles the hell out of Koishi and I.

We both scrabble back to avoid whatever it is that the oni girl just lobbed at us, only to be stopped by a flash of grey-tan color and a POP that makes my ears hurt for a moment. Then there's a bunch of quiet clattering and clinking as various bowls, plates, and utensils appear out of thin air where the not-really-a-rock-I-guess was a second ago, landing on the table. That fried smell from the kitchen is back, suddenly, and stronger.

"So yeah, dinner's served!" is all the little horned rat has to say before taking her own place like nothing just happened. Shingyoku and Koishi both clap appreciatively. Me, I just realize that I was right in realizing that I'll never get used to this place. Mima just smiles, almost contentedly. Reimu tries to not look embarrassed. She manages it, for the most part.

---------------------------------------------------------

Apparently "tempura" is Japanese for "fish and stuff fried in a crunchy batter and isn't half bad." Still not a fan of tofu, though, no matter what they do to it.

Once the meal seems to be winding down, Mima has some question for Reimu; something about lighting for the new road to the shrine. It draws in the other two residents as well, which seemed like a dick move at first: you don't just ignore guests like that. But a little ways into it, she catches my eye, and gives a slight jerk of her head.

What is... oh. Oh! Damn, right.

I tap Koishi on the shoulder— or start to, anyway. As I go to turn towards her, I find that she's staring at me with that scary smile, and eyes that seem too wide. She's clutching something round and blue with a lot of cords coming out of... oh.

"Yep~!"

It takes my head a few seconds to catch up.

"I thought your sister was the reader."

"She is, she is," says Koishi, not looking away even once. "But I've got eyes of all size, and they can watch your eyes on my prize, then my eyes. How's Koko doing since you woke up? Any better?"

She hasn't blinked once, yet.

"Um... I haven't tried to check, actually. —Look, can we have a talk out in the hall or something?"

"We certainly can~. You must know something, I think."

"Lots of things, as it turns out."

A nod. "Right turn or a left turn, though?"

"What?"

"Don't try to one-up me in cryptic nonsense." She gives a Koko-esque giggle and pokes my nose, which almost sends me off-balance and reeling back before she catches me and pulls me upright as she rises to her feet.

"We'll be right back," she tells the shriners. "Won't be but a while!" Reimu suddenly seems to realize she's neglected the company, and looks guilty for a moment. Then she catches Koishi's eye, and the guilt disappears, replaced by a short nod.

I get the feeling, not for the first time, and I'm gonna guess not the last, either, that there's a lot going on that I ain't privy to.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Several rooms and minutes later, Koishi nudges shut a door with her toe, and turns to me.

"Okay. You start."


[ ] Man, it's rough. I don't know where to start or where to begin, man.
[ ] They said 'it's a fight to the finish.' That's a good place to end.

________________________________________________________________________________

My supply of valid excuses has run out.

Well, except for the Ten Desires demo.
And SA.
And UFO.
...See, before the Ten Desires demo came out, the only actual Zun-made Touhou game I'd ever played was Fairy Wars. This may come as a surprise to some of you.

In related news: Fuck you, Unzan. And fuck you even harder, Orin.
>> No. 140453
[x] They said 'it's a fight to the finish.' That's a good place to end.

I am either an idiot, or it's been so long that I am missing some context, but I cannot for the life of me figure out what has Koishi angry.
>> No. 140454
[x] They said 'it's a fight to the finish.' That's a good place to end.

>Reimu suddenly seems to realize she's neglected the company, and looks guilty for a moment. Then she catches Koishi's eye, and the guilt disappears, replaced by a short nod.
Koishi using her power for good is the best thing~ And Suika-waitress. And your characters.
>> No. 140471
[x] Man, it's rough. I don't know where to start or where to begin, man.

Because I don't.
>> No. 140475
[+] They said 'it's a fight to the finish.' That's a good place to end.
>> No. 140488
[x] They said 'it's a fight to the finish.' That's a good place to end.

We know how to end it. That's a pretty good start I think.

Anyway, so we're dead but not really dead but some people can feel that we are in some kind of half-dead state (where is our Myon?) after getting physically killed by a little girl who may have been going on a killing spree outside the border.
>> No. 140495
[x] They said 'it's a fight to the finish.' That's a good place to end.

Maybe we'll even get some cryptic answers!
>> No. 140497
[x] They said 'it's a fight to the finish.' That's a good place to end.

I thought we knew how this started?
>> No. 140513
>>140488
I don't think you've been paying very close attention.
>> No. 140567
>her face has gone that odd sort of blank I've seen a few times before
This has happened before? Gonna have to review the material and try to figure out A.) if it actually has, and if it has, then B.) try to extrapolate if there are any common elements. Because, well, fuck it at this point: Koishi route or bust Bad End at this point. Still early, though.

[X] They said 'it's a fight to the finish.' That's a good place to end.

Laying it on the line. Nick doesn't strike me as one that's fond of dithering around and not getting to the point. Kinda wondering what set Koishi off into manic-mode from her otherwise "normal"-ish behavior. It took a couple readings to appreciate her and Nick having the same response to Suika's shenanigans.
>> No. 140649
[ ] They said 'it's a fight to the finish.' That's a good place to end.
>> No. 140824
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140824
[Ω] They said 'it's a fight to the finish.' That's a good place to end.

No sense in screwing around, I guess. "I've been told you've got an offer to make me, or some kind of deal to cut? Let's hear it." Blunt like a wall.

Again, that blankness. Her head slowly tilts as she stares at me. Then her lips quirk, and form an odd little smile. "...Oh? Now how would you know about that, if I indeed had such a thing?"

"Oh, you hear things."

"Then you must have very good hearing, because I came up with this idea on the way here, and haven't told a soul about it."

"Guess I do," I say, trying to sound all casual, and looking completely unconcerned. I think I'm able to keep from grinning like an idiot.

Koishi gives me a dubious glance, and shrugs before drawing herself up, looking a little more serious in the dim light of the room. "We've got a ...position opening up back at home. Thanks to Koko and the entire Komeiji Border project, Yakumo has been willing to start removing some of the trade and travel restrictions between the surface and the Underground. It may not seem like a big deal to you, but this is the first bit of progress we've made in a long, long time," she tells me, looking a little fired up, at last. "It's like if the trade embargo on Cuba was partially lifted, only somewhere bigger. And more important."

Actually, I was only a little aware of there being something like that going on here, but it sounds about right. I'm assuming we only got up here because of the appearance of my sorry ass down there warranted a visit to Reimu. Still, I give her a nod. "Okay," I say, "so what's the job? Hell, why am I getting offered this? I ain't lookin' to be ungrateful, but it seems kinda sudden."

There's a quiet, unsettling laugh that I only hear her make. "We need someone unaffiliated with neither Above nor Below to act as a third member of the Department of External Affairs. You come from the Outside, and represent a unique viewp—"

"Whoa, pump the brakes there, Bosco," I say, putting up a hand to stop her. "If I sign on —and let's just say I will, for a sec— then that sorta does make me part of the Underground, doesn't it?"

Koishi tilts her head, and then wiggles a hand in the air, rocking it back and forth. "Kiiiinda," she says, but then brightens up. "But that's not the point, see? It's whether you were beforehand or not, that's what important."

Sounds a little bit iffy, but I let it slide for the moment. "'Kay, supposin' that's the case... then what exactly is the job? What would I be doing?"

"Working with ...probably me, since I've likely got the most topside experience recently, and another longtime resident from Below. Whenever there's some kind of problem involving the Underground and the surface or one of the worlds that borders it at some point, then we go out, investigate, maybe knock a few heads if there's heads to be found, solve what we can, and report back."

"...In other words, border patrol?" There's a fair bit of reluctance in my voice.

She opens her mouth, and then frowns, looking almost offended by that. "If you want to be crude about it, I guess you could call it that," she says. "But you're thinking of roasting in some shack in El Paso or Mexicali, or being stuck on one side of no-man's land, just waiting for the other side to make a move first, or something like that, aren't you?"

I'd actually been thinking of Pakistani border skirmishes, since that'd been on the news a few nights ago, but it's about as bad. "Something kinda like that."

"Well, it's not. Or probably won't be. Mostly it'll be investigations and talking to people, like I said. Don't go mixing it up with what you're already thinking of. Anyway, you'll be paid, and we can even set you up with your own place at the Palace. Whaddya say?"

I don't reply right away. It's a pretty tempting offer, and Eiki did say I should consider it. But who knows what else I could find out in this whacked-out place?

[ ] The Searchers
[ ] The Lone Ranger

________________________________________________________________________________

So yeah, this is kind of an important vote. One's not better than the other, but it'll change where the story goes from here.

But if you read this story at all, now is the time to vote.

>> No. 140825
[x] The Searchers

As much as I like Mima, I'm sure times with Koishi will be quite interesting.
>> No. 140826
[X] The Searchers
>> No. 140828
[x] The Searchers

Pitting my love of Koishi against my love of mystery options is just mean.
>> No. 140830
________________________________________________________________________________


Mystry option go!
>> No. 140831
[x] The Searchers

Peer pressure strikes again. I can't just say no in front of her like that. She's expecting me to say yes, and I do like her...
>> No. 140832
[X] The Searchers.

If he knows he's not getting out, I doubt he's so foolish enough to think he can go off in the wild without support - getting murdered does that to you.

Everyone else especially Koko has impressed on our dude how dangerous it is here. Not a good time to go it alone, and besides, with the economy in the shitter a government job (or as good as) has some decent job security, y'know?

Besides, cute girl asking, as well.
>> No. 140836
[x] The Searchers

It'd be kinda weird to refuse after four threads of being in the underground. I have been liking it so far and there really isn't a need for a change of pace.
>> No. 140837
[x] The Searchers

A place to stay, friends/allies, and something to do will certainly help him deal with his sudden non-existence elsewhere. Koishi asking pretty much seals it.

Besides, it might also afford him some protection if his murderer manages to somehow figure out he's survived, alive, and well.
>> No. 140840
[x] The Lone Ranger

Mima route
>> No. 140842
[x] The Lone Ranger
Other options, eh?
>> No. 140846
[x] The Searchers

Sounds interesting.
>> No. 140850
>we go out, investigate, maybe knock a few heads if there's heads to be found, solve what we can
Probably a gross simplification of this proposed position, but to me this sounds like the underground equivalent of everyone's favorite shrine maiden. The last time a recent outsider decided to become a playable character didn't really end all that well. Not to say the same thing would become of Nick, but the existing precedent isn't all that rosy. Furthermore, the last story that got the MC knee deep in underground politics (that I followed at least) had the plot aimed squarely at a cluster of fucks, so I'm generally adverse to this shit.

That said,
>"I believe the satori will soon make you an offer. I would advise you to consider it." says Eiki.
Coming from someone largely uninvolved in the politics of Gensokyo(?), this advice seems pretty sound. Also,
>problem involving the Underground and the surface or one of the worlds that borders it at some point

>dozens of other locations and dimensions all connect to Gensokyo
>...
>Your killer, whoever it was, was from one of these neighboring worlds, rather than a true Gensokyo native

This is probably our best chance of finding who was behind killing Nick. Whether that's something we actually want to find out is something I'm not entirely sure of, though.
As a reader, being tied down to the underground is unappealing; more hand-holding, less discovering, less of a chance to own the direction of the story. Hopefully I'm wrong. In character, though, this is a pretty sweet deal. Become officially affiliated with some major players, pay back some of that good will they've given him, a roof over his head, maybe even get to the bottom of why he's here.

[X] The Searchers
>> No. 140854
[X] The Searchers

I like Koishi, and I like the underground. Plus, in character too, there really isn't much reason to refuse...
>> No. 140855
>>140850
Nick never engaged in Youkai torture
>> No. 140857
[X] The Searchers

Hmmm... Wonder if that means next thread will go to /underground/.

That being said, I agree with the choice. Above COULD have something better, but there's the risk of death or not finding anything. And being stared at or being mistaken for a youkai again, if the underground was any indication.

Wonder who else Koishi is talking about... Yuugi?
>> No. 140859
>>140855
Not yet.
>> No. 140860
[x] The Lone Ranger
Piss, tide, etc
>> No. 140865
[X] The Searchers

I want my Mima route sooooooo bad, but working with people he at least kinda trusts is better than going off alone.
>> No. 140867
>>140865
As a liason, Nick'll be expected to... liase, if you know what I mean.
>> No. 140870
[x] The Searchers
Maybe they'll even fix Koko.
>> No. 140877
[x] The Searchers

If we have some relevance in the workings of Gensokyo, we might get some respect. Unaffiliated outsiders, on the other hand, usually end up youkai bait.
>> No. 140878
I can't see any reason for Nick to refuse this offer.

[X] The Searchers

I took my troubles down to Madame Rue.
You know that gypsy with the gold-capped tooth?
She's got a pad down on 34th and Vine,
Sellin' little bottles of Love Potion No. ⑨


The Clovers version is superior.
>> No. 140917
[x] The Lone Ranger
Sanae route
...please?
>> No. 140938
[x] The Searchers
>> No. 140940
It's strange to have to commit without even a glimpse of what other options might be. That aside, taking the job offers good odds of additional mellow Satori and finding those responsible for the whole mess.

[x] The Searchers

I'll be very sad if the alternative was to become a positive influence on Sanae.
>> No. 140941
>>140940
I bet we'll end up visiting Sanae at least once as part of our new job.
>> No. 140946
[+] The Searchers

>[ ] The Lone Ranger
Featuring Cirno as Tonto?
>> No. 140952
>>140940
...why would you say that? Now you've got me thinking.
>> No. 140966
>>140952
Eh, it was just a thought. What Nick and Sanae have been through share some similarities, and there could be some interesting interactions there. No idea if that would actually happen especially since we haven't see how she's doing aside from the shrine not being its former self.
>> No. 140969
>>140966
I'm not sure about that, what Sanae did to Kogasa might remind him more of what his ancestors might have suffered.
>> No. 141003
[X] The Lone Ranger

No particular reasoning. Just feels right.
>> No. 141017
>>140969
Yes, but all of her dirty deeds are secret. The cover story is of an unprovoked attack, and probably includes a much more noble reason for Sanae being traumatized and losing her powers.
>> No. 141018
>>141017
I think Sanae might actually blab it out herself. She was stupid enough to think that torturing a normally harmless youkai WAS NOT going to bite her in the ass. After all if you kick a cute little puppy enough, it'll end up a mean dog that'll tear your throat out.
>> No. 141020
>>141018
Stupid is the wrong word to use.

What makes you think she'd be so open about it?
>> No. 141022
>>141018
She knew enough about the need for secrecy; she kept what she did from becoming known to more than a few others. Now she knows, or at least has had impressed on her, that secrecy is still necessary. Her gods depend heavily on the faith of the youkai of the mountain; this is not the sort of scandal they need while still recovering from the attack. Worse still, if Orange or Kogasa hear she's been telling people about what really happened, they might interpret that as trying to get someone to retaliate against them for the shrine attack -- revenge by proxy, if you will. They just might decide to cut her off, and I don't think that's something she would risk for anything.
>> No. 141023
>>141022
Even then I'm sure something or someone in Gensokyo would know.
>> No. 141025
>>141023
Well...yeah. We talked to most of them during the course of the story.
>> No. 141079
Since we're talking about The Game, I'll ask a question that has been plaguing me since I read it, and I didn't want to revive The Minigame thread just for it.
How in god's name did Sanae arrive at the conclusion that plain torture was a valid way to get someone to reform their life?
Granted, I haven't read many (read: any) psychology books or anything of the sort, but if any of them suggest fucking torture on a human being for ANYTHING, I'll eat my hat.
Not to mention, Sanae is noted as being 'completely sane' towards the end. I don't buy it one bit. Take this segment for instance:

"All done!" she announces, and turns back to me, with something curved and sharp in her hand. "Now, remember that I am letting you off with a slap on the wrist this time. I am doing you a kindness, letting you spend more time with her. In fact, I'll even send you off together. So, in the future, please don't be so rude, and contemplate what you must do in order to change yourself, all right?"

With a wink, and a perfect smile, she leans over, me, and brings the blade to my face.

To my eyes.

Sane? Sorry, I don't think so. You can't knife a helpless, sentient being in the eye while smiling and winking and be sane at the same time. You just can't.

Anyway, those are my gripes. I'm aware I'm extremely late, but what can you do about that.



Don't read the above if you haven't read The Game yet.
>> No. 141104
>Sane? Sorry, I don't think so. You can't knife a helpless, sentient being in the eye while smiling and winking and be sane at the same time. You just can't.
Oh, you're so naive it's adorable.
But if it helps, try imagining Sanae as a bearded interrogator knowing this is just part of his every day job and taking a knife to a rebel who was going to blow up lots of people in the name of freedom.
Or perhaps a much better example would be the Operative from Serenity with his sword. And if you don't know what I mean you really should watch Serenity.
>> No. 141105
>>141104

That might be so, but Sanae is not a bearded interrogator, she's a young girl. You can't be mentally healthy and torture someone regularly without feeling some major guilt, or at least SOMETHING. She shows nothing of the sort, actually blaming Kogasa and calling her, quote, an "ungrateful, horrible ...bitch!". You know, for defending herself.

Even accepting your argument, I can't understand the leap of logic from "Oh, I have to rehabilitate this person to live like a normal human." to "I know, I'll have them live in constant terror, misery and pain without ever even telling them why!"

>> No. 141114
File 130555067641.jpg - (280.26KB , 502x687 , in_during_sanae_apologists.jpg ) [iqdb]
141114
>>141105
>That might be so, but Sanae is not a bearded interrogator, she's a young girl.

If you think children are incapable of heinous acts when freely given power, then I point you toward Lord of the Flies.

Touhou is a lot like that, but with superpowers.


>You can't be mentally healthy and torture someone regularly without feeling some major guilt, or at least SOMETHING. She shows nothing of the sort, actually blaming Kogasa and calling her, quote, an "ungrateful, horrible ...bitch!". You know, for defending herself.

Maybe she took an AP psychology course in high school, or she read some popular science text, but some way she was led to believe that with enough determination you could condition a person (or animal or youkai) to do or think whatever you want. Kogasa's apparent recidivism was not a failure of Sanae's theories—by the end Sanae had invested far too much into it to simply be wrong—but a failure of implementation. Disappointment borne of Sanae's own perfectionism and inadequacy was then relieved in a sadistic manner, and Kogasa's torture was rationalized as being for 'her own good'.

Her beliefs seemed to be that youkai were 1) subhuman, or otherwise morally inferior to humans, 2) naturally inclined to evil acts, such that they required her attention, and 3) could be changed. Ideas like the former two were likely commonplace and readily reinforced, because the balance of Gensokyo is predicated upon the continued animosity between humans and youkai, but Sanae's biggest mistake was #3: If she had just publicly danmaku'd Kogasa into oblivion whenever she made a scene, things would have been hunky-dory, but trying to go outside the system led to breakdown and a TPK for Moriya.

>> No. 141116
How about you guys go argue in the Minigame thread?
>> No. 141124
>>141114
And it's odd how she choose among the most harmless youkai going about as opposed to say, Rumia who's a classic man eater. Kogasa was chosen on the pure hypothetical risk of a heart attack. Well she certainly gave everyone at the Moriya Shrine something far worse than a heart attack.

Point is Nick will not take the information very well should he find out.
>> No. 141126
>>141124
Probably. But he doesn't have to.
>> No. 141143
Information, especially secrets, has a strange way of getting to the wrong person at the worst possible time. Murphy's Law and all that fun stuff supersede the best laid plans.

I wouldn't bet against remaining ignorant for the whole story.
>> No. 141181
>>141143
Just because it happened in the same setting in this Gensokyo doesn't mean that there has to be GRATITUOUS REFERENCES or such. Fell doesn't need to use it to make NiG Resentment a worthy story in its own right.
>> No. 141203
Gratuitous would mean for no reason. Considering what effect it could have, it wouldn't show up for no reason. It would be part of the, y'know, PLOT.

It all depends what Fell has in mind, of course. Which we can only guess at.
>> No. 141403
File 130621237174.png - (1.37MB , 1800x1400 , Welcome to the firm.png ) [iqdb]
141403
[Ֆ] The Searchers

"Sure, sounds great," I tell her.

There's not real big reaction of any kind, which surprises me. Just that smile, and a little nod. "All's in order, then," Koishi says.

"Huh?"

"Well, you don't have much choice, do you?" The girl tilts her head and gives me a look. "You could try making your own way, I guess, or try mooching off Reimu, or settling down in the village, but I just don't get that vibe from you." Grin, shrug. "Plus, you're too young to not want to do something with your life."

...She's got me there. What could I have done? Maybe found a job in the village, or put my Outside knowledge to use, somehow, although I don't know how. I guess I could look at junk and tell them what it was for, but what kind of bullshit job is that? At least with this job, I'll have some kind of purpose besides making enough to see the next sunrise.

From the way she keeps smiling at me, I'm pretty sure she knows I'm agreeing with her. I'd feel like I was playing right into her hands, but I don't get any kind of malicious feeling from her.

On the other hand, maybe she's just that good at hiding it. What good is it to be an evil mastermind if people catch on that you're evil right away?

"Well?" she asks. Confused, I look at her, then notice she's got her hand held out.

Today is the first day of the rest of my life, I guess. Or something like that.

I take her smaller hand in mine, her pale fingers clasping my darker digits in a surprisingly firm handshake.

"Welcome to the Underground's Bureau of External Affairs, Nicholas. We're going to be making history."

---------------------------------------------------------

After that, we headed back to the dining room. Reimu and Mima were discussing something having to do with handling the new influx of people stopping by the shrine— the kind that came to pray, it sounded like, rather than people like me with bigger problems —but they wrapped it up soon after we walked back in. Shingyoku and Suika start taking the dishes out, while Mima makes a silent exit.

"Meet my newest employee!" Koishi announces, patting me on the shoulder.

Reimu goes still. It lasts for a split second before she nods, giving us a slightly bemused smile. "That's good to hear, I suppose... What's the job, though?"

"You know about the treaty, right?"

Reimu nods slowly, then recognition dawns in her eyes. "So he's... what, the third-party member? I'm pretty sure you didn't give him residency before coming here, so he's probably not the civilian liaison."

Koishi chuckles softly. "You really did read it through, didn't you? How unexpectedly diligent."

The shrine maiden doesn't seem very amused by that comment. "Damn right I did. I'm not the lazy, uninspired lackey that I was when I met you at Moriya Shrine, Komeiji."

I smell a catfight brewing, and not the sexy kind. Reaaally don't want to be in the middle of this. But when I look over at Koishi, though, her features are eerily calm and thoughtful, her eyes locked on the miko sitting across "No... No, I don't suppose you are," she says, after a moment.

The tension in the air lingers for a little bit longer before Reimu blinks, then shakes her head slightly. "...Sorry about that. I guess that congratulations are in order, though, Nicholas." She gives me a cheerful smile, and leans across the table, hand poking out of those really weird sleeves.

We shake hands, although I feel something in between our palms. It's papery, and feels like a long Post-it note, or an old cash register receipt. Still holding my hand, Reimu speaks up again before I can ask about it. "Are you looking forward to working in the Underground, then?"

I hesitate for a second. "...Yeah, I guess I am. If Gensokyo's my new home, I guess I'd better start getting situated. I don't know what the job market's like here, but I'm guessing opportunities like this don't come along that often."

The dark-haired girl raises her eyebrows, but seems satisfied by my response. She lets go of my hand, and the papery thing, whatever it was, disappears as well. "I wonder if you really know what you're getting into," she says, "but I'm not really sure if any of us do. Haven't had something this big in a while, I think."

She leans back and sighs, then glances at us again. "Are you going to sleep here and head out tomorrow, or are you leaving now?"

Koishi looks at me. "It's your call. Are you up for it?"

[ ] Overnight Delivery
[ ] Next Day Air

________________________________________________________________________________

>All that Sanae/Moriya Shrine discussion
Holy damn. Well, it's good to see discussion again. I promise that I will answer all this at a later time, just not right now. And I'll also say that >>141114 is mostly, but not entirely, correct.

>>140850
You, sir, are my favorite kind of reader. That is one well-the-fuck-thought-out vote. Not only that, you are able to put aside your own personal desires for the sake of what you truly believe to be better for the character. I sincerely hope you will not be disappointed with your choice.
Also, I am totally stealing 'Aimed squarely at a cluster of fucks'. That is too good not to use.

>>140940
>I'll be very sad if the alternative was to become a positive influence on Sanae.
In an early version of the story, it might have been. But by early, I mean "predating the concept and immediately subsequent penning of The Game."
>> No. 141406
[X] Overnight Delivery
>> No. 141410
[x] Next Day Air
>> No. 141413
[x] Next Day Air
Better to do a journey with more of the day ahead, and it'll allow some time to wrap up the last few things at the shrine before leaving.
>> No. 141418
File 13062311738.jpg - (473.79KB , 1280x1024 , 7874c3d1a1181075e825e17fa68b8396[1].jpg ) [iqdb]
141418
[X] Next Day Air
Not to put too fine a point on it, but there isn't a sun down there in the underworld that you can feel on your skin without it being seared off.
>> No. 141424
[x] Next Day Air

>>141418

Agreed, who knows when we'll see the sun again. It isn't that big of a deal, but one more time will be nice.
>> No. 141426
[x] Overnight Delivery

I'm getting the feeling that something bad is going to happen. I'd like to be back underground when it does. Feels safer.
>> No. 141437
[x] Next Day Air
Let us impose a bit more. It can't hurt.

>>141426
You cowardly dwarf.
>> No. 141439
[x] Next Day Air
...was Reimu checking for suggestion/manipulation traces in Nick? Goddamn, she is a true shrine maiden now.
>> No. 141451
[ø] Next Day Air
>> No. 141453
[x] Next Day Air

I want to know what that was in her palm. I think it was to check for mind control (which is why the affirmation made her cock her brow), but Nick probably doesn't realize that.
>> No. 141464
>>141403
I dunno; the logistics of carting around someone incapable of flight are difficult/complicated enough as it is without factoring in flying blind/at night. I would also like to be conscious for pre and post flight fairy chatter; shit is immensely enjoyable. Also, one last chance for Reimu/Suika/Mima/Genji encounters or conversations seems ideal. Just a little more perspective before we align ourselves with the Satori faction or some such.

[X] Next Day Air

>I'm not the lazy, uninspired lackey that I was
That's quite a harsh bit of personal reflection. If I had to guess, I would wager that Reimu isn't quite as fond of her relationship with Yukari as she may have been prior to current events.
>> No. 141487
> Next Day Air.
>> No. 141632
>In an early version of the story, it might have been.
A tear shed for what could have been...

[x] Next Day Air
>> No. 141786
[X] Next Day Air
>> No. 142233
[X] Next Day Air
>> No. 142533
File 130838365513.jpg - (611.10KB , 768x1024 , i’m sorry i’m sorry i’m sorry i’m sorry i.jpg ) [iqdb]
142533
TL;DR SECTION
----------------------
The bad news: Resentment is being put on indefinite hold for a while.
The okay news: It is not being permanently canceled or dropped. I will eventually finish it, one way or another. Just not soon.
The (hopefully) better news: I am still writing on THP. The new story is over in >>/others/34875/ .
-----------------------

APOLOGY AND EXPLANATION SECTION
I'd like to apologize to my readers. I've been constantly dragging my ass with Resentment for ages, and have been getting more and more fed up with myself about it. I eventually came to the realization that, while other factors have also been playing a part, its pacing has been keeping me from really feeling motivated to write it. I've still got plenty of ideas for it, and know exactly where I want to go with it. I'm not bored with the story, or suffering from a lack of inspiration. But I'm finding I just don't have the same drive to write it as I had with The Game.

This new story, Metropolitan, is what I'll be focusing on for now. I'd actually been planning on writing a completely different story called Bizarre, but then that fell through, horribly, as I realized there was no way in hell I could pull it off. But the more I thought about the third part of Bizarre, the more I realized it could easily be its own story, and that, more or less, is what I've made.

Again, I'm sorry about shelving Resentment, but I'm even more sorry I didn't say something sooner. Again.
>> No. 142534
>>142533
Hoora- wait no

Well, don't worry about it, it's not as if we're going to hunt you down and crucify you with nails of various lengths lying around our gardens!
>> No. 142536
If it will result in a greater volume of your writing, then I'd be happy no matter what the subject. However, urban Touhoes in the vein of RAN however is definitely a compelling premise.

Not saging because all your readers should see this.
>> No. 142545
Well it was kind of obvious that it was going to end like this, for now at least. I won't lie to you and say that's okay, but I'm just glad you said it up front.
>> No. 142576
>If it will result in a greater volume of your writing, then I'd be happy no matter what the subject. However, urban Touhoes in the vein of RAN however is definitely a compelling premise.

Truth.