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File 125211972165.jpg - (233.45KB, 600x600, Th11_Cover.jpg) [iqdb]
113 No. 113
Deeper Underground - A Limited Adventure.

Well, been sitting on this idea for a long time, and the rebirth of the site seems like a good sign I should go ahead and write. "Limited Adventure" is such a great idea. Have fun, try not to die, turn off your targeting computer and use the force. The title should explain where we're going here, but expect a few more things too. Protagonist will remain unnamed. Etc etc, you know the drill.

---

Loading ...

Deeper Underground – v. 1.0

Loading ...

Route list:

Satori Komeiji (Open)
Koishi Komeiji (Open)
Rin Kaenbyou (Open)
Utsuho Reiuji (Open)
Parsee Mizuhashi (Open)
Yuugi Hoshiguma (Open)
?????? ????? (Open. Hidden.)
?????? ????? (Open. Hidden.)
?????? ????? (Open. Hidden.)

Good luck, Anonymous.

---


"Huh." You grunt.
"What's wrong?"
"Well ... I figure we're in the wrong place, Farley." You say, rubbing the sleep from your eyes. "You said we were going to get fancy breakfast. This is a cave."
"I only said that to get you out of bed." Your flatmate and sometime-friend, Farley, dumps his backpack on the ground and starts peering at the walls of the cave with a small pocket-torch. You just blink in irritation, standing in the little pool of sunlight spilling in from outside.
"So why are we here?" You ask. "How deep does this place go?"
"Not very deep." He says, sitting down on the rock floor and opening his bag. "But we don't need it to go that deep, just to get a little resonance with the earth."
"A little what with the what?" You screw up your eyes and sigh. "Is this more new-age bullshit again?"
"It's not bullshit." He says, pulling candles and a book from the bag.
"So why do I have to be here?" You ask. "Because I'm just thinking of going back home right about now."
"I need you here in case something happens to me." Farley says. "Please, it's very important." He lights the candles, making a pentacle around himself with them.

You sigh, rubbing your eyes again. Nothing will happen, again. You'll stand here and watch him chanting in Latin for fifteen minutes and then you'll go home.
"Can't you just cut this shit out?" You ask. "Nothing will happen and you know it." You shove your hands in your pockets, desperate for some food already. Farley gives you an angry look.
"At least it got you outside. When's the last time you didn't spend all day in front of the computer? When's the last time you went to class?"
"Oh shut up and get on with it." You say, wandering inside the cave and sitting down on a wide rock shelf.

Farley closes his eyes and crosses his legs as you look on with boredom. He sits silently for a few minutes. You and him couldn't look more different if you tried. He's far too clean-cut, smells he's just come of some kind of production line.
"Orbis terrarum Phasmatis." He eventually begins, tracing a complicated pattern on the rock with his fingers. "Abyssus patefacio, incendia exorior quod voro mihi universus!"
Nothing happens. You yawn and wiggle your toes inside your shoes.
Farley opens one eye, looking around. "That should have-"
"Didn't work, huh?" You ask, giving him a sardonic grin.
"I swear I did it all correctly! Maybe if-"

His voice is interrupted as the ground shakes. You both look at each other in alarm.

"Tiny earthquake?" You say. "Just a coincidence."
"No, that's what is meant to-"

The second shake goes on for longer. That rumbling noise is more than just rock against rock as well, there's something far more primal, for deeper, behind that sound.
"Oh shit." You leap up from your seat. "We need to get out of here!"
"No!" Farley shouts at you. "It's happening! It really worked!"

The shaking increases, dust drifting down from the ceiling of the cave. You're not going to be able to keep your footing for much longer, but it's only a dozen paces to the cave mouth. Farley isn't moving though, he's thrown his head back, just watching the rock spasm around him. You'll both die if you stay here for much longer.

“Come on, you stupid bastard!” You try to grab his arms, to haul him to his feet.
“No, stop!” He shouts, fighting you off. “Leave me alone, let me go!” One of his flailing hands connects with your stomach, knocking the wind out of you and sending you sprawling to the floor. The whole cave shudders and shakes around you, ruining your efforts to get back to your feet.
“It's happening!” Farley practically screams. “It's really happening!” You can see tears of joy welling up in his eyes as a great rending noise spreads through the rock.

The ground opens up.

Suddenly there is nothing below you. Sharp jags of rock tear at your hands and knees. You try to grab for the edges of the widening fissure, but your fingers slip. Twisting as you fall, you catch one last glimpse of the cave mouth. The sunlight slips away.

Your hands are torn to ribbons on the walls of the fissure as you fall. Hitting the side of an incline, you keep sliding, dust and dirt getting into your eyes and mouth as the shaking continues. Your head slams against something and you black out.

---

Minutes, hours, days later, you cough yourself back to life. Your hands hurt, as does your head. At first you don't move, waiting for another tremor. But the ground is still. How long have you been out?
You lever yourself to a sitting position, wiping your eyes and spitting to get the dirt out of your mouth. Panic starts to sets in. It's so very dark down here, the only light is some kind of sickly green glow coming from the walls. Enough to show that you're in some kind of rough underground tunnel, but not enough to examine the wounds on your hands.
It's cold down here. And the air is a little damp. You shiver, picking yourself up and climbing to your feet. The way you fell appears to have caved in, there's not so much as a crack of light visible.

How far did you fall?

You glance around at your surroundings, spotting a bundle on the floor. It's Farley's bag. No sign of Farley though, maybe he didn't make it. You shudder at the thought, he was a shit, but he didn't deserve to get crushed alive.
"Hello?" You call out. The cave echoes back at you, but nothing responds
Farley's bag is heavy, you open it up and rummage around. There's some strange things in here, but no food, no medical supplies. You can't make out anything else in the dim light, but you sling the bag over your shoulder all the same.

The passageway ahead branches off in two directions. The left has more light, but there's some kind of rumble in the distance. The right is just as dark as where you are now, but there's no sound. There's also a slight breeze.

[ ] Go left.
[ ] Go right.

---

I will write at first vote or three votes or anything I can get. Don't expect much tonight, just this intro and a couple more if I get readers. Speed should pick up tomorrow. I'll try to keep updates short and sweet, barring this introduction.
Expand all images
>> No. 114
[ ] Go right.
>> No. 116
[X] Go left
>> No. 117
>The left has more light
>Deeper Underground - A Limited Adventure
[X] Go right.

>?????? ????? (Open. Hidden.) x3
Oho. I suppose the obvious guesses are Yamame, Kisume, and... Reimu? SunoharaFarley? Everyone, simultaneously?
>> No. 119
[X] Go left.

The underground city can be pretty bright, but I doubt it has a breeze.
>> No. 120
[X] Go right.
>> No. 121
[O] Go left.
>> No. 122
[x] go <-
>> No. 123
[X] Go right.
>> No. 124
Votes are tied! With >>122
go left hit 4 first, so I'll write that. Update incoming shortly.
>> No. 125
File 12521255332.jpg - (179.25KB, 600x800, 380a08efa428f8a0573439e44df77ae2.jpg) [iqdb]
125
More light would be good. More light would be really good right about now. Not standing in the dark shaking with the cold and the fear of never being found, starving to death down here under the earth.

You pull yourself together, heading down the passageway to the left. The walls give off more light, but it's still a horrible sickening green. The rumble gets louder and louder, increasing with the curve of the tunnel. What the hell made this place? The sides are too ... regular. Smooth. There's no incline either. This corner here almost looks like it's intentional.

Oh.

As you round the corner, you stop dead, your jaw hanging open. The tunnel leads off into what must be the largest cave in the world. Gigantic stalagmites hang from the ceiling, easily the size of buildings. The walls, the floors, everything glows with luminescent rock, green and purple and blue. The whole cave seems to dip in the middle down to a wide plateau, then lead off behind that, widening out again, lit from behind by a hot orange glow. You blink and shake yourself.

You can't be seeing this place right. On the plateau in the middle, the plateau wide enough to hold a city. There's a, well, there is a city. You can't make out much from this distance. Strange, oriental-looking buildings, smoke from cooking fires, tiny figures moving around.

Mole-people? The civilisation at the centre of the earth? You've got to be dreaming this.

The city is separated from your current position by a huge chasm which splits the cave at this end. There's a bridge across, about a hundred meters away. Numbed, unable to tear your gaze away from the city, you make your way to the bridge.

---

"Hey!" A woman's voice calls out.
Your gaze snaps around at the voice. You've reached the head of the bridge, an old but ornate wooden structure, when somebody comes running down the length of it towards you.
"Hey, stop!" She shouts again, waving her arms in the air. You stop, unable to think of doing anything else. A human, underground?

She finally draws close enough for you to see. Nah, that's no human. She's short, with blonde hair and a bizarre getup, fluffy leg and arm warmers ruining the rather imposing figure she tries to strike by putting her hands on her hips and raising her chin.
But her ears are pointy. And her eyes are bright green.

"Uh." You open your mouth, but no words come out.
"You're not supposed to be here." She say bluntly.
"I er ... yeah I guess I'm not! I fell down a-"
"So go home. You can't cross here. Go back to the surface." She folds her arms over her chest, frowning at you.
"Look, I just fell down a hole. I can't go back the way I came." You explain. "What's that place?" You point at the city behind her. "Who are you? Where am I?"
The woman raises an eyebrow, her mouth curling with both laugher and irritation.
"My name is Parsee. This is the underground city. Now go away." She says the last line louder than the rest.
"Why can't I cross?" You ask.
Parsee rolls her eyes. "You're not with a Kappa work detail. You're not one of the Shrine Maidens and you sure as hell can't beat me in anything. So you're not coming in. Go home."

You look Parsee up and down. She thinks you couldn't beat her at anything? She's a whole head shorter than you!

"I couldn't beat you?" You let yourself grin. "Whatever, what am I supposed to beat you at to get in?"
Parsee's expression turns to disgust now. "Ugh. Can you danmaku?"
"Can I what what?" You ask.
"Tch. Useless humans." She rolls her eyes. "I don't know then. That's not my job, what do you want to try?" She starts tapping her foot. "I'll beat you at anything. Best not to bother, just go home already!" She leans forward as she speaks, getting more and more animated, almost shouting the last word.

"I can't go home." You mutter to yourself.
"What was that?" Parsee asks.
You open your mouth, trying to think of something.

[ ] Beat her at 'tag'. Run up to her, hit her, shout "you're it!" and keep running.
[ ] "Do you have any games? Chess?"
[ ] Thumb war! Weak womanly hands will lose.
[ ] "Let's play The Game. By the way, you just lost."
[ ] Staring contest.
>> No. 126
[X] "Do you have any games? Chess?"

I would pick The Game, but that would probably just annoy Parsee. And of course, I don't want that because she's the first person we've met, which means I'm aiming for her route as is tradition for CYOAs set underground.
>> No. 127
[X] "Do you have any games? Chess?"
>> No. 128
[X] "Do you have any games? Chess?"
>> No. 129
Woah, updates are coming out longer than I wanted them to be. One more tonight, those 3 votes are called. Writing now.
>> No. 132
Fuck yes Parsee. My underground love.

[X] Challenge her to Shiritori.
-[X] If possible, only use words that either are compliments, or emotions like love. Just to try and throw her off.
--[X] If that doesn't work, move on to the obscene words, and try to embarrass her.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiritori

We can always play the English version. There are some tricks to that one too, like using words such as "kite," "bite," and "trite," then throwing out something like "fight."
>> No. 133
Damn. Too little, too late.
>> No. 136
File 12521279666.jpg - (285.25KB, 620x592, 5a5e9e446dbc6f88f61d9158b53e2f72.jpg) [iqdb]
136
You shrug. "Do you have any games? Chess?"
Parsee raises an eyebrow, as if you're trying and failing to be funny.
"No seriously." You say. "A board game, or ... battleships! Come on, it'll be fun!" You actually smile. That fall must have done something funny to your head.

"Do you see any board-games around here?" Parsee spreads her arms, indicating the bridge. "Well?"
"Erm, no." You admit. "But hey, you could go and get one or something."
Parsee closes her eyes and rubs her temples. "How about no?"
"How about yes!" You say. She wanted you to suggest something, she's stuck with it now. "Come on, you asked me what I wanted to try, I wanna play a board game."
Parsee starts gritting her teeth.
"What's the matter? Suck at board games?" Your mouth has a mind of its own, it seems. May as well see if there's any other way across this bridge. "Worried you'll lose?"
"I wouldn't lose!" Parsee snarls through her teeth. "Shut up!"
"Aw, it's okay. We all suck at some things!" You say.
"I don't suck at games!" She actually stomps one foot forward, fists clenched by her sides. From a larger person it would almost be threatening, but this girl is too wound up, too highly-strung and too pretty to be scary. You let out a little snort of laugher and shake your head.

"It's alright. I'm pretty good at chess, but it's nothing to get jealous ab-"

"Shut up!" Parsee practically screams at you. "Stop it! Stop talking!"
"If I stop talking can I cross the bridge?" You ask, massive grin plastered across your face.
"Yes, alright, go! Just shut up!" She grits her teeth, holding her face in her hands.

[ ] Woo, cross the bridge! Forget about Parsee, let her fume.
[ ] Cross the bridge, but apologise or something. That was pretty nasty of you. It's obviously a sore spot for her.
[ ] Cross the bridge. Promise to come back with a board game so you can play with her later.
[ ] Cross the bridge, ruffle her hair on the way.
>> No. 140
[ ] Cross the bridge, but apologise or something. That was pretty nasty of you. It's obviously a sore spot for her.

But do so silently. Give her a nod or a bow, you did promise to stop talking.
>> No. 141
[X] Cross the bridge, but apologise or something. That was pretty nasty of you. It's obviously a sore spot for her.
-[X] Promise to come back with a board game so you can play with her later.
-[X] Ruffle her hair on the way.

Grumble grumble, wouldn't have had this problem with Shiritori...
>> No. 144
>>141
It would have been beautiful! But taken considerably longer to write. Maybe next time somebody want to play it'll turn up in the options.
>> No. 145
[X] Cross the bridge, but apologise or something. That was pretty nasty of you. It's obviously a sore spot for her.
-[X] Promise to come back with a board game so you can play with her later.
>> No. 146
>>144

A cold comfort, my friend. 'Tis Parsee I long to play with.

I guess I'll just have to vote for coming back and playing with her every single day that we spend underground.
>> No. 147
>>146
Well, maybe we can work into her good graces by being polite and play something more fun than just word games with her. *shrug*
>> No. 148
[X] Cross the bridge, but apologise or something. That was pretty nasty of you. It's obviously a sore spot for her.
>> No. 149
[X] Cross the bridge, but apologise or something. That was pretty nasty of you. It's obviously a sore spot for her.
-[X] Promise to come back with a board game so you can play with her later.
-[X] Ruffle her hair on the way.
>> No. 150
[X] Cross the bridge, but apologise or something. That was pretty nasty of you. It's obviously a sore spot for her.
-[X] Promise to come back with a board game so you can play with her later.
-[X] Ruffle her hair on the way.
>> No. 151
[X] Cross the bridge, but apologise or something. That was pretty nasty of you. It's obviously a sore spot for her.
-[X] Ruffle her hair on the way.
>> No. 152
[X] Cross the bridge, but apologise or something. That was pretty nasty of you. It's obviously a sore spot for her.
[X] Cross the bridge. Promise to come back with a board game so you can play with her later.
>> No. 153
[X] Cross the bridge, but apologise or something. That was pretty nasty of you. It's obviously a sore spot for her.
-[X] Promise to come back with a board game so you can play with her later.
-[X] Ruffle her hair on the way.
>> No. 154
File 125215384320.png - (178.01KB, 600x450, 443c44141f3ba68a67729a32660964e8.png) [iqdb]
154
As you step onto the bridge, Parsee visibly flinches. Aw, now that's too much. You just meant to wind her up a little, not get her into such a state where she thinks you're going to hurt her or something.

Wait, you haven't given any indication you're thinking of doing something like that. What exactly is this woman's problem anyway?
The bridge doesn't even creak as you cross, the wooden beams are absolutely huge, must have been cut from whole trees on the surface and brought down here or something.
"Hey, uh." You awkwardly blurt out when you reach Parsee. She just peers at you through her fingers, still holding her face.
"Sorry about that." You look down at your feet. "That was rude of me, you know? I just wanted to cross the bridge."

"I thought you said you would stop talking." Parsee speaks through gritted teeth.

"Woah, yeah!" You put your hands up in front of you. "Just, I really would like to play a board game with you, I'll come back with something and I bet you'll beat me!"
Parsee doesn't reply, just stares at you.
"Sorry Parsee." You feel yourself deflate a little. Been down here less than an hour and you've already managed to anger one of the inhabitants. On some long-buried instinct you reach out and ruffle her hair. She flinches and then just scowls, but you can see a hint of a blush creeping across her cheeks.
"What was that for?" She asks when you stop.
"Just being friendly." You say. "Ugh, sorry about being a dick, but thanks for letting me cross."
"Whatever. Just go." Parsee says, taking her hands away from her face and turning away from you, leaning on the side of the bridge and looking out over the chasm. She doesn't seem quite as angry now, just defeated and sad. Her shoulders form a wall that tells you to leave.

[ ] Just cross the bridge, go check out the city.
[ ] On second thoughts, you could use some more information about this place. Make her feel useful.
>> No. 155
>She doesn't seem quite as angry now, just defeated and sad. Her shoulders form a wall that tells you to leave.

[x] On second thoughts, you just can't leave like this. Try to cheer her up and make her feel better.
>> No. 156
I appreciate Parsee, and at such I approve of this.

With that said:
[x] On second thoughts, you could use some more information about this place. Make her feel useful.
>> No. 157
[O] On second thoughts, you could use some more information about this place. Make her feel useful.
>> No. 158
[x] On second thoughts, you just can't leave like this. Try to cheer her up and make her feel better.
>> No. 159
Back, 3 votes. Writing now.
>> No. 161
File 12521645955.jpg - (182.51KB, 517x697, bf48e2662ee9d3e733eacd7815615fcf.jpg) [iqdb]
161
You stare at the back of Parsee's head for a minute, sucking on your teeth. The city is a short walk from the end of the bridge, down a wide paved road of some kind.
But you have no idea what to expect. Parsee clearly isn't human, but she's close enough that this place is probably not totally inhospitable to you. Your stomach tightens as you think, you still have no idea where you really are, or what this place is.
"Uh, Parsee?" You ask, clearing your throat. "I er-"
"I told you to just go." She says, sighing but not looking back at you.
"I know, I know." You say. "But actually I could use some help."
Parsee is silent for a long moment. "What?" Her voice comes out confused and full of scorn.
"Well, I still don't get what this place is. Where am I?"

Parsee glances over her shoulder at you. "I told you, the Underground City." She says. "What are you, stupid or something?"
"Well I can see the city, but uh ... I've never heard of it before. And ... " Your gaze hovers over her ears. You bite back your other question.
"Never heard of it? What the hell?" Parsee frowns at you. "Where have you been, under a rock?"
You shrug, about to make a quip about mole-people, but Parsee keeps talking.

"You're just taunting me, aren't you?" She sneers. "That or you're an anti-nuclear spy or something."
"An anti-whata-what?"
"Look, if you mess with the Kappa, don't be surprised if you end up as atomic dust on the wind."
You almost giggle. She's not being helpful, but she sure is full of bravado. "Well, if I'm a spy then you shouldn't be letting me in, right?"
"Tch. There's more than enough people sneaking through as it is right now. Not like I could stop you or anything." Parsee folds her arms and looks sort of dejected.
"Okay, okay, sorry!" You plead. "Really, I have no idea where I am, I need some kind of help to ... get home, I guess. Is the city dangerous at all? Anywhere I might be able to get some medical attention?"

Parsee looks back at you, somewhat more neutral.
"City's okay. You want to get home you should probably talk to Miss Komeiji, in the Palace. You can't miss it. Stay away from all the industrial stuff and the Kappa and you'll be fine."
"Kappa?" Wait, she can't be serious.
"There's a few dozen down here now, working on the reactors and stuff. Keep out of their way, don't mess with them or give them trouble. I know you humans have a problem with them but just drop it while you're here or Utsuho will come down on you like a ton of bricks."
"So ... don't mess with the mythical beasts, got it."

Parsee looks at you like you're an idiot.

[ ] Bid her goodbye for now. Time to check out the city.
[ ] "So, what about you? Are you a city guard or something?"
[ ] "I still don't really understand where I am. I fell down a hole, how is all this here?"
[ ] "Who's Utsuho?"
>> No. 162
[ ] "Who's Utsuho?"
>> No. 163
[x] "So, what about you? Are you a city guard or something?"

I wonder when you get into Parsee's route and you talk with other girls, will she turn into a yandere?
>> No. 164
[X] "Who's Utsuho?"

>"Well, if I'm a spy then you shouldn't be letting me in, right?"
[X] Try not to be a dick to emotionally vulnerable women in the future.

Seriously.
>> No. 166
[ ] "Who's Utsuho?"
>> No. 167
[x] "Who's Utsuho?"
>> No. 168
[X] "So, if there are kappa running around... what are you?"

Delicious Bridge Princess.
>> No. 169
Writing now.
>> No. 170
Don't bother the Kappa or 'Utsuho' will come down on you like a ton of bricks?
"Who's Utsuho?" You ask.
Parsee's frown deepens into utterly incredulity.
"What?" She asks, mouth hanging open.
"Er," you gulp. "Did I say something wrong?"

She bursts out laughing. Long, scornful laughs.

"Just go." She says, calming down. "I don't know what you are, but I hope you're an idiot and not just a bad spy."
You blink a few times, not sure what to make of this reaction.
"Go on." She makes a shooing motion with her hands. You raise an eyebrow before speaking.
"Alright, but I'll be back with a board game and more hair ruffling for laughing at me."
"Whatever." Parsee turns her back to you again, probably to hide the rising blush in her cheeks.

As you make your way down the bridge, you look over your shoulder to see Parsee running her fingers through her hair.

You make a mental note not to forget about the strange girl on the bridge.

---

A wide roadway runs from the bridge to the city, paved with massive stone slabs. From here you can see a little more detail.
The houses and buildings look like they've been plucked from 19th-century Japan, if 19th century Japan had a fondness for more rock, less wood and an architect with way too many colours of paint to use.
The whole city is alternately grey, orange, red, purple, deep green, blue and yellow. All the colours are backlit by the huge dark orange glow coming from behind. Near the other side of the city is a huge stone building, almost like a mansion, standing apart from the rest. Massive stained-glass windows and rows of balconies cover it, jutting out from the bare grey rock.

The road leads straight into the city, but it also branches off and curls around, closer to the huge building on the other side.

[ ] Go straight into the city.
[ ] Head along the branch.
>> No. 171
[x] Head along the branch.

A little detour might get interesting.
>> No. 172
[x] Head along the branch.
>> No. 173
[O] Head along the branch.
>> No. 174
Aaaaand writing now!
>> No. 175
You decide to head along the branch, it'll give you time to get a good view of the city. The road just curves around, heading up a shallow incline and then back down, merging with the buildings near where the huge mansion is, on the far side of the city to where you are.

As you walk, you just stare at the Underground City. It's a hell of a sight, all those buildings and walkways, fine tendrils of smoke rising, hustle and bustle of people.

People?

You try to peer closer. Something isn't right, but you can't quite put your finger on it. The small figures moving back and fourth in the city streets don't look quite right somehow.
Suddenly you become painfully aware of how exposed you are up here. You're in plain sight, clearly looking down at the city, but thankfully none of the inhabitants are paying you any attention. Maybe visitors here aren't as rare as Parsee's hostility made them out to be.
As you carry along the road, the orange glow towards the rear of the city intensifies. It lights the walls of the cave, far off in the distance, and makes the huge mansion throw a monolithic shadow on the ground. At the edge of your hearing there is a deep, bass rumble, hot and fiery and full of power and fury.
You stop before the roadway curves back towards the city.
"This is the weirdest place." You mutter to yourself.

"I know, right?"

You jump out of your skin at the voice, twisting around to see where it came from.
"H-hello?" You say.
"Hi!" The voice comes again.
"Who's there?" You keep turning on the spot. "I can't see you, where are you?"
"Hahaha." The voice breaks into amused, but good-natured laugher. "Of course you can't. Don't worry about it!"
"Are you invisible?" You ask, eyeing the various stalactites and small boulders in case one of them turns out to have a mouth.
"Noooooot exactly. But nevermind about that now. What's a human doing in the Underground?"
"I just ... fell down here." You say, peering over the edge of a boulder, looking for the source of the voice. It's maddening. Not only can you not tell which direction it's coming from, you can't even tell if it's male, female, young, old, anything. It's as nondescript and forgettable as you could possibly imagine.

"Fell down here, huh? Me too, kinda." The voice says.
"Who are you?" You ask, stopping on the spot and giving up your search. Whoever it is, they want to stay hidden.
"I'm nobody, it's not important. What is important is you and that bag of tricks you've got there!"
"Bag of what-a?" You glance at Farley's backpack, still slung over your shoulder.
"Oh you don't even know! You're worse than I thought."
"Sorry?"

"Look, human. Bottom line, you're fucked. You're fucked so hard you're not gonna be able to see straight for weeks afterward. You are in so much trouble, just being down here is trouble if you've got nothing but that adaptive learning and tool-using you things are so proud of."
"Uh ... huh. Go on?" You swallow. Maybe you hit your head too hard on the way down, maybe the air here doesn't contain enough oxygen and you're hallucinating, but at least the hallucination is friendly.
"See I was just gonna have some fun with you as you were passing." The voice continues. "Then like, woah! He's just a human! You need help, okay?"
"Help?"
"Like survival help. A little, er, boost to get you on your way. Nothing special. What do you say, huh?"

[ ] Just leave, keep walking, you're going insane.
[ ] "Sure, what kind of help?"
[ ] "Only if you show yourself."
[ ] "I think I would rather not owe you anything, crazy voice in my head."
>> No. 176
[X] "What kind of help, exactly?"

A little more suspicious than the default choice.
>> No. 177
[x] "Only if you show yourself."
>> No. 178
[x] "Sure, what kind of help?"

Deal with the devil.
>> No. 180
{X} "What kind of help, exactly?"
>> No. 181
[O] "What kind of help, exactly?"
>> No. 182
[x] "Only if you show yourself."
>> No. 183
Calling votes for the write-in. Writing shortly.
>> No. 187
This is too weird and suspicious to just agree to straight off.
"What kind of help, exactly?" You ask the disembodied voice.
"Oh, just a little nudge, a little poke, a little shove in the right direction." It says, almost breaking into a fit of giggles between the words.
You raise an eyebrow, feeling self-conscious with nothing to direct your gaze at. "A little nudge? You're pretty vague. Come on, what kind of help?"

"Well you humans can never do this on your own." The voice starts again. "You need learning and transformation or faith or huge, huge quantities of drugs! You're stuck here and there's no way to get any of those things."
"Never do what on our own?" You ask. You're starting to like the way this voice talks, at least it's easier to deal with than Parsee.
"See past the illusion, into the truth behind the veils and ill-defined physical." The voice says.
"You lost me." You say. "I'm not a fan of mystical bullshi-" You cut yourself short. It's not like you can deny all those things anymore. You're underground, talking to a voice without a body, and you've already met one other non-human.
"Mystical bullshit?!" The voice sounds offended now. "You see this is why you humans never get anywhere! You're all so addicted to your tunnel-vision!"

You sigh, rubbing your eyes. "Okay, sorry. So what exactly are you offering me?"
"Awareness." The voice says, growing more serious.
"Awareness of what?" You ask.
"Yourself."
You reach up and tap your chest. "I'm pretty aware of myself already, thanks."
"Geeeh. No! You're not! That's the point. Come on! You can take this opportunity now and then who-knows what you'll be able to do? All the others are held back by belief or time or illness. What would an unfettered human do, huh? Come on, please! I wanna see what happens!"

"Is that what's in it for you?" You ask.
"Mostly. I'm curious. Also you're cute and I'd rather you don't die down here." The voice really does giggle this time.
"Oh?" You're not sure how to feel about that, you can't even tell who or what you're talking to.

"Come on, what do you say?"

[ ] Do it, the voice doesn't seem to want anything in return.
[ ] No, refuse. Sounds too wacky and it's probably just a figment of your imagination anyway.
>> No. 188
[ ] Do it, the voice doesn't seem to want anything in return.
>> No. 191
[x] Do it, the voice doesn't seem to want anything in return.
>> No. 192
[X] Do it, the voice doesn't seem to want anything in return.
[X] "I'm blaming you if it kills me, though."
>> No. 194
>>192
[x] Refuse. The brand of non-spatial, non-temporal transcendant awareness this being promises us sounds awfully similar to the kind of awareness you receive when you gaze upon the form of an Old One (ie, mindbreaking insanity).
>> No. 195
[X] Do it, the voice doesn't seem to want anything in return.
[X] "I'm blaming you if it kills me, though."

I like this
>> No. 196
Done, writing now.
>> No. 198
"You seriously want nothing in return?" You ask.
"Nope!" The voice says. "Just keep yourself alive so I can meet you later. You owe me nothing."
You think hard for a moment. The voice seems to want your consent. If it was just going to kill you or main you, then it could go right ahead without your say-so, right? And you're being offered something for free. Something bizarre and unknown.

This morning you fell down a hole into another world.

Why the hell not?

"Sure. I'll do it." You say. "But, I'm blaming you if it kills me." You wag your finger at the empty air.
"Heee." The voice giggles. "Last thing I would do is kill you, delicious. Unless I wear you out, I dunno."
A little blush rises to your cheeks at that.
"So what do I have to do?" You ask.
"Nothing, one second." The voice seems distracted now. You stand there for a moment in silence, starting to think the voice really was just in your head.

Suddenly you feel like somebody deposited a lead weight in the centre of your chest.
"Woah!" Your balance gives out and you fall over, scuffing your palms on the ground. "Ow, what the?" You turn red in the face, like something is stuck in your throat. Everything feels wrong, like your mass and weight and volume just got all messed up.
"Oh dammit!" The voice returns, in a panic. "Just breathe, stupid!"
"I'm ... trying." You gasp.
"Your body is still the same it was, stop freaking out!" The voice yells at you.
"Okay!" You yell back, starting to laugh hysterically. What the hell just happened?

It feels like there's a weight in your chest, just right of your heart.
"What did you do?" You ask, starting to breath normally again. "What did you put inside me?"
"I put nothing there." The voice says. "I just opened your eyes to it. You humans are so bad at seeing things as they are."
"But what is it?" You ask.
"Your core of spiritual energy. Your centre of being. Your hitbox." The voice says.
"You have got to be kidding me."
"Nope." The voice says. "Now you can do lots of interesting things!"
"Like what?" You ask, picking yourself back up again. You feel a little unsteady on your feet.
"Well, that's for you to find out!" The voice says, sounding happy and energetic once more. "Go learn things! Have fun!"
"I ... what?" You frown. If you just ... un ... focus. There! You don't feel the weight when you don't think too hard about it, but the thing in your chest is still there.

Oddly, it doesn't feel bad. Or alien. Maybe it really has always been there.

"Well, that's all from me for now!" The voice says. "I'll see you later, but you won't know me."
"Wait, what do I do with this?" You point at your chest.

The voice doesn't reply. It's gone.

"Shit." You say, glancing back at the city again.

[ ] No point stopping now. Head on down to the city.
[ ] Wait, rest up for a second.
- [ ] What can you actually do with this 'hitbox' then? Experiment.
- [ ] The voice said 'bag of tricks' earlier. What exactly is in Farley's bag anyway?
>> No. 199
[O] Wait, rest up for a second.
- [O] What can you actually do with this 'hitbox' then? Experiment.
- [O] The voice said 'bag of tricks' earlier. What exactly is in Farley's bag anyway?
>> No. 200
[ ] Wait, rest up for a second.
- [ ] The voice said 'bag of tricks' earlier. What exactly is in Farley's bag anyway?
- [ ] What can you actually do with this 'hitbox' then? Experiment.


Any guesses on who our mysterious benefactor is, for those of us who are slow of mind? Yukari seems the obvious answer.

Hmm. Also, we presumably have standard Touhou powers now. Flying, and Danmaku. Wonder what the shots look like.
>> No. 201
[X] Wait, rest up for a second.
- [X] The voice said 'bag of tricks' earlier. What exactly is in Farley's bag anyway?

Take stock now, experiment with unknown things that could knock you out later.
>> No. 202
[X] Wait, rest up for a second.
- [X] The voice said 'bag of tricks' earlier. What exactly is in Farley's bag anyway?
>> No. 203
[X] Wait, rest up for a second.
- [X] The voice said 'bag of tricks' earlier. What exactly is in Farley's bag anyway?
>> No. 204
>>200
>Yukari seems the obvious answer.
Really? I was thinking Koishi was the obvious answer. Especially considering that we'll apparently "see [her] later".

[X] Wait, rest up for a second.
- [X] The voice said 'bag of tricks' earlier. What exactly is in Farley's bag anyway?
>> No. 205
>>204
Ah, see. This is what I get for having incomplete knowledge of Subteranean Animism.
>> No. 206
Writing now.

[x]Inventory.
>> No. 209
You need to stop for a minute after that. Shaky and out of breath. And confused as hell. Picking a nearby outcropping of rock, you sit down and place Farley's bag on the floor.

The voice was going about about this being a 'bag of tricks' or something. What on earth did it mean? You undo the zip on the backpack, glad to have something to distract you from the strange new weight in your chest.

What on earth is all this stuff?

---

Inventory Screen:

- Clothes: trousers, t-shirt, underwear, sneakers.

- Farley's bag:
- Small battery-powered maglite. 50% charge.
- A large metal gauntlet. Right-handed.
- Spiral-bound notebook, filled with diagrams and pages and pages worth of Farley's handwriting. Not all of it is in English.
- Pocket knife.
- A thick instruction manual. Printed in Russian. Cover shows embossed Soviet hammer and sickle.
- A small block of pinkish ore, wrapped in old newspaper and cloth.
- A pair of night-vision goggles. No power. Manufacturing symbol says 'Made in Lunaria'.
- A cloth doll, about six inches in height, with no features and no clothes.
- A bottle of blue-white gas.
- A cell phone. Battery has been removed and replaced with red wax. Does not turn on.
- Farley's wallet. Contains an old debit card and $20 in cash.

---

After going through the bag, you're even more confused about Farley then you used to be. All this magic stuff was real all along? Or did he just stumble on one thing that worked amongst a mountain of fantasy and lies? Half the stuff in this bag looks vaguely occult, but there's no telling what's real and what isn't, or if any of it works.

Or if you'd even want it to work.

You sigh and stare at the city, just a short walk away now. Nothing else for it, but you could test something first. If you're feeling curious or suicidal.

[ ] Examine one of the items further. [Which one(s)?]
[ ] Pick up the bag, head into the city now.
>> No. 210
[x] Examine one of the items further.
--[x] instruction manual
--[x] block of pinkish ore
--[x] cloth doll
>> No. 212
[X] Pick up the bag, head into the city now.

Well enough about crazy boy. Besides, the people in town can probably tell us more about what in the bag is actually worthwhile.
>> No. 214
[x] Examine one of the items further.
--[x] Bottled Gas

[X] Pick up the bag, head into the city now.

By the way, I suggest we keep the Maglite in our pocket or somewhere else close at hand.
>> No. 215
[x] Examine one of the items further.
--[x] instruction manual
--[x] block of pinkish ore
--[x] cloth doll
>> No. 216
[x] Examine one of the items further.
--[x] instruction manual
--[x] block of pinkish ore
--[x] cloth doll
>> No. 217
[x] Examine one of the items further.
-[x] Spiral-bound notebook, the english parts and diagrams at least.
-[x] A small block of pinkish ore. Check the date on the newspaper it's wrapped in too.
-[x] A thick instruction manual. At least try to find out if it's related to any of the other objects.
-[x] A large metal gauntlet. Look for any writing or other markings, but don't put it on.
-[x] Pocket knife.
>> No. 218
>Examine objects.

Writing now.
>> No. 219
While I'm at it, how is this? I seem to have gathered a few readers, and I guess you can see the plot slowly building? Enjoying it?
>> No. 220
>>219

I've been enjoying it so far.
>> No. 221
>>219
'tis fun.
>> No. 229
You need more time to prepare yourself. Got to steady your mind. Knowing a little more about all this junk you're carrying can't be a bad idea either.

The instruction manual is thick and heavy. 127 pages total, printed on paper that has yellowed a little over the years. Everything is in Russian, and there's a hammer and sickle in the header of each page. There's a publishing data page though, and you can make out the last date on the list, '1989'. So whatever it is, it probably really did come from the Soviet Union.
The words all mean nothing to you, though you can pick out 'CCCP' and 'nuclear'. Other than that the entire manual is a mystery to you until you open up to the pages of diagrams. Nuclear reactors, particle physics and ... that gauntlet in Farley's bag.
There's a diagram for putting the glove on, and taking it off, then a series of instructions with lots of warning symbols, exclamation marks and a little cartoon of a scientist reduced to a pile of ash. That's worrying. At least you know what the manual is for now, but you decide it's probably a really good idea not to touch that gauntlet until you find somebody who can read Russian.

The block of ore is just that. A block of ore. Quite light for its size, pinkish with white veins running through the surface. The newspapers used to wrap it are all recent, things Farley used to read, and the cloth is just a torn strip of fabric.

The cloth doll seems to be filled with fluff, enough to let you waggle the limbs around. It doesn't seem to have anything else attached to it, but you can't help but feel you're missing something about it.

Oh well.

You stuff everything back in the bag, wincing slightly when you have to pick up the gauntlet. Standing up again, you head down the road, into the Underground City at last.

---

They have horns! That's why you were unsure before. Every single person in this city has horns. Some two, some one, some small and some big. Straight and curly and plain and ornate. But they all have horns.
You wander down the streets, agape at everything you see. The City is a mixture of antiquated oriental buildings and bizarre rock formations, all dotted and interspersed with modern technology. Power lines run from buildings in which smoke still rises from a hole in the roof. Wicker and wood market stalls sell printed comic-books and fast food. A street performer breathes fire seemingly from nowhere while a gaggle of children applaud. An old man sits on his front porch, walking stick in one hand and portable game system in the other.

And everybody has horns. Most of them stare at you for a little longer than necessary, and it starts to dawn on you that you're in their city. In this place, you're the freak.
Eventually you stop along a busy street of little cafes and food stalls. Your stomach growls. You've been hungry since this morning and you've got that $20 in Farley's wallet, but you don't even know what kind of money they use here. Or what half this food actually is. Or if they'll serve a human.

Somebody steps out from behind a stall, too fast for you to see, just a blur of green and blue suddenly right up in your face.

"Boo!"

[ ] OH WHAT PANIC
[ ] "Boo to you too."
>> No. 230
[ ] "Boo to you too."
>> No. 232
[x] "Boo to you too."
>> No. 235
[x] OH WHAT PANIC
>> No. 236
[O] "Boo to you too."
>> No. 237
[x] "Boo to you too."
>> No. 238
[x] "Boo to you too."

I want this to be Kogasa, except it's probably not.
>> No. 242
Writing now.
>> No. 246
File 125220140537.jpg - (222.43KB, 620x835, 2674c9679b1660e822fc5eac65454567.jpg) [iqdb]
246
That was surprising, but not threatening. You blink and flinch a little, but the woman before you is nothing to be afraid of. She has a massive expectant grin on her face, a little bob of greeny-blue hair matching the colour of her waistcoat and shirt, and an absolutely huge purple umbrella with big eye and a mouth drawn on it.
"Boo to you too." You smile, unable to help yourself. She looks so darned happy it makes you feel better as well.

Her grin dies in a moment though, turning to disappointment.
"Huh? Weren't you surprised?" She asks, almost pleading. "You were, right? You were?" She looks over her shoulder, as if checking for somebody following her.
"Well, yeah, that was pretty surprising! You just came out of nowhere." You say. Hey, she doesn't have horns! Her hair is an unnatural colour, and it looks like one of her eyes is a deep red, but at least she looks human otherwise.
Sort of cute too when she breaks into a grin again, throwing her arms up in the air in celebration.
"Yes! Thank you!" She reaches up, patting you on the head.
"Uh, you're welcome, miss ... ?"
"Kogasa!" She says, glancing around again. "You know no idea how hard it is to scare the Oni down here!" She leans forward, bunching her hands up in front of her chest. "I've been trying all week and they just shoo me away!"
"Oni?" You look around at the people in the city. Oh. Right.

"But humans are so fun!" Kogasa seems on the verge of squealing with delight.
"Woah, uh, thats fine." You say, hoping she'll calm down soon.
"Why are you down here anyway?" She asks.
"Would you believe me if I told you I fell down a hole?" You ask. Kogasa nods vigourously.
"I did too! Well I flew really." She says. "I'm looking for somebody who came down here some other way, but I don't know if she fell down a hole. Did you see anybody in with you when you fell in the hole?" Kogasa speaks so fast it takes a moment for you to process her words.
"Um, no, just me and a friend. And he's gone now." You say.

"Aw, dammit." Kogasa lets her shoulders slump.
"Who are you looking for anyway?" You ask, feeling an inexplicable urge to help this bizarre girl. Kogasa opens her mouth to reply, but then literally bites down on her own tongue for a split-second.
"I'm not meant to say! It's supposed to be secret. Hey, you haven't seen any mice following you, have you?"
"Mice, uh, no. Sorry."
Kogasa just nods and taps the side of her nose, giving you a conspiratorial wink.

"Hey, umbrella! Stop bothering visitors!" A loud, angry voice calls out from down the street. Kogasa practically jumps out of her skin.
"Scary Oni is after me again!" She's bouncing all over the place, looking like she's about to run. "I'll see you later, human!"
You glance over Kogasa's shoulder, to see a large Oni woman with a single horn and a deep scowl making her way towards you and Kogasa.

Kogasa takes off at a run. You almost burst into laugher as she tries to keep a grip of her umbrella and hold her skirt down at the same time.

[ ] Go talk to the Oni who was coming this way.
[ ] Screw it, run after Kogasa. She seems more human anyway.
[ ] Never mind either of them, go see if your money can buy you any food.
>> No. 248
[x] Screw it, run after Kogasa. She seems more human anyway.
>> No. 251
[X] Screw it, run after Kogasa. She seems more human anyway.

Fuck, I have to choose between Parsee and Kogasa? No matter what I do, I'll wind up heartbroken!
>> No. 253
[X] Screw it, run after Kogasa. She seems more human anyway.
>> No. 254
>>238

oh wow, it is Kogasa.

[x] Screw it, run after Kogasa. She seems more human anyway.
>> No. 258
File 125220388134.jpg - (1.12MB, 1600x1200, 1244330089011.jpg) [iqdb]
258
Whelp, I think that's all for today. 12 updates in a 24 hour stretch seems okay. Story is chugging along nicely. Got lots more planned and I hope everybody is enjoying it. Comments or suggestions or whatever are welcome if anybody is interested enough to leave them.

More tomorrow.

(Bonus Okuu just because.)
>> No. 263
>>251

First I second the vote.

And the first split if Kogasa or Yuugi.

I'm choosing Kogasa, because she's friendly without being too overly so. (Oni may be fun but they might over do it) that and Kogasa needs some love too.
>> No. 266
>>219
Good work so far.

[x] Screw it, run after Kogasa. She seems more human anyway.
>> No. 267
[x] Screw it, run after Kogasa. She seems more human anyway.
>> No. 270
>>258

Leaving a comment just lest you think folk are uninterested.
Votes on pursuing Parsee, Kogasa, or going for hilarious attempted harem bad end?
>> No. 276
[ze] Never mind either of them, go see if your money can buy you any food.

Parsee forever.
>> No. 277
[x] Screw it, run after Kogasa. She seems more human anyway.
>> No. 279
This time you really do break into laughter. Kogasa's energy and good mood are infectious. That or you really don't want to find out what happens during a conversation with an angry Oni, no matter how voluptuously womanly that Oni looks.

Whatever your motivation, you take off after Kogasa. She's light on her feet, skipping between pedestrians, slipping down alleyways and between market stalls.
"H-hey!" You call out at one point. "Kogasa, wait. It's me!"
The Oni in the streets find you and her quite the spectacle, and it's not until she reaches a quieter part of the City that she finally slows down, giving you a chance to catch up. The street is wide, but mostly empty apart from a few Oni at the far end.
"Hey." You pant, out of breath now. "Kogasa!"
She turns on the spot as you reach her.

And hurls herself at you.

"Woah!" You stagger backwards under her weight, but thankfully you don't fall down. Kogasa giggles like mad, right in your face, arms wrapped around your shoulders.
"Aw, you were supposed to be more surprised!" She whines, but she's still grinning.
How on earth can a girl half your size not be out of breath after that run? Kogasa quickly disentangles herself from you, showing no embarrassment at literally throwing herself at a man.
"Uh, that was pretty surprising actually." You wipe the sweat from your forehead and glance around for somewhere to sit.
"You're determined for a human!" Kogasa says. "I mean, wow! Even the Oni don't bother following me ... " Kogasa's grin dies a little as she trails off. "B-but hey!" She continues. "You want to hang out with me?!"

[ ] Sure, why not?
[ ] Sure, why not? Mention that you're really hungry.
[ ] Actually you were just running from the Oni too.
[ ] Wait a second. You're "determined for a human"? What exactly is Kogasa?
>> No. 281
[x] Sure, why not? Mention that you're really hungry.
>> No. 284
[x] Sure, why not? Mention that you're really hungry.

don't sweat the small stuff; she might not be human but but she is without the doubt nice and harmless.
>> No. 286
[x] Sure, why not? Mention that you're really hungry.
>> No. 288
3 votes! Writing nowish.
>> No. 291
File 125225586844.jpg - (360.98KB, 800x750, 31c08b0eacefabf487aff65a38bf4f54.jpg) [iqdb]
291
"Sure." You nod. "Mind if we get some food, though?" You ask. "I'm hungry and I don't know if my money is good for anything down here."
"Of course!" Kogasa beams at you.

---

Minutes later, you find yourself sitting in a cross between a greasy cafe and an oriental restaurant. The other patrons, all Oni, wolf down food that is mostly meat and mushrooms. There doesn't seem to be much vegetable or fruit matter in the local diet.
They do seem to have discovered the sandwich though. Kogasa sits across from you, carefully removing bits of seasoning and other unidentifiable things from the inside of hers. You just eat, after thanking her for paying and taking a sip of the bizarre cloudy alcohol that came with the food. The food tastes odd, but not bad. You can't quite put your finger on what exactly this meat is. Probably better not to think about it.

Kogasa barely stops talking for a second, fingers constantly returning to the handle of the umbrella propped up against her chair.
"So then I tried again at night, big sister said it would work. You know?"
You just nod, making agreeable noises, not entirely sure what she's talking about.
"Hey hey, are you afraid of the dark?" She asks.
"Not particularly." You say. "No more than any other human. I guess."
"Aww." Kogasa looks mock-disappointed for a second, before cramming her eviscerated sandwich into her mouth. She eats the entire thing in one bite, making you blink in surprise. Wait, how did that work? Her mouth isn't big enough for that.
"What's the matter?" Kogasa asks, cocking her head at you.
"Nothing, you just surprised me is all."
"I did!?" She almost bounces out of her seat with excitement. "How? What did I do?!"
"Well, you ate all that in one bite." You point at her plate.
"Huh?" Kogasa frowns down at her plate, confused. "I don't get it, why's that surprising?"

[ ] "Never mind." Switch topics. She's not human, is she? Probably unhinged her jaw or something.
[ ] "Well, I can't do that." Take a bite to demonstrate.
[ ] "You're just a surprising person in general."
>> No. 292
[X] "Well, I can't do that." Take a bite to demonstrate.

Just for reference, was our money good for anything?
>> No. 293
[x] "Well, I can't do that." Take a bite to demonstrate.
>> No. 296
>>292

Dunno it didn't say Yen... but it could be how much the yen were worth in dollars. But it seems that guy was plotting something with the nuclear reactor alright.

[x] "Well, I can't do that." Take a bite to demonstrate.

It's the truth and letting her surprise us puts a smile on her face.
>> No. 297
[X] "Well, I can't do that." Take a bite to demonstrate.
>> No. 299
[X] "You're just a surprising person in general."

Why do I get the feeling this story is going to cause me to develop an umbrella fetish?
>> No. 301
"Well," you start. "I can't do that."
"Can't do what?" Kogasa asks, looking almost forlorn.
"I can only do this much." You say, taking as large a bite from your sandwich as you can. It fills your mouth, but it's not really that much.
Kogasa's eyes go wide and she grins again. "Oh! Yeah, you humans have small appetites!"
"Humans have small appetites?" You ask. "I'm starving, I could eat a horse."
"What's a horse?" Kogasa asks.
"Um." You stop eating for a moment. "A big animal with four legs." They don't have horses here? Well, it is underground, but didn't Kogasa say she came from the surface too?
"You mean like a dog?"
"I gu-"

Your sentence is cut short as a rumbling sound builds from below. The ground starts to shake. The walls of the building, the tables and chairs, the people around you, everything sways from side to side as the grinding noise builds to a crescendo and then fades as quickly as it started.
The earthquake doesn't seem to have caused any physical damage. A few spilled drinks here and there, but the effect on the other patrons is far greater. Most of the Oni have stopped talking entirely, conversation is slow to start again, nervous and stilted. Most of them have turned at least a little pale. One young male Oni stands up in a hurry, red in the face with frustration or anger, paying his bill with too much money before stomping out into the street.

"What was that?" You ask Kogasa, who seems mostly unaffected by the earthquake.
"Oh, it's pretty surprising when the ground shakes, huh?" She smiles at you. "It happens now and again, the Oni really hate it though."
"Has it ... always happened here?" You ask.
Kogasa shrugs. "I dunno. I hear them talking about it happening more than it used to, but I haven't been here long either."
"Huh." You frown in thought. Hanging out with Kogasa is fun and all, but you still haven't really got your bearings.

How are you going to get home?

Kogasa takes a long swig from her drink. That stuff was pretty strong, but she seems barely affected by it. Perhaps it's not meant for humans.

[ ] Ask if she'll show you around the city.
[ ] Ask her if she knows how you might be able to get home.
[ ] Ask her if she knows the bridge guard, Parsee.
[ ] Ask her who 'Utsuho' is, you still didn't get an answer from Parsee about that.
[ ] Stay quiet, let Kogasa start talking about whatever.
>> No. 303
[x] Ask if she'll show you around the city.
>> No. 305
[x] Ask if she'll show you around the city.
[x] Ask her if she knows the bridge guard, Parsee.
>> No. 306
[x] Ask if she'll show you around the city.
>> No. 307
[x] Ask if she'll show you around the city
>> No. 312
[x] Ask if she'll show you around the city.
[x] Ask her who 'Utsuho' is, you still didn't get an answer from Parsee about that.
>> No. 314
[B] Ask if she'll show you around the city.
[B] Ask her who 'Utsuho' is, you still didn't get an answer from Parsee about that.
>> No. 316
Writing now. Slow Sundays are slow.
>> No. 317
If that gauntlet has anything to do with radiation, does that make it a nuclear arm?
>> No. 318
File 125227192833.jpg - (1.21MB, 1000x1333, 22c06a24366f9036c5cccbbe1c7d8853.jpg) [iqdb]
318
"Kogasa." You say as she puts her drink down again. "Would you maybe like to show me around the city?"
"Huh? Like, a little tour?" She cocks her head at you.
"Yeah." You nod. "I'd like that. Like I said, I'm new here and I'm sort of lost." You give her what you hope is a sheepish smile.
"Of course!" Kogasa hops to her feet, grabbing her umbrella in one hand and your arm in the other. You take a moment to gulp down the rest of the sandwich as she hurtles out of the door with you in tow.

---

Kogasa's pace is hard to keep up with. She races through the streets with the kind of enthusiasm that can only come from a young woman like this. Oni double-take and stare as the two of you pass in a whirlwind of noise generated by Kogasa. She chatters constantly about the city, despite only having been here for a few weeks herself.

The city is roughly split into a central market district and the surrounding suburbs, bisected by an underground river, although the two areas bleed into each other so much that the distinction is mainly lost on you. In the north-eastern corner is an area Kogasa can't quite get her head around, but which you manage to understand is some kind of industrial district. All along the southern rim are farms for rearing animals and growing various kinds of mushrooms. Directly north of that is a truly massive complex of breweries and distilleries. Oni like their alcohol.

On the far north side of the city is the huge stone mansion, a place Kogasa refers to as 'Chireiden' and 'the Palace'. After more than two hours bouncing around the city, this is where you end up, in the wide open plaza that separates Chireiden from everything else.
Very few Oni are here. In fact, the plaza is nearly deserted.

"What's all that?" You ask Kogasa, pointing past the Palace. The huge, roaring orange glow comes from behind it, casting the entire plaza into deep shadow. You can make out the edges of some kind of industrial construction, cranes and huge, bulky shapes way behind the Palace.
"Oh that's the Kappa messing about in the fires of hell." She says, leaning back against a lamppost.
"The ... what?" You can't have heard that right.
"I know, right?" She grins over at you. "Pretty surprising that Komeiji lets them down here after all the fuss."
"No, wait. Hell?" You ask, a sudden chill descending over you.
"Well it's like a former chunk of hell of something, I don't really get it." Kogasa shrugs.
"Oh." You breathe a sigh of relief. Hell? In the centre of the earth? This place is crazier than you thought.

"Well, that's the city!" Kogasa says. "What do you want to do next?!" She leans close to you, waiting for a reply.

Your gaze wanders over to the Palace. Parsee said you'd need to see this 'Komeiji' if you wanted to get home, didn't she?

[ ] Ask Kogasa about Chireiden.
[ ] Ask Kogasa about getting home.
[ ] Ask Kogasa about this 'Komeiji' person.
[ ] Just for now, forget about home. Ask Kogasa if she has a place you can stay.
>> No. 319
[x] Just for now, forget about home. Ask Kogasa if she has a place you can stay.

Freeloading for beginners.
>> No. 320
[X] Ask Kogasa about this 'Komeiji' person.
>> No. 321
[X] Just for now, forget about home. Ask Kogasa if she has a place you can stay.
[X] Ask Kogasa about this 'Komeiji' person.
>> No. 323
[X] Just for now, forget about home. Ask Kogasa if she has a place you can stay.
[X] Ask Kogasa about this 'Komeiji' person.
>> No. 325
[X] Just for now, forget about home. Ask Kogasa if she has a place you can stay.
[X] Ask Kogasa about this 'Komeiji' person.

Sounds good to me.
>> No. 326
Oooh, looking to stay with Kogasa? Writing in a minute.
>> No. 327
File 125227855885.jpg - (301.22KB, 650x771, cac02e49210db5ada17f18a85fbacc65.jpg) [iqdb]
327
You open your mouth, already feeling awkward for having to ask this, but it doesn't look like you have much of a choice in the matter. Your money doesn't mean anything here and you don't have anywhere else to go.
"Kogasa, do have a place I could stay?" You ask, trying to meet her eyes and then looking away sheepishly. Damn, this makes you feel so small. You have to remind yourself a few times that you're currently a lost stranger in a bloody strange land. You need the help.

"Huh?" Kogasa cocks her head at you, lowering her umbrella. "What do you mean?"
"Er ... " You gulp. "I mean, could I maybe stay ... with you?" You ask. "I don't have any of the local money, I have nowhere to go." You start to feel worse as you talk, the reality of your situation starting to set in. "I'm pretty far from home and penniless right now. I know we ... just met, but I really need-"
"Sure you can." Kogasa says, looking somewhat bewildered. "What's to stop you staying with me? I like you, silly human, you're fun!"
A weight lifts from your shoulders at her words. "Oh, thanks Kogasa. Where are you staying here anyway?"
"What do you mean?" She cocks her head at you again.
"I mean, where are you staying?"
"... in the city! Where else?"
You frown deepens as you realise what she means.

"You mean you don't have anywhere to sleep? A room, a bed while you're here?" You ask. Kogasa shrugs.
"Why would I? I never had one on the surface. Youkai like me are pretty hardy you know! I don't really need sleep anyway." She grins at you. "So don't worry, it's fine!"
"You're ... homeless?" A little pang of pity starts welling up in your chest.
"Home?" Kogasa asks. "You mean like the buildings the Oni sleep in?"

You just stare at her, open-mouthed.

She doesn't even know what a home is.

[ ] Forget it, drop the subject, this is too depressing.
[ ] No, wait. She's not technically human. Maybe she really doesn't mind?
[ ] I'M GONNA TAKE YOU HOME, LITTLE LOST UMBRELLA
>> No. 329
[x] I'M GONNA TAKE YOU HOME, LITTLE LOST UMBRELLA
>> No. 330
[x] I'M GONNA TAKE YOU HOME, LITTLE LOST UMBRELLA
>> No. 333
[x] No, wait. She's not technically human. Maybe she really doesn't mind? But it'd still be a nice idea to find a place to rest at, since the MC is a human. And it'd work as a safe spot in case either of you tick off one of the residents around here.
>> No. 334
[x] I'M GONNA TAKE YOU HOME, LITTLE LOST UMBRELLA
>> No. 335
[x] I'M GONNA TAKE YOU HOME, LITTLE LOST UMBRELLA
>> No. 336
Writing now.
>> No. 338
File 125227981993.jpg - (44.48KB, 496x323, webclap08.jpg) [iqdb]
338
[x] I'M GONNA TAKE YOU HOME, LITTLE LOST UMBRELLA

HAAAAAAAAAAAAU~
>> No. 339
[x] I'M GONNA TAKE YOU HOME, LITTLE LOST UMBRELLA
Voting completely pointlessly in a called vote.
>> No. 341
You can't stand it, you just can't stand it! She doesn't have a home, she doesn't even know what a home is! Kogasa is so full of energy and life and humour, and she doesn't have a home. You heart cannot bear this level of pity, this terrible knowledge that sends a pang of raw pain through your chest.

"You okay there?" She asks.
"Kogasa." You mutter. "You ... maybe you should stick with me, rather than me stick with you."
"What? Er, okay! Sounds fun, where are you going?"
"Home." You nod once.
"I thought you said you couldn't get there?" She asks.
"Well ... " You trail off, your moment of protective manliness draining away as you realise you don't really have any help to offer this girl. Shit. There goes all your drive.

"It's okay, human!" She reaches over and pats you on the head, smiling. "You mean well, even if you're a bit dumb!"
You wince at that, but then pluck up your courage again, grabbing Kogasa's hand before she retracts it again. You hold her hand in yours for a second, trying to string together your words.
"You really helped today, Kogasa. I'm lost and this place is alien to me. Thanks for showing me around."
"That's fine! I liked it!" She swings your her arm back and fourth, dragging your hand with it. Can't this girl stay still for a moment?
"If I find a way home." You continue. "Or if I ... I don't know, if I find a place to stay, you're welcome to come with me, okay?"
She nods, still smiling. "Sure! Can I turn up unexpected and surprise you?"
You laugh. "Feel free to."

"You know." Kogasa says, letting go of your hand. "If you want to get home, you should talk to the satori."
"The satori?" You ask. Kogasa points at Chireiden, looming ahead of you across the plaza.
"Well she's also called Satori. Satori Komeiji. It's complicated, and she's scary, but she sort of runs things Underground. She dealt with the last funny human who turned up down here."

[ ] "How would I get to talk to her?"
[ ] "Scary? Scary how?"
[ ] "Another human was down here? One like me?"
>> No. 344
[X] "How would I get to talk to her?"
>> No. 345
[x] "How would I get to talk to her?
[x] Bring Kogasa with you to see Satori
>> No. 346
[X] "Scary? Scary how?"
>> No. 347
[x] "How would I get to talk to her?
>> No. 348
I'm the Anon from >>344
Changing my vote to be the same as >>345
>> No. 349
[x] "How would I get to talk to her?
[x] Bring Kogasa with you to see Satori
>> No. 350
[x] "How would I get to talk to her?
[x] Bring Kogasa with you to see Satori
>> No. 351
[X] "Another human was down here? One like me?"
[X] "How would I get to talk to her?"

It puzzles me that nobody's voted to find about about the other human.
>> No. 352
Sorry about the delay there, I think that's gonna be it for tonight. 6 updates ain't too bad. Might be a stealth update in the next few hours, but it'll be the only one before more tomorrow.

Hope the readers are enjoying it!
>> No. 354
>>352
>12 updates
>6 updates
You're going to be slower than glasnost in two weeks, aren't you?
>> No. 355
>>352
Those 6 updates is about like one update from Taisa.
Don't worry about it, you are doing good, can't think of anything negative.
>> No. 356
>>354
The aim is fast and short! It seems to be the best format for getting things moving and having some awesome character interaction in there. Some days will be faster than others, sorry.
>> No. 357
>>356
I'm not complaining, I'm making a joke about your update speed's half-life being 24 hours.
>> No. 358
>>356
You're doing good. Proper grammar and spelling, frequent updates and the start was interesting.

Keep up the good work.
>> No. 360
>>351

this
>> No. 361
File 125229424837.jpg - (167.58KB, 750x750, 634c3ef2c835913f6f5f5e5be2c693a0.jpg) [iqdb]
361
"How would I get to talk to this Satori woman then?" You ask Kogasa, glancing over at Chireiden. "Do you have to ask for an audience or something?"
"Naaah." Kogasa shakes her head. "You can just walk right in if you really need to. But er ... you're not planning on doing anything bad in there, right?"
You raise an eyebrow at her. "No, why would I be planning anything?"
"Just be careful what you think!" Kogasa says, before glancing around and lowering her voice to a whisper. "She reads minds."
"She ... really?" You ask. Kogasa nods vigourously, looking quite nervous at discussing this.

"But she honestly might be able to help me?" You ask. Kogasa shrugs.
"Well, it's worth a try!" She says. "That or I guess you could wait for the Shrine Maiden to visit ... but er, I doubt that'll happen in the next few months, heh."
You turn to look at Chireiden, looming over the plaza like a gigantic stone monolith.
"You really gonna go in there?" Kogasa asks you. Most of her energy and joy seems somehow drained.
"I don't think I have much of a choice." You say, taking a deep breath. Kogasa doesn't say anything, but the look on her face is a mixture of worry and disappointment.
"You can come with me." You say to her. "I said you could follow me home, I mean it."
Kogasa takes a step back, shaking her head. "Er, um, I mean, I'd lov- I mean like to but I c-can't go in there." She clutches her umbrella so tightly it makes her knuckles turn white.
"Why not?" You ask, suddenly shocked.
" ... she'll know things, in my head. No no, can't do that." Kogasa doesn't meet your eyes, just looks extremely uncomfortable.
"I ... don't want to leave you behind or anything, Kogasa." You say.

She just shuffles her feet. "I'll be fine. I'm around."

[ ] Go to Chireiden. Promise to meet up somewhere with her again later, or tomorrow.
[ ] Try to convince her it'll be fine. What's she got to hide anyway?
[ ] Don't go to Chireiden. Maybe you should gather more information first, or just find more excuses to hang out with Kogasa.
>> No. 362
[x] Don't go to Chireiden. Maybe you should gather more information first, or just find more excuses to hang out with Kogasa.
[x]"You're the only friend I've got here. I don't want to go alone."
>> No. 363
[x] Don't go to Chireiden. Maybe you should gather more information first, or just find more excuses to hang out with Kogasa.
>> No. 364
[x] Don't go to Chireiden. Maybe you should gather more information first, or just find more excuses to hang out with Kogasa.
[x]"You're the only friend I've got here. I don't want to go alone."

I have a feeling that choice 2 is bad end.
>> No. 365
[x] Don't go to Chireiden. Maybe you should gather more information first, or just find more excuses to hang out with Kogasa.
[x]"You're the only friend I've got here. I don't want to go alone."
>> No. 366
[X] Go to Chireiden. Promise to meet up somewhere with her again later, or tomorrow.
[X] "Will you walk with me until I get there? You're the only friend I've got here."

I think it's best to see Satori now, before we learn everyone's deep, dark secrets.

>>354
Impossible.
>> No. 371
[X] Go to Chireiden. Promise to meet up somewhere with her again later, or tomorrow.
[X] "Will you walk with me until I get there? You're the only friend I've got here."
>> No. 372
[X] Go to Chireiden. Promise to meet up somewhere with her again later, or tomorrow.
[X] "Will you walk with me until I get there? You're the only friend I've got here."
>> No. 373
[x] Don't go to Chireiden. Maybe you should gather more information first, or just find more excuses to hang out with Kogasa.
[x]"You're the only friend I've got here. I don't want to go alone."
>> No. 374
File 125230185214.jpg - (340.32KB, 627x885, satori.jpg) [iqdb]
374
>>366
We don't want to hear that from you!
>> No. 375
[X] Don't go to Chireiden. Maybe you should gather more information first, or just find more excuses to hang out with Kogasa.

>>"Er, um, I mean, I'd lov- I mean like to but I c-can't go in there."

Dawwwwwwww. The little umbrella wants a home, too.
>> No. 377
[X] Don't go to Chireiden. Maybe you should gather more information first, or just find more excuses to hang out with Kogasa.

Kogasa is love.
>> No. 378
[x] Go to Chireiden. Promise to meet up somewhere with her again later, or tomorrow.
[x] "Will you walk with me until I get there? You're the only friend I've got here."
Fuck Kokuso.
>> No. 384
[x] Don't go to Chireiden. Maybe you should gather more information first, or just find more excuses to hang out with Kogasa.
[x]"You're the only friend I've got here. I don't want to go alone."
>> No. 386
Writing now! Updates will be slow for the first part of the day (got things to do) and then faster this evening.
>> No. 387
File 125233205456.gif - (18.37KB, 500x500, 96da1e6a9a05d43ece074259ed23a268.gif) [iqdb]
387
"You're the only friend I have here, Kogasa." You say, trying to get her to meet your eyes. "I don't want to go alone."
Kogasa chews on her bottom lip, looking particularly conflicted and confused.
"But hey." You spread your hands a shrug. "I guess I won't go just yet. I'd rather hang out with you anyway."
"Really?" Some of Kogasa's smile returns, her eyes lighting back up.
"Sure!" You say. "I don't want to waltz right in there yet." You glance back at Chireiden again. "It's ... well it's creepy."

It really is. The monolithic stone building seems almost as if it's set apart from the city for a reason. Something outside and unknowable and alien. The Underground City might be weird and full of strange beings, but it's raw and physical and full of life. Chireiden looks sterile, too clean, too sharp-edged and dead.

Kogasa hops forward and grabs you by the arm, grinning once more.
"Okay!" She says. "What do you want to do?"
You shrug. "I don't know really." You reply. "What were you going to do?"
But Kogasa isn't listening. Her gaze drifts past you, over your shoulder. You turn to look, spotting a little group of people crossing the plaza. They're heading from the city itself, over to Chireiden, sticking close together.
"What are they?" You ask, frowning. None of them have horns like the Oni, and they're all quite short, with hair in varying shades of blue and green. All of them are wearing overalls of some kind.
"Kapa-pa-paaaaa~" Kogasa breathes in excitement, her face lighting up with mischief and joy.

"What?" You look back and fourth between the group of Kappa and Kogasa. "What are you going to-"
"Wait, just wait here!" Kogasa is so excited she looks like she's about to lose control and explode on the spot. Instead, she hurtles away from you at a run, towards the Kappa.

Oh.

Shit.

[ ] You can't look.
[ ] Sit back and enjoy the show.
[ ] Stop her! She'll get in big trouble for bothering them.
- [ ] Call to her.
- [ ] Try to catch up with her.
- [ ] Just tackle her.
>> No. 388
[x] Go with her, can't leave her alone now.
- [x] Help her scare the Kappa
>> No. 389
[x] Sit back and enjoy the show.
>> No. 390
[x] Sit back and enjoy the show.
>> No. 391
[x] Sit back and enjoy the show.
>> No. 392
[x] Sit back and enjoy the show.
>> No. 393
Sorry for the long delay. Monday, busy. Writing now.
>> No. 394
[X] Stop her! She'll get in big trouble for bothering them.
- [X] Try to catch up with her.

Wow you guys, voting to let her set herself up to get nuked? Jerks.
>> No. 395
>>393
You're busy on Labor Day?
>> No. 396
>>395
I'm not American.
>> No. 397
File 125234292517.jpg - (102.95KB, 450x650, f9c3379004da33ffab725266c6db4d60.jpg) [iqdb]
397
Frozen in place with a mixture of surprise and amusement, you just watch as Kogasa half-runs, half-skips across to the little group of Kappa. As she approaches them, they turn and spot her, shrinking back and glancing around.
They really are quite small, none of them could possibly be over five feet in height. Kogasa towers over them as she reaches them.
The Kappa stand in a huddle a few feet away from her. She's moved so she's inbetween them and Chireiden, and they seem too nervous and skittish to go around her.

As you watch, Kogasa leans down to their height, as if talking to a group of children. She twirls her umbrella in one hand, a huge grin plastered across her face. The Kappa seem to relax for a moment, starting to exchange words with her. Then she lowers the umbrella down over her face, the huge cartoon eye and mouth covering her own features.

The umbrella grins. The mouth, so static before, breaks into a huge smile, revealing row upon row of wickedly sharp teeth. A massive tongue lolls out of the mouth, slithering forward in the blink of an eye and wetly licking the face of one of the Kappa.

Their screams reach you moment later as they break and run in different directions. Kogasa stands amid the chaos, laughing ecstatically and folding her umbrella back up again. It seems to have returned to normal, just a mouth and eye once more.

The Kappa seem to be individually looping around, making their way across the plaza in ones and twos now, giving Kogasa as wide a berth as possible. Somehow though, it looks like there are fewer of them than before. As you watch, one of them suddenly shimmers and vanishes completely.

What the?

One of the Kappa is coming in vaguely your direction, not paying attention to you, too distracted fumbling with a device on her belt and something on her wrist. She looks distressed and panicky, making you feel a sudden pang of regret for not stopping Kogasa. Was scaring these people really necessary?

[ ] Ignore the Kappa, wait for Kogasa.
[ ] Ignore the Kappa, go over to Kogasa.
[ ] Intercept the Kappa, try to apologise for Kogasa or something.
[ ] Give in to the dark side! Scare the Kappa coming towards you.
>> No. 398
[X] Give in to the dark side! Scare the Kappa coming towards you.

No regrets.
>> No. 399
[B] Give in to the dark side! Scare the Kappa coming towards you.
>> No. 400
[x] Give in to the dark side! Scare the Kappa coming towards you.
>> No. 401
[x] Ignore the Kappa, go over to Kogasa.

Common sense.
>> No. 402
[X] Ignore the Kappa, wait for Kogasa.
>> No. 403
[X] Give in to the dark side! Scare the Kappa coming towards you

Let's help Kogasa!
>> No. 404
[X] Ignore the Kappa, wait for Kogasa.
>> No. 405
[ ] Intercept the Kappa, try to apologise for Kogasa or something.
>> No. 407
FFF'ing at today's constant interruptions getting in the way of updating. Writing now, might be delayed, but will make up the speed later.

I know how important regular updates are, so when these kind of delays happen I'll make it up later in the day with more.
>> No. 408
[X] Ignore the Kappa, wait for Kogasa.
>> No. 410
File 12523503916.jpg - (60.53KB, 550x550, eac95039340fa8a7cd69b11a9429834b.jpg) [iqdb]
410
Maybe not necessary, but it sure as hell looked fun. You can't contain yourself either, Kogasa's bizarre addiction to frightening and surprising others must be contagious.
Before you can stop yourself, you step forward, into the path of the Kappa coming towards you. She's short, with blue hair up in twin-tails, and blue dress-like overalls covering a surprisingly curvy figure. She's tapping at buttons on the thing around her waist, cursing softly and looking over her shoulder at where Kogasa still stands, laughing.

The Kappa doesn't see you until she walks into you and bounces off, landing on her ass.
"Ow!" She rubs herself, then looks up with widening eyes as you lean down, grinning as wide as you can, showing all your teeth. You haven't really planned this out, but improvisation seems to be working well.

"I see you have met my umbrella loving friend!" You speak through your grin.
"Ohmygodsohshititshim!" The Kappa half-shrieks, half-babbles to herself, far more terrified of you than any of them were of Kogasa. Whoops, did you overdo it? Is a normal human really that scary?

The Kappa tries to scoot backwards on the ground, whimpering and jabbing furiously at the thing on her belt. Very real tears of panic and fear start to stream from her eyes. You drop the grin, straightening up. This went too far.
"H-hey, sorry, it was just a jo-"

There is a gentle shimmer, and the Kappa vanishes.

Something slams into your groin with the force of a hammer-blow. Your eyes bulge out in pain and you instinctually cup your bruised testicles, knees giving way.
"Ooooooh shit." You let out a long moan of pain, vaguely aware of fast footsteps running away from you.

[ ] Curl up in a ball on the floor for a minute. Let yourself recover.
[ ] IRON HEART SURGE. Chase the Kappa! You can't see her, but you can hear her footsteps.
[ ] Call for Kogasa.
>> No. 412
[x] Call for Kogasa.

Man down, need Medic!
>> No. 413
[x] Curl up in a ball on the floor for a minute. Let yourself recover.
>> No. 414
[ ] Curl up in a ball on the floor for a minute. Let yourself recover.
>> No. 415
[x] Curl up in a ball on the floor for a minute. Let yourself recover
[X]Call for Kogasa after that.
>> No. 416
>>415
[ ] IRON HEART SURGE. Chase the Kappa! You can't see her, but you can hear her footsteps.

LIMIT BREAK TIME
>> No. 417
[x] IRON HEART SURGE. Chase the Kappa! You can't see her, but you can hear her footsteps.
[x] With all the might of a roaring beast. Roar. That's the key word.
>> No. 418
[ ] Curl up in a ball on the floor for a minute. Let yourself recover.
-[ ] Go find Kogasa and ask about other humans here

Kogasa won't have gone far, but calling her over might mean having to explain groin attacks to her. Scared Kappa was scared of 'it's him' rather than just 'aaah, humans'. Deserves some searching of who this other 'him' is that is terrifying the Kappa.

Sad Nitori pic engenders sympathy.
>> No. 421
[O] IRON HEART SURGE. Chase the Kappa! You can't see her, but you can hear her footsteps.
[O] With all the might of a roaring beast. Roar. That's the key word.
>> No. 422
[B] IRON HEART SURGE. Chase the Kappa! You can't see her, but you can hear her footsteps.
>> No. 423
I return! Votes are tied!
>> No. 424
[x] IRON HEART SURGE. Chase the Kappa! You can't see her, but you can hear her footsteps.
>> No. 425
[x] Curl up in a ball on the floor for a minute. Let yourself recover
>> No. 426
[X] IRON HEART SURGE. Chase the Kappa! You can't see her, but you can hear her footsteps.
[X] Apologizing as you go.

>[X] With all the might of a roaring beast. Roar. That's the key word.
As much as I'd love to see a KICKED IN THE BALLS END, scaring Nitori this badly makes my heart hurt.
>> No. 427
Manly time it is then. Writing now.
>> No. 428
[x] IRON HEART SURGE. Chase the Kappa! You can't see her, but you can hear her footsteps.
>> No. 429
File 125236112997.jpg - (129.69KB, 550x725, kappa punch.jpg) [iqdb]
429
You stagger, a high gurgle rising from your throat. Tears of pain leak from the corners of your eyes as you gasp for breath. The pain rolls across you in waves, each one like another boot to the groin as you fight to stay standing.

In a corner of your mind which is not occupied with screaming about how much this hurts, a thought forms. That Kappa was way too scared, there was something in her babbling voice, something you can barely remember, something that means you're going to be in a world of trouble if you don't correct the misunderstanding. You won't be getting away from this one with nothing more than bruised testicles.
"Wait!" You squeak out, reaching after the sound of the running Kappa. It's not enough. You have to ignore this pain. You have to focus. Pulling together all your last reserves of strength, you focus.

Focus.

Suddenly the weight inside your chest returns to the centre of your consciousness. Your legs start to move, each step taking less and less effort than the last. Your body is being dragged, pulled, commanded and fuelled by that core of self in your chest.
"Waaaaait!" You call out as you race after the Kappa. You can't see her, but you can see a faint shimmer against the air, like heat-haze. It's hard to keep your gaze on her, but you try as hard as you can, losing and regaining it over and over as you run.
"Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!" You can hear the Kappa's shrill scream of fear again as she tries to escape.
"I didn't mean to scare you! I'm not who you think I am! I'm just a guy!" You're closer to her now, maybe ten paces or so behind her. Those short legs don't make fast runners.
You can't keep this up much longer. This surge of power will only last so long before you collapse with horrible pain again.

A shadow passes over your vision. You must be about to pass out.

[ ] Shout one last apology before you go down.
[ ] Tackle the Kappa, or what looks like the Kappa.
[ ] Stop short. Just stop. If you stop right now you might stay standing.
>> No. 430
[ ] Stop short. Just stop. If you stop right now you might stay standing.

Oooops. Careful, Anon. If we pass out in the middle of the street, we may not have someone invested in our wellbeing enough to pick us up.
>> No. 431
[O] Stop short. Just stop. If you stop right now you might stay standing.
>> No. 432
>Focus.
Silly Anon. Focusing makes you move slower.

[X] Shout one last apology before you go down.
>> No. 433
[X] Stop short. Just stop. If you stop right now you might stay standing.

Hopefully Kogasa will help us.
>> No. 434
[ ] Stop short. Just stop. If you stop right now you might stay standing.
>> No. 435
Brief recap of some of our possible goals:

[ ]Find Farley
[ ]Boardgames with Parsee
[ ]Experiment with Hitbox
[ ]Go see Komeiji

[ ]Find some money!
[ ]Find a place to stay.
>> No. 436
Writing now.

>>435
Oh ho!
>> No. 437
>>435
more like
[ ] Find a home for Kogasa and you
>> No. 438
You all but skid to a halt, panting down great lungfulls of air as you bend double and put your hands on your knees. The Kappa is getting away, but at least you're not going to pass out. Your vision blurs for a moment and you blink it back to normal.

But that shadow is still there. Moving.

You look up. There's a person. In the air, blotting out what little light there is, staring down at you with curiosity and hostility. Your mouth falls open in shock at the sight of her. This must be a hallucination, there's no other way to explain her.

A pair of huge wings keep her aloft, made of black feathers, slowing beating against the air. A cloak hangs down from the wings, the inside of the cloak too confusing and dizzying to focus on, as if you're looking out into space from the wrong angle. A long mane of dark hair cascades down her back. From her face and body, you guess she can't be any older than her late teens, but the rest of her leaves you bewildered.
Extending from her right elbow, replacing the lower half of her arm, is a long hexagonal rod of orange metal. Her right foot is encased in what looks like a huge piece of melted concrete, like an oversize cement shoe. Two tiny points of bright light orbit her left leg in rapid, concentric patterns.
A hot red glow comes from the middle of her chest, so bright it outlines itself against the white of her shirt.

She is giving you such a frown.

The Kappa you were chasing suddenly reappears, jumping up and down and waving her arms at this new arrival.
"Hey Okuu! Down here! Help!" The Kappa shouts. This 'Okuu' notices the Kappa with a start, and suddenly drops to the floor, landing lightly with her left foot, but slamming the concrete one into the ground with a thump.
The Kappa runs over, grabbing Okuu around the middle and hiding behind her, pointing wildly at you.
"O-Okuu it's him! He's b-back!" The Kappa burbles, still trying to wipe the tears from her face.

Okuu raises her right arm, pointing it at you. The orange metal rod glows slightly.

You get the distinct feeling that you're looking down the barrel of a very, very big gun.

[ ] Duck.
[ ] Run.
[ ] "I'm not who she thinks I am!"
[ ] Raise your hands in a gesture of surrender.
[ ] Plead for mercy.
[ ] Pass out.
>> No. 439
[X] Raise your hands in a gesture of surrender.
[X] Duck?
[X] "God damn, can't a guy play a joke without getting a cannon pointed at him? I've been trying to apologize! Just who do you think I am, anyway?"
>> No. 440
[x]"Help me Kogasa!"
>> No. 442
[ ] "I'm not who she thinks I am!"
[ ] Raise your hands in a gesture of surrender.

I'm the Anon from 435, and making the assumption that we live through this to pursue long-term goals seems . . . Less certain, now.

Just what the hell has this mystery guy (Farley?) been doing down here to get Nitori to fear him so. .

Jerk. Promises fancy breakfast and skips out on it, and then runs around molesting little Kappa girls. Better have a good explanation for this.
>> No. 443
[ ] "I'm not who she thinks I am!"
[ ] Raise your hands in a gesture of surrender.
>> No. 445
[ ] "I'm not who she thinks I am!"
[ ] Raise your hands in a gesture of surrender.

Anyone else think we're going to have BAD END/backtracking?
>> No. 446
>>445
>Chase the Kappa!
Brilliant, we even got told not to mess with them. I mean the guy is not a youkai or something.
>> No. 447
Okay, writing shortly. Just gotta wake myself up a bit first.
>> No. 448
Dunno if I'm too late to vote.

[ ] "I'm not who she thinks I am!"
[ ] Raise your hands in a gesture of surrender.

AND

[ ] Squint with an exaggerated motion, draw your head back in hyperbolic admiration and compliment the effect her cape/wings creates.

She's a birdbrain, so some flattery should help improve her attitude towards us from outright hostility to neutrality.
>> No. 449
>>447
If you are tired, please go to bed. I love updates but sleep is more important.
>> No. 452
File 125237135226.jpg - (372.79KB, 750x1000, 842e35c7b0852972ebc50b0fb4e14b1f.jpg) [iqdb]
452
"Wait, wait!" You stick your hands in the air, an instinctive gesture of surrender. Whatever that thing is on her arm, you don't doubt it could kill you in one hit. Okuu hesitates ever so slightly, raising her eyebrows.
"I'm not who she thinks I am!" You plead. "I don't even know who she thinks I am!"

Okuu lowers her arm a little, leaning forward to get a better view of you. Nitori starts to panic.
"W-what are you waiting for?!" She wails. "Blast him already!"
" ... I dunno." Okuu squints at you. "He looks kinda ... pink and clean. I fried the other one pretty bad. They don't heal that fast, I don't think." Okuu frowns in thought, scratching her head with her free hand.
"B-but he was gonna eat me!" Nitori sniffs loudly, bottom lip wobbling with distress.
"Were you gonna eat her?" Okuu asks you, pointing at Nitori.

You shake your head. "No, no I was not going to eat her. Not even a little bit." You say as clearly as you can, keeping your hands above your head. That gun-arm is still pointed vaguely in your direction. Okuu carelessly waves it around as she speaks.

"See?" Okuu says to Nitori. "He wasn't going to. He doesn't even sound like the other one."
"But he was chasing me!" Nitori says. You clear your throat loudly to get the attention of both women.

"I was trying to apologise for scaring her. It was meant to be a joke." You say. "Sorry, Miss." You nod to Nitori. She shudders and ignores you.
"He ... he could be tricking us!" Nitori says, tugging on Okuu's skirt.
"How?" Okuu asks.
"He could be lying with his face!" Nitori suggests. Okuu frowns over at you, suddenly suspicious again.
"They can do that?" Okuu asks Nitori.
"Of course they can! Humans are devious and sneaky." Nitori puffs up with courage, scowling over at you.
"Uh ... huh." Okuu just stares over your head in thought for a moment.

"Okuu?" Nitori tugs on her skirt again.
"You know." Okuu sighs. "I think we allllllll need to clam down, and go see Miss Satori." She smiles to herself, obviously chuffed at having solved the situation by bumping it up the chain of responsibly.
"B-but-" Nitori starts. Okuu interrupts by patting her fondly on the head.
"It's okay, little Kappa. Satori will know what to do." Okuu shakes Nitori off and steps forward to you.

"Come on, human." She reaches for your arm.

[ ] Allow yourself to be led. Call for Kogasa to follow you.
[ ] Allow yourself to be led, look for Kogasa but say nothing.
[ ] Run! You don't want to see Satori. Find Kogasa and get out of here.
[ ] "Is there any way of doing this that doesn't involve seeing Satori?"
>> No. 454
[ ] Allow yourself to be led. Call for Kogasa to follow you.

Make it clear that you want to call for your traveling companion before doing anything. Don't want to get blasted into ash by moving or acting suddenly.
>> No. 457
[x] Allow yourself to be led. Call for Kogasa to follow you.

Talk with Kogasa, ask her to wait outside until you clear up the misunderstanding inside. We should get the talk with Satori behind us too.
>> No. 460
[x] Allow yourself to be led, look for Kogasa but say nothing.
[x]If she sees you, try to convey "I'll be back" silently.
>> No. 461
[x] Allow yourself to be led. Call for Kogasa to follow you.

We don't want to be alone. But tell Utsuho beforehand.
>> No. 462
[O] Allow yourself to be led. Call for Kogasa to follow you.
>> No. 463
[x] Allow yourself to be led, look for Kogasa but say nothing.
>> No. 464
[x] Allow yourself to be led. Call for Kogasa to follow you.

But try to be careful. I wonder what's gotten her so upset over humans, since normally she's friendly to them.

But I don't think we have anything to fear with Satori; she can read our innocence!
>> No. 465
[x] Allow yourself to be led, look for Kogasa but say nothing.
[x] If she sees you, tell her "I'll be back soon."

Don't want to try to force her to follow when she's shown that she'd rather stay away. Plus it might be helpful to have someone outside who knows (and cares) where we've gone, should we find ourselves trapped or something.
>> No. 467
[x] Allow yourself to be led, look for Kogasa but say nothing.
[x]If she sees you, try to convey "I'll be back" silently.
>> No. 468
Aaaaaaaand writing now.
>> No. 474
File 125237716914.jpg - (178.76KB, 650x890, 62e804aeb115af6aadbfa44197a575bc.jpg) [iqdb]
474
Okuu takes you by the arm, leading you across the plaza, towards Chireiden. Nitori scampers on the other side of Okuu, throwing you scowls whenever you're not looking. Ahead, you can see some of the other Kappa slipping off behind the Palace, to whatever infernal fires burn down there.

"One second." You say to Okuu. "I was with someone." You glance around, looking over your shoulder, but Kogasa is nowhere to be seen.
"Ah!" Nitori exclaims. "He-he-he was with the umbrella youkai!"
"The tatara?" Okuu sighs. "Is she still down here?" She asks you.
"Yeah. I was ... with her just now." You scan the plaza again and again, but you can't see her. "She was meant to come with me ... " You trail off, a horrible pang of inexplicable sorrow lodged deep in your chest. What is this feeling?
"Eh, cheer up, human." Okuu gives you a lazy grin. "She's always nosing around, she'll be back."

"Kogasa." You mutter to yourself, unable to keep a lump from forming in your throat. She was supposed to stick with you, dammit!

Chireiden looms ever closer as Okuu guides you towards the massive entrance. There's no door, just a huge arched doorway cut from the rock. Tiny, intricate carvings cover every surface. The refracted light from the stained-glass windows high above throws everything into a eerie mixture of shadow and rainbows.

Okuu marches you inside. The entrance hall of Chireiden is massive, grey ceiling held up by grey pillars. In contrast, the floor is red and white, the square pattern confusing your eyes and making you blink to clear your vision.
Well-lit with some kind of glow-globes set in the ceiling and along the walls, the interior of the palace is still somehow gloomy. In here, the hustle and bustle of the city has died away to nothing, the total silence is only broken by the soft whisper that is made by passing balls of gaseous, coloured light.
You stare in amazement as one floats past your face. You can almost see shapes forming and dying within the cloud.

Your little group stops in the centre of the room.
"What are we waiting for?" Nitori asks.
"Satori." Okuu says, as if this is obvious.
"Shouldn't we ... go get her, go to her?" You add. You'd rather get this over with as quickly as possible, you need to get back outside and find Kogasa as soon as you can.
"She knows we're here, silly." Okuu lets go of your arm, before reaching over and playfully ruffling your hair.

"You're nicer than the other human." Okuu says, cocking her head at you. "I like you."
"Okuu!" Nitori whines. "He's evil."
Okuu squints at you. "Are you evil?"
"I'm not evil." You say, starting to see the funny side to this.
"See?" Okuu smiles at Nitori.
"Gah." Nitori stamps her foot and turns away, crossing her arms over her chest.

[ ] Just wait quietly.
[ ] "Soooo, I take it you're Utsuho?"
[ ] "What are those floating gas balls?"
[ ] "Sorry for scaring the Kappa. Was just meant to be a joke."
[ ] "Satori runs this place, right? Anything special I should do when she arrives?"
>> No. 475
[x] "Sorry for scaring the Kappa. Was just meant to be a joke."
-[x] "What are those floating gas balls?"
>> No. 477
[x] "Sorry for scaring the Kappa. Was just meant to be a joke."
[X] "So, I take it you're Utsuho?"
>> No. 478
[x] "Sorry for scaring the Kappa. Was just meant to be a joke."
[X] "So, I take it you're Utsuho?"
>> No. 480
That's all for tonight. 7 updates, woo. Tomorrow might be a little problematic, might not be able to update at all until the evening, but when I do update I'll crank the speed back up.
>> No. 481
[O] "Sorry for scaring the Kappa. Was just meant to be a joke."
[O] "So, I take it you're Utsuho?"
>> No. 482
>"The tatara?"
ಠ_ಠ
She's a karakasa. Tatara is her surname.
>> No. 484
>>482
And Okuu is a birdbrain. So am I! Let's retcon that and pretend I am not stupid.
>> No. 485
[x] "Sorry for scaring the Kappa. Was just meant to be a joke."
[x] "So, I take it you're Utsuho?"
>> No. 486
[X] "Sorry for scaring you, Nitori. Was just meant to be a joke."
[X] "So, I take it you're Utsuho?"

Let's not call her "the kappa" and refer to her in the third person, eh? Also, I like this Okuu.
>> No. 488
>>486
We don't actually know her name yet. We haven't been introduced, and nobody's used her name yet.

Wait a minute, we don't know her name. Why did we suddenly start referring to her as Nitori?

ಠ_ಠ

[x] "Sorry for scaring the Kappa. Was just meant to be a joke."
[x] "So, I take it you're Utsuho?"
>> No. 489
>>488
D'oh!

The original draft of this post
>>452
Had Okuu calling Nitori by her name. Then I removed it like a idiot.
>> No. 490
Be careful that you don't burn yourself out. But I have a sneaking suspicion that Farley (or whatever his name is) is down here and being an complete ass, even to everyone's favorite cute yet rather shapely (at least in this story and in some fanart) Kappa.
>> No. 495
>>490
I think you and Bastille are going to be good friends.

But go be good friends somewhere else, or at least learn how to turn down the creepy pedo vibe.
>> No. 497
[ ] "Soooo, I take it you're Utsuho?"
[ ] Compliment her fashion sense.
[ ] "Satori runs this place, right? Anything special I should do when she arrives?"
>> No. 500
FYI, the new autosage limit is 250 posts and this is the 253rd, so it's time for thread #2.
>> No. 502
[X] "Soooo, I take it you're Utsuho?"
[X] "Sorry for scaring the Kappa. Was just meant to be a joke."

>>Also, I like this Okuu.

I do, too.
>> No. 506
[x] "Sorry for scaring the Kappa. Was just meant to be a joke."
[x] "So, I take it you're Utsuho?"
>> No. 508
[x] "Sorry for scaring the Kappa. Was just meant to be a joke."
[x] "So, I take it you're Utsuho?"

>"Kogasa." You mutter to yourself, unable to keep a lump from forming in your throat. She was supposed to stick with you, dammit!

Oh god, already made a new friend and already got betrayed.
She is coming to bust him out in a cracy rescue mission... right?
>> No. 510
[X] "Soooo, I take it you're Utsuho?"
[X] "Sorry for scaring the Kappa. Was just meant to be a joke."
>> No. 511
[X] "Soooo, I take it you're Utsuho?"
[X] "Sorry for scaring the Kappa. Was just meant to be a joke."
>> No. 518
Sleepy today, but expect a new thread soonish.
>> No. 519
[x] "Sorry for scaring the Kappa. Was just meant to be a joke."
[x] "So, I take it you're Utsuho?"

Minor issues aside, this is certainly off to a good start. Keep it up bro.
>> No. 643
Just leaving a pointer for others who, like me, start from the beginning of a story.
Next thread:
>>521
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