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File 125349161679.jpg - (205.16KB, 860x595, 7a4311ebefc397b4f9b3509e2d2a9e86.jpg) [iqdb]
11708 No. 11708
And now we enter the realm of two-digits. To the readers and voters, thank you for your continued support.

[x] Left. Native Gods.
-----

……

“Ta-da!” Sanae says, raising her arms to the side and giving herself a little twirl. The too-long-for-her skirt swishes about near her ankles, as do the detached sleeves at her elbows. Gripped tightly in her hand is a wooden stick with a flat piece of paper attached to the end, looking rather like a spatula. “How’s this?” she asks brightly.

“… is that really what shrine maidens wear?” you ask doubtfully from your sitting position on the floor. “That’s pretty weird.”

“It isn’t weird!” she protests, frowning.

“C’mere for a second would you?” you say, gesturing for her to come closer. Curiously, she approaches you, wearing a puzzled look on her face.

“Banzai!” you say, lifting your hands up into the air while raising yourself onto your knees.

“Huh?”

“Come on, give me a banzai!” you say, briefly lowering your hands and reaching out towards the ceiling again.

“B-banzai!” she says, raising her arms up.

“Armpits!” you say as you reach forward, cupping your hands around them.

“Aaahhh!” Sanae quickly draws back, hugging herself tightly, protecting her armpits from you. “Don’t do that!”

“Sorry, I couldn’t help it,” you say, laughing. As you do, you notice the silver snake coiled around a lock of Sanae’s hair. “Hey, is that thing part of the outfit?”

“Huh, you mean this?” she asks, examining the snake coil from the corner of her eyes. “Yeah, it is!” She says happily, playing with that lock of hair. “The snake represents the reincarnation of the land after it was ravaged by Mishaguji’s curse.”

“Huh…” you mumble. She sure did know her rural legends.

“Ah, wait!” Sanae suddenly speaks up, as if she had an abrupt idea. “It’s not complete yet! Wait here~!” Saying that, she darts into her room, and emerges only a few moments later. She hurries over to you and sits down, pointing at her head. “Look!” she says excitedly.

She’s wearing that cheap hairpin again. The one shaped like a frog’s head that you bought her. She really likes that piece of junk, doesn’t she?

“The frog is here,” she says, pointing at the hairpin. “And the snake is here,” she says, pointing at the snake coil with her other hand. “The snake’s trying to climb up to eat the frog!”

“That’s pretty morbid,” you say dryly.

“No it isn’t!”

You laugh again, placing a hand on Sanae’s head as she puffs out her cheeks, pouting. Ah, you wish she was really related to you. You’d love to have a little sister like her.

“Anyway, breakfast will be ready soon,” Sanae says, getting ready to head to the kitchen.

“You’re not going to cook with that spatula, are you?” you say, pointing at the wand in her hand.

“It’s not a spatula,” she frowns. “Show proper respect for the divine tools of a shrine maiden, Hoshuu.”

“Sorry, sorry.”

---

Many hours later, you’re heading out of the supermarket you’re employed at. You quickly head over to where you parked your bike, and set out towards the exit of the city. It’s quickly approaching fall, and the days have already started getting shorter.

As you pedal along the road leading to the shrine, you observe the passing scenery. Beside the lake of Suwa, there's a large field of rye. They swish about in the wind, rustling gently. A scene like that could only be seen on TV or in photos when you live in the city. It’s appealing, and feels somewhat nostalgic, even though you’ve never visited the countryside before you ran away.

… Huh?

You stop the bike, leaning on one leg as you examine the field closer. Among the sea of crops, you see something rustling about in it unnaturally. It’s too big to be a field mouse or any other small animal.

As you stare intently at where it last stopped, you see something pop out. At first, it’s hard to see because the color blends in with all the brownish yellow, but you can definitely make out something with a pair of cartoony, googly eyes on top. The eyes look around, as if searching for something. Then they fixate on you.

You’ve definitely seen that before, haven’t you?

[] Go check it out.
[] Keep pedaling.
Expand all images
>> No. 11709
[X] Go check it out.

As if there was any other choice.
>> No. 11710
{X} Go check it out.
>> No. 11711
[X] Go check it out.
>> No. 11712
[X] Go check it out.

Froggy!
>> No. 11713
[x] Go check it out.
>> No. 11714
[X] Go check it out.

Suwa Suwa Suwako~
>> No. 11715
[X] Go check it out.
>> No. 11716
[X] Go check it out.
>> No. 11717
[X] Go check it out.
>> No. 11718
[X] Go check it out.
There never really was any other choice, though we're probably going to be late for work now.
>> No. 11719
>>11718

We're leaving work.

[X] Go check it out.

I suspect Konshu's meeting Sanae restored her faith in gods... thus their random appearances.
>> No. 11720
>Konshu

Who?
>> No. 11721
Also,
[Q] Go check it out.
>> No. 11722
[dy/dx] Go check it out.
>> No. 11723
>>11720

I meant Hoshuu.
>> No. 11725
[x] Keep pedaling.
>> No. 11726
[x] Go check it out.

>>11708
>Banzai!
If you're referring to the picture I think you're referring to, that is one of the more creepy-pedo-vibe-iest pictures I've seen, and you should really feel bad about that.

>>11723
No, you mean Hokkaido, right?

We do have delete buttons on this board. Come on.
>> No. 11727
[B] Go check it out.
>> No. 11728
File 125357452892.jpg - (696.27KB, 448x2600, Banzai.jpg) [iqdb]
11728
>>11726
>If you're referring to the picture I think you're referring to, that is one of the more creepy-pedo-vibe-iest pictures I've seen, and you should really feel bad about that.

This? I think it's cute.
>> No. 11729
File 12535841145.jpg - (150.15KB, 575x1250, a4cfe568844595223deb71340a254683.jpg) [iqdb]
11729
>>11726

What?

[x] Go check it out.
------

Okay, that’s too weird. You have to go check it out. Dismounting your bike, you wheel it along as you head for the rye field. The eyes sink beneath the sea of grain, disappearing from sight as they see you approach. But no worries, if it moves elsewhere, you’ll be able to see where it went.

You carefully lay your bike to the side as you push on through the field, parting the rye in front of you with your hands. Finally, you reach where you’re sure you saw that weird thing, and you excitedly part the grass.

Nothing. There’s nothing there. But you’re sure that thing was around here… Frowning, you turn to walk back to your bike, when a sudden gust of wind stops you, playing with your hair.

“Did you not find what you sought in the field of rye?” an unfamiliar voice speaks to you from beyond your vision. You quickly look around you, but you find no one. “Over here,” the voice says again, this time, from behind you. You turn around.

Entering your sight is a woman, a tall woman with golden hair that reaches down to her back. She’s garbed in a simple, long purple dress, patterned with images of frogs on the front. Stitched to the dress are large, wide white sleeves, so long that her hands aren’t even visible. And of course, on top of her head rests that… that thing. That monstrosity of a hat.

“And now, you see me,” the woman says with an authoritative yet gentle voice. She… produces an aura that seems to command respect from anyone she speaks to. “A remnant of the ancient Kingdom of Moriya.”

“… Huh?” you can’t help but voice your confusion. What? Remnant? Kingdom? What the hell is she talking about?

“Child of the rye,” she continues, ignoring your puzzlement. “Heed my words carefully, for I speak on behalf of the land. I am the earth, I am the sky, I bless the land and curse the land, I am Mori—” she abruptly stops to let out a sharp cry of pain.

“Ow…!” she whimpers. “I bith my tonguth…” She turns away from you to nurse her tongue. What the? What kind of a blunder was that? The woman finally turns back to you, taking a deep breath.

“Okay, let’s try that again,” she asserts to herself. “I am Moriya, and I am the ancient God of Suwa. I…” she pauses again, frowning. “I… uh… um…” she reaches into her sleeves, pulling out a small stack of index cards. Cue cards? Seriously?

“Geeze, she sure did put some stuffy language into this…” you hear her mutter to herself as she pours over the cards, silently reciting the lines to herself. She then clears her throat with an “Ahem,” and continues. “I come to you to beseech you.”

“Hey, wait a minute,” you say, interrupting her. “Haven’t I seen you before?”

“No, we have not met,” she says ardently.

“No, no, I’ve definitely met you before,” you say, pointing at the hat. “A little different from what I remember, but you have that same, stupid hat—”

“The hat is not stupid!” she suddenly snaps, leaning forward. It might have been your imagination, but for a second you could swear those eyes on her hat glowed red. You quickly shut your mouth, not taking your gaze off of those eyes.

Ahem,” the woman clears her throat again, a bit more firmly this time. “I come to you to beseech you, for the one who is to inherit my powers has lost faith in me.”

“The one who is to inherit your powers? What?”

She ignores you and instead continues to read off of the cards. “Boy of the rye, I have but one request. Restore that child’s faith, so that I may once again… wait, what’s that written there? Everything looks so crowded and messy, sheesh…” the woman complains, squinting to better read. “So that I may once again pass on the miracles of the land to my heirs.”

“Wait, you are talking about Sanae, right?” you ask.

“Yes, that is what she is called,” responds the woman.

“So… uh…” you frown. “This restoring faith business. What do you want me to do here. Tell her to believe in you?”

“No. It is simple,” she says. “Stay with her.”

“… Huh?”

“It appears your presence is empowering to her,” she explains. “Through your support, she is able to build confidence for herself, and thus enables for her to follow through with the duties of her lineage.”

“So wait,” you stop her with a motion of the hand. “You… uh, you wanted to talk to me… to tell me to stay with her? Is that all?”

She nods.

“… It’s not like I was planning to go somewhere else any time soon,” you mutter.

For just a moment, the woman lowers that obviously false lofty demeanor, looking somewhat irritated as she speaks. “Yeah, that’s what I thought, too, but then she went and woke me up an-” she again catches herself, quickly closing her mouth. “Um… that is… Do not question the whims of a God,” she scolds you.

You fall into silence, taking time to assess the situation. This woman just suddenly appears before you, claims she’s a God, and is completely terrible at acting. This person… a God?

Yeah, right.

You don’t know how she knows about you staying at Sanae’s place. Maybe that one lady gossiped to her about it. Ugh. That’d be the worst.

Then again, you have this sneaking suspicion you’ve met her before. But you can’t seem to remember very well…

But there’s absolutely no way she’s a God. Eccentric, maybe, but not divine.

[] Laugh. What a total farce.
[] Play along.
>> No. 11730
>>11728
No, I think he's referring to a different picture. I think I've seen it. It's...yeah.

[X] Tell her, bluntly, to nix the purple prose.
>> No. 11731
>>11730
Optional, depending on how mean other voters are feeling:
[X] "It's no wonder people don't believe in gods anymore, if they're all talking like that."
>> No. 11732
[x] go along but ask her to just talk normally, since people don't really talk like that anymore and it'd help in understanding her request.
>> No. 11733
[X] Tell her, bluntly, to nix the purple prose.
>> No. 11734
[X] Tell her, bluntly, to nix the purple prose.
>> No. 11737
[X] Tell her, bluntly, to nix the purple prose.
>> No. 11738
[X] Tell her, bluntly, to nix the purple prose.
>> No. 11739
[X] Tell her, bluntly, to nix the purple prose.
-[X] If you want more people to follow you, you've got to be easy to understand. That's just basic marketing.
[X] But really, it's not like you would ever want to leave Sanae if you could help it. Being with her is the best thing that's happened to you...

Kanako herself knows the value of solidarity within a community. You have to really connect with people.
>> No. 11740
[x]"...'kay."
>> No. 11741
[X] Tell her, bluntly, to nix the purple prose.

>>11728
No, different picture. some off-camera guy saying almost the very same thing to a frightened and nervous looking young Sanae. Saying it in a smooth, more creepy way than Hoshuu said it, but almost the same thing nonetheless.

It's on Danbooru somewhere.

Your comic is funny, though.

>>11730
Yeah, you were there. You know the one I mean.
>> No. 11742
[Q] Tell her, bluntly, to nix the purple prose.
>> No. 11744
[x] Tell her, bluntly, to nix the purple prose.
>> No. 11746
File 125376862182.jpg - (160.24KB, 910x808, 1253204514479.jpg) [iqdb]
11746
[x] Tell her, bluntly, to nix the purple prose.
------

You can’t take her seriously like this. It’d be hilarious and incredibly hammy if she was doing this unintentionally, but the way she’s fumbling over the lines while reading such over-the-top flowery language just makes you want hit yourself in the head. You resist the urge to laugh, instead putting on a serious face.

“Okay, enough of that,” you say. “Cut it out already.”

“Hm?” the woman says, puzzled. “Why, whatever do you mean, child?”

“That. That’s what I mean,” you continue, sighing. “Stop talking like that. It’s weird and unnatural. Just talk normally. That whole elevated language thing isn’t mystifying or anything.”

The woman looks taken aback, her eyes opening wide for a brief moment, but she quickly settles down, a smile playing upon her face as she begins to speak again. “I agree with you,” she says brightly, in a much higher, childish voice. “Ahh, I suppose I’m no good at acting like a God!” she declares with a joyful expression.

Abandoning all earlier pretense of being graceful and commanding, she turns away from you, breathing deeply as she spreads out her arms to either sides, as if taking in the entire scenery within her body. “It’s been so long since I last took this form,” she says, apparently reminiscing. “It brings back a lot of memories.”

“That form?” you ask, confused.

“Yup. This form,” she says cheerfully, turning back around to look at you. “I was like this that time, too. A long, long time ago. But anyway,” she says, her smile fading a little as she takes a slightly more serious tone to her lightened voice. “I… or should I say she? Well, we really do need your help, you know.”

“… with?”

“Restoring that girl’s faith, of course,” the woman says as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. “To revive the shrine of Moriya.”

“Why are you asking me?” you frown. “Help Sanae yourself if you care about the shrine so much.”

“I can’t,” she says with a grim grin. “She still can’t see me.”

“Can’t see you? Why can’t she?”

“Because we failed her,” she says. “More specifically, because we failed her mother. Probably, she thinks along the line of “Why didn’t the God of the shrine save my mother?” or something like that.”

“If you’re a God, why couldn’t you help her?” you grimace. Not that you really believe she was a God, of course, but the more you think about it, the more it puzzles you that this woman would pretend to be one.

“If we had the power to do that,” she explains slowly. “We wouldn’t be in this situation. We couldn’t have foreseen what would happen to her,” she adds wistfully.

“… What happened?”

“A bus accident,” the woman replies. “Sanae was with her at that time, too. She was the only one unhurt, while the other passengers were all killed or wounded severely.”

“What?”

“It was almost like a miracle,” she muses. “Of course, we weren’t at all happy about it. We thought it was the end of the shrine. That girl’s mother was the first wind priestess since many generations ago, and she had died.”

… God or no, she really did know a lot about Sanae. But, it’s not like news like that wouldn’t spread in a small town like this, so you still remain unconvinced.

“… Give me a break here,” you say, frowning. “How can you expect me to believe that you’re a God? All that mythical stuff is just made up. I don’t believe in Gods, and there’s no way you’re one.”

“I am a God,” she says simply.

“No, you’re not.”

“Yes I am.”

“No you’re not.”

“Yes, I am.”

“Yes you are.”

“Yes, I am!” she says triumphantly. Damn, that didn’t work. “And you, you should be a little more honest about yourself. If you didn’t want to believe in Gods, you wouldn’t be able to see me. Even the few people with high spiritual vision won’t be able to see anything if they actively disbelieve in something.”

“Spiritual vision?” you ask. “What are you talking about?”

“Auuu, you ask a lot of questions!”

“Well you keep talking about things I don’t know anything about.”

“Ahaha, good point!” she laughs. “It just means you can see supernatural things better than most people, that’s all.”

“What? That’s ridiculous,” you say. “I’ve never seen ghosts or aliens or anything like that.”

“But you can see me now,” she says. “It’s possible you might have some connection to one of the many native gods of Japan. You might be of divine ancestry, even. I’m not sure myself.”

You shake your head. “I still don’t believe you’re a God,” you say frankly.

“Auuu, you’re so stubborn,” she speaks, and a sly, almost unconscious smile creeps onto her lips. “You remind me of someone. An old friend.”

“Huh?”

“Just as stubborn as you! And there’s something else familiar about you, too,” she approaches you, leaning over slightly to examine you closer. “But I don’t know what! Well, whatever, I guess it doesn’t really matter if you believe in me or not,” she says this, turning her back to you once more. “But you know, if you want to see the abilities of a God, you should just ask that girl to show you.”

“That girl… You mean Sanae?”

She merely smiles at you as a reply. You open your mouth to say something else, but…

“Hey, get off of my property, kid!” the gruff voice of an old man catches your attention. You turn towards the direction of the road, where a harassed looking middle-aged man stood, calling towards you. “Out of my field!”

You ignore the man and turn back towards the woman… but she’s not there anymore. Huh?

“Hey, I said get out!” the man yells at you again.

Grumbling, you begin to trudge out of the field towards your resting bicycle. As you mount the bicycle, you take one last look at the field. In the distance, you can see the small figure of a girl happily running amongst the grains.

You tear your eyes away and begin to pedal your bike.

---

“Yo, I’m back,” you say as you slide the door open. Sanae’s sitting at the dinner table, watching TV. Her expression brightens up as you enter.

“Welcome home,” she says with a smile. Sighing, you make your way over to the table, plopping down on the floor next to Sanae.

Your head hurts. On the way to the shrine, you’d been turning over the conversation with that “God” in your mind, and it’s done nothing but give you a headache. One part of the exchange really stood out, though.

“But you know, if you want to see the abilities of a God, you should just ask that girl to show you.”

The abilities of a God, huh? You have to admit, it’s really got you curious… and you want to ask Sanae about it, but on the other hand, that woman could have just been spewing bullcrap the whole way through, and you’d end up looking really stupid if so.

What should you do…?

[] Ask.
[] Don’t ask.
>> No. 11747
[x] Ask.
>> No. 11748
[x] Ask.
>> No. 11750
[x] Ask.
>> No. 11751
[x] Ask.
>> No. 11752
[x] Ask.
>> No. 11753
[X] Ask.
>> No. 11754
[X] Ask.
>> No. 11755
[x] Ask.
>> No. 11756
[x] Don’t ask.
>> No. 11757
[x] Ask.
>> No. 11758
[Q] Don’t ask.
>> No. 11759
[x] Don’t ask.
>> No. 11760
[X] Ask.

Need to get her going down that path.
>> No. 11761
Whether she's got god's powers or not--doesn't matter to me. She's her. Her is she. Rose is rose is rose, whether it's red or pink or purple.

[x] Don’t ask.
>> No. 11762
[B] Don’t ask.
>> No. 11763
>>11761

That's besides the point, Suwako wants us to nudge Sanae on the path of being the Miko of the Moriya shrine. Perhaps if we praise that ability it might help.
>> No. 11764
>>11763
I'm not pushing anyone on any path, man. That's bad karma to the max. They write books about that sort of thing, you know. Make movies. You've got the young hero--or heroine--with the supposedly idyllic life, but then it emerges that her father--or father figure wants him or her to become another doctor or businessperson or accountant in a long line of doctors or businesspersons or accountants.

But our hero responds--no!

No, Daddy!

I want to be...a lumberjack!
>> No. 11765
>>11764

Speaking of such, are updates from you coming anytime soon?
>> No. 11766
Can't you see the beauty, if only in your mind's eye? Imagine, if you will, the figure of a girl--only it is a girl no longer, but a woman, dressed in the pelt of a black bear--her first kill, her first real victory. She came upon its den by happenstance, and entered, unafraid. It slept. Her footfalls were as silent as the death that comes in the night to steal away the aged, the sick, the weak--and like that grim spectre, she stood poised to take a being's life away, holding the flint knife against the skin, above the vessels she knew she could sever to easily lead the beast from light sleep to the deepest, darkest slumbering, from which no living thing can return.

But that would not be a fair fight.

She strangled it, instead. She held it about the neck--held for dear life, as the bear roared and swung its body in its ferocious bids to dislodge her--and squeezed, cutting short the flow of blood, the flow of air. The beast howled, knowing it was upon Death's door, in that strange way all animals know, in the end. But still, it fought back--clawed at her, beat at her arms!

It was futile. Its attempts became weary. It slowed. One last feeble gesture--and then the body fell to the ground, unconscious. Sanae waited to be sure it was no longer awake, then in a single, swift movement, snapped the animals neck.

She gutted it and skinned it, there in the cave. There was no need to return to her previous shelter. This, for now, would serve.
>> No. 11768
File 125386450185.jpg - (338.07KB, 2024x2449, Joachim_von_Sandrart_001.jpg) [iqdb]
11768
Also lumberjacks get to wear ushankas

Ushankas are cool.
>> No. 11769
>>11766
I think you just pasted something from Clan of the Cave Bear and put Sanae's name in it.
>> No. 11770
>>11764
>>11766
>>11768
Get back to work nigger.
>> No. 11771
[x] Axe.
Since this thread is now about lumberjacks.
>> No. 11773
>>11761

But Sanae is a shrine maiden, so yeah!

[X] Ask.

Now, in all seriousness, Kanako needs some more faith for her to move the whole shrine to Gensokyo.
>> No. 11775
File 125394701673.png - (166.36KB, 640x484, 01.png) [iqdb]
11775
>>11766

wat

wat is this i dont even

goddamn it kc


[x] Ask.
------

The powers of a God, huh? If, by some small chance that woman wasn’t lying, you’d really want to see them for yourself. Still, you don’t want to sound completely stupid when you ask, so you begin thinking of the best way to word your question, your eyes glued to the television screen.

“… Hey, Sanae,” you finally begin after a few minutes’ contemplation. “Can I ask you something?”

“Mmm?” she responds, hardly looking away from the TV. Her current favorite TV show was on, after all.

“What can a shrine maiden do, anyway? I mean, besides expose their armpits,” you quickly add with a grin.

“Uuu… that’s just how the outfit is,” Sanae says with a frown and a blush. She shifts around to look at you, still red-faced but apparently also thinking over your question. “Um… what do you mean? You mean... their duties…?”

“They say shrine maidens can talk to gods, right?” you offer. “Can you do anything like that?”

Sanae looks uncertain, shifting her gaze to the floor. “Um…” she starts slowly. “I can’t talk to the God of the shrine, but…” She suddenly looks back up to you. “Can you wait for a bit?” she says, getting up from the floor.

“Huh? Uh, sure,” you say, watching her hurry on over to her room.

Minutes later, she emerges from the door, wearing her shrine maiden outfit again and carrying that paper spatula gohei wand in her hand. “Okay, I’m ready,” she says, looking somewhat reluctant, but also excited.

“… Ready for what?”

“You’ll see,” she says with a grin. “Follow me!” she eagerly rushes to the door, sliding it open and stepping off of the porch with a skip in her steps.

You get up from the floor, following her at a much more relaxed pace. Sanae patiently waits for you on the ground below the porch, and keeps silent as you slip on your shoes and step out of the door.

“Over here,” she says, quickly walking off somewhere. You shrug and follow her along. She’s headed towards the lake next to the shrine, huh?

The two of you stand at the edge of the lake. Come to think of it, in all the months you’ve been around, you’ve never really paid much attention to the lake. It was huge, though.

Sanae takes a few deep breaths, as if trying to calm herself. “Watch me,” she says. “I… I can do this.” She reaches down, taking off of her shoes and stepping on the earth with her bare feet. Spreading her arms out to both sides, she closes her eyes, and begins walking forward.

“Hey, what’re you doing?!” you say as you start to step towards her.

“Don’t!” she says sternly. “Watch me, Hoshuu.”

You reluctantly return to standing position. What was she up to? She steps closer and closer towards the lake. She isn’t trying to drown herself, is she?

Finally, the tip of her foot touches the surface of the water. Sanae hesitates, as a ripple forms around where the bottom of her toes touched the lake’s surface. And then… she puts her weight onto her foot. Another ripple, larger this time. She lets out a relieved breath as she steps forward with her other foot.

You can hardly believe your eyes.

A step, and then another step. Each of them, accompanied by a ripple in the water, but… She didn’t fall through the surface of the lake. She was walking on water as though it was glass she was standing on. Further and further, she walks until she’s quite far out in the vast lake, and yet she stays on top of the water.

Finally, she turns to you, opening her eyes at last. Her expression indicates that she’s just as surprised and as incredulous as you are, as if she could hardly believe that she was floating on top of water. She waves her arms at you, and then cups her hands around her mouth. “Look, Hoshuu!” she yells. “I can do it, I—“

She suddenly falls through the surface of the lake with a shrill shriek.

“Sanae!” you rush forward without thinking, not even bothering to take off your shoes before diving into the lake. Quickly, you paddle towards her. You don’t even know how to swim properly, but you race on anyway. But… your head is getting is lower and lower, and it’s becoming increasingly hard to keep your nose above the water…

You begin to sink down. But even as you start to fall to the bottom of the lake, you look about you, searching for Sanae. You can’t see anything. The water looks too cloudy for you to be able to look around, and it hurts to keep them open.

But it’s a pleasant feeling, sinking. Even though you’re drowning, you feel a small degree of inexplicable comfort here. Safety, even. Gah, what are you thinking? You need to get back up there…

Suddenly, you can feel cold air chilling your body. You open your eyes, and see yourself surrounded by some sort of pale light. You… you can breathe. Not only that, but you‘re also floating up, up and away. Your head breaks the surface of the water, and you feel a small pair of hands taking hold of one of yours.

Looking up, you see Sanae struggling to keep hold of you using her small, childish arms. Wait… Sanae? You look a little bit down. Her feet are… floating above the surface. Not standing, but floating. Holy cow, she’s flying?

“Uuugggh… you’re heavy,” she whimpers as she struggles to carry you away from the lake, almost dropping you back in several times. Finally, she lets you down at the edge of the lake, falling to the ground herself.

You take a moment to steady your breathing, coughing up the water in your lungs. Sanae sits next to you, looking at you with worried eyes.

“Are you okay, Hoshuu?” she asks, concerned.

“Yeah, I’m fine…” you say, waving your hand. “But what about you, Sanae?”

“I’m fine, too,” she says. “I just feel a little tired, that’s all.”

“… Sanae, that was amazing.”

“Huh?”

“Walking on water, doing that thing you did to lift me out of the lake, flying…” you list, still completely awed. “You… that’s… I don’t know what to say, I…”

“Ah…” Sanae blushes heavily, looking down at the ground. “I-it’s not really anything special, I don’t think…”

“Are you kidding?” you say, grasping her by the shoulders and forcing her to look into your eyes. “Listen to me, Sanae, that really is something special. It was like…” You pause, trying to think of a way to express it.

The powers of a God, huh?

“… It was like you were a living god.”

“A living god? N-no way, not me…” she says, looking flattered but unconvinced. “I mean, I can’t even really control it very well, a-and I messed up and you could have been hurt because of me…”

“Well, that’s why you’re going to keep practicing, right?” you say excitedly. “If you can show your powers to everyone, then all those people will have to acknowledge that your God exists! You really can revive the shrine like this!”

“But…” she frowns. “Do you… do you really think I can…?”

“Of course,” you reassure her. “And I’ll stay with you until you can. I promise.”

“Really?” she brightens up. “You really won’t leave, right? You won’t break your promise?”

“That’ll never happen,” you say, raising your hand to her with its pinky finger outstretched. “Here, pinky swear.”

She raises her hand to yours, and her small finger wraps around yours as you shake her hand. “You’ll have to swallow a thousand needles if you’re lying,” she says, looking every bit as likely to carry out that threat at the moment.

---

As you sit in the bathtub, you begin to think over everything unusual that happened today. You’d seen Sanae’s supernatural powers for yourself, so you have no doubt that there’s definitely more to the world than just the normal… but does that mean that everything that woman told you is true? Maybe. You’re not sure. But it really does seem much more likely now.

Come to think of it, she also did mention something else about you, didn’t she? About how you had some sort of advanced spiritual vision. That’s peculiar, because you can’t remember ever seeing anything abnormal, with the exception of that woman herself. Ties to one of Japan’s native gods? Divine ancestry? What does all that mean to you?

Maybe you can have powers like Sanae’s. You hold your hand in front of you, visualizing, half-expecting for something to happen. …Yeah right, as if you could really do anything. Still, seeing her powers for yourself, for some reason, really makes you want to help her be successful. Maybe it’s because you’re excited to be so close to something out of this world, maybe it’s something else. You don’t really know.

Finishing your bath, you quickly dry yourself off and get dressed. Heading out of the bathroom, you walk back out into the living room. On the floor, you see Sanae lying down on her side. At first, you worry that she might have collapsed, but you soon see her chest steadily rising up and down. She’s just sleeping soundly.

You look up at the clock; it’s night, but it isn’t very late yet. She must have been tired. You don’t want to perturb her rest right now, so you grab a blanket from her room, flicking the room’s light switch off as you return to her. Kneeling down, you carefully place the blanket over her.

You lie down next to Sanae, facing her with one arm propped against the floor, supporting your head. But to think she was really capable of all that. You still find it really hard to believe. She really might become a living god of sorts, if she advertised her powers. Suddenly, you have this image of Sanae as a national celebrity, appearing on television programs to display her miracles. Somehow, it doesn’t really suit her.

But, she’s still just a girl, after all. You place your hand on her head, caressing her hair fondly. She stirs a bit, but she doesn’t wake. Instead, she curls up next to you, nuzzling against your chest.

“Mama…” you hear her whisper.

And now you don’t feel like moving. Ah well, guess you’ll just have to stay like this for a while longer. Wrapping one arm around her small body and using your other arm as a pillow, you close your eyes and allow yourself to fall asleep next to her.

------

The final season of the year had passed, and the arrival of spring came the New Year, decorated with flowers and cherry blossoms. There was a bit too much of both lately, though. Still, it wasn’t as though the outbreak of flowers was particularly harmful to anyone, right?

“Don’t get distracted, Mikio!”

With a sharp impact, your wooden sword flies out of your hand, landing quite a ways away from you.

“You don’t look much focused today,” Miss Momizi says, lowering her own training sword as you slowly go to pick up your discarded weapon.

“No, I guess I’m not,” you sigh. “I’m sorry, Miss Momizi, I know I’m the one who asked you to train me, but I seem to have my mind elsewhere.”

“Well, do you want to talk about it?” she asks helpfully.

“I was just wondering why all these flowers are suddenly popping up,” you say, indicating to the overgrowth of flowers all around the grasses of the mountain. They seemed to shake in the wind, and you swear you can hear them whispering to one another from time to time.

“Ah, that,” Miss Momizi says, instantly comprehending. “Don’t worry too much about it, Mikio. It’s a natural phenomenon that happens from time to time.”

“… I guess,” you shrug, raising your sword again. “Okay, let’s continue, Miss Momizi. Here I come.”

“Whenever you’re ready.”

---

Still, you can’t quite escape your own curiosity, and you find yourself thinking about the outbreak of flowers from time to time. You know a few vague facts, that it occurs every some tens of years, but you want to know more about it. Maybe Miss Aya’s intrepid reporter nature is rubbing off of you a little. You feel a little adventurous, even.

You’ve decided: you’ll go out and investigate too, by yourself this time. It feels like it’d be cheating if you consulted Miss Aya or any of the other tengu.

… Come to think of it, you’ve changed a little too. A few years back, you couldn’t have imagined yourself investigating an incident on your own.

But well, the problem now is where to start.

[] Examine the flowers.
[] Search the skies.
[] There must be other people looking into the incident. Try to find them.
>> No. 11776
[ℤℯ] Examine the flowers.

SmarterTengu
>> No. 11778
[x] Search the skies.
>> No. 11779
[X] Search the skies.

Bird's eye view to find the source.
>> No. 11780
[x] Examine the flowers.
>> No. 11781
[X] Search the skies.
>> No. 11782
[X] Search the skies.
>> No. 11783
[Q] Search the skies.
>> No. 11784
[B] Search the skies.
>> No. 11785
[x] Search the skies.
>> No. 11786
[X] Search the skies.
>> No. 11787
[X] Search the skies.
>> No. 11788
I see that Mikio's Super Drowning Skills extend to the subjects of his dreams.

[X] Examine the flowers.

Let's meet Miss Yuuka!
>> No. 11789
>“Really?” she brightens up. “You really won’t leave, right? You won’t break your promise?”

>“That’ll never happen,” you say, raising your hand to her with its pinky finger outstretched. “Here, pinky swear.”

Oh, this is going to end badly.

[X] Search the skies
>> No. 11792
>>11789

Yeah... considering that Mikio might be the reincarnation of the guy (hence the shock on Sanae's face when she sees his face)

Btw the MoF scenario will be after this

But I think the Hunter was another previous life... as well as That Man. (The one in his nightmares) But I suspect the hunter ends up That Man since he's the hunter who hunted so many Youkai he became one himself if not worse
>> No. 11793
[x] Examine the flowers.
[x] Crush the flowers, destroy them with your wrath.
>> No. 11794
>>11792
>Yeah... considering that Mikio might be the reincarnation of the guy (hence the shock on Sanae's face when she sees his face)
Eh? When was this? I've got the memory of a mite, so I don't really remember this part of the story.
>> No. 11795
>>11794

Well it doesn't say anything in the story so far, but I suspect this since how Mikio dreams... if he had a previous life like that, it'd make sense that he'd dream about it.
>> No. 11796
>>11792
>>11795
Mikio hasn't met Sanae. Stop talking in riddles.
>> No. 11797
>>11796

We know that but we talk about when he does meet her.

And why else would he dream that he was someone else unless he was actually that person in a past life?
>> No. 11798
>>11797
>We know that but we talk about when he does meet her.
You're speaking English, I know, but I can't quite seem to make sense of your words.
>> No. 11799
I think he means He knows that but he was talking about when Mikio and Sanae finally do meet (and seeing how he's investigating incidents, it's certain) that his possible past life connection be shown.
>> No. 11800
As far as I can tell, Hoshuu and Mikio's lives overlap in terms of time. It would not make sense alot of sense for one or the other to be called a past life. (Well, I can think of a few scenarios, mostly involving other dimensions and/or time travel or weird soul models.)

I do think they are linked, or even the same person existing in two different places though. (Think about it. Hoshuu can sees and treats gods just like normal people. That's uncommon for an outsider but it seems very normal for Gensenkyo. 'They' might just share a life-force and a subconscious. After all, this story IS titled Fragmentation of Memories.)
>> No. 11801
To further add :

Remember the strange episodes in which Mikio's body suddenly seems to stop working? That may be the result of spreading out his lifeforce between more than one body. (Such a situation occurs in Tsukihime as the reason why Shiki seemed anemic. Although in that story, it affected him and Akiha with higher frequency. In addition, it should affect Hoshuu as well, which we haven't really seen.)

Hina's comments about Mikio's really high level of misfortune she can't do much about? Yeah, we get into a bit of trouble, but it does seem like she's overreacting a bit. Perhaps she see the misfortunes of two or three lives on us, which would seem very bad but we are actually living two or three lives to balance it out. And the reason why she can't take it out of us is that they are 'anchored' to the other 'lives'. Like there's a thick pane of glass, she can see the misfortunes there but not actually get at them.
>> No. 11802
Well, I'm sure that the plot will solve itself and we will know wtf is really going on. But right now, I'm more worried about what path to choose next. Left, to Sanae and learn how/why Hoshuu leaves her, or right, to Tewi and the three tailed wolf's past?
>> No. 11803
Well.... checking back further, there's quite a few people who think that the Hunter personality turns into a youkai. This same person is speculated to have eaten what he killed, which only makes sense if he was really hungry...

Crap, this is an autobiography, isn't it?
>> No. 11809
>>11808
>Honshuu
Again, who?

We already met Tewi, when we got inside Eientei. Even if we are a reincarnation, we probably don't look the same. Or it could just be the mask.
>> No. 11810
There's also the old man that sometimes haunts Mikio's dreams when he's not dreaming through the eyes of the Hunter or Hoshuu.
>> No. 11811
[x] Search the skies
------
Probably, the best viewpoint for investigating a flower outbreak would be high in the skies, wouldn’t it? With that line of thinking, you soar up into the air, fixing your mask on your face. Now flying far from the ground, you take a look down below.

It’s an amazing sight. The landscape of Gensokyo is filled with many, vibrant colors. This is probably the most pleasant incident you’ve experienced so far. After all, it’s no trouble at all if there are more flowers than usual, right? Everyone is in high spirits lately, too. Especially the fairies playing around in the fields of flowers, possessing even more energy than they already had. That’s a little strange, but it seems the presence of so many varieties of flowers excites them.

But still, even though you’re this high up, you can’t really see any sort of patterns as to where these flowers are all coming from. In fact, staring at all the colors below you made you feel kind of dizzy. You were so sure you’d be able to find out something about this incident from way up here…

Frowning, you decide to instead think of another way to investigate, when your eyes notice something in the distance, a little below you in height; a tiny white bird, flying through the air. Only it wasn’t a bird, but a fairy, with beautiful white-feathered wings. Oh, you’ve heard about this one before. Lily White, the herald of spring. She comes by the mountains each year, and gets chased off by the tengu to beyond the mountains. She’s considered a bit of a necessary nuisance, but that makes you feel a bit sorry for her.

But it’s rumored that her presence makes flowers bloom. Maybe she can tell you something about the incident at hand if you ask her? You decide to give it a try.

“Um, excuse me!” you call out to her as you descend from the air to her level. Lily White turns around, facing you with a wide, childishly giddy smile on her face. “Can you answer a few questions for me?”

“What, what~?!” she practically screams at you eagerly, flapping her arms about. “What do you need to ask, Mister Tengu~?”

“Um… right,” you say, backing away a little. “I was just wondering if you knew anything about what’s going on lately.”

“Huuuh? What’s going on lately?” she repeats, still with that wide smile. “That’s obvious! It’s spring! Spring’s finally arrived, and everything’s so pretty! So much prettier than all the other springs!”

“I know it’s spring, but isn’t it a little unusual?”

“And there’s so much more flowers and everyone’s so happy~!” the fairy continues, completely ignoring you as she spins about. “And when everyone’s so happy, Lily’s really happy! Even if everyone shoots at Lily and tells Lily go away and tries to eat Lily, Lily’s always happy when it’s spring!”

“Um, but I was asking if-“

“Ahahaha! Ahahahahahahahaha!” she laughs, spinning around even faster now. As she spins, colorful dots of magic begin to seep out from her body, spraying the air with a rainbow of bullets. You quickly get out of the way, descending to the ground. You hate to think this, but that girl was completely useless, maybe a little crazy, too.

You land back down on the ground, sighing. You’re really not good at this investigation stuff when you’re doing it by yourself. You have no idea where to start again. You sit down on the grassy ground, looking at the flowers at your feet. On a whim, you reach down and pluck one of the flowers from the ground.

You feel a chill through your body as you pick the flower, as though someone’s scream had echoed inside your head the very moment you severed the flower’s stem. Shaking off the feeling, you quickly notice something else. A wispy, formless white cloud emerged from the ground, flying off into the air. Wasn’t that… a ghost? You’re not sure. You don’t really know much about ghosts or souls or anything, but…

But now that you look at it, all the other flowers seemed to be possessed, too. How did you not notice before? The formless wisps surround the petals of the flowers, shaking and whispering to one another constantly. But… why were they around flowers?

[] Keep looking for answers about the flowers.
[] Investigate the ghosts:
--- [] They have to do with the Netherworld, don’t they?
--- [] Look for the area with the highest concentration of ghosts.
>> No. 11812
[x] Investigate the ghosts:
--- [x] Look for the area with the highest concentration of ghosts.
>> No. 11813
[x] Investigate the ghosts:
--- [x] Look for the area with the highest concentration of ghosts.

>You feel a chill through your body as you pick the flower
>pick the flower

Oh god I hope we don't run into Yuuka.
>> No. 11814
[x] Find Lily again and try to eat her.
>> No. 11815
[] Investigate the ghosts:
--- [] They have to do with the Netherworld, don’t they?
>> No. 11816
[x] Investigate the ghosts:
--- [x] Look for the area with the highest concentration of ghosts.
>> No. 11817
[x] Investigate the ghosts:
--- [x] Look for the area with the highest concentration of ghosts.
>> No. 11818
[x] Investigate the ghosts:
--- [x] Look for the area with the highest concentration of ghosts.
>> No. 11819
[x] Investigate the ghosts:
--- [x] Look for the area with the highest concentration of ghosts.
>> No. 11822
[x] Investigate the ghosts:
--- [x] Look for the area with the highest concentration of ghosts.

Does this mean we'd run into Komachi? I wonder how our rather moe lead will react to her.
>> No. 11823
>>11822

If she's anything like other Komachis, Mikio's face will end up squarely between two very soft objects at some point.
>> No. 11824
[ℤ] Investigate the ghosts:
--- [ℯ] Look for the area with the highest concentration of ghosts.
>> No. 11826
[x] Investigate the ghosts:
--- [x] Look for the area with the highest concentration of ghosts.
------

Suspicious. Too suspicious. You make up your mind; you’re going to start looking out for these unusual gatherings of ghosts. It’s the only lead you have at the moment, anyway, and you’re certainly not going to go around picking a fight with everyone for information, oddly productive as that seems to be at times.

Still, you can’t believe how long it took before you noticed these ghosts. They were everywhere around the flowers. You were focusing too much on the flowers themselves that you didn’t pay attention to what was around them. Still, now you’ve at least learned something.

The concentration of the ghosts begins to grow as you fly eastward, back towards the mountain. Your search leads you to fly beyond, where you haven’t really explored before. Now, looking down on the ground from high above in the air, you soar over the Youkai Mountain.

You descend to the ground, taking a quick look around. It sure is foggy around here. Still, the grass all around you is decorated colorfully by flowers of every season and cherry trees of a strange, purple color. Consequently, you find yourself surrounded by many ghosts as well. They seem to whisper excitedly as you approach them curiously, though you’re not sure if they’re really saying anything.

As you continue to walk, unable to see much ahead of you due to the heavy fog, the number of souls around begins to increase. Also, there seems to be a strange prevalence in a single flower type: a strange, red flower, with many thin spider leg-like petals. Walking further, you come across what appears to be a river. It’s strange, though. The water’s not moving at all, and you can’t hear its flow. There’s a lot of those red spider flowers around, though, and a lot of ghosts, too.

“This is the area with the most ghosts, but…” you say to yourself, placing a hand on your chin as you look around. “… I still don’t know anything about the incident.”

“Huh? Another one?” you jump as you hear an unfamiliar voice somewhere off to the side. “There sure are a lot of people coming around lately.”

You turn to the direction of the voice, observing a tall figure approach you, still obscured by the fog. It’s a woman, with bright red hair done in twin pigtails and carrying a menacing-looking scythe in her hand.

“What, did you come to commit suicide?” she asks disinterestedly, scratching her stomach as she yawns. She takes a bit of a closer look at you, before shrugging. “Nah, guess not. Bet you’re here to yell at me to do my work.”

“… Huh?”

“Alright, alright, I get it already! I’m workin’ as fast as I can here!” she says, holding out one of her arms. “Look at it! It’s all toned and unladylike now! This is slave labor!”

“… Um… I don’t get it, but… do you need help?” you ask, stepping a little closer.

“Huh?” she asks quizzically. “What was that?”

“I mean, um, if you need help doing something…”

“You’re going to assist me?” she says, before bursting out into laughter. “Appreciate the offer, but this ain’t the kind of work you can help with, unless you’re willing to pay the fee.”

“The fee?”

“Yup, a fee to get on the boat, of course,” she says, looking back behind her. You walk closer to her, and the silhouette of a small boat at the edge of the river emerges from the fog. “See, if you were to help me, you’d have to get on the boat with me, and it’d cost too much you, or anyone, really.”

“How much?”

“Well…” she crouches down, making marks on the dirt beneath her foot. Numbers. “About this much, I’d say.”

“… That’s a lot of zeros.”

“That’s how much your life is worth,” she laughs, standing up straight again. “Can’t afford that, can ya?”

“I don’t think my life is worth nearly that much,” you say, frowning. “By the way, what kind of work were you talking about?”

“Well, I-“

“Komachi, get back to work!” another unfamiliar voice interrupts the scythe-carrying woman.

“Kyan!” the scythe-carrying woman yelps, grabbing one of the ghosts floating about with one hand. “Sorry, kid, but no time to chat!” saying that, she hurries away to her boat, where she dumps the ghost and picks up an pole, pushing the boat off the edge and beginning to cross the river.

You search around for the voice from earlier, but you can’t find anyone. You didn’t even get a chance to ask that other woman about the flowers, either. Too bad, you think she might have known what was going on.

You float back up into the air, beginning to follow the trail of the red flowers instead. Along the way, you pass by a particularly festive road, with stands and shops as if there was a festival around. You briefly think about descending down to take a look around, but you decide against it. Maybe you’ll check it out when you’re returning to the mountain.

Eventually, the trail leads you to a small area enclosed by those strangely colored cherry trees. The red flowers are all bunched up together now. You descend to the ground, taking careful steps. The purple cherry blossom petals blow by you along with the gentle yet oddly melancholic wind as you step on to the ground.

Just up ahead, you can see a blooming field of those red flowers. Your head feels a bit strange now. Kind of lightheaded. Still, you might be able to find something around here. You trudge on into the field of flowers. Such an isolated place. There’s only two roads leading out of the clearing.

Huh? There’s someone here… someone kneeling on the ground, amidst all the flowers.

c l o s e r

You feel dizzy.

c o m e c l o s e r

[] Approach.
[] Stay away.
>> No. 11827
[x] Approach. Slowly.
>> No. 11828
[X] Stay away.
>> No. 11829
[x] Stay away.
>> No. 11830
[x] Stay away.
>> No. 11831
[x] Stay away.
>> No. 11832
[X] Approach.

I'm curious.
>> No. 11833
[x] Stay away.

Never listen to mysterious characters talking in italized text and making demands.
>> No. 11834
[] Approach.

Oh, look. It's Hoshuu!
>> No. 11835
[Q] Approach.
>> No. 11836
[X] Stay away.
>> No. 11838
>>11837

Maybe if we were in Hakugyokuro, and not Higan.
>> No. 11839
>There’s only two roads leading out of the clearing.

I guess that someone is what Mikio was running away from last thread.

Why the fuck are you voting to stay away when this is crearly a major plot point?
>> No. 11840
[x] Approach.
[x] Dance in its direction.
>> No. 11841
[x] Approach.

What do we have to lose other than our frail human lives?
>> No. 11842
[B] Approach.
>> No. 11843
[X] Stay away.
>> No. 11844
[X]Approach.
10 threads and only 1 bad end?
Anon, I'm dissapoint.
>> No. 11845
[x] Stay away.
>> No. 11849
File 125471357437.jpg - (27.06KB, 400x300, higanbana.jpg) [iqdb]
11849
[x] Approach.
------

In a daze, you begin to walk towards that person. Your eyes seem to become unfocused as you walk deeper and deeper into the field of red. All your thoughts clear away as you approach that kneeling figure from behind. You can see, but your head feels completely empty. Unable to think.

The figure slowly stands up, turning towards you. A boyish man with a slim figure and wearing an ebony white fractured mask looks at you with empty eyes and expression. Standing there, only a short distance away… is you. A separate you. You stare at him, he stares at you.

i cant protect anyone i cant help anyone i cant help i cant save i cant cant cant

“… it wasn’t my fault,” you say, stepping back. As if in response, the other you steps closer. You continue to back away, but that only makes him step closer and closer and closer to you. “It wasn’t my fault!”

He continues to walk closer, unflinching. Reaching up to his face, he takes off his mask and tosses it aside, glaring at you… glaring at you with those eyes. Stop it. Don’t look this way. Don’t look don’t look don’t look please don’t look over here please.

only one thing

You stumble back, losing your balance, but he keeps on walking, looking down at you. He stops just a step away, staring into your eyes. Slowly, you stand, clutching your knee as a support as you raise yourself back up.

i can do only one thing

“It wasn’t my fault! It wasn’t my fault, it wasn’t my fault!” you scream, almost hysterically.

i wanted to be loved

i wanted to help

i wanted to protect them

The other you slowly reaches for the hilt of its sword. You stand there, frozen. Unable to move, you watch as he gradually unsheathes a rustic, red sword.

but that was useless

He smiles.

because its

It’s a crazed smile, baring bestial fangs.

its impossible for me

Your eyes are filled with the dark color of blood. The other you… he’s not you anymore. He’s turned into something else. Something with the same sickening color of blood, contrasting sharply with the bright red color of the flowers around him.

Slash.

With a single stroke, he cuts through your arm as you reach for your own sword. It falls to the ground. But it doesn’t hurt. You didn’t feel anything as the other you’s sword passed through your flesh and bone, rending through them brutally. His blade was dull. It hadn’t cut through you. It ripped through you, out of sheer force.

You look down at your pale, dismembered arm. It’s still moving. It rolls around, twitching madly like a creature in its death throes. Should you be disgusted, or scared, or in pain? You don’t know. You don’t care. The skin of the arm rots away, exposing the white bone underneath. The bone turns into ashes, and its remains gradually disappear into the dirt.

“Hrrk!” you gasp as a hand reaches out and grabs you by the throat.

Slender fingers wrap themselves around your neck, squeezing the air out of your windpipe. You don’t dare struggle as the other you lifts you up with a single hand. Your feet dangle uselessly as he lifts you higher and higher. Any moment. Any moment now, he’s going to snap your neck. He’ll crush your throat. You’ll be killed.

But it doesn’t happen. He continues to slowly choke the life out of you, as if he knows exactly how much your neck can take before it snaps like a twig, and just barely toeing the threshold.

Roughly, he throws you to the side. Like a ragdoll, you bounce and roll against the ground, ending up on your back. The petals of the red flowers ruined by your body as you hit the dirt gently fall around you. You stare up at the orange glow of the sky. How peaceful, to be surrounded by these poisonous lilies like this.

if I cant protect

From a distance, you hear the shuffling of the other you’s steps. He stands above you, still wearing that toothy, insane smile. Is he having fun, you wonder. No. You already know he’s not having fun. After all...

He points the tip of his blade down at your face.

then i will destroy

And then he brings it down.

Again.

And again.

And again.

[ ] Awaken.
[ ] Sleep.
>> No. 11850
[x] Awaken.
>> No. 11851
[x] Awaken.

Seems to be the nod to my theory of what becomes of the hunter or his brother...
>> No. 11852
[x] Awaken.
>> No. 11853
[x] Awaken.
>> No. 11854
[x] Awaken.
>> No. 11855
[x] Awaken.

hurr approach
>> No. 11856
[B] Sleep.
>> No. 11857
[x] Awaken.

idiots...
>> No. 11858
[x] Awaken.

Sigh...
>> No. 11859
File 125478299020.png - (16.07KB, 634x571, 2elxr4o_jpg.png) [iqdb]
11859
[x] Awaken.
>> No. 11860
>>11855
>>11857
>>11859
yeah man I hate scenes that advance the plot too
>> No. 11861
[ ] Sleep.

The right path belongs to the crazy Mikio.
The left path belongs to the nice Hoshuu.

If they are all Mikio, is Hoshuu, or Sanae, the cure to this personality disorder?

Also want to know what Hina will say now.
>> No. 11862
[x] needs more Momiji
>> No. 11863
>>11861

There is no left or right path in this choice, and sleeping might mean letting the insanity rule Mikio's body.

I suspect the nutjob assailing us is the end result of the Hunter or his brother after a massive youkai attack and in his despair become the youkais. Then he was a monster. This is what the left path covers. And I suspect this is what that scary old man is.

The right covers Honshuu and his time with Sanae, the more human side of things.
>> No. 11864
>>11863

You keep mentioning an old man, but I can't fathom who you might be talking about.
>> No. 11865
>>11864

One of Mikio's early dreams was of him confronting this old man outside momiji's house, he seemed older and Mikio could tell he was dangerous and the dream ended with him in chains. (first or second threads)
>> No. 11866
>>11863

You got the paths wrong. Left path is Hoshuu and Sanae, right path is mad hunter.
>[x] Left. Native Gods

Also, I wasn't choosing a path or anything similar. I just had this in mind:
>There’s only two roads leading out of the clearing.
>> No. 11867
File 12548963314.jpg - (51.96KB, 481x591, 62f6af02c20a1ccd6eea5f62c374981a.jpg) [iqdb]
11867
[x] Awaken.
------

Everything shatters.

You open your eyes. The sky you see is dyed orange, just like before, but there’s no one standing above you. You look down at yourself. You’re completely unhurt. You bring your right hand up to your face, clenching it and unclenching it. Your arm is fine too.

You feel nauseous and dizzy. Slowly, you stand up from the ground, dusting grass off of your clothes. Was all that just now… a hallucination? Your head feels foggy and unclear, but you’re sure that someone was whispering into your ears just a moment ago, though you can’t recall what was being said to you.

“If you had fallen asleep there, most likely, you would’ve slept eternally,” a voice startles you.

You try to turn quickly to the source of the voice, but the effort almost makes you stumble and fall. You feel sick to the stomach, and you break out into a fit of coughing, doubling over onto your knees.

“I see that you’re not immune to the effects of these sin-stained flowers,” the voice continues to talk as you struggle to regain your breath. “These out of season flowers that bloom, carrying the toxin of regret to poison those who have thrown away their lives.”

You raise your head. Standing in front of you is a slim woman, standing so rigidly that someone might think her body is as stiff as an upright pole. A highly decorated ceremonial hat sits atop a head of green hair, matching a proper looking dark-blue uniform. With stern eyes and a wooden, sword-shaped rod in her hand, the woman continues to speak.

“Do not think that you are free from the consequences of your human sins,” she says with a strict, cold voice. “Judgment cannot be eluded, not with a mortal body like yours.”

“… Huh?” you ask in confusion, still steadying your breathing. “W-who are you, Miss? What are you talking about?”

“You hide behind ignorance,” she says, her expression growing darker. “But it does not excuse, nor erase, your past sins. You have already received your punishment for your greatest transgression, but you continue to sin,” she takes a deep breath before continuing. “That’s right. You are a deceiver. You hide your true nature behind the mask you wear for your own convenience.”

“… My mask?” you repeat, touching your mask with the tips of your fingers. Was it a sin to wear this?

“… You don’t understand what I am saying,” she frowns. “But that is all I can tell you. It is much too risky to say anything else.” The woman sighs, lowering the rod in her hand. She seems to want to say more, but she manages to keep her expression static and distant, speaking in that commanding tone again. “The time will come when you will have to heed my words: There is always hope for you, no matter how dark things may seem to become. When the darkest hour arrives, you must fight; never to kill, but to show your conviction. Remember that well.”

A strong gust of wind showers the area with the strangely colored cherry blossom petals, forcing you to shut your eyes tightly. When you next open them, the woman is nowhere to be seen.

What a strange, surreal experience all that was. You’d probably be able to make better sense of it if you didn’t feel like your insides are melting all of a sudden. But then again, maybe not. All that you know at the moment is that, well, you just want to go home.

Come to think of it, you still haven’t figured out the cause of the incident. Oh well, you’ll just ask Miss Aya later. She’s bound to know, right?

---

“Things are finally starting to make sense on my end,” he tells you with a grin. “Bit by bit, everything’s coming together now,” he continues with a sort of gloating tone of voice. “I bet you still have no idea, huh?”

“I don’t even know what you’re talking about,” you say, looking out the pitch black window.

“You,” he says simply. “I’m talking about you. I’m beginning to understand what you are. I’m not certain yet, though, but I have a good hunch. Even how I’m connected to you, I can see, just a little vaguely.”

“You didn’t know from the start?”

“No, not at all, really,” he admits. “Only by watching the scenes that pass by the window, I can understand: scenes of the past, and scenes of the now. I can see them all, and connect the pieces together.”

“Then, can you tell me?”

“… No, I don’t think that would be a very good idea,” he says, shaking his head. “For now, it’s better if you don’t know.”

“… How infuriating,” you say with a hmph, staring down at your feet in silence.

“… Hey,” he says to get your attention. You look up, and see that he has a much more serious, solemn look to his clouded expression. “Can I ask you another question?”

“What is it?”

“It’s lonely to be alone, isn’t it?”

“That’s obvious.”

“Can you imagine being completely alone? Being forgotten and forsaken? Hated and condemned by everyone. How long do you think you can bear something like that?”

[ ]
>> No. 11868
[x] "I'm already alone, though, aren't I? I wear a mask - then so, too, do those around me wear masks; eyes clouded from who and what I truly am. If their eyes become clear... Well, I'm right back to where I started, right? Stranded on a snowy mountain."
[x] "I'm used to being alone. You should be, too."
>> No. 11869
[X] "The first thing I remember is waking up and finding Momizi. She's always been at my side, all my life. Then I met so many people, and all of them have been so nice... I don't think I could ever give that up. The idea of being completely alone... really scares me. I don't think I could deal with it."
[X] "But I don't think I have to worry about that, either. Someone told that there's always hope, no matter how dark things seem to become. I think she was right; no matter how alone I might seem to be... there will always be people who care about me, or will be willing to care about me. The person I love most is the proof of that, I think."

Momizi is our rock, and our love.
>> No. 11870
[X] "The first thing I remember is waking up and finding Momizi. She's always been at my side, all my life. Then I met so many people, and all of them have been so nice... I don't think I could ever give that up. The idea of being completely alone... really scares me. I don't think I could deal with it."
[X] "But I don't think I have to worry about that, either. Someone told that there's always hope, no matter how dark things seem to become. I think she was right; no matter how alone I might seem to be... there will always be people who care about me, or will be willing to care about me. The person I love most is the proof of that, I think."


That's quite some hint to our past Siki gave us.

I suspect that we're the reincarnation of that hunter youkai, and what if our pursuit of Honshuu memories is denying our true nature? Hard to tell at that point, rather cryptic. But she wasn't taking about our actual mask, since if anything that inconveniences us with expectations of a Tengu. Only time will tell.

But we should remember this "When the darkest hour arrives, you must fight; never to kill, but to show your conviction. Remember that well." This is perhaps what stops us from repeating our sins.
>> No. 11872
[X] "The first thing I remember is waking up and finding Momizi. She's always been at my side, all my life. Then I met so many people, and all of them have been so nice... I don't think I could ever give that up. The idea of being completely alone... really scares me. I don't think I could deal with it."
[X] "But I don't think I have to worry about that, either. Someone told that there's always hope, no matter how dark things seem to become. I think she was right; no matter how alone I might seem to be... there will always be people who care about me, or will be willing to care about me. The person I love most is the proof of that, I think."
>> No. 11873
>>11870
>honshuu
Who?
>> No. 11874
[Q] "The first thing I remember is waking up and finding Momizi. She's always been at my side, all my life. Then I met so many people, and all of them have been so nice... I don't think I could ever give that up. The idea of being completely alone... really scares me. I don't think I could deal with it."
[Q] "But I don't think I have to worry about that, either. Someone told that there's always hope, no matter how dark things seem to become. I think she was right; no matter how alone I might seem to be... there will always be people who care about me, or will be willing to care about me. The person I love most is the proof of that, I think."

I like the tone of this one.
>> No. 11875
[X] "The first thing I remember is waking up and finding Momizi. She's always been at my side, all my life. Then I met so many people, and all of them have been so nice... I don't think I could ever give that up. The idea of being completely alone... really scares me. I don't think I could deal with it."
[X] "But I don't think I have to worry about that, either. Someone told that there's always hope, no matter how dark things seem to become. I think she was right; no matter how alone I might seem to be... there will always be people who care about me, or will be willing to care about me. The person I love most is the proof of that, I think."
>> No. 11876
[X] "The first thing I remember is waking up and finding Momizi. She's always been at my side, all my life. Then I met so many people, and all of them have been so nice... I don't think I could ever give that up. The idea of being completely alone... really scares me. I don't think I could deal with it."
[X] "But I don't think I have to worry about that, either. Someone told that there's always hope, no matter how dark things seem to become. I think she was right; no matter how alone I might seem to be... there will always be people who care about me, or will be willing to care about me. The person I love most is the proof of that, I think."
>> No. 11882
[x] "The first thing I remember is waking up and finding Momizi. She's always been at my side, all my life. Then I met so many people, and all of them have been so nice... I don't think I could ever give that up. The idea of being completely alone really scares me. I don't think I could deal with it."
[x] "But I don't think I have to worry about that, either. Someone told that there's always hope, no matter how dark things seem to become. I think she was right; no matter how alone I might seem to be there will always be people who care about me, or will be willing to care about me. The person I love most is the proof of that, I think."

Without the damned unnecessary dot-dot-dot pauses.

>>11873
>>>11870
>>honshuu
>Who?
Wow. You'd think after having it pointed out to him three or four fucking times that he would have gotten a clue by now, but nope. He just keeps tarding it up.

I think he's foreign. You know how in some really low-budget Chinese translations they'll spell the character's name in 4-5 different ways? Maybe he's got some of that shit going on.

And if he doesn't, then he has no excuse and is just a fucking idiot.
>> No. 11885
[X] "The first thing I remember is waking up and finding Momizi. She's always been at my side, all my life. Then I met so many people, and all of them have been so nice... I don't think I could ever give that up. The idea of being completely alone... really scares me. I don't think I could deal with it."
[X] "But I don't think I have to worry about that, either. Someone told that there's always hope, no matter how dark things seem to become. I think she was right; no matter how alone I might seem to be... there will always be people who care about me, or will be willing to care about me. The person I love most is the proof of that, I think."
>> No. 11893
[X]"I dunno"
>> No. 11896
>>11882
I thought this was just turning into a meme specifically for this story.

>Honshuu
>Who?
Makes me giggle every time.
>> No. 11899
------

You close your eyes, pausing for a moment to consider his words. “I… don’t know,” you say in a hollow voice. “The first thing I can remember is waking up to find Miss Momizi. She’s always been at my side, for as long as I’ve been able to think. And I’ve met so many different people. They’re all so nice. I….”

“I don’t think I can ever give that up,” you finish, swallowing hard. “I don’t want to be alone. I don’t want to be hated. I… I can’t deal with something like that.”

“Heh,” he grins at me. “I don’t blame you. It really would suck to be stuck in a situation like that, wouldn’t it? Suffering like that for over a thousand years. I can’t even begin to imagine what that would be like.”

“… why did you ask that question?” you ask.

“Hmm?” he shrugs. “No reason.”

“You’re a bad liar.”

“Hah. I might be, yeah,” he laughs it off. “Anyway, that’s really all I wanted to ask. I’ll just go back to silently watching the scenery pass by, so you can go on ahead and go back to sleep.”

Without replying to him, you lay down on your side, using your own arms as a pillow as you gently shut your eyes, listening to the rhythmic bustling of the train as it continues to run along its track.

---

“All the flowers still haven’t cleared up yet…” you note as you travel through the busy grounds of the Hakurei shrine, careful not to get lost in the crowd as you make your way to the main table. “These weird colored cherry blossom trees are still around, too. I wonder if this incident still hasn’t been wrapped up.”

“Well, there’s no harm to it,” Miss Momizi replies. “But Miss Shameimaru went on ahead of us, didn’t she?”

“Yeah,” you say as you scan the crowd of youkai, humans, and fairies, searching for Miss Aya. You find her standing next to an unenthusiastic-looking Hakurei, asking her rapid-fire questions, no doubt. “There she is.”

The two of you make a beeline for Miss Aya and Hakurei. As you approach closer, you manage to catch bits of their conversation,

“Is there a reason why you’re in such a bad mood when there’s a banquet going on?”

“It’s because of the banquet. The banquet,” Hakurei sighs, frowning. “Everyone’s making all the mess they want and then they get tired and go home without even helping to clean up!”

“Hey, Miss Aya,” you greet as you step closer to them with Miss Momizi at your side, raising your hand.

“Oh, you two are finally here,” Miss Aya smiles briefly before turning her attention back to the shrine maiden. “Now, now, there’s no need to get so upse-”

“Heeey, Reimuuuu!” a childish, slurred voice comes from below. Looking down, you see the little oni girl from last summer’s endless feasts incident, tugging on the shrine maiden’s skirt. “Reimuuuu! We’re out of drinks!”

“What!” Reimu gasps, looking back at the refreshments table. Sure enough, all the jugs and bottles are empty, some of them lying messily on their side, toppled over. “But the banquet hasn’t even gone on for more than an hour!”

“Oh, Miss Suika, you’re here at the flower viewing as well?” Miss Aya suddenly cuts in.

“Of course!” Suika the oni laughs, raising her small, shackled arms into the air. “If there’s a feast to the north, I’m there!” she says, pointing north (presumably). “If there’s a feast to the south, I’m there!” she turns around and points in the other direction.

“If there’re four different feasts happening in all four directions at once, I’m there at all of ‘em at the same time!” she spins around, and falls to the ground on her back. Turning her head to look at Reimu while still lying on the ground, she adds. “Anyway, I told ya you needed more drinks! That much can’t even fill my stomach!”

You drank everything?!” Hakurei exclaims in shock, though her expression quickly turns to wrath. Rushing into the shrine, she returns with a small wooden box. Taking a fistful of roasted soybeans in her hand, she pelts the oni girl with them while screaming: “Out! Out you little oni!”

“Wah!” Suika quickly stands up, shielding herself from the barrage of soybeans with her arms. “Ow, ouch that burns! Stop it, Reimuuu!” But Hakurei only doubles her efforts at this, continuing to throw the soybeans at her. “Okay, okay, I’ll leave!”

She chases the oni all the way to the stairs, before coming back winded and in a worse temper than before. “Geeze… wait, I could’ve gotten her to help clean up!” she seems to mentally kick herself. “Ahhh… what a troublesome banquet.”

“Erm, right…” Miss Aya says uneasily. “Well, Miss Reimu, as I was saying, there’s no need to be so upset. Here, I’ve brought my own bottle of sake. Why don’t you loosen up a little with this…?”

You roll your eyes as you turn to Miss Momizi, who’s looking about the shrine grounds in an excited sort of way. She doesn’t really go to these gatherings much, so it must be as amazing to her as it is to you to see so many different youkai and humans.

You give her a gentle tug on her sleeve, and she quizzically turns to you. “Miss Momizi, we should enjoy ourselves, too, since we are at a party.” you say to her.

She nods. “Yeah, let’s,” she says in agreement.

“Is there anything in particular you want to do?”

“I’m fine with anything you suggest.”

[ ] Suggest the two of you take a walk around.
[ ] Suggest trying some of the food at the stands.
[ ] Suggest listening in on the interview.
>> No. 11900
[X] Suggest trying some of the food at the stands.

We should make this a date. It's been a while since we innocently flirted with Momi.
>> No. 11901
[x] Suggest trying some of the food at the stands.
>> No. 11902
[X] Suggest the two of you take a walk around.
>> No. 11903
[X] Suggest trying some of the food at the stands.
>> No. 11904
[x] Suggest the two of you take a walk around.
>> No. 11905
[X] Suggest the two of you take a walk around.
>> No. 11906
[X] Suggest the two of you take a walk around.
>> No. 11907
[x] Suggest trying some of the food at the stands.

We could feed each other~
>> No. 11908
[Q] Suggest trying some of the food at the stands.
>> No. 11909
[X] Suggest the two of you take a walk around.

A walk and talk sounds nice.
>> No. 11910
[X] Suggest the two of you take a walk around.
>> No. 11911
[x] Suggest the two of you take a walk around.

>>11896
No, no meme here. It's just a pain in the ass because of a faggot who can't read. Stupidity isn't a meme, after all.
>> No. 11912
[x] Suggest the two of you take a walk around.
------

“Well, I’m not very hungry at the moment,” you begin, looking away from Miss Aya and Hakurei and turning to Miss Momizi. “How about you, Miss Momizi?”

“I don’t have much of an appetite right now, either,” she says.

“Then, shall we take a walk around?” you smile. “I’ve heard that this shrine has the most beautiful cherry blossoms, even if their color is a bit strange this year.”

“They certainly are very pretty,” she muses as she looks up at the purple-colored petals, gently swaying in the spring breeze. “I can see why so many people would come up here just to watch the flowers.”

“It’s a sight you see only once a year, after all,” you laugh. “Then, shall we take a look around?”

She nods, walking by your side as you begin to walk around the shrine grounds. People were bustling around. Drinking, eating and socializing with everyone else, they all seem to be relaxed and having a good time.

“By the way, Mikio,” Miss Momizi suddenly speaks up. You stand up from your crouching position, having been in the middle of something you found on the ground. “Have you grown?”

“Huh?”

She steps a bit closer to you, placing her hand on her own head before measuring your height. “You’ve definitely grown a bit,” she says.

“Really?” you say, comparing your own height to hers. “I haven’t really been noticing.”

“Yeah,” she smiles. “You’re taller than me now. Just by a little bit, though.”

“Ahahaha,” you laugh awkwardly, rubbing the back of your neck. “I wish I’d grow a bit more, though,” you say. You’re still quite short compared to most adult men, and that bothers you just a little.

“Do you want to be tall?”

“Yeah!” you say enthusiastically. “If I were tall, I get the feeling I’d be seen more as dependable.”

“I think you’re already dependable.”

“No, not at all,” you say, shaking your head. “I’m still weak, and there are a lot of things I still need help with, so I’m not dependable at all. But if I were a bit taller, I think I could at least look the part.”

“You never do let up on yourself, do you?” Miss Momizi giggles. “But I think it’s good that you’re always striving to improve. That already makes you dependable enough.”

“Thanks, Miss Momizi,” you say with a smile.

“Oh, by the way, what’s that in your hand?” she asks curiously, pointing at the thing you had picked up just a moment ago.

“This? I’m not sure,” you say, turning it over on your hand. It’s a smooth, orange rectangle that fits on top of your palm. It has what seems to be a strap or a tassel attached near the top…

“Looks like something from the outside world,” Miss Momizi notes as she examines the thing in your hand a little closer.

“From the outside world?” you repeat quizzically, tilting your head to the side.

“Yeah, it seems like a sort of handheld transceiver,” she observes, but quickly adds after seeing the look of confusion in your face: “A portable device the kappa invented. It lets you talk to others from a distance by holding it up to your mouth.”

“So is this thing a handheld transceiver, then?”

“Hm… It seems similar, but…” she frowns, taking the weird outside object from you to get a better look at it. “It’s a lot smaller. Nitori would probably know what it is…”

“Speaking of her, why doesn’t she ever join in on these banquets?”

“Too shy,” she says with a slight grin. “I don’t think kappa really have the courage to go to a gathering with so many humans around.”

“She doesn’t seem to have any problems with-”

“I think she might’ve already forgotten that you’re… well, you know,” she explains in a hushed up voice. “She treats you like one of us.”

“Oh, I see,” you say, taking the “transceiver” back from Miss Momizi. “Then, I’ll give this to her when we retur-”

Suddenly, the object begins to flash, blurting out a high-pitched tune while a small square section of the surface lights up with a rich display of colors.

“What the…?” you can’t help but say in surprise as you hold the object at an arm’s distance away from you. It’s still going off.

[ ] Find out what’s wrong with it.
[ ] Toss it away. It might be dangerous.
>> No. 11913
[X] Find out what’s wrong with it.

"... Sa... Sanae?"
>> No. 11914
[x] Find out what’s wrong with it.

AWESOME.
>> No. 11915
[x] Find out what’s wrong with it.
>> No. 11916
[x] Find out what’s wrong with it.

Suddenly. Updates. Daily! Awesome!
>> No. 11917
[x] Find out what’s wrong with it.
>> No. 11918
[x] Find out what’s wrong with it.
>> No. 11919
[Q] Find out what’s wrong with it.
>> No. 11920
[x] Find out what’s wrong with it.
>> No. 11921
[x] Find out what’s wrong with it.

Definitely a cell phone of some type, but it's interesting how it's working in Gensokyo. It might be related to Yukari and her shikigami.
>> No. 11922
[x] Find out what’s wrong with it.

SNAKE! CAN YOU HEAR ME!? SNAKE! SNAKE!! SNAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!!!!
>> No. 11923
[ℤℯ] Find out what’s wrong with it.

I fear no Outsider device, for I am manly. Look upon me and swoon, tengu woman!
>> No. 11929
[x] Find out what’s wrong with it.
------

“Um…” you begin uncertainly as you keep turning the thing around in your palm, examining it closer. “What’s it doing? It’s making a really loud noise.”

“I think you have to open it up, Mikio,” Miss Momizi says, clasping her hands together and making a parting gesture with her fingers. “Like that.”

“Oh, I see,” you say as you dig into the crack on the side of the object from the outside, flipping it open. The noise stops abruptly, although you’re greeted by yet a brighter display on what seems to be a screen. “What now?”

“Hold the top part to your ear,” she says.

“Okay…” you do as she tells you, holding the top part to your ear. “H-hello?” you say with hesitation. You hope you’re doing this right.

“… Hello? Chen, is that you?” you hear a woman’s voice at your ear. It startles you, and nearly makes you drop the thing. Thankfully, you manage to keep yourself composed as you try to answer.

“Oh wow, um, can you hear me?” you say with great curiosity and wonder.

“Of course I can hear you,” replies the woman on the other side. “… You’re not Chen. Who is this? Why do you have her cell phone?”

“Ah…” you suddenly realize that you recognize that voice. It’s a bit distorted, but you’re pretty sure you know who it is. It must be Miss Yukari, right? “Um, no, I’m not Chen, I…”

“Could it be that you’re trying to get a ransom from me?” Miss Yukari quickly cuts in with an accusatory tone. “We don’t negotiate with kidnappers, you know. You won’t get a price out of us.”

“Is something the matter, Lady Yukari?” you hear someone else’s voice, a bit distant, but still audible.

“Someone’s kidnapped Chen,” you hear Miss Yukari reply in a disinterested tone.

“Eh?!” you hear a panicked yelp and numerous things crashing onto the ground. “What?! Where is she?!” the other woman demands.

“Calm down, Ran,” Miss Yukari says in a scolding voice. “Clean all that up, and I’ll go take care of it right now. Alright then, Mister Kidnapper,” she finally addresses you again. “I’ll be coming along, so please do prepare yourself.”

You hear a click, and then silence. You suddenly feel icy cold, as though you were suddenly stuck in a situation you don’t want to be in.

“What was it, Mikio?” Miss Momizi asks, inquisitive. “It is a transceiver, isn’t it?”

“Um, I think we should probably leave,” you say, flipping the “cell phone” shut once more. Should you leave this thing here before you start to get away or-

“Ah, thanks for holding onto that,” a white gloved hand reaches out from behind you and takes the “cell phone” from you. You quickly whirl around, taking a cautious step back. Sure enough, Miss Yukari’s there, hanging lazily halfway out of her gap.

“Hello there,” she greets. Miss Momizi’s eyes widen a little before she backs away a little, closer to you. “How nice of you to find Chen’s cell phone for me,” she says, waving the thing around by its strap. “Really now, that little bonehead. I keep telling her not to lose it. Such an unreliable girl.”

“Um, I didn’t kidnap her,” you say.

“Hm? You took that seriously?” Miss Yukari laughs. “I only said that to rile Ran up a bit,” she says. “But I like that. That’s cute. Do you want to be my shikigami?”

“Huh?” you say, taken back. A shikigami. A type of familiar that serves its summoner? “Um, uh, thank you for the offer, but I’m sorry. No.”

“That’s a shame,” she says, looking genuinely a little disappointed. “Well, I’ve got places to go and a kitten to scold,” she says, slipping back into her gap. Only a single hand remains, waving goodbye to you before sinking completely into the void. “Toodles~.”

Miss Momizi gives a slight shudder, letting out a relieved sigh. “I don’t like that woman,” she says. “Mikio, don’t ever trust anything she says.”

“She doesn’t seem so bad,” you say.

“You don’t know what she’s capable of, or some of the things she’s already done,” she says with a grim expression. “And she’s taken an interest in you, I can tell. Promise me you’ll be careful around her, okay?”

You nod, though it makes you wonder what exactly that gap demon’s done to deserve her infamy.

“Alright, next, let’s…”

[ ] “… go get something to eat.”
[ ] “… see how Miss Aya is doing.”
>> No. 11930
[x] “… go get something to eat.”
>> No. 11931
[ ] “… go get something to eat.”
>> No. 11932
[x] “… go get something to eat.”
>> No. 11933
[x] “… go get something to eat.”

Chocolate
>> No. 11934
[X] “… go get something to eat.”
>> No. 11935
[x] “… go get something to eat.”

Ha! I was right after all.

I wonder if Yukari noticed something strange about him or just considered him a cute boy-toy. (But I'm sure she knows he's human easily enough. She is Yukari after all, and she has her ways)

>>11933

I hope Wolf Tengu don't react as badly to chocolate as dogs do.
>> No. 11936
hmm i courius abaut what happen if Nitori find out Mikio was human?
>> No. 11938
>>11935
>I hope Wolf Tengu don't react as badly to chocolate as dogs do.
Oh, you.
>> No. 11939
File 125517608735.jpg - (53.27KB, 220x151, ayayayaya.jpg) [iqdb]
11939
>>11936
>> No. 11940
[Q] “… go get something to eat.”
>> No. 11941
I wonder who here has not read Momizi Pop.

Scorn really needs to write stories like that again.
>> No. 11942
[x] “… go get something to eat.”
>> No. 11943
[Q] “… go get something to eat.”
>> No. 11944
[x] “… go get something to eat.”

>>11929
Lion, this is possibly the most enjoyable Yukari I've read, and I've been here since the beginning. Thank you.

And damn, that was only one appearance.
>> No. 11946
[x] “… go get something to eat.”
>> No. 11947
[x] “… go get something to eat.”
------

“Let’s go get something to eat, Miss Momizi,” you say with a slight smile. “I feel a little hungry now, so can we go check out some of the food stands they’ve set up here?”

“Of course,” Miss Momizi returns the smile, moving to accompany you as you look around the various small stalls set up on the edge of the shrine grounds.

“What’s this?” you wonder as you crouch down to examine a particular dish on display. Served in a small, rectangular box, inside there are about half a dozen round, brown spheres with a crispy outer layer and thick sauce on top.

“It’s takoyaki,” the stall’s owner says. “S’like a dumpling. It’s got a diced octopus inside. Popular for parties like this.”

“An octopus?” you repeat with confusion. “But aren’t they sea creatures?”

“Yeah, so?”

“But Gensokyo has no sea.”

“… You gonna buy or not?”

You glance back at Miss Momizi, who shrugs in response. Reaching into the pocket of your hakama for your money pouch, you take some coins out and place it into the stall owner’s hand, who accepts it with a gruff “Thank you,” and hands you one of the boxes.

You stand up and hurry back to Miss Momizi, holding the box in your hand. Taking one of the toothpick sized skewers, you pierce one of the takoyaki balls with it, deliberating as you bring it to your mouth.

“Well then, I’ll be poison-checking it,” you say with a determined face. Taking a deep breath, you bite into the takoyaki, taking off a large chunk of it with your mouth. Slowly, you chew, chew, chew, and swallow. “… This is pretty good, but it makes my mouth feel kind of funny.”

“Funny?” Miss Momizi sounds puzzled.

“My mouth feels kind of hot, like…” you continue to say. Suddenly, the rest of your face heats up as well. You’re sure that your face must be as red as a yamabushi now. “Like there’s a fire in there!” You start to cough, nearly dropping the box.

“I’ll go get something for you to drink,” she hurriedly says, heading for another table.

Meanwhile, you’re having trouble standing. Water. Water. You need some water really bad, or you’re going to go insane.

“Here, drink this,” Miss Momizi returns with a cup in her hand.

You eagerly take it from her, greedily gulping its contents down. Ahhh, you feel much better now, like the water extinguished the fire in there. Sheesh, what was that? It tasted just fine at first, and then came the aftertaste that made you reel so badly.

“Let me taste that,” Miss Momizi says, spontaneously taking the half-eaten takoyaki from your hand and chomping down on it herself. She chews and swallows. “This isn’t that hot,” she says after a moment. But soon after she seems to realize something, and her face turns quite red.

“Miss Momizi, are you okay?” you ask, worried. “Is there a fire in your mouth, too? Should I get you some water?”

“A-aahhh, no,” she says, embarrassed. “It’s nothing. Nothing at all, haha… A-anyway!” she says, clearing her throat. “I guess you really aren’t too good with spicy stuff, are you, Mikio?”

“Is that what it’s called? Spicy?”

“Yeah, things that make your mouth burn like that,” she says, nodding. “Come to think of it, you don’t like bitter things, either, and you love sweet things. You have a child’s sense of tastes,” she says, chuckling. Noticing your frown, she quickly adds: “Uh, not that that’s a bad thing. Anyway, I’ll finish off the rest of this, so let’s get you something else.”

---

Sometime later, the party’s just about died down, with people beginning to leave. You and Miss Momizi enjoyed a variety of stall foods. As for Miss Aya and Hakurei, sometime during the interview, Hakurei… well, she got absolutely smashed and started loudly complaining about no one recognizing her working to solve the incidents before passing out in front of her donation box.

“And in the end, all I’ve gotten from her is that she’s a bit of a drunkard,” Miss Aya sighs, shrugging her shoulders. “Well, did you two have a good time?”

“We had fun,” you say.

“Good to hear it. Let’s get going,” she says, beginning to leave. Miss Momizi nods, and starts after her. But you stay a little behind, looking at all the mess still left on the shrine grounds and on the tables. You feel a bit bad for the shrine maiden.

[ ] Oh well. Time to head home.
[ ] Suggest helping to clean up.
>> No. 11948
[x] Oh well. Time to head home.
[x] Donate.
- [x] 1000 yen.

10 bux
>> No. 11949
[x] Oh well. Time to head home.
[x] Donate.
- [x] 10000 yen.
>> No. 11950
[x] Oh well. Time to head home.
[x] Donate.
- [x] 1000 yen.
>> No. 11951
[+] Suggest helping to clean up.
Mostly because it'll give Reimu one less thing to bitch about.
>> No. 11952
[x] Oh well. Time to head home.
[x] Donate.
- [x] 1000 yen.
>> No. 11953
[x] Oh well. Time to head home.
[x] Donate.
- [x] 1000 yen.

Reimu loves money more than people helping her clean up
>> No. 11954
[x] Oh well. Time to head home.
[x] Donate.
- [x] 1000 yen.
>> No. 11955
[Q] Oh well. Time to head home.
[Q] Donate.
- [Q] 10000 yen.

Mikio's inability to handle spice is moe.
>> No. 11956
[x] Oh well. Time to head home.
[x] Donate.
- [x] 1000 yen.
>> No. 11957
[x] Oh well. Time to head home.
[x] Donate.
- [x] 1000 yen.

>“An octopus?” you repeat with confusion. “But aren’t they sea creatures?”
>“Yeah, so?”
>“But Gensokyo has no sea.”
A very, very, very good point. With a big chunk of Japanese food being reliant on fish and other ocean-related things, how the fuck does Gensokyo maintain that aspect of Japanese cuisine? I don't think it can, realistically, and using the Border or Yukari as an excuse just doesn't cut it, as neither of those are really going to be depositing fish on any kind of regular basis.
River and lake fish, sure, but Lion makes a very good point that I've considered once or twice, myself: There's no ocean available for such things.
Unless of course some ocean or whatever is revealed in one of the later games.

You would think this would be asked of ZUN or at the very least, come up in a doujin, but I think the Japanese are so used to it, they don't even consider it.

Anybody else know more about this or proof against it or something?
>> No. 11958
[x] Oh well. Time to head home.
[x] Donate 1000 yen.
------

“Um, just a bit,” you say, hurrying to the shrine. Careful not to step over Hakurei’s sprawled out body as you approach the donation box, you reach into your pocket to retrieve a single thousand-yen note.

“Huh?” you pause, hearing a strange, high-pitched meow.

From behind the donation box, a cat slinks out; a spotted cat. It’s slightly on the chubby side, with brownish-red patches and a white body. It walks over to the shrine maiden, rubbing itself against her body while purring loudly.

“Ehehehe… lots and lots of donations…” you hear her mumble in her sleep as she fidgets around.

The cat licks its lips before stretching out on the porch. “Cute…” you hear yourself as you drop the note off in the offering box. Carefully, you approach the cat, crouching down to watch it. It looks at you curiously, squinting. You reach out to pet it on the head.

“Ouch!” you draw your hand away. As soon as you touched it, the cat let out a mad hiss and took a swipe at the back of your hand. It backs away from you, alert and hostile. “What was that for?” you ask with a hurt voice, rubbing the reddening lines across the back of your hand.

Frowning, you stand up. The cat watches you with caution, not moving from its position. You then turn to hurry and rejoin Miss Aya and Miss Momizi.

---

Pretty soon, the abnormal spring had passed, disappearing along with the out-of-season flowers and leading into a damp summer.

It’s raining today, so you decided to stay inside for a bit. Not that you don’t mind a little rain once in a while. In fact, you feel strangely happy whenever there’s rain coming down. There’s something fun about playing around in a downpour, but if you do, you end up getting sick, and you don’t want to worry anyone with something like that.

You’re spending your time idyllically just wandering about the many passageways in the hollowed out section of the mountain when a passing by wolf tengu hails you with a wave.

“Hey there, Kirita,” he greets, an umbrella in the other hand. “Just the guy I was looking for.”

“Good day,” you return his greeting with a polite, small bow.

He suddenly shoves the umbrella into your arm, which you accept clumsily. “Go get the offerings from the toad’s pond for me, will ya?” he says with a grin. “It’s my turn to get ‘em, but it’s a pain wringing all the water out of my tail when it gets soaked.”

“Eh? But is that okay?”

“Sure it is,” he replies in a carefree manner. “You don’t mind, right?”

“Well, um, not really.”

“Good, then get going will ya?”

You sigh as the wolf tengu turns his back to you and leaves. Looks like you still haven’t escaped having all the chores pushed onto you all the time. Well, it’s not like you have anything else to do at the moment, so…



Outside, it’s unexpectedly cold for a summer day. The sun’s completely hidden behind dark clouds. You open up the umbrella and hold it above you as you head out. Your geta shoes make a nice splish-splosh sound on the wet ground. It’s soothing, to hear the rain splatter against your umbrella. Humming a tuneless song, you continue on toward the pond with a spring in your steps.

Along the way, you see someone familiar; a certain blue-haired fairy, swatting away at the falling rain. “Geeze, I hate it when it rains!” she says, frustrated.

“Is something the matter?” you ask, approaching her.

The small fairy gives a high squeak of surprise before turning to you, still continuing to swat at the air with her arms. “You! Masked Stalker! Trying to sneak up on me again, huh?” she says.

“Would it kill you to at least remember my name?”

“It’s too long,” she complains. “You should just wear the name I gave you proudly! Stop being so picky,” she crosses her arms, as if to say “And that’s that.” But she quickly goes back to swatting at the air.

“What are you doing?” you inquire.

“All the raindrops freeze up and stick to me when they touch me,” she explains. “It’s so annoying!”

“Then you shouldn’t be out in the rain. Here,” you walk closer, positioning your umbrella so that it’s covering the both of you. “Now the rain won’t touch you.”

Cirno seems appreciative, taking the moment to remove the last of the raindrops frozen on her body. “Thanks, but I didn’t ask for your help!” she says defiantly a moment later. “I’m on a mission! You’ll just slow me down.”

“A mission? What kind of mission?”

“Revenge!” she states with a flash of anger. “I’m gonna make him pay for making me look stupid!”

“And… that’s why you’re up here?” you frown. She’s not talking about one of the tengu, is she?

“Yeah! He’s at that big pond here!” she says.

“Well, I’m not sure what you’re really after, but I’m heading to the pond too,” you say. “So I’ll accompany you for a bit.”

“Suit yourself! Just get out of there before things go down, or I can’t guarantee your safety!” she warns, pointing a finger at you.

“Ahahaha,” you chuckle as you continue onwards, with the ice fairy as your companion now.



“There he is!” Cirno points at the middle of the pond as the two of you near it.

Sitting on a large lily pad in the middle of the large pond is an equally huge toad. Easily twice as big as a normal man. “… Him?” you ask in disbelief. “You’re picking a fight with the giant toad?”

“Yeah!” she says. “He caught me off-guard last time, but it won’t happen again! I’m gonna freeze him up solid and ship him off to France!”

The giant toad lazily turns its eyes to the two of you, its chin swelling up as it lets out a deep, rumbling croak. And then, in a show of foolish bravado, Cirno leaps out from under your umbrella, charging at the toad.

[ ] Stop her.
[ ] Go collect the offerings here. This is none of your business.
>> No. 11959
[x] Go collect the offerings here. This is none of your business.

Cirno cannot be stopped, only slowed down.
>> No. 11960
[x] Go collect the offerings here. This is none of your business.
>> No. 11961
[x] Go collect the offerings here. This is none of your business.

I fear that attempting to stop her will end up destroying the offerings.
>> No. 11962
[x] Stop her.

Destroyed offerings or not nothing's is worth as much as the life of another.
>> No. 11963
[x] Go collect the offerings here. This is none of your business.
>> No. 11964
[x] Stop her.

I'm sure Suwako will thank us.

Eventually.
>> No. 11965
[x] Send a gust of danmaku-wind to throw her off-course.
[x] Go collect the offerings here. This is none of your business.
>> No. 11966
[x] Go collect the offerings here. This is none of your business.
>> No. 11967
[ ] Stop her.

She's gonna get hurt bad.
>> No. 11968
File 125533286610.png - (26.90KB, 251x219, oh no!.png) [iqdb]
11968
In before.
>> No. 11969
Also,
[x] Stop her.
>> No. 11970
[x] Stop her.
>> No. 11971
[Q] Go collect the offerings here. This is none of your business.
>> No. 11972
>brownish-red patches
>white body

A red white cat?

The yin-yang orb, maybe?
>> No. 11973
[x] Go collect the offerings here. This is none of your business.
>> No. 11974
I think this is the frog incident that Aya covered in that Perfect archive in japanese red (the Aya book)

in short, Both the frog and Cirno live, just Cirno has a bruised ego.
>> No. 11975
[x] Go collect the offerings here. This is none of your business.

There's no way in hell we're going to stop her, and she can't really die anyway.
>> No. 11976
[x] Go collect the offerings here. This is none of your business.
>> No. 11977
[X] Go and try to convince the frog to release Cirno
>> No. 11978
[x] Stop her.

History can be changed. Mikio must save Cirno from a future embarrassment.
>> No. 11979
[B] Go collect the offerings here. This is none of your business.
>> No. 11982
[x] Go collect your offerings. This is none of your business.
------

You shrug, ignoring the soon to be scene of battle in favor of going about your own business. Walking along the edge of the pond, you come across a small shrine built among the trees nearby.

“Take this!” you hear Cirno’s cries of battle, somewhere near the middle of the pond. You pay it no mind as you approach the little shrine, looking in to take a peek at the offerings stored there.

Well, it’s not as though the giant toad had much use for money, now did it? The villagers at the base of the mountain might call it a con, but the way tengu saw it, it’s simply business.

Now, let’s see…

“Take that! And that, an-Ow! That hurt, you big jerk!”

A few thousand-yen notes… some dirty, old looking coins… a half-eaten rice cookie? Who the heck put that in there?

“Just try swatting me with your tongue again! I’ll freeze it up you won’t be able to pull it back!”

Some kind of sphere thing (it’s not a shirikodama, is it?)… snake skin (very funny)… a woman’s underwear… Geeze, what kind of junk do those villagers think they’re putting in this offering box? No, wait, you wouldn’t put it past some of the kappa to throw these worthless offerings in as a joke.

Sighing, you collect only what’s valuable, leaving all of the trash there as you begin to walk back around the pond. You look up just in time to see poor Cirno getting swatted away with a sharp flick of the giant toad’s tongue, sending her far off into the sky.

“… Is she going to be okay?” you wonder as you look up at the cloudy sky. Well, it was a hopeless battle to begin with. A fairy couldn’t stand up to a youkai here, and it wasn’t like she was going to listen to you if you had tried to stop her. Shaking your head, you turn away from the pond and begin to walk away.

Ke~ro.

You stop in your tracks, turning back to the pond. Several of the smaller frogs have gathered around your foot, ribbiting. Ah, they’re singing in the rain. They say it rains when a frog cries, don’t they? You wonder if there’s any truth to that.

Kero~ Ke~ro.

You look up at the sky, surrounded in the uneven melody of the frogs’ song. The soft earth beneath you… The splattering of rain against the ground… You close your eyes, smiling serenely. How peaceful.

Huh…?

Ah, your face is wet. The rain must have splashed on it. How strange, though. You’re still holding your umbrella above you, so there’s no way the rain could have reached you. A-ahahaha… it’s really strange. Hot rain keeps flowing down your cheeks.

Why won’t the rain stop?

---

“She’s late!” Nitori huffs as she paces around the shogi board, waving around a cattail plant as though it were a baton. “It was going to be the deciding match, you know, we had this all set up and planned with a series of games before and we tied a lot and we were going to settle it today but she’s not even here!”

“Breathe, Nitori,” you say, trying to calm her down a little.

“The score was cucumber sushi to three hundred cattails, and if we play just a few more rounds I can finally turn the score around! Do you know what that means, Mikio?” she continues to rant, although she’s less irritated and more excited. “That means I’ve won a grand total of two-thousand pickles.”

You’re never going to understand the weird system of score-keeping these kappa make. Recently, Miss Momizi has confided in you that she doesn’t really get it, either. You decide to smile and play along anyway, “Right, and that means you’re a two-time kappamaki winner, right?”

“Exactly!” she claps her hands together, pleased. Well, whatever you’ve said, apparently you said it right. “But oh well. You said she had extra work or something along those lines, right?”

“Yeah,” you nod. “There’s a bit of a flu going on in the community, so Miss Momizi has to cover a lot of other shifts as well.”

“Oh well. Can’t be helped, then! But now I’m not in the mood to be playing shogi right now, so what do you want to do, Mikio? Oh, hey!” she smiles. “Do you want to see a prototype version of my stealth field generator?! It works, kind of, and you can even test it yourself, if you want to!”

“Alright, that sounds like fun.”

“Heeheehee, prepare to be amazed!” she says, enthusiastically reaching into the pack on her back. Pulling out what appears to be a small box-shaped device, she holds it up into the air triumphantly with both hands. “Dananananana… tada!”

“Yoink!”

At that moment, a robotic hand extends out towards Nitori from behind. It snatches the stealth device from out of her hands, reeling it back in. Standing some distance away from her is another kappa; a mischievous looking boy with a red cap worn backwards and prominent front teeth.

“Ah, hey, give that back, Hyou!” Nitori yells, attacking with her own extending arm in an attempt to retrieve her invention.

The kappa named Hyou narrowly evades the hand. On his feet are shoes with wheels attached to them, and he expertly handles them as though he were skating on ice.

“Nya nya!” he taunts, bending over and slapping his own butt. “Catch me if you can, Slowtori!” Saying that, he skates off.

“You jerk! Get back here! Give it back!” Nitori cries as she swiftly gives chase on foot.

They’re not really friends, you presume.

[ ] Follow Nitori.
[ ] Try to track Hyou down.
>> No. 11983
[x] Try to track Hyou down.

I don't know if we're crying for Cirno or Suwako or what, but I feel like a huge jerk now.

>“The score was cucumber sushi to three hundred cattails
Suddenly, Calvinball
>> No. 11984
[x] Try to track Hyou down.
>> No. 11985
[x] Try to track Hyou down.
>> No. 11986
[X] Try to track Hyou down.
>> No. 11987
[x] Try to track Hyou down.
>> No. 11988
[x] Try to track Hyou down.
>> No. 11989
[x] Try to track Hyou down.

I wonder if there's gonna be some hot Shot the bullet action or the story skips it.
>> No. 11990
[Q] Try to track Hyou down.
>> No. 11991
[x] Try to track Hyou down.
>> No. 11992
[x] Try to track Hyou down.

I do feel kinda bad for Cirno, but it's just another day for her. I doubt it'll slow her down much if at all.
>> No. 11993
[x] Try to track Hyou down.
>> No. 11994
[x] Try to track Hyou down.
>> No. 11995
[x] Try to track Hyou down.
------

You don’t think it was very nice for that kappa boy to be stealing Nitori’s things like that. So, you’ll help her get it back by chasing him, too. You start after the two of them, trailing behind until you kick off the ground, beginning to fly.

The kappa Nitori called Hyou moves pretty fast on those wheeled shoes; too fast for Nitori to be able to catch up on foot. But you can still fly much faster than he can skate, and pretty soon you’re just behind him.

“Wha?” he sputters as he turns back, looking above at you. “That’s cheating! Tengu fly too fast!” he complains as he picks up the pace, trying his best to lose you among the trees. “Buzz off!” he yells as he bursts out of a thicket of woods. Ah, you see where he’s going. He’s heading for the river.

You speed up as well, intending to cut him off before he can dive into the water. Weaving around him, you stop in midair with your arms outstretched. Hyou nearly falls over trying to stop in time. “Stop right there!” you command.

“As if!” he says, and from his backpack, the extending arm emerges, shooting towards you. Moving sharply, you quickly dart out of the way, but he takes the chance to escape, jumping into the water with a big splash. Gritting your teeth, you chase after him.

“Here, have a drink!” the kappa lies on his back, stroking with one arm while pointing the other at you. Spheres of water rise up from the surface of the river, floating in the air for a brief moment before shooting at you.

“Ugh!”

You cover your body with your arms, bearing the dull impact of the water as the orbs splatter themselves against you. You’re almost completely soaked. Wiping the water out of your eyes, you continue to give chase in the air, above the river. This is the only way you can keep up with him, after all.

“Man, you’re persistent,” Hyou says with an annoyed drawl. “If you want this so much, I’ll give it to you after I’m done copying it.”

“I don’t want it,” you say as you draw back your hand, sending out a strong blast of wind to try to force him out of the water.

“You kiddin’?” he laughs as he jumps into the air for a brief moment to avoid the gust before diving back in to swim again. “Man, think of all the things you could do with this! You can sneak into girls’ rooms and do this and that…”

“I don’t have any interest in that,” you say firmly.

“Whatever, eunuch,” he says with a smug grin. “But you can’t catch me when I’m in the water, bleeeeeeh!” he sticks his tongue out at you while making a face. What a brat.

Scowling, you lean forward, your palms pointing behind you. You concentrate, although it’s a little hard with the kappa making all sorts of mocking faces at you and calling you names. Suddenly, you propel forward, the wind at your back pushing you along at shocking speed. Before Hyou has a chance to react, you dive down and grab him by the collar, dragging him up into the air.

“What the?! Lemme go, you oaf!” he yells, kicking his legs helplessly. You ignore his demands, pulling him towards the shore.

“Alright, the chase is over,” you say sternly, placing him on the floor roughly while touching down on the ground yourself. “Hand that thing over,” you say, holding out your hand.

Hyou glowers at you, slowly raising Nitori’s device towards you. But the frown quickly turns into a sneer. “Yeah right!” he laughs, pressing something on the device. Instantly, he disappears from view.

“Huh?” you gasp as you look around. You can’t see him anywhere, but you can hear him laughing. “Guh!” Suddenly, something punches you in the gut, hard enough to knock the wind out of you. But you can see him now, he slowly fades into view as what seems to be electricity surrounding his body fizzles out and disappears.

“Eh?” It’s Hyou’s turn to be confused as he looks down on his body, visible again.

“Hah!” you hear Nitori’s voice from the direction of the river. She’s caught up to the two of you, her head bobbing up and down on the surface of the river. “It shorts out on contact with anyone!” she says.

“Damn it!” Hyou curses. “This useless thing!” he says angrily, holding it high up with one arm.

“Hey, what are you-”

He throws it down on the ground, smashing it. Just to make sure, he stamps on it like a child, crushing it even further. “Hah, good riddance to that piece of junk!”

“No!” Nitori cries, scrambling out of the water. Hyou makes to turn around and run, but you reach out and grab him by the shoulder, making him turn around. And then you deliver a punch to his face.

He goes flying far, skidding across the dirt. You hit him pretty hard. In fact, you never knew you could hit that hard. The kappa slowly gets up, his legs wobbling, wiping blood from his nose. Looking at you fearfully, he swiftly scuttles out of sight.

You’re still shaking, having a hard time controlling your breathing. You feel a tug at your sleeve, and look down to see Nitori staring at you with wide, worried eyes.

“It’s okay…” she says quietly. You let out a sigh.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t help you,” you say, stooping down to pick up the pieces of the broken device. “Instead I just made him do this.”

“It’s not your fault,” she says. “It’s that dumb pervert’s. You shouldn’t apologize. But um, are you okay?”

“… Huh?” you say, confused. “I’m alright.”

“Oh,” she says, pausing before speaking again. “It’s just, I’ve never seen you get angry before, so that was kinda unexpected, eheheh,” she laughs awkwardly. “But, um, I thought you were sorta cool just now, chasing after him like that.”

“Not at all,” you grimace. “I couldn’t even get this thing back in one piece.”

“Doesn’t matter, I’ll just make a new one,” she grins, pointing at her own head. “The real thing is in here, after all.”

“In your hat?”

“No, silly, right here,” she says with a smile, tapping on her noggin. “The idea. As long as it’s there, you can always make new things, and you can’t steal ideas. Well, you kinda can, but you can’t steal it for good is what I meant.”

“Ahaha…” you laugh with her. “Well, when it’s finished again, will you show it to me?”

“Yeah, of course!” she says, giving you a thumb up. You return it with a grin. “Right, if I want to get it finished before next year, I’d better get a move on it. I’ll make it even better this time,” she says, a strange sort of fire lighting in her eyes. “Well, see ya around, Mikio!”

You wave her goodbye as she dives back into the river, swimming down the current.

The smile fades away from your face as you look down at your hand. It’s the first time you’ve struck someone with your own hand. You don’t like it. It hurts your hand to hit someone, and it hurts for the person being hit. You don’t ever want to do it again.

---

The uneventful summer passed by and gave way to fall. The mountain is once again decorated with various bright colors and the fragrance of several autumn fruits. As for you, you’re passing by your days with a content attitude, happy just to be able to be here.

With your work finished, you have the rest of the day ahead of you. Who should you spend time with now?

[ ] Your peers, of course.
[ ] Your inventor friend.
[ ] The (now) cheerful curse doll.
[ ] The special guests of the season.
>> No. 11996
[x] The special guests of the season.

They've helped us out a few times so a visit wouldn't be bad.
>> No. 11997
[x] The special guests of the season.

It's their season.
>> No. 11998
[x] The special guests of the season.
>> No. 11999
[ ] The special guests of the season.
>> No. 12000
[x] Do something special with Aya and Momizi.

>He goes flying far, skidding across the dirt.
Way to go, Mikio.
>> No. 12001
[x] The (now) cheerful curse doll.
[x] The special guests of the season.

Probably the 3 goddesses live in the same area, so why not?
>> No. 12002
[B] The special guests of the season.
>> No. 12003
[x] The special guests of the season.

Should have used our sword instead of our fist when we hit the little brat...
>> No. 12004
>>12003
Oh, yes. That'd be a bright idea. The adopted human, starting an incident between the Tengu and the Kappa. That would certainly go over well. Wouldn't reflect badly on Mikio at all, no sir.

[+] Your peers, of course.
>> No. 12006
[x] The special guests of the season.
>> No. 12007
[Q] The special guests of the season.
>> No. 12008
[x] The special guests of the season.
>> No. 12009
[ℤℯ] Your peers, of course.

>>12003
ಠ_ಠ
>> No. 12010
[ ] The (now) cheerful curse doll.

His is the best goddess
>> No. 12011
[X] Your peers, of course.

Only rolling lonely.
>> No. 12012
[X]The (now) cheerful curse doll.

Do want Hina.
>> No. 12013
Since we're so close to auto-sage, I'll go ahead and kill this thread.
>> No. 12014
There.
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