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12015 No. 12015
[x] The special guests of the season.
------

It’s been a while, so why not visit autumn’s special guests for today?

Leaving the mountain behind, you head for the autumnal fields, a place not too far from the Great Youkai Forest. You see that Shizuha has been hard at work, as a dazzling sight of red, orange, and yellow trees welcome you as you soar over the ground. Landing softly on the ground, you decide to take a stroll around to see if you can find them. Not too long after you’ve begun your search, you can hear familiar voices.

“All I’m saying is that you need to act more properly! Your conduct is totally unbefitting of a God!”

“And I’m telling you, I don’t care about being a proper God or whatever! Where do you get off telling your older sister how to act?!”

Whoa, maybe you’ve come at a bad time.

“If you’re always playing around like that, no one’s ever going to respect you, and that’ll drag both of our reputations down!”

“I don’t care about reputation! You’re already plenty loved by humans anyway! Just leave me alone, stupid Minoriko!”

From the side, you see Shizuha approaching at a brisk pace with a scowl on her face. Her eyes widen when they see you, and she quickly runs up to you, linking her arms around yours. “Ah, hey, Mister Kirita!” she says with a forced cheery voice. “Let’s go play, let’s go play!”

“Shizuha! Wait!” Minoriko follows after her, slowing down to a stop when she notices you.

“Come on, let’s go, Mister Kirita!” Shizuha says, practically dragging you away. You silently allow her to pull you along, although you keep your eyes on Minoriko. Speechless, she raises her hand and opens her mouth as if wanting to say something, but her arm soon falls limply at her side, and she stays quiet.

There’s a bit of an awkward silence between the two of you as you head deeper into the vibrantly colored trees. Still holding onto your arm, it’s Shizuha who ventures to break the tension. “… You heard all that, huh?” she asks, not looking at you.

“… Yeah, sorry,” you say. “I didn’t mean to overhear.”

“No, it’s okay…” she says, shaking her head. “I don’t really mind, even though Minorin probably does. Honestly, she’s way too serious about this God business,” she grumbles. “What’s so bad about me being myself? And she always acts like she’s so much better than I am!”

Her voice chokes up, and her pace slows as she raises one of her arms to wipe at her eyes, still tightly holding onto your arm with the other. “… she used to call me “sis”, you know…” she says with a hurt voice, and although you can’t see her face, you know that she must be rubbing away tears.

“Ahhh, who cares about her!” she finally says following a loud sniffle, turning back with a bright smile. “C’mon, Mister Kirita, I said before I’d show you something really amazing, right?” she’s practically skipping as she leads you along by the arm, doubling the force now. You almost have to jog to keep up with her.

Still, even though she seems cheerful, it’s obvious she’s completely faking it. You can’t help but feel like you should say something, somehow. Can you think of anything to say to cheer her up?

[ ] Say something (write-in).
[ ] Stay quiet.
Expand all images
>> No. 12016
Waiting for write in
>> No. 12018
[x] "As are the rain and the earth, you are attracted by your differences yet bonded by your similarities. You will often clash, mix, change or deny the other constantly, yet it is perfectly natural. Those are the rewards and hardships of life around you."
[x] "As sisters, you will occasionally annoy each other and get into fights. There's nothing wrong with that. You'll need time alone to vent your frustration, but you'll eventually get over it and continue as if nothing had ever happened. That's just how it is - and it doesn't apply only to family, but to friends and acquaintances as well. No one is exempt from emotions; not with themselves and not with others. Just remember, that through all of the good times and bad times, she will always be your sister, she will always be in your heart, and she will always love you, as I know you love her. What's important is that you're together. To stick by her side; for her to stick by yours, as sisters and as friends. You love each other very much, and although you may not see it now, it shows."
[x] "I doubt it would be possible for either one of you to come to terms and respect the other's opinions - that's just the way family is. But I do think you should make amends. It does not do not to be able to smile and laugh with her again."
[x] "And I'm sure, deep down, she still thinks of you as "sis"".

Sagely Mikio.

Ehh, if anyone has a better analogy for the first part, please go ahead. I had a good one, but I just can't think of it right now.
>> No. 12020
[x] "As are the rain and the earth, you are attracted by your differences yet bonded by your similarities. You will often clash, mix, change or deny the other constantly, yet it is perfectly natural. Those are the rewards and hardships of life around you."
[x] "As sisters, you will occasionally annoy each other and get into fights. There's nothing wrong with that. You'll need time alone to vent your frustration, but you'll eventually get over it and continue as if nothing had ever happened. That's just how it is - and it doesn't apply only to family, but to friends and acquaintances as well. No one is exempt from emotions; not with themselves and not with others. Just remember, that through all of the good times and bad times, she will always be your sister, she will always be in your heart, and she will always love you, as I know you love her. What's important is that you're together. To stick by her side; for her to stick by yours, as sisters and as friends. You love each other very much, and although you may not see it now, it shows."
[x] "I doubt it would be possible for either one of you to come to terms and respect the other's opinions - that's just the way family is. But I do think you should make amends. It does not do not to be able to smile and laugh with her again."
[x] "And I'm sure, deep down, she still thinks of you as "sis"".

THIS.
>> No. 12021
[x] "As are the rain and the earth, you are attracted by your differences yet bonded by your similarities. You will often clash, mix, change or deny the other constantly, yet it is perfectly natural. Those are the rewards and hardships of life around you."
[x] "As sisters, you will occasionally annoy each other and get into fights. There's nothing wrong with that. You'll need time alone to vent your frustration, but you'll eventually get over it and continue as if nothing had ever happened. That's just how it is - and it doesn't apply only to family, but to friends and acquaintances as well. No one is exempt from emotions; not with themselves and not with others. Just remember, that through all of the good times and bad times, she will always be your sister, she will always be in your heart, and she will always love you, as I know you love her. What's important is that you're together. To stick by her side; for her to stick by yours, as sisters and as friends. You love each other very much, and although you may not see it now, it shows."
[x] "I doubt it would be possible for either one of you to come to terms and respect the other's opinions - that's just the way family is. But I do think you should make amends. It does not do not to be able to smile and laugh with her again."
[x] "And I'm sure, deep down, she still thinks of you as "sis"".

[x] But I would still want to see what you plan me if you still feel like it.
>> No. 12022
[x] "As are the rain and the earth, you are attracted by your differences yet bonded by your similarities. You will often clash, mix, change or deny the other constantly, yet it is perfectly natural. Those are the rewards and hardships of life around you."
[x] "As sisters, you will occasionally annoy each other and get into fights. There's nothing wrong with that. You'll need time alone to vent your frustration, but you'll eventually get over it and continue as if nothing had ever happened. That's just how it is - and it doesn't apply only to family, but to friends and acquaintances as well. No one is exempt from emotions; not with themselves and not with others. Just remember, that through all of the good times and bad times, she will always be your sister, she will always be in your heart, and she will always love you, as I know you love her. What's important is that you're together. To stick by her side; for her to stick by yours, as sisters and as friends. You love each other very much, and although you may not see it now, it shows."
[x] "I doubt it would be possible for either one of you to come to terms and respect the other's opinions - that's just the way family is. But I do think you should make amends. It does not do not to be able to smile and laugh with her again."
[x] "And I'm sure, deep down, she still thinks of you as "sis"".
>> No. 12024
[x] "As are the rain and the earth, you are attracted by your differences yet bonded by your similarities. You will often clash, mix, change or deny the other constantly, yet it is perfectly natural. Those are the rewards and hardships of life around you."
[x] "As sisters, you will occasionally annoy each other and get into fights. There's nothing wrong with that. You'll need time alone to vent your frustration, but you'll eventually get over it and continue as if nothing had ever happened. That's just how it is - and it doesn't apply only to family, but to friends and acquaintances as well. No one is exempt from emotions; not with themselves and not with others. Just remember, that through all of the good times and bad times, she will always be your sister, she will always be in your heart, and she will always love you, as I know you love her. What's important is that you're together. To stick by her side; for her to stick by yours, as sisters and as friends. You love each other very much, and although you may not see it now, it shows."
[x] "I doubt it would be possible for either one of you to come to terms and respect the other's opinions - that's just the way family is. But I do think you should make amends. It does not do not to be able to smile and laugh with her again."
[x] "And I'm sure, deep down, she still thinks of you as "sis"".
What the fuck is this shit.
>> No. 12025
[x] "As are the rain and the earth, you are attracted by your differences yet bonded by your similarities. You will often clash, mix, change or deny the other constantly, yet it is perfectly natural. Those are the rewards and hardships of life around you."
[x] "As sisters, you will occasionally annoy each other and get into fights. There's nothing wrong with that. You'll need time alone to vent your frustration, but you'll eventually get over it and continue as if nothing had ever happened. That's just how it is - and it doesn't apply only to family, but to friends and acquaintances as well. No one is exempt from emotions; not with themselves and not with others. Just remember, that through all of the good times and bad times, she will always be your sister, she will always be in your heart, and she will always love you, as I know you love her. What's important is that you're together. To stick by her side; for her to stick by yours, as sisters and as friends. You love each other very much, and although you may not see it now, it shows."
[x] "I doubt it would be possible for either one of you to come to terms and respect the other's opinions - that's just the way family is. But I do think you should make amends. It does not do not to be able to smile and laugh with her again."
[x] "And I'm sure, deep down, she still thinks of you as "sis"".
>> No. 12026
[x] "As are the rain and the earth, you are attracted by your differences yet bonded by your similarities. You will often clash, mix, change or deny the other constantly, yet it is perfectly natural. Those are the rewards and hardships of life around you."
[x] "As sisters, you will occasionally annoy each other and get into fights. There's nothing wrong with that. You'll need time alone to vent your frustration, but you'll eventually get over it and continue as if nothing had ever happened. That's just how it is - and it doesn't apply only to family, but to friends and acquaintances as well. No one is exempt from emotions; not with themselves and not with others. Just remember, that through all of the good times and bad times, she will always be your sister, she will always be in your heart, and she will always love you, as I know you love her. What's important is that you're together. To stick by her side; for her to stick by yours, as sisters and as friends. You love each other very much, and although you may not see it now, it shows."
[x] "I doubt it would be possible for either one of you to come to terms and respect the other's opinions - that's just the way family is. But I do think you should make amends. It does not do not to be able to smile and laugh with her again."
[x] "And I'm sure, deep down, she still thinks of you as "sis"".

yes
>> No. 12027
[x] "As are the rain and the earth, you are attracted by your differences yet bonded by your similarities. You will often clash, mix, change or deny the other constantly, yet it is perfectly natural. Those are the rewards and hardships of life around you."
[x] "As sisters, you will occasionally annoy each other and get into fights. There's nothing wrong with that. You'll need time alone to vent your frustration, but you'll eventually get over it and continue as if nothing had ever happened. That's just how it is - and it doesn't apply only to family, but to friends and acquaintances as well. No one is exempt from emotions; not with themselves and not with others. Just remember, that through all of the good times and bad times, she will always be your sister, she will always be in your heart, and she will always love you, as I know you love her. What's important is that you're together. To stick by her side; for her to stick by yours, as sisters and as friends. You love each other very much, and although you may not see it now, it shows."
[x] "I doubt it would be possible for either one of you to come to terms and respect the other's opinions - that's just the way family is. But I do think you should make amends. It does not do not to be able to smile and laugh with her again."
[x] "And I'm sure, deep down, she still thinks of you as "sis"".

Man, what the fuck.
>> No. 12029
[B] "As are the rain and the earth, you are attracted by your differences yet bonded by your similarities. You will often clash, mix, change or deny the other constantly, yet it is perfectly natural. Those are the rewards and hardships of life around you."
[B] "As sisters, you will occasionally annoy each other and get into fights. There's nothing wrong with that. You'll need time alone to vent your frustration, but you'll eventually get over it and continue as if nothing had ever happened. That's just how it is - and it doesn't apply only to family, but to friends and acquaintances as well. No one is exempt from emotions; not with themselves and not with others. Just remember, that through all of the good times and bad times, she will always be your sister, she will always be in your heart, and she will always love you, as I know you love her. What's important is that you're together. To stick by her side; for her to stick by yours, as sisters and as friends. You love each other very much, and although you may not see it now, it shows."
[B] "I doubt it would be possible for either one of you to come to terms and respect the other's opinions - that's just the way family is. But I do think you should make amends. It does not do not to be able to smile and laugh with her again."
[B] "And I'm sure, deep down, she still thinks of you as "sis"".
>> No. 12031
[ ] Stay quiet.
>> No. 12034
[x] Write-in.
------

“Wait a second,” you say, coming to a stop. Shizuha stops walking as well, although she doesn’t turn around.

“It’s no use telling me to go make up with my sister,” she says quietly. “We’re too different, and we’ll just end up getting angry at each other and fighting again. The difference between us is like the sky and the earth.”

sky and earth

“… You’re right. You two are as different as the heaven and earth,” you say after a moment of deliberation.

Shizuha turns around, wearing a melancholic, resigned smile.

“But, like the rain and the earth, the two of you are attracted to one another by your differences, yet bonded by your similarities,” you continue. “You’ll often clash, mix, change, or deny the other constantly, but that’s natural. Those are the rewards and hardships of life.”

She lets go of your arm, instead grabbing fistfuls of the front of your shirt as she leans her head on you, burying her face into your chest. “B-but it always seems like we’re always fighting,” she says tearfully.

You reach down and pat her on the head. “That’s natural too, isn’t it?” you say comfortingly. “As sisters, you’ll occasionally annoy each other and get into fights. There’s nothing wrong with that. You might need some time to vent your frustrations, but you’ll eventually get over and continue as if nothing happened. That’s family… and friends, and acquaintances too, right?”

“But when I fight with her like this, I feel so angry and envious and…and…” she chokes back another sob, burying her face deeper into your shirt.

Like the way Miss Momizi would do for you, you place your hand on her head, beginning to gently stroke it. “Hey, no one’s exempt from emotions; not with themselves and not with others,” you say.

completely lose control

“You just have to remember that through all times, good or bad, she’ll always be your sister. She’ll always be in your heart, and she’ll always love you, as I know you love her. What's important is that you're together. To stick by her side; for her to stick by yours, as sisters and as friends. I think the two of you love each other very much, and although you may not see it now, it really shows."

“… Do you really think so?” she asks, raising her face to look at you with tears staining her cheeks.

You wipe the tears from her face with your thumb. “Yeah, I think so.”

She draws away from you, rubbing her eyes with the sleeve of her dress. “… Thanks,” she says in a quiet voice. “Ahaha… I’ve shown you an embarrassing side of me, haven’t I?” she laughs weakly. “I bet Minorin would say it’s unbefitting to show such weakness as a God.”

“I doubt it might be possible for the two of you to come to terms and respect the other’s opinions—that’s just the way family is. But I think you should make amends. It doesn’t do to be unable to smile and laugh with her again.”

“Mmm…” she nods.

“And… I’m sure she still thinks of you as her “sis”.”

“Yeah, of course she does!” she says with a genuinely bright and cheery voice. “I’m going to go talk with her right now!” she begins to hurry towards the area you were just in excitedly, although she quickly seems to deflate, as she stops and turns back to you. “B-but, um, will you be there with me too? I’m afraid I might say something wrong and we’ll end up arguing again…”

“Yeah, sure,” you say, beginning to follow after her.

Minoriko appears in your view soon enough. She’s sitting up against a tree, hugging her knees with her head lowered. Seems she’d taken the quarrel as bad as Shizuha had. Speaking of Shizuha, she suddenly seems to become more timid and worried, hiding behind you as if to avoid being seen.

“What’s wrong?” you ask. “Don’t you want to make up with her?”

“Y-yeah, but…” she stutters. “I don’t know how I should approach her, and I don’t know if I want to speak to her so soon… Um, can you go talk to her for me?”

[ ] Go on.
[ ] She should do this herself.
>> No. 12035
{X} She should do this herself.
>> No. 12036
[x] She should do this herself.
[x] Though a little push wouldn't hurt.
--[x] "Minoriko, I think your sister has something she wants to say to you."
--[x] Grab Shizuha and give her a little push towards her sister. "Go on" give her a reassuring smile.
>> No. 12037
[x] She should do this herself.
-[x] Help her if she gets stuck.
>> No. 12039
[x] She should do this herself.
[x] Though a little push wouldn't hurt.
--[x] "Minoriko, I think your sister has something she wants to say to you."
--[x] Grab Shizuha and give her a little push towards her sister. "Go on" give her a reassuring smile.
>> No. 12040
[x] She should do this herself.
[x] Though a little push wouldn't hurt.
--[x] "Minoriko, I think your sister has something she wants to say to you."
--[x] Grab Shizuha and give her a little push towards her sister. "Go on" give her a reassuring smile.

MENDING BROKEN FAMILIES. I wonder if we get some potatos as thanks.
>> No. 12041
[x] She should do this herself.
[x] Though a little push wouldn't hurt.
--[x] "Minoriko, I think your sister has something she wants to say to you."
--[x] Grab Shizuha and give her a little push towards her sister. "Go on" give her a reassuring smile.
>> No. 12042
[x] She should do this herself.
[x] Though a little push wouldn't hurt.
--[x] "Minoriko, I think your sister has something she wants to say to you."
--[x] Grab Shizuha and give her a little push towards her sister. "Go on" give her a reassuring smile.
>> No. 12043
[x] She should do this herself.
[x] Though a little push wouldn't hurt.
--[x] "Minoriko, I think your sister has something she wants to say to you."
--[x] Grab Shizuha and give her a little push towards her sister. "Go on" give her a reassuring smile.
>> No. 12044
[x] She should do this herself.
[x] Though a little push wouldn't hurt.
--[x] "Minoriko, I think your sister has something she wants to say to you."
--[x] Grab Shizuha and give her a little push towards her sister. "Go on" give her a reassuring smile.
>> No. 12045
[x] She should do this herself.
[x] Though a little push wouldn't hurt.
--[x] "Minoriko, I think your sister has something she wants to say to you."
--[x] Grab Shizuha and give her a little push towards her sister. "Go on" give her a reassuring smile.
>> No. 12049
[x] She should do this herself.
[x] Though a little push wouldn't hurt.
--[x] "Minoriko, I think your sister has something she wants to say to you."
--[x] Grab Shizuha and give her a little push towards her sister. "Go on" give her a reassuring smile.

I know a horse trainer who gets paid to do just about this sort of thing with people.
"Conflict Resolution," or something.
>> No. 12059
File 12558309913.jpg - (193.36KB, 730x600, b77f0cde4fabc6d4bd6e1b00c3adf5de.jpg) [iqdb]
12059
[x] She should do this herself.
------

This isn’t something you should do on her behalf. If she wants to make up with her sister, then she should do this herself, right?

“Sorry, but I can’t do that,” you say.

Shizuha’s face falls; she looks very disappointed. “… Yeah, I guess it’s not really sincere if I don’t talk to her myself,” she says, although she doesn’t look very happy about it.

“I’ll be there with you, if it makes you feel more confident,” you say, seeing her uneasy expression. “But I can’t speak for you.”

useless

She nods quietly, attempting to look more dignified as she stands up straight, no longer hiding behind your back. Still a bit hesitant, she slowly begins to step towards Minoriko, who looks up as she approaches.

“Um… Hey, Minorin,” she says awkwardly, fidgeting around with her hands behind her back.

Minoriko opens her mouth to say something, but whatever it is that she wants to say seems to quickly die in her throat, and she ends up lowering her head once more. The resulting brief silence is rather stiff and uncomfortable.

You place your hands on Shizuha’s shoulders. She lets out a surprised squeak as she turns around to look at you, and you give her a reassuring smile. “Go on,” you say, gently pushing her forward.

“M-Minorin!” she says, more determined than before. “Let’s go to my favorite place! Together!”

Minoriko raises her head again, surprised. Shizuha leans forward and offers her sister her hand, looking very serious and tense, to an unusual degree. While wiping at her eyes, Minoriko smiles as she takes her sister’s hand and stands up.

“Ahaha, what’s with that look on your face, Shizuha?” she laughs between sniffles as she continues to rub at her eyes. “It totally doesn’t suit you at all!”

“You said I should be more dignified, didn’t you?” Shizuha says, still trying to maintain that unnatural looking expression before breaking into a fit of giggling. “No, I can’t do it! It’d kill my mouth to frown all day like that!” she says.

“And it’d kill me to look at you while you’re making that kind of face all the time!” Minoriko joins in on the giggling, although when it’s over, she looks a lot more solemn. “… Sorry, Shizuha. I shouldn’t have been so forceful earlier.”

“No, that’s fine. Thinking back now, I overreacted.”

“… it’d be nice if you would think about your position once in a while, though.”

“And you should forget about it occasionally, too.”

“Ahaha, I’m fine with that!”

“So am I!”

They’re all smiles now. It really didn’t take much to mend the wound to their relationship, did it? You suppose that must be what being family really is like. You wonder if that’s not too different from the kind of relationship you have with your fellow clan members.

do you really understand

“Hey, what’re you looking all spaced out for, Mister Kirita?” Shizuha says brightly as she runs over to you, linking her arm with yours again while dragging her little sister behind her. “You’re coming too!”

“Ah, yeah…” you say absentmindedly as she drags you along, taking a moment to snap out of it. You can’t help but smile, though, looking at her cheerful disposition. Her enthusiasm is a bit infectious.

She leads the two of you to a large clearing, surrounded by various different trees. You remember this place. It’s that same place she took you to show off her power to change the color of the leaves the first time you met her. This is her favorite spot, huh?

“I’m going to do something, so watch carefully, okay?” she says as she floats up into the air, letting go of you and her sister.

Minoriko steps closer to you, watching her older sister rise into the air. “She’ll throw a fit if you don’t watch carefully,” she says with a fond smile. “So be sure to pay attention, okay?”

“Yeah.”

As Shizuha floats higher and higher up, a strong wind seems to blow by, rustling the leaves of the many trees surrounding you all. She closes her eyes, spreading her arms out as the hem of her dress sway in the autumn breeze, much like the leaves themselves. And then, as if conducting a musical recital, she begins to wave her arms.

The wind is empowered, becoming strong enough the strip leaves from their branches. A beautifully colorful wave of leaves rises into the air, swaying to and fro according to the whim of the God of turning leaves.

“But you know, it’s kind of strange,” Minoriko speaks out, though you almost fail to hear her, mesmerized by the sight of all those leaves being carried up into the sky.

“Huh? What is?”

“Shizuha’s usually shy around people, but she doesn’t seem to mind you at all,” Minoriko explains, looking at you.

“Eh? She’s shy…?” You’re a bit puzzled, looking back towards the small figure high up in the air. “I wouldn’t have expected it from her.”

“… Yeah, even though she always seems cheerful…” she continues. “The truth is, she used to be really lonely, you know? That’s why we… she…”

“Hey, come on, pay attention!” Shizuha cups her hands around her mouth to yell at the two of you, interrupting Minoriko. The dense cloud of leaves has stopped in the air, and it’s almost eerie how still they are.

“Ah, sorry!” Minoriko yells back.

Shizuha raises her arms once more, reaching out to the top of with both hands before making a parting motion. The leaves separate, categorizing themselves according to their color. Red leaves, yellow leaves, orange leaves; they’re all grouped together. She swings her arms, and the clouds become streams, washing over the ground and covering it with their brilliant hue. She directs the leaves as they spread themselves out on the ground, as if painting a picture.

“Okay, it’s done!” she yells. “Come on! Fly up and look at the ground! Don’t look down until you’re as high up as I am!”

You follow Minoriko up into the air, taking care not to look at the ground and instead fixing your gaze on Shizuha. She smiles as you float up beside her, and then points at the ground. You cast a glance at the ground.

On the once bare earth, now there was a painting. Using the colored leaves of the trees around, Shizuha had composed a scene of a yellow sun, surrounded by an orange sky, sinking behind a red mountain.

Minoriko claps excitedly. “Wow, it’s as pretty as always, Shizuha!” she praises.

Smiling in wonder, you join in on the applause as well. “That’s amazing,” you say.

Shizuha looks proud of her work, grinning from ear to ear. “It’s even prettier when there’s a real sunset, you know,” she says. “… Ahh… but I’m kind of hungry, now,” she says, putting a hand on her stomach.

“Well, I don’t have anything on the fire at the moment,” Minoriko begins. “But the persimmons around here have begun to ripe, so why don’t we snack on those for a bit?”

“Hey, that’s a good idea!” Shizuha nods excitedly, clapping her hands together. “You’ll join us too, right?”

[ ] Of course.
[ ] No thank you.
>> No. 12060
[x] Of course.

Why, of course.
>> No. 12061
[X] Of course.

I like the Autumn Sisters, as neglected as they tend to be.
>> No. 12062
[x] Of course.

Might as well make the most of our visit.
>> No. 12063
[x] Of course.
>> No. 12064
[X] Of course.
>> No. 12065
[x] Of course.
>> No. 12067
[x] Of course.
>> No. 12068
[x] Of course.
>> No. 12069
[ ] No thank you.

I like them and all, but I just don't feel like it today.
>> No. 12070
File 125591129421.jpg - (238.10KB, 800x600, d9b7770fc4840562bc271942c58c8fc1.jpg) [iqdb]
12070
[x] Of course.

I am very pro-Shizuha route.
>> No. 12071
>>12070
That picture is cute, but...

From the thumbnail, it looks like she's really pissed. Sexy-pissed; you can't tell if she wants to make out with you or kill you.
>> No. 12072
[x] Of course.
------

“Of course,” you reply with a smile. “… By the way, what are persimmons?”

“Eh? You don’t know what they are?” Minoriko asks, puzzled.

You shake your head. “No, but am I correct in assuming they’re fruit?” you ask, since she had talked about them ripening just a moment ago.

“They are!” Shizuha says while nodding. “They’re really sweet and delicious!”

“Wait here, I’ll go pick some,” Minoriko says, floating away elsewhere. Before she’s completely out of sight, though, she turns back to yell. “Hey Shizuha! What kind should I get?!”

“Get both of them!” Shizuha cups her hands around her mouth to respond.

“Are there different kinds of persimmons?” you ask.

“Uh-huh,” Shizuha gives you a grin as she takes hold of your hand, guiding you. “Let’s sit down and wait ‘til Minorin comes back.”

She leads you to one of the trees stripped bare by her earlier performance. Picking out a sturdy, thick-looking branch, you seat yourself. Shizuha follows, plopping herself down next to you. Humming happily, she swings her legs back and forth. A single leaf falls from a branch higher up on the tree, landing on her hair.

“Ah, you’ve got leaves in your hair,” you say, reaching and plucking them from her head, showing them to her.

Shizuha takes the leaves from you into her own hands, examining it. “Ah, these are perfect!” she says excitedly.

“Hm?”

“They’re completely intact and not yet crisp!” she continues, waving a hand over it. “I’m going to preserve these!” she says, and then she reaches up and sticks the leaves in her hair, as if decorating herself with them. “Hey, hey, doesn’t this look good?” she asks.

“Ahahaha, they do suit you nicely,” you say, giving her a pat on the head.

“I’m back!” you hear Minoriko call out to the two of you as she approaches. She’s lifting up her skirt to her knees to use a part of it to hold many round-shaped fruits. She stops in front of you. “Here, grab some.”

You reach out, taking a couple of them into your hands. Some of them feel… different from one another, though. One feels soft, and its skin is glossy, but another feels hard and firm, like an apple.

“How come they’re so different?” you find yourself asking, holding up each of the two kinds in your hands, the rest sitting on top of your lap. The soft one has a more pointed shape at the bottom, like an acorn. The firm one looks more squashed, like a tomato.

“Hachiya and fuyu,” Minoriko begins, taking a seat next to you. “There are other varieties of persimmons, but these two are the most common. Hachiya has soft flesh, and fuyu is crisp and hard. Fuyu is rarer than the former, though, so it’s more of a delicacy…”

“Whatever, the soft ones are more delicious,” Shizuha says, playing with one of the acorn-like persimmons with her hands.

“Um…” you hesitate, holding a hachiya persimmon up to your face. “How do you eat this? Do you just bite it, or…”

“You bite down on it like this,” Shizuha says, bringing the fruit to her mouth and taking a small nibble of it. “Then you suck on it, like this.” She closes her small lips around the wound in the skin of the fruit, sucking out the flesh inside. “Try it, it’s really good,” she says, wiping her mouth.

You do as she instructs, breaking the skin with your teeth. Sucking on the wound, you feel a soft lump of the fruit’s flesh travel into your mouth, and instantly, it’s filled with a very sweet taste. “Wow, this really is good!” you say, your mouth a bit sticky from the fluids inside the fruit.

You quickly finish the rest of the hachiya, letting the skin fall to the ground. Picking up the fuyu persimmon in your hand, you try to bite down on it, attempting to eat it in the same way.

“No, no, you don’t eat it like that!” Minoriko says, alarmed. The fruit instantly levitates away from your hand before your teeth make contact with the skin. “Here, I’ll peel it and cut it for you.” The fruit floating in the air begins to rotate slowly, and as though an invisible knife were peeling it, the skin of the persimmon began to shear itself away, revealing a deep shaded orange flesh underneath. Once peeled, it cuts itself into neat slices, and then the slices present themselves in front of you, still floating.

“Showoff,” Shizuha grumbles.

You take one of the slices and pop it into your mouth, beginning to chew. The taste is a little more subdued, but it’s not as messy as eating a hachiya, and it’s still very delicious. “These are really good,” you say, eating another slice.

“Hey, hey, hachiya is definitely better, isn’t it?” Shizuha asks you.

“No, no, fuyu is superior!” Minoriko contests hotly, glaring at Shizuha.

“I wasn’t asking you!” she leans forward, looking past you at her little sister.

Ah geeze, here they go again. They’re always bickering…

“Whenever you eat hachiya, your hands and mouth get all sticky! The only ones who would like it better are children and old men!”

“Hey! I’m not a child or old! And even if I were a child, I’m still more mature than you are, you cutting board!”

“What! Looks who’s talking!”

And now the subject of their fight’s gone off-topic again. Geeze, even though you like both kinds of fruits…

… but even though they’re arguing and teasing each other, they’re still laughing and smiling. Siblings are really close, huh?

---

Fall passed by quickly, and soon all the leaves had fallen from the trees. Winter had arrived to Gensokyo, no earlier and no later than was usual, thankfully.

“Hey, Miki, take a look at this!” Miss Aya says excitedly, shoving a handful of photographs into your face.

You take them into your hands, looking over them. All the pictures seem to be of Miss Aya herself, swishing and whooshing through various patterns of danmaku. “What’s this?” you ask.

“My personal project at the moment!” she proudly declares. “It’s a special coverage on danmaku! Since the spellcard since time is really important in Gensokyo, something like this should be really popular, right?”

“Wait, did you take these pictures yourself?” you ask, looking through them all.

“Yup!”

“… How on earth did you manage to photograph yourself like this…?” you say incredulously. You knew she was fast, but to be able to get in front of a camera in the instant between clicking the shutter and the photo being taken…?

“Heh,” she grins. “Something like that is no problem for me,” she says, crossing her arms. “Anyway, to get to the point, I want you to show me some of your spellcards too!”

“Eh? Mine, too?” you repeat, pointing at yourself. “I’m not really… they wouldn’t be interesting at all.”

“Oh come on, don’t say that,” Miss Aya says, patting you on the back. “I’ve seen you practice, and you’re not bad! I’d say you’re about stage four, even.”

“What kind of a measurement is that?”

“Well then, let’s begin! Pick out three or four spellcards,” she says, holding her camera in her hand. “Don’t hold back, Mikio!”

You sigh, digging in your shirt for your spellcards.

Pick three spells:

[ ] Cyclone Seal 「Twelve Pillars of the Sky」
[ ] Turbulence Sign 「Violent Storm That Splits the Earth and Heaven」
[ ] Secret Art 「Crashing of a Thousand Bolts」
[ ] Volcano Sign 「Yasugatake’s Rage」
[ ] Sword Skill 「The Teachings of Sojobo」
[ ] 「Delusionary Cage」
>> No. 12073
[X] Turbulence Sign 「Violent Storm That Splits the Earth and Heaven」
[x] Sword Skill 「The Teachings of Sojobo」
[x] 「Delusionary Cage」
>> No. 12074
File 12559333725.jpg - (111.19KB, 748x539, Panel 1 of 3.jpg) [iqdb]
12074
[X] Cyclone Seal 「Twelve Pillars of the Sky」
[X] Turbulence Sign 「Violent Storm That Splits the Earth and Heaven」
[X] 「Delusionary Cage」

>>12071

Nah, she's not angry. Just sexy.
>> No. 12075
[x] Turbulence Sign 「Violent Storm That Splits the Earth and Heaven」
[x] Volcano Sign 「Yasugatake’s Rage」
[x] 「Delusionary Cage」
>> No. 12076
Wow, you actually wove Shoot the Bullet into canon without it seeming at all silly.

Well done.
>> No. 12077
{X} Cyclone Seal 「Twelve Pillars of the Sky」
{X} Sword Skill 「The Teachings of Sojobo」
{X} 「Delusionary Cage」
>> No. 12078
[ ] Turbulence Sign 「Violent Storm That Splits the Earth and Heaven」
[ ] Secret Art 「Crashing of a Thousand Bolts」
[ ] 「Delusionary Cage」
>> No. 12079
[x] Cyclone Seal 「Twelve Pillars of the Sky」
[x] Turbulence Sign 「Violent Storm That Splits the Earth and Heaven」
[x] Volcano Sign 「Yasugatake’s Rage」
>> No. 12080
[ ] Cyclone Seal 「Twelve Pillars of the Sky」
[ ] Sword Skill 「The Teachings of Sojobo」
[ ] 「Delusionary Cage」
>> No. 12081
[x] Cyclone Seal 「Twelve Pillars of the Sky」
[x] Sword Skill 「The Teachings of Sojobo」
[x] 「Delusionary Cage」

>>12070
She looks moe like i want to do naughty things with you, NOW.
>> No. 12082
[x] Turbulence Sign 「Violent Storm That Splits the Earth and Heaven」
[x] Volcano Sign 「Yasugatake’s Rage」
[x] 「Delusionary Cage」
>> No. 12083
>>12081
Moe does not work that way.
>> No. 12084
[x] Turbulence Sign 「Violent Storm That Splits the Earth and Heaven」
[x] Sword Skill 「The Teachings of Sojobo」
[x] 「Delusionary Cage」
>> No. 12085
>[x] 「Delusionary Cage」

You guys really are intent on revealing Mikio's trump card and waste his strongest spellcard?

Think guys. Some techniques aren't to be used unless absolutely necessary.
>> No. 12086
>>12085

But this is for Aya, and for those still peeved at her for FORCING Mikio to cosplay, it'll be fun to see how she handles it.
>> No. 12087
She'll handle it just like she handled the spellcards of every other touhou in Gensokyo. By dodging every single bullet and leaving with the intimate knowledge of the inner workings of our strongest spellcard.
>> No. 12088
>>12085
Also, it'd look rather boring on film.
>> No. 12090
>>12087

That's assuming that this story's Aya is the same as a perfectly played Aya; since this story's Aya lost to Eirin along with Mikio. during the IN scenario, so she might have some trouble with some spell cards.

That and her high speed might be a disadvantage during bullet clusters (risk of flying right into one)
>> No. 12102
>>12087
This sounds like an artful metaphor for something dirty.
>> No. 12103
But...StB was before PoFV!
>> No. 12104
>>12103

Not in this timeline; that and there's no firm proof (That and Sikieiki and Komachi appear in StB)
>> No. 12105
>>12102

Very perceptive of you.
>> No. 12106
StB is numbered 9.5 compared to PoFV's 9. Would be a very odd thing if it wasn't intended to be between PoFV and MoF.
>> No. 12107
[x] Turbulence Sign 「Violent Storm That Splits the Earth and Heaven」
[x] Sword Skill 「The Teachings of Sojobo」
[x] 「Delusionary Cage」
------

“Okay,” you place your mask on your face before drawing a single slip of paper. “I’m ready to start, Miss Aya.”

“Okay then!” she replies with a grin, flying back to put some space between the two of you. She waves her hand at you, her precious camera resting in her other hand. “Give it your all, Miki! Don’t be afraid to hit me!”

As if you’re expecting to be able to hit her. Nonetheless, you swipe the spellcard across the air, holding it up above you as you declare its name.

Turbulence Sign 「Violent Storm That Splits the Earth and Heaven」

Putting the card away, you unsheathe your sword, holding it horizontally in front of you. Taking a hold of the flat of your blade with two fingers, you slide them across its surface, and as you do, the metal begins to glow with a haunting green tint.

Spinning your sword, you hold it out in front of you. You concentrate, bending the current of the air to your whims. From the ground below Miss Aya emerges a tremendous force of wind, visibly tangible yet so far harmless. Ready your blade, you slash the air, shaping the blasts of wind into crescent-shaped blades, converging around Miss Aya.

“Your control’s gotten better, Miki!” she yells as she clicks her camera, taking a picture of the many crescent waves surrounding her.

You do your best to ignore her as you focus on the blades around her. Splitting apart, they swerve and loop around, their movement serving to confuse and render themselves unpredictable. And then, with a sudden jerk, the crescent blades of wind rush in, attempting to surround Miss Aya completely as they home in on her.

Click. Another photo taken. She’s managed to dodge every single blade, too, diving through, under, and to the side of the barrage. Well, you figured she wouldn’t fall for something as easy to see through as that. Still, this is just warm up, after all.

The blades swerve from their course to resume their attack on Miss Aya persistently. But this time, you reach out with your free hand, clenching your hand and then unclenching it. With that motion, the blades split apart into many smaller blades, each moving much more erratically than before.

“Oh, nice move!” Miss Aya says with delight as she readies her camera to take a picture and herself to dodge the oncoming attack. Even though the bullet swarm is thicker now, she has no problem weaving through them all. “Okay, this one’s clear! Next one, please!”

You dismiss the current spell, ending it. Reaching into your shirt, you produce and second spellcard, holding it up into the air and loudly declaring the name of your next attack.

Sword Skill 「The Teachings of Sojobo」

“Ah, a spellcard based on the tengu king, huh?” Miss Aya grins. “You’ve been doing your homework, Miki!”

Ignoring her, you bring your sword in front of you again, holding it vertically this time. With two fingers on the hilt, you charge the blade with lightning, giving it an eerie purplish-blue glow. Then, holding your sword with both hands, you dig deep into the air beneath you, standing as if your feet were planted on the earth.

You take a tremendous leap forward, somersaulting in the air as you hop over Miss Aya, and as you pass by overhead, eight bolts of lightning strike down from the blade of your sword, crashing to the ground and becoming like a pillar of light forcing their way towards her.

“Lightning magic, huh?” she notes as you turn back to look at her, weaving through the pillars of lightning you sent at her. Having failed to hit their mark, the pillars fizzle out into the air, leaving only a slightly burnt taste of air. “That reminds me: you used to be scared of thunderstorms, didn’t you?”

“Yeah,” you say simply as you charge your blade with electricity once more, leaping over Miss Aya and sending the same barrage of lightning pillars in your trail.

She takes a picture of your lightning-charged hop, not even needing to look to dodge the pillars. “Ahaha, I remember, whenever there was a thunderstorm, you’d cling to me or Momi and bury your face wherever you could. I thought that was adorable, you know.”

“Please don’t drag up embarrassing memories like that, Miss Aya,” you say as you jump once more into the air. But this time, as you’re situated just above her, you stop your momentum and bring down your sword at the air as hard as you can, calling down only a single bolt of lightning.

“It’s a rather fond one for me, though,” she says as she sidesteps the bolt. But the bolt swiftly fragments itself, into a circle of eight separate pillars of lightning, spreading itself out. It seems to take even Miss Aya by surprise, as she just barely manages to squeeze between two of the pillars. “Whew, that was close,” she says, sniffing the air as if she smelt something singed. “Okay, I’m done with this one!”

Letting out a heavy breath, you release the spell. Just one more ought to be enough for her, right? You draw your third and final spellcard; your ace in the hole, as someone might call it. It took a lot of practice to be able to consistently pull this one off, but you’re confident that you’ve mastered it by now.

「Delusionary Cage」

You place your sword back in its sheath. You won’t need it for this one. You reach for the sky, palm facing up. Manipulating the breeze around you, you mold it into the shape of a long, rough spear. Grasping its shaft with both hands, you begin to spin it around, scattering bullets to surround the field around you and Miss Aya.

Stage one of the spellcard: limiting the area of the battle. With the bullets surrounding the two of you, there’s no way she can escape the next stage of the attack; you needed narrow space to use it effectively, after all.

Stage two: the serve. You hold your spear in one arm, taking careful aim at Miss Aya, who’s already taken a picture of the bullets surrounding her as well as of you in your ready position. “Hah!” you grunt as you chuck the spear with all your might.

“What’s that? Only one bullet?” Miss Aya laughs, easily dodging the thrown spear.

Not quite.

Final stage.

The moment you throw the spear, you give a burst forward, speeding around Miss Aya to the exact point where it will end up. Your hand drifts to the hilt of your sword, and you draw it in a flash in the instant that the thrown spear is within striking distance. The blade repels the spear, changing its trajectory completely. Without losing its momentum, the spear turns around and shoots at Miss Aya.

“Eh?!” she’s completely taken by surprise, but impressively she manages to get out of the way in the nick of time.

But you had already begun to move the moment the spear had changed directions. You give a burst of speed, circling around Miss Aya and deflecting the spear towards her again, and each time you reflect the spear, it not only retains its original speed, but also gains additional momentum from each blow you inflict on it.

You’re forced to pick up the pace as well. The environments become a blur as you strafe around Miss Aya, but you manage to it the spear toward her each time; practice had paid off, and it feels natural to be able to hit it around without even thinking of where it will head next.

“Eeesh!” you hear Miss Aya yelp. You can’t be sure, but you think you can see her figure dancing around the air frantically, dodging each pass of the spear by a hairbreadth.

But your body can’t handle going this fast for so long. You’re out of breath. You grip the hilt of your sword with both hands as you prepare to deal the final strike. The spear shoots straight at you, so fast that you would definitely fail to react to it if you hadn’t knowingly moved to that position.

“Hyah!” you yell as you swing your sword down; the spear changes direction one last time, changing its shape into something much larger and wider. That’s it. You’re done. You don’t even care if it hits Miss Aya or not.

You release the spellcard, placing your hands on your knees and panting hard. That spellcard might still be too much for you right now. Miss Aya might be able to go that fast all day, but you certainly aren’t.

“Well done, Miki!” you raise your head to look up as she floats up next to you, rubbing her cheek. “You actually managed to hit me with that last attack, kinda. I’m impressed!”

“Just a nick?” you say, a little disappointed. You’re still out of your league when compared with her, you guess.

“Hey, that spellcard actually had me break a sweat. That’s more than I can say for a lot of other youkai, you know,” she says, beaming proudly. “But anyway, thanks for your cooperation.”

“No problem,” you say, still trying to steady your breathing.

“No, really. I’d say you deserve a little something special,” she says with a grin. “Be right back!” she takes off, into the distance. But she’s not gone for long; within fifteen seconds, she’s back and holding something in her hand. “Here, a present.”

She gives it to you, and you accept it with both hands. It’s… a camera? “Huh?” you raise an eyebrow, holding it up to take a better look. It’s… brand new.

“I noticed you investigating the flower incident by yourself,” Miss Aya explains. “And seeing you discover your own inquisitive nature and the desire to uncover the truth moved me deeply!” she says with a serious expression, before winking at you. “… And no self-respecting journalist would be found without a camera to call their own, right?”

“But Miss Aya, this looks expensive…”

“Oh, believe me. It was.”

“I would have been just fine with one of your old cameras…”

“But then it wouldn’t be a real present, don’t you think?” she says. “And… ah…” she averts her gaze, sheepishly scratching her cheek. “I figured I kinda owe it to you. I’ve given you a lot of trouble, haven’t I?”

You can’t disagree with that, but even so…

“Ahaha…” you laugh, rubbing the back of your head, feeling a bit embarrassed. “Thanks, Miss Aya. I’ll be sure to treasure it.”

“Guard it with your life if you have to,” Miss Aya says solemnly, before breaking into a lighthearted laughter. “Now, come on, it’s almost time for lunch.”

You smile, tightly holding your new camera in your hands as you follow after her.

---

“Hello! Is anyone in there?” you call out as you knock at the door of the shabby looking building in front of you. Situated in the outskirts of the Forest of Magic, the building was small and there was quite a mess left outside of it. Above the door was a large sign that read in large characters: “Kourindou.”

Without warning, the door suddenly opens. A bespectacled face cautiously peers out from the slight opening in the doorway. A tall man with silver hair. “Yes? What is it?” he says curtly.

You hold out the rolled newspaper in your hand towards him, not deterred by his rather rude tone of speaking. “The newest edition of Bunbunmaru Newspaper,” you say.

“Oh, I see. From Miss Shameimaru, correct?” he asks as he opens the door just a bit wider; enough to take the newspaper roll from you. “Strange, though. She usually delivers it herself.”

“She said she was busy today, so I offered to run it for her,” you say. There weren’t really many subscriptions outside of the tengu, though, so it didn’t take too long to distribute them. “She said you’re a dedicated subscriber.”

“Well, I suppose I am,” he says, unrolling the newspaper and taking a glance at the front page. “I do live a little isolated from the rest of Gensokyo, so I don’t mind if the news is outdated.”

“I see, that’s good,” you say, smiling. “Do you like the articles?”

“They’re interesting,” he says, his eyes scanning the page. “I particularly enjoyed the article where she accused me of “double-timing” the Hakurei shrine maiden and the black-white witch.”

… What does “double-timing” mean?

“Well, thank you for your support,” you say, bowing.

He nods, rolling up the newspaper and giving you a brief wave before closing the door again. He’s not exactly the nicest guy in the world, you think. Oh well.

You lift yourself up off of the ground, turning your back to Kourindou as you float up into the air. Intending to return to the mountain, you begin to jet over the sea of trees in front of you.

you

w h o a r e y o u t o G E T I N M Y W A Y

“Wha-?!”

You suddenly lose control of your flight, dropping out of the air. Painfully, you fall through the leaves and branches of the woods below you. You hit the ground, scattering grass everywhere. You feel sore, but you don’t think you broke anything in that fall.

Damn… was it another one of those attacks? No, your body feels fine, except for the parts of it that will surely be bruised next morning. You get up off the ground, dusting yourself off. That was strange. You jump into the air, expecting to be carried up by the wind as usual.

But instead, your feet hit the ground again. Why can’t you fly? You still remember how to do it, but your body refuses to rise into the sky. How frustrating. But you need to get out of this forest fast; you’ve heard rumors that strange things can happen to you if you breathe in the spores of the mushrooms here for too long.

Unfortunately, you’ve never exactly had the best sense of direction, so you have no idea where to start. It would be so easy to find a way out if you could fly, but if that was an option, you wouldn’t be stuck like this.

You lift up a foot to begin walking. As you take a step, however, the surroundings change. The trees are gone, the grass is replaced instead by barren earth. Two paths present themselves to you; one leading to the left, and another to the right.

But before you can take another step, something grabs your ankles.

You fall flat on your face as that something drags you back by your feet. With great strength, that something tugs at you, and you desperately attempt to claw at the ground, to cling to it to stop yourself. But it’s futile, and soon you’re enveloped by complete and utter darkness.

The feeling of your feet hitting the ground again jerks you back into reality. You shake your head, feeling dazed. What was that, a hallucination? Well, whatever it was, you’re back in the forest. You haven’t moved at all.

Ugh… you’re starting to feel nauseous. Your eyes are burning. They’re itchy and painful, and it hurts just to keep them open. You want to rub at them, to claw them out; anything to make the constant pain stop.

You take two wobbling steps forward before crumpling into a heap and passing out.

---

Tick, tock, tick, tock.

You wake to the rhythmic ticking of a large grandfather clock. Blearily opening your eyes, you take a look around you. A small, impressively tidy room greets your blurred vision as you sit up. Looks like someone’s put you in a bed.

You reach up and touch your face. Your mask is still on. That’s good. Taking another cautious look around the room, you make sure the coast is clear before you take off your mask, setting it on the bed before running your hands over your face. You rub at your eyes with the back of your hands. They’re still irritatingly itchy, though not as much as before.

Placing your mask back on your face, you sink back into the pillow, still feeling tired.

[ ] Head out of the room.
[ ] Rest.
>> No. 12108
[ ] Head out of the room.
>> No. 12111
>>12105
Oh, it was?

Usually such things are less subtle. This one sounds like somebody actually put some work into it.
>> No. 12112
[x] Head out of the room.
>> No. 12113
[x] Head out of the room.
>> No. 12114
[x] Head out of the room.
>> No. 12115
[x] Head out of the room.
>> No. 12116
[x] Head out of the room.
>> No. 12117
[x] Where's the rest of your stuff?
[x] You aren't naked are you?
[x] Head out of the room.
>> No. 12118
[Q] Head out of the room.
>> No. 12119
[x] Head out of the room.
>> No. 12120
>>12104
>>12106

Really? I always thought StB was actually after IN, not PoFV.
>> No. 12121
>sky and earth
>completely lose control
>useless
>do you really understand


So, uh, no one else was worried about this?
>> No. 12122
>>12121

Well, not much we can really do about. Also, it's becoming almost par-course.
>> No. 12123
>>12120
>Really? I always thought StB was actually after IN, not PoFV.
Komachi and Sikieiki appear in StB. There was no contact between those two and anyone in gensokyo before PoFV.

Besides. PoFV is 9, StB is 9.5.
>> No. 12125
[x] Head out of the room.
------

No, you can’t stay like this for too long. You’ve obviously been given hospitality, and you can’t take advantage of it any more than you’ve done already if you can help it. Gathering your strength, you get up from the bed. You seem to have everything on your person, except your sword, which is leaning against the wall opposite of you.

Slapping your own cheeks a few times to chase away the drowsiness, you make the bed as best as you can before walking over to your sword and strapping it to your sash. Now that you’re not feeling so half-asleep, you decide to take a closer look around the room. There are a lot of shelves, and seated on them are dozens of lifeless dolls, staring at you with glossy eyes. Let’s see… your last location was in the Forest of Magic, so you can pretty much guess to whom the house belonged.

You make your way to the door handle, tugging it open gently. A white hallway greets you as you step out, closing the door behind you. You’re in a fairly orthodox two-story building if you remember correctly, so you probably need to head downstairs.

It’s so dark outside already, that if there wasn’t a single candle lighting the hallway, you would have to feel your way through. Thankfully, the candlelight provides just enough lighting for you to be able to move around without looking like a klutz. You find the staircase leading to the lower floor, and begin to climb down.


The first floor is just as dimly lit as the second. Even though your eyes have been adjusted to the darkness for a while now, you still have to squint to make things out. How odd… were you always this night blind? Carefully, you make sure you don’t bump into anything as you head towards the source of the light.

A pleasant fragrance greets you as you enter what seems to be a living room. Though it’s been years since you last saw it, you’re certain that you’ve been here before. Without a doubt, you were in Miss Alice’s home. The owner of the house is seated at that same table you saw her in when she was working on that dress, sipping from a small cup while reading a thick volume by the light of a lamp.

“You’re awake,” she says without looking at you, her eyes fixated on the contents of the book’s pages.

“Ah, yes,” you say, bowing politely even though she’s not even sparing a glance at you. “How long have I been out?”

“Almost the entire day,” she says, turning around in her seat to face you as she sets her teacup down. “That was a real surprise, finding you collapsed like that. This forest isn’t a place you’d want to be caught napping in, you know; not even for youkai.”

“I wasn’t sleeping…”

“I figured,” she says. “You wouldn’t wake up no matter what, and I didn’t know whether I should move you, so I brought you here. I was worried I might have to take you to Eientei or something, but it looks like there’s no need for that.”

“Um… thank you,” you say, bowing deeply again. “I’m sorry to intrude.”

“It’s no big deal,” she says, turning back around again. “… By the way, I didn’t take your mask off at any point,” she adds.

“Huh?”

“You know, just making sure you knew,” she says hurriedly. “If it was Marisa, she’d definitely have taken the chance. But I respect people’s privacy, so I understand if there’s some reason as to why you aren’t revealing your face.”

“Eh?”

“Nothing. Never mind.”

What an odd thing to say.

“Since it’s already late,” she says, still focused on the book in front of her. “You might as well stay the night.”

“Eh? No way, I’ve troubled you enough already,” you reply. “I can’t do that.”

“Hm, well if you don’t want to,” she shrugs. “The forest is dangerous at night, though. Actually, it’s dangerous at most times of the day, but especially when it’s dark.”

“I’ll be fine, thank you for the concern,” you say with a weak laugh.

Miss Alice gives no reply as you head for the exit.



“Oh, you’re back, and so soon, too. Did something happen?”

“… I got scared,” you admit.

Miss Alice chuckles as she hears that. You feel your cheeks flushing. The moment you stepped outside, you heard something rustling in the leaves. You tried to fly up above the trees, but you could barely rise past your own height, and there was no way you were going to be able to walk all the way out of the forest.

“Make yourself at home. You can use the guest room you were in until just now,” she says. “If you get bored, play with this.” She waves her hand, and following the motion of her arm, a single doll rises from a shelf, floating over to you and landing in your hands as you reach out to take it.

Wait, is this doll supposed to be you? It’s wearing roughly the same clothes, roughly the same shape of hair, and it even has a small plastic white mask. “Why do you have a doll of me…?” you find yourself addressing a question out loud.

“It’s a hobby,” she says disinterestedly, waving her hand again. From the same shelf, another doll flies over to you, circling over your head. This one’s of Miss Aya. “Accurate, aren’t they?”

“Yeah…” you say. Out of curiosity, you run your fingers over your doll’s plastic mask.

“It can be taken off,” Miss Alice says.

Such attention to detail. Testing her claim, you undo the strap of its mask, removing it. Except for the mouth, the face of the doll is completely blank; no eyes or a nose, giving it a sort of a creepy look.

“I was tempted to take a look,” she says. “I hate leaving things unfinished.”

It takes you a moment to realize that she’s talking about your face. So she won’t put details on a doll if she’s not sure about it, huh?

You sink into a sofa near Miss Alice’s workbench, setting the two dolls down in your lap. You’re not really going to play with them, obviously, but you have to admit, they do look kind of cute. Meanwhile, Miss Alice’s returned to perusing the book.

[ ] Make small talk.
[ ] Head upstairs.
>> No. 12126
[ ] Make small talk.
>> No. 12127
[x] Make small talk.
>> No. 12128
[x] Head upstairs.
>> No. 12129
[x] Make small talk.
>> No. 12130
[x] Make small talk.
>> No. 12132
{X} Make small talk.
>> No. 12133
[x] Make small talk.
>> No. 12139
[x] Make small talk.
>> No. 12140
[ ] Make small talk.

- do you have Momizi-doll too miss Alice?

Awesome!
>> No. 12144
>>12140
Oh shit, nice.

>>12127 adding:
[x] "Do you happen to have a Momizi doll, too, miss Alice?"
>> No. 12145
[X] Make small talk.
[X] "Do you happen to have a Momizi doll, too, miss Alice?"
>> No. 12146
You know, we really should have seen Hina instead of the Aki sisters. We need to have that misfortune checked up.
>> No. 12148
[x] Make small talk.
[x] "Do you happen to have a Momiji doll, too, miss Alice?"
>> No. 12150
[x] Make small talk.
[x] "Do you happen to have a Momiji doll, too, miss Alice?"

>>12146

But the sisters are only around in the fall, and it was the least we could do to repay their aid to Mikio in the past.

But I think a visit to Hina would be required now.
>> No. 12151
File 125626727640.png - (244.83KB, 700x534, b8c99b4a27b6464ea1c42ad2e3969809.png) [iqdb]
12151
[x] Make small talk.
[x] "Do you happen to have a Momiji doll, too, miss Alice?"

lovely miss Alice
>> No. 12152
[x] Make small talk.
[x] "Do you happen to have a Momiji doll, too, miss Alice?"
>> No. 12155
File 125627787698.jpg - (188.07KB, 848x1200, b1ac4d6a80346fae3e9f523e586da8f4.jpg) [iqdb]
12155
[x] Make small talk.
------

“But still, you’re so good at making dolls…” you say, holding up the doll made in your image. It even has a little sword at its side. Setting the dolls down on the sofa, you rise up, walking over to the shelf filled with rows of dolls. You can see a few familiar ones, like Hakurei, Marisa, and that oni, as well as some that you’ve never seen before. You wonder if there’s one of Miss Momizi as well. You begin scanning the shelves, looking for one that might look like her.

“Are you looking for something?” Miss Alice asks you.

“Ah, nothing, really…” you say, laughing in a embarrassed manner. “I was just wondering if you had a doll of someone else I knew.”

“Someone else?” she raises an eyebrow. “If I met them, there’s probably one.”

“Then, have you made one of Miss Momizi?”

“Miss Momizi…?”

“Um… she’s usually with us at festivals and gatherings, too.”

“Mmm…” Miss Alice places a hand on her chin thoughtfully as if recollecting her memories. “White hair, with dog-ears like this?” she asks, raising her hands to her head and flapping them as if they were twitching ears.

“Yeah,” you say, nodding. “Only, they’re wolf-ears.”

She reaches out towards the shelf and waves her fingers as if pulling strings attached to them. One of the dolls set in the rear of the rows of dolls comes to life, rising above the others to float towards you. Ah, it really is one of Miss Momizi, with small wolf-ears on top of her head and a fluffy tail. You take it into your hands.

“Is she your superior?”

“Um, I guess you could say that,” you reply, making your way back to the sofa and setting the small doll of Miss Momizi down next to the ones of you and Miss Aya. “She’s my senior, but she’s also Miss Aya’s junior.”

“I see,” she says, turning back to her book. “I never would have expected to find a hierarchy in Gensokyo’s youkai. Sort of reminds me of…” she stops, and shakes her head.

You pick up the dolls of you and Miss Momizi, smiling faintly as you play around with them a little. You feel really silly, but somehow you’re having fun. Master Ogata would definitely reprimand you for fooling around like a kid if he saw you.

“You seem to like them a lot,” Miss Alice says. “If you want, I’ll give them to you.”

“Huh?” You’re surprised, dropping the dolls onto your lap in slightly shock. “Really? Is that okay?”

“Sure. I can always make another,” she says coolly. “Take them with you tomorrow.”

“… Thank you,” you say, putting on a grateful smile. “Um… by the way, sorry if I’m intruding, but I’ve been curious since a while back: what are you studying about?”

“Hmm?” Miss Alice turns in her chair, pointing to the book laid behind her. “You mean this?”

“If it isn’t too much trouble to ask…”

“No, no, it’s not a big deal,” she says. “It’s something I’ve been researching for a while now. I’ve been trying to make an autonomous doll.”

“An autonomous doll?”

“That’s right, a doll that can move and act independently.” Miss Alice says, turning back and raising her arms up to stretch. “It’s troublesome to fix up my dolls by myself, so I want a doll that can maintain the others by itself.”

“That would be convenient. How’s progress?”

“… Mostly none,” she says, deflating a little. “… But that won’t stop me. Just recently, I’ve met a youkai doll that can move on its own. If I can just get her to agree to work with me, I might be able to discover something. Well, of course, there are other ways…”

“Other ways?”

“Soul transfusion,” she says. “Basically taking a soul and putting it inside the doll. Something like that can be done without much difficulty.” She pauses to take a sip from the teacup at her side, holding onto the cup as she continues to speak. “… But I won’t use that. It just wouldn’t be something that I made. And then there’s the moral aspect of it too,” she places the teacup back down. “The souls would be bound to the doll and be unable to pass on, and they wouldn’t even realize that they’re dead. They’d be useless as workers, too.”

“Um… is it really that easy to bind a soul to a doll?”

“The more human something is, the easier it is for it to hold a soul,” she says, taking another sip from her teacup. “Souls mistaking a doll for a human body and possessing it apparently isn’t all that uncommon. I wonder, though. Is it because the souls desire a body that they seek out dolls—or is it because the dolls desire to be human that they draw souls to themselves?”

“Huh?”

“Nothing. Just talking to myself, that’s all,” she sets the cup back down. “Would you like some tea?”

“Um, I’d like that, thank you.”

Several of the dolls rise from the place on the shelves, scurrying to the kitchen. A few minutes later, they’re back with a tray carrying a teapot and a cup. The dolls stop in front of you, gently laying the tray on your lap before pouring tea into the cup.

You carefully lift the teacup, blowing on the surface before taking a sip. A bitter yet calming taste.

“Now, since you’ve asked me what you were curious about,” Miss Alice begins, directing the dolls to carry the teapot to her and refill her cup. “Can you answer a question for me?”

“Sure,” you say.

“You’ve been twitching irregularly ever since the beginning of our conversation,” she says. “Is that a habit, or did you just not notice?”

“Eh?” You reach up and touch your face. It’s true. Your cheek feels all tensed up, contorting in a spasm every few seconds. “Ah, um… since a while back, my eyes have been itching and burning…”

“Hm…” Miss Alice looks you over doubtfully. “Maybe it’s an allergic reaction to the pollens of the mushrooms here?”

“Maybe,” you say, shrugging.

“There’s a looking-glass in the bathroom. You may want to try washing your eyes out,” she replies, flicking a finger to send a single doll toward you. It gives a little curtsy before heading towards one of the hallways of the house. “Go on, she’ll lead you.”

You stand up from the sofa, carefully setting the tray on your lap elsewhere, and follow after the doll. It leads you to the lower floor bathroom, lighting a lamp on top of the room before giving you another curtsy and floating out of the door.

You take off your mask, slipping it inside your shirt for the time being. Facing the mirror inside the bathroom, gather water in front of you and splash your face, rubbing your eyes thoroughly. Taking a deep breath, you look up and into your reflection. Your pale face gazes back at you, with your usual messy black hair and red eyes.



Red eyes?

Your eyes widen in shock as you look closer into the mirror, focusing on your eyes. Your usual dark eyes are glowing deep red. But that’s not all. You’re missing your pupils. Your eyes look hollow and empty. Completely and utterly empty.

Why…?

Why?! WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY?!

These aren’t your eyes. These aren’t your eyes. These aren’t your eyes. These aren’t your eyes. These aren’t your eyes. These aren’t your eyes. These aren’t your eyes. These aren’t your eyes. THESE AREN’T YOUR EYES THESE AREN’T YOUR EYES

but they are

You bring your hands up to your eyes. You want to claw them out with your fingers. You want to gouge them. They hurt. They burn. They itch. These eyes are terrible. No good at all. You want your old eyes back. Give them back. Givethembackgivethembackgivethembackgivethemback.

your eyes

arent they the eyes of a _______

---

“Mikio!” Miss Momizi greets you with surprise as you enter the tengu stronghold the next morning. “Where did you stay last night? I checked at the wolves’ den, but you weren’t there, or anywhere else. Are you okay?”

“Sorry for worrying you, Miss Momizi,” you say with a grim smile. “But I’m fine, I think. Circumstances forced me to stay at the puppeteer’s until daybreak, but I’m back now.”

“Well, if you’re fine, then that’s a relief,” she says, letting out a heavy breath. “… But why are you wearing the mask even inside, Mikio?”

“Ah?” you reflexively reach up to your mask, looking away from her. The mask can mostly conceal your eyes. Should you hide them from her? You definitely should. Or shouldn’t you? Take it off or leave it on?

[ ] Take the mask off.
[ ] Leave it on.
>> No. 12156
[ ] Take the mask off.
>> No. 12157
File 125627872920.jpg - (41.81KB, 385x550, 6850.jpg) [iqdb]
12157
>Well, of course, there are other ways…”
I thought for a bit that she meant other ways of getting her to cooperate.

Pic incredibly related.

>a looking-glass
Oh you
>> No. 12158
[x] Take the mask off.
>> No. 12160
[x] Take the mask off.
>> No. 12161
[x] Take the mask off.
>> No. 12162
[X] Take the mask off.
>> No. 12163
[x] Take the mask off.
>> No. 12164
[+] Take the mask off.
Momiji needs to know. Possibly Ogata as well.
>> No. 12165
[x] Take the mask off.
>> No. 12168
{X} Take the mask off.
>> No. 12169
[Q] Take the mask off.
>> No. 12170
[x] Take the mask off.
>> No. 12171
[x] Take the mask off.
>> No. 12172
[x] Take the mask off.
>> No. 12173
[x] Take the mask off.

Is anybody else thinking that Mikio's eyes will have changed back to normal?
>> No. 12174
>>12173
Yes. It's like a cliche.

I'm actually hoping they haven't.
>> No. 12178
[ ] Leave it on.
>> No. 12179
[X] Take the mask off.
>> No. 12180
[ ] Call for Tewi
>> No. 12181
>[ ] Call for Tewi

*shudder*
>> No. 12182
>>12181
This time, we are the Tengu Ninjas!
>> No. 12183
[x] Take the mask off.
------

“… Yeah, I guess I should take it off, huh?” you say, reaching back and undoing the strap keeping the mask on your face. Keeping your eyes shut, your arms fall limply to your sides as the mask falls to the ground with a clatter. Slowly, you open them.

Miss Momizi’s eyes widen in shock, recoiling back as she stares into your own. “Your eyes…” she gasps, utterly surprised. “What happened…?”

“I don’t know,” you murmur, reaching down to pick up your mask. Holding the mask in your hands, you trace one of the gashes marking its surface. “Miss Momizi… what should I do? Why did this happen to me?” You speak pitifully, your shoulders beginning to shake uncontrollably. The thought of your body changing is terrifying. You feel cold. So cold, like ice is spreading throughout your body.

Miss Momizi places her hands on your shoulders, trying to steady them. “Calm down, Mikio,” she says gently. “Come on. Master Ogata’s knowledgeable. He might know what’s happened to you.”

You nod, following after her as she grips you by the wrist, leading you all the way to Master Ogata’s study room. Standing before the door, Miss Momizi knocks on it politely. “Excuse me, Master Ogata. It’s Inubashiri.”

“C’mon in,” a gruff voice answers from beyond the door.

Miss Momizi slides the door open, stepping inside. Master Ogata’s seated on a cushion, a set of ink writing tools laid out in front of him. Looks like he was practicing calligraphy, as usual. He looks over the two of you, taking a deep drag from a tobacco pipe.

“Ain’t ya supposed to be on duty, Inubashiri?” he says, letting out a puff of smoke.

“Forgive me, sir, but this might be important,” she replies, taking a seat on the floor opposite of Master Ogata. You sit down next to her.

“It best be,” he says, taking another drag from his pipe. “So? What izzit?”

Miss Momizi gives you a bit a shove forward. Nodding, you lean forward, opening your eyes as wide as you can. “Look at his eyes, Master Ogata. They’ve changed,” Miss Momizi speaks for you.

“Huh. So they have.” Master Ogata says as he leans forward, taking your head in both hands and pulling you closer to look closer into your eyes. “Th’ hell happened to you, kid?”

“I-I don’t know,” you stutter, pulling yourself out of his grip. “Yesterday, all of a sudden I couldn’t fly, and my eyes starting itching and hurting and then… I think I passed out, and when I woke up, they were like this…”

“Curious…” old man Ogata says, stroking his beard profoundly. “Do they still hurt?”

“Huh?”

“Your eyes. Do they still hurt?”

“N-no…” you say, finally realizing that the irritation has passed. Your eyes feel fine now, you think.

“Hmm…” the old man falls into deep thought. “Well, it’s probably nothing.”

“… Huh?” you and Miss Momizi say in unison.

“It’s just eye color,” he says dismissively, taking a drag on his pipe. “Don’t get so worked up over such a small detail.” He points a finger at Miss Momizi. “Inubashiri, get back to work.”

She sheepishly takes a last glance at you before standing up, bowing deeply to Ogata before exiting the room. You make to follow when Ogata’s voice interrupts you.

“Hey, I didn’t tell you to leave yet,” he says. “Besides, ain’t ya supposed to be working at the press, too?”

“Urk…” you freeze. Scratching the back of your head, you laugh nervously. “Ahaha… R-right…”

“Well, never mind that. C’mere and rub my shoulders a bit. They’ve gotten stiff,” he says gruffly.

You obediently walk behind him, kneeling down and beginning to pound and massage his shoulders.

“Lately, I’ve been feeling so damn tired,” he says with an uncharacteristically frail voice. “Gettin’ old is terrifying, even for youkai, did ya know that?”

“No.”

“Hah!” the old man lets out a laugh that sounds more like a bark. “You’ll understand someday as well, probably. Even if it takes sixty years from now or even a thousand.”

“It’s not like I’ll be able to live for a thousand years,” you say, laughing weakly.

“Hm?” Master Ogata blows out a smoke ring. “Ah, I guess so, eh? Wouldn’t you want t’ live that long, though?”

“I never really thought about it.”

“Heh. Alright, ‘s enough. Go on and take the day off for today. I’ll write a note to the yamabushi,” Ogata says. “But don’t expect any mercy startin’ tomorrow, got it?”

“Thank you, Master Ogata,” you say, standing up and heading out of the door.

---

As you step out into the corridors, you place your mask on your face again. Even though the old man said not to worry about it, it still bothers you. You don’t want anyone to look at them. But isn’t there anyone who could help you? Someone who knows what might be happening to you.

There is one such person, isn’t there?

Should you make a visit to her right now?

[ ] Go.
[ ] Don’t let this worry you.
>> No. 12184
{X} Go.
>> No. 12185
[X]Go.
>> No. 12186
[B] Go.
>> No. 12187
[x] Go.
>> No. 12188
>This time, we are the Tengu Ninjas!
i laughed

[X]Go.
>> No. 12189
{X} Go.
>> No. 12190
[X]Go.
>> No. 12191
[x] Go.

I don't see a reason not to, honestly.
>> No. 12192
[X]Go.
>> No. 12193
[Q] Go.
>> No. 12194
[x] Go.
>> No. 12195
[x] Go.
>> No. 12196
File 125645037064.png - (471.16KB, 500x560, deab703a84b14cb4cdeb09e5f9785e18.png) [iqdb]
12196
[x] Go.
------

That’s right. You still feel incredibly uneasy about all this. You need to go confirm something—anything at all, before your mind is at ease. Making up your mind, you hurry down the long hallways, making your way out of headquarters.

Once outside, you float into the air, as easily as you could before. Soaring through the sky, you swoop down towards the forest at the base of the mountain. Once among the trees, you begin looking around, searching for Miss Kagiyama. She’d know what’s happening to you, right? All those talks about curses and such…

After several minutes of a fruitless scanning of the area, you finally find her crouched down near the edge of a river, setting afloat a small boat carrying doll passengers. Raising your hand and waving, you call to her. “Hey, Miss Kagiyama!”

She looks up at you, and waves back. You descend, your feet touching down on the ground. You hurry towards her as she stands up to face you, greeting you with a bright and cheery smile.

“Good to see you,” Miss Kagiyama says. “The weather is so nice today, isn’t it?”

“Um… yeah, I guess so,” you say, looking up at the sky. There’s nothing especially particular about it, really. It’s a bit cloudy here and there. But, if she says so. “Nagashi-bina, right?” You look at the small boat floating down the river.

“Yes,” she says, watching the boat slowly float on out of sight.

“Doesn’t seem like it’ll sink this time, does it?”

“Fufu,” Miss Kagiyama giggles. “No, it doesn’t seem like it will.”

“That’s good,” you smile, taking on a stiff and proper standing pose as you salute the boat, wishing it luck on its journey.

“That reminds me…” Miss Kagiyama says, turning back to you. “Something interesting happened just recently.”

“Eh?”

“Humans from the village nearby came seeking me out,” she says, placing a hand on her cheek daintily. “It seemed like they heard a rumor that the nagashi-bina dolls are polluting the river. I wonder who could have spread such a terrible rumor.”

“Ah…ahahaha,” you laugh weakly, sheepishly rubbing the back of your head. It wasn’t you, personally, but a few tengu had almost baselessly spread and embellished it a bit. “S-so what did they want?”

“Well, they just started shouting things like “Get out of here, you god of misfortune” and “Stop cursing the river!” and other things,” she says, her smile not once wavering. The dissonance between the things she’s saying and her cheerful expression is actually very disconcerting. Maybe you shouldn’t have told her to smile all the time…

“T-that’s terrible…” you say.

“Oh, it’s understandable, after all,” Miss Kagiyama says. “Humans see a curse god and the first thing that comes to their mind is that they are to blame for everything.”

“They’re kind of small-minded like that, aren’t they…?”

“But a god needs to be able to endure that,” she continues. “It’s the duty of a god to overcome the weaknesses of humans. I believe that someday, humans will be able to see that I am their ally.”

She should probably do something about that unsettling aura of hers first, though, you think as you rub your arms, covered in goosebumps.

“Um… Miss Kagiyama?”

“Yes?”

“What we’ve been talking about…” Your voice is definitely nervous. And scared. “… Can you tell me if… if anything’s changed?”

Miss Kagiyama falls into silence for a moment, closing her eyes while still maintaining her smile. But the smile suddenly disappears from her face, and when her eyes open once more, she speaks in a dark and solemn voice, without even a single trace of the cheerful face she had just a moment ago.

“It is awakening.”

i am awakening

---

You’ll be devoured. You’ll be killed. You’ll be destroyed. Completely consumed. Completely engulfed. Run, run, run and keep running. Hide. Pretend. Anything but face it. It will break you. Totally and utterly. Where can you run? Left? Right?

[LOCKED] Transience. are you scared
[ ] Right. Sibling bonds. why are you running away
[ ] hahahaha look behind you
>> No. 12197
[x] hahahaha look behind you

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.
>> No. 12199
[x] Right. Sibling bonds.

Hey, good thing you kept whoring up the Sanae options, right, guys?

Totally NOT going to bite us in the ass.
>> No. 12200
[X] Transience

IRON HEART SURGE!
>> No. 12201
>[LOCKED]
UNLOCK IT, WITH YOUR MIND!

[X] Transience
>> No. 12202
[x] hahahaha look behind you
>> No. 12203
I'm riding this one the whole way

[x] Right. Sibling bonds. why are you running away
>> No. 12204
[x] hahahaha look behind you
>> No. 12205
>>12199

Chances are if we picked the other route, we'd be getting something similar if not worse.

[x] Right. Sibling bonds.

Let's see what entails here.
>> No. 12207
[x] Right. Sibling bonds.
>> No. 12208
[x] Right. Sibling bonds. why are you running away

and the story starts here
>> No. 12209
[x] Right. Sibling bonds. why are you running away
>> No. 12211
Lets man up and look behind us
[x] hahahaha look behind you
>> No. 12212
[x] Right. Sibling bonds.

>>12199
Yeah, then we could pick both right now, right?
>> No. 12213
I think perhaps by going the route we ignored we might get some new insight, and it's not so much running away as falling back to a superior position.
>> No. 12214
[x] hahahaha look behind you
>> No. 12215
>>12199

I think the ideal wopuld have been alternating the paths, and probably answering the questions correctly, or in a better way.

>There is no good or evil

Yeah, right.

[x] Right. Sibling bonds.
>> No. 12216
[x] hahahaha look behind you
>> No. 12219
[x] Right. Sibling bonds.
------

run run run always running

but it wont make a difference

ill smash you to pieces and destroy everything that remains

everything everything every last thing

and then i can finally



Things weren’t always like this. You can remember mother, Mikihisa, the old man, and you all living together like a family should, years ago. Father was healthy then, and so was mother. You’d never have guessed that she’d die during childbirth like that.

While sitting in a corner of the small house you lived in, you cast a hesitant glance at your bedridden father. The old man was the one who was hit the hardest. His health didn’t last past a few years after she passed on, and Mikihisa had by then for all intents and purposes abandoned all of you to go train with that old monk. As a result, you were pretty much forced to take up hunting, to eat and to trade.

Those were hard times.

It’s a small village, so everyone here tried to help and support you, but it wasn’t like anyone was much better off than the others, though you appreciated the gesture. Still, everyday was stressful, and hunting game came at a great risk to your own life every time, though you seem to be pretty good at keeping yourself alive, one way or another.

… You remember having hated your younger sister, blaming her for everything. If she hadn’t been born, mother wouldn’t have died, and father would still be healthy, and you would all still be a family. That’s why you hated her, and wished she’d never been born. It was all because of her. Everything was.

But there was no one else who could take care of her but you. Mikihisa never came home. Father was too sick and heartbroken to do anything for anyone. So it was all up to you, the horrible older brother who wished she were dead, to care for her. And… beholding that small and frail child, you couldn’t bring yourself to hate her anymore.

… Damn it, that stupid song brought up all sorts of unwanted memories and it’s left you in a bad mood. You hate it. You wish you could forget it completely, but you can’t. Clicking your tongue in a frustrated manner, you rise from the floor, sliding the door open and heading out. It’s already dark now, and the moon and stars have shown themselves in the sky.

You point your finger at the moon, making a motion as though you were drawing back a bowstring. Making a “twang” sound with your mouth, you pretend to shoot the moon with an arrow. Heh, that would be quite a lofty goal, wouldn’t it? To make an arrow reach the heavens, that is. Grinning to yourself, you step down the porch as you shut the door behind you. Even something silly like that can lighten up your mood, huh? Well then, you might as well take an evening stroll through the village.

“Oh my, you look like you’re in a bad mood,” an elderly woman’s voice laughs.

“Hey, this is my cheerful face, you know!” you say angrily as you turn around. Geeze… everyone’s always telling you to smile more and look cheerful, but when you do they just say it’s scarier than your usual face…

“Well what can I say, you have the sort of smile that would send girls running… away from you, that is,” the old woman says. The farmer’s wife. Makes a hobby out of teasing the local boys and girls.

“Tch, like I care about that,” you say, spitting on the ground.

“You’re not allowed to marry your sister, you know.”

“As if I would!”

“Hmhmhm…” she laughs in that irritating way she always does, obviously enjoying seeing you get all worked up.

Damn it, you can’t let her win like that. Gotta calm down…

“By the way, the trek is set for the day after tomorrow, isn’t it?”

“Huh?” Dumbfounded, you reply. “Oh… yeah, I guess so.”

“Your brother hasn’t shown himself lately,” she continues. “Come to think of it, neither has that Santori. Wonder what they’re thinking.”

“Beats me,” you say shrugging. Waving a short goodbye, you continue your little walk.

Come to think of it, what are those two planning? All of a sudden they just up and decide to migrate the entire village elsewhere? Even though it’s true that there’ve been more youkai in the area as of late, but is something drastic like that really necessary? And they haven’t even shown themselves to the villagers these last few days, what are they up to?

…Right, this is suspicious. Way too suspicious. And why did the old man San have Mikihisa spread the word around anyway? He was never the type to shy away from vocalizing himself. Meditation for three days? Yeah, right. Even if it’s preparation for a journey, it can’t possibly take that long, can it? No… it’s definitely just an excuse for something else. But what?

Before you know it, your feet have begun walking on their own towards the old man’s abode near the edge of the village. You have to know why they… Mikihisa lied to you and everyone else like that. It was all definitely just a lie. A small feeling of dread begins to creep up at the back of your mind as you pick up the pace. It couldn’t be that…

You’re standing outside of the monk’s shabby old house. It’s always dark in there, so you can’t tell if anyone’s home or not. But you have to get inside. You have a feeling that if you do get in there, you’ll know the truth. So, how should you go in?

[ ] Brazenly walk in through the door.
[ ] Mikihisa might be around. You have to sneak inside.
>> No. 12220
[ ] Mikihisa might be around. You have to sneak inside.
>> No. 12221
[x] Mikihisa might be around. You have to sneak inside.
>> No. 12222
[x] Mikihisa might be around. You have to sneak inside.
>> No. 12223
[x] Brazenly walk in through the door.
[x] I'm here to kick ass and chew bubblegum.
>> No. 12224
I am not convinced that we should go inside.
>> No. 12225
[x] Mikihisa might be around. You have to sneak inside.
Oh my, the endgame flag has definitely been raised.
>> No. 12226
[+] Kick the door downBrazenly walk in through the door.
>> No. 12228
[x] Mikihisa might be around. You have to sneak inside.
>> No. 12230
[x] Brazenly walk in through the door.

Tidevoting.
>> No. 12231
[0] Mikihisa might be around. You have to sneak inside.
>> No. 12238
[x] Mikihisa might be around. You have to sneak inside.
>> No. 12246
[x] Mikihisa might be around. You have to sneak inside.
------

… Yeah, Mikihisa might be inside there. If what you’re thinking is correct, then there’s no way he’ll let you past even the entrance. You have to make sure he’s not around before you go poking your nose around. No problem. You’re pretty good at stalking prey. Sneaking inside shouldn’t be a problem compared to that, right?

After many rather painstaking minutes of trying to silently fit yourself through a small opening in a window, you finally succeed in stealthily entering the admittedly not very large building. The first thing you realize when you enter is that it’s well-lit inside, even though it didn’t seem that way outside. Is someone in here? You take a look around. No. Not a soul here. Completely silent.

You feel your heart beginning to pump faster as you walk further inside, glancing every which way. Mikihisa isn’t here. Neither is the old man. Shouldn’t at least the old man be around? Why isn’t he here if he was supposed to be preparing for the journey? You feel like you already know the answer, but you don’t want to acknowledge that.

But, there sure are some strange things in here. Rectangular charms, great lengths of rope with bits of paper wrapped decorating them, small little dolls shaped from paper… One particular object catches your attention. Laid out a on a table was a polearm. You think it’s called a naginata; essentially a short blade attached to the end of a pole. It’s easily taller than you are. Who could use something as unwieldy as that?

But it sure does look old. The iron blade of the weapon looks dull and rusted. You can’t imagine that thing being able to cut through a wooden stick. The design on the handle is interesting, though. Long, snake-like creatures are engraved in the steel handle of the naginata, appearing as though wrapping themselves around the shaft of the weapon.

Looking away from the naginata, you see something else just next to it; something that confirms your suspicions.

Resting behind an urn holding a single, burnt stick of incense is a wooden gate-like sculpture, a slip of paper held inside its doors. Written vertically along the surface of the paper, you see: “Sanayama Torimura.”

At that moment, the door opens with a long creak. You don’t care. You just stand there, staring dumbly at the name written on the placard. A spirit tablet. It can’t be anything but that!

“You…!” you hear Mikihisa’s shocked voice behind you.

Something snaps inside you, and you whirl around, grabbing your older brother by his shirt. “You lied to us!” you scream, raging. “Bastard! He’s meditating?! Preparing for the journey?! That was a lie, wasn’t it?!” Reaching back, you sink a fist into his face, sending him toppling to the ground. “He’s dead, and you tried to hide it from us! That’s what happened, isn’t it?!”

“Why didn’t you tell everyone?!” you yell, standing over him, your knuckles pulsing from the recoil of the blow. “And you say you’re doing the best you can for the village?! You-”

Tayasumi!

In a flash, Mikihisa’s back on his feet. Not giving you a moment to react, he delivers an uppercut to the bottom of your chin. Dazed, you stumble back, but before you can muster up any sort of defense, he closes in and punches your nose, knocking you over. You can feel warm blood trickling from your nose.

“What would you know?!” It’s Mikihisa’s turn to scream at you as he pulls you up by the front of your shirt. “The whole village would have been in panic if I had told everyone! Everyone in the village think that without him, it’s only a matter of time before we’re attacked and massacred!” He throws you down. “How was I going to organize everyone when everyone’s got that kind of mentality?!”

You sit up from the ground as he falls into silence, not looking at you. He’s scared, because there’s an obvious flaw with his lie. “… And? How were you planning to explain his absence tomorrow, huh?”

He has no reply, only glaring at the wall.

“Haha, you really didn’t think this through, did you?” you laugh, wiping the blood flowing from your noise with the back of your hand. “You would’ve been found out immediately. You were never very smart.”

“… Look who’s talking,” he says quietly.

“Hey, I don’t need to be smart to hunt,” you say, grinning. “But you’re the older brother. You’re supposed to be the smart one.”

“Yeah? Then I don’t want to be the older brother,” he replies, smiling in a wry sort of way.

“You never were very older brother-like,” you say. “Damn, you really hit me hard there,” you say, lifting up your head so the blood would stop flowing out.

“That’s what you get for impertinently hitting your older brother,” he sneers, half-jokingly, half-seriously.

“Eh? But you just said you don’t want to be the older brother,” you say.

“I’m the older brother when it’s convenient.”

“… Heh.”

“Hahah…”

You break into laughter, and so does he. The two of you used to have stupid conversations just like this when you were kids. What changed since then? Since when did the two of you become so hostile to each other? Looking back, it seems so idiotic, these years you spent distant from him. Even if he’s kind of dumb and insensitive, he was doing what he thought was best for the village, but you resented him for that.

“… Heh,” you say, wiping your eyes. “Then I guess the lil’ bro should help bail the older brother out, huh?”

“Huh?”

“I’ve got a plan,” you say, grinning deviously. “The old man’ll be there tomorrow.”

“What? Don’t tell me you’re going to perform necromancy,” Mikihisa says skeptically. “I just got back from cremating his body.”

“No, stupid,” you say, waving your hand dismissively. “Not like that. Hear me out…”

---

“Ahhh…. This feels nice. What’s it called again, meat-cooker?”

“A bath,” you say, lying on your back while watching the full moon in the sky outdoors. Just next to you, you can hear the sizzling of a burning fire, heating up an old metal drum filled with water.

“Right, right, a bath,” Rouga says in a content voice, resting his arms and head on the edge of the makeshift tub. Oddly enough, he’s still wearing the bandages around his head. “I should do this more often.”

“You really should. You stink.”

“Oni out, oni out~!”

A drunken singing voice can be heard somewhere in the distance. You recognize it. The voice belongs to the only remaining oni in Gensokyo. Sure enough, you can make out the figure of a small girl, swaying from side to side unevenly while singing as if she were tone deaf.

“Oni out, happiness in~!” she continues to single as she stumbles over to you, falling on her reddened face. “Oh wait, I guess I’m the oni!” she laughs dumbly as she turns over to her back. You sit up as she turns her head to the side, looking at you. “Hello there, junior!”

“Hello, Miss Suika,” you reply uneasily.

“My name isn’t Misuika, cut that out!” she yells drunkenly, spontaneously jumping up.

“Suika? The oni?” Rouga says hastily, looking interestedly at the oni girl. “Well I’ll be. Damn! Never thought I’d see an oni again!”

“Eh? Someone talking?” Suika squints her eyes, looking around. “Oooh, wait,” she stops, beginning to sniff the air. “I smeeell something good! You cookin’ wolf stew?” she says excitedly. “Share with me! Lemme have a leg or two!”

“Hey, hey, I ain’t becoming food for no one,” Rouga protests in an annoyed voice.

“Huh?” Suika says, walking closer to the fire and looking up at Rouga. “’ey junior, I think the ingredient’s still alive. It’s talkin’ and all. Want me to kill it for ya?”

“No, no, don’t!” you say, quickly standing up to pull her away from the tub as she gets ready to climb in and pull the wolf youkai out. “He’s taking a bath, not becoming stew!”

“Damn, she’s smashed,” Rouga says, snickering. “Pass me her gourd will ya, meat-cooker?”

“No!” Suika suddenly says, throwing you off her while hugging her gourd to herself. “You wanna drink from this, ya gotta drink with me! Drinking match!”

“Alright, fine!” Rouga says, climbing out of the bath. You avert your eyes until he’s thrown on his fur girdle, sinking down on the ground next to the oni. “This’ll be easy. You’re already hammered!”

“Hey, junior!” Suika calls, patting the dirt in front of her. “You come too! Drink, drink, and drink some more!”

[ ] Accept.
[ ] Decline.
>> No. 12247
[Q] Accept.
>> No. 12248
[X]Accept.
>> No. 12249
[x] Accept.

Why not? As a small boy Mikio out drank damn ever every Tengu except Lord Temma in one sitting! (Had little Mikio had a clean stomach, he could have beaten the mighty lord)
>> No. 12250
[x] Accept.
>> No. 12253
[x] Decline.

>---
Can you give us a bigger pause or something, please? That really gets confusing.
>> No. 12254
[x] Accept.
>> No. 12255
[+] Accept.
Hell yes, accept. Been too long since Mikio got to live up to his name.
>> No. 12256
[x] Accept.

Fuck yes, drinking with Suika.
>> No. 12257
[x] Accept.

Let's rock.
>> No. 12258
[X] Accept.

Mikio, famed drinker of the Tengu Clan!
>> No. 12259
[x] Accept.

Refusal is not an option, seeing as how part of our name is entirely based on the fact that we out-drank nearly all of the Tengu.
>> No. 12260
[x] Accept.
>> No. 12261
[x] Accept.

Let's show her what we are made of.
>> No. 12263
[x] Accept.

for our namesake
>> No. 12264
[x] Accept.
------

It wouldn’t do to refuse an oni’s invitation. You might put her in a bad mood or something, and she gets stronger the drunker she is. Sighing, you stand up from the ground, dusting yourself off as you walk up next to the oni and plop yourself down next to her.

“Good, good!” she says cheerfully, thumping you on the back. “I’ve wanted to have a showdown with you for a while now, you know! You were the only one who could still walk straight on two feet the last time we had a drinking contest!”

“Ahaha… that’s just because I didn’t drink all that much,” you say, laughing uneasily. “But, um, is it alright for you to be here? I mean, if the tengu see you, there’s going to be a real ruckus.”

“Huuh? Why shouldn’t I be here, huh?” Suika says, slightly put off. “Man, just ‘cuz we leave for a while you tengu start actin’ like the mountain belongs to you.”

Um… but it kind of does, doesn’t it?

“They’d probably come after you, you know,” you say nervously. “All of them at once.”

“Pfah! Let ‘em come. I’ll clobber ‘em,” she laughs pumping a fist into the air before taking a long swig from her gourd.

“Oi, oi, let’s start drinking already,” Rouga says impatiently, his tail sweeping the ground from side to side in boredom. “Pass that over here.”

Suika wipes her mouth, tossing the gourd over to Rouga without even corking it. He catches the gourd in his hand, drinking straight from the container. “Kaaah!” he grunts, a bit of the alcohol leaking from a corner of his mouth. Wiping it off, he throws the gourd at you. Unprepared, the gourd hits you on the forehead.

“Ow!” you say, placing your hand on the spot where it hit you. Well, you were wearing your mask, so it’s not like it really hurt. More importantly, the gourd fell to the ground, splashing its contents on the dirt beneath it.

“Damn, what a waste,” Rouga says. “Pay attention, Kirita!”

“Don’t throw it without warning!” you frown, picking up the gourd. “No cup or a dish?” you say, looking at its mouth with reluctance.

“Just drink it out of the gourd~!” Suika says. “Hurry, hurry, let’s keep the flow going!”

“Alright…” you say, holding your breath and taking a drink. It feels like cold flame is pouring down your throat, spreading out through your chest. This is really strong stuff. Not that you expected anything less from an oni’s sake. You lower the gourd, thumping your own chest to ease the coughing a little as you hand it back to Suika.

“S’ been a while, Ibuki,” Rouga says as the oni girl begins to drink from her gourd. “Been what? Five hundred years or so?”

“Hanh? Do I know ya?” Ibuki says, passing the gourd over to him.

“Sure you do. S’me, leader of the youkai wolves. Rouga Jouyama, remember?” He takes a long drink from the gourd before carelessly tossing it to you.

Ready this time, you catch it without fumbling. You take a small sip as you watch Suika lean closer towards Rouga while squinting her eyes.

“Sorry, but I just don’t recognize ya,” Suika concludes, falling back and lying on the ground. “Hey junior, just pour the stuff in my mouth,” she says, closing her eyes and opening wide.

“So lazy…” you mumble as you shift yourself closer to her, turning the gourd over and pouring the liquid inside into her mouth. There’s not much left, though. You shake the last of the drops from it. “Hey, it’s run out,” you say.

“Just cork it and let it sit upright for a second,” Suika says, her small chest heaving up and down slowly as if she were sleeping.

You do as she says, and as you turn the gourd upright, you feel a sudden weight in it. Shaking it, you hear the sound of water swishing inside. Wow, it really doesn’t run out, huh? That’s some treasure…

“Oi, stop hogging the gourd and give it here.”

You throw the gourd to Rouga.

……

“Oni out~! Happiness in~!” Suika sings, still lying on the ground and expecting you to pour the alcohol in her mouth.

It’s been a while since the three of you’ve started drinking. Rouga’s and Suika’s faces look terribly flushed now, but your head is still remarkably clear, though your cheeks are burning slightly.

“Geez~! What’s with that, huh~?!” Suika suddenly shouts, sitting up. “Those humans in the village, decorating trees with sardine heads and throwing soybeans everywhere while singing that! That’s so selfish~! Have they forgotten to fear the oni or what?”

“Feh, humans are all like that,” Rouga grumbles, drinking from Suika’s gourd. “Give ‘em an inch and they’ll take up everything. I haven’t been able to do any terrorizin’ since the damn border was put up. I was opposed to the plan the whole time, y’know.”

“Oppose the border? What’d you do?” you ask, taking the gourd from him and taking a sip yourself.

“Rallied my pack. Launched an attack on the main village,” he says, swaying slightly as he speaks. “See, if I ended up doing huge damage to ‘em, humans would’ve seen the barrier was a stupid idea, and then that gap bitch and that hack shrine maiden woulda had no choice but to call it off.”

“No complaining if you lost!” Suika pipes up, taking the gourd from you and drinking from it.

“Oh, that was when you lost your eye, wasn’t it?” you ask.

“Yeah, s’right,” Rouga says. “Hey, you wanna see something neat?”

“Huh?”

Slowly, he begins to take off the bandages wrapped around his lost eye. As the cloth falls to the ground, so too, does a drop of black blood. His eye is mangled horribly, with dried black scabs and the wound itself completely unhealed, oozing disgusting black liquid. “Cool, don’tcha think?” he says with a grin, despite the blood flowing down his cheek.

“What the… What happened to you?” you say, horrified.

“Dunno,” Rouga says, wiping the blood from his face and rewrapping the bandages around his horribly ruined eye. “But it won’t heal. For youkai, even scars aren’t permanent, but it seems this wound is. Can’t think of why.”

“You… um… should you really leave that be?” you say, still a little grossed out. “I mean, shouldn’t you see a doctor?”

“No way, man,” he says. “I hate needles.”

Suika, who had been taking long sips from her gourd during the conversation between you two while not really paying attention, suddenly stands up. “Heh, oni out, huh?” she grins, looking up at the night sky. “Well, maybe I’ll scare ‘em a little,” she says, reaching up with one hand towards the full moon.

“What’re you…” Rouga begins, following her gaze.

And then, suddenly, a crack appears in the glow of the full moon. Another crack appears. And then another. Until finally, as though it was a glass orb, the full moon completely shatters into millions of pieces. Beautiful small particles of the moon spread themselves out, scattering apart.

“That’s…”

The particles gather again, whirling around each other. The pieces come together once more, combining into the full moon again, before it was shattered just a moment ago. Satisfied, Suika plops back down onto the dirt, taking a long drink from her gourd.

“What… what was that?” you find yourself saying in wonder.

“A threat. Just a little threat~!” Suika says innocently, grinning.

What terrifying power.

------

Summer again.

Beads of sweat run down your face as you look at the map laid out in front of you. The enemy is strong indeed. They’ve fortified the defenses around their leader, the decorated Empress Kawashiro. They’re no slouches in terms of offense, as well. One of your generals have already fallen victim to their well-coordinated attacks.

But you must win. The stakes of this battle are simply too great for you to give up. If you lose… then you’re not going to get to eat any cucumber rolls that Empress Kawashiro’s prepared for herself, and you really want to try some.

“Mikio,” your advisor and trusted officer Souhei Inubashiri speaks up. “Conserve your units. In the long run, it’s better to be careful than to be too aggressive.”

Sound advice, but in the past you’ve witnessed that the kappa strategy of defense was superior to yours in everyway. The only way to break past this cycle of defeat might be to introduce a new variable: aggression.

[ ] The best defense is a good offense.
[ ] The best offense is a good defense.
>> No. 12265
[X] The best defense is a good offense.

Even in his fantasies, Mikio likes having an Inubashiri at his side!

Waiting for him to imagine his own wedding.
>> No. 12266
[X] The best offense is a good defense.
>> No. 12267
[x] The best defense is a good offense.

CHARGE!!
>> No. 12268
[x] The best offense is a good offense.

>>12265
Oh god I hope so.
>> No. 12269
[x] The best defense is a good offense.
>> No. 12272
[X] The best offense is a good defense.
>> No. 12273
[x] The best defense is a good offense.
>> No. 12274
[X] The best defense is a good offense.
>> No. 12275
[x] The best defense is a good offense.
>> No. 12276
[x] The best offense is a good offense.
Tiem Paradox.
>> No. 12277
[x]The best defense is a good defense.
>> No. 12279
[x] The best defense is a good offense.
------

Right! It’s decided then. You’re going to go all out with your attacks! You might even catch that Empress Kawashiro by surprise, and pull off a long-awaited victory! … Well, not that you’re really feeling optimistic. The score so far is 0 to… you’ve lost count.

You’re pretty terrible at board games, sadly.

Picking up one of your pawn pieces, you move it forward. It’s weird, though. If it’s supposed to be a war, then why do you have to move one unit at a time? Shouldn’t you be able to use the whole army at once? Games are strange that way.



The game’s lasted several hours (not unusual for a game of this scale), but you can tell it’s going to be decided within the next few turns. Cold sweat drenches your palm as you hold your hand over the game board, contemplating on which unit you should move next. Surprisingly enough, the game’s gone in your favor now, though not by much. You’ve managed to wear down her defenses, leaving her King vulnerable, but in the process much of your own army was captured.

But… these next moves are crucial! If you can somehow make the right choices, then you’re sure that you can secure a victory and capture the King. Nervously picking up a shogi piece between your fingers, you hesitantly move it to an unoccupied square. None of her pieces are in position to intercept it, you think. Your heart thumping rapidly, you watch her hand in anticipation as it sways to and fro, trying to decide which unit to move next.

You can practically feel your heart giving a joyous leap as Nitori picks out and deploys the single unit in the way of your victory! Hahaha, at last, you’ve won! Grinning widely, you raise your final peace and gallantly place it in position. Now the King has nowhere to run.

“Checkmate!” you say triumphantly. Oh, how long you’ve waited to say that. You finally won! For the first time in your life, you actually won at a game of dai shogi! Oh, you can practically taste the cucumber rolls that will serve as a toast to your success!

“Huh?” Nitori seems confused, surveying the board. “Ohh! Ahahaha…” she laughs, though with an uncertain expression. But it grows more cheery as she grins along with you. “Hey, you won!” she says, happily clapping her hands.

“I won!” you say, pumping your fist up. Tears of happiness well up in your eyes. Finally, after years of defeat, you’ve finally…


“That piece doesn’t move that way, does it?” Miss Momizi, who had been quietly watching the game unfold almost the entire time, suddenly speaks up, a hand placed on her chin thoughtfully.

What.

Out of the corner of your eyes, you see Nitori hurriedly shaking her head and pointing at you, grabbing Miss Momizi’s attention. She takes her eyes off the board to look at your horrified expression, and immediately seems to realize what she’s done. “Ah!” she cries, shutting her mouth and covering it with her hand. “N-Never mind! I must have been mistaken…”



After that, your spirit was too broken to even redo the game from the last move. Hugging your knees, you look up at the impressive waterfall, listening to the strangely soothing surge of torrents with melancholically blank eyes. Ah, so close to victory... So close you could taste it…

“Go on, Mikio, you can have some!” Nitori says, shoving the lunchbox towards you. “You did good, much much much better than before, so I’ll let you have some!”

You look at the beautifully wrapped sushi rolls inside it, and sigh. “That’s okay, Nitori,” you say with a sad smile. “You said they’re for the winner.”

“Yeah, and I’m sharing ‘em with you,” she says impatiently, picking out one of the rolls inside the box and popping it into her mouth. After swallowing properly, she continues. “I mean, we’re friends, right, and friends share and wouldn’t you share them with me if you won them too?”

“Oh, right,” you say, shifting to a normal sitting position. “I guess I would.” You reach inside and take one of the rolls for yourself, taking it into your mouth. You can feel the cool flavor of the cucumber filling as you chew diligently.

“S-sorry, Mikio,” Miss Momizi looks at you with guilt.

“You don’t have anything to apologize for, Miss Momizi,” you say, after swallowing the remains. “You should have some of these too.”

“Is that alright?” Miss Momizi asks Nitori, who promptly nods. Smiling, she reaches into the box and grabs one of the rolls as well.

“It’s been so quiet lately, hasn’t it?” you say. “Usually, there’s an incident every other year.”

Well, it’s not as if that was a bad thing. It means you can just idly pass time together with friends and acquaintances like this. Work was about the usual pace, and as dull as ever. Well, sometimes you can get a glimpse of whatever articles the crow tengu happened to be working on, so you weren’t always completely bored.

“Yeah, it’s been a while since the last incident, so I wonder how long it’ll be before the next one,” Nitori says, although she seems to suddenly cringe.

“What is it?”

“Déjà vu,” she says simply.

“Huh?”

“Haven’t we talked about something like this before?” she asks, frowning.

“I guess we might have,” you shrug.

“Well, incidents certainly have been getting more frequent these years,” Miss Momizi says, her large ears twitching slightly as she speaks. “I suppose that was the point of the spellcard system. It allows for youkai to easily cause incidents, and humans to resolve them. It’s actually a pretty brilliant plan, really. It keeps the youkai from being bored, and leaves them satisfied with the current balance of power.”

“Assuming the humans can resolve it, that is,” Nitori says. “Some of the incidents could’ve been really harmful, you know. That village at the bottom of the mountain was in big trouble back in that spring snow incident. If the winter had gone on any longer, they might have run out of provisions.”

“Yes, that could’ve hurt us as well,” Miss Momizi frowns, her ears drooping a little. “We trade with that village for other supplies, after all.”

“… I hope the future incidents won’t be nearly as threatening,” you say, sighing as you reach in for another cucumber roll. “I wonder what will happen next…?”

------

“Everything’s starting to crumble and break,” he says, trudging through the grass at his feet. He looks up at the night sky above him, pointing a finger up at the moon above. He makes a gesture with his hands, as if pulling back on an imaginary bow, and shooting an arrow at the full moon. “… Heh. It’s starting.”

“What is?” you ask, your voice distorted and echoing. “What is starting to break?”

“This entire place is beginning to fall apart,” he replies, walking over to a tree and placing his hand on it. “It’s become fragile. So easy to destroy,” he demonstrates by rapping on the tree with his knuckles. The tree begins to crack, like an image in a mirror, crumbling and shattering, leaving void in its place. “Soon, this world will be completely broken.”

“And what will happen then?”

“Who knows,” he says wistfully. “I don’t. I’m not sure what will happen to us when it does. But shouldn’t you know the most about it? After all, this is your world.”

“My world?”

“Yeah,” he grins, spreading his arms out. “This world is all yours. You created it. And you’re destroying it. And when you succeed, what will you do? Will you continue your tortured existence, or will you disappear with everything else?”

[ ]
>> No. 12280
[+] "How am I destroying it? I still don't get any of this!"
>> No. 12282
[x] "How about I do neither, and you tell me how to fix it, jackass! You seem to know a hell of a lot more about this than I do, so spill the damn beans already. If I can't fix it, at least tell me how to stop it!"

I've had about enough of your mysterious talk, mister. Help out or get out.
>> No. 12283
[X]"So who is the human who became a monster in that story? I ask because I was attacked by a murderous mockery of my own self in a field of flowers, and afterwards the Yama told me I was hiding behind a mask. She didn't believe me when I said I didn't know what I she was talking about, told me I was trying to hide my sins. Then my eyes turn a pupil-less red not too long afterwards."
[X]"Are you trying to tell me that at some point in my life I became a monster? Spit it out, because I'm tired of being in the dark about all this. I want to live my life as Mikio, not some bloodthirsty savage."
[X]"Those scenes playing out on the train rides were my own memories perhaps?"
[X]"How do I go about fixing this before it becomes irreversible?"

Feel free to refine, ect.
There's enough evidence for Mikio to start putting two and two together.
>> No. 12285
[x] "Meh" start picking your nose "I don't care anymore; let it crumble. I'll deal with things as they come. I'm tired of listening to your constant bullshit, so go away already."
[x] "Ah, those sushi rolls were good..."

Like, whatever, man.
>> No. 12286
[X]"So who is the human who became a monster in that story? I ask because I was attacked by a murderous mockery of my own self in a field of flowers, and afterwards the Yama told me I was hiding behind a mask. She didn't believe me when I said I didn't know what I she was talking about, told me I was trying to hide my sins. Then my eyes turn a pupil-less red not too long afterwards."
[X]"Are you trying to tell me that at some point in my life I became a monster? Spit it out, because I'm tired of being in the dark about all this. I want to live my life as Mikio, not some bloodthirsty savage."
[X]"Those scenes playing out on the train rides were my own memories perhaps?"
[X]"How do I go about fixing this before it becomes irreversible?"

This seems sensible enough, though i have this feeling that mr. jackass here will simply laugh at our frustration
>> No. 12287
[X]"So who is the human who became a monster in that story? I ask because I was attacked by a murderous mockery of my own self in a field of flowers, and afterwards the Yama told me I was hiding behind a mask. She didn't believe me when I said I didn't know what I she was talking about, told me I was trying to hide my sins. Then my eyes turn a pupil-less red not too long afterwards."
[X]"Are you trying to tell me that at some point in my life I became a monster? Spit it out, because I'm tired of being in the dark about all this. I want to live my life as Mikio, not some bloodthirsty savage."
[X]"Those scenes playing out on the train rides were my own memories perhaps?"
[X]"How do I go about fixing this before it becomes irreversible?"
>> No. 12288
>That piece doesn’t move that way, does it?”

Oh god, how could you do this to us Momizi

[X]"So who is the human who became a monster in that story? I ask because I was attacked by a murderous mockery of my own self in a field of flowers, and afterwards the Yama told me I was hiding behind a mask. She didn't believe me when I said I didn't know what I she was talking about, told me I was trying to hide my sins. Then my eyes turn a pupil-less red not too long afterwards."
[X]"Are you trying to tell me that at some point in my life I became a monster? Spit it out, because I'm tired of being in the dark about all this. I want to live my life as Mikio, not some bloodthirsty savage."
[X]"Those scenes playing out on the train rides were my own memories perhaps?"
[X]"How do I go about fixing this before it becomes irreversible?"
>>12286
You are not the only one who thinks that, this guy is getting annoying.
>> No. 12290
>>12283
>>12286
>>12287
>>12288
>>12289
I agree with the sentiment, but I'm apprehensive here. Getting long-winded at these points in the past has been working against us.
>> No. 12292
[X] "Was it really me who created this world? Me, Mikio Kirita of the Tengu? Are you so sure that I'm destroying it? That it isn't falling apart on its own?"
[X] "I don't know what you think of me, but I'm not the type of person who wants to destroy anything."
[X] "Look, I don't understand a lot of things. A lot of things aren't very straightforward. If you really want answers from me, you should ask more honestly and simply; that's one thing I learned from Master Ogata."

Eh, the sentiment of the other write-in is alright, but it just seems so out of place for Mikio to be that rude. He's the polite type.

Plus, it's a bit too angry for Miki. Not to mention that there's no telling how the dreams are really connected to Miki, and depending on what this little world is, we may not want to fix it.
>> No. 12293
[X] "Was it really me who created this world? Me, Mikio Kirita of the Tengu? Are you so sure that I'm destroying it? That it isn't falling apart on its own?"
[X] "I don't know what you think of me, but I'm not the type of person who wants to destroy anything."
[X] "Look, I don't understand a lot of things. A lot of things aren't very straightforward. If you really want answers from me, you should ask more honestly and simply; that's one thing I learned from Master Ogata."

This is much more in character for him.
>> No. 12294
[X] "Was it really me who created this world? Me, Mikio Kirita of the Tengu? Are you so sure that I'm destroying it? That it isn't falling apart on its own?"
[X] "I don't know what you think of me, but I'm not the type of person who wants to destroy anything."
[X] "Look, I don't understand a lot of things. A lot of things aren't very straightforward. If you really want answers from me, you should ask more honestly and simply; that's one thing I learned from Master Ogata."

Going with this.
>> No. 12295
[X] "Was it really me who created this world? Me, Mikio Kirita of the Tengu? Are you so sure that I'm destroying it? That it isn't falling apart on its own?"
[X] "I don't know what you think of me, but I'm not the type of person who wants to destroy anything."
[X] "Look, I don't understand a lot of things. A lot of things aren't very straightforward. If you really want answers from me, you should ask more honestly and simply; that's one thing I learned from Master Ogata."
>> No. 12297
I already know I won't be able to delete >>12282, so:

[X] "Was it really me who created this world? Me, Mikio Kirita of the Tengu? Are you so sure that I'm destroying it? That it isn't falling apart on its own?"
[X] "I don't know what you think of me, but I don't think I'm the type of person who wants to destroy anything."
[X] "Look, I don't understand a lot of things. A lot of things aren't very straightforward. If you really want answers from me, you should ask more honestly and simply; that's one thing I learned from Master Ogata."

Reworded the middle choice slightly so he can't go OH YES U ARE LOL BYE and fuck off before answering anything.

I think he's goign to do that anyway, though. That was sort of the reason for the angry, fed-up tone: Enough of the cryptic shit and keeping us in the dark, dammit. Help a guy out, jesus.

I kinda hate this guy.
>> No. 12300
>>12292
You forget - only when awake is he polite. Most of our other dreams with this guy end up with us bashing his face in, insulting him, or just plain ignoring him. In other words, anything rude and angry at this point would be in-character.

Besides, we've yet to see Mikio go through a rebellious stage. Skipping training, ignoring his superiors, flirting with the female Tengu. That'd be humorous.
>> No. 12302
------

“I don’t understand,” you say in the same distorted voice that doesn’t even sound like yours. “Was it me who created this world?”

He nods quietly.

“Me, Kirita Mikio of the tengu?” This time, the voice that comes from your mouth is yours once more, without the distortion and echo.

He hesitates for a moment, looking down at his feet, then back at you. Slowly, he shakes his head.

“What makes you think I’m destroying it?” you ask, your voice morphed once more. “Isn’t it just falling apart by itself?” You feel a strange lump in your throat, causing you to pause for a moment before continuing. When you speak again, you find that your voice has returned to normal. “I don’t know what you think of me, but I don’t think I’m the type to destroy anything.”

“You’re right, you’re not,” he says. “But even if you’re not the type to do that, it doesn’t matter because you’re not even aware that you’re destroying this world.”

“… Please, can’t you just tell me what this is all about?” you plead. “I don’t understand any of this. None of this is straightforward at all, and Master Ogata’s taught me that questions should be more honest and simple. Can’t you… can’t you just tell me these things that way?”

He sighs, walking closer to you. He’s just a bit taller than you, but he still feels somehow imposing. He places a hand on your head, looking at you sadly. “… Sorry, it isn’t your fault that you don’t understand,” he says. “You’re right. When it’s come to this point, I should tell you what I know.”

Finally.

“But there are things I don’t understand, either,” he says, taking his hand off of your head as he turns away. “… So don’t expect too much. First of all, as far as I can tell, this world,” he gestures towards the trees surrounding you. “And the other world you see. I think they act as barriers.”

“Barriers…?”

“Yes,” he continues, facing you. “Buffers to keep out something. Or maybe to trap something. It was necessary for your survival, I think. Maybe there was something you desperately needed to seal away or cut off. Something that threatened you.”

“And… what could that be…?” you wonder, placing a hand on your own chin in thought. “Do you know?”

“I wish I could tell you,” he shrugs.

Crack.

“Uh oh!” he suddenly exclaims. “Hey, look out!”

He’s looking down at your feet, and so you follow his gaze to the ground beneath you. It’s started to crack apart. Before you can react, the ground crumbles away, and you fall into the dark depths beneath. He scrambles forward, leaning over the chasm to lend a hand towards you, but you miss his hand as you try to grab onto it, and soon he’s completely out of sight as you fall, fall, fall…

And then, you feel nothing. You can’t feel the sensation of falling anymore, as if you’re floating in complete void. You can’t see, you can’t smell, you can’t hear. But you can feel something. You can feel someone behind you. With all your might, you try to turn around.

As you twist your head around, you’re met with a pair of red, pupil-less eyes staring into yours.

found you

------

It’s autumn once again. As usual, you’ve finished your workload for the day, and now you’re just searching for something to do. Your eyes still haven’t returned to normal. Miss Aya tried to cheer you up by saying that it might be a sign that you’re becoming a real youkai, but somehow, the thought doesn’t exactly lift up your spirits for some reason. So, even inside the stronghold, and even when you’re eating, you’re always wearing your mask.

Ah. Since it’s autumn, maybe you should pay a visit to those sisters. They might be a little glad to see you. With that thought in mind, you kick off from the ground, and head to the forest where they’re usually found.

Strange, though… they don’t seem to be at the usual spot. Then, maybe you should check Shizuha’s favorite place? You head there, touching down on the ground. The trees have all already been dyed in bright colors so far. No sign of Minoriko or Shiz- No wait. At the bottom of a tree is a peculiar pile of fallen leaves. As you approach it, you see Shizuha, lying on top of the pile. Her dress makes for a good camo when it’s surrounded by leaves of the same color.

She’s sleeping soundly, using the leaves as a bed. You don’t want to wake her, but where is the sister? You look about. She’s certainly not anywhere nearby. As you take a look around, you hear the rustling of leaves from near you. Shizuha’s stirring from sleep.

She sits up, brushing several leaves out of her hair as she rubs her eyes sleepily. It takes her a few moments to notice you, although she gives only a subdued, drowsy reaction. “… Oh, Mister Kirita,” she greets. “Good morning… or is it afternoon already? I guess it’d be, since I don’t see Minorin around.”

“Where is she?”

“She’s at the village,” she says disinterestedly, stifling a yawn. “Invited to a harvest festival or something. Did you need her for something?”

“No, not particularly…” you say.

“Oh!” she instantly seems to brighten up a little, losing a bit of the sleepy attitude. “Then let’s play for a while,” she says, smiling. Lying back down, she pats a spot on the bed of leaves next to her. “Lie down over here. It’s comfy.”

[ ] Sit down.
[ ] Lie down.
>> No. 12303
[X]Lie down
>> No. 12304
[x] Sit down.
>> No. 12305
[x] Lie down.


Seems That Man isn't as hostile of a being as we thought he was, not as much as The Monster.
>> No. 12306
[x] Lie down.
>> No. 12307
[x] Sit down.

Interesting, let's see what happens.
>> No. 12308
[X]Lie down
>> No. 12309
[x] Sit down.
>> No. 12310
[x] Sit down.
>> No. 12311
[X]Lie down
>> No. 12312
[Q] Lie down
>> No. 12313
[X]Lie down

>turning into a real youkai.
>cheering up.

Momizi just doesn't understand.
>> No. 12314
>>12313
You mean Aya.
>> No. 12315
[x] Lie down.

No reason not to.
>> No. 12316
>>12314
Somehow my brain knew it but my fingers typed differently.
>> No. 12317
[X] Lie down

Flop down, more like.
>> No. 12318
[X]Lie down
>> No. 12319
[x] Lie down

sleepin with Shizuha
>> No. 12320
[+] Cannonball dive into the leaf pile
[+] Lie down.
>> No. 12321
File 125705483736.jpg - (375.03KB, 698x558, 2eb10a307c509a61ef4d824499c873a3.jpg) [iqdb]
12321
[x] Lie down.
------

Why not? Shrugging, you walk over to her side, flopping down next to her. The leaves around you scatter up into the air, slowly drifting down as you face the sky. The leaves of the tree behind you are gently falling down, too, swaying in the wind and gracefully landing on the grass beneath. The dry leaves beneath you make nice crunching noises as you shift about, making yourself comfortable.

“Hey, do you know why I’m the older sister?” Shizuha asks you while reaching out to the falling leaves. “It’s because the changing of the leaves come before the big harvest every year.”

“That makes sense,” you nod, catching one of the falling leaves in your hand by its stem. “Is your sister invited to the harvest festival every year?”

“Yup,” she responds immediately. “They have to call her, or she won’t bless them by ensuring bumper crop for the year. She’s always going on about how it’s a really important duty and all,” she says, her voice slightly unsteady. “Always telling me about how the village humans are all happy to see her, and worship her…”

You grab a handful of the leaves surrounding you. Lifting your hand up, you place it just above Shizuha’s face before letting go and sprinkling her with the leaves.

“Wha-?” she exclaims as she brushes the leaves off of her face. “What was that?”

“Picking a fight,” you say with a small grin as you sit up.

“Why you…!” she says with mock anger, rising up while grabbing fistfuls of leaves for herself. “Take that!” she says, tossing the leaves in her at you. “And that!” she throws the other handful of leaves.

Laughing, you raise your arm up in defense, before scooping up a bunch of leaves in both hands and tossing it at her, as if splashing her with water. She giggles as she dodges away from your barrage of leaves, countering with a gesture of the hand, directing a small group of leaves to rise up into the air and throw themselves at you.

“Ah, hey, that’s cheating!” you exclaim. “Okay, okay, I admit defeat!”

“Hee hee,” she giggles as she smirks smugly. “Never take on the goddess of leaves with her own weapons.”

“A lesson well learned,” you say, lying back down onto the ground.

Shizuha does the same, although she’s discreetly inched a little closer to you now. “Thanks for that,” she says. “I was about to think of some bad things about her.”

“Do you envy her?”

“… Just a little,” she admits. “Those people praise her. They love her, and she loves them. Compared to that, I’m…”

“Then, why don’t you go to the festival with her?”

“… Those humans wouldn’t want me there,” she says with a forlorn sigh. “… Look. These leaves are beautiful, aren’t they?”

“…?” you raise an eyebrow, looking around yourself at the varied leaves. They’re no different than usual, and just as vivid and colorful as ever during autumn. “Yeah… they are.”

“They change color because they lose the green of life,” she says, picking out a single leaf from the ground and holding it up to her face. “This color… it’s the leaf’s true color. Leaves can only be themselves when they’re about to die, and I’m the one who brings death to them. Seeing it that way… isn’t it kind of depressing?”

“I guess so,” you say, never really having given much thought to the leaves’ symbolism. The symbol of loneliness and death…

“No one wants to be miserable at a festival, and I’m no good with people anyway,” she says, crushing the leaf in her hand and letting the pieces fall down on the front of her dress. “So that’s why it’s better if I don’t go.”

”The truth is, she used to be really lonely, you know?”

You think back to what Minoriko said, the last time you had visited them. Could it be that because she thought humans wouldn’t appreciate her, she distanced herself from them? And yet her younger sister, whose aspect of autumn is more suited towards the use of humans, is so popular with them… Maybe, because of that, she feels inferior to her younger sister…

Shizuha rolls onto her front, and crawls over to you. Without reserve, she climbs on top of you, smiling as she thrusts her face near yours. “But I like you, Mister Kirita,” she says with a sweet smile, her small hands resting on your chest. “You’re different. Even though you’re a youkai and you always wear that weird mask, I feel really comfortable talking to you. It’s weird.”

“Is… is that so?” you laugh nervously. She’s a bit too close for comfort, although you don’t terribly mind. But… you also wonder if you should do anything…

[ ] Take her to the harvest festival.
[ ] Stay here with her.
>> No. 12322
[ ] Take her to the harvest festival.

I d'awwwd
>> No. 12323
[x] Stay here with her.

always liked Shizuha better.
>> No. 12324
[ℤℯ] Take her to the harvest festival.
>> No. 12325
[x] Take her to the harvest festival.
>> No. 12326
[X] Stay here with her.
>> No. 12329
[x] Take her to the harvest festival, not as a goddess, but just as another girl in the party.

She doesn't need to be a goddess to have fun and get friendly with the humans.
>> No. 12330
[x] Stay with her like this in silence, just for a bit.
[x] Take her to the harvest festival.
[x] "You make everything beautiful, and you're a good person. Maybe it's not that they don't understand, it's that they just don't know you well enough, and that you're never there to show them. So come on, let's give them something to remember."
[x] "I'll even help you, if you'd like."

We're better than fireworks. We're motherfucking saints of nature.
>> No. 12331
>>12330
Sage for double-post, but if you didn't get the idea I was trying to convey, I was thinking something along the lines of an air show with leaves, like she showed us. Mikio could help out with danmaku and complicated flying patterns. If her sister is okay with it, we could then announce Shizuha, her divinity and her relationship to Minoriko.

It'd prove great entertainment, and I'm sure the villagers wouldn't have any problem with another goddess blessing the festival, even if she doesn't directly help with the harvest; much less turn down their deity's sister.
>> No. 12335
[x] Take her to the harvest festival, not as a goddess, but just as another girl in the party.
Start there, and maybe do the leaf show later depending on how things go.

>Maybe it's time to put your arms around here, pull her closer and
Can I vote to do this after the festival instead?
>> No. 12336
[x] Stay with her like this in silence, just for a bit.
[x] Take her to the harvest festival.
[x] "You make everything beautiful, and you're a good person. Maybe it's not that they don't understand, it's that they just don't know you well enough, and that you're never there to show them. So come on, let's give them something to remember."
[x] "I'll even help you, if you'd like."

People love the leaves changing colors and such.
>> No. 12338
File 125708799050.jpg - (228.93KB, 451x600, 1256395853455.jpg) [iqdb]
12338
[x] Take her to the harvest festival, not as a goddess, but just as another girl in the party.

Yay festival~
>> No. 12339
[X]>>12330

I like this vote.
Shamelessly aiming for a Shizuha route.
>> No. 12340
[x] Stay with her like this in silence, just for a bit.
[x] Take her to the harvest festival.
[x] "You make everything beautiful, and you're a good person. Maybe it's not that they don't understand, it's that they just don't know you well enough, and that you're never there to show them. So come on, let's give them something to remember."
[x] "I'll even help you, if you'd like."

Yes, it has both choices in it. Getting closer to her and taking her to the festival to have fun with her there.
>> No. 12341
>>12331
You sir, are a genius. I like this idea very much and agree wholehearted to it.
>>12335
Of course, there is enough time for this after the festival is over, everything has calmed down and he is alone with Shizuha.
>> No. 12342
[B] Take her to the harvest festival, not as a goddess, but just as another girl in the party.
>> No. 12344
[x] Stay with her like this in silence, just for a bit.
[x] Take her to the harvest festival.
[x] "You make everything beautiful, and you're a good person. Maybe it's not that they don't understand, it's that they just don't know you well enough, and that you're never there to show them. So come on, let's give them something to remember."
[x] "I'll even help you, if you'd like."
>> No. 12345
[x] Stay with her like this in silence, just for a bit.
[x] Take her to the harvest festival.
[x] "You make everything beautiful, and you're a good person. Maybe it's not that they don't understand, it's that they just don't know you well enough, and that you're never there to show them. So come on, let's give them something to remember."
[x] "I'll even help you, if you'd like."

Works for me.
>> No. 12347
[ ] Stay here with her.

9 months later, the sons and daughters of autumn were born.
>> No. 12350
>>12347

>>9 months later, the sons of anarchy were born.
>> No. 12351
File 125727989468.jpg - (1.41MB, 1264x1003, AkiSisters.jpg) [iqdb]
12351
>>12347

For Shizuha, who represents death, the opportunity to bring a life into the world must be something so beautiful~
>> No. 12352
File 125728203546.jpg - (97.16KB, 551x693, a5ee4c520cbe03da571a407f998f582c.jpg) [iqdb]
12352
------

You let your head rest on the soft earth beneath you, looking up at the sky. Unconsciously, you gently place a hand on Shizuha’s head, calmly stroking her hair. This feels familiar, somehow. This feeling of warmth that you’re experiencing right now… it makes you feel so… wistful. You smile as you listen to her steady breathing. She’s closed her eyes, pressing her ear up to your breast, as if listening to your heartbeat.

“Hey,” you say, breaking the comfortable silence.

“Mmm?”

“Do you want to go to the festival?” slowly, you begin.

“Eh…?” she lightly pushes herself away from you, looking at you curiously.

“You’re able to make the season this much more beautiful. And you’re a good person as well,” you say, a faint smile on your lips. “Maybe it’s not that they don’t understand, it’s just that they don’t know you well enough. You’re never there to show them what you can really do.”

“But… how can I…?” Shizuha replies uncertainly, rolling off of you and back on to the ground on her back.

You sit up, taking a handful of leaves. You toss it up into the air, letting them shower down onto the ground. “Something like this, maybe?” you say. “After all, these leaves are your dominion. I’m sure you’ll be able to do something they appreciate. So come on,” you stand, turning to her and reaching out to give her a hand. “Give them a show they’ll never forget.”

She takes your hand, and raises herself up, dusting the leaves off her dress. “Will you be there with me?”

“Of course, I’ll help if you want me to.”

“Hehe…” she laughs embarrassedly, a faint blush on her cheeks. “That’s good. I feel like if you’re there, I can really do as you said.”

“I can’t do it alone… but I feel stronger… if you’re with me.”

“Let’s go.”

“Yeah!” she nods, grabbing on to your arm.

……

“Your sister must be at the center of the village, right?” you ask as you weave through the usual busy crowd of people. It’s even more crowded than usual, but you suppose that’s to be expected, given the nature of a festival.

“I-I think so,” Shizuha says, keeping close behind you. She looks uneasy, being around in a huge group of people like this. You guess her sister was right about her being shy.

“There, I think I see her,” you say, pointing towards a small shrine erected in the center of a large ring of people. A large table stands just in front of the miniature shrine, with assorted dishes of various autumn foods decorating its surface. Minoriko herself is seated at the table, smiling as she watches various individuals from the crowd come up to the table, set their offerings on its surface, and bow to her.

“Wow, she seems to be a really important guest,” you comment as you see this.

“Of course,” Shizuha says, sounding slightly proud of her, even. “She gives them abundant harvest each year. They have to show their respect.”

“Right,” you nod, and then give her a little push forward. “Are you ready, then?”

“I guess…” Shizuha hesitantly steps forward.

You follow her as she pushes past the crowd, trying to reach the center of the ring of people. Finally, she breaks past them, walking out to her sister. Minoriko’s eyes widen as she sees her older sister approaching.

“Shizuha!” she says, surprised. “What are you doing here?”

Shizuha shakes for a moment, as if her mouth had suddenly clammed up. But soon, she’s able to lift her face with a determined expression, speaking to her sister. “It’s not fair for you to be the only one here,” she says. “I want to participate in the festival too.”

Minoriko stays silent for a moment, but she soon smiles. “Oh, is that all?” she giggles playfully, extending a hand to her sister. “Then, come on, sis.”

You look around the crowd. Most of them have a look of confusion on their face. Turning back to Shizuha, you see her joyfully leaping over the table to join her sister, who clasps her hand with hers.

“This is my older sister, everyone!” Minoriko announces.

Shizuha leans over and whispers in her ear. She nods, and then continues to speak.

“She’d like to show you all something.”

Shizuha floats up into the air, just a little above Minoriko. The tips of her dress begin to glow, and a whirling storm of colorful leaves, appearing as though flowing out from the skirt itself, surrounds her, drawing cries of admiration from the crowd. The beginning of the show.

……

“Haha, that was a lot of fun!” Shizuha says as the two of you walk through the autumnal forest she’s usually found in. The sun’s gone down, with the faint light of the moon replacing it.

“Are you sure you’re satisfied?” you ask. “The harvest festival doesn’t really kick in until evening, you know. And your sister’s still there, too.”

“That’s fine,” she replies, shaking her head. “I’ve had enough fun for today, and there’s next year’s festival, too. More importantly, do you think they liked the show?”

“I’m sure they did,” you smile. “It was very pretty.”

“Hee hee,” she giggles, looking proud of herself. “I tried my best.”

Well then, you suppose it’s nearly time for you to head back to the mountain as well.

“Hey, um…” Shizuha says, tugging on your sleeve.

“Hm? What is it?” you ask quizzically, turning to her.

“Thanks a lot, Mister Kirita,” she says, looking down at her feet and fidgeting with her hands. “I’d never have gone to the festival by myself… so… thank you. And… um, I’d like to show you my gratitude.”

“That’s fine. I didn’t really do anything,” you say, laughing.

“Um… it’s just a small blessing, but please take it,” Shizuha says, raising her head. Her face is quite flushed. “Close your eyes. You can’t open them, okay?”

“What are you going to do?”

“L-like I said, it’s just a small blessing! You absolutely can’t open your eyes, okay?!”

Shrugging, you close your eyes as she instructed. What is she planning to do? She’s getting closer. You can hear her breathing, approaching from the side. You feel curious. She probably can’t see your eyes open up when you’re wearing your mask like this. Maybe you should sneak a peek?

[ ] Open your eyes.
[ ] Keep them closed.
>> No. 12353
[Q] Keep them closed.
>> No. 12354
[X] Keep them closed.

Mikio is a good boy~
>> No. 12355
[x] Keep them closed.

Mikio is a good boy and Shizuha is a good girl.
>> No. 12357
[X] Keep them closed.

...Autumn end? This will be interesting.
>> No. 12359
[X] Keep them closed.
>> No. 12360
[x] Keep them closed.
>> No. 12364
[x] Open your eyes.

If hers are closed, this will at least give Mikio a second to be completely dumbstruck and it will happen anyway. But at least we'll get to see her blushing face and puckered lips - Assuming if we keep our eyes closed, that this doesn't turn into a blue-ball cliché where she loses confidence and decides to shove a present in our hands before running away.
>> No. 12365
[X] Keep them closed.
>> No. 12366
[x] Keep them closed.
>> No. 12367
[+] Keep them closed.
>> No. 12370
[x] Keep them closed.
>> No. 12371
[x] Keep them closed.
>> No. 12372
[x] Rapidly open and close your eyes

awesome.png
>> No. 12374
[x] Wink
>> No. 12375
[x] Keep them closed.
>> No. 12376
[X] Keep them closed.

What an excellent update. But i would want her to stop saying Mister, Kirita would just be enough now that she is more than a mere acquaintance.
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