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7639 No. 7639
Well, my break is finally over; it's time to write again. Chapter 2 won the vote, so here it is. Enjoy.

=================================================

“Mmmm...”

It's morning again, time to awake from the state of resting that takes you every night. You roll over. Nitori's not there, but that's pretty standard. Sleeping is one of the more natural states for you, now, consuming almost half your day, while Nitori can get by on a few hours.

Up at 11:00 again, according to your watch. It's been a little over a year since the indecent you caused, and this is the only real flaw that you've noticed from your leg. Needing twelve hours of sleep to function is fairly irritating, but you've learned to live with it. In that time, you've also managed to get out and meet a myriad of colorful people, as well as learn quite a bit about the land itself. It's a truly interesting place, and you're thankful that you've got such lovely company to share it with; even if she doesn't sleep as much as you.

Hoping out of bed, you quickly don a relatively fresh pair of clothes. Quickly, because the cave is fairly cold; it's the middle of winter, after all. These clothes could use a good washing, but with the amount of sleep you need, and the amount of attention that other things require, there really isn't time for it. You also could use a shave, and a shower; it's been a few days since you've had either. But, this book that you're writing isn't going to finish itself, and you're nearly done. So close. Only a few more days work to go, a few more things to test and a few more pages to write. All you've got to do is...

...

...focus.

You let out a sigh. Now isn't the time for this. You can worry about it when you're actually writing. It's easy to let your mind go in the mornings... but lately, it's been especially difficult to maintain focus. You've become a little too obsessed with finishing this project, and you realize it. But the best way to fix that is to simply get this out of the way, permanently. You won't be able to let it out of your mind until you do.

Stepping out into the hallway, you hear a bit of raucous from the second bedroom. It's most likely Lumiere and Takiko playing some sort of game. The two act like siblings, almost, although you sometimes wonder if they aren't a little too rough with one another. You don't have much experience raising effectively immortal beings, so you generally just leave them be. Nothing serious has happened yet, so you must be doing something right.

Coffee. Yes, coffee is next in the mornings. And after that, breakfast... or as it has been since you've started staying up later, lunch. Hopefully Nitori made a pot this morning; it's pretty hit-or-miss when it comes to that, and the coffee maker that you have takes a good 15 minutes to make a pot. It's old; nothing you couldn't improve with a few modifications, but there are so many more interesting things to do. Like the book that you need to get back to. All you have left are those few parts, and it'll...

You shake your head again and make your way to the kitchen. The pot appears to be empty, much to your dismay, so you set towards making one. The beans, freshly grown in the little terrarium you've managed to get set up and roasted in the little roaster you've managed to make aren't the best, but they're still coffee. The aroma isn't bad, at least. You place some coffee into the filter, pour the water into the machine...

… and wait. Or not.

[ ] Go see what Nitori is up to.
[ ] Go see what Lumiere is up to.
[ ] Go clean yourself up.
[ ] Stare into space and wait for the coffee.
[ ] Something else...?

>> No. 7640
>It's been a little over a year since the indecent you caused,
So, at some point between the chapters, Bill went on a streaking tour of Gensokyo?

[X] Stare into space and wait for the coffee.

Booooooooooh.
>> No. 7641
>You also could use a shave, and a shower; it's been a few days since you've had either.

[X] Go clean yourself up.
>> No. 7642
[x] Go see what Lumiere is up to.

Holy shit, I thought you'd died. It's great to see you again dude. I missed you so much.
>> No. 7643
[x] Go clean yourself up.
>> No. 7644
[X] Go clean yourself up.
>> No. 7647
[!/] Go see what Lumiere is up to.
>> No. 7648
[x] Go see what Lumiere is up to.

black hole hax
>> No. 7649
[x] Go see what Lumiere is up to.
>> No. 7650
[x] Go see what Lumiere is up to.
>> No. 7651
[ ] Go see what Lumiere is up to.
>> No. 7652
[ ] Go clean yourself up.
>> No. 7653
[x] Gee, I wonder what Lumiere is up to.
>> No. 7655
[x] Go see what Lumiere is up to.

No, simply waiting would be boring. Instead, you could wander the house, greeting people with 'good morning' while it's still technically morning. 'Good afternoon' doesn't have quite that ring to it, but at least you haven't had to resort to 'good night' as of yet.

Making your way out into the hall, you hear some noise again from the other bedroom. It was the one that you had stayed in when you first arrived in Gensokyo, but when Lumiere moved in it received a bit of an upgrade. It was fairly bland to begin with, but the three of you made it into something a bit less sterile. Lumiere decorated most of it herself, but you helped a bit. Might as well start here.

*Knock knock*

The raucous stops almost immediately. You give another quiet knock. After a few seconds, the door opens slightly and you're greeted with Lumiere's smiling, if slightly confused, face. She still looks the same as the first time you met her, refusing to change her style of clothing or get her hair cut, although it's not like you mind. She looks quite fine the way that she is.

“Good morning,” You say, “I hope I'm not interrupting anything.”

“Nope, Takiko and I were just playing a game.” She says, her voice having that calm and collected sound that it usually does when she's not playing. “Good morning. It is still morning, right?”

You laugh. “Yeah, it is. For a change.” Lumiere opens the door a bit further, revealing the rest of the room. It appears to be intact, although a bit messy. Sort of like a small tornado went through. But, then again, it's probably been like this for a while. “Playing a bit of danmaku?”

“We were just acting out a scene from that book you gave me,” She says, motioning to something on the bed. Hamlet? That would explain the racket. Probably one of the fight scenes.

“Interesting. Getting back at the old king?”

Lumiere nods, “So, how is your book coming?”

There's a tinge of sadness in her voice, and you feel a slight pang of guilt. You really have been ignoring things lately. “I'm getting very close to being done. The last chapter deals with clothing, you see, and other social norms. Takiko could probably even write it herself,” You say, smiling at the fairy. She's been a giant help with this book on fairies, saving you tons of field research.

“Oh, that's good,” she says sincerely, “And then we'll be able to start on that orrery you've been planning to build me, right?”

“Ah, of course!” You say, smiling. You've been looking forward to that, too. Lumiere's interest in the planets, along with other heavenly phenomena, is much like your interest in physics. Although she's not nearly as spacey as you are, she probably knows more than you do... in that area, at least. “I'm still not sure where we'll put it, though. Maybe Nitori'll let us hang it from the ceiling of the lab?”

“Good morning,” You hear Nitori say from behind you, in that sweet voice of hers. She must have come up from the lab while you weren't looking. “You're up early, aren't you?”

You laugh, turning around. “A little. I found a good stopping place last night, and decided to use it. So, how has your morning been?” It's been long enough that the coffee is probably done, so you begin making your way towards the kitchen. “The coffee is probably done; I threw on a pot when I got up. Do you want some?” Jokingly, you add, “How about you, my little Lumiere? Or Takiko?”

“Come on,” Luimiere says, smiling a bit, “you know I don't like that stuff.” Takiko, too, shakes her head in response.

“I'm going to pass today, too,” Nitori says, following. “And I'm fine. I think I finally got a way to fix our hot water problems.” She pauses for a bit, as you open the door to the kitchen and find the pot full of that wondrous dark liquid. The coffee is indeed done. Looking back, it seems that only Nitori decided to join you in the kitchen. “How would you feel about lunch at the shrine today?”

“Mmm... which one?” You ask, pouring the ambrosia from the pot into your cup. “I still think Reimu's a bit mad at me after what I did to her kotatsu. It was an accident, but still...”

“The Moriya shrine, actually.” Nitori states, watching your face for a reaction. “Sanae stopped by this morning and invited us on behalf of Kanako. Pretty strange, huh? I told here that we'd try to make it.”

“That is pretty strange.” You've visited the shrine a few times out of the blue, and they were nice enough, but you've never been invited. You've got a bad feeling about this. “Did she say why?”

“I didn't ask. So, do you wanna go?” Smiling, she adds, “That way, you won't have to cook.”

You lean against the counter and contemplate it while sipping your coffee. Not accepting would be rude, and being rude to a goddess is never a good idea. You'll go. But you'll need to take that shower, first, and perhaps put on some nicer clothes. But, perhaps not. Your standard attire, the almost trademarked lab coat/khaki combo, seems to be fine for pretty much everything.

[ ] The Moriya folks are pretty laid back, these will be fine.
[ ] Perhaps something a bit nicer would leave a better impression? Nothing too over the top, but...
[ ] Go all out; suit, tie, the works.
[ ] Something else...?
>> No. 7656
>>7640
Ah, but what kind of first update would be complete without an embarrassing typo?

>>7642
Dead? No, I was just sleeping.
>> No. 7657
{X} The Moriya folks are pretty laid back, these will be fine.

Chill~
>> No. 7658
[ ] The Moriya folks are pretty laid back, these will be fine.
>> No. 7659
[x] The Moriya folks are pretty laid back, these will be fine
>> No. 7660
[x] The Moriya folks are pretty laid back, these will be fine.

>“That is pretty strange.” You've visited the shrine a few times out of the blue, and they were nice enough, but you've never been invited. You've got a bad feeling about this. “Did she say why?”

I'm probably thinking far too hard about this, but for some reason, I smell SA.
>> No. 7661
[x] The Moriya folks are pretty laid back, these will be fine. But a shave will be quick and fine.
>> No. 7662
[X] Go all out; suit, tie, the works.
>> No. 7663
[x] The Moriya folks are pretty laid back, these will be fine.

No, these clothes will be fine. Better to go as yourself than as a dresses up version of yourself, as you always say. Or never say. Either way, these will be fine. But, a shower is a must. No need to look like, and possibly smell like, a hobo.

“Ah, yeah. That should be fun,” You say, realizing that you still haven't given Nitori her answer. “Did they say when?”

“Around noon,” She responds, as you take another sip of your coffee. You give her a nod in response, your mouth full at the moment. Plenty of time. Showing up late, too, would be rude. You might even be able to get a little bit of work done, at this rate. Perhaps the part about...

“Are you feeling all right?” Nitori asks, sounding worried. “You seem to be getting worse lately. Maybe we should do something...”

You sigh. “I'll be fine once I finish this book, I think. Taking up such a long project was a terrible idea.”

Nitori gives you an understanding nod. “I know how that feels. Back when I was setting up most of this cave... well, I felt the same thing.” She gives you a soft laugh. “I guess that I don't have to sleep, though. So maybe it's not the same thing.”

“Hmm.” Is the only response you're able to give, the wondrous caffeine not having taken effect yet. “Well, like I said, I'll be fine. You shouldn't worry so much.” Then, with a chuckle, you add “It's kind of depressing.”

Coffee finished, you excuse yourself in order to get ready. The shower is quite refreshing; not as refreshing as that mountain spring, perhaps, but it's a little too cold outside for that. The soap and things that you have access to have been made in the human village, because as you've found out it's fairly difficult to get outside world products here. A bottle of Head and Shoulders, or a few bars of designer soap show up in Kourindou's every once in a while, but you've grown quite used to these simpler products.

After the shower, you give yourself a shave to get rid of the stubble that seems to have invaded. It looks pretty horrendous, actually; you haven't seen yourself in the mirror for a few days. The razor, an electric one that you brought back with you during your only trip outside, needs some new blades, but it seems to be working fine.

Self-grooming complete, you step out into the cave feeling refreshed, and ready to write that book. But, you've got to have lunch first. Glancing down the hall, towards the door, you notice that the other three seem to be gathered there, talking amongst themselves. Takiko notices you, and gives you a little wave.

“I'll be over in a minute,” You say, catching the attention of the others. “I'm going to grab my coat.”

You duck into the bedroom and find your coat just where you left it, stashed in the closet. You could probably get by without it, but it's always better to be comfortable. You also grab your cane; sure, it's not exactly necessary but, like your current attire, it's a part of you. “Unlike you guys, winter still makes me cold.” you joke, returning to the door. “So, is everyone ready?”

“Yep. This should be fun,” Lumiere says, sounding genuinely excited. You can't help but feel a little bit of her excitement. Nitori nods, and Takiko takes her usual perch on your shoulder.

“Well then, let's be off!”

You open the door, and are greeted by a wonderful blast of freezing air coupled with snow. Yep. It's still winter. Definitely not your favorite season. You'd much rather just stay inside when it's this cold.

The trip up the mountain leaves your face cold and your fingers numb, but you all make it right. Moriya shrine is still there, although it's covered with quite a bit of snow; snow that Sanae is working on getting removed from the walkway. You can't imagine that many people visit the shrine in the winter, judging by how many visit in the summer, but you could be wrong. She hasn't noticed your little group yet.

Takiko gives you a little nudge. She seems to have something in mind, and judging by her grin, it's a prank.

“What is it?” You ask, prompting a whole series of pointing and hand motions. You've gotten pretty good at interpreting; teaching her sign language would be easier, but you really haven't had the time. She seems to be suggesting that someone knock a bit of the snow from the top of the torii that the poor girl is standing under.

[ ] You're certainly not going to do it, but Lumiere might enjoy it. Suggest it.
[ ] A bit of harmless fun has never hurt anything, right? Knock a bit off, using your leg.
[ ] No, that'd be cruel. Just fly down and greet her.
>> No. 7664
File 12308500047.png - (207.58KB , 600x450 , c14d5d46912e1fb5a000a85d84db7454.png ) [iqdb]
7664
[!/] No, that'd be cruel. Just fly down and greet her.

As much as it is fun reading a "on the verge of tears" Sanae...no.
>> No. 7665
[X] No, that'd be cruel. Just fly down and greet her.
>> No. 7666
[X] No, that'd be cruel. Just fly down and greet her.
>> No. 7667
[ ] You're certainly not going to do it, but Lumiere might enjoy it. Suggest it.

Happiness for the daugther, everything for the family.
>> No. 7668
[X] No, that'd be cruel. Just fly down and greet her.
>> No. 7669
[x] Fly down to her.
[x] Safety dance.

We're going to have to one-up Hakunon somehow.
>> No. 7670
[X] You're certainly not going to do it, but Lumiere might enjoy it. Suggest it.

Aw, come on. She's used to it, right?
>> No. 7672
[x] You're certainly not going to do it, but Lumiere might enjoy it. Suggest it.

Poor Sanae.
>> No. 7673
File 123088810692.jpg - (237.74KB , 850x840 , sample-a7675614d7d7c3a8e9cfa0bf777cfd28.jpg ) [iqdb]
7673
>>7670

.......justgetgb2worknigger
>> No. 7675
[X] No, that'd be cruel. Just fly down and greet her.
>> No. 7676
[x] No, that'd be cruel. Just fly down and greet her.

“What?” You ask with a smile, and with a bit of sarcasm in your voice. “I didn't quite get--- Oh! There's Sanae. Let's head down and say hello.”

Glancing over your (other) shoulder you manage to get a nod from both Nitori and Lumiere, and begin your descent. “Hey, come on,” You say to the now pouting Takiko, “snow is cold, you know? That's no way to greet a host.”She gives a small, reluctant nod in response, obviously not getting it at all.

As you descend, you can slowly make out a bit more of Sanae's outfit; winter clothing in the same color scheme as her usual outfit. It's comforting, in a way, to know that there are some people around here who still find winter cold enough to dress up for.

Nitori touches down first, Lumiere by her side, followed by you and Takiko. “Hey, Sanae! We made it!” Nitori calls out, running down the cleared path that Sanae has no doubt been working on all morning.

“Ah, I see you did. How have you been, Lumiere? And you, Bill?” She asks, smiling. “It's been a while, hasn't it?”

You draw your way closer, trying to remember the last time you were here. “A few months, at least. How has the shrine been?”

“Oh,” She says, leaning her snow shovel against one of the torii, “more of the same. Would you like to come inside? Now isn't really a day to be spending too much time outside.”

No one else seems to mind much, so you speak up. “That'd be wonderful. I think my hands might just be the same temperature as the air.”

Sanae laughs a bit at the joke. “Mine, too. Come on, I'll make some tea.” She says, motioning for you to all to follow.

“Is it really that cold?” Lumiere asks along the way, playing with a ball of snow in her bare hands. “I know that it's a little cold, but you're really uncomfortable?”

“Yeah,” You say, an involuntary shiver running through your arms, “It's cold. I'd probably be fine for a while without this coat, but it's definitely cold enough to kill me.”

“Hmm.” Lumiere falls silent after that, deciding to drop it.

Sanae leads the four of you inside the main building, into what seems to function as the living room. There's a kotatsu in the middle, a fairly large one at that, along with other things that you'd expect to find in a modern living room; a TV (that, from your experience last time, seems to be hooked up to cable. How they've managed that, you haven't asked), some various decorations, that sort of thing.

“Please, make yourselves comfortable,” She says, motioning for all of you to sit. “I'll be back with the tea in a few minutes.”

You do so, taking your seat next to Nitori. Lumiere sits near you, on an adjacent side, while Takiko takes her seat in front of you, on the table.

At the table, everyone seems to be a little too quiet. It has been a while since the four of you have sat together like this, and you're the only real talkative one here, but... is it really that awkward? That little shadow of guilt begins to creep up again, telling you that you've done something wrong. It's a very uncomfortable feeling. But, it's not like it's really your fault, is it? Sure, you're busy, but it's not like you have a choice. Going against your compulsions is incredibly difficult; not something that you like to do. It may have been easy at first, but as time moves on and as such things get more entrenched in your being...

Bringing yourself out of it with a discrete pinch on the back of one of your hands, you look to Nitori. She's wearing a worried smile, the one that always seems to appear whenever you think a little too hard on something.

“Sorry,” You say, taking her hand into yours, “I was just beating myself up a bit. Nothing to worry about.”

“But I DO worry, you know?” She says, sighing. “I know I shouldn't be, but...”

“Oh, how touching!”

Shifting your gaze from Nitori's now slightly crimson face towards the door, your eyes fall upon the one that invited you here. Kanako. Definitely no mistaking that woman, with those clothes. “Seriously, that's why I love you guys.” The rope that runs behind her back bends and twists to allow her to fit through the doorway, and then snaps back into shape as she enters the room. “What's up? It's been a while since I've seen any of you. How has the old lab been, Nitori?”

“Ah... good,” She says, quite clearly a bit flustered by her entrance. “Really good.”

“And you, Bill?” She asks, resting her hands on the table and leaning forward, “How have you been?”

[ ] “Oh, you know, more of the same.”
[ ] “A bit busy, I guess. I've got a large project I'm working on.”
[ ] “Perhaps I should ask the same of you? I mean, not to be rude, you've never invited us to lunch before...”
>> No. 7677
File 123094244820.jpg - (376.15KB , 840x840 , 66dd435b935c6735b4986edc2546b3a3.jpg ) [iqdb]
7677
[!/] “Perhaps I should ask the same of you? I mean, not to be rude, you've never invited us to lunch before...”

OH HOHOHO.
>> No. 7678
[ ] “A bit busy, I guess. I've got a large project I'm working on.”
>> No. 7679
[x] “Busy. A bit too busy I guess. I've got a large project I'm working on, but hopefully it'll be done soon.”
>> No. 7680
[x] “Busy. A bit too busy I guess. I've got a large project I'm working on, but hopefully it'll be done soon.”
*shrug*
>> No. 7681
[~] Point to the rope, "Does that thing follow you everywhere?"
>> No. 7682
[ ] “Perhaps I should ask the same of you? I mean, not to be rude, you've never invited us to lunch before...”

best not mention the project.
>> No. 7683
[x] “Busy. A bit too busy I guess. I've got a large project I'm working on, but hopefully it'll be done soon.”
>> No. 7684
[x] “Oh, you know, more of the same.”
>> No. 7685
[x] “Busy. A bit too busy I guess. I've got a large project I'm working on, but hopefully it'll be done soon.”

“Busy,” You say with a sigh, “A bit too busy, I guess. I've got a large project that I'm working on that'll hopefully be done soon.”

“Oh?” She asks, “What sort of project? Anything interesting?”

“Well,” You say, shifting a bit, “it's a book. A bit of an encyclopedia dealing with fairies, since written knowledge about local phenomena seems to be fairly limited.”

Kanako laughs. “That's because a good chunk of the population can't read, you know.”

“Ah, but they will some day,” You say, having already tackled that point in your own mind. “And by then, they'll have a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips.”

Kanako leans back, taking her arms off of the table. “A wealth of knowledge, written by the great sage Nye. Looking to become a bit of a legend, are we?”

“Well, someone has to do it,” you say, chuckling a bit. “If I start, others should follow by example.”

“Gensokyo's Plato, then?” She asks, continuing to prod you. By the smile that she's wearing, you can tell that she's just messing around, killing time. She seems to be in a good mood today, at least, so you're pretty sure she didn't invite you here to smite you. “Ah, here's our tea.”

True enough, Sanae is standing in the doorway with a tray stacked with cups and a tea pot. She places the cups, even remembering to have included Takiko, and begins to pour. Everyone shows there thanks as she does so, and then she takes a seat near Kanako.

“Now, since you've all come her for lunch,” Kanako says, between sips of her tea, “I suppose we should have some lunch, yes?”

She gives Sanae a slight, subtle nudge, and, after a few seconds, the table is soon filled with all kinds of goodies; each person's meal catered towards their own personal tastes. You've got yourself a delicious looking stew. Nitori winds up with a cucumber salad, Lumiere a hamburger (piled high with toppings), and Takiko a tiny bowl of popcorn containing only a few popped kernels. You're not sure what Kanako's dish is, but Sanae's seems to be some sort of curry. A miraculous feat. Sanae leans back to rest for a few seconds after doing this, and you don't blame her; performing miracles must be incredibly tiring.

“I hope you like it,” Kanako says, acting as if the whole thing was her doing. You want to call her out on it, but... well, that's not generally a good idea. Best to keep silent when someone could wipe you from existence. “you all should find this catering to your personal tastes.”

Half expecting some sort of announcement to follow, you look to Nitori. She seems to be expecting something else, too.

“Thank you,” You say, turning back to face your stew. “It looks delicious.”

Everyone else nods in agreement, and you dig in. It really is delicious; the perfect sort of thing for a cold winter day. The other people at the table seem to be enjoying there meals as well. In no time, all of the plates are cleaned and bowls are emptied, and everyone seems satisfied.

“I'll trust you enjoyed the meal?” Kanako asks after everyone finishes, eliciting at least a nod from everyone. “Good, good. Now, I'd hate to put a damper on things. but... well, I'm sure you'd never guess, but I invited you here for a reason. I have a gift for you, for all of the Kappa.” Her smile grows even wider. “Care to take a guess as to what it is?”

You run through a few possibilities, but nothing immediate springs to mind. There aren't any real problems that need solving, at least that you can see.

“I've got nothing.” You finally admit, “How about you, Nitori?”

She shakes her head. “I don't really know, either...”

“Fusion.” Kanako states simply.”We had a few problems at first, but they've been taken care of.”

[ ] “I... don't like where this is going.”
[ ] “You mean, cold fusion? That's pretty impressive. How did you manage that?”
[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 7686
[ ] “You mean, cold fusion? That's pretty impressive. How did you manage that?”
>> No. 7687
[X] “You mean, cold fusion? That's pretty impressive. How did you manage that?”
>> No. 7688
[x] "Fusion? As in cold fusion? Or do you plan on combining all the kappas in the land to create one giant kappa?"
[x] "Come to think of it, a giant Nitori would be pretty cute" turn to her and wink.
>> No. 7689
[ ] "NO KANKO! NO!"

Yep, Bill is going to cause SA. He's not going to be Reimu's favorite person after this.
>> No. 7690
[x] "Fusion? As in cold fusion? Or do you plan on combining all the kappas in the land to create one giant kappa?"
>> No. 7691
[X] “You mean, cold fusion? That's pretty impressive. How did you manage that?”
>> No. 7692
[ ] “You mean, cold fusion? That's pretty impressive. How did you manage that?”
>> No. 7693
File 123102442327.jpg - (198.03KB , 1024x739 , 122388032129.jpg ) [iqdb]
7693
[!/] “You mean, cold fusion? That's pretty impressive. How did you manage that?”

Now I can power my massive Kappa-mecha!
>> No. 7694
I like the idea, but just want to reword it.

[x] "Fusion? You mean you fused all the other Kappa together into a giant Super Kappa?! That's amazing! But you can't have Nitori, I refuse!"
[x] "Just kidding. You're talking about nuclear fusion, right? That's pretty impressive. How did you manage that?”

Cold fusion is a type of nuclear fusion, so we should just be vague and not assume.
>> No. 7695
[x] "Fusion? You mean you fused all the other Kappa together into a giant Super Kappa?! That's amazing! But you can't have Nitori, I refuse!"
[x] "Just kidding. You're talking about nuclear fusion, right? That's pretty impressive. How did you manage that?”
>> No. 7696
[ ] "...what are these "problems," exactly? I'd like to know what I'm getting myself into here - I've no desire to end up on someone's hit list around here."

Nuclear Fusion. Utsuho. BAD JUJU, SAHIB!
>> No. 7698
[x] "Fusion? You mean you fused all the other Kappa together into a giant Super Kappa?! That's amazing! But you can't have Nitori, I refuse!"
[x] "Just kidding. You're talking about nuclear fusion, right? That's pretty impressive. How did you manage that?”
>> No. 7699
[x] "Fusion? As in cold fusion? Or do you plan on combining all the kappas in the land to create one giant kappa?"
[x] "Come to think of it, a giant Nitori would be pretty cute." turn to her and wink.

How the hell can none of you vote for this?
>> No. 7700
[x] "You mean, cold fusion? That's pretty impressive. How did you manage that?"
>> No. 7701
>How the hell can none of you vote for this?
I'm guessing no one wants to flirt in front of Kanako.
>> No. 7702
File 12310846463.jpg - (8.22KB , 360x270 , Mrfusion.jpg ) [iqdb]
7702
[x] "Fusion? You mean you fused all the other Kappa together into a giant Super Kappa?! That's amazing! But you can't have Nitori, I refuse!"
[x] "Just kidding. You're talking about nuclear fusion, right? That's pretty impressive. How did you manage that?”

Now we don't have to steal plutonium from Libyans to power the Nitorimobile.
>> No. 7703
[x] "You're talking about nuclear fusion, right? That's pretty impressive. How did you manage that?”

"Fusion?” You ask, something inside of you finally giving way. It's ridiculous. Of the sorts of things you had expected... this was not one of them. She, however, did not specify WHAT kind of fusion, so you decide to run with it. “You mean you fused all the other Kappa together into a giant...Super Kappa? That's amazing!” Even the normally stoic Lumiere cracks a smile at this. “But you can't have Nitori, I refuse!"

As you say this, you wrap an arm around Nitori's shoulder and give her a smile. She seems thoroughly embarrassed, but manages a meek little smile back.

Kanako raises an eyebrow, obviously not expecting that kind of response. She doesn't laugh, but you can tell it's taking a great effort to maintain a straight face. You continue. “Just kidding. You mean, like, nuclear fusion? That's pretty impressive. How'd you manage that? What sorts of containment mechanisms are you using?”

Kanako just gives you a smug smile. “I could tell you, but it wouldn't be fitting of a goddess to give away her secrets, now would it? Take it as you will, accept it or don't.” She says, pausing for a bit before continuing. “Now, Nitori, I know that you'll probably want to discuss this with the rest of the Kappa. I mean, what use would they have for unlimited energy? But, if you could get me their answer in a few---”

Nitori bursts out laughing. “Discuss? It would take longer to get everyone together than it would take to discuss. Solar and wind just don't cut it during the winter, you know? We'll take it.”

“You'll have to convert it into a power generator or whatever else would suit your needs, I'm afraid,” Kanako says, sighing. “Right now, it's just the reactor. But, it should run for as long as you need it... and if not, I'll fix it personally.”

“Not to butt in here, but...” You say, clearly butting in, “what sorts of problems are we talking about? The ones that have been 'taken care of', that is. And are we talking cold or hot fusion?”

“Hot. And those problems had to do with the one we've got running the reaction, not the project itself, but... Reimu took care of those. Quite nicely, might I add.”

The last part makes you worry a bit. For Reimu to get involved... you wonder just what sorts of crazy things you missed. Whoever it was that she 'took care of', you feel sorry for the poor bastard. Probably some lowly technician or something.

“So, we're all in agreement, then?”

Nitori nods. “Fusion, huh?” Then, laughing, she adds, “Not even you were able to build something that did that, Bill.”

“It's difficult to get raw materials here to even begin such a reaction, you know.” The blow was a playful one, but it was aimed straight at your ego. Although you did manage to get Ruukoto up and running, it was only after you pulled a few strings with Yukari that you were able to get the necessary resources. That small-scale reactor that you were trying to build STILL isn't finished due to all kinds of slight problems, and that's only fission. “And I'd have to invent a whole new branch of nuclear physics. Do you know how hard that would be?”

“Really hard,” She says, laughing, “So, where is this thing located, Kanako?”

“Quite a ways underground, actually,” She says, “A few miles, at least. The normal way down is a little less than friendly, so I had a shortcut made.” Well, at least the person who was really responsible for this godly isn't sitting at the table, this time. “It's still pretty long, but at least you won't have to deal with the underground youkai along the way.”

“Good,” Nitori says, frowning a bit. “I was a bit worried about that, actually.”

“Underground youkai?” You ask, never having heard the term before. “What's the difference between them and normal ones?”

“They're really nasty in general,” Nitori responds, “most of them live underground because we don't want them up here.”

“I... see,” You say, not wanting to argue the point. It seems just a little prejudice to you.

“So, where'd you stick the cave?” Nitori continues, “I'd kind of like to see this thing first hand.”

“Fusion... is what runs stars, right?” Lumiere asks quite suddenly, reminding you that she's still there. “I want to see it, too.”

“How about you, Bill?” Nitori asks, turning to you. “Are you coming? It might be good to get a little fresh air.”

Visions, ideas, and other things still flit around in your head concerning the book, but... perhaps she's right? You're certainly interested in how Kanako pulled this off, images of her breaking into research labs and stealing technicians coming to mind the entire time. But this'll be the first day in a long while that you'll have gone without writing, and it might prove... difficult, to say the least. You can already feel the knowledge trying to force it's way through your hands.

[ ] “You're right. Sure, I'll come.”
[ ] “... sorry. I think it'd be best if I stayed at home.”
[ ] “Let's stop by the cave, first. I want to grab a notebook.”
>> No. 7704
[x] “You're right. Sure, I'll come.”

We missed SA. Poor Utsuho.
>> No. 7705
[ ] “You're right. Sure, I'll come.”
>> No. 7706
File 123111748290.jpg - (116.12KB , 600x1153 , f30064ecc5ed7028f34f36a0f55e8551.jpg ) [iqdb]
7706
[!/] “You're right. Sure, I'll come.”

Koishi~chan
>> No. 7708
[X] “Let's stop by the cave, first. I want to grab a notebook.”

Release + distraction. A perfect way to relieve that pressure of endless thoughts bottled up.
>> No. 7709
File 123112010441.jpg - (376.89KB , 775x852 , 1222876887941.jpg ) [iqdb]
7709
[x] “You're right. Sure, I'll come.”


I like where this is going.
>> No. 7710
[X] “Let's stop by the cave, first. I want to grab a notebook.”
>> No. 7711
File 123112544284.jpg - (158.00KB , 600x600 , 1215042934085.jpg ) [iqdb]
7711
>>7709
>> No. 7712
[x] “Let's stop by the cave, first. I want to grab a notebook.”

Why aren't people voting for this? We're not in a hurry here, and we won't enjoy the underground if our brain is overloaded.
>> No. 7713
[X] “Let's stop by the cave, first. I want to grab a notebook.”
>> No. 7714
[ ] “Let's stop by the cave, first. I want to grab a notebook.”
>> No. 7716
Which cave is the notebook in?
>> No. 7717
>>7716

Ah, right, sorry. He was referring to "the cave" like someone would refer to "the house", since it's the place where he lives.
Anyway, writing.
>> No. 7718
[x] “Let's stop by the cave, first. I want to grab a notebook.”

“I'll come. But, you'll let me stop by the cave first, won't you?” You ask, a faked whine in your voice, “I want to grab a notebook before we go. You know, just in case I can't do it.”

Nitori gives you an understanding nod. “Baby steps, right? I was going to grab a few things from the lab, anyway.”

A bit of silence follows. “Well,” Kanako begins, “Now that that's settled, I'll give you directions. Going down river from here, where the river first splits into two branches...” She goes on for a little while, giving you detailed instructions. Detailed enough that they'd probably put you withing a few feet of the entrance.

She pauses, looking off into space for a few seconds. “Now, I'd love to stay and chat, but... being a goddess isn't easy, and I've got other matters to take care of.” Standing up, she turns to her silent assistant. “Sanae, will you take care of our guests? They're welcome to stay as long as they like.”

“Yes, Lady Kanako,” She says, bowing her head towards the leaving goddess. Kanako departs the room, her rope doing the same sort of writhing that it did as she was entering the first time. It almost looks like a snake when it moves like that.

With Kanako gone, Sanae seems to ease up a bit. Her posture changes, becoming much less rigid, and her smile much warmer.

“Well, if we're going to check it out today,” Nitori says, “I should probably start getting my stuff together. A lot of it is surveying equipment that I haven't seen in ages. Sorry, Sanae.”

“No, that's fine.” Sanae responds, sighing a bit. “I expected as much. A little bit of warning, though; don't get the people down there too excited.”

Nitori nods as she stands up. “Nope, I wasn't planning to. I just want to take a look around and see what sort of generator we can stick in the place.” Pausing, she adds. “We should do this again sometime. Maybe at our place?”

“Maybe. I'm usually fairly busy, but... we'll see,” She says. “Have a safe trip back; the snow is a little heavy today.”

You're tempted to stay a bit and gather information from Sanae; it'd be better than waiting for Nitori to fish gadgets out of those piles in the lab. And grabbing a notebook shouldn't take much time at all. You could always help her, you guess, but her organizing scheme still doesn't make a whole lot of sense to you.

“Coming, Bill?” Nitori asks, brushing off her skirt. “I shouldn't be more than an hour or so.”

[ ] “An hour? … mind if I just stay here and chat for a bit?”
[ ] “Yeah. I'll help, if you don't mind.”
[ ] “If you don't mind, I could always meet you down there.”
>> No. 7719
[X] “An hour? … mind if I just stay here and chat for a bit?”
>> No. 7720
[x] “An hour? … mind if I just stay here and chat for a bit?”

I like Sanae.
>> No. 7721
[ ] “Yeah. I'll help, if you don't mind.”
>> No. 7722
[X] “Yeah. I'll help, if you don't mind.”

Helping our waifu, just like a good husband should.
>> No. 7723
[X] “Yeah. I'll help, if you don't mind.”
>> No. 7724
File 123120458490.jpg - (248.41KB , 1024x768 , 1219052100518.jpg ) [iqdb]
7724
[!/] “Yeah. I'll help, if you don't mind.”
>> No. 7725
[X] “Yeah. I'll help, if you don't mind.”

kappakappakappa
>> No. 7726
[x] “Yeah. I'll help, if you don't mind.”
>> No. 7727
[x] “Yeah. I'll help, if you don't mind.”
>> No. 7730
[†] “Yeah. I'll help, if you don't mind.”
>> No. 7731
[x] “Yeah. I'll help, if you don't mind.”

“Yeah,” You say, groaning a bit as you stand up, “I'll help, if you don't mind.”

Nitori laughs. “Why would I mind? C'mon, lets get going.”

Lumiere stands as well, without so much as saying a word, with Takiko taking the cue as well. “Thank you again for the meal, Sanae.” You say, bowing your head.”It was delicious.” Lumiere, too, gives a nod.

“Ah, no, it was...” Sanae begins, before pausing, “...well, thank you, anyway. Take care.” After saying this, she begins to gather the various empty plates, cups, and bowls.

Takiko flutters up into the air, taking her place on your shoulder. You give Sanae one last wave and move towards the door leading outside, grabbing your coat off of the coat rack along the way. It's still cold outside, as expected. The flight back to Nitori's cave is cold, and by the time you make it through the door your fingers have become numb again. Maybe you should get some better gloves. The cave itself isn't kept too terribly warm, so you opt to keep your jacket on... at least for a little while longer.

“Gah. I hope it's at least a little warmer underground,” You say, trying to shake off the cold to no avail, “Maybe we'll get lucky, and Kanako built this thing near some sort of volcanic flow. Assuming she even built it, of course.”

“Well, I hope she didn't build it too close. If we're going to be building a generator down there, solid rock would be better to anchor it.” Nitori pauses, and lets out a laugh. “Hah, fusion. You don't think she was kidding, do you? The other Kappa are going to love this. Maybe even the Tengu, if we manage to build a big enough generator.”

“I've got my suspicions,” You say, sighing. “But I don't think she would outright lie to us. That's not the way to garner followers.”

“Right, right.” She says, motioning towards the stairs that lead down to the lab. “Let's go. I want to get a good look at this thing. Do you want to help, Lumiere?”

She shakes her head. “I don't know where anything is. Let me know before you leave, ok?”

“Alright then,” Nitori says, “How about you, Takiko?”

She, too, shakes her head, leaving your shoulder to fly over to Lumiere. “I guess it's just us then, Bill.”

“I wonder if we'll survive?” You say as the two of you begin to walk down the stairs. “Finding something? Down... here?”

“Oh, quiet,” Nitori says back, laughing, “It's not that bad. You just can't understand the genius behind it.”

“Was that a challenge?”

Nitori giggles in response. “It might be. Come on, the first thing I need should be over here...”

Although Nitori seems to know exactly what pile the things are in, they're rarely on the top. Most of them are fairly mundane things, surveyor's tools and balls of thread, but there are one or two things you've never seen before. For one, there's some sort of 'energy gauge', or at least that's what Nitori calls it. It's about the size of a softball, with a black sheen to it. The second thing... well, Nitori says that it's for testing the strength of rock, but it looks more like a rail gun that you'd find in a gritty sci-fi movie. Either way, it all seems to fit into Nitori's backpack somehow, although the larger things are sticking out

“Whew,” Nitori says, after you both place the last girder on the top of the nearest pile, “Maybe I should make the piles smaller. Although, that would throw off my whole scheme...”

“That would... ha.... be nice,” You reply, out of breath. Nitori was doing most of the work, but what little you were doing was enough to be tiring. “That's everything, right?”

“That's everything.” She says, smiling. “Most of this is to double-check my measurements, since it's been a while since I've done this.”

“Gone several miles underground?”

“Constructed anything big.” She says. “I'm going to be getting help for the actual construction, but none of those guys are as good at surveying as I am.”

“So, Gensokyo's...” You say, mimicking Kanako's earlier tone, “... famous surveyor, then?” Laughing, you add, “I don't really know any off hand, sorry.”

“I don't, either, so it's fine. Let's go grab Lumiere and Takiko,” Nitori says, motioning towards the exit. “Think they're still reading that play you gave them?”

You shrug. “I've got no idea. They do seem to like it, though.”

“They must take after their father, then,” Nitori says, smiling. “Well, the closest thing to their father, at least.”

“I hope not,” You say, laughing, “Things would get a little crazy around here if that was the case. I'd imagine I'm enough of a handful.”

“Sometimes.” Nitori says grinning. “Anyway, let's go.”

You make your way back upstairs, stopping by the study to pick up a notebook. This room didn't actually exist when you moved in, but Nitori had insisted that she make it for you. The books from the living room got moved into this one, the collection becoming over double what it was to begin with. Most of them got pulled from storage, but you've found a few things worth bartering for in the human village. The desk, also pulled from storage, and the leather chair, give the room a very early 1900's feel. You jam the notebook into one of your many pockets, zip up your coat, and head out.

The rest of the crew is waiting outside. Takiko tells you that she's not coming, however, and you're not too surprised. Fairies born above ground tend to stay outside, something about being born of the fresh air. She's willing to put up with it if it's not very far underground, but being any farther than a few thousand feet or so from the surface makes her too nervous to function. What she's going to do in the meantime, well, that's her business. All three of you bid her a farewell, and depart into the snow.

The cave itself is right where Kanako said it would be, tucked quaintly beneath the roots of a pine growing on the overhang above it. Although, it's much... smaller than you had imagined, being at most 3 feet in diameter. The cave itself is almost perfectly round, it's sides made of smoothed rock, and points down at a fairly severe angle. You can't see the bottom, but that's expected.

“Couldn't she have made it a bit... bigger?” You ask, a little nervously. “There's hardly room to turn around in that thing.” Even you're starting to feel a little nervous about it.

Nitori shrugs, obviously not bothered by it at all. “It is a little small, isn't it? I might have to leave some of this stuff behind...”

Nitori removes a few of the larger things from the backpack, setting them near the entrance. “So, who's going first?” She asks, completely ignoring the fact that this cave is way too small. Too small, definitely small enough that you're going to be fighting back a bit of claustrophobia the entire way.

[ ] “Any volunteers?”
[ ] “I'll do it. First in, first out, right?”
[ ] “How about you, Nitori?”
[ ] “How about you, Lumiere?”
>> No. 7732
[X] “I'll do it. First in, first out, right?”
>> No. 7734
[x] “Any volunteers?”

given the size of that. i don't think you'll be able to get out if there are people behind you.
>> No. 7735
File 123129098212.jpg - (199.20KB , 957x1472 , 6408505102a539ce02c960eba04827a4.jpg ) [iqdb]
7735
[X] “I'll do it. First in, first out, right?”
>> No. 7736
[ ] “I'll do it. First in, first out, right?”
>> No. 7737
[x] "Right then. I shall be your faithful meat-shield, my lady"
[x] Go first.
>> No. 7738
File 123130484882.png - (10.57KB , 400x400 , 1212453816474.png ) [iqdb]
7738
[!/] “I'll do it. First in, first out, right?”

Huh.
>> No. 7739
[x] Offer to go first.

“Right, then.” You say, taking a deep breath. “I shall be your faithful meat-shield, my lady.”

A smile cross your face, and you begin to hum an improvised song to yourself. “Into the hole we go, the deep dark hole, towards parts unknown...”

Headfirst flight, you decide, would probably be best. The cave appears to be completely free of obstructions, a straight-shot into the underground. Although you could probably just slide down the glassy surface, reaching the bottom with relatively little effort, flight is more natural.

“Heh. I never though I'd be saying that.”

“Are you going, or what?” Nitori asks, getting a little pushy. “I wanna see it~”

“Right, right.”

First and foremost, you create a glowing orb of danmaku and situate it in front of your forehead as a headlight. You levitate into the air, pivot forward, and take the plunge.

“And downward I plunge, straight into the heart of the beast...”

The singing helps calm your nerves a bit, but this is not...

“Yah-ha!” Nitori yells from behind you, seemingly drawing excitement instead of nervousness from this. The walls are close, close enough that you're afraid that a single lapse in concentration is going to send you flying into it. You might survive, unless the speed causes enough tumbling to wedge you between the two sides, snapping your---

“The light, the light, when shall we meet again? And downward I plunge...”

The trip takes a long time. Longer, perhaps, than it really does. The striations in the rock are the only thing you've got to look at, so time seems to stretch on. Your mind begins to wander back to the book, no matter how hard you try to fight it. Had you the dexterity, or the room to write without getting your arms ripped off, you'd be jotting these things down. Instead, you're forced to mentally note them. Striations are interesting, sometimes, but the social---

Suddenly you break free of the confines of the cave, and light fills your vision. It's bright enough to bring you back to reality.

“Shit!”

Light of glowing, molten rock, that is. It's HOT. Touching the hotplate on the stove hot, but worse. It's all you can do to stop yourself before plunging into the stuff, and then to back away before your clothing catches on fire.

“Are you alright, Bill?” Nitori asks from the air above you.

“Yeah... I think I'm alright,” You say, backing away from the glowing death and closer to Nitori. “Sorry, I guess I zoned out a little bit.”

Checking yourself over, you notice a little singe on the collar of your coat, and your hair seems to have burnt a bit. Nothing a good haircut won't fix, but... that was close.

“That's a star, right?” Lumiere asks from above you. “It's so bright...”

“I... think so.” Nitori says, slowly and cautiously. “Fusion...”

“No, it's magma,” You say, brushing yourself off. “Molten rock, you know.”

“Not that. That.

Upon hearing the emphasis, you look up. They're both looking towards something in the distance, but what could---

“Ahhh! My eyes!”

The magma itself really isn't that bright. A warm orange, at best, but this... it's almost as bright as the sun. When Kanako said “fusion”, you had imagined something a bit more sane. Not a miniature star just hanging out underground like it's no big deal. But, you probably should have expected something like this. It is Gensokyo, after all.

“This shouldn't...”

“Well, at least it isn't giving off anything too deadly,” Nitori says from above you. You look up, the afterimage of the subterranean sun still burned into your retinas. She's holding the shining black 'energy gague' from before, and peering into it. “Nothing you wouldn't be able to take, Bill.”

“Cosmic radiation is quite deadly, you know,” You say, expressing your concern. “At least to a meatbag like me.”

“There's a bit of that, but not too much,” Nitori says, “Same for the other things, like UV and x-ray. I thought there'd be more, being this close, but... well, I guess it's not that close, yet.” She says, shrugging. “Sorry. I can't tell distances well in caves like this.”

You shrug, at a loss for words. You're certainly not dead yet, at least.

“Let's get closer, I want to get some more readings.”

[ ] Politely refuse. I mean, seriously. It's a star.
[ ] A little sunburn never hurt anyone, right?
>> No. 7740
[x] A little sunburn never hurt anyone, right?

walk towards the light.
>> No. 7741
[†] Politely refuse. I mean, seriously. It's a star.
>> No. 7742
[x] Politely refuse. I mean, seriously. It's a star.
[x] If anything, and I mean anything happens to Nitori up there, we will plunge head first into the burning abyss to save our lover.
>> No. 7743
>“There's a bit of that, but not too much,” Nitori says, “Same for the other things, like UV and x-ray. I thought there'd be more, being this close, but... well, I guess it's not that close, yet.” She says, shrugging. “Sorry. I can't tell distances well in caves like this.”

Nitori seems to have a better handle on the radiation levels than we do. I'll take the kappa's word for it.

[x] A little sunburn never hurt anyone, right?
>> No. 7744
[x] A little sunburn never hurt anyone, right?
>> No. 7746
>[ ] A little sunburn never hurt anyone, right?

But Nitori is water element based! She will evaporate!
[X] Politely refuse. I mean, seriously. It's a star.

Don't want to raise Lumiere alone.
>> No. 7747
>>7746
>But Nitori is water element based! She will evaporate!

KAPPA DO NOT WORK THAT WAY
>> No. 7748
[ ] Politely refuse. I mean, seriously. It's a star.
>> No. 7749
>>7748
Sorry, I had already started writing.

==============================================

[x] A little sunburn never hurt anyone, right?

“Heh. A little sunburn never hurt anyone, right?” You ask, trying your best to shrug off any ill feelings you're getting from that thing. Nitori seems to have a good grasp on the situation, so you should be fine. Right? Right. “Let's go check it out.”

Nitori nods. “I want to get a good feel for how close it actually is. C'mon, I'll race you!”

Nitori bolts, dashing closer towards that glowing orb while staring at her gauge. Being underground like this... well, it's throwing your perception off. You can see why she wanted to get closer. Her speed seems to be halved, maybe, or even quartered, but you can tell that it's because of the sheer vastness of the cavern.

“What!? A preemptive start!? You'll pay for this, Miss Kawashiro!” You yell, laughing as you fly after her . Glancing over your shoulder, Lumiere seems to be following at a bit of a more leisurely pace, smiling at this whole affair.

“You'll have to catch me first! Ha-ha!”

“This is Nye-1 to Black Ace,” You yell, looking back to Lumiere. She looks confused for a moment, cocking her head slightly to the side. “We've got a bogey at 12 o'clock. You are free to engage!”

It slowly dons on her what you're trying to convey. Admittedly, Gensokyo isn't known for it's air force, but you have shown her a few movies. Something sparks to life in her eyes as she realizes, and she smirks.

“Roger Nye-1, engaging target.” She says, moving up closer to you. You're the slowest out of the group, airspeed wise, so it's done without much difficulty. Her voice is still deadpan, but at least she's getting into this somewhat. “Requesting assist.”

You nod. “Nothing too rough, ok? I'm sure that Nitori wouldn't like being knocked out of the air into lava.”

Lumiere nods, and then kicks herself forward at a much faster speed than you, arms extended. “You are ordered to stop.” She says as loudly as she can without yelling, “Please comply.”

“Never!” Nitori yells back, laughing.

“Then you shall be shot down.”

“I'd like to see you try, Black Ace!”

A brilliant grid of danmaku opens up from Lumiere's outstretched hands, mimicking the sun that the three of you are flying towards. As fast as you can move, though, there's no way you'll be able to join this fight. You'll have to be content to watch this one, unless...

Ah, the black hole wall. Lumiere's trying to direct Nitori back towards you with a bit of gravity manipulation, curving her path. You can see the warping light from the distortion, but Nitori's got her head over her shoulder to dodge the incoming danmaku. There's no way she'll be able to avoid it.

“Is that the best you've got, Blak--- whoa!”

Nitori skirts the edge of the gravity well at full speed, and, much like some sort of sadistic banked curve on a hotwheels track, she's sent flying straight back at you two.

This is your chance. You've got one shot at getting close to her, before she turns around. Using every bit of speed you have, you try to reach her before she changes her direction. She's turning, trying to avoid you, but...

“Nice try,” You say, brushing her arm lightly with your outstretched hand as she passes. “But we win this round.”

You stop, and wait for her to come back around. “Aw, come on. That wasn't fair at all.”

“All's fair in love and war, Miss Kawashiro,” You say, leaning in for a kiss. “And to the victor goes the---”

“Hey! Are you guys listening!?”

You spin around. The source of the voice comes from somewhere ahead of you, closer to where Lumiere is than where you are. The voice seems to be female, but you can't make out who's saying it due to the fusion reaction taking place even further back.

“I said, what are you guys doing here? “ She asks again, the figure growing larger as it approaches. “No one else should be here.”

[ ] Let someone else answer. Nitori's excitement can be contagious.
[ ] “We're just tourists. Don't mind us.”
[ ] “We were given this star as a gift. Who're you?”
[ ] “Hey, no need to be rude. Are you the one Reimu beat up? I know your pain.”
>> No. 7750
[x] “Hey, no need to be rude. Are you the one Reimu beat up? I know your pain.”

Sympathy for fellow victims. Though we were much less beat up than most people.
>> No. 7751
[x] "We were sent by the goddess of Moriya shrine to study this gift for the kappa. Who might you be?"
>> No. 7752
[X] “Hey, no need to be rude. Are you the one Reimu beat up? I know your pain.”
Suppose this'll do unless someone comes up with an awesome write-in.
>> No. 7753
[†] “We're just tourists. Don't mind us.”
[†] “Hey, no need to be rude. Are you the one Reimu beat up? I know your pain.”
>> No. 7754
[X] “Hey, no need to be rude. Are you the one Reimu beat up? I know your pain.”
>> No. 7755
File 123146193297.png - (267.71KB , 652x504 , e789adc3138037a9839573cfee66a3a1.png ) [iqdb]
7755
[x] "We were sent by the goddess of Moriya shrine to study this gift for the kappa. Who might you be?"
>> No. 7756
[] "Have you heard the good news about the word of Moriya?"
[] "I'm selling these fine leather jackets."

Meh.

[x]Let someone else answer. Nitori's excitement can be contagious.
>> No. 7757
File 123146693066.jpg - (461.16KB , 600x1000 , 123041196218.jpg ) [iqdb]
7757
[!/] “Hey, no need to be rude. Are you the one Reimu beat up? I know your pain.”
>> No. 7758
[x] “Hey, no need to be rude. Are you the one Reimu beat up? I know your pain.”

“Hey, no need to be rude.” You say, trying to be as calm as possible. “Are you the one Reimu beat up?”

“I... what?” The woman asks, still not visible. “I-I've never lost. I'll have you know that I'm the strongest!”

You stifle a laugh. The tone of voice, that choice of words... she's a lot like her, isn't she? All talk, and nothing to back it up. You could have a bit of fun with this one. But, good first impressions are necessary.”

“Now, now, it's nothing to be ashamed about,” You continue, “I was in your position once. Minding my own business, tending to my own things, when suddenly... WHAM!” You smash your fist into an open palm. “I didn't even know what hit me.”

She doesn't say anything for a bit, still hiding out in the masking glow of the sun in front of you. Lumiere draws closer, trying to see what's going on.

“Anyway, if you see the person that Reimu flattened, let them know. We're looking to harness the power of that star back there.”

“For your information, she didn't flatten me.” The figure says, pouting. “I just decided to let her win.”

“Ah, I see.” It's probably better not to press her on the issue. “Do you mind coming a bit closer? I can't see you with all the glare.”

You turn towards Nitori, who seems to be content on letting you handle this. “Think she was part of the deal, too?” You ask in a whisper.

Nitori giggles a bit, whispering back. “I hope not. She seems kind of pushy.”

“So, you want the power of fusion?” The woman asks, her voice still bold. “What for?”

You turn around, and find yourself facing... well, a very odd woman. You're used to seeing strange things, but most of the youkai are relatively human looking. This one is not. The first thing that catches your eye is the gigantic, distinctly inhuman eyeball that seems to be implanted in the middle of her chest. The cat-like eye is surrounded by a brilliant flame, or so it appears, that licks the sides of the pupil. The second thing you notice is the arm. Her right arm is not an arm, but a dull bronze rod that ends in a sort of claw like structure. Her left leg, too, and those wings...

“Hey, what're you staring at?” She demands, snapping you out of your state of awe.

[ ] “That arm. What's it for?”
[ ] “Sorry, I couldn't keep my eyes off of that eye.”
[ ] “You. You're pretty creepy, you know?”
[ ] “Oh, nothing. Anyway, the goddess up on the mountain said we could have this...”
>> No. 7759
[x] “That arm. What's it for?”

all the better to danmaku with.
>> No. 7760
[ ] “That arm. What's it for?”
>> No. 7762
[†] “That arm. What's it for?”
[†] "You know you are really a pretty girl"

THUMP!

[†] "Owww... Im sorry honey.."
>> No. 7763
File 123155386789.png - (38.29KB , 640x480 , 1211770592986.png ) [iqdb]
7763
[!/] “That arm. What's it for?”

>>7762

No. Just no.
>> No. 7764
[x] “You. You're pretty creepy, you know?”
>> No. 7765
File 123156862328.jpg - (39.50KB , 485x431 , the_raven.jpg ) [iqdb]
7765
"'Tis some visiter," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door — Only this and nothing more."
>> No. 7766
>>7765

I see what yo did and referenced there. In during FFFFFFFFFFFFFFF.
>> No. 7767
[Z] “That arm. What's it for?”
>> No. 7768
[x] “That arm. What's it for?”

“That arm.” You say, being blunt. “I've never seen anything like it. What's it for?”

She flashes a malicious grin. “Wanna find out?”

Before you can refuse, the claw-like end on the appendage begins to glow. This is... dangerous. You've got good enough instincts to realize that a monster with a glowing arm means danger. Adrenaline begins to flood your body, and you feel like you've got to... MOVE!

A searing ball of heat passes through your previous locating, more than likely singeing a few more hairs on your head. Nitori's hand seems to be in yours... somehow, you've also managed to pull her out of the way as well. At least, that's what you'll choose to believe. It may not be the truth, but that's fine.

“Good job!” The woman jeers, “How about some--- hey!”

Suddenly, a cat jumps out of nowhere, leaping onto and off of the girl's head. A cat. Why is there a cat? It doesn't matter. You've got to prepare for the next attack. And yet... the girl's posture has changed. A feint? Possibly. One of those orbs could easily down you; no time to relax.

“Hey, Okuu, what'chya doing?”

Another voice, this one coming from the cat. Doesn't matter. A talking cat is nothing to be concerned about in Gensokyo, especially in a fight. You simply hope that this doesn't turn into a 2v3 match.

“I was just playing with these new people,” She says, “They're acting tough, so I thought I'd show them who's the strongest.”

Maybe... you can calm down. The battle seems to be momentarily on pause, thanks to the intervention of this talking cat. A friend of hers, perhaps?

“That one,” The cat says, definitely motioning to you with it's paw, “looks a little weak. You shouldn't be too rough, or Satori might get mad. Remember what happened last time you caused trouble with someone from above ground?”

'Last time you caused trouble'? Sounds like you've found the right person, then. And that orb... a miniature sun? Probably. It's not too much of a jump from there to assume that Kanako had a hand in this situation, seeing how vague she was being earlier.

“Ahhhh... that's true,” The strange woman replies, rubbing the back of her head. “He probably couldn't last too long against me, anyway.”

“Yeah, he's mostly human,” the cat says, laughing as well as a cat can. It comes out disturbingly animal-like. “And he doesn't look nearly as strong as the last one.”

“Well...” 'Okuu' says, turning back to you, “I guess I can spare you. So---”

“That was... fusion?” Lumiere asks, completely ignoring the rest of the conversation. Or, perhaps, just not commenting on it. “It was beautiful.”

“Eh? It's kind of cool looking, I guess,” Okuu says, turning to her. “but that's just because it's so powerful. Power is beautiful, you know?”

Lumiere doesn't bother to agree or disagree, turning instead to face you. “Can I?”

You know what she's asking. It's only customary to greet others with danmaku in Gensokyo. Lumiere has the advantage of being a youkai, and thus immune to permanent death, so the lava below doesn't pose much of a threat to her. Nor do those blazing suns. However... this 'Okuu' person seems calm, at the moment, and stirring up the hornet's nest might be a bad idea.

[ ] “You can play later, ok? We've got to take care of business first.”
[ ] “Go ahead, but be careful.”
>> No. 7769
File 123162406313.png - (342.59KB , 700x600 , 1228276814755.png ) [iqdb]
7769
[!/] “Go ahead, but be careful.”

in during fifth-grade elementary student loli and you damned dirty lolicon!
>> No. 7770
[†] “Go ahead, but be careful.”
>> No. 7771
[ ] “Go ahead, but be careful.”

Star vs Black hole, eh?
>> No. 7772
[x] “Go ahead, but be careful.”
[x] Go back to examining the star. Ask if there is someone a bit more responsible to talk to if there are any other details concerning this gift.
>> No. 7773
[x] “Go ahead, but be careful.”

Star > Leg > Black Hole > Star

twisted games of Jankenpon
>> No. 7774
[Z] “Go ahead, but be careful.”

If she loses, we'll be without her for a few days, you know.
>> No. 7775
>>7768

[ ] "Go ahead, and make sure you kick her ass good."

What? We can't encourage our daughter?
>> No. 7776
[x] “Go ahead, but be careful.”

“Go ahead, if you feel up to it,” You say shrugging, “But be careful.”

Lumiere nods, a faint smile crossing her face.

“What're you two talking about?” The strange woman asks, not at all understanding. There's a slight bit of irritation on her face.

“I want to duel you, in danmaku,” Lumiere states, “will you accept?”

Okuu grins. “Sure.”

“I'll open then, if there are no objections.” Lumiere states, receiving a nod from Okuu.

“I think I'll just watch,” The cat states, floating itself off of Okuu's head. “Don't make us look bad, now~”

“If you guys could, uh---”

Dodge! The area is soon filled with brilliant points of light, Lumiere's opener. Geeze, couldn't she have waited a few more seconds? At least your reflexes aren't too bad. You suffer a minor sting to the arm, but otherwise make it out of range unscathed. Glancing around, you also find Nitori, and decide to fly over to join her.

“Huh.” Nitori says, looking on towards the emerging battle, “I hope she'll win. It's been a while since I've seen her fight.”

“I'm sure she'll be fine,” You say, laughing. “Besides, this is how you greet people in Gensokyo, isn't it?”

“Haha... yeah, I guess it does usually end up that way.”

A cat-like voice comes from behind you. “So, where're you guys from?”

Both you and Nitori turn around, looking towards the voice. It's the cat from before.

“Right, perhaps introductions are in order? I'm Bill. Bill Nye.”

“A-and I'm Nitori Kawashiro. We're both from above ground.”

“Above ground, huh?” The cat says, “That's fun. Are you friends with Reimu?”

You nod. “I wouldn't exactly say that we're friends, but I do know her. Why do you ask, Miss...?” You really would like a name to refer to her with. It would make things so much more simple.

“Oh right, right. Hold on a sec.”

An awful sulfurous smell fills the air, accompanied by a strange, low rumble, and a large cloud of smoke. It's almost enough to make you gag. Within moments the smoke clears, and in it's place stands another woman. This one, appearing to be about as old as a teenager, is garbed in an intricate black dress. Cat ears poke out of her orange hair, and a sly smile covers her face. Pigtails, too. You can't say that you've seen hair quite like that, yet.

“People call me Orin.” She says, “And I live down here. Okuu, too. That's who your friend is fighting.”

[ ] “I see. How'd she end up like that, anyway?”
[ ] “Interesting. Well, if you don't mind, we'll just finish up our readings and be on our way.”
[ ] “Okuu? That's a strange name.”
[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 7777
[ ] “I see. How'd she end up like that, anyway?”
>> No. 7778
[X] “I see. How'd she end up like that, anyway?”
>> No. 7779
File 123171396181.jpg - (158.46KB , 355x594 , ef89cdf319a43bfe7492d365fb25caac.jpg ) [iqdb]
7779
[!/] “I see. How'd she end up like that, anyway?”

Possibly maybe ask why their "names" sound like pet names.
>> No. 7780
[†] “I see. How'd she end up like that, anyway?”
>> No. 7781
[ ] “I see. How'd she end up like that, anyway?”
>> No. 7782
[x] Try picturing Nitori in cat ears and a tail. How cute! But the scientific implications of such a thing....
[x] Wander off in your thoughts and leave Nitori to continue speaking and researching for you.
[x] Break out of the trance when the rest of the group is ready to leave and apologize to Nitori for spacing out. Tell her exactly what you were thinking about.
>> No. 7784
>[ ] Try picturing Nitori in cat ears and a tail. How cute! But the scientific implementation of such a thing....

Fixed one word, and made it better. what self respecting scientist worries about things like implications?

[Z] “I see. How'd she end up like that, anyway?”
>> No. 7785
[x] “I see. How'd she end up like that, anyway?”

“I see. How'd she end up like that, anyway?” You ask, genuinely curious as to what's going on down here. “Or has she always been able to produce stars with a giant metal arm like that?”

“No, she... uh, had something weird done to her. Before, she was just a normal hell crow.”

“Do you know the details? I'm kind of curious...”

“No, not really,” She says, sounding a little down. “I guess she ate a god, or something strange like that. I wasn't there when it happened, and she's kind of birdbrained as it is.”

Maybe you'll find out the full story sometime, but you doubt that you'll get it out of these two.
But... eating a god? It's enough to capture your interest.

“Interesting,” You say, glancing over towards Nitori. “What do you make of it?”

“Hm? I don't know.” Nitori says, not giving you her full attention. She's messing around with her gauge. “Is it important?”

“No, I guess not.” You say, looking back towards the danmaku duel going on off in the distance. Okuu, as it were, seems to be up as there are brilliant mini-stars flying all over the place. “Want to get back to work?”

“Actually, I'm almost done. Since there doesn't seem to be a floor, all I've got to do is run some tests on the other solid surfaces.” Nitori says, returning the gauge to her backpack and retrieving the other odd device that she brought. Laughing, she adds, “I'd let you help, but it's a one person job.”

[ ] “You sure? I'm always good for moral support...”
[ ] “You're not going to watch this fight?”
[ ] Write-in.
>> No. 7786
[ ] “You're not going to watch this fight?”
>> No. 7787
[†] “You're not going to watch this fight?”

Our lovely Daughter~
>> No. 7788
[x] “You're not going to watch this fight?”
>> No. 7789
[x] "Oh, I don't know about that. There's always a lack of confidence. I could put on a mini-skirt and act like a cheerleader for you; that would probably get the job done faster. But I'm pretty sure you wouldn't want that leaving the confines of our bedroom, now would you?"
[x] Wink at her and go back to watching the fight.
>> No. 7796
[x] “You're not going to watch this fight?”

“Ah... you're not going to watch this fight?” You ask, watching Lumiere's duel intently. “It's shaping up to be rather interesting. I'm still not sure who has the upper hand in this.”

“I'm going to be watching,” she says, “just from a distance. Don't worry, I'll be rooting for her.”

You nod. “Good luck with the tests, then.” Briefly, you turn to watch her depart, and then return to watching the battle.

“That person looks pretty tough,” Orin states from behind you, also watching the battle. “Maybe as tough as Reimu.”

“Heh.” That would be an interesting fight, although you're fairly certain that Reimu wouldn't lose. You're not even sure that she can lose, to be honest. “I agree.”

“Hmm... so, you're not interested in talking, right? That's no fun!”

“Ah... sorry,” You say, sighing, “I have a distractable personality.”

Really, this fight is much more interesting than any conversation. Even interest in your book, oddly enough, has been displaced by this fight. At least, for the moment. Danmaku is supposed to be subtle, like a spider's web or the flakes in a light snowfall. Either no one has told this to Okuu, or she doesn't care. It's quite literally a display of power, blazing suns and other glowing objects flying all over the place. This card seems to have boxed Lumiere in between many gigantic suns. Judging by their sizes, there should be room to maneuver in the middle, but you can't actually see.

“So, shiny things distract you?” She asks, “Or is it bright things? Hot things?”

“Interesting things,” You interject, being somewhat bored by the fight that you can no longer see. “I'm a scientist, after all.”

“Oh? What's that?”

“Well, I study things.” You say, keeping an eye out for the end of this attack. “You know, study them to figure out how they work. And then I can apply that knowledge towards other thing--- oh!”

Okuu's attack has ended, leaving a slightly singed but still airborne Lumiere. You've got no idea what it could have looked like inside that spell, but attacks from multiple directions are no small thing. Especially for you. You haven't quite figured out how to sense bullets coming from behind yet, aside from looking back and forth like a madman... and still, that's no good for dodging fast things.

“She's doing pretty well,” Orin muses, “But can she handle this last bit?”

“We'll see.” You say, chuckling, “But Lumiere still has a card left, if I remember correctly...”

She does. Although you haven't seen Lumiere duel in a while, she's been following the pattern that she's used in the past. This card in particular is nasty, following the death of a star. Her stars aren't real; they're symbolic, like danmaku is supposed to be. A web of danmaku spreads out around the entire area, and then the sun collapses. The web itself keeps replenishing at a certain distance, drawing all the shots towards the center. Bits of 'radiation', thin glowing lasers, lance from the center periodically, all the while sucking the opponent and the bullet web closer to herself... and the large bullet she currently resides in.

“H-hey, that's Okuu's attack!” Orin exclaims from behind you. “Well, I guess it's a little different, but... it's really close.”

“Is it?” You ask, laughing at the idea. The chances of coming up with identical spellcards are... slim, to be sure. “I almost want to see it now, but then I'd be rooting against my little girl.”

“The way you say that... it's kind of creepy.” Orin inquires, “Is she your kid or something?”

“Something like that,” You muse, “I did kind of technically make her. Sort of.”

“Huh.”

The fight continues on, and Lumiere's card runs out. During the lull in the action, you get a good look at Okuu's posture... and she looks positively angry. Enraged. The tips of her now-visible wings seem to be glowing, and her claw hand seems to have a perpetual sun stuck in the end. A nearly identical attack flares up, although this one has a sun in the middle instead of a black hole, and no lasers. Instead, it has tiny white shots.

“I see what you mean,” You say, sighing. “It is pretty close.”

The battle ends with neither side getting hit; a loss for Lumiere, as she seems to be out of cards. But, at least neither side was sent into the fiery pits below. Both sides look pretty beat, panting heavily. The figures also bob slightly; you've noticed that it's more difficult to maintain a steady height when tired.

“Dang.” You say, “I thought she had a good chance.”

“It was really close, though,” Orin adds, a slight smugness in her voice.

Even with this kind of outcome, it wasn't a duel with any sort of consequences, so it's fine. But, with it over, you should probably occupy yourself with something else.

[ ] Go up and see how Nitori's doing.
[ ] Head over and see how Lumiere's doing.
[ ] Stay here and chat with Orin about (topic).
>> No. 7797
[ ] Head over and see how Lumiere's doing.
>> No. 7798
[!/] Head over and see how Lumiere's doing.
>> No. 7799
[ ] Head over and see how Lumiere's doing.

Lumiere~
>> No. 7800
>>7796
[X] Head over and see how Lumiere's doing.
>[X] "That was incredible Lumiere, I don't think I'll ever be able to dodge danmaku from behind like that. So, what did you learn from experiencing such a similar spell card?"
>> No. 7801
[x] Stay here and chat with Orin about herself and Okuu.
[x] Go see how Nitori is doing after you learn enough.

I feel as if Lumiere is hiding something. Don't want to get caught in the middle of a spell.
>> No. 7802
[X] Head over and see how Lumiere's doing.
on the way,
[X] Try picturing Nitori in cat ears and a tail. How cute! But the scientific implementation of such a thing....

this choice needs to be implemented.
>> No. 7803
[x] Head over and see how Lumiere's doing.

“It was. I'm going to go see how she's doing.”

Your lean forward slightly, floating your way over towards Lumiere. The air smells more burnt than usual, somehow, as you get closer. The air also seems charged, like a large storm had just passed through the area. No matter how intense the fight may have been from your vantage point, you're can just imagine what it would have been like to have been in the middle of it.

As you get closer, you can begin to make out conversation between the two opponents.

“... mine! And you just...”

There seems to be an argument over... something.

“...you are aware that it's applicable to both cases, aren't you?”

Ah, the spellcard. You can imagine how someone would get bent out of shape about that.

“Still... it's my final attack! I... ha, it's not cool if someone else can use it!”

Lumiere doesn't respond, opting to slip back into silence.

“It was different, though,” Orin says, entering the fray. “Maybe you two just think alike?”

Lumiere's expression twitches a bit, a tinge of horror crossing her face for a split second. You can't help but crack a smile. Her mind is an enigma to you, usually, so you're not sure what it could mean, but you've got an idea.

“...hmm. Maybe you're right?” Okuu asks, “That would be kind of cool.” Okuu's mood changes in an instant when faced with this new idea. Simple pleasures for simple minds, you guess. “I think I like you. Wanna be friends?”

“Yes,” Lumiere states without hesitation. “I would be honored.”

“Cool.” Okuu says, her grin suddenly growing. “What's your name? My friends call me Okuu.”

“I am known as Lumiere to my friends,” Lumiere states, her tone as dead as usual. She looks as if she's going to say something else, but then stops when she notices you.

“Impressive fight, both of you!” You say, moving in closer. “I was watching the entire thing, and I must say that I'm impressed.”

“Oh, it's the old man,” Okuu says, looking back to you, “is he your friend, Lumi?”

Lumiere pauses for a second, not catching the nickname right away. “Ah, yes,” She says, smiling, “He looks after me.”

Okuu returns her looks to you. “Well, if she's your friend, and I'm her friend, that means that we're friends, right?”

You don't quite agree with the logic, but there's no sense arguing over it at the moment. “Of course. My name is Bill Nye. Generally, most people call me Bill.”

Okuu frowns. “That's already pretty short. Hmm... sorry, you're just Bill.”

You grin. “Well, if it makes you feel better, my full name is William Nye.”

Introductions, although simple, continue for a while. Okuu seems intent on talking when no one is listening, so it continues for longer than it should. Either way, she seems in a much better mood at the moment. After a while of one-sided conversation, Nitori shows up.

“Well, at least the ceiling seems to be somewhat stable,” Nitori grumbles, “not everywhere, but in enough places to serve as anchors. So, are you guys ready?”

[ ] You're ready; sticking around here any longer could be boring.
[ ] “I'd rather stick around, actually.”
>> No. 7804
File 123207681051.jpg - (412.74KB , 1000x786 , 303912.jpg ) [iqdb]
7804
>>7803
[X] “I'd rather stick around, actually.”

Maybe now we can figure out what the arm is for without being blasted.
>> No. 7805
[x] You're ready; sticking around here any longer could be boring.
>> No. 7806
[X] “I'd rather stick around, actually.”
Hey, maybe we'll get to meet some other underground feces, like Satorinrin, with all the embarassingly passe mindreading cliches.
>> No. 7807
>>7806

>>Hey, maybe we'll get to meet some other underground feces.

ಠ_ಠ

[x] “I'd rather stick around, actually.”
>> No. 7808
[x] “I'd rather stick around, actually.”
[x] Since we're down here, lets make a trip of it and look around.

We haven't spent enough time with our beloved kappa-moe and blackhole-moe so we should spend time with them while we're away from our book. We can even look for something for our fairy-moe as well.
>> No. 7810
>>7807
FFFFFFFF
Faces, FACES for fucks sake...
>> No. 7811
>>7807

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

[X] “I'd rather stick around, actually.”
[X] Since we're down here, lets make a trip of it and look around.
FAMILY VACATION TIME
>> No. 7812
>>7807
...oh my.

Anyway, I apologize for the non-update yesterday. It seems that Friday is a busy day for me. Writing now.
>> No. 7813
[x] “I'd rather stick around, actually.”

“I'd rather stick around, actually,” You say, shrugging. “I'm pleasantly distracted at the moment.”

“You know,” Orin says, “This isn't really a place for humans. Half-humans, either.”

You catch a glance at Nitori, and notice a curious look spread across her face. Like you're some sort of mystery. You... don't really know what to make of it. Not displeased, just... curious.

“No, perhaps not.” You say, wiping your brow. She's right. This is a fairly hostile place. “Do you know of a place that isn't so... deadly?”

Okuu turns to Orin. “Do you think master'd like to meet him? It's not so hot up there.”

“That's true, but I don't know if she would. Hmm...”

The two go back and forth for a few minutes, talking about a person that only they know. Master? You can only guess what sort of master these two would have. You decide to turn back to Nitori, and explain your situation.

“Any reason you want to get out of here so quickly?” You ask, trying to start conversation, “If you really want to get out of here, I can join you.”

Nitori sighs. “No, it's just...” She leans in close and whispers, as if delivering some sort of juicy secret. “they kind of stink, you know?”

You laugh. “Is that all? I kind of stink sometimes, too.”

Nitori backs away. “I'm being serious.”

“Does it bother you that much?” You ask, your expression becoming more serious. “I mean, I guess that one smells a little like brimstone, but it's nothing too terrible.”

Nitori pauses for a bit, and then smiles. “Sorry. You're right.”

“Sometimes I just don't get you,” You say, sighing.

“Well, I can't give away all my secrets, can I?”

“Right.” You say, nodding sagely. “Where would be the fun in that?”

“Hey, we've decided!”

Okuu's cry breaks through your conversation like a crack of lightning; it seems she's good at getting people's attention.

“Master said that we should tell her if anything strange happened. I think you guys count, so we can show you around.”

You nod. “Are you going to stick around for the tour, Nitori?”

“I... hmm, I guess.” Nitori says, shrugging. “I don't really have anything to take care of above ground.”

“Ok, then. Let's show our new friends around!”

The cave that you're currently in comprises the majority of the trip. Apparently, the entrance (exit? It does lead closer to the surface) is quite a distance away; the cavern that you're in is large enough that the trip takes a good ten minutes or so. You spend it listening to the, admittedly one way, conversation between Okuu and Lumiere.

There's a hole in the cavern ceiling at some point, one that you would have easily missed had you simply been flying around on your own. It leads up a little ways, and on the other side lies...

...a palace. A genuine palace, something straight out of Europe. The entire thing seems to be composed of stone; cut stone, nothing like the stone walls composing the cave below. There are stained glass windows lining the walls, although no light shines through them. And, aside from your little group, the place seems almost completely dead. Completely silent.

“Well, here we are!” Okuu yells out, shattering the silence with one blow. You can't help but jump a bit. “Now we've just got to look around for a bit.”

The place is big enough, so you can understand why this would be the case. There don't seem to be any rooms or anything; the darkness is serving as the only obstruction to sight.

“She's probably over here!” Orin says, bounding off in one direction like a little girl.

“No way, she's definitely over this way,” Okuu says, taking to the air and heading in a nearly opposite direction. “I'll find her before you do!”

“...”

“Well, uh... now what?” Nitori asks, looking at you.

[ ] Follow Orin.
[ ] Follow Okuu.
[ ] Stay put.
>> No. 7814
[ ] Follow Orin.
>> No. 7815
[X] Stay put.
>> No. 7816
[x] Stay put.

I have a bad feeling about this.
>> No. 7817
[X] Grope Nitori.
>> No. 7818
[X] Grope Nitori.
>> No. 7819
[X] Grope Nitori.
>> No. 7820
>>7817
>>7818
>>7819

Not in front of Lumiere.

[x] Hug Nitori
>> No. 7821
[x] Stay put.
>> No. 7822
File 123225586171.jpg - (150.21KB , 700x1232 , 0fc656b90e35b8621273ca4c709d036a.jpg ) [iqdb]
7822
[!/] Stay put.

You've lost me.
>> No. 7823
[x] Stay put.
>> No. 7824
>>7820
Pfft.

[x] Grope Nitori
[x] Grope Lumiere
[x] Family groping time
>> No. 7825
[x] Stay put.
>> No. 7826
[x] Grope Nitori.

... I don't see the problem.
>> No. 7827
[x] Stay put.
>> No. 7828
[†] Grope Nitori.

Nitori~n
>> No. 7829
[x] Grope Nitori.

We have been devoid of delicious Kappa long enough!
>> No. 7830
[x] Stay put.
>> No. 7831
[x] Stay put.

“Let's just stay put,” You say, laughing. “Who knows what trouble those two could lead us into?”

“Cold feet?” Nitori asks, grinning. “You were all gung-ho about coming up here a minute ago.”

“...something like that.”

You watch and wait for a bit, boredom seeping into your mind slowly but surely. One can only look at the same wall for so long before such things happen. And so, as usual, your mind begins to wander. At first it's about your new acquaintances, but it quickly shifts to the book. Reflexively, you grab for your notebook, take a seat on the ground close to the only nearby wall, and begin writing. Sighing inwardly, you knew it was only a matter of time.

Nitori's talking to you about something, but you can't bring yourself to answer. Too busy. A few “uh huh”'s and “I see”'s for are all you can manage. Enough to keep her from worrying, at least. Seeing her like that would only be distracting. You're just jotting down a few things before you forget, is all.

But... you're not alone in your world of logic. There's something else in here. Something peeking in through a window, like a burglar. Someone hiding in your hedges, scoping out your place before robbing you blind. This is your domain; you own all thoughts here, all ideas. This one is definitely not you.

Leave. Get out. This is my place. Maybe hostile thought will drive it away? Hopefully.

...

...no, it's still there. What is it? A bit of fear begins to permeate your being. Is it a foe? Friend? Either way, it's worrisome. You've been impressed with your ability to maintain sanity up until this point. Is this your self fragmenting? How would you even deal with that?

You look up from your note taking, perhaps a little too suddenly. Nitori looks slightly startled, breaking mid-sentence as you raise your head to take a look around.

“What is it?” she asks, looking around with you. Lumiere just gives you a curious look.

There's nothing else that you can see within your vision range, save for a few birds of an unknown species perching above a nearby stained-glass window.

[ ] “...something seems to be probing my mind.”
[ ] “It's nothing. I thought I heard something.”
[ ] It's those birds. Tell them to stop spying on you.
>> No. 7832
[x] "I-I'm not crazy! No, definitely not that! Oh, see those birds? They are spying on us, you know? Also, have you seen my pants? They seem to have disappeared."
>> No. 7833
File 123233899944.jpg - (523.42KB , 1000x853 , 58e1fcd50368f203ecbee00abbf57490.jpg ) [iqdb]
7833
[!/] It's those birds. Tell them to stop spying on you.

Recite that poem.
>> No. 7834
[ ] “...something seems to be probing my mind.”
>> No. 7835
[ ] “...something seems to be probing my mind.”
>> No. 7836
[x] “...something seems to be probing my mind.”
[x] Concentrate on something and let your thoughts wander, trying to drive out the intruder in a sea of chaos.
>> No. 7838
[X] It's those birds. Tell them to stop spying on you.
>> No. 7839
[ ] “...something seems to be probing my mind.”
>> No. 7841
[ ] It's those birds. Tell them to stop spying on you.
>> No. 7842
[†] “...something seems to be probing my mind.”
>> No. 7843
[X] “...something seems to be probing my mind.”
[X] Neural Spike

Surge a MASSIVE amount of data back at the probe, hopefully frying the connection, or the person on the other side.
>> No. 7844
[X] “...something seems to be probing my mind.”
[X] Neural Spike
Awesome.
>> No. 7845
[x] “...something seems to be probing my mind.”

“...something seems to be probing my mind.” You say, continuing to look around. Perhaps if you squint really hard, you'll be able to see the cause. “Spying on my thoughts.”

“What?” Nitori asks, still confused. “You mean somethings reading your mind?”

To be honest, you're not really sure what's going on. “I... think so?”

“That's kind of disturbing,” Nitori says, her voice wavering a little. “Do you know what it is?”

“No.” If that thing would show itself, this would be so much easier---

“But that's quite a bit less amusing,” A voice says in response to you, hovering somewhere above you. It's not a pleasant voice. Cold, distant, arrogant... not the kind of voice that makes you smile because it sounds friendly. Looking up, it's still dark; whatever it is must be hovering out of site. “I must say, that's an interesting ability you have, Bill.”

“That's pretty creepy,” Nitori says, her voice wavering a bit.

“Don't worry, I won't,” The voice states, as if in response to something only it could hear. Nitori's eyes go wide. “Unless you give me a reason to.”

You wish this thing would just show itself. Seriously, this is pretty irritating. If you're going to spy on us, at least let us look at you. You're tempted to send a bit of danmaku lancing up into the air; maybe that'll get the message across.

“Hmm. No need to do that...”

As you look up, you see a figure slowly emerge from the darkness that is above you. It looks like a girl; is there anyone here who doesn't? You can make out features as she gets closer. Messy hair, a dress done in pastel colors, and... and eyeball stuck on her chest, tubes running out of it. It wavers back and forth, focusing on the three of you.

...how disturbing. Interesting, too, but you can't help but feel a little repulsion at it.

“Haha... you're an interesting bunch,” She muses as she descends, her laugh low. “Quite a background you three have. I envy you.”

This... is the person those two were looking for? The master?

“Yes. Okuu and Orin are my pets, among many others.”

“All these half conversations are kind of annoying,” Nitori says, sighing.

“...there's no helping it,” Lumiere says, joining the conversation for a brief moment. The new person grins a lopsided grin.

“She understands,” And then, looking to Nitori, she states, “Satori, by the way.”

“Your name?” You ask, trying to keep up. This is slightly confusing.

“Yes.”

…and then, silence. What the hell do you say to someone who can read minds? Small talk is effectively worthless, among other things. And the whole thing is causing shivers to go down your spine. You can FEEL her, feel her presence in your mind. It's not constant; it's likely that she has to focus on one person at a time, but it's still creepy.

“Isn't it? There's a reason I live alone, with my pets. Most people avoid me.”

“I give up,” Nitori says, letting out a sad laugh. “This is too confusing.”

“'this ability is creepy',” Satori quotes in a monotone voice, somehow making her already dead voice even more dead. “is what I was responding to. Would you prefer I did it this way?”

“It might help,” You say, shrugging. “It is difficult to follow when you only get half the conversation.”

“Indeed. 'But you should already know that, shouldn't you?',” Satori quotes again, stealing someone else's thoughts, “I do. But I forget, since it's rare that I get visitors.” She pauses for a bit, the eye on her chest darting back and forth. “You'll have free reign of the palace during your explorations, but you may want to avoid leaving... unless it's through the way that you entered.” A lopsided smile crosses her face again. “You will not be harassed by the oni in here, but outside the palace...”

Oni? You wonder if they're all like Suika. That wouldn't bother you one bit.

“'I wonder if they're all cheerful drunks?'.” This way is certainly less confusing, but definitely more... invasive. “Many of them have a taste for humans. Cheerful, certainly, but not ones you'd like to meet.”

Nitori scoots closer to you. “I don't like this at all.” She whispers, even though you're sure it's doing no good. “Can we leave yet?”

[ ] Agree.
[ ] At least wait around for Orin and Okuu to return.
[ ] You'd rather chat with Satori about (topic).
>> No. 7846
[ ] You'd rather chat with Satori about Okuu.
>> No. 7847
File 12324003365.gif - (8.73KB , 511x494 , ac9796c3e0f734d02932f9cd8a0e46e5c69bbddeea18faa722.gif ) [iqdb]
7847
[x] You'd rather chat with Satori about achieving Satori.
>> No. 7848
[X] At least wait around for Orin and Okuu to return.
>> No. 7849
̵̡̢̛̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇̊̋̌̍̎̏̿̿̿̚ ҉ ҉҉̡̢̡̢̛̛̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̕̚ ̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̕̚̕̚ ̡̢̛̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̊̋̌̍̎̏̚ ̡̢̡̢̛̛̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̕̚̕̚ ̔̕̚̕̚ερ҉ ҉̵̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̿̿̿̕̚̕̚͡͡҉҉ ̵̵̡̢̡̢̛̛̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇̊̋̌̍̎̏̿̿̿̊̋̌̍̎̏̿̿̿̚̚ ҉ ҉҉̡̢̡̢̛̛̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̕̚ ̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̕̚̕̚ ̡̢̛̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̊̋̌̍̎̏̚ ̡̢̡̢̛̛̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̕̚̕̚ ̔̕̚̕̚ερ҉ ҉̵̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̿̿̿̕̚̕̚͡͡҉҉ ̵̵̡̢̡̢̛̛̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇̊̋̌̍̎̏̿̿̿̊̋̌̍̎̏̿̿̿̚̚ ҉ ҉҉̡̢̡̢̛̛̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̕̚ ̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̕̚̕̚ ̡̢̛̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̊̋̌̍̎̏̚ ̡̢̡̢̛̛̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̕̚̕̚ ̔̕̚̕̚ερ҉ ҉̵̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̿̿̿̕̚̕̚͡͡҉҉ ̵̵̡̢̡̢̛̛̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇̊̋̌̍̎̏̿̿̿̊̋̌̍̎̏̿̿̿̚̚ ҉ ҉҉̡̢̡̢̛̛̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̕̚ ̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̕̚̕̚ ̡̢̛̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̊̋̌̍̎̏̚ ̡̢̡̢̛̛̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̕̚̕̚ ̔̕̚̕̚ερ҉ ҉̵̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̿̿̿̕̚̕̚͡͡҉҉ ̵̡̢̛̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇̊̋̌̍̎̏̿̿̿̚Missingơ̵̡̢̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇̊̋̌̍̎̏̿̿̿̚ ҉ ҉҉̡̢̡̢̛̛̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̕̚ ̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̕̚̕̚ ̡̢̛̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̊̋̌̍̎̏̚ ̡̢̡̢̛̛̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̕̚̕̚ ̔̕̚̕̚ερ҉ ҉̵̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̿̿̿̕̚̕̚͡͡҉҉ ̵̡̢̛̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇̊̋̌̍̎̏̿̿̿̚
>> No. 7850
[X] Agree.
>> No. 7852
[x] You'd rather chat with Satori about Okuu.
[x] Namely, more about the rod on her arm and how she got it.

Let's see Satori's perspective on this whole mess.
>> No. 7853
[x] You'd rather chat with Satori about Okuu.
[x] Namely, more about the rod on her arm and how she got it.
>> No. 7854
[x] Agree.
[x] Wait, she can read our minds? Oh shit oh shit oh shit. Alright, keep calm. Steady breathing. Don't thi- OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DO NOT THINK ANY PERVERTED THOUGHTS ABOUT NITORI IN CAT EARS!!
>> No. 7855
[X] Start thinking about your book. Confuse Satori with your own messed up thought process.
>> No. 7859
File 123242471081.jpg - (288.33KB , 1240x1754 , edf80a32370828180cfcb6b66daf99cb.jpg ) [iqdb]
7859
[!/] You'd rather chat with Satori about Okuu.
[!/] Namely, more about the rod on her arm and how she got it.

NO KOISHI?!
>> No. 7860
[x] You'd rather chat with Satori about Okuu.
[x] Namely, more about the rod on her arm and how she got it.

>>7859

Possibly....Subterranean Animism Extra Stage is in progress. Please watch warmly until it is finished.
>> No. 7861
[x] You'd rather chat with Satori about Okuu.
[x] Namely, more about the rod on her arm and how she got it.
[X] Neural Spike
>> No. 7862
[x] You'd rather chat with Satori about Okuu.
[x] Namely, more about the rod on her arm and how she got it.
[X] Neural Spike
>> No. 7864
Apologies, but I had to contend with homework today. There will be an update tomorrow.
>> No. 7867
[x] You'd rather chat with Satori about Okuu

Satori begins to depart, as if she had already known the answer. Normally, you would go along with Nitori in a case like this; but, you crave information. The questions you have aren't going to answer themselves. It's likely that this person would know what happened, being able to read minds, and you're not about to pass up on the chance.

“Actually... Satori, was it?” You ask, causing her to stop in midair. “If you wouldn't mind, I'd like to ask about Okuu. Namely---”

“'What exactly happened?'.” She responds, without turning around. “I'm not sure. Okuu isn't the brightest, so I wasn't able to pull much useful information out of her. It is likely that that goddess you suspect was responsible, though.”

“You don't mind?”

There is a pause, as if she is searching for the right words.

“It irritates me.” She states quite plainly, “However, making the trip just to express my irritation is not worth the effort.”

“Found ya!”

A cat, presumably Orin, launches into the air, performing an impossibly large jump, landing on Satori's shoulder.

“Ah, Orin. I thank you for bringing these three to me.” Satori says, still not having bothered to turn around. “It was the right decision.”

“Sure thing! Did Okuu find you?”

“Ah, no...” Satori states, “I happened to be passing by.”

“Hmm... I think I still win, then,” The cat says, nodding to herself.

“An early dinner sounds fine, for your efforts.” Satori says, dropping the courtesy of repeating thoughts quite suddenly. At least, that's what you assume to be happening. “Our guests don't wish to eat with us, so you can play with them until dinner.”

Orin looks up.

“And yes, I can have that prepared for you.”

You would like to stay, but you get the feeling that any more would be pushing it with Nitori. She really doesn't seem to like this place.

Satori speaks up after a brief pause. “Well, then, if you three have no more questions...”

You do, and she knows it, but it's nothing too pressing. She obviously just wants to leave, having gotten anything she cared about out of your minds already. She departs, heading off into the darkness that makes up most of the mansion, although Orin stays.

“So, what do you think?” Orin asks, “She's pretty nice, isn't she?”

“Interesting, at least,” You say, avoiding the question. You get the feeling that she's much nicer to her pets than her guests. You glance to Nitori, expecting a comment, but she seems to have withdrawn for the moment. “What sort of game did you have in mind?”

“It's a surprise.” She says, grinning. “We'll have to wait for Okuu to come back, first.”

“I see. In that case...”

[ ] Stick around. You're curious as to what this game might be.
[ ] Take this opportunity to leave.
>> No. 7868
[X] Take this opportunity to leave.
>> No. 7869
[X] Take this opportunity to leave.
>> No. 7870
[x] Take this opportunity to leave.
>> No. 7871
[x] Take this opportunity to leave.
>> No. 7872
[x] Take this opportunity to leave.

To many votes to go against. I just hope we run into her on the way out.
>> No. 7873
[X] Take this opportunity to leave.
[X] Make an excuse to leave. Tell Orin to say goodbye to Okuu for us.

Sorry, but kappakappa doesn't feel well here.
>> No. 7874
[ ] Stick around. You're curious as to what this game might be.
>> No. 7875
File 123258336746.jpg - (68.16KB , 591x900 , 2750362.jpg ) [iqdb]
7875
[x] Take this opportunity to leave.
[x] Make an excuse to leave. Tell Orin to say goodbye to Okuu for us.

I can't take it easy like this.
>> No. 7876
[X] Take this opportunity to leave.
[X] Make an excuse to leave. Tell Orin to say goodbye to Okuu for us.

"This area just dosen't FEEL right." - Barney
>> No. 7982
>>7876
Just another reason that Barney is a creepy pedophile.
>> No. 8122
I meant Barney from Half-Life.