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7925 No. 7925
Because /youkai/ could use more activity.
---

"The first things you lost were your senses; you could not see, hear, smell, taste, nor feel what was happening to you, and perhaps that was just as well. Your body had become disconnected from the world, leaving only your consciousness tightly clinging on to the edge of reality.

And that was not something that would last for long. The next was your ability to think, and while the complete loss of your senses was so swift you had barely realized what was going on, the erosion of your consciousness was much slower, as the various knowledge of the world were ripped from your mind little by little.

Memories of the past were torn away, and that was when you no longer became aware of your situation. It was then that you had become “broken”, that is, when you became completely ignorant of the world and yourself, knowing only of the infinite nothing you were surrounded by.

And even that awareness of existing was taken away from you in time, as you became unable to think. You were then completely swallowed up by the void, a broken shell that could neither move nor understand anything, blissfully unaware of the world, and its own, existence.

It was, in a sense, a state of stasis beyond life or death, as you were unable to comprehend neither concept.

Because you are nothing."
---

Cold.

It’s cold.

Light. You can see light through your closed eyelids.

You struggle to open them, but to no avail. Your eyelids remain stubbornly fixed. Similarly, you can’t move any parts of your body at all, although you can feel your chest heaving up and down, indicating that you were, somehow, unconsciously breathing.

But you sure can feel them.

There’s a terrible, aching pain in your head. Your brain feels as though it were beating against your skull, sending spasms of pain through your cranium. How annoying.

For a while, you just stay as you are. There really isn’t much you could do at the moment, with your limbs refusing to budge. With no sense of time whatsoever, every moment feels as though it were an eternity, something worsened by your headache and apparent inadequate defense from the cold air.

That isn’t to say you’re not entirely without one. You can feel something soft and warm over your upper body. It’s quite comfy, although you really wished it would reach down to your feet; you’re not quite sure you can feel your toes anymore.

In the meantime, you make futile efforts to move your body, but the attempts not only fail, but also puzzle you. It’s as though you had no knowledge of how to move your body the way you want it to.

Your head continues send throbs of pain throughout your entire body. You really wish that would stop.

And then, you moved a finger.

It did not come in a moment of epiphany. Rather, your finger moved by itself after a particularly nasty throb of pain from your head, twitching slightly.

You focus your movement to the index finger that had moved, bending it slightly back and forth. It did not take much longer to regain the use of your entire hand.

But the effort tired you out. It takes you a moment to realize that you were breathing heavily, and with that came the realization that you were able to breathe consciously. Slowly, but surely, you were beginning to take steps into gaining living basics.

A bit more confident now, you slowly open your eyelids.

Bright. Too bright. You immediately shut your eyes, your sensitive pupils overwhelmed by the intensity of the sun’s light. You hadn’t realized that vision was such a horrible, painful thing. You slowly lifted your arm to your face, rubbing your eyes with the back of your hand.

It was a long process in getting used to the light of day, but eventually you seemed to have adjusted well enough in vision, and by that time, you finally succeeded in moving your legs.

Finally, you could examine your situation. Sluggishly, you shifted into a sitting position on the bare ground. The first thing you notice is what kept you warm; a blanket of brown fur, carelessly covering your torso. You note with annoyance that thing was big enough to cover your legs as well.

You lift up the fur blanket, wrapping the whole thing around your body, wearing it like a cloak of some kind; you were completely naked otherwise. You take a look around, and what you see doesn’t particularly impress you. You’re on a dirt patch in some kind of a slope going up, with rocks, rocks, and more rocks surrounding you.

You certainly can’t stay here forever, but at the moment you feel terribly exhausted; you’re not sure how long it’d take for you to even crawl anywhere, either. What now?

[] Man up, soldier. Pump those legs now.
[] Take a breather. It can't hurt to take a rest first, right?

>> No. 7926
[x] Man up, soldier. Pump those legs now.

I'm sure a stroll can shake off the tiredness.
>> No. 7927
[x] Take a breather. It can't hurt to take a rest first, right?
>> No. 7932
[x] Man up, soldier. Pump those legs now.
>> No. 7935
OP here. Decided to take up a name and a trip.

I'll get to writing once there's a few more votes.
>> No. 7936
[x] Man up, soldier. Pump those legs now.
>> No. 7937
[x] Man up, soldier. Pump those legs now.
>> No. 7939
[x] Man up, soldier. Pump those legs now.
>> No. 7940
File 123293760659.jpg - (225.86KB , 840x720 , youkaimountain.jpg ) [iqdb]
7940
[x] Man up, soldier. Pump those legs now.
---

Right. No use in staying around in the middle of nowhere.

Clutching the makeshift cloak tightly with your hands, you tie the ends of the blanket around your neck. This mostly restricts the use of your left arm, but you certainly aren’t willing to discard it in this cold climate.

Now then, it’s time for the reintroduction to the joys of bipedal walking. You don’t feel particularly enthusiastic about that, but you’d have to go through with it eventually anyway, as it is essential for getting around anywhere.

From your sitting spot, you placed your strength into your legs, attempting to push yourself off the ground. Yeah, that was a foregone failure from the beginning. It was incredibly awkward to stand up from this position, if you could just lean forward to support yourself with your hands…

You lie back down on to the ground and roll to your stomach, the uncomfortably moist dirt brushing against your face. You pull your right arm out of the blanket, so as to free it from its confines, and place it on the ground. Stretching your left arm as far as you could, you also place it on the flat inside surface of the cloak. With symmetrical strength, you push against the ground, lifting your torso off of it. Your arms feel terribly weak and sore, but you manage as you balance yourself on your knees.

Your legs aren’t in particularly great shape, either. Your thighs are wobbling, and you feel like your body would be too heavy to stand on them. Panting, you slowly crawl to one of the larger rocks that surrounded you, intending to use it as support to lift yourself from the ground.

The rock itself is about maybe half of your height, but it had a slippery surface. How odd for a chunk of rock to be so moist. Struggling to wrap your arms around it, you attempted to shift your body’s balance from the knees to your feet, starting with your right.

You can feel the damp earth underneath your feet, as you manage to hoist yourself up with some effort. Your legs are shaking from the effort of keeping yourself up, and you’re not sure you can keep standing without support from the rock.

Those damned headaches return, assaulting your brain relentlessly. They almost cause you to lose the frail balance you’re barely able to maintain, but you catch yourself before you fall.

You’re still out of breath, but your body actually feels a little better now. It’s warmed up slightly and your limbs are screaming in pain anymore. You shift away from the rock, and find that you’re able to stand without relying on it now; you’re adapting pretty fast.

You slowly take your first awkward step, afraid that you might slip and fall. Carefully, you take another step; and by then, your legs have stopped shaking so much. By your third step, walking almost feels natural to you.

You just stand there while looking around for a bit, attempting to catch your breath. The sun’s about to go over the horizon, which means you’d been here a lot longer than you thought. It’ll be night soon, and it occurs to you that you should probably find a shelter before the sun completely goes down.

Right, climbing up the slope doesn’t sound like a terribly bright idea, so you pick a path downwards and begin walking. You note that there’s a lot more greenery as you head down; you can spot some trees and grass fields. Walking on moist grass with your bare feet would probably feel a lot more pleasant if they weren’t about to freeze off.

As you continue downwards, you hear a familiar sound; the rushing of water. Now that you think of it, your throat feels parched; some sustenance would do it good. Now with a direction to head for, you strike out for the source of water.

It’s not long before you find the river; actually, there are several of them. There are four rivers, surrounded by tall trees, gushing downwards towards a steep fall. The other end of the rivers wraps around an imposingly large mountain; you figure you’re near the base of it.

As you approach the edge of the first river, you spot something out of place. At the bank of the river, there’s something… blue? You slow your pace, trying to get a better look at it first. Whatever it is…is…very blue, with something weird and black on its back and a small green head, with a neck that could only be called a monstrosity with…with two juts sticking out of both sides and dangling. What was this unfamiliar and inhuman thing?

And then it stands up and turns around, a sudden action that filled your heart with terror as you briefly considered turning tail and running away. And then you realize your error; the figure was actually humanoid…a girl about your height. It relieves you, but you kind of feel stupid for mistaking her for a monster.

You don’t get to do much other than stare at her before she takes a surprised glance at you and darts off into the trees. How strange; perhaps you were hideous? Well, you came to drink water, and water you shall get.
---
>> No. 7941
File 123293766035.jpg - (98.33KB , 800x1100 , momiji.jpg ) [iqdb]
7941
You walk to the bank of the river, shifting your fur cloak so that you could use both hands, although you felt a little uncomfortable with your front body exposed. Crouching down, you cupped your hands and scooped up water, gulping it down eagerly. You do this several times before your thirst is quenched.

You looked into the surface of the water, the current was a little too strong to make out much, but you could see a slight reflection in there. A boy with black hair, no older than 13 or 14 by the looks of his face, which was smeared with various bits of dirt. You reached into the water with both hands one more time, splashing your face and scrubbing it with your hands.

Refreshed, you adjust your fur cloak back to where it was, contemplating on what to do next. First of all, you’d have to find a reliable shelter and then maybe after that, some food…

As you wonder about how to accomplish these things, you absent-mindedly look towards the mountain, sighing as you briefly zoned out of your thoughts. Huh, that’s funny. There’s a growing dot in the center of the mountain.

No, wait, that wasn’t a dot. It was something heading down towards you. Your fight or flight instinct fails you, and you just stand there dumbly as the figure grew larger. As it approaches, you can make out a somewhat humanoid shape.

A woman with white hair and a red cap, carrying a wickedly curved, overly large scimitar in one hand and a shield in the other, dressed in white and red matching her hair and hat. That probably wasn’t good news, and you believe doubly-so after taking a look at her expression: she does not at all look pleased. More the contrary, really.

You decide to…

[] Just stay there. You haven’t done anything wrong, right?
[] Run away. You don’t like the look of that sword.
>> No. 7942
[x] Just stay there. You haven’t done anything wrong, right?
[x] Offer a weak wave.

Ignorance, be my shield.
>> No. 7943
>>7941
[X] Just stay there. You haven’t done anything wrong, right?
[X] Offer a weak wave.

Yup, first part of staying out of trouble is not acting like you are.
>> No. 7944
[X] Just stay there. You haven’t done anything wrong, right?
[X] Offer a weak wave.
>> No. 7945
... Hm.

{X} Just stay there. You haven’t done anything wrong, right?
{X} Offer a weak wave.
>> No. 7946
[x] Scream like a little girl and hit the ground.
>> No. 7947
Right. Expect an update tomorrow.
>> No. 7956
[x] Just stay there. You haven’t done anything wrong, right?
[x] Offer a weak wave.

Hey, Lion. Don't leave right away, ok? It's so lonely here...
>> No. 7965
>>7956

Is it? I quite like the calmness the mountain brings....
>> No. 7967
File 12330286132.jpg - (55.79KB , 384x600 , 1217087522.jpg ) [iqdb]
7967
[x] Just stay there. You haven’t done anything wrong, right?
[x] Offer a weak wave.

---

Yeah, you’ve got nothing to fear. The stream doesn’t belong to her, so there’s no reason she should be angry at you for drinking out of it. Still, that sword looks pretty sharp, so you’re feeling a bit meek at the moment, rather than any indignation.

Well, she’s not too far away now, and she’s rapidly closing the distance between you two, so you’d better do something to mark yourself as something decidedly not hostile.

You cautiously raise your right arm, your hand following it up rather limply and unenthusiastic. Spreading out your fingers weakly, you give the approaching woman a weak wave; even if she doesn’t appreciate it, at least she’ll know you don’t mean to do harm.

You didn’t exactly expect her to wave back at you or smile, but you certainly didn’t think she would raise her sword at you as she continued to fly towards you, now practically about thirty paces away.

Your heart feels like it just took a long drop off a mountain; seems the woman just didn’t care about your intentions at the moment. You feel yourself staggering backwards in shock, and somehow, you manage to trip over your own feet, landing on your behind with your right arm held out in front of you in an attempt at a feeble defense. Too late to run now; and even if you could, you’re not confident that you could run very well at all in the first place.

You squeeze your eyes shut out of instinct, not wanting to see the moment the blade would cut through your fur cloak and leave a bloody gash on your body. Please, White Devil, be merciful make it quick.

But it doesn’t come. You heard a light tap on the ground, which you assumed to be the woman having touched down onto ground level, but nothing else. There was no whistle of wind as blade cut through the air, and there were no further footprints.

Slowly, your eyes open, your arm remaining fixed where it was, despite already knowing that it wasn’t exactly going to block a sword. You see the woman a few paces away from you, her sword not quite ready to swing, but still in a position where it would be easy to use, as if daring you to try something. The woman herself was looking down at you with a cautious look in her face, you’re not quite sure at this distance, but you think you can see her nose twitch a little, as if sniffing the air. You vaguely wonder if you reeked or something.

The encounter remains in this standstill for a while, as you slowly lower your arm as she watches you squirm uncomfortably with caution. You decide it might be a good idea to stand up at this point, so you slowly attempt to get up. The woman tenses up a bit, but doesn’t seem to have any intentions to stop you. As you stand in full height, you feel a little more relaxed, and note some things about her.

First of all, she was either tall, or you were short, as she had about maybe half a head lead on you. Second of all, there was something weird behind her that you don’t think you saw earlier; something white swinging around behind her legs. Was…was that a tail? And on the top of her head were two points that twitched about. Ears, maybe? You must have mistaken that as part of her hair earlier.

A sharp, but somewhat shaky voice cuts your observations short, and your attentions focus on what you’re hearing.
“You’re…a human child, aren’t you?”

…….

“…How did the child of a human escape my watch over the waterfall…?”

…….

“…Well, human, I apologize for my earlier hostility. We, the Tengu, have had reasons to be on edge, lately; and I believe that holds even more so for your kind.”

…….

“…I will, however, have to ask you to leave the mountain immediately; not only are you intruding on the Tengu’s mountain, but it is also generally unwise for you to be here so close to sunset.”

You just stand there, staring up at the woman with what must be a dumb look on your face.

“…Did you not hear me, child?”

…You can’t understand anything you hear. They just sound like random noises to you.

“…Can you not understand what I’m saying?”

A blank look on your face is the only way you can respond to her. The woman frowns, lowering her sword to the ground as she began whispering to herself.

“..An outsider?..No, they’re generally found in strange garbs…If he were from the village, he would be able to understand me…I’ve never received orders for these kinds of situations, what should I do…?”

As she apparently contemplates various things, so do you. You wonder if you should run away while she’s distracted; but you’re not sure exactly what she wants with you, so you’re afraid that might provoke her into attacking you, but what if she’s trying to think of the most horrible ways to maim you?

Well, even after all that thinking, you couldn’t decide on a course of action, so you just stood there feeling rather stupid. Apparently, the woman didn’t have the same problem as you did, as she slowly walked towards you, her leaf adorned shield now strapped to her back; although she still held her scimitar in her hand.

“…Come with me, the Daitengus will know what to do …And it’s the end of my shift, anyway.”

She reaches out with her free hand, her slender fingers wrapping themselves around your wrist.

The moment she touches you, your head splits in two. Or at least it felt that way. In that instant, it felt as though someone had stabbed a hot knife into your skull and twisted it, as your mouth opened in a silent scream of anguish. With strength that surprised you, you jerked away from her grip, stumbling backwards and falling for the second time, breathing heavily as though you had just run a great distance.

The pain immediately vanishes as she lets go of you with a surprised look on her face, and you quickly get back up from the ground, attempting to calm your breathing. The woman looks uneasy for a while, before sighing and raising her free hand, pointing it behind you.

“Look, what’s that over there?”

Your gaze follows the direction of her finger as you turn around to take a look at what she was pointing at.

And then you feel a dull pain in the back of your neck. Before you have a chance to do anything, your vision blacks out and you fall forward to the ground.

Just before your consciousness fully leaves you, you hear one more thing from the White Devil.

“…Sorry about this, child…”

---
>> No. 7968
---
…murderous…all of them. …they should all just die…

…Of all the things to wake you, it’s that damned familiar throbbing in your head. Seriously, it’s a painful thorn in your si- er, head.

You think you dreamt of something important, but between the headache and general lack of understanding of, well, the concept of language; you quickly push that though out of your mind in favor of examining your current status.

The first thing you notice is that you’re clothed. You’re wearing a white kimono shirt, with a red hakama fitting loosely around your waist, held up by a black sash that hangs down your side. You’re kind of glad that they didn’t decide to dress you entirely in white; you have a feeling that would be rather unfortunate.

Sitting up, you seem to be in some kind of a cavern. But it wasn’t exactly the normal, hollowed out kind you’d expect. The place was well lit by candles, the walls were carved out evenly, and you were lying on a firm bed. Strangely enough, you can feel constant breeze here, gently brushing by your face, despite being, well, inside.

Looking to your left, opposite of the cavern walls that the hard bed was situated near, you find with no real surprise that there are iron bars obstructing you from leaving the room. Apparently, you’re imprisoned at the moment. Was this the woman’s personal dungeon or something? Well, she hasn’t killed you yet, which means you’re somewhat safe right now…

Shifting around, you noticed a tray at the foot of your bed. On the tray were a bowl of rice and broth, as well as a spoon. If she was kind enough to feed you, then maybe the situation wasn’t as bad as you thought it was.

You had trouble gripping the spoon the right way, but otherwise, you ate the meal in relative peace. Placing the tray back down where it was, you stood up and walked to the bars, gripping two of them with your hands. You can’t quite see much other than the cells opposite of yours, but you can hear footsteps approaching. Was it her?

What should you do…?

[] That White Devil tricked you and kidnapped you; try to escape the first chance you get.
[] She clothed and fed you, she can’t be that bad. Just remain cooperative with her.
>> No. 7970
[x] She clothed and fed you, she can’t be that bad. Just remain cooperative with her.
>> No. 7971
[x] That White Devil tricked you and kidnapped you; try to escape the first chance you get.
>> No. 7973
[x] She clothed and fed you, she can’t be that bad. Just remain cooperative with her.

So what, are we some kind of ancient human or something?
>> No. 7974
[x] She clothed and fed you, she can’t be that bad. Just remain cooperative with her.

Though, trying to escape from someone clearly bigger and faster and far more familiar with this territory then we ever could be would be pretty funny.
>> No. 7976
[x] She clothed and fed you, she can’t be that bad. Just remain cooperative with her.

I think maybe we're a feral child.
>> No. 7977
I think its more like having an old rig, then ripping most everything, except the HD, which was simply formatted with a new OS.

[X] She clothed and fed you, she cant be that bad
>> No. 7978
{X} She clothed and fed you, she can’t be that bad. Just remain cooperative with her.
>> No. 7979
[X] She clothed and fed you, she cant be that bad

Nice story so far, Lion. Definitely interesting!
>> No. 7981
[X] She clothed and fed you, she cant be that bad

I think we're Jesus Reimu.
>> No. 7984
>>7979

Thanks. I wasn't really too sure about starting a CYOA, so I'm glad to hear that.

Update later today.
>> No. 7985
>>7984

hooray!
>> No. 7986
File 123311302861.jpg - (337.24KB , 800x600 , fa391c9d6b1138cbaa9c598ecf509896.jpg ) [iqdb]
7986
[x] She clothed and fed you, she can’t be that bad. Just remain cooperative with her.
---

Well yeah, if that woman wanted to kill you, she’s had plenty of chances to do so while you were unconscious; there must be something else she wants, or she wouldn’t be so kind as to give you clothes, food, and a bed.

Still, you’re not exactly happy about being locked up in here, in an unknown place (though come to think of it, that was pretty much everywhere for you). You loosen your grip on the bars slightly, the surface of the metal becoming moist with cold sweat from your hands.

As the echoes of the footsteps resound throughout the cavern, growing louder by the second, you pick up new noises. You can hear two voices; one did indeed belong to the woman; recognizable as it was the only voice you could recollect. The second voice was a bit higher, and held a more rapid tone, making considerably much more noise than the other.

“..So the leaders of those youkai invasions have finally shown themselves, and get this: they’re completely foreign to Gensokyo! I think they call themselves vampires; and they’re supposedly really powerful!

Oh, but they can’t go out in sunlight; apparently, they led a group of their flunkies to attack the Human Village just the other night, but they couldn’t find it and retreated ‘cuz the sun was coming up.”

“…Well, daylight or no daylight, they certainly are causing everyone trouble. The Daitengu have been talking of the possible necessity to form a stronger defense force after they heard the wild youkai were gathering under a joint alliance.”

“Oh, we won’t need that. I heard the maiden of that godless shrine was getting ready to exterminate the leaders.”

“The Hakurei shrine maiden? Can she really do that?”

“I dunno, I heard some rumors in circulation that she beat off invaders from the outside world and that she exterminated the flower youkai, but the evidence is pretty dubious. Well, worst comes to worst, and we’ll just have to rely on the White Wolf tengu. You haven’t lost too much of your edge, have you?”

“…To be honest, it really has been a while since we’ve faced a serious battle, but I’m certain we wouldn’t lose to upstarts like them.”

“Good. That’s what I like to hear. Anyway, hold my camera for a bit, will you? Need to take notes for the interrogation.”

“…I didn’t speak up out of respect when I reported to the council, but I really doubt you’ll get anything out of that boy.”

“I know, I know, kid doesn’t seem to understand you, huh? Well, we’ll see if that’s true or not.”

You back off from the bars as the pair enters your range of vision. You’re glad to see that the white haired woman no longer bears her arms, instead carrying something that feels vaguely familiar in one hand. The source of the other voice, a woman with short, black hair and wearing a similar red cap on her head was floating besides her. So that’s why you didn’t hear a second pair of footsteps.

The white woman reached into her pants with her free hand, pulling out a jingling ring of keys. Carefully, she picked out one of many and inserted it into the lock, turning it and opening the door to the cell.

The black haired woman floats inside, an opened notebook and a black feathered pen in each hand. She takes a brief look at you, before frowning, clearly disappointed about something. You wonder again if your face was hideous to look at or something, you hadn’t taken a very good look at your reflection earlier…

“…Well, he certainly does look like a normal human child.” She says, her tone dropping a little as she brought the tip of the feather to her mouth, chewing on the end of it.

“…What exactly did you expect, Miss Shameimaru?”

“You know, something out of ordinary; like a mark on his forehead or a third eye. Doesn’t seem to have either of those, though.”

“He’d be a youkai if he did.”

“Well, he might still not be a lost cause. ‘A human child, raised by wolves in the wilderness of the mountains!’ That’s definitely unusual, isn’t it?”

“…We’re the only wolves on this mountain. And I really doubt the boy lived here up until now; we would have detected him years ago.”

“Well, you said it yourself that you didn’t see him climb up past the waterfall, didn’t you? Maybe your senses are growing dull with age~!”

“…I have confidence in my eyes and nose, Miss Shameimaru, they haven’t gotten worse in the thousand years we’ve been here.” Sighing, she added. “And you’re older than I am.”

The black haired woman widened her eyes a bit, turning her head to the other, looking at her as if she had discovered something profound and unknown.

“Really? Oh yeah, I am.” She said, a slight grin forming on her face. “I sort of stopped keeping track of my age after seven hundred and fifty-three.”

“…Well, if you’re curious, the hanataka tengu have records of the birth dates. And I believe we had a similar conversation to this about three hundred years ago.”
---
>> No. 7987
---
…You’re completely lost. They’ve apparently forgotten about you. Tired of standing around, you sat down on the bed, fidgeting your hands a little. As you did so, both of the women turned their heads toward you, apparently reminded of your existence.

“Oh, that’s right, the boy.” The black haired woman touched down on the ground, her notebook opened and resting on her left arm as she walked over to you, pen in hand. She leaned forward a little to reach eye-level with you, lowering the notebook in front of herself with the pen ready to write.

“Now then, can you tell me who you are?” There was a smile on her face that must have been practiced in front of a mirror many times.

Too bad you still didn’t know what the hell to do. You understand that the noises they made were for the purpose of communication, but you had no idea what they meant, so you, once again, decided to just stay quiet.

The woman frowned, but apparently this didn’t set her back enough to give up whatever she was trying to get you to do, as she opened her mouth to speak again.

“Hey, can’t you understand me? Or can you just not hear anything?”

And then she suddenly grabbed you by your shirt using the hand she held her pen with, and gave a short yell in your ear. Startled, you jerked back, cupping the ear she had screamed into.

“Nope, he’s not deaf, apparently.” She spoke, writing something in her notebook. “Guess he really just doesn’t know how to talk. Momi, take a picture of him; I suppose this is still an interesting enough scoop. Make it fast, the feast’s going to start soon.”

Finishing up what she had scrawled onto her note book, she placed the pen in the middle of it, folding the notebook. The white haired woman took the object in her hand, a black box, and held it up to her face, pointing it towards you as you looked up in curiosity. There was a loud clicking noise, and something popped out from the bottom of the box.

The black haired woman quickly snatched it from the box; it was flat, like paper, but firm. She began shaking it, and then took a glance at its surface. Apparently satisfied, she opened up her notebook once more and placed it inside the pages.

“Come on, Momi, let’s go. Can’t let the feast start with out us.” She spoke as she floated into the air again, drifting out of the cell without so much as another glance at you.

“…What do we do with him?” The white haired woman spoke in a slightly hesitant voice, looking at you in a mix of pity and unease.

The other woman turned around, apparently not too concerned. “Huh? I dunno, just bring him with us. He’s being escorted to the village tomorrow, right?”

“…I’m certain the Daitengu would not be pleased with that.” Came the reluctant reply.

“You worry too much, Momi. Everyone is in high spirits today, you know, now that we’ve discovered the source of the incident. They won’t mind too much.”

And with that, she was out of sight and earshot. The remaining woman gave a sigh, and then extended a hand to you, rather than attempt to grasp at your wrist like before. Seems she wants you to follow her.

She wasn’t going to hit you again if you refused her hand, was she?

[] Take her hand.
[] Get up and follow her; keep a distance between the two of you.
>> No. 7989
[x] Beaming smile.
[x] Take her hand.

orphan moe~
>> No. 7991
[x] Beaming smile.
[x] Take her hand.
>> No. 7992
[ ] Beaming smile.
[ ] Take her hand.

I like this.
>> No. 7993
[X] Beaming smile.
[X] Take her hand.
Since right now we're at the start of EoSD, I expect a time-skip later.
>> No. 7994
>>7993

We're actually a bit before EoSD.
>> No. 7995
{X} Beaming smile.
{X} Take her hand.
>> No. 7996
[X] Beaming smile.
[X] Take her hand.

Nice dog lady~
>> No. 8007
File 12332071442.jpg - (323.66KB , 751x1062 , 00313be5ce29d6307486f75e81772581.jpg ) [iqdb]
8007
[X] Beaming smile.
[X] Take her hand.
---

Well, she doesn’t seem intent on harming you, and you’re curious as to where she wants you to go. It’d be much better than being locked up in the cell anyway.

Looking up at the white haired woman, you figure it might be best to try to look friendly. A smile has a universal meaning, right? Nervously, you try to put on the best winning smile that you can, hoping you didn’t look too stupid or demented.

She looks a bit surprised, but soon returns your smile with a surprisingly gentle one herself. Now that she wasn’t carrying around a sword with that stern expression on her face, you realize that she’s, well, a very pretty lady.

Your confidence a little bolstered from this exchange of pleasantries, you reach out your hand and grasp hers.

The moment it makes contact, a chill runs down your spine, and you involuntarily shudder. This time, your head doesn’t feel like it’s exploding, but your vision grows slightly dimmer and your stomach feels as though it were churning around.

A reassuring squeeze on your hand snaps you out of it, and your body returns to normal. Seems you were out of it for a moment there. The woman has a concerned expression on her face. Not wanting to see her like that, you force another smile. Smiling felt kind of uncomfortable and strained your face; you couldn’t see how anyone could keep it up for too long.

You let her pull you up to standing position, and follow her out of the prison door. She shuts the door closed, but doesn’t bother to lock it again. You suppose it was for whoever would later come to pick up the tray left behind in the room. She holds your hand loosely, and the two of you begin walking down the corridor, yourself trailing behind a few steps.

Looking around, you see that the prison area wasn’t really being put to use. There were no other prisoners; apparently, you were the only one detained at the time. Sure was spacious in there, though; as you begin to exit the area, you look behind you and see dozens of other corridors, presumably filled with jail cells.

And throughout the whole place, you can feel a pleasant breeze from the same direction. You’re sure this probably wasn’t supposed to be a normal thing in tunnels, but it doesn’t really surprise you too much. No use getting confused over something you weren’t going to get to ask about any time soon.

The walk took several minutes, having gone through numerous turns in what seemed to be completely identical corridors, lit by bright torches on the walls of the tunnels. You’re sure that you would have gotten lost if you had tried to navigate the place by yourself.

The woman comes to a stop at the end of corridor; though this one was much wider than the others. There was a large double-set of doors, easily dwarfing you by at least four times your own height. Clearly, this meant that there was something important and grand on the other side of the door.

Outside, the black haired woman from earlier was waiting, her arms crossed and one foot tapping on the floor.

“Kept me waiting long enough,” the woman spoke with a slight grin, walking over to the white haired woman. “The others’ve started drinking already.”

“…Miss Shameimaru, I still don’t think it’s a good idea to bring him here.”

“Then take him back to the detention area and just leave him there ‘til morning.”

“…Well that’s a bit...”

“Then come on.”

The white woman seems to concede to defeat, and the other opens the large doors, slipping through. Feeling a tug on your hand, you cautiously follow your escort through the doors.

You feel the woman’s hand slip out of yours as you enter, but you’re too busy taking in the sights to notice. First off; the room is big. As in, you could probably fit a thousand people here. It was filled to the brim with a strange variety of entities, sitting around large, rectangular tables; some had white hair, pointed ears on the top of their head, and a white fluffy tail like the woman you know, while the ones that stood out most were easily twice the size of average men, with red skin and squashed, potato-like noses. You wondered if they always looked so angry.

“Just a sec, I’m going to report to Lord Tenma about the boy,” the black haired woman said, walking off into the crowd of tables. Your gaze follows her figure, and lands on probably the most conspicuous person in the room.

If the room was big, then this person was huge. He dwarfed everyone in the room; even the freakishly large entities paled in comparison to this monstrosity of a man. His skin was an angry tone of red, with white hair tied up above his head in a bun, and thick eyebrows and a full beard of the matching color. His nose was pointed, yet wide, making up much of his face in proportions.

The black haired woman has to fly up to reach his face, making wild gestures you’re not sure you would be able to comprehend even if you knew the language here. The giant nods as he continues to listen to the woman, and then dismisses her with a wave of his hand.

She makes her way back to you, floating down to the ground.

“Lord Tenma says he doesn’t mind. He’s in a good mood today. Come on, let’s go take a seat.”
---
>> No. 8008
File 123320717497.jpg - (78.26KB , 384x512 , hanataka.jpg ) [iqdb]
8008
---
You feel a tug on your sleeve, and you focus your attention on the woman beside you, who looks a bit anxious. She gently grips your wrist, and you allow her to pull you along as she follows the black haired woman.

The three of you settle at a table not too far from the entrance. Pulling out cushions from a pile underneath the table, the women sit down, and so you follow suit and sit on a cushion yourself.

There was only one other person sitting at the table, opposite of you. One of the red skinned people, but this one was different; his nose was long and pointed instead of squashed and wide, and he was much shorter than the others; you were at least a head taller than he was. At your arrival, he raised an eyebrow, but did not address you, remaining quiet as he poured …water (?) into a red bowl from a bottle.

The black haired woman reached for it, pouring herself a bowl, and taking a quick swig, downing it in one go. She let out a content sigh, and offered the bottle to the woman beside her, who accepted it with grace and poured it into her bowl, setting it back down on the table. Unlike the black haired woman, she drank only in small sips.

The short man finally spoke up, talking in a scratchy voice that sounded more like growls than anything.

“…That da human boy?”

“…Yes, he’ll be escorted to the Human Village tomorrow morning,” it was the white haired woman who answered him.

“…Don’t see why you brought him here, but whatever. I won’t judge him because he’s human, instead…”

He reached out and grabbed an unused bowl, taking the bottle with his other hand and pouring the contents into the bowl.

“Let’s see how he drinks,” he said with a twinkle in his eyes that made you feel uneasy. He reached over and placed the bowl on your side of the table, then stared at you, as if expecting you to do something. …Did he want you to drink it?

The white haired woman opened her mouth, as if attempting to protest against it, but a glance from the man seemed to shut her up, as she remained silent, taking sips from her bowl.

[] Drink.
[] Don’t dri-

The man pushed the bowl a little nearer to you. No getting out of this one; one way or another, that man was going to see you drink.

Nervously, you reached out and held the bowl in both hands. You’re suddenly uncomfortably aware of the fact that many of the other people sitting in their own tables were watching you, and you bring the edge of the bowl to your lips.

The “water” smells sour, so you hold your breath as you attempt to down it in one go like the black haired woman.

Your throat burns; the taste is too bitter for you to handle. You cough while still in the middle of drinking the foul stuff; some of it goes through to your nostrils, filling it with the same burning sensation and sour odor. You sputter and cough like a man in his death throes. You hear an eruption of laughter surrounding you, but you feel too horrible to really care. Was that man trying to poison you? This stuff was intolerable.

The man in question was apparently having the laugh of his life, which kind of pisses you off; you can feel your face growing hot. Beside you, the black haired woman was also laughing, though not nearly as obnoxiously loud as that man. The white haired woman, however, did not look very amused.

Out of spite, you snatch the bottle from the short man’s hand, and pour it into your bowl. The laughter among the group hadn’t quite subsided, but their looks remained fixated on you as you brought the bowl to your lips again.

You take a careful sip. It feels like as though cold fire had been shot down your throat. Bracing yourself, you down the bowl, scrunching up your face as you set it down on the table with a clank. The man looks amused, and pours into your bowl, which you quickly gulp down. And then he poured into his own bowl and drank, and then into yours…

---

You’re not sure how long it’s been, but the room was deadly quiet at this point. When the others saw your match of endurance with the man opposite you, they too drank with fervor. And now most of them lay slumped over on their table, completely out of it.

In your table, the man was still conscious, although earlier you hadn’t thought it would be possible for his skin to be any more red. There were several empty bottles rolling on the surface of the table. The white haired woman had left the room some time ago, and the black haired woman had fallen asleep on the floor, muttering something about “an oni”, whatever that was.

Your head remains remarkably clear, although you can practically feel your stomach sloshing around with how much you drank. Clumsily, you poured the most recent bottle into your bowl, downing it without any effort. You push the bottle to the man, who spills quite a bit of it as he attempts to pour it. He set the bottle down on the table, only to knock it over to the floor with his elbow as he brought up his bowl to drink. He practically pours the liquid all over his face as he falls over backward, knocked out. Victory is yours.

You look around the room; there were only a few who had not retreated from the room or had not passed out. One of them, of course, was that giant of a man who carried an appropriately large bowl for “water.” He was watching you, you realize, and as your gaze is fixed on his face, he lets out a booming laugh that you think might have rendered you deaf if you were too close to him.

You feel dizzy…You want to sleep…

[] …Not yet. One enemy remains.
[] Pass out.
>> No. 8009
[] …Not yet. One enemy remains.
>> No. 8010
[x] …Not yet. One enemy remains.

DOHOHOHOHOHOHO
>> No. 8011
[x] …Not yet. One enemy remains.

We must continue. This is the only path.
>> No. 8012
[X] …Not yet. One enemy remains.

WHO NEEDS A LIVER?
NOT US!
>> No. 8013
[] …Not yet. One enemy remains.

Unlimited Intoxication Works
>> No. 8014
related?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivLk89JGMZU
>> No. 8015
>muttering something about “an oni”, whatever that was.

But how would we know that?

[X] …Not yet. One enemy remains.

>>8012
We can always take Mokou's later.
>> No. 8016
[x] …Not yet. One enemy remains.
Fuck year
>> No. 8017
[x] …Not yet. One enemy remains.
>> No. 8018
>>8015

Yukari did it, Eirin's shady new drug, writefag fucked up, etc.
>> No. 8019
[x] …Not yet. Our deed is not yet done. Our arch-enemy remains, and as long as it stands, we can't gain our peace.
>> No. 8020
[X] …Not yet. One enemy remains.
Drinking with lord Tenma? Awesome.
>> No. 8021
>You look around the room; there were only a few who had not retreated from the room or had not passed out. One of them, of course, was that giant of a man who carried an appropriately large bowl for “water.” He was watching you, you realize, and as your gaze is fixed on his face, he lets out a booming laugh that you think might have rendered you deaf if you were too close to him.

This story has the potential for greatness.
>> No. 8023
>The moment it makes contact, a chill runs down your spine, and you involuntarily shudder. This time, your head doesn’t feel like it’s exploding, but your vision grows slightly dimmer and your stomach feels as though it were churning around.
>…murderous…all of them. …they should all just die…
>the first few paragraphs of the prologue

Epileptic tree time.

A group of youkai, or the Tengu, specifically, did something so utterly horrible to this boy and possibly anyone related to him, that he responded by repressing most of his memories. The only thing he can recall now is the intense fear that he associates with being in close proximity to such things. He just doesn't understand why yet.

Saging myself for rampant speculation faggotry.
>> No. 8024
[x] …Not yet. One enemy remains.
---

That’s right, the battle’s not over just yet. You’ve gotten this far, having defeated myriads of opponents much bigger and stronger than you were, and now it was time to take down the head honcho of the bunch, or die trying.

Scowling, you push yourself up off the floor, grabbing an unopened bottle of “water” from the table. Your glare was fixated on the face of the boss, who watched you an amused expression. Yeah, you’ll give him something to smile like an idiot about, you think.

But whoa, did you forget how to walk in the last few hours or something? You can’t seem to do it properly; many times you narrowly avoid tripping on a waylaid cushion or a collapsed body. Must be all the water in your stomach throwing off your balance somehow.

As you approach that giant figure of a man, your arch-nemesis looking down on you with that big, ugly nose, you feel heroic; like a man marching off into battle against an entire army by himself, with this colossal monster being the only foe left on the battlefield. You feel a grin creeping onto your face as you continue to walk towards your enemy.

You stand merely paces away from the giant, who continues to watch your actions as you look up at him with a determined expression. You shake your head in an attempt to stop swaying on the spot so much, and bring up the bottle, unscrewing the lid with your other hand and throwing it aside With the bottle still in hand, you throw out your clenched fist up at the enemy; some of the water inside the bottle spills out, dripping down your hand. You had made the silent declaration of battle.

The man’s smile couldn’t be any wider, stroking the point of his white beard with the tips of his fingers. Leaning forward to get a better look at your tiny figure in comparison to his, he spoke with a deep, rumbling voice.

“…Oh ho, this human child wishes to challenge the Chief of the Tengu? A daft kid, although I know not if he is motivated by ignorance or courage exaggerated by alcohol.”

What an idiot, was he talking to himself? He talks too much; this was a battle between two men. Words had no place in this competition for who would live and who would die; especially since you couldn’t understand him in the first place.

“Inubashiri, fetch me more sake, a tengu cannot back down from a challenge,” the man barked in a rumbling voice that rattled your bones, leaving your ears ringing.

The white haired woman emerged into view, hovering in the air while carrying the mother of all bottles. You feel a little shaken by the size of the thing; it was probably almost as tall as you were. Yet this lady carried it effortlessly; right into the hand of the giant. She then stepped down on to the ground, giving a brief, worried glance at you before walking away. Hey, you ought to be more concerned about your leader; because you were going to win.

Narrowing your eyes, you grab a nearby unused bowl from a table closest to you. Keeping your eyes fixed on the foe, you eagerly gulp down the water; your taste buds had long been put to sleep by the bitter sensation that the fiery drink brought, so it took no effort to chug it down. Finishing your drink, you wait as the giant does the same; pouring his huge bottle into his equally huge bowl, and drinking it in one go. You then pour the water into your own bowl, and drink it; the two of you take turns drinking, the first to fall would be the loser. The victor would stand alone.

---

You think you’ve gone through three or four bottles by now; you’re not quite sure anymore. Actually, you’re not sure of anything at the moment. You can’t remember why you’re drinking, but you just continue downing the stuff. You just know that you can’t stop, that stopping now would mean defeat.

Your eyes are drooping, and you find it terribly hard to keep them open. But you can’t give up now; you had to keep going. Brave the wind just a little longer.

Tired of standing, you crouch down to sit on the floor. Oh damn it, you dropped the bowl. And now you can’t keep your eyes open; can’t find the bowl without ‘em. Why were you trying so hard, anyway? Can’t remember; just want to go to sleep. You feel your head slump backwards…



Your eyes drift open for just a small moment. Your head is beside another person’s. It was the white haired woman, seems she was carrying you on her back. Your arms lay slumped around down her shoulders; her back is pleasantly warm to the touch. How cozy.

Closing your eyes once more, you wrap your arms a little tighter around her, resting your head against her shoulder. The rhythmic pace from the walk eventually rocks you back to sleep.

……
---

There’s something pulsating.

It feels so very familiar.

But you’re not sure what it is.

It’s
eerily
beautiful
yet
so
sad



[] Reach out.
[] …No. Stay away.
>> No. 8025
>>8024

Forgot my trip.
>> No. 8026
[] Reach out.
>> No. 8027
[x] Reach out.

OOOH, WHAT'S THIS BUTTON DO?
>> No. 8028
[X] Reach out.
>> No. 8029
[] Reach out.

BOOM!!
>> No. 8030
[X] …No. Stay away.
No don't!
>> No. 8031
{X} …No. Stay away.
>> No. 8032
[x] …No. Stay away.
>> No. 8033
>She then stepped down on to the ground, giving a brief, worried glance at you before walking away. Hey, you ought to be more concerned about your leader; because you were going to win.

I like this kid.

>>8024
[X] Reach out.

The world has grown cold. We're drifting out all on our own.
>> No. 8034
Doesn't afraid of anything.

[x] Reach out.
>> No. 8036
[x] Reach out.

Sure I'll take it.
>> No. 8037
Must touch. Must know.
[X] Reach out.

What might it be?
>> No. 8040
[x] Reach out.
>> No. 8044
File 123338096682.jpg - (17.22KB , 500x540 , 12232312312.jpg ) [iqdb]
8044
[x] Reach out.
---

You want to know.

You want to reach out and grasp it in your hands.

But your hands won’t move.

That indescribable something remains out of your hands

(…do you want to know…)

A voice. You don’t think that’s your voice. Annoying.

(…don’t do it…)

Shut up.
You can’t understand it anyway.

That voice should know that you can’t.

There’s no use in talking to you.

(…you’re throwing it all away…)

Shut up.

(…a chance to live…)

Shut up shut up shut up!

(…)

Silence. Silence is good. That voice finally stopped talking.

Your focus shifts to the desirous object.

It’s closer now.

If you could move your arms, you could grab it with the tips of your fingers.

But were your arms even there?

You’re not sure. But you can’t feel anything right now.

You will the object towards you.

Slowly, it grows larger and larger.

And then, it completely fills your vision.

And a million voices erupt in your head.

“-he is currently preparing for th-“

“Hey, big brother, is father going to b-“

“I’ll sell it later…”

“-yes, I’ve always hated h-“

“… was a lie, wasn’t it? He’s dead, that’s what happened, isn’t it?!”

“…Forgive me…”

“…going to be alright, I promise…”

“…big brother, mother’s song…”

“Hey kid, you alright?”

“…You’re a monster.”

“…protected by the descendant of the Yellow-”

“…power of the Haku-“

“…foolish boy, what do you hope to accomplish?”

“…you’re something that shouldn’t exist.”

Stop it.

“…if only a miracle would happen…”

Please, stop it.

“…Miracles don’t exist in this world…do you know why?”


Stop stop stop stop stop.

“…Don’t worry about it so much…”

STOP IT!

“…That won’t ever happen…”

STOPSTOPSTOPSTOPSTOPSTOPSTOPSTOPSTO-

And then you see it.

A body. Battered, broken, bloodied, and chained…

---

You wake up.

Beads of sweat run down your head as you sit up, your breathing is irregular, and your heart feels as if it was ready to give out on you at any second.

You shake your head, trying to calm yourself down. You just sit there for several minutes, attempting to recollect yourself. When your body stopped apparently going haywire on its own, you decide to check out your surroundings.

…You don’t seem to be in that cell you were in earlier, which you vaguely remember having left (though the details after that were a bit hazy). But rather, it seemed you were in some sort of...sleeping quarters? There were many folded blankets on one corner of the rather large room, although yours was the only one that seemed to be in use.

As you stand up, you feel a weight somewhere in your lower body that causes you discomfort.

Oh. You have to go pee. Thank the gods you didn’t wet yourself after that nasty dream. Fortunately enough, you think you see what happens to be a relief room near the other end of the room.

---

After taking care of business, you emerge feeling relie- well, okay, so you felt terrible. You didn’t think it was possible for your body to hold that much water without turning into some sort of slimy blob thing. What the hell did you do last night, pump yourself up with a river?

In addition, you felt like you were going to vomit; except there was probably nothing in your stomach other than that meager amount of rice you had yesterday, which had probably been properly digested by now. Not to mention there was this annoying ringing in your head that really got on your nerves

What got you into this jittery mood, anyway? Something about a dream you had? Well, whatever it was you were dreaming about, you sure don’t recall it anymore. Can’t be all that important if you don’t remember, so oh well.

You’re indoors, so you can’t tell what time of the day it is, and you’re certainly not going back to sleep like this. You decide to…

[] Go out and explore.
[] Just wait around; don’t want to get lost, now.
>> No. 8045
[] Just wait around; don’t want to get lost, now.

“…power of the Haku-“

Oh snap. Hakutaku alert.
>> No. 8046
[x] Just wait around; don’t want to get lost, now.

Dutifully waiting for the woman who's been taking care of us. And without knowing the language, we won't be able to apologize in the event we pissed anyone off last night.
>> No. 8047
[x] Go out and explore.
>> No. 8049
[x] Go out and explore.
Get out the random encounter table.
>> No. 8050
[X] Just wait around; don’t want to get lost, now.
Alternating between being careful and acting dangerously works.
>> No. 8051
[X] Just wait around; don’t want to get lost, now.
>> No. 8052
[X] Just wait around; don’t want to get lost, now.

Showing promise.
>> No. 8053
File 123343521410.jpg - (206.97KB , 940x704 , ab0733edcbffeb06e705df3c8591cfe5.jpg ) [iqdb]
8053
[x] Just wait around; don’t want to get lost, now.
---

Yeah, there’s no reason to go poking around, especially since it seems you were still inside the tunnels, there was no way you could navigate around those by yourself.

But you can’t seem to bear standing around doing nothing, so you pace around the room nervously, occasionally bringing up your index and middle fingers to massage your temples.

Eventually, your legs get tired from the walk, and so you sit down on the blanket and mat that you were sleeping on. Placing your palms on the floor behind your back, you stretch out your legs and look up at the ceiling.

On the ceiling were a countless number of bumps and mini-stalactites. Desperate to keep yourself amused, you think about counting them, but you figure you don’t have nearly enough fingers or toes to keep track of it for long.

Just as you’re beginning to think that you’re about to be bored out of your mind, you hear approaching footsteps, echoing throughout the hollow corridor outside the room. Your glance fixates itself on the sliding door that would lean in to the room. You have a good idea of who it is, but still.

As you expected, as the sliding door opens, you see the white haired woman, stepping into the room, carrying folded clothes in her arms. Following behind her was the black haired woman, who seemed excited about something, chattering to her companion about something.

“...this is unprecedented; I didn’t think I’d see the day. It’s a real shame we were forbidden to make a report about it, or else all of the crow tengu would be on it and have copies distributed all over Gensokyo!”

“…Well if you’re looking for something to report on, Miss Shameimaru, there’s the incident with the vampires, isn’t there?”

At the mention of this, the black haired woman scowled, as if she had just been forced to swallow something that tasted horrible.

“…Lord Tenma already dispatched some of the crow tengu to gather information about the outcome. They’ll have it covered way before I do.”

Her expression, however, brightens considerably when she notices you. She quickens her pace of walking, overtaking the white haired woman as she approaches you. Squatting down, she reaches out with her hand and ruffles your hair, causing you to wince and shift around uncomfortably.

“Ah, here’s the little star of the day,” she says playfully, beaming at you. “Looking a little under the weather, if I may say so. I guess he really is just human. I was nearly convinced we’d picked up an oni.”

You wish she’d take her hand off of your head already.

“Careful, Miss Shameimaru, I don’t think the boy responds very well to touch.”

“Oh, that so?” she takes a brief glance at the white haired woman, and withdraws her hand. “Well then, Momi, let’s get on with it. Lord Tenma doesn’t like to be kept waiting, after all.”

The white haired lady sets the folded clothes beside your blanket, and then extends out a hand towards you. You reach out and take her hand, allowing her to pull you up to your feet. The woman lets go of your hand and reaches down for the clothes, letting it unfold in the air as she picks it up. It’s a light blue yukata, probably only used for ceremonial occasions. You hold still as the woman walks behind you and lifts up your arms to a cross position. She then slips the fabric across your arms, over your shirt and hakama. You don’t let out a single squirm as she nearly hugs your midriffs to tie the strips of cloth together.

The black haired woman watches with an amused look on her face, fanning herself with her notebook.

“The kid sure looks comfortable around you,” she says.

“You think so, Miss Shameimaru?”

“Uh-huh. I think he’s taken a liking to you. Well, he’s dressed. Let’s get going.”

The white haired woman grasps your wrist, pulling you along as the three of you exit the room, closing the sliding door behind you.

---

They led you to a huge room. You think it feels a bit familiar, but you can’t really remember. How frustrating. Anyway, apparently there’s something big going on, as a huge giant of a man is sitting down at the center of the room, wearing a light blue yukata much like the one that you were wearing, although scaled up appropriately. Beside him sits a short, old looking man with along, exaggerated nose. There’s only a single table laid out in the room, directly in front of the giant, and on it were two very small cups, and one that was more of a bucket than a cup.

There were other people standing around, seemingly hundreds of them lined up against the walls. Some of them wore neutral expressions, other seemed a bit bothered, and most looked a little curious or confused. The black haired woman left you to join the line, and began chatting animatedly with others there.

The white haired woman then led you to the center of the room, bowed to the giant and the short old man and left to stand with the others. Feeling a bit small alone, you kneel down on the cushion and look up at the face of the giant. It’s difficult to tell his expression.
After a few seconds of silence, the giant speaks up in a rumbling voice, stroking his beard with one hand.

“…Ogata, what are you planning to do with the boy? In the thousands of years that we’ve lived, there hasn’t been something like this.”

Seems he was talking to the short old man next to him. The man gave a toothy smile, exposing crooked, yellow teeth.

“Consider it a request from an old friend, Tenma. I can’t be the only tengu on the mountain to not have anything to do other than drink and smoke,” the old man spoke up, taking a look beside him. “I haven’t been able to do my job in decades, nay, hundreds of years!”

“…Besides, this boy seems to be a rare kind. Only the oni have been able to match the tengu in drinking, yet this human child…”

He lets out a rather grim chuckle that makes you feel so very uncomfortable with him.

“Hahaha, well, you’re right about that. Certainly, a human who can match us in drinking are not at all very commonplace.” The giant looks amused, lowering his hand and taking into it a giant bottle. Taking off the lid, he poured the contents into his huge cup, and as he did so, the short old man beside him did the same.

“Cheers,” the old man said, clanking his tiny cup against the giant’s bucket; you’re amazed that the giant hadn’t flattened the old man or knock the cup out of his hand. They then downed the cups and set them back down on the table.

The small old man then stares at you intently, scratching the tip of his nose. You try not to show that it bothers you.

“…Let’s see, he’ll need a name for this, won’t he…” the old man muses.

---

Pick a name.
>> No. 8054
>>8053

[x] Kirita
>> No. 8055
{X} Kirita
>> No. 8057
[x] Kirita
>> No. 8058
[x] Kaiba
>> No. 8059
>>8058

I see what you did there.
>> No. 8060
>>8059

Everyone here should have. Shit was so cash.
>> No. 8061
[x] Kirita
>> No. 8063
[] Tyrannosatan

[X] Kirita
>> No. 8064
Kirita is a surname. Try again.
>> No. 8065
[x] Mikio

Mikio (酒喜男) is a male given name meaning "boy who takes pleasure in alcohol".
>> No. 8066
I'm going to suggest a bunch of names here. Tell me if one of them interests you, okay?

[X] Yamada Tarou
[X] Nanashi Gonbee
[X] Nanino Nanigashi
>> No. 8067
As the guy who just suggested a bunch of names, I'd like to offer a seconding of

[X] Mikio
>> No. 8068
[x] Yoshitsune Kurama
>> No. 8069
>>8054
>>8065

Mikio Kirita it is, then.
>> No. 8070
File 123346599125.jpg - (721.22KB , 1024x768 , mof.jpg ) [iqdb]
8070
[x] Mikio Kirita

---

“Mikio,” the old man spoke up suddenly, after a bit of a pause. He seemed rather pleased with himself.

“…Ogata, if that’s written the way I think it is…”

“It’s a fine name for a man, ain’t it?”

“Hah! Well, I won’t argue with that.”

A moment of silence passes; the giant is the one to break it, clearing his throat.

“…Is that all, Ogata?”

“…Huh? What d’you mean, Tenma?”

“Aren’t you going to give him a family name?”

“Eh? What’s the boy need that for, Tenma? Just call him by his given name. Or just make that both. Mikio Mikio doesn’t sound that bad, does it?”

“…Do things properly, Ogata. You’re the one who asked for me to do this.”

“Fine, fine,” the old man seemed to be contemplating something again. “Kirita.”

“Any stories behind that one?”

“Just something that came to mind,” the old man shrugged. The giant seemed satisfied, and waved a hand to one of the groups of people lined up on a wall, beckoning them towards him.

Two of the people came forward, ones that looked mostly normal, with regular skin tones and height, various hair colors, but with pronounced long noses like the short ones that you saw. They carried a humongous scroll in their arms, and presented it towards the giant. They were followed by another person, carrying a normal sized writing set.

The giant accepted the scroll, and the pair that had carried it to him gave a curt bow to him a returned to the wall. Similarly, the short old man accepted the set from the taller man and dismissed him.

The scroll was unrolled vertically; there was hardly any blank space leftover on the paper. The thing was packed with strange letters that resembled pictures, and beside them were what appeared to be marks of fingers; somewhere of normal size, others were huge. And despite the size of the scroll, the letters were much smaller; you assume that the short old man had written them. There must be a lot of things written in there; the letters were so small yet the considerably large roll of paper was practically filled.

The small old man had been preparing the ink while this happened, grinding the ink with the ink stick and spreading it over the stone. Satisfied, he laid the stick out beside him and dipped an inkbrush, soaking it with ink. The giant presented the blank part of the paper towards him, and he began to run the brush over the paper.

“…Hm, well, I suppose the fingermark could be done at a later time than now,” the old man mused, setting the brush down on the stone. The giant laid that part of the scroll out on the floor, presumably waiting for it to dry.

“Now then, let’s begin the ceremony, Tenma.”

“…Remember, Ogata, the boy will be your responsibility.”

“Of course,” saying this, the old man poured the contents of a bottle into a cup in front of you, careful not to spill any onto the table. The giant did the same to his bucket of a cup.

“…I, Tenma of the Mountains, hereby declare Kirita, Mikio into the proud clan of the tengu,” he spoke in a grave voice.

The giant then took hold of the cup and raised it from the table, and reached down towards you, so that his cup was in arms reach. You’re a bit confused, but then you remember what the two men did before, and so you pick up the cup with both hands.

The giant nodded, and continued to speak in that same, grave tone.

“Kirita, Mikio. After this drink, you will have been officially accepted into the clan, and you will forever swear your loyalty and your dut-“

“Cut the crap, Tenma. The boy can’t understand you in the first place,” the old man piped in, interrupting him. The giant looked a bit offended, but nevertheless, he did stop talking and merely reached his cup out a bit further.

You suddenly feel nervous all of a sudden. The two men in front of you both looked at you expectantly, but you can also feel the glares from the hundreds of people gathered in the rooms; probably many of the people there had an expression that you wouldn’t want to see. Still, you were even more frightened of what the giant may do to you if you refused to do as he expected, so you raised up both arms and clanked the cups with him.

The giant brought the cup to his mouth and drank, setting it back down on the table, and watched as you did the same. The water was bitter, but surprisingly enough, you had no trouble coping with the taste as you downed it all. Setting the cup down on the table, you couldn’t help but think that you had just done something you would never be able to take back.

There was an eruption of applause around you; out of curiosity, you took a look around you. Several of the black haired people were clapping excitedly, while others seemed to do it rather begrudgingly. You can’t help but feel a bit embarrassed.

“Lord Tenma!” A sudden call from the entrance interrupts the spectacle, and the claps almost immediately die down as a pair of black haired men flew into the room. They quickly shot over next to the giant, not even sparing a glance at you. They kneeled on one knee, and then began talking animatedly.

“Lord Tenma, the issue with the foreign threat has been resolved.”

“She succeeded in defeating the vampire’s legions? What has become of them?”

“Sir, she directly battled the leader of the threat and prevailed. The vampire fled to the outside world after defeat; its forces were broken and scattered.”

“I see. Anything further to report?”

“Yes, sir. The Hakurei shrine maiden has also issued several decrees throughout Gensokyo,” at this, the man seemed a bit uncertain of whether to continue or not. “…but may we report the details in private, Lord Tenma?”

“…Hmm…certainly, you may,” the giant replied, stroking his beard. Must be a habit. “…Ogata, I apologize, but it seems this may be of importance.”

“Sure, sure, no problem,” the old man said, standing up from the floor. As he did so, he grabbed what appeared to be a staff with several metal rings dangling from the tip of the head. “I’ll finish up here. Go on.”

The giant stood up, and briskly walked around the table and past you, following the flying pair that had been addressing him. You can feel the floor shake with each step he takes. What a scary person.

The old man walks over to you, staff in hand. As you look up at him, he extends a rough, wrinkled hand towards you, showing you that toothy grin again, which added to his rather sinister appearance.

“…Welcome to Youkai Mountain, kid.”

---

END OF CHAPTER 1

---

And because I am an uncreative bastard,

Pick a title for the story:
>> No. 8071
>Pick a title for the story:

[x] Tengu Ninja Gaiden
>> No. 8072
File 123347120553.jpg - (47.82KB , 500x254 , joker.jpg ) [iqdb]
8072
>>8071

Let's be a bit more serious here.
>> No. 8074
File 123347215440.jpg - (18.45KB , 310x205 , Joker_.jpg ) [iqdb]
8074
>>8072

Fine.

[x] Fragmentation of Memories

If only because it's MoF backwards and I'm suspecting that the protagonist's lost past is very important to the story.
>> No. 8075
[x] On Mountain High.
>> No. 8076
>>8072

Youkai Mountain Limited Adventure 2?
>> No. 8078
[x] Tengudō: Lone Wolf & Cub

Meandering the tengu path to Enlightenment.
>> No. 8081
[x] Tengu Crew: Wrath of Noses.
>> No. 8083
{~} Fragmentation of Memories
>> No. 8084
[x] Fragmentation of Memories
>> No. 8085
>>8072
Yume Sake Kusuri.

...Alright, seriously seriously this time.
[X] Fragmentation of Memories
>> No. 8087
[x] Fragmentation of Memories
>> No. 8088
[X] Fragmentation of Memories
Fine as any I suppose.
>> No. 8090
[x] Fragmentation of Memories
>> No. 8091
So, how long till someone runs a defrag prgram in our head?
>> No. 8097
[X] Fragmentation of Memories

Has a nice ring to it.
>> No. 8099
File 123352397262.jpg - (101.55KB , 640x480 , forest.jpg ) [iqdb]
8099


It’s that thing again.

That indescribable something that seemed to contain things both wonders and sorrows.

You don’t want to touch that thing anymore. It was too scary. Too sad.

But it’s too late. It engulfs you, despite your silent protests, begging it to leave you alone.

And you sink, sink, sink, into the depths…

…swallowed up by the inescapable past…



You open your eyes. The bright sunlight from above almost blinds you with its intensity. Shaking your head to clear the daze, you look away from the sky, and back to your surroundings.

The forest. That’s right. You were here to hunt. How stupid of you to suddenly doze off like that, a youkai could’ve snuck up on you and you wouldn’t have known it. You stand up from the tree you’d been leaning on; checking for your gear.

Well, seems you dropped the bow on the ground when you fell asleep, so you pick that up. Your leather arrow quiver was still strapped around your waist, opposite the hand you held your bow with. Your hatchet was still dangling from your waist pouch. You didn’t seem to have lost anything.

You shift your head around, relieving the stiffness of your neck with satisfying cracks. Right, by the look of the sun, you’d say it was about noon. Your game bag was empty, but that wouldn’t be for too long.

But you didn’t realize how thirsty you were; you had been in the humidity of the forest for hours, after all. The back of your shirt was soaked with sweat, making every move a bit uncomfortable. You reached for your water pouch, only to find it empty. Well, that wasn’t too much of a setback; there was a water stream nearby. You’d get a quick drink and refill the water skin there.

The sound of the swift currents was a telltale sign that you were near your destination. Cautiously, you lean back on a tree, taking a peak around the area. No youkai, or any game drinking from the streams. Good.

Emerging from your hiding place, you head out towards the stream. You cup your hands together and gather water in your palms, and bring it up to your lips and drink. Some of the water spills from your hand down your neck, but you pay it no heed as you repeat the action.

Your thirst having been quenched, you take the water skin off from your waist, opening the lid and placing the mouth of it into the running water. As you allow the pouch to fill up with water, you examine your reflection on the surface of the stream.

A young man, around the age of fifteen or sixteen, with long silver hair tied back into a tail behind his head. There was a deep scar on one side of his face. His eyes were narrow, giving him a rather serious appearance. You hated how people would constantly chide you to lighten up; this was your default facial expression.

(…that’s not me…)

Your water skin was full, and so you closed the lid and placed the pouch back on to your waist, tying the straps around your sash. …Now, you could either go out to find game directly, or hide here and bide your time. The animals around here would frequent this stream for water. Either approach was fine with you; there was still plenty of time before sun-down.

[] Go look around the forest.
[] Wait around.
>> No. 8100
A prior incarnation of the protagonist?

[x] Wait around.

Camping the stream sounds like a good idea.
>> No. 8101
[x] Wait around.
>> No. 8102
[x] Go look around the forest.

I hate hate hate hate hate River Zoras.
>> No. 8103
[X] Go look around the forest.
>> No. 8104
[X] Wait around.
A dream? Or what? I don't know~

Also, lack of spaces in the option boxes is startling.
>> No. 8105
>>8104

I do it for the lazy people who might be bothered by having to delete the space between the brackets to x it~
>> No. 8106
[X] Wait around.
>> No. 8107
[X] Go look around the forest.

The forest, it calls us.
>> No. 8108
Voting's called. Writing will begin shortly.
>> No. 8109
File 123353905387.jpg - (30.06KB , 454x600 , 610186140067915e.jpg ) [iqdb]
8109
[x] Wait around.

---

It wasn’t a bad idea to wait around for a while. The forest was full of nocturnal youkai; most of them wouldn’t be active for quite a while. Wiping your chin with the back of your hand, you looked around for a hiding spot that would give a good view of the stream.

Settling behind some convenient overgrowths of tangled bushes, you leaned back on a tree right behind it. This place was perfect for the job; you were relatively well hidden, and it offered a full view of the stream. Slowly, you drew an iron-tipped arrow from your quiver, fitting its feathered end on bowstring. You were ready to let the arrow fly at any time.

And now, all that was left was to bide your time. And try not to fall asleep this time, or you might really die.

……

How boring, not a single animal came by in the last hour you’ve been here. You were about ready to move on to another area of the forest; this was taking way too long.

Just as you’re about to stand up, however, something catches your attention. A rustle from near the bushes surrounding the stream. You quickly ready your bow, taking a crouching position while focusing on the bushes that had moved. Your heartbeat quickens; was it a youkai? It was certainly no rabbit.

From the bushes emerged a mean-looking boar; and a fairly large one at that. Its tusks were long and discolored, and certainly looked wicked enough to gore through a grown man. It seemed to take a look around the area of the forest, before approaching the stream and beginning to drink from it.

Good thing you stuck around, or you would have lost this game. Slowly, you shift around as stealthily as you can, careful not to alert the boar to your presence. Once you feel that you were as close to the boar as you could be safely, you took aim with your bow, silently drawing back the bowstring.

And then you let loose the string with a twang, and heard a whistle of air as the arrow cut through the wind, lodging itself in the foreleg of the beast. Damn it. You were hoping you could get it in the head with one shot, but it seemed the wind had shifted your arrow’s course of trajectory.

The boar squealed audibly, and its maddened eyes saw you, crouched a distance away from him. You quickly move to draw another arrow to finish the job, but as you do so, the boar takes flight; surprisingly fast for an animal with a crippled leg. Well, it seems that boar, at least, wasn’t stupid enough to charge at you. Not too much of a problem, though, its leg was wounded and it left behind a trail of blood; it would tire out sooner or later.

Nevertheless, you hurry after the beast, following the trail of blood it left behind. Minutes later, the boar was within eyesight again. It was limping, spraying blood from its wounded leg, which still had an arrow protruding from it. No more need for caution. You draw back your bowstring and let loose an arrow, which flew through the air and landed on the side of the beast. It squealed again, and turned its snout towards you, breathing heavily. Seems it was about to make its last stand. It charges towards you, but because of its wounds, it was too slow. You draw a third arrow and knock your bow, and it flies right between the eyes of the beast mid-charge.

The beast lets out a final, horrible death cry as it slumps forward, sliding across the forest ground. You step to the side as it approaches you, and grimace as you look at the faint trail of blood it left on the ground as it slid. Placing your bow on the ground, the first thing you did with the beast was to remove the arrows from its body forcefully; iron-tipped arrows were rare and expensive, and you wanted to conserve these. Unfortunately, the one that had lodged itself in the beast’s leg seemed to have been snapped in half from the descent of the boar, so you tossed the pieces on the ground after removing it from your catch.

The thing was too big to fit inside your game bag whole, so you took your hatchet off of your sash and began hacking at the legs of the beast. You’d have to dismember this thing piece by piece. It wasn’t exactly work that you enjoyed doing, but you were still happy about the big catch, so you didn’t mind too much.

But you’d have to get it done fast; the fresh smell of blood might draw some of the youkais active at da-

Rustle, rustle.

You freeze. Instinctively, you look around for the source. Behind you was a small child, no less than eight or nine by her appearance. You mutter a curse underneath your breath; the only children who would be around here were…

“…a youkai,” you conclude, audible only to yourself. You stand up as you watch the child walk towards you, with an empty expression on her face that you couldn’t quite make heads or tails of. Silently, you took hold of the piece of arrow that had broken off, holding the iron shaft between your fingers, concealing it behind your back.

The girl didn’t even look at you, instead fixated on the carcass of the beast that you stood next to. She probably wanted that. The girl finally stopped walking when her gaze met yours; seems she had barely noticed you there. Her expression didn’t change.

…A bead of sweat ran down the back of your head, as you considered your options. Your hatchet had been spiritually blessed by the onmyouji protecting your village; but you weren’t sure how powerful this youkai child was. You could offer a piece of your game as lunch, and that might convince her not to attack you; but she might also want you for dinner.

[] This boar is your kill, and that youkai isn’t getting a single leg; fight.
[] Offer a piece of the catch.
[] Screw this; leave the boar to the youkai and run away.
>> No. 8110
>>8109

We're Chester Barklight? Fuck yeah, Chester Barklight!

[X] Offer a piece of the catch.

Eh. If we can avoid a fight, so much the better.
>> No. 8111
>Good thing you stuck around, or you would have lost this game.

FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUU

[x] This boar is your kill, and that youkai isn’t getting a single leg; fight.

>Silently, you took hold of the piece of arrow that had broken off, holding the iron shaft between your fingers, concealing it behind your back.

...This all sounds so very familiar.

"Nikopol" is now playing in my head.
>> No. 8112
[] Offer a piece of the catch.

Sharing is caring! :)
>> No. 8113
[x] Offer a piece of the catch.

It's apparently so big that we can barely carry it back, so giving her some shouldn't be a big deal, and it could prove beneficial to have a youkai in the area that won't attack us on sight, as opposed to killing her and letting a possibly more aggressive youkai take her territory.
>> No. 8114
[] Offer a piece of the catch.
>> No. 8116
[x] Offer a piece of the catch.
>> No. 8117
>>8113
Yeah, what he said.
[X] Offer a piece of the catch.
>> No. 8118
[x] Offer a piece of the catch.
>> No. 8126
[x] Offer a piece of the catch.
---

…Well hell, this boar was too big for you to bring back on your own anyway, and you’d like to avoid fighting a youkai if at all possible. You’ve heard tales of travelers being protected from attacks by offering the youkai livestock to feed on, anyway. Still, it made you feel more than just a little uneasy being so close to one.

Quietly dropping the arrowhead behind your back, you crouched down and reached for the hind leg of the boar that you managed to hack off before you were interrupted. Holding it away as far as you could away from your body, you carefully approached the child, keeping a tight grip on your hatchet in case the youkai decided to attack you.

The child looked stared at you, and then at the bloody meat in your hand. Seems she was just as wary of you as you were of her. Slowly, she walked towards you, and then sprang forward with her hands outstretched, and you quickly dropped the leg of the beast as you hurried backwards. The child grasped the meat with both hands, and just like you, backed off a fair distance away. She then continued to stare at you from there, not taking her eyes off you for a second.

You returned her stare for a while before you slowly walked backwards, returning to the carcass of the beast. Shifting around so you could still keep an eye on her, you resumed slashing away parts of the beast, stuffing the bloody meat in your bag piece by piece. It was very uncomfortable to work while the child watched you, and it was even more so when she began eating the raw meat. You could hear the bones snap as she sank her pointed fangs into the leg, taking in both flesh and bone into her mouth hungrily, blood dripping down her front.

The sight made you feel a bit nauseated, and you couldn’t focus all that well on dismembering the beast. You were worried that keeping your focus on the youkai so much might end up making you lose a finger or two by mistake; and so you picked up the pace, eager to finish up the job as fast as you could.

At last you succeeded in taking apart most of the beast, stuffing the pieces of it into your bag, which now felt satisfyingly heavy. You left behind the head and left foreleg of the beast; just in case the youkai decided it was still hungry. Besides, who eats pig heads? You were kind of hoping to be able to carve a little something out of those tusks, though…

Seems that by the time you had finished the job, the child had finished eating as well. Not even a skeletal bone was left; she had eaten everything. Must be one voracious youkai, not one that you were so keen on ever meeting again. Actually, you didn’t exactly want to meet any kind of youkai at all, but this one definitely took up high priority when it came to a list of things to avoid.

She watched you as you closed the bag, tying the end of it into a knot and heaving it over your shoulder. When you gave her a final, uneasy gaze, she broke into a full smile, beaming at you. Now, she looked like a really sweet girl, the kind that you would want to spoil silly. But with blood dripping down her chin and clothes after chomping through raw meat and bone? That was just downright scary.

You didn’t take your eyes off her as you slowly backed out of the area, although you would have looked really stupid if you bumped into a tree or tripped over bushes. Even as the child was out of sight, she wasn’t quite yet out of mind. As you trekked through the forest to the familiar path home, you kept looking back over your shoulder in case she was following you. She didn’t.

You feel a great deal of relief when you finally make it out of the woods. The sun was about ready to go down beyond the mountains by now, the hunt took you a lot longer than you expected. Now that you weren’t afraid of being stalked by a youkai, you feel a little more joyful about the catch. This much meat would last for several days.

Your concern about the youkai pushed to the back of your mind, you grin as you began the long walk home.
---

The sun was setting as you approached your small village; the summer days were still long, after all. Even so, it’s been a quite a bit more dangerous lately; for some reason, there seemed to be a lot more youkai in the land. It certainly raised fears back at the village.

The village was small and only consisted of maybe eight or so households, including yours. Although it was out in the middle of nowhere, youkai didn’t dare to attack it; the onmyouji protecting this village, an old man who only went by the name of Santori, was apparently infamous among them. You never actually got to see him fight anything, though, so you weren’t sure if his stories of being a hotshot youkai exterminator were true or not.

As you entered the village gates, a most welcome voice greeted your return.

“Hey, big brother!” A girl with the same color of hair as yours runs toward you, giving you a warm smile. “You’re back!”

“Yo, Arami,” you greet, almost reaching out to pat her on the head until you remembered that your hands were still bloody. “Your big brother bagged a big one today.”

“…It’s not a bunch of geese, is it? That’s what you always catch.”

“…Hey hey, those are on my off days, you know. I caught a boar this time. Look, see?” You backed off slightly and swung your bag in front of you. The bottom of the bag was already soaked with the blood of the beast.

“…Wow, you really did catch a big one,” she said, her smile faltering a little as she opened her mouth to begin speaking again. “…You should go see father.”

“…Yeah. I will.”

---

After you put away the meat in safe storage, you washed your hands off with water, although they still reeked of the unpleasant odor of blood and guts. You then reached out and opened the sliding door to your house, taking off your shoes and walking in.

Inside, a man lay on a futon, wearing a white kimono that extended down to his feet. He turned his head weakly towards you as you entered, giving a wry smile.

“…Oh, you’re back.”

“…Hey, old man.” You spoke, your eyes darting away to the corner as his gaze tried to meet yours.

“…Did your hunting go well?”
“..Ah, yeah. I bagged a boar today. Pretty large one too. I’ll have it salted tonight for dinner.”

Your father nodded, still with that weak smile on your face. You hated that look of his; so frail and passive, you hated being reminded of how weak he had become.

“…Did you run into any youkai?” he asked, looking a bit concerned, although he still maintained a smile.

“No. Not a single one.” You lied. You didn’t want to burden him with a worry the next time you went out to hunt.

“…Good, good.” He nodded again, turning his head back towards the ceiling, closing his eyes. “…Mikihisa came by earlier today. He was looking for you.”

“…What did he want?”

“He said he wanted to talk to you.”

Mikihisa. Your older brother. You didn’t like thinking about him. He was never at home, and instead stayed at that old man Santori’s shrine. Said he was undergoing training to succeed him, in case the old guy croaked. He grew distant towards you after Arami was born. He never talked to your father, either, even knowing his condition. You felt more than a little resentful of him.

“..Yeah, I get it. I’ll go talk to him”

You turned to leave the house, opening the door, when you heard your father call after you.

“…Don’t fight.”

You pretended to not hear him as you stepped out and put on your shoes, closing the door behind you.
>> No. 8127
---
Mikihisa was standing outside of your mother’s grave at the village’s graveyard. Whenever he wanted to talk with you, he would always come here. He was the sentimental type, never really got over your mother’s death.

“…Mikihisa.” You call to his back with a disinterested look on your face.

“…Oh, you’re here. And you look like you’ve swallowed a bug, as always.” He replied as he turned around to face you with a neutral expression, his long hair tied in a braid, swaying around.

“…Whatever. You said you wanted to talk to me?”
“…Well, it’s something I’ve told everyone else in the village. You just weren’t here at the time.”

“You didn’t tell father, did you?”

He ignores your question, and continues talking. You grit your teeth, and you could feel your hands beginning to form fists.

“…Santori wishes to move the entire village to the main human settlement southwest of here.”

“…You mean the one protected by-“

“The main human settlement is protected by the descendant of the Yellow Emperor, Huang-di, as per the terms of the contract between him and the Bai Ze.”

“…I was just about to say that.”

“…Santori feels that it has gotten too dangerous with the increase in activity by the youkai, and for the good of the village, has proposed that we make this journey on foot to the human settlement.”

“…So? Why isn’t he saying this himself?”

“…He is currently preparing for the journey. He requires meditation for many hours before his spiritual power is at its peak He may not appear for some time. In the meantime, I advise you save up what you hunt.”

Apparently finished, he attempts to walk by you quickly, but you stop him, placing a hand on his shoulder. He may have said all that he wanted to, but you weren’t quite done yet.

“…What about father? You know he isn’t in the condition for travel.”

His expression doesn’t change. He merely glances at you with cold eyes as he began speaking in monotone.

“…That’s not a concern of the village. If he is to be a burden and potentially endanger the others, we will have to leave him behind.”

...That…goddamned…

[] Beat the bastard down.
[] Say something to him [write-in: ]
[] Let him go.
>> No. 8131
[x] “If you truly believe what you are saying then the shame you bring this village is a greater burden then he could ever be.”
[x] "...I'll carry him myself if I have to, I'm not going to leave a family member behind."
>> No. 8132
[x] “If you truly believe what you are saying then the shame you bring this village is a greater burden then he could ever be.”
[x] "...I'll carry him myself if I have to, I'm not going to leave a family member behind."
>> No. 8133
[x] “If you truly believe what you are saying then the shame you bring this village is a greater burden then he could ever be.”
[x] "...I'll carry him myself if I have to, I'm not going to leave a family member behind."
>> No. 8134
[x] “If you truly believe what you are saying then the shame you bring this village is a greater burden then he could ever be.”
[x] "...I'll carry him myself if I have to, I'm not going to leave a family member behind."
>> No. 8135
[x] “If you truly believe what you are saying then the shame you bring this village is a greater burden then he could ever be.”
[x] "...I'll carry him myself if I have to, I'm not going to leave a family member behind.

I can get behind this.
>> No. 8153
File 123371705150.jpg - (116.09KB , 1024x768 , night sky.jpg ) [iqdb]
8153
[x] “If you truly believe what you are saying then the shame you bring this village is a greater burden then he could ever be.”
[x] "...I'll carry him myself if I have to, I'm not going to leave a family member behind.
---

Your grip on Mikihisa’s shoulder tightens, your other hand was already balled into a fist; you were ready to slam it into the bastard’s face. Talking of his own father that way, that was unforgivable.

“Don’t fight.”

You grit your teeth as he simply watches you, as if daring you to start a fight. But you don’t. It takes a hell of a lot more control than you thought you had, but the thought of your father’s weakened, wrinkled face somehow sapped your willingness to fight.

“If you truly believe that,” you spit out, each word conveying fully the malice you feel for him right now. “…Then the shame you bring to this whole village…is a greater burden than he could ever be.”

Mikihisa’s cold and collected composure, one that you always thought was a mask of ice that would never thaw, suddenly gave out for a single moment. His expression looked as though you had suddenly punched him in the gut, and he violently shoved you away with his arm; you nearly tumbled to the ground, but managed to balance yourself in time.

This sudden movement left the two of you in an awkward silence, out of surprise on both accounts. You figured he’d ignore whatever you said as he usually did, and it seemed Mikihisa himself was surprised that he had dropped his aloof act, although he was quick to assume it again, beginning to walk away from you without a single word.

“…I’ll carry him myself if I have to. I’m not going to leave a family member behind!” You call after his retreating figure, who stops momentarily, before speaking without even turning to you.

“…Do as you please. We leave in a few days.”

And then, he walked out of sight, leaving you standing there alone with a rather bad taste in your mouth.

---

“That was some good meat, wasn’t it?”

“…Yeah, a lot better than the geese you usually bring.”

“…Would you let up with that already? I proved my worth as a hunter today, didn’t I?”

You heard a giggle behind you as you continued to pick out bits of the meat stuck in your teeth using a wooden toothpick.

“…Yeah, I’m almost convinced you may be good at this, big brother.”

“Almost? What’s it going to take you to be fully convinced?”

“Hehe, maybe if you caught a bear?”

“…You want me to get eaten by a bear?”

“Of course not! I’d feel sorry for the bear.”

“…Ya know, you’re being really harsh to your older brother.”

“…Sorry,” the escape of another giggle out of her informs you that she is not, in fact, sorry. Oh well, it was all in good humor.

“Father seemed to enjoy his meal,” Arami said quietly, sitting down next to you on the deck underneath the porch. You flick away the toothpick, placing both hands beside you, leaning back to get a good look at the evening sky.

“…Yeah, he looked like he was being treated to a meal fit for an Emperor, even though it was just gruel with some bits of meat.”

“…By the way, one of the legs weren’t there. What was with that?”

“…I dunno,” you say, your gaze still captivated by the stars and moon. “Maybe it was a three-legged boar.”

She merely exhales a sigh, before apparently deciding not to inquire any further. A comfortable silence overtook the area, before Arami suddenly spoke up.

“The sky’s full of stars. I wonder how many of them there are.”

“…I’m not sure if someone could count all of them even if they spent their whole life on it,” you say, a grin forming on your face. “Maybe there’s as many stars as there are youkai in the world, and each star represents one youkai. And the moon would be the strongest and the leader of all the youkai. And that’s why when it’s full, the youkai are at their strongest.”

As you said this, you reached out towards the moon, making a motion as though you were grasping it in your hand.

“…If that were true, that would be incredibly scary,” Arami says, as you lowered your hand.

“It’s not. Of course the moon wouldn’t be associated with the youkai.”

“…I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to change that. Youkai are greedy.”

“What, you think they’d try to steal the moon or something?”

“They steal plenty of things already, so why not?”

You reached out behind her, pulling her small body closer to yours as you ruffled the top of her hair with your other hand.

“You’re thinking too much into it. Not even the youkai are stupid enough to try reaching for the moon.”

You disliked it when she would talk about things like this. It wasn’t the sort of thoughts that an eleven year old girl should have. You couldn’t help but think that your mother’s death had caused your little sister to grow up too fast, helping to take care of an ill father.

She gently pulled away from your grip, smiling at you.

“I guess you’re right.”

She then wrapped her arms around yours, and cuddled up closer to you, pressing her face against your shoulder. The two of you stayed like that for a while, just watching the stars.

“Hey, big brother,” the silence was broken by her. “…Is father going to be alright?”

All you could do was nod.

---

“Oi, Kirita Mikio. Wake up.”

You’ve awakened, although your eyelids remained closed. A voice. Whose voice was that? It sounded kind of familiar. But you’re too sleepy to bother thinking about it. Your body felt too sore to move.

“Kirita Mikio. Hurry up and get out of bed.”

Your body suddenly feels cold, and you feel a rush of air on your body. Seems whoever was trying to wake you up had pulled the blanket off of you. That's just rude.

[] ...Alright, alright. I’m up.
[] Mmm...just five more minutes…
>> No. 8154
[x] ...Alright, alright. I’m up.

Let's get going.
>> No. 8156
[x] Mmm...just five more minutes…
>> No. 8158
[X] ...Alright, alright. I’m up.

Discipline, we must grasp it.
>> No. 8159
[X] ...Alright, alright. I’m up.
>> No. 8161
[] ...Alright, alright. I’m up.
>> No. 8163
[x] No... White-haired lady... I can't possibly eat it all...
>> No. 8165
[X] No... White-haired lady... I can't possibly eat it all...
Vote changed due to possible hilarity.
>> No. 8166
[x] No... White-haired lady... I can't possibly eat it all...

Oh lawd.
>> No. 8168
[X] No... White-haired lady... I can't possibly eat it all...
>> No. 8169
[x] No... White-haired lady... I can't possibly eat it all...

Haw.
>> No. 8170
{X} No... White-haired lady... I can't possibly eat it all...
>> No. 8171
[x] No... White-haired lady... I can't possibly eat it all...
>> No. 8172
[x] No... White-haired lady... I can't possibly eat it all...

Vote change. This is awesome.
>> No. 8173
>>8163

While the write-in is funny, we don't know if Mikio can communicate just yet.
>> No. 8174
>>8173

Well, the given options are worded awfully conversationally in that case.

>[] ...Alright, alright. I’m up.
>[] Mmm...just five more minutes…
>> No. 8175
>>8174

On the other hand, that could simply be a way to spice up options that really boil down to "[] Get up," and "[] Don't get up" respectively.
>> No. 8178
I suppose there are ways to sorta show that you're having a really pleasant dream non-verbally though... which sounds dirty, but I really doubt that would slow anyone down here.
>> No. 8194
[x] No... White-haired lady... I can't possibly eat it all...

---

You let out a bit of a whine as you roll over onto your belly, clutching your pillow. Your body fidgets around a bit, as your state of consciousness refuses to awaken and stubbornly clings onto whatever part of you remained dreaming.

“…Ah, Miss…Inubashiri,” you unconsciously mumble into your pillow, unaware of what you were saying. “…That’s…stop it…please…”

Your legs squirm around together, as you shifted your head to its side, curling your body up for warmth.

“I’m…I’m at my limit…no more…” you continue to mumble, hugging yourself tightly as your breathing became a bit more frantic and labored. “…Miss Inubashiri…it’s not…inside…I…I’m…!”

“…I’m full…I can’t…possibly eat it all…” you roll back onto your back, stretching out both arms to the side as you took in air and exhaled out of your mouth, snoring slightly.

There was a comfortable period of silence that you continued to sleep through. And then there was a sharp pain on your forehead that made you quickly sit up, rubbing your forehead.

“Ow!” you exclaim, tears forming in your eyes as you looked up, one hand still pressing on your wound. Standing above you was a short man, wielding a ring-tipped staff. “…Mr. Ogata?”

“That’s PROFESSOR Ogata to you,” he said gruffly, quite plainly annoyed with you. “Goddamn it, kid. I didn’t teach you how to talk so you could freak me out like that.”

“…Eh? Did I say something weird?” you ask, tilting your head to the side.

“The Gods of old would punish me if I were to repeat it. Now get your ass up, and get dressed. You’re already late for your lessons, Kirita Mikio.”

Oh, that’s right. Today was calligraphy lessons. You slowly got up to your feet as old man Ogata walked out of the room, sliding the door shut behind him. Yawning as you stretched the tips of your fingers towards the ceiling, you sluggishly slipped out of your sleepwear: a plain kimono, and pulled on a white, sleeveless shirt and a pair of red-with-black-trims hakama. You tied your black sash around your hakama as always, and slipped on your white armbands. Finally, you picked up the tokin, the trademark hat of the Tengu, and placed it on your head, loosely tying the straps under your chin.

Professor Ogata had already gone ahead of you, and so you followed the familiar path towards his studies that you had for the last year or so. You can’t quite remember when it was you were first here, but you were pretty certain that you’ve been living here for about that long.
---

The metallic clang of rings resound as they collide against the back of your head, giving you a smarting sensation as the gruff old man in front of you pointed at your scroll with one stubby finger.

“You messed up the stroke there,” he said shortly, placing his shakujo back down on the ground. You dipped your brush in ink as you brought it back down onto the surface of the paper, careful to not let any stray drops of ink fall onto it as you redid the character.

If one thing was to be said of old man Ogata, it was that he was a very strict teacher. You can’t count the number of days that he refused to let you leave the study room until it was very late into the night, all over some trivial mistakes that you made.

If another thing was to be said of him, he was very proud. It was apparently a defining characteristic of the Hanataka Tengu, the most intellectual of the Tengu. He would brag on for hours about how he had been the teacher of nearly every member of the clan, and he made it a point to always address you by your full name when he wasn’t calling you “kid”, or “brat”, or “hey, you!” Apparently, he was very pleased about having picked your name for you.

Still, you did feel a lot of respect for him. Here in the mountains, he was practically the closest thing to a father that you had, and only old man Ogata ever dared to address Lord Tenma casually; it was a symbol of their lasting friendship and respect for one another. Anyone who could calmly tell that giant, imposing man to “shut your trap and drink” was worthy of anyone’s respect, in your opinion.

As you continued to work your brush, the old man took a pipe into his mouth. He brought his free hand to the stem of the pipe, snapping his fingers together to magically light a fire. He inhaled deeply from the pipe, and exhaled the smoke away from you.

“Smoking kills,” you say off-handedly as you continued to draw characters on your scroll. At this, the old man gave a snort.

“You have any idea how many years I’ve been smoking, kid?” he said, his wrinkled face forming a slight smile.

---

“Finished,” you say, placing the calligraphy brush on the ink stone as you straightened your back. The old man examined your scroll, and apparently unable to detect any mistakes, dismissed you with a wave of his hand. He was the type to never compliment you, only pointing out your faults. About the closest thing was when he said that you learned fast. Which he immediately followed up with “I guess it helps that there was nothing in your head to begin with; makes stuffing things in there a hell of a lot easier.” You don’t think that was very nice.

Well, now you had some free time. You’re not sure what time of the day it was, but it couldn’t be too late in the afternoon. What to do next…

[] Go back to the sleeping quarters and sleep, you lazy bum.
[] Let’s see what Miss Aya is up to.
[] Is Miss Inubashiri doing anything at the moment…?
>> No. 8195
I came.

[x] Is Miss Inubashiri doing anything at the moment…?

Brighten her day by being unabashedly adorable.
>> No. 8196
[x] Let’s see what Miss Aya is up to.

I WONDER WHAT AYA IS UP TO
>> No. 8197
[] Is Miss Inubashiri doing anything at the moment…?
>> No. 8199
[x] Is Miss Inubashiri doing anything at the moment…?
>> No. 8200
[] Is Miss Inubashiri doing anything at the moment…?
>> No. 8201
[x] Is Miss Inubashiri doing anything at the moment…?
[x] Let’s see what Miss Aya is up to.

QUANTUM MIKI
>> No. 8202
[x] Go ask Aya obasan if she's seen Miss Inubashiri lately.
>> No. 8203
[] Is Miss Inubashiri doing anything at the moment…?
>> No. 8204
[X] Is Miss Inubashiri doing anything at the moment…?
>> No. 8205
{X} Is Miss Inubashiri doing anything at the moment…?
>> No. 8206
[x] Is Miss Inubashiri doing anything at the moment…?

Do maybe want motherly Momiji MILF route.
>> No. 8207
>>8202
>Aya obasan
I want to kill you.
>> No. 8208
[X] Is Miss Inubashiri doing anything at the moment…?
>> No. 8209
[x] Is Miss Inubashiri doing anything at the moment…?
>> No. 8210
>[x] Go ask Aya obasan if she's seen Miss Inubashiri lately.
Made me giggle.

[X] Is Miss Inubashiri doing anything at the moment…?
>> No. 8211
[X] Is Miss Inubashiri doing anything at the moment…?

>[x] Go ask Aya obasan if she's seen Miss Inubashiri lately

I'd laugh if Momiji makes the Onee-san age cut-off while Aya does not.
>> No. 8212
I'm all for wanting Momiji to have unintentionally pulled off an inverse Hikaru Genji Plan.

Who else is with me?
>> No. 8213
>>8212

It seems the protagonist has been mostly raised by Ogata though.
>> No. 8216
File 123389644483.jpg - (154.14KB , 414x556 , ea879e68ef94dfd430bef58f337412ba.jpg ) [iqdb]
8216
[x] Is Miss Inubashiri doing anything at the moment…?
---

Let’s pay a visit to Miss Inubashiri, then. Since the demon invasion incident a few weeks ago, there hadn’t really been much need for any concern; and she might appreciate the company. You couldn’t imagine how bored you would be to have to patrol the mountain for hours.

Making your way through the complex tunnels of the Tengu headquarters, you arrive at the exit, concealed from the outside by a combination of natural camouflage and some crafty work from the Kappa; something about bending light. Incidentally, this was the only exit you could use, since the other exits were usually too high up for you to climb down.

Looking back at the exit that you had emerged from, you saw nothing aside from what seemed to be a part of the mountain wall. It was really amazing how well the Kappa’s “machine” worked, making things nearly invisible. Stepping back from the exit, you looked up the side of the mountain and waved your arm. There was probably a White Wolf Tengu posted up there to keep watch here.

You made your way down the mountain, careful to avoid slipping and falling down the rocky path. Behind you trailed a silver-coated wolf, following you from a bit of distance away. Seems one of the Tengu on patrol sent it after you to keep an eye on you, which was kind of a nice gesture, you guess. But most youkai here knew attacking you would be equivalent to attacking one of the Tengu, so for the most part, they left you alone.

The sound of waterfalls became louder as you continued walking, humming a song without any real particular tune. You were at one of the streams running down to the waterfall; now, she had to be around this area somewhere, since the wolf that had been following you seemed to have disappeared somewhere.

Ah, there she was, standing at the edge of the waterfall. She was holding something in her hand, with her sword and shield strapped to her back, talking to…a small girl wearing a blue coat and green hat. One of the Kappa? The Kappa Girl (?) takes a single glance at you before leaping down the waterfall. Not surprising. You hadn’t ever been able to talk to a Kappa the few times you saw one by chance.

“Oh. Mikio. I heard you coming,” Miss Inubashiri said, turning towards you and giving you a light wave for greeting.

“Sorry, did I interrupt something?” you voice your concern, walking towards her.

“No. We were just about finished talking,” she replied, smiling gently. “How did your lessons go today?”

“I finished pretty early. Professor Ogata didn’t give me too much trouble today,” you reply, returning her smile. “So I thought I would come see what you were doing.”

“…It’s not at all interesting, you know. Mostly, I’m just trying to find ways to pass the time while keeping an eye here.”

“…That’s okay. I like talking to you.” And you really meant it. You felt more comfortable with her than anyone else in the mountain. Old man Ogata, you were always a bit on edge about not screwing up anything near him, and Miss Aya was…well, Miss Aya.

“…You really are a strange child, I don’t think I’m very interesting to talk to at all,” she said, although her face still brightened somewhat. “…But, thank you.”

The two of you just stood there near the flowing stream, watching the water drop into the river below the mountain. The constant breeze of the mountain felt very gentle, caressing your face.

“…By the way, what’s with the fishing rod?” you decided to ask, breaking the silence.

“Oh. One of the Kappa asked me to test it. It’s apparently able to attract fish without any live bait by giving out a vibration that draws near fish.”

“…So why don’t they test it themselves?”

“…They say it goes against their ethics to catch fish that way.”

“Then why would they invent it in the first place?”

“For the sake of inventing, supposedly. I don’t fully comprehend their way of thinking, either.”

Kappa are weird.

“So are you going to go fishing now?”

“Mmhmm. My shift is over early today, so I thought it might be a good idea to do it now.”

“Let me come with you.”

Miss Inubashiri remained silent for a moment, looking your way as she seemed to be dwelling on something.

“…Alright, but the kappa was very specific in that I had to fish at Misty Lake.”

“The one near the base of the mountain?”

“Yes, and you know what the youkai near there are like. Still want to come?”

“…Yeah,” saying this, you broke into a wide grin, beaming at her. “’cuz you’ll be the one to protect me, right?”

She seemed a bit taken back by this. Her ears drooped down to her head, and she had a faint blush on her embarrassed face, looking away from you.

“A…Ah…yeah, of course I will…” she stammered.

“Something wrong?” you tilted your head.

“No…no. Let’s go.”

Turning away from the edge of the waterfall, she brought her fingers to her mouth and let out a loud whistle. Answering the call almost immediately, a silver-coated wolf rushed towards her, loyally sitting down at her feet. She leaned over, gently petting its neck and whispering in its ears, and the wolf slowly approached you. As modestly as you could, you mounted the beast.

“Ready?”

Miss Inubashiri took to the air next to you, as you leaned forward and wrapped your arms around the great wolf’s neck, careful not to apply too much pressure so as not to choke it.

The three of you then started down the mountain together. You tightly squeezed your eyes shut; the wolf ran so swiftly that the passing sceneries were practically blurs, which made you feel very nauseous. You couldn’t wait to learn how to fly.

---

“…I guess it’s not called Misty Lake for nothing,” you note as you and Miss Inubashiri walked to the perimeter of the lake. Your legs still felt like jelly, but you were pretty confident that you weren’t going to vomit or anything.

The Misty Lake was, well, misty. Or foggy. Either way, poor visibility was to be expected, although you suspected Miss Inubashiri might be able to see the other end of the lake with her enhanced sight.

Wordlessly, she unwrapped the line from the pole, at the end of which was something small and black, with a sharp hook protruding from the bottom. You stepped back as she raised the rod with one hand, and cast the line into the lake.

The hook of the line sank far out into the lake, although the strange device attached to it remained floating on the surface, creating ripples of water. Almost immediately, the device sank into the water, and Miss Inubashiri yanked on the rod with both arms. A large trout broke the surface of the water, flying through the air and landing beside her, flopping about.

“Wow, that thing must be really effective,” you say, giving her a small applause.

“Could be a fluke,” she replied, holding up the line as the fish continued to thrash about. She grasped it firmly with one hand, unhooked the line from its mouth, and threw the fish far out into the lake.

…Fishing, huh? You’ve never tried it before…

[] Let me try, let me try!
[] Just watch her.
>> No. 8218
[x] Just watch her.
>> No. 8220
[x] Let me try, let me try!

moe~
>> No. 8221
[x] Just watch her.
>> No. 8222
>She seemed a bit taken back by this. Her ears drooped down to her head, and she had a faint blush on her embarrassed face, looking away from you.
Momizi thinks Mikio is moe~
>> No. 8223
[x] Just watch her.
>> No. 8225
[x] Just watch her.
じ~
>> No. 8228
[x] Just watch her.
>> No. 8231
[x] Just watch her even though you really want to try fishing.

because its not her fishing rod to lend. doesn't mean we can't have WANT written all over our face though.
>> No. 8232
[x] Just watch her even though you really want to try fishing.
>> No. 8234
[x] Just watch her even though you really want to try fishing.
>> No. 8235
{X} Just watch her even though you really want to try fishing.
>> No. 8236
[x] Just watch her even though you really want to try fishing.
>> No. 8237
...Vote changed.

[X] Just watch her even though you really want to try fishing.
This could result in a nice scene where Momizi gives us the rod and we fall to lake after which Momizi saves us. Then we tell her that it's alright, and everybody is happy.
>> No. 8241
[x] Just watch her even though you really want to try fishing.
>> No. 8243
File 123399088311.jpg - (486.70KB , 1000x900 , 65bddc58a852842b37344b84f1d522ce.jpg ) [iqdb]
8243
[x] Just watch her even though you really want to try fishing.
---

Yeah, as much as you really want to try fishing, it might be imprudent to ask to borrow a lent fishing rod.

…Still, you kinda wish you could try at least once as you watched Miss Inubashiri cast the line into the lake once more, and within seconds, pull up another large fish, releasing it back into the lake afterwards.

“Seems to work pretty well so far,” you heard her observe.

“Yeah, I guess Kappa stuff really is effective,” you chime in, looking a little longingly at the fishing rod.

She glances toward you, reading your expression. She seemed to be turning something around in her head, before giving you a gentle smile and extending her arm towards you, offering you the rod.

“…Want to try?” she asked, “I’ll walk you through it.”

You certainly brightened up at her words. You nodded eagerly and took the rod from her, imitating the way she held if herself. Miss Inubashiri aligned herself behind you.

“Here, hold it like this,” she instructed, taking a hold of your hands, and you worked on correcting your grip as best as you could.

“…Is this good?”

“Yeah. Now, when you cast the line...” Her grip shifted up to your arms, as she guided you through the motions. You can feel her warm breath on the back of your neck…

“Okay, you ready to give it a try?”

“Yeah, I think so.”

“Okay. Now, if you feel a tug on the rod, tell me, okay?” saying this, she stepped back from you, giving you more room. You draw back the rod, and cast the hook as far as you could out into the lake.

You nervously gripped the rod harder, sweat beginning to form on your palms. Seconds ticked on, as your rod remained unresponsive until-

“A bite! I think I’ve got a bite,” you exclaim excitedly, turning to face Miss Inubashiri. “Hey! It’s tugging on th-“

Suddenly, the world around you becomes very cold. Before you realize what’s going on, something like ice forces itself down your throat, flowing into your lungs. It hurts to keep your eyes open, so you squeeze them shut. Your body feels as though it were being held up by air, although you’re somehow aware that you were floating down. You don’t dare try to take in air.

Your limbs struggle about uselessly, and you continue to sink into the depths. Were you going to die here? How scary, you wouldn’t even know what it was that killed you. Mother, father, whomever you may be, your son lived a brief life!

Or not, as you felt something wrapping itself around your torso. Your body rapidly began to ascend through icy cold…water? Yeah, this was water, wasn’t it…Did you fall in the lake? How embarrassing…

You felt the merciless, stinging cold air as your body broke through the surface of the water. Whoever was carrying you gently laid you out on the ground. Opening your eyes, you rolled onto all fours as you began desperately taking in air amidst coughing. Miss Inubashiri crouched next to you, slapping your back a little more forcefully than she likely intended.

“Mikio! Are you alright?!” there was a tone of urgency in her voice, as you struggled to regain your breath. “I’m…I’m sorry! I didn’t think the rumors about the giant fish were true!”

Although you were still breathing heavily, you managed to regain enough strength to balance yourself. Miss Inubashiri seemed at a loss as to what to say to you. Knelt down with your head low, you brought up your arm to your eyes, wiping away hot tears that had formed.

“…I…lost the fishing rod…” you croaked out, rubbing your eyes. You had let go of it when you were pulled into the lake. “I’m…so sorry…”

Miss Inubashiri reached out towards you, placing your head on her shoulder as she pulled you into an embrace. Even though the both of you were wet with icy cold water, and your soaked clothes clung to one another, you could still feel her warm body heat through them. She ran her hand over the back of your head as she gently whispered into your ear.

“…That’s okay. Come on…don’t cry. Boys don’t cry…”

“…I…I wasn’t crying…”

Nevertheless, you wrapped your arms around her and returned the hug.
---

After that, the two of you returned to the headquarters, still completely soaked. You felt a little bad for the wolf who had carried you up there; it couldn’t have been very nice to have had a wet passenger.

“You should take a bath,” Miss Inubashiri suggested. “You’re…more susceptible to the cold than we are. Warm yourself up, and I’ll get you some dry clothes.”

“…Okay. You should dry yourself too.”

“Don’t worry about me.” You followed her to the public bath area, which by this time was completely empty. Not a whole lot of people take baths before dinner, after all.

“…You know how to clean yourself, right?” she asked with a teasing smile.

“…Of course I do,” you replied with a sour face.

“…Okay, but don’t try to eat the soap this time.”

…Ugh, she still remembers.
---

And so you cleaned yourself up, took a long time soaking in the bath, and then dried yourself off and changed into new clothes. By the time you finished, it was evening, and also dinner time. You headed out into the maze of tunnels and began making your way to the canteen.

“Ah, Miki~!” a voice calls out to you from behind.

Oh no.

Sighing, you turn around, and as expected, you see a black-haired woman zipping towards you, carrying several pages of paper in hand.

“Good timing, Miki,” Miss Aya said. “Here, get these to the printers, will you?”

She practically shoved the pages in your face, and you could barely make out the heading on the paper: “Bunbunmaru Newspaper”. It was more of a collection of rumors and occasional interviews than real news, and there were very few who actually subscribed and paid for the papers anyway. Still, that didn’t lessen her fervor for publishing her papers any, and every time, she would get you to go get it printed for her. Did she think of you as a personal errand-boy…?

[] Ask to do it after you eat.
[] Get it over with now.
>> No. 8246
[x] Get it over with now.

Too obvious.
>> No. 8248
[] Get it over with now.
>> No. 8250
>“…Okay, but don’t try to eat the soap this time.”

hahahaha

[x] Ask if she wouldn't be more interested discussing the rumors about giant fish in Misty Lake, over dinner.

HUMAN BOY REELED IN BY GIANT FISH, SWEARS REVENGE
>> No. 8251
{X} Get it over with now.
>> No. 8252
>HUMAN BOY REELED IN BY GIANT FISH, SWEARS REVENGE
Fish Chooses to Remain Silent when Questioned.
>> No. 8253
[x] Get it over with now.
>> No. 8255
[X] Get it over with now.
[X] After you're done, ask if she'd be interested discussing the rumors about giant fish in Misty Lake, over dinner.
>> No. 8258
[x] Get it over with now.
>> No. 8260
File 123405019256.jpg - (191.04KB , 361x700 , 662a49aada92978a9c3ff149e80795b8.jpg ) [iqdb]
8260
[x] Get it over with now.
---

Well, you don't exactly feel famished. You weren’t happy about it, but you decided not to refuse her request. She would get a little too pushy otherwise. You took the pages of paper into your hands with a sigh.

“How many copies do you want, Miss Aya?” you asked rather unenthusiastically. She didn’t seem to pick up on your tone at all, instead looking away from you and twirling her pen.

“Let’s see…about a hundred copies will do,” she said after a short period of contemplation, giving you a handful of coins, which you pocketed. You seriously doubted she had more than ten subscribers, but you wordlessly nodded and started back down the tunnel, readjusting your destination to the printing press room.

On the way there, you decided to look through whatever Miss Aya had on the paper. One of the other crow tengu had already covered the story on the “Demon Invasion From Another World”, so you were curious about what she found interesting enough to put on the paper.

“Evil Spirit Haunting the Local Shrine Mysteriously Disappears,” was written in large, bold letters at the headlines of the paper, and under it was the sub-text “Local Shrine Maiden Denies Involvement.” There was a color picture of the Shrine entrance on the page, along with an article underneath.

“Shortly after the Demon Invasion incident*, the Evil Spirit inhabiting the Hakurei Shrine has disappeared without a trace. It is not known if the Spirit was involved in the incident. When asked, the Hakurei shrine maiden denied involvement in the Spirit’s disappearance, saying the following words.

“I couldn’t get rid of her if I tried. Besides, isn’t it naturally for a shrine to not have any lingering Evil Spirits around?”

The witch of the Forest of Magic, however, suspected foul play.

“I bet Reimu just kicked her out. They never really got along too well, see. Well, Lady Mima’s probably gone to do her own thing, so I wouldn’t really worry that much.”

Unfortunately, the other details concerning the disappearance remain uncertain.

(Aya Shameimaru)

*1: This Autumn, a large number of demons from another world began swarming into Gensokyo. While the details of the incident have been mostly unknown, it is rumored that the youkai of flowers resolved the incident.”


Huh. Well, that is kind of interesting, you guess. The Hakurei shrine had been a little infamous for housing an Evil Spirit, so it’s a bit surprising to learn that it had suddenly disappeared after an inci-

WHAM!

You can practically see stars flying around your head as you tumbled to the floor onto your behind. Dazed, you were reminded of why people don’t walk and read something at the same time; you’d crashed right into a wall. Picking yourself up as well as the scattered pages, you shook your head and continued onwards.
---

You handed the papers into one of the yamabushi tengu near the entrance. He took them from you without a word as you told him the number of copies Miss Aya wanted, speaking only to inform you the cost and to tell you to come back the next day. Some of the tengu obviously didn’t like you too much, which kind of bothered you a bit.

You then made your way to the canteen, lining up behind the other tengu. They were serving udon today. You grabbed your tray, bowl, and silverware, and headed out to the tables.

Looking around, you found the usual table you sat at; with Professor Ogata, Miss Aya, and Miss Inubashiri. You made your way over there and…

[] Sat next to Professor Ogata.
[] Sat next to Miss Aya.
[] Sat next to Miss Inubashiri.
>> No. 8261
[] Sat next to Miss Inubashiri.
>> No. 8262
[x] Sat next to Miss Inubashiri.
>> No. 8263
[X] Sat next to Miss Inubashiri.

No contest.
>> No. 8264
[x] Sat next to Miss Inubashiri.
>> No. 8265
[] Sat next to Miss Inubashiri.
>> No. 8266
[x] Sat next to Miss Inubashiri.