[Return]
Archived Thread

File 123665957423.jpg - (210.76KB , 534x630 , 1236464528363.jpg ) [iqdb]
8922 No. 8922
[x] Walk around the shopping district.
---

You decide to head to the shopping district. There wasn’t anything you really planned on buying, but it was kind of fun window-shopping during this time of the season. Maybe get a new pack of cigs, too. It was stupidly easy to buy one around here; just say your parents sent you to get one, and the clerks won’t ask anything. That’s pretty damn careless of them.

Shoving your frigid hands into the pockets of your jacket, you took a long stroll around town, mostly looking at the displays of shops and other buildings. Everywhere, there were red stockings hanging on the windows, as well as Christmas trees standing outside, shining their colored lights brightly. The traditional music of the holidays issued out from restaurants and the shopping mall. Everyone was so into it…

Thinking back, you never really did have much fun at Christmas, did you? Even though the holidays were a time for gathering with friends and families, you spent it in your room. It wasn’t a total loss: your parents sometimes remembered to give you money as presents, but...

“Hoshuu?”

A voice behind you snapped you from your brief moment of reverie, as you whirled around to face its owner. Sanae stood there, wrapped up in warm, cozy looking clothes. On her head was a red Santa hat, with the white fluffy end dangling over her shoulder.

“Yo, Sanae.” You greeted, withdrawing a hand from your pocket to give her a wave as you approached her. You plucked up the white pompom of the hat with your fingers, flipping the end of the hat to the other shoulder. “Where’d you get this?”

“They were giving these away over there,” she replied, pointing somewhere behind her. The hat was a little too big for her, and the brim of the cap was slipped on her head crookedly, hiding one side of her face. But that just added to the charm. “Do you want one, too?”

“Nah, I’ll pass,” you said with a dismissive voice, stuffing your hand back in your pocket. “I wouldn’t really make a good Santa.”

“Really? That’s too bad. I think you’d look good with one,” Sanae replied. And you think she was serious, too; she looks slightly disappointed.

“A-anyway, what are you doing here?” you asked. She had done the usual shopping for groceries a few days ago, so it can’t have been for that. The girl gave you a sheepish smile as she opened her mouth to answer.

“I got you a Christmas present.”

“Eh? Seriously?” You hadn’t even thought of getting her a present, which made you feel like a jerk. But…she didn’t seem to be carrying anything, so… “…Where is it?”

“It’s in my coat.”

“What’d you get me?”

“Secret.”

“What? Come on, you can’t do that. Let me see.”

“Not until Christmas day!”

“Gah. Fine then,” you said, hanging your head down as if you had suffered massive defeat. And then you quickly stepped around behind Sanae, grabbing hold of her shoulders and (not too roughly) shoving her along as you began to walk down the snowy pavement.

“Wha-hey! What are you doing?”

“Let’s get you a present, then. Come on, I’ll buy whatever you want.”

“Christmas presents are supposed to be a surprise!” Sanae’s pouting face turned towards you, to which you gave a broad grin as you continued to gently push her on from behind.

“Yeah, yeah, whatever. Come on. Pick out something you like, and I’ll buy it.” You said, letting go of her to walk beside her. “Oh, but I don’t have a lot of money, you know,” you quickly added. ‘Whatever she wants’ might have ruined your wallet.

---

“I want this one!”

“…You know, Sanae. I know you’re concerned for the health of my wallet and all, but that’s just insulting,” you said dryly. Here you were, offering to buy her a Christmas present, and the first place she stops at is at a hundred-yen street vendor, pointing at a plastic frog-shaped hairclip.

“What? No, I really think it’s cute!” she said, looking at you pleading eyes. Ugh, it’s unfair to use that kind of expression. That kind of look should be forbidden! “You said whatever I want, right?”

“…Alright, but you’re not allowed to go ‘Oh, I changed my mind. Buy me something more expensive!’” Sighing, you fished around in your jean pockets for a hundred yen coin, handing it over to the owner of the little street shop, and Sanae happily snatched up the hair accessory, attaching it to the brim of her hat. This girl really has a questionable fashion sense. You bet it was the influence of that shrine god’s mumbo jumbo.

---

“Yo, Sanae. You haven’t had lunch yet, right?” you asked. You were feeling a little hungry, after all.

“Hmm? No. Not yet,” she answered, just a few paces in front of you as the two of you meandered along without a real aim, just enjoying the sights of the town.

“Great. You want to go fill up on snacks, then?” you ask, taking bigger steps to catch up to her. “You know, stuff like taiyaki, meat buns, hotcakes…”

“Well, if you’re hungry, we should head back and eat a proper meal, really…” she said, sounding a little uncertain, although as she continued on she sounded a little confident. “But that sounds nice, too.”

A proper meal…

[] …Nah, let’s get full on junk food. Hang around the town more.
[] Watch out for my health, huh? Back to the shrine.

>> No. 8924
[x] …Nah, let’s get full on junk food. Hang around the town more.
>> No. 8929
[x] …Nah, let’s get full on junk food. Hang around the town more.
>> No. 8930
[x] …Nah, let’s get full on junk food. Hang around the town more.

I was torn for a minute there. Not sure why now.
>> No. 8931
[x] Watch out for my health, huh? Back to the shrine.

Cooking!
>> No. 8934
[x]*Sigh* "Alright then, let's eat in a restaurant, but a VERY cheap one kay?"

Date with Sanae~
>> No. 8935
[x] Watch out for my health, huh? Back to the shrine.
>> No. 8936
[x] Ramen.

Believe it.
>> No. 8938
[x] …Nah, let’s get full on junk food. Hang around the town more.
>> No. 8947
[x] …Nah, let’s get full on junk food. Hang around the town more.
>> No. 8951
[x] …Nah, let’s get full on junk food. Hang around the town more.
---

…Yeah, no. To hell with a proper, healthy meal: it’s time for some delicious winter cuisine.

“Doesn’t it?” you said with a grin, placing a hand on top of Sanae’s head, pressing the conical hat further down her head. “C’mon, I saw a taiyaki stand just a while ago. Let’s go grab a bag.”

As you withdrew your hand, she raised hers to straighten the hat as she followed next to you, hugging herself tightly for more warmth. You’d like to take off your jacket and wrap it around her, but you would definitely freeze to death within seconds if you did that. That’s how cold it was. Okay, so maybe you’re exaggerating, but it’s still too cold to pull off something as cheesy as that.

Minutes later, the two of you had sat down on a public bench, as you opened up the brown paper bag. Nipping one of the taiyaki with your fingers– whoa, that’s hot—you handed one to Sanae before taking one for yourself, setting the bag down beside you. You watched as the girl sitting next to you bit into the head of the fish.

“Huh, so you start with the head first, huh?” you say as you chomped down on the tail of the taiyaki. You always started with the tail. No idea why, but it was your favorite part of the cake.

“Isn’t it natural to eat the head first?”

“I see. Going for a swift kill, huh? You’re pretty ruthless, Sanae.”

“Wha-? D-don’t say things like that, I’m not like that!”

Chuckling, you continued to eat your share of the stuff. This girl was so fun to tease. It had only been a little over two weeks since you’ve met her, but you seemed to get along with her just fine. Initially, she was a bit cautious of you; which was totally understandable considering the situation then. But she seemed to be very straightforward with her thoughts, so she was an easy person to converse with.

Sanae ate one more after finishing hers, and you ate the last two remaining fish, making for a total of five devoured. It didn’t exactly fill your stomach, but you weren’t hungry anymore. Feeling thirsty, you grabbed a can of coffee from a vending machine. Bitter stuff, but it warmed your hands at least. Sanae didn’t want one, something about coffee stunting growth.

Time passed by quickly while you and Sanae walked around the city, talking about various things (such as the latest episode of a popular anime series), window shopping (“I think you’d look good in this, Hoshuu!” “Nuh uh. I’m not wearing a frog shirt, okay?”), and eating (“You’re not going to be able to eat dinner if you eat all those meat buns, Hoshuu.” “Whatever. We’ll just have dinner later, then.”)

“Uwah, it’s five already. We’ll be late for prime time shows.” You say with a look of surprise as you glanced down at your watch. “Should we head back now?” You ask as you looked over to Sanae, who was quietly munching on the last of the meat buns. She gave you a nod, and so you changed direction towards the shrine.

On the way back, you saw something that caught your attention. At a street vendor was a line up of toy fireworks. The sparkler kind that you held on a string while it rained down colorful light.

“Ah, hey Sanae. You ever taken a look at these?” you ask her, nudging her arm with your elbow. She shook her head, and so you took out your wallet and bought a pack, stuffing them in one of the pockets on your jacket. “I think you’ll love these.”

“Is it okay? Aren’t fireworks only allowed on the beach?”

“Nah, these are safe. They don’t shoot up into the air, so it’s all good.”

She looked at you with a doubtful expression, but offered no further protest as she stuck a little closer to you, walking beside you as you returned to the shrine.

---

After a very modest dinner, the sun had set down, and the night had rolled in. Sanae had taken her hat off, placing it along with the hairclip on the table. Whatever she had bought for you, she had left in her room along with her coat. You couldn’t help but wonder what it was that she had got you. It had to be something small; otherwise it wouldn’t fit in her coat…

Bah, whatever. Shaking away your thoughts, you rose from your lying position on the ground, taking out the pack of fireworks from the jacket you had carelessly tossed onto the floor.

“C’mon, shows are over. Let’s watch these instead,” you said to Sanae, who was watching the TV with a bored look on her face. She nodded and got up, turning the TV off and placing the remote at its usual position on top of the VCR.

Outside was colder than ever, as would be expected at night. You briefly considered going back for your jacket, but you decided ‘nah, too much trouble.’ Unwrapping the package, you pulled out a string.

“Alright, stand back, Sanae.”

“Um, don’t you need a match to light it? I’ll go get some.”

“Nah, no need,” you said as you reached into your pocket, pulling out a lighter. “Alright, you ready?”

Sanae, however, didn’t have a look of anticipation at all. Instead she looked a little troubled and maybe a little irritated too, staring at your hand.

“…Why do you have a lighter?”

…Oh crap.

You had been keeping your…habits a secret from her the whole time you were here. You don’t know why, but you didn’t want her to know you smoked. It’s not like you were denying every bad habit for her, but this was one you had been going through lengths to conceal, probably because you knew she’d really nag you for it.

…Well, you could deny it, but could you lie to her face?

[] …Whatever. It’s not a big deal: just admit that you smoke.
[] Lie. Make up an excuse.
[] Don’t say anything.
>> No. 8952
[] Don’t say anything.
[] "Uh... Hey! Check out these fireworks!
>> No. 8954
{X} …Whatever. It’s not a big deal: just admit that you smoke.
>> No. 8955
[x] …Whatever. It’s not a big deal: just admit that you smoke.
>> No. 8957
[x] …Whatever. It’s not a big deal: just admit that you smoke.
>> No. 8958
[x] Don’t say anything.
>> No. 8959
[x] …Whatever. It’s not a big deal: just admit that you smoke.

Too late now.
>> No. 8961
[x] …Whatever. It’s not a big deal: just admit that you're an arsonist. Wait, what?
>> No. 8963
[x] …Whatever. It’s not a big deal: just admit that you smoke.

could be worse... brace for preaching tho
>> No. 8966
File 12368094341.jpg - (91.48KB , 620x829 , Understand!!!.jpg ) [iqdb]
8966
[x] …Whatever. It’s not a big deal: just admit that you smoke.
>> No. 8968
[x] "Because matches are a pain in the ass to deal with"
>> No. 8974
[x] "Well, sometimes a man gets lonely, you know..."
[x] "And, well..."
[x] "...you know..."
[x] "...just... a little light arson on the side. You know how it is."
[x] "Wait, no, you wouldn't. You'll learn about that when you grow up."
[x] Wait for a few moments; appear genuinely serious. Then smile sheepishly.
[x] "Okay, you've caught me. I smoke every now and then. I really should quit, though."
>> No. 8979
>>8968
>>8974

Damn it... can't choose...
Fuck it, I'll just go with the latter.

[x] "Well, sometimes a man gets lonely, you know..."
[x] "And, well..."
[x] "...you know..."
[x] "...just... a little light arson on the side. You know how it is."
[x] "Wait, no, you wouldn't. You'll learn about that when you grow up."
[x] Wait for a few moments; appear genuinely serious. Then smile sheepishly.
[x] "Okay, you've caught me. I smoke every now and then. I really should quit, though."
>> No. 8980
[x] "Well, sometimes a man gets lonely, you know..."
[x] "And, well..."
[x] "...you know..."
[x] "...just... a little light arson on the side. You know how it is."
[x] "Wait, no, you wouldn't. You'll learn about that when you grow up."
[x] Wait for a few moments; appear genuinely serious. Then smile sheepishly.
[x] "Okay, you've caught me. I smoke every now and then. I really should quit, though."

The old door-in-the-face
>> No. 8981
[X] "Well, sometimes a man gets lonely, you know..."
[X] "And, well..."
[X] "...you know..."
[X] "...just... a little light arson on the side. You know how it is."
[X] "Wait, no, you wouldn't. You'll learn about that when you grow up."
[X] Wait for a few moments; appear genuinely serious. Then smile sheepishly.
[X] "Okay, you've caught me. I smoke every now and then. I really should quit, though."

>>8974
Great job.
Old vote deleted in the favor of write-in.
>> No. 8982
[x] Lie. Make up an excuse.
[x] It's just a handy item to have around.
>> No. 8983
[X] "Well, sometimes a man gets lonely, you know..."
[X] "And, well..."
[X] "...you know..."
[X] "...just... a little light arson on the side. You know how it is."
[X] "Wait, no, you wouldn't. You'll learn about that when you grow up."
[X] Wait for a few moments; appear genuinely serious. Then smile sheepishly.
[X] "Okay, you've caught me. I smoke every now and then. I really should quit, though."
[X] "'Sides, it's cold outside, so I might need to light a fire to keep me warm sometimes."
>> No. 8984
[X] "Well, sometimes a man gets lonely, you know..."
[X] "And, well..."
[X] "...you know..."
[X] "...just... a little light arson on the side. You know how it is."
[X] "Wait, no, you wouldn't. You'll learn about that when you grow up."
[X] Wait for a few moments; appear genuinely serious. Then smile sheepishly.
[X] "Okay, you've caught me. I smoke every now and then. I really should quit, though."
[X] "'Sides, it's cold outside, so I might need to light a fire to keep me warm sometimes."

You have my sword.
>> No. 8985
[X] "Well, sometimes a man gets lonely, you know..."
[X] "And, well..."
[X] "...you know..."
[X] "...just... a little light arson on the side. You know how it is."
[X] "Wait, no, you wouldn't. You'll learn about that when you grow up."
[X] Wait for a few moments; appear genuinely serious. Then smile sheepishly.
[X] "Okay, you've caught me. I smoke every now and then. I really should quit, though."
[X] "'Sides, it's cold outside, so I might need to light a fire to keep me warm sometimes."
>> No. 8986
[ ] I don't know?
[ ] I was curious.
[ ] Not in that way.
[ ] You know, like for another dude?
[ ] Not really my thing.
[ ] You on the other hand...
[ ] Back 6 choices.
>> No. 8988
[X] "Well, sometimes a man gets lonely, you know..."
[X] "And, well..."
[X] "...you know..."
[X] "...just... a little light arson on the side. You know how it is."
[X] "Wait, no, you wouldn't. You'll learn about that when you grow up."
[X] Wait for a few moments; appear genuinely serious. Then smile sheepishly.
[X] "Okay, you've caught me. I smoke every now and then. I really should quit, though."
[X] "'Sides, it's cold outside, so I might need to light a fire to keep me warm sometimes."
>> No. 8989
Excellent. Update tomorrow.
>> No. 9000
>>8989

WHERE ARE THE UPDATES, LION?
YOU SAID THERE WOULD BE UPDATES
>> No. 9001
File 123691582547.jpg - (43.68KB , 547x437 , lol.jpg ) [iqdb]
9001
>>9000

I'm working on it, damn it.

Also, obligatory joke.
>> No. 9003
>>9001
IT'S EXACTLY NINE THOUSAND AND ONE
>> No. 9004
---

You lowered your head with a frown, turning around the lighter in your hand. Not daring to look at Sanae in the eyes, you began to speak with a high tone of voice that seemed oddly solemn.

“Well, sometimes, a man just gets lonely, you know?” you said as you crouched down in a squatting position, just staring at the moonlight reflected by the surface of the lighter you cradled in one hand. “And…well…you know…”

You flicked at the flint of the lighter, igniting it. “…just a little light arson on the side, you know how it is,” you continued to speak in a hollow voice, watching the flame dance around, its movement constantly flickering from the winter night’s breeze. You let the flame die out as you raised your head to take a look at Sanae.

"Wait, no, you wouldn't. You'll learn about that when you grow up,” you trailed off, doing your best to keep a straight expression on as you faced the girl. She just stared at you with a frown; not a hint of panic or fear. She didn’t buy it at all. Finally unable to restrain yourself, you broke into a chuckle as you straightened yourself up.

“Alright, alright, you caught me,” you said with a sheepish smile, lowering your hands. “I smoke every now and then.” Sanae walked forward, and while standing on her tippy toes, raised her hand and gave you a light chop to the head.

“Smoking kills,” she said with a stern face, one that you found quite cute, actually.

“I know, I know. I really should quit.” You said, still wearing that humbled smile. You actually did feel pretty bad, actually. Getting lectured by a grade schooler is pretty low, even for you. Ah well, she’d have found out sooner or later, anyway.

“But, uh…You know, a lighter can have other uses too. I mean, it’s cold outside, so I might need to light myself a fire to keep warm sometimes. You ever heard that story about the ‘Little Match Girl?’”

“Uh-huh. I’ve heard the story before. And I know how it ends, too. Do you want that to happen to you?”

“…Well, uh. Guess not. That’s why I’m staying with you.” In hindsight, it probably didn’t help your case to bring that story up, but you were just saying things off the top of your head, anyway. “…Uh, hey! Check out these fireworks!”

You saw Sanae rolling her eyes out of the corner of your vision as you stooped down, raising the hand with the string in front of you. Warning Sanae to step back, you brought your lighter up to the small little bag dangling at the end of the string and ignited it. Immediately, a colorful stream of colors began shooting out in all directions. Jets of red light scattered into the air in an impressive display of color, eventually disappearing into the darkness of night as they parted from the fountain of light you had created.

Sanae crouched down next to you, and you couldn’t help but grin as she watched the mini-fireworks show you were giving her with mesmerized eyes. It certainly was beautiful, wasn’t it? You always liked fireworks. They were a form of art that went as quickly as it came. As the personal display in front of you slowly fizzled out, you began to wonder.

Change was inevitable: people will change, cities will change, the whole world will change. That goes for you, too. When will it be that you will have to leave this shrine? Will this happy time you’re spending with her be nothing more than an instant, disappearing as quickly as it came like winter fireworks…?

“Hoshuu? What’s wrong?”

Snapped back to attention, you notice that the string of fireworks had burned out. Sanae looked at you with concern, still squatting next to you. How stupid of you. You don’t need to worry about that. The transience of people and their lives wasn’t something you needed to be fretting about. If the day comes, so be it, but for now, it was important to enjoy the time that you had.

“Ah, sorry. I was just thinking about something.” You said, stuffing your light back in your pocket and grasping the remains of the string tightly as you stood up, Sanae following suit seconds later. Reaching out with your now free hand, you placed it on the back of her head and pulled her closer, burying her face into your shirt.

“E-eh? Hoshuu?” Her muffled voice came from below you, but she didn’t offer any struggle. Even though you’ve known her for such a short time, you felt so close to her, as if she were your little sister. Not that you’d know how it feels to have one, but if you did, it was probably very similar to this. Maybe you’re just latching on to her because you were desperate for some emotional support, but still…

“..Hey. Thanks for everything, Sanae,” you muttered as you looked out towards the lake. She didn’t say anything, but her small arms wrapped themselves around you.

………

Today’s going to be a boring, ordinary day. You’re going to wake up, get dressed, and then head off to do some petty work in the afternoon: either doing the laundry or cleaning the dishes. And then you’re just going to relax for the rest of the day, maybe head down the mountain to talk to Miss Momizi or Nitori. Or maybe you’ll just stay inside all day.

Unfortunately, today was decidedly not an ordinary day. As you stepped outside the mountain fortress to join the yamabushi tengu in washing the dishes from breakfast, every single one of you noticed the crisis at hand.

From the direction of the Misty Lake, a thick cloud of red mist was dispersing from the gathering of trees. It quickly spread out into the sky, blocking out the sunlight. You wonder if the mist is poisonous. Probably not, since the crow tengu have been flying about the reddened clouds without any negative effects.

Of course, it goes without saying that Miss Aya was immediately interested in checking the incident out. She claimed to know the source of the mist: the vampire from that manor that appeared a few years ago. Miss Aya personally interviewed the vampire herself, after all. You were supposed to accompany her, but…complications earlier that day left you in an unfit condition to go, so you knew about as much as the other tengu did: not much at all.

Floating in the air, high above the ground, you looked down at the area where the mist had originated from. If you went now, you could probably catch Miss Aya looking around the area for a scoop, but did you really want to bother?

[] Go meet with Miss Aya. Learn more about the incident.
[] Back to the mountain.
---[] Spend time with Miss Momizi.
---[] Seek out Nitori.
---[] Take a walk along the river.
>> No. 9005
[x] Back to the mountain.
---[x] Spend time with Miss Momizi.

Just keep sheltering ourselves from harm's way and spend some time with our loved ones. If we truly need to fight, then it will be in the future, but not now.

Also, I love your side-story dreams. Would be nice if you turned them into full-blown CYOAs.
>> No. 9006
[x] Back to the mountain.
---[x] Spend time with Miss Momizi.

>>9005
I agree, I would love an entire CYOA of just Hoshuu and Sanae.
>> No. 9007
[x] Back to the mountain.
---[x] Spend time with Miss Momizi.

Yeah... need more Hoshuu and Sanae
>> No. 9008
{X} Back to the mountain.
---{X} Spend time with Miss Momizi.
>> No. 9010
>>9005
>>9006
>>9007

Signed

[x] Back to the mountain.
---[x] Spend time with Miss Momizi.
>> No. 9011
>>9004
[X] Back to the mountain.
---[X] Take a walk along the river.

Much as I'd like to check out the mansion with Aya, it wouldn't do to be associating as a tengu without our mask.

That said: Hina vote.
>> No. 9012
[X] Back to the mountain.
---[X] Take a walk along the river.
>> No. 9013
Momizi is going to start fearing that she's smothering us, if we're always clinging to her skirts.

[X] Back to the mountain.
---[X] Take a walk along the river.
>> No. 9014
[X] Wash the dishes

DO YER JERB

then
[X] Back to the mountain.
---[X] Take a walk along the river.
>> No. 9015
[X] Back to the mountain.
---[X] Take a walk along the river.
>> No. 9016
I love me some Momi, but I'd like to see her reaction to little Mikio going out and meeting more and more people.

[X] Back to the mountain.
---[X] Take a walk along the river.
>> No. 9023
[x] Back to the mountain.
---[x] Seek out Nitori.

Nitori vote.
>> No. 9024
[x] Back to the mountain.
---[x] Seek out Nitori.

needs more kappa
>> No. 9031
[x] Back to the mountain.
---[x] Spend time with Miss Momizi.
>> No. 9032
[X] Back to the mountain.
---[X] Take a walk along the river.
>> No. 9033
Update tomorrow.
>> No. 9034
[X] Back to the mountain.
---[X] Spend time with Miss Momizi.
>> No. 9035
>>8986
Oh yeah... I made that write in, too!

Funny, since I just did that same thing you did (mentioning an old writein somewhat similar to a current one, and it being by the same person) in Snake's story.
>> No. 9039
[~] Back to the mountain.
---[z] Take a walk along the river.
---[e] Take Ami with you.

>>9004
Hmm... okay. Having read the update, I'd like to note that the write-in had been meant to sound sheepish and embarrassed, like a kid mumbling a response to why he has dirty magazines under his bed, not to sound like a spaced-out psychotic lunatic.

My fault for not clarifying the context in the vote, though, I guess.


....

Hold the fuck on.

Didn't we get our head smashed on a rock? What the hell happened between then and now? This sudden segue --dream sequence in the middle or not-- reminds me eerily of leaving Aki's house in CoMN.

And you know how splendidly THAT event went down for us.
>> No. 9040
>>9010

I'll think about it. Maybe as a side-CYOA once the main story's over.

[x] Back to the mountain.
---[x] Take a walk along the river.
---

…No thanks. The last time you went along with her somewhere, you ended up getting blasted in the face and knocked out for half the day. Certainly don’t want a repeat performance of that, especially if it involves vampires. You heard they bite. Best thing you could do was just head back and wait for the situation to blow over. These types of events weren’t all that uncommon in Gensokyo, anyway, according to that old man.

You slowly drifted down towards the ground. You weren’t in a hurry to head back, either, so you might as well take a stroll along the riverside. Touching down on the soft grass beneath your feet, you began walking in the opposing direction to the river’s flow. You ignored the fairies that flew past the trees above you, with their never-ending whispering and giggling. They’re such a nuisance sometimes…but it’s their nature, so it can’t be helped.

Hopping on one of the large rocks piled up at the river bed, you spread out your arms as you balanced yourself, hopping to the next while trying not to stumble and fall off. Intensely, you concentrated your vision on your feet, rapidly calculating in your mind which rock you can jump to next without slipping off of it.

“Hey, you!”

A voice calls from somewhere nearby, but you pay in no heed. You’re far too busy focusing on important things, like trying to figure out how to jump far enough to reach the next rock.

“I’m talking to you, brat!”

Ah, damn it, you lost. You couldn’t jump far enough. Sighing with a disappointed expression on your face, you turned to face the loudmouth that was addressing you. Standing some feet away was a man with a scruffy chin, wearing a simple kimono.

“I remember you, damned kid.” The man said with an ugly look on his face. Or maybe he was just ugly. “Do you have any idea how much trouble you caused for me back then, huh?!” Huh, so he knows you? Ah, wait…

“…Y-you’re…” you say, scrunching up your face in deep concentration. Yeah, this guy was…this guy was… “…Um, have we met before?”…someone you don’t remember. You tilt your head with a puzzled look, digging through your memories.

“…You little…” The man grinded his teeth, showing off his sharp fangs. Still not coming back to you. Maybe the guy mistook you for someone else? “You don’t remember the youkai that nearly killed you?!”

“…Ah!” you exclaimed, pounding your hands together as if you had a sudden epiphany. “Now I remember. But that was like…ten years ago, wasn’t it, sir?”

“…Ten? What the…it’s only been three years, you dolt.”

“…Really? It feels like it’s been much longer than that,” you scratched your head, shrugging your shoulders. “Have you been well?” you decide to ask with a smile.

“…You…Don’t screw with me!” The man roared, stamping on the ground like a child. How rude, you were just being polite. “Damn it, you’re not giving a youkai proper respect! Fear me! Scream! Run away! Because I’m going to kill you!”

“Well, see, I’m not really in the mood…Can’t we please talk this out?” you said with disinterest. This only seemed to further fuel the man’s rage. He practically started foaming at the mouth, shouting incomprehensible curses at you.

“I’ll KILL YOU!” He screamed hysterically, charging at you. Calmly, you raised your hand and pointed in his general direction.

“Whoa, what’s that over there?!” You shout incredulously, eyes wide open. The youkai man stopped his charge, dropping to the ground just short of a single pace from you to look behind him. Chance. You kick off from the ground, soaring into the high branches of the trees. Behind you, you hear the youkai let out a frustrated scream.

Looking back, you see the youkai chasing after you, opting to jump from tree to tree rather than fly at you like any other youkai would. Come to think of it, he didn’t fly at you the last time he was chasing you, either. Could it be that he couldn’t fly? In that case…

Doubling back, you let out a burst of speed as you switched directions just as he leaped from a tree, shooting towards him. If he can’t fly, there was no way he could stop himself in time to dodge you. Using your flying speed, as well as the man’s momentum…

“What the fu-!“

You clothesline him right in the neck using your outstretched arm. With a sickening crack, his whole body nearly makes a loop around your arm. He goes limp, his eyes rolled up so that you could only see the whites. He dropped like a sack of potatoes into the river below with a splash. Ouch, that looked like it really hurt. He should be fine, though, since he’s a youkai. You should apologize to him the next time you see him again. Your arm feels numb from the impact, though…

Floating down to the ground, you resumed your little game of rock-hopping, until you feel a chill run down your spine. That presence…it must be that goddess from that time. She was near somewhere in the trees; you can hear the leaves rustling…Following your ears, you finally found her. She was spinning horizontally in the air, like a top, as she drifted from tree to tree, apparently on the whims of the wind.

[] Approach her.
--- [] Call out to her.
--- [] Join her in spinning.
[] Avoid her and hurry to the mountain.
>> No. 9041
[x] Approach her.
--- [x] Join her in spinning.
>> No. 9042
[x] Approach her.
---[x] Call out to her.

No spinning. Also, we kicked the youkai's ass? AWESOME.
>> No. 9043
[x] Approach her.
--- [x] Join her in spinning.
[x] Apologize for running away and thank her for what she did last time.
>> No. 9044
[x] Approach her.
--- [x] Join her in spinning.
[x] Apologize for running away and thank her for what she did last time.
>> No. 9045
>>9040
[X] Approach her.
--- [X] Join her in spinning.

That circular motion, that unfettered rotation, that spiraling sensation: these are the essense of a drill. A drill made of courage, dreams, and hope. It is a drill that will pierce through the impossible and will be a manifestation for our very soul. We must take flight and join her in her endeavors, for she is someone that can truly understand a man's spirit.
>> No. 9047
File 123706578112.gif - (212.12KB , 390x380 , wallachiawesome.gif ) [iqdb]
9047
[X] Approach her.
--- [X] Join her in spinning.
>> No. 9049
[x] Approach her.
--- [x] Join her in spinning.
>> No. 9050
[x] Approach her.
--- [x] Join her in spinning.
[x] Apologize for running away and thank her for what she did last time.
>> No. 9052
[x] Approach her.
---[x] Join her in spinning
>> No. 9064
File 123714981146.jpg - (204.55KB , 550x747 , be2a36066456698703de0f2677b01a31.jpg ) [iqdb]
9064
Well, you did tell yourself to apologize for running away from her the last time you met, after all, and she even saved you from that youkai that time. You would feel horrible if you just walked away without a word just because she made you feel a little uncomfortable. You consider calling out to her, but…

Why is she spinning? Is it because it it’s fun? Or maybe for some vague symbolic reason that you wouldn’t be able to comprehend? What is she the goddess of, anyway? A goddess of spinning…there’s no way she could be that, right? Oh, wait, Miss Momizi did tell you about a god of curses, right? But…you can’t think of why a goddess of curses would be spinning…

Well, maybe you should try it out, then.

Rising into the air, you watched as the goddess continued to spin from tree to tree, in a pattern that seemed almost like…dancing in the air. Following her suit, you began rotating yourself as your body swam through the air. The scenery in front of you warps to but a blur as you allow yourself to slowly pick up speed as you spin spin spin. Hey, this is kind of fun, actually. You break into a grin as you spin faster and faster. Spin spin spin spin spin spin spin spin spi- Whoa, getting kind of…

Thump.

Your back slams into the trunk of a tree. The impact wasn’t hard, but you’re too disoriented to concentrate on keeping yourself in the air. But just as you’re about to plummet down, feeling nauseated enough to vomit, a pair of arms hold you up by your arms. There’s someone’s warmth behind you. Shaking your head to clear it, you concentrated on floating by yourself again, and those arms released you from their hold. Turning around, you gave a bow to the goddess.

“Ah, um, thank you,” you said, blushing from embarrassment. That was kind of silly, wasn’t it? You still feel kind of dizzy, and it’s hard to keep yourself up like this, but you manage a straight posture as the woman smiled warmly at you. A genuine, cheerful smile. Even so, you couldn’t help but feel a little uneasy, but you knew it wasn’t her intention, at least.

“Be careful. You’ll get dizzy and sick if you spin like that so much,” she said to you, still smiling, although seemed to have little hint of mischief now.

“…Yes, I know,” you said with a nod. Wait, hold up a second. She’s been spinning around like a top for a while now, so she should be the last person to tell you to stop spinning. “Um, don’t you get dizzy as well? How do you…?” The goddess shushed you by placing a finger on your lips, gently running it down your chin.

“That would be…a goddess’s secret,” she said, placing that same index finger in front of her lips as a gesture of silence. You couldn’t help but give a visible shudder. Nevertheless, you bravely let out what you had been planning to say.

“Um, I wanted to thank you for what you did for me that time, three years ago,” you began. “You really helped me back then.”

“I am a friend of humans, it is my duty to protect any human who wanders into my domain…” She said, placing a hand on your head, her long, slender fingers running down your hair.

“And…and I’m sorry for running away from you,” you finished, tolerating her touch, exerting much effort in not backing away from her.

“It is only natural,” the goddess said with a somewhat wistful look in her eyes, a little sadness apparent in her tone of voice. “While I am an ally of humans, it is their nature to fear and detest me. Not even youkai will tolerate my presence for very long, although I suppose that makes it easier for me to carry out my duties…”

You feel a twinge of pity for her. Maybe she was lonely?

“…Well, you should go now, child.” She said, moving her hand down to your face, gently caressing your cheek. Even though the aura around her felt so cold and unwelcoming, her body was warm, like any other living being. But her gaze…it was full of pity. Why? “…You have a strange fate, living among youkai. But, I can sense that you are also very unfortunate…I wonder if even the gods can take your tragedies away…”

Huh?

In the moment it takes for you to break from your shock, she’s already flying away from you, spinning as she usually did. Unable to think, you just ask the first thing that pops in your head.

“What’s your name, Miss Goddess?” The goddess stopped in midair, turning to face you with a smile, and then spoke softly.

“Kagimiya Hina.”

And then she began spinning once more, now farther away from you as she moved from tree to tree. Cupping your hands around your mouth, you shouted.

“I’m Kirita Mikio! I’ll visit again, okay?!”

You then simply stayed still, floating among the trees as you felt her presence washing away from you, leaving you feeling a little relieved. But even so, you’re disappointed that you didn’t press on what she meant when she said you were unfortunate…

Just a little confused, you flew back to the base of the mountain.

---

There’s still time to kill, what should you do?

[] Spend time with Miss Momizi.
[] Seek out Nitori.
[] Go to the wolves’ den.
[] Back to HQ.
>> No. 9065
[x] Go to the wolves’ den.
>> No. 9066
[x] Go to the wolves’ den.

Lets go see Rouga.
>> No. 9067
[x] Back to HQ.
[x] Go to the wolves’ den afterwards.

Let's pick up some sake and drink with Rouga.
>> No. 9068
{X} Go to the wolves’ den.
>> No. 9069
[] Spend time with Miss Momizi.
>> No. 9070
[z] Go to the wolves’ den.
>> No. 9072
File 123715148649.png - (179.71KB , 500x500 , 1232564570331.png ) [iqdb]
9072
[x] Seek out Nitori.

>“Kagimiya Hina.”

Kagiyama.
>> No. 9073
[x] Spend time with Miss Momizi.
wolves? bah, whatever
>> No. 9074
>>9072

Haha, whoops. I keep getting confused.
>> No. 9075
[x] Go to the wolves’ den.
>> No. 9080
[] Go to the wolves’ den.
>> No. 9081
>>9074

and that is why you don't spin so much.
>> No. 9082
[x] Go to the wolves’ den.
>> No. 9084
[X] Go to the wolves’ den.

I'm beginning to wonder if we should have visited Remi, what with all this "fate" business.

Well, if worst comes to worst, we'll just have to have a big ol' Screw Destiny moment.
>> No. 9088
[x] Go to the wolves’ den.
---

With everyone else on high alert at the moment, thanks to that red mist covering the sky, the best place to relax might be where the one person you could count on to never care about anything is at. With that line of thought, you began walking the path leading to the hidden wolves’ den.

The inside was so dark that you could barely see, as was usual in the last few times you bothered to visit the place. Many of the wolves raised their heads, turning their gazes towards you. Some of them wagged their tails, while others remained uninterested, lazing about. Rouga himself was lying on his side in his makeshift bed, cleaning out one of his ears with his pinky.

“Eh? If it ain’t Kirita,” he greeted with a bored voice, reluctantly sitting up. He opened his mouth to let out a loud yawn, as his tail beat against the ground without much enthusiasm. “What have I done to receive your most graceful presence, oh man who eats cooked meat?”

“Knock it off,” you said with mild annoyance. Can’t help it if you’re civilized unlike this guy, who somehow managed to fail boiling meat. Seriously, you’re certain he’d create some sort of sentient monstrosity if he was ever allowed to cook anything more complex than a chunk of meat. Your response elicited in a bark like laugh from Rouga, who was now cracking his neck.

“But yeah, long time no see, boyo, Good to see ya, I was getting bored to death here.” he said, crossing his arms together as he grinned.

“Whatever, where’s Ami?”

“She’s sleepin’,” he said, jerking a thumb towards one of the bigger wolves, sleeping with its head on top of its legs at one of the piles of straws in the edge of the area. According to Rouga, she was one of the younger members of the pack. “Only ‘bout a hundred years old.” He had said, which made you wonder how old the other wolves were, and just how many were close to becoming humanoid youkai like Rouga.

Of course, when you asked him about it, Rouga said that the youkai wolves that achieved that level either went independent or challenged him for the control of the pack. He then bragged about how he never lost a single one of those battles and showed off scars from the battles as proof. “Yeah, the last guy I fought gave me the scar here,” he said back then, pointing to a gash on his tattooed chest. “I got him back, though. Stabbed him right in the throat, I did.” You weren’t really interested, but the guy was kind of hard to shut up when he really got going. But that reminds you.

“Hey Rouga, I’ve been meaning to ask you for a while, but how’d you lose your eye?” you said, sitting down on the ground. The man flinched for a bit, as though he had been struck, before he started talking in a low voice.

“…Well, ya know how I told you ‘bout how humans started drivin’ us off after the Haku-whatsitcalled Border got set up and everythin’, right?”

“Uh huh.”

“Well, see, I was with the pack on one of the attacks, and we got ambushed by a hunter. Dude was a monster. The prick drove a sword right in my eye after he killed five or so of my pack.”

“And he was alone?”

“Well yeah. I was just ‘bout to kick his ass for taking my eye, but then a bunch of other hunters showed up, so we had to leg it out of there,” he said, spitting on the ground beside him. Apparently, he was still bitter. “I remember that guy’s eyes well enough, though. Had slits for pupils like a goddamned reptile.”

“Sounds like a scary man.”

“Bah, I still had my other eye. I coulda taken him.”

And in this way, you spent the afternoon, chatting and arguing about nothing in particular. Rouga was really the only one you could be rude to, so the two of you let loose and engaged in some petty name-calling contests. It was good for relieving stress, after all.

---

Well, now you’re back in headquarters. It’s just about time for dinner, although you still have a little while before they start serving. Seems most of the crow tengu were back, though, and they were actively chatting about the incident…

[] Try to find out more about the red mist.
[] Too much of a bother. Go do your own thing.
>> No. 9089
{X} Try to find out more about the red mist.
>> No. 9090
[x] Try to find out more about the red mist.
>> No. 9091
[] Try to find out more about the red mist.

Good to keep on top of things.
>> No. 9092
[x] Try to find out more about the red mist.

we had something else to do?
>> No. 9093
[x] Try to find out more about the red mist.

Why not?
>> No. 9095
[x] Try to find out more about Sierra Mist.
sponsorshippan gaems
>> No. 9096
[X] Try to find out more about the red mist.
>> No. 9097
[x] Too much of a bother. Go do your own thing.
[x] Find Momizi and Aya.
>> No. 9100
[x] Try to find out more about the red mist.
>> No. 9104
[X] Try to find out more about the red mist.

Who doesn't like intel?
>> No. 9112
[x] Try to find out more about the red mist.
---

Right, let’s go get the low-down on the situation. Not guaranteed that anything you hear will be necessarily true or reliable, but it’s the only way you’ll get to know before they start churning out their reports on their newspapers, anyway. And then you’ll have to pay for that stuff, and it’s not like you really get a lot of money for doing grunt work at the moment.

Approaching a group of chattering crow tengu, you boldly stood nearby, listening to the conversation they were having. It’s not like you could ever successfully sneak up on a tengu, taking their advanced sense of sight, smell, and hearing. They didn’t seem to care if you listened in on them, anyway. Once they start yapping, they really couldn’t seem to stop.

“-nyway. Looks like Miss Shameimaru was right about the mist being caused by the vampire.”

“Wow, really?”

“Yeah, yeah, it was probably to block out the sun, since it’s, you know, a vampire!”

“That’s really audacious of the vampire! Lord Tenma won’t stand for this, you know!’

“We don’t need to do anything, though. I heard the Hakurei shrine maiden’s already entered the vampire’s mansion.”

“Oh yeah! I saw her earlier, messing around with the darkness youkai.”

“Really? I heard the black-white witch was the one that broke into that mansion.” At the mention of her, you suddenly see a burst of star-shaped light in your vision. Not particularly something you like to remember.

“Ooh, but there’s a magician living with the vampire, isn’t there? The ordinary human magician against the youkai magician! Aww, I wish we could really head inside.”

“It’s regrettable, yeah, but it’s the policy of the tengu to not intervene in these matters, so we’ll just have to wait for the results.”

…Well, that’s probably enough you’ve heard for now, anyway. Turning on your heels, you left the still noisy group to their devices as you walked the path to the canteen.

---

At the mess hall, you sat along with Miss Momizi, Ogata, and all the other tengu, dining on the usual meal of rice and several side dishes. Miss Aya hadn’t returned yet, she must be quite busy if she was taking this long to return. Miss Momizi, on the other hand, looked a little tired, so after you ate, you gave her a little shoulder rub. She received it graciously with gratitude, and her mood seemed to lighten up a little.

“Ah…” she yawned, covering her mouth with one hand. “We haven’t been on high alert like that in a while.” She commented, brushing away the tears that had watered up her eyes.

“It’ll just resolve itself, like all the other incidents in Gensokyo,” Ogata said, taking a swig from his sake dish.

“Hey, um, Professor Ogata?” You decide to ask as he poured himself some more drink, acknowledging you with a grunt. “Can the Hakurei shrine maiden really beat the vampire?”

“Probably,” he said, downing sake as he spoke. “Pretty strong, that one. If the birdbrains here are to be trusted, supposedly she took on the leader of the vampire insurrection some years ago and defeated ‘em. Then she issued some crap about youkai not being allowed to attack humans. Rightly pissed off some of ‘em, that did. Even ol’ Tenma was opposed to it, so then we had prolly the biggest gathering of youkai, since the border got set up, at that shrine to discuss the terms.”

“And that’s what led to…”

“Right, the Spell Card rules. It’s been in the works for a few years now, actually. Draft was done shortly after the vampire incident, but it took some years to get everyone to agree on the final set of rules. It was only last week that it was officially instated.” With this said, Ogata rose from his table, carrying his bottle of sake with him as he stood. “Anyway, I’m off to my studies. Inubashiri, don’t forget to give those to the boy.” Miss Momizi nodded as he left the room.

“’Those?’ What was he talking about, Miss Momizi?” you ask, turning to face her.

“Here, take these, Mikio,” Miss Momizi said, handing you some …blank cards?

“…Spell cards?”

“Yup,” she said, taking out her own copies of the blank cards. “It’s mandatory for all tengu to carry them now. You know what these are, right?”

“Uh-huh,” you say, nodding as you examined the blank cards with interest, turning them over in your hands. “They’re the basis for the new method to solving conflicts, right? You infuse danmaku pattern into them, and make your shots hit the target to break their spell.”

“You’ve got it,” she said, smiling. “And we don’t need to go over what danmaku is again, do we?”

Clearing your throat, you attempted your best impression of Ogata’s scratchy, growling tone of voice. “‘A foolish game for easily-amused women and children, that’s what it is!’“ Miss Momizi let out a small laughter.

“His thinking is kind of old fashioned. He’s been around to take part in war-policies of the tengu, after all. He doesn’t like to think of play-fights like danmaku as anything resembling a battle.”

“He didn’t seem to mind having other tengu spray me with bullets to ‘hone my reflexes’, though.”

“Well, what someone says and what someone does are two entirely different things.”

---

It’s probably gotten dark now, but the night is still young. What should you do?

[] Bath, and then head to bed.
[] Take a stroll outside first.
>> No. 9113
{X} Bath, and then head to bed.
>> No. 9114
[] Take a stroll outside first.
>> No. 9115
[x] Wander the corridors of HQ. You don't quite feel like a bath tonight - you'll take one tomorrow morning.
>> No. 9116
[x] Take a stroll outside first.
>> No. 9117
[] Bath, and then head to bed.

So after ignoring /youkai/ for ages, I finally set foot in here again and find this gem buried here. I'm pretty impressed. That's one more section to check out now.

Keep up the good work.
>> No. 9118
>>9104
AMD
>> No. 9120
>>9112
Damn, the hint police have relatives among the tengu.

I'll bet the smaller one of them is named Sam.
>> No. 9127
[x] Take a stroll outside first.

I only see one choice.
>> No. 9128
[] Take a stroll outside first.
>> No. 9129
[] Bath, and then head to bed.
>> No. 9141
File 123735609826.jpg - (205.33KB , 1024x887 , redmoon.jpg ) [iqdb]
9141
[x] Take a stroll outside first.
---

Getting up from your seat at the table, you decided to take a nightly stroll outside. You bid good night to a bored looking Miss Momizi and made your way out of the room, and into the tunnels of HQ. Your feet were leading you to one of the many exits leading out of the mountain. Specifically, you were heading to one that you previously couldn’t use, due to your inability to fly back then, although you still mostly used the ground entrance, likely out of habit.

Outside, it was pretty chilly for a summer night. Gensokyo seemed really fickle about temperature sometimes. When it’s cold, it was freezing, but when it’s hot, it was unbearably so Right now, it was just cold enough to give you goosebumps, and so you rubbed the bare skin with your hands as you stepped outside. Still, the constant breeze felt really nice. The air was a little thinner up here, but it also had a very clear taste and smell.

As you walked a little further out the perch of rock that the exit opened up to, you stared up at the sky. There was a full moon tonight. But it was different. The red mist covering the sky hadn’t completely dispersed yet. With the moon shining down its light through the red mist…

The full moon itself appeared to be colored red.

”Don’t you think the full moon is beautiful?”

“…I don’t dislike it.”


Ah. It hurts. It hurts it hurts it hurts. What’s hurting? What’s making you feel so much pain? Your body feels numb, but something still…something still hurts. Was it…

“Oh? Miki, I didn’t take you to be the moon gazing type.”

“..Eh? Oh, Miss Aya…” you muttered, turning your gaze away from the moon to the woman who had just touched down on the ground beside you.

“You okay? You’re looking kind of pale.”

“Huh? Oh, well, it’s nothing,” you say. That was a weird experience. Were you imagining it or something? You get the feeling that it wasn’t the first time, though… Shaking away your uncertainty, you instead decided to speak. “…Returning just now, Miss Aya? You sure took your time.”

“Mmhmm. Well, I like to be thorough when I’m looking for scoops. The mist was shaped very peculiarly when it started coming out. I managed to get a photo of it. I’ll show you what I mean when I get the film developed for the next bi-weekly issue of Bunbunmaru.”

“…You’re going bi-weekly now? I thought they were a monthly paper…”

Miss Aya conveniently ignored your question as she stepped into the entrance. Sighing, you followed after her. With not much else to do, and your mood for a nightly stroll having been ruined by whatever it was you felt outside, you decided to just call it a day and head to the sleeping quarters after a bath.

………

You wake up with a jolt, your eyes snapping open. Where…where were you? You seem to be sitting down, leaning with your back against a seat. Behind you was a glass window, although the outside was too dark to see anything. The room you were in was lit by shining bars above you, and the entire room itself seemed to shake unsteadily every second.

It’s the inside of a train.

You feel strangely calm, even though you had no idea what was going on. You considered getting up and looking around the place, but your legs felt too tired to move. Besides, the quiet rocking of the train seat was somehow comforting. You closed your eyes again as you leaned your head back.

“Hey, man. Don’t go back to sleep as soon as you wake up,” a voice comes from beside you. Looking over, you saw the owner of that voice, sitting down on the same side of the train as you. He raised a hand in greeting, although you couldn’t make out his face. He wasn’t there before when you looked. What a strange person.

“Looks like we’re on the same train,” he said with a friendly voice. Truly, a master of pointing out the obvious. You weren’t even going to dignify that with an answer. “…Where are you heading?”

“…I don’t know,” you say. And it was the truth. You have no idea when it was that you boarded the train, or where the train was headed.

“I see. That’s kind of stupid, isn’t it?” He laughed, scratching the back of his head. “But I also think that’s admirable. That means you’re a free spirit, just living as you please. Myself? I know exactly where I’m going.”

“Good for you.”

“Maybe not. Do you believe in fate?”

“…Fate?”

“Yeah, the belief that everything is predetermine-“

“I know what it means.”

“Okay, anyway. So do you believe in fate?”

“…I don’t know.”

“I don’t believe in it. I think it’s a load of crap. I believe that the decisions of the people are what keep the world going, not some supernatural bullshit that everything is set in stone.”

“What does that have to do with anything?”

“It’s got everything to do with what we’re talking about right now. I can’t really tell you much at the moment, but let me tell you this, at least: you’re not bound to anything. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I’m not the best person to tell you something like this, but if you don’t like where this train is heading, you can go ahead and forge your own set of rails. That’s something I can’t do, but you can.”

“…I don’t understand what you’re talking about.”

“You will. Probably not very soon, but you will. It’s going to be a long while before my stop comes up, so we’ll have plenty of time for you to get it.”

Even though he was speaking in a calm manner, he seemed kind of desperate about something. There was nothing in his actions to suggest that, but you can feel it somehow.

“…I’m tired…” you say, rubbing your eyes.

“…Alright, one question, and then you can go ahead and go back to sleep.” He said, raising one finger to point at you. “…Who are you?”



[] I’m…
[] …I don’t know.
>> No. 9142
>>9141
[x]I am the monsters.
>> No. 9143
[X] I’m Mikio Kirita, of the tengu.

Well, we are.
>> No. 9145
[] …I don’t know.

We could be either Mikio, Hoshuu or... that other guy I forgot... either way we really have no idead just who we are.
>> No. 9146
[x] ...I don’t know.
>> No. 9147
[X] I am...MASTER NECRON, LORD OF THE ZOMBIE HORDE! BOW DOWN BEFORE ME, YOU WORTHLESS SACK OF FLESH!
>> No. 9148
[x] "I'm whoever the fuck you want me to be, buddy"
>> No. 9149
[x] …We don’t know.
>> No. 9150
[x] …I don’t know.
>> No. 9151
Okay, but in all seriousness: after that spiel about fate, I'm guessing this choice ties into his words. If we say we don't know, then we aren't determining our fate for ourselves - we're waiting for outside information to tell us who we are, and where we're headed. If we say we do know, our "fate" will reflect that - we'll be choosing the path that we walk for ourselves, based on what we want to be.
>> No. 9152
[x] I'm Hoshuu
>> No. 9153
>>9151
Makes sense.

[x] I'm Hoshuu
>> No. 9155
[X] I’m Mikio Kirita

Started the story as him, we shall end it as him.
>> No. 9157
[X] I’m Mikio Kirita, but sometimes Hoshuu.
>> No. 9158
[x] I'm Mikio Kirita because I said so.
>> No. 9160
>The goddess shushed you by placing a finger on your lips, gently running it down your chin.
>She said, placing a hand on your head, her long, slender fingers running down your hair.
> She said, moving her hand down to your face, gently caressing your cheek. Even though the aura around her felt so cold and unwelcoming, her body was warm, like any other living being. But her gaze…it was full of pity

Fuck, I like this Hina. There is an air of divinity around her, different from the other Hinas around here. It feels she is more of a Goddess than the others. Plus, her intimacy is sacred and arousing. Best Hina so far.
>> No. 9162
[x] My name is Kirita Mikio, also known as Hoshuu.
>> No. 9164
[x] A name? I don't need a name.
>> No. 9165
[x] I’m…
>> No. 9167
>>9160
I'm at loss of words to share my opinion on how beautiful the description is. Just excellent.

Anyway:
[X] I’m Mikio Kirita.
>> No. 9168
[x] "I'm pretty sure you're expected to introduce yourself first."
>> No. 9169
[x] I am who I am.
>> No. 9170
>>9160
Fucking signed.
>> No. 9171
“…I’m…” you muttered, your vision becoming unfocused as you lowered your head in thought. Who are you? The answer to that question should be obvious, but why won’t it come to you? You’re…you’re…

“I’m…Kirita Mikio,” you say at last with a shaky voice, raising your head to glance over at the stranger next to you. “I’m Kirita Mikio of the tengu.”

You feel a chill run down your spine as that stranger began chuckling ever so slightly. Even though you couldn’t see his face right now, you felt that he was sneering at you.

Stop it, stop looking at me like that.

“Heh, you don’t sound too sure.” He said with a jeering tone, stuffing his hands into the pockets of his clothes. “…Are you sure about that?”

“Of course I a-“

”Hey big brother! You’re back!”

“That’s not a concern of the village.”

“Y-yo! Hahaha, do you…is your house near the shrine?”

“…you should…you should really go back…”

“Welcome to Youkai Mountain, kid.”


“Ow!” you gasp as you reach up to your head, holding it in your hands. It hurts.

“Something wrong?” He asks, still in that infuriatingly sarcastic tone. Clenching your teeth, you growl.

“…Shut up. Stop trying to confuse me. I’m Mikio. I’m a tengu of the mountain. So…shut…up!”

“Whoa there, easy. I’m not trying to confuse you.”

“Then stop making my head hurt…you…”

“…Alright, alright. I’ll stop talking for now, but I’ll just say this,” he said, jerking a thumb towards the window of the train. “If you’re unsure about just who you are, then take a look for yourself.”

You turn your head, looking into the glass. On the surface of the pitch black glass, you saw a reflection of yourself. A young-looking boy with black hair. That was definitely you. You break into a half-crazed looking grin. See? You’re Mikio. You’re not some hunter or a runaway kid. Hahaha…hahahaha! You begin to laugh. Your reflection begins to laugh along with you.

And then what looks horribly like blood runs down your reflection’s face. You cease the laughing, but your reflection still continues to cackle as its hair grows at a rapid pace, becoming the same deep red color of blood. Its hair turns blood-red, its face becomes blood-red, the windows are splattered with red red red. And it’s still laughing. Still laughing still laughing still laughing while blood pours down its face. You clutch your own, clawing at your flesh.

It’s damp.

You scream.

---

What a horrible way to start a morning. You woke up screaming murder, and ended up waking a lot of the tengu in the same quarters as you. After much admonishing from them, you couldn’t even go back to sleep, lying there with your eyes wide open. Worst part is that you can’t even remember what you were so scared about.

Of course, you weren’t exempted from your duties just because you had a nightmare. You rubbed your eyes with the back of your hands and yawned loudly during the long hours with the yamabushi tengu working on printing. That was just terrible, nearly imprinted words on your own hand. That would’ve taken a while to wash off.

Having done your share of the work, you head out into the hallways of HQ and into the wilderness of the mountain, wandering around as always, and maybe consider napping a bit.

[] Go ahead and take a nap somewhere.
---[] Outside.
---[] Wolves’ Den.
[] Go talk to someone…?
---[] Miss Momizi.
---[] Miss Aya
---[] Nitori.
---[] Miss Kagiyama.
>> No. 9172
[X] Go talk to someone…?
---[X] Miss Momizi.
---[X] "I had a bad dream."
---[X] "...can I sleep here?"
>> No. 9173
[X] Go talk to someone…?
---[X] Miss Momizi.

Momizi is our mother figure, and she is the one to turn to for comfort and understanding after we are exposed to trauma.
>> No. 9174
[] Go talk to someone…?
---[] Miss Kagiyama.
>> No. 9175
[x] Go talk to someone…?
---[X] As much as you want to be comforted by Miss Momizi...
---[x] Miss Kagiyama is the only one who might give you real insight into the dream's significance.
>> No. 9176
[X] Go talk to someone…?
---[X] Miss Momizi.
>> No. 9177
[x] Go ahead and take a nap somewhere.
---[x] Wolves’ Den.

Dawww.
>> No. 9179
>Miss Kagiyama is the only one who might give you real insight into the dream's significance.
>Worst part is that you can’t even remember what you were so scared about.
>> No. 9180
So it was all a dream?

[x] Go talk to someone…?
---[x] As much as you want to be comforted by Miss Momizi...
---[x] Miss Kagiyama is the only one who might give you real insight into the dream's significance.
>> No. 9181
[x] Go talk to someone…?
---[x] Ogata

y'know... the guy who named you? i almost want to reminisce with Momizi about how u arrived to help reaffirm our identity but a drink with the old man just sounds better than getting babied after a minor identity crisis. also of note is the fact we got some blank spellcards to write. might help us take our minds off our problems.
>> No. 9182
[x] Go talk to someone…?
---[x] As much as you want to be comforted by Miss Momizi...
---[x] Miss Kagiyama is the only one who might give you real insight into the dream's significance.
>> No. 9183
[X] Go talk to someone…?
---[X] Miss Momizi.
---[X] "I had a bad dream."
---[X] "...can I sleep here?"

Momi~
>> No. 9184
[X] Go talk to someone…?
---[X] Miss Momizi.
>> No. 9186
[x] Go talk to someone…?
---[X] As much as you want to be comforted by Miss Momizi...
---[x] Miss Kagiyama is the only one who might give you real insight into the dream's significance.

Yeah, Hina seems to know more than anyone else at the moment.
>> No. 9187
[x] Go talk to someone…?
---[X] As much as you want to be comforted by Miss Momizi...
---[x] Miss Kagiyama is the only one who might give you real insight into the dream's significance.
>> No. 9188
[x] Go talk to someone…?
---[X] As much as you want to be comforted by Miss Momizi...
---[x] Miss Kagiyama is the only one who might give you real insight into the dream's significance.
>> No. 9191
[~] Go talk to someone…?
---[z] As much as you want to be comforted by Miss Momizi...
---[e] Miss Kagiyama is the only one who might give you real insight into the dream's significance.
>> No. 9198
>>9179

Yeah, I wonder how that will work out.
>> No. 9205
File 123759888490.jpg - (827.01KB , 1500x1500 , 486a9de2a81db3635eace871070520fc.jpg ) [iqdb]
9205
[x] Go talk to someone…?
---[X] As much as you want to be comforted by Miss Momizi...
---[x] Miss Kagiyama is the only one who might give you real insight into the dream's significance.
------

Well, you really feel like crap at the moment. Maybe it would be best to go talk to someone about it. But what could you talk about, anyway? Saying you had a nightmare and then not being able to describe it would just make you feel stupid. It frustrates you, but right now you don’t think Miss Momizi or Miss Aya can help you.

There was also something else that bothered you. What did that goddess…Miss Kagiyama, right? What did she mean when she said you were unfortunate? Tragedies even Gods may not be able to take away? So many things you don’t understand right now…

Deciding to go ahead and ask her directly, you rise from the ground and into the air, flying in the direction of the Great Youkai Forest.

......

You find her at the entrance of the forest, the telltale sign of her presence being that uncomfortable aura that she seemed to exude. She was bent over at the bank of the river, setting a float a pair of dolls shrouded by their shell-like straw boat. You’ve heard of this before; the nagashi-bina ritual. The tossing away of sin and misfortune. The tengu spread some rumors that it was polluting the river (of which you have no idea if they’re true or not), although that didn’t really seem to deter the goddess from going through with it, anyway.

You cautiously approached her, since you didn’t want to startle her or anything. Then again, you don’t think you could do that even if you tried. She looked up at you as you landed beside her, certainly not in too much of a hurry to stand. As you wonder about what to say, she gives you a knowing smile as she slowly walked over to you.

“You are wondering what I meant the last time we exchanged words, aren’t you?” She said, pinpointing your exact thought at the moment, to which you could only nod awkwardly. “I meant what I said, unfortunately. You seem to me like…a very troubled person. Misfortune seems to cling to your body as though they were parasites, and in volumes such that even I find shocking.” As she spoke, she circled around you, as though studying you. You feel more than a little discomforted.

“…So…what does that mean, Miss Kagiyama?” you ask.

“It means I’m wondering how it is that your body is containing so much misfortune. It’s very…peculiar, too. Does disaster tend to befall you or those close to you?”

“…No, I don’t think so. I certainly hope not, at least.”

“Curious, how curious…” She said, apparently in deep thought as she absentmindedly placed a hand on your head, and slowly slid her fingers down to your chest. Did she always have to get so…touchy-feely? You imagine it was due to her lack of contact with other people. “It’s difficult to explain, but it’s as though you’ve been cursed to bear the burden of many people’s sufferings,” she continued to speak as she twirled her index finger around an area of your body. “But what is really unusual is that it does not seem to affect you or the people around you, as though it were in a dormant state. It may be in your best interest to see an exorcist.”

“Huh? An exorcist?” You tilt your head as Miss Kagiyama removed her hand from your body, placing it on her chin as she cast her gaze in the direction of the river’s flow.

“Yes. One may be able to free the curse from you. As much as I want to help you, my powers are limited to gathering active misfortunes and curses.” She let out a sigh as she looked back towards you; she seemed genuinely sorry that there wasn’t much she could do. “...I have never seen anything like this before.

But wouldn’t having to seek out an exorcist force contact with humans? You’re not sure if you’re ready for that yet. And besides, Miss Kagiyama herself said that whatever you had wasn’t active, right? So it’s not like you’ve really been affected by all this curse mumbo jumbo, right?

“Ah, um…thank you for your help, Miss Kagiyama,” you say, giving a polite bow anyway.

“Not at all, child. I did not do anything worthy of gratitude at all,” she said, giving you a pat on the head as you straightened yourself up. Waving her goodbye, you took off into the air, back towards the mountain.

……

“Hey Miki,” Miss Aya greeted you with a wave of her hand as you set foot on a perch of rock; one of the entrance to the mountain fortress.

“Oh, Miss Aya. Heading out?”

“Yup, heading to the human village for a few things, actually. How about you? What have you been up to? You look kind of strange.”

…Heading to the human village, huh? Should you tell her about that whole stuff with the curse or not? Might be a good chance to do so now if you’re going to do something about it.

[] Go ahead and tell her.
[] No. You’re not ready for this yet.
>> No. 9206
>“It’s difficult to explain, but it’s as though you’ve been cursed to bear the burden of many people’s sufferings,”

FFFFFFFFFF-

We're Angra Mainyu! DEFY FATE! DEFY FATE!

[X] Go ahead and tell her.

Curses inside make me feel icky.
>> No. 9207
I know I'm gonna regret this later, but...

[x] Go ahead and tell her.
>> No. 9208
[x] Go ahead and tell her.
>> No. 9209
[x] Go ahead and tell her.

If you have a cancer, you don't wait till it turns malignant to get treatment.
>> No. 9210
[x] Go ahead and tell her.
>> No. 9211
[] Go ahead and tell her.
>> No. 9212
[X] Go ahead and tell her.

She always had our back, even though we couldn't see it. Trust Aya-obaa-san.
>> No. 9213
>>9212
>Aya-obaa-san
reactionimage.png (also I lol'd again)

[x] Go ahead and tell her.
>> No. 9215
[x] Go ahead and tell her.

And this is where the happy days end.
>> No. 9216
[x] No. You’re not ready for this yet.

Well... we aren't entirely sure how well the news will be taken. "It's because you see the curse goddess too much" is one of the possible outcomes and I wouldn't want to make trouble for Hina. Word gets around that Hina leaks curses and all that. Gather your thoughts and consider secretly seeing the rumored Hakurei shrine maiden. Does she live near enough to the human village for you to slip away from Aya?
>> No. 9227
File 123766854331.jpg - (498.85KB , 533x746 , 15f4d9f048c3ec9f3e69d6f248086d93.jpg ) [iqdb]
9227
[x] Go ahead and tell her.
------

“Actually, there is a little something on my mind,” you start with a frown. You then more or less give her the rundown on what you were talking to Miss Kagiyama about, although you do express that you don’t really feel the need to actually do something about it. It’s possible she was mistaken, right?

“…Well, isn’t that because you’ve been around her? I heard humans and youkai around her tend to run into disasters,” Miss Aya said skeptically.

“I don’t think so. From what she said, it sounded like it was something that she wasn’t really too familiar with.”

“…Hmm, well, I guess it’s worth taking a look,” her expression brightened up as she placed a hand on your head, mussing up your already messy hair. “Better to nip something in the bud before it grows into a real problem, right?”

“I don’t really think it’ll help, though.”

“Well, let’s go anyway,” she said, grabbing you by the wrist as she lifted herself, and you, into the air. You gave a sigh as you reluctantly pulled out your mask from your clothes and began carrying your own weight, flying through the air at Miss Aya’s side.

……

“And that’s why we’re here!” Miss Aya declared loudly, while you, masked, stood behind her. The person she was talking to, a black haired young woman sitting at the deck of her house, looked wholly unimpressed as she continued to fan herself.

“What are you talking about,” she said dryly as she set her fan down on the wooden floor beside her. “You haven’t explained anything yet.”

“Ayayayaya… A superb jab. As expected from the Hakurei shrine maiden. You should learn a thing or two from her, Mikio.”

You couldn’t help but hang your head in shame, one hand supporting your face. Since when did this turn into a comedy routine?

“So? Are you here for something, or did you just come to poke around for something to write about?” The shrine maiden—Hakurei, was it?—spoke with a bored tone of voice. Might have seemed rather hostile to some, actually. “Go home if you’re planning to do that, I’m not in the mood for it. Ahhhh, it’s so hot, I don’t want to have to do anything…”

“Well, it’s not like you ever do anything, right?” Miss Aya replied, with quite the cutting edge in her voice. Hakurei opened her mouth, possibly to defend herself, but apparently decided it wasn’t the effort and instead picked up her fan and began fanning herself more vigorously now. “But anyway…I have a job for you, actually.”

“Hm? What? You’re not going to ask me to settle a grudge on some youkai, are you? No way, not a chance. I’m not going to take care one for you.”

“Of course not. If I had some problem with a youkai, I’d take care of it myself. It’s a sad day when a tengu has to rely on a human.”

“So tell me what you need already.”

Miss Aya then shoved you forward by your back, causing you to nearly stumble as you stepped forward. Hakurei raised an eyebrow as she looked you over, apparently barely having noticed you were there.

“Who is this? Another tengu?” she asked, turning her gaze to Miss Aya.

“This is my assistant, Mikio. Say hi, Miki.”

Rolling your eyes, you gave a polite bow to the shrine maiden, who only gave a slight nudge of her head in response.

“So? What’s wrong with him?” she asked, tossing her fan to the side as she stood up. At full height, she seemed just a little bit shorter than you were. Miss Aya looked at you expectantly, although you had no idea what she was trying to get you to do. Sighing, she turned her attention back to the shrine maiden and began to speak.

“Well, seems he has a problem with misfortunes and curses. We were hoping you could dispel all that. You’re the shrine maiden, after all.”

“What the…I’ve never heard of any exorcists dispelling curses from youkai. Why should I?” the shrine maiden replied, frowning as she glanced over at you. You shrunk back a little under her glare, but Miss Aya firmly pushed you back as she took out a small coin purse and then pointed to it. Hakurei gave a sigh as she grudgingly climbed the deck.

“Fine, but you’d better not tell anyone I did this,” she said as she slid the door to her house open, stepping inside. “My reputation will take a hit if anyone finds out I helped a youkai.” Miss Aya simply grinned and muttered something about a “cheapskate shrine maiden” under her breath.

Hakurei took a few minutes to reemerge from her house, but when she did, she came out with a stick. A stick with bits of paper on the end of it. Oh, that must be a gohei, isn’t it?

“Sorry about that, took me a while to find this thing,” she stepped down from the deck to the ground below, grumbling. “..how did it end up there, of all places…stupid Marisa…Well anyway. Let’s hurry up and get this over with, before anyone sees.”

She walked up to you, raising her gohei high with the tip pointed to the sky. She then paused for a bit, idly circling the tip of the stick around.

“…Hang on, let me remember how to do this,” she said finally as she lowered the gohei, looking a little embarrassed.

“Oh? You mean you don’t know how to carry out your duties?” Miss Aya sneered, flipping her notebook open and jotting down something with her pen in a flash.

“Wha-hey, don’t write that down! It’s just that no one ever comes here for this kind of thing!” she said, jabbing at Miss Aya with her stick, who calmly dodged to the side as she snapped her notebook shut. “Anyway, just give me a minute...Okay, I think I’ve got it.”

Hakurei raised her gohei again, closing her eyes as she waved it in a circle, the bits of paper on the end fluttering about in the wind. She began muttering “evil spirits begone” under her breath, which you found funny for some reason, barely able to hold back a fit of laughter.

And then she smacks you right down the middle of the head with the stick.

Suddenly, your body twists and mutates, becoming much larger than a building as your skin turns black, and your fangs grow into the size of blades as you give a mighty roar that echoes throughout the land.

Except that doesn’t happen. But it would have been pretty cool if it did.

Instead, all that results is a sore spot on your head, which you reach up and rub with your hands with tearful eyes. She hit you really hard, and even with a thin stick like that, it still hurt. Incidentally, the shrine maiden had backed up away from you, lowering her gohei and expectantly holding out a hand towards Miss Aya, who just stared at her.

“..Ah, whatever. Just leave some donation in the box before you go,” Hakurei said dismissively, stepping back into her house and shutting the door behind her. Miss Aya approached you, nursing your head with her hands.

“So? Do you feel any different, Miki?”

“…Well, my head hurts.”

“Anything else?”

“…I don’t think so.”

You can’t help but feel a little gypped.

……

“I told you it wouldn’t work,” you said, frowning as you followed Miss Aya in the air, who looked a little disappointed that the visit to the shrine apparently hadn’t yielded anything.

“Hmm, well, maybe it did, and you’re just not aware of it?” Miss Aya said, slowing down as she turned around to face you. “Anyway, Miki. I’d best head to the Human Village now. You should hurry on back before the sun starts to set. Well, unless you want to come along with me.”

…Go with her? To the human village? Well, it’d be the first time you went there, and you’re kind of curious what humans other than the magician and the shrine maiden are like…but did you really want to?

[] Go see the village with her.
[] Head back to HQ.
>> No. 9228
[x] Go see the village with her.
>> No. 9229
[x] Go see the village with her.
>> No. 9230
[x] Head back to HQ.
>> No. 9231
[x] Go see the village with her.
>> No. 9232
[x] Go see the village with her.

To see and learn.
>> No. 9233
[x] Go see the village with her.
>> No. 9234
[] Go see the village with her.
>> No. 9237
[X] Head back to HQ.
>> No. 9239
[x] Go see the village with her.

This... should be fun.
>> No. 9247
>Except that doesn’t happen. But it would have been pretty cool if it did.

I lol'd

[x] Go see the village with her.
>> No. 9253
[ze] Go see the village with her.

Why don't we go to the other shr--
...
Oh.
Aha.
...Well played.
>> No. 9258
>And then she smacks you right down the middle of the head with the stick.

And then the dormant curse awakens. Disaster will follow in our wake!
>> No. 9259
{X} Go see the village with her.
>> No. 9261
[x] Go see the village with her.
------

Well, it’s an opportunity to go out and learn, right? And the way Miss Aya’s been edging closer to you with an expectant look on her face tells you that you don’t actually have that much of a choice in the matter. It should at least be an interesting experience, right? You wish you could be a little more enthusiastic, but you give a nod to her.

“Great, then let’s get going!” she said with a wide grin, speeding off with a burst of wind. You follow after her with a rather glum look on your face. Even though you agreed to go, it doesn’t mean you can’t sulk about it.

……

You landed a way off from the village with Miss Aya, opting the walk the rest of the way. The entire village was surrounded by a high wooden fence from what you could see in the air, with a rather impressively large gate standing proudly in front of you. A few people standing guard at either side gave an uneasy gaze, particularly to your mask, as you passed through the open gate.

Inside was a scene bustling with people of all ages. Looking around everywhere, you saw residents of the village everywhere. There was a group of gossiping women, children (first time you’ve seen such young looking ones, too) were chasing each other while laughing gleefully, and elderly men drinking together. You wish you had about eight more eyes as you turned your head this way and that, following after Miss Aya.

“We’re heading to the marketplace. There’s a lot of people there, so don’t get lost, okay?” She said to you with a smile, clearly enjoying the fact that your mouth was agape without you even realizing it. Feeling a little embarrassed, you shut your mouth and silently continued to walk, although you still couldn’t help but let your eyes dart around here and there.

Piyo piyo.

Piyo piyo piyo piyo piyo.

That’s a lot of chirping. Looking around you, you located the source of the shrill chirps. It was coming from a wooden box on the ground just a little ways from you. Curious, you approached it, squatting down to look inside. Inside the wooden box was packed with little, yellow fluff balls, shuffling around amongst each other over a floor covered with little bits of straws.

Reaching inside, you pluck out one of the fluff balls with your hand. Upon closer inspection, it was more like a really small, round bird. It had a tiny little beak, and beady black eyes. It continued to chirp as it walked around in your hand, and you couldn’t help but stroke its head with your other hand.

“…Cute…” you muttered to yourself as you continued to stroke its small head using your fingers.

“…You gonna buy it?”

Looking up, you saw a gruff-looking old man sitting on a stool next to the box with the little fluff birds, fanning himself using his hat.

“…Um, what are these?” you said as you cupped your hands together, bringing the little bird in your hands closer to your eyelevel.

“…The hell? Are you serious? These’re chicks. Baby chickens. You grow ‘em as a pet and then you eat it when it gets big.”

“…But they look nothing like chickens…”

“Whatever, you gonna buy it or not?”

It’s cute, so you want to keep it, but you don’t think Ogata will let you keep a pet, and you have no idea how to raise a chicken, anyway. And…it seems too sad to raise it just to eat it. You shake your head and reluctantly place the little chick back in its place among the others in the box. The old man grumbles and mutters about you “wasting his time.”

You stand back up, and turn around to…wait, where did Miss Aya go?

…Oh no.

……

Normally, it would be really scary to be lost in such a big place, but the walk around the village was so interesting that you didn’t have the opportunity to panic. While you knew that you had to find Miss Aya, you didn’t find yourself frantically looking for her as you should. Instead, you were leisurely wandering around, taking in the sights of the buildings and people. The only thing that spoiled your stroll was that people kept giving you funny looks. Maybe you should take off this stupid mask.

But as much as you were having fun taking a look around and sampling some of the street vendor food, you knew that you should really find where Miss Aya had gone off to. So maybe you should go ask someone about her. It would give you a better idea of where to find her than just wandering around with no clue as to where she went.

There, there’s a nice looking lady, standing with her back turned towards you some distance away. Funny hat, though. Maybe she can tell you where Miss Aya i-

Bump. Followed by the sound of glass shattering.

While you were hurrying off to approach that woman, it seems you ran into someone coming around the corner of a building. You’re thrown back from the recoil, but you manage to keep your balance. The man, drunk, judging by his reddened face, stumbled back into the wall and dropped a sake bottle, which had shattered on the ground and splashed his clothes.

“Oi, what the hell, you little runt?!” the man yelled, clearly angered.

“Ah…I’m sorry,” you said, giving an apologetic bow. The drunkard didn’t seem satisfied, however, and shambled a little closer to you, raising his hands.

“Shit…that bottle was still half-full you damned sunnova…!” And then he swung his fist at you. Even though he took you by surprise, you managed to dodge the blow by leaning your head back. Cursing loudly, the man threw his other fist at you, which you easily sidestepped. It was an accident, and you said you were sorry. It doesn’t justify assault, does it?

[] He tried to punch you. Twice. Initiate self-defense.
[] He’s drunk, he can’t keep it up. Just keep dodging and slip away.
>> No. 9262
[x] He’s drunk, he can’t keep it up. Just keep dodging and slip away.
>> No. 9263
[x] He’s drunk, he can’t keep it up. Just keep dodging and slip away.

Come now. Mikio's had to have been around drunks before. Angry drunk tengus who don't particularly like humans. This should be nothing. Besides, given his state of drunkeness, I'd say we've saved the man from a heavier hangover.
>> No. 9264
[] He’s drunk, he can’t keep it up. Just keep dodging and slip away.
>> No. 9265
[x] He’s drunk, he can’t keep it up. Just keep dodging and slip away.
>> No. 9266
[] He tried to punch you. Twice. Initiate self-defense.
>> No. 9267
[x] He’s drunk, he can’t keep it up. Just keep dodging and slip away.

No need to start trouble in the village.
>> No. 9270
[x] He’s drunk, he can’t keep it up. Just keep dodging and slip away.
>> No. 9276
[x] He’s drunk, he can’t keep it up. Just keep dodging and slip away.

WE CAN TAKE THIS

GIVE US YOUR BEST SHOT
>> No. 9278
>“Shit…that bottle was still half-full you damned sunnova…!"

[x] "Did you mean 'half-empty'?"
[x] He’s drunk, he can’t keep it up. Just keep dodging and slip away.
>> No. 9287
[X] He’s drunk, he can’t keep it up. Just keep dodging and slip away.
>> No. 9288
[x] "Did you mean 'half-empty'?"
[x] He’s drunk, he can’t keep it up. Just keep dodging and slip away.
>> No. 9293
[x] He’s drunk, he can’t keep it up. Just keep dodging and slip away.
>> No. 9295
File 123786645535.jpg - (209.12KB , 545x795 , b3175873a429a513defd41477a9ff10d.jpg ) [iqdb]
9295
[x] He’s drunk, he can’t keep it up. Just keep dodging and slip away.
------

Well, he’s drunk. Can’t blame him for the lapse in judgment. Well, actually, you can, since he’s the one who drank ‘til he got smashed, but that’s beside the point. Which is that you shouldn’t really start trouble here, even if he’s the one that started attacking you.
You braced your self as the drunken man staggered forward, swinging his fists wildly.

A straight punch to the face. Too slow; you easily tilt your head out of the way. Another punch aimed at the body; you sidestep that. An attempt to grab at you with both hands; a step or two back easily gets you out of the way. He’s too slow hit you, and too disoriented to even aim his blows properly. But with each attack you dodge, the redder his face seemed to become. Apparently, he didn’t like that you were practically making a fool out of him.

With an unintelligible battle-cry, he charged at you with both arms extended out in front of him. With finesse, you twist your body out of the way, and as he passes by you, you give a gentle shove to his back. Tripping over your outstretched foot, the man fell on his face and let out a groan. Stepping away from him, you gave another bow with your hands folded together over your waist.

“Excuse me,” you said politely as you straightened up and began walking away. Looking around, you saw several people staring at you. Well, with how loud the man was yelling and screaming, it’d be stranger if it didn’t attract any attention. The people watching quickly turned their head away, going about their business as if nothing had happened. Now, better go ask abo-

“Look out!” A voice screamed somewhere around you as you heard the shuffling of footsteps behind you. Quickly, you turned around. The drunkard had gotten to his feet, and was running at you, having pulled out a knife from somewhere. You felt your heart drop a little, but nonetheless prepared to defend yourself, when suddenly someone ran in from the side, grabbing the man by his wrist.

“That’s enough, sir,” the stern voice of a woman. She was the one you had decided to go ask earlier, wearing a blue dress and what could only be described as a temple for a hat. The man struggled to free his arm, but it seems the woman was stronger than she looked. A youkai…? You watched as the man continued to swear loudly while the woman calmly continued to detain him. Eventually, the man tried to shove her away using his whole body. Her reaction to this?

Without breaking that serious expression on her face, she let go of his wrist, twisted him around by shoving him by his shoulder and grabbed his head with both hands. And then she delivered a headbutt that immediately caused the man to crumple over backwards as she let go of him. Not even rubbing her forehead afterwards, she stooped down to retrieve the hat that had fallen to the ground from the impact of the blow and straightened it back on her head as she approached you.

“I apologize on his behalf. The poor old fool likely didn’t realize what he was picking a fight with,” she said, giving a small rigid bow to you. Whoa, now this is something new. Someone’s actually treating you with higher respect. Regardless, this woman was frightening, so you couldn’t help but return the bow.

“Um…yes, of course,” you said, still slightly in shock of what just happened right now. Not even the tengu had attacked you with a real weapon before, so it was pretty frightening. “Ah, th-thank you for your help…” You said as you gave another short bow. The woman before you raised an eyebrow, seeming a little confused.

“Hm? I don’t think you needed my help, though,” she said, looking puzzled over what you just said. “I stopped him because I thought he might have really gotten hurt if you decided to fight back.”

“..Ah, um, yeah. That’s…that’s what I meant,” you stammered as you looked down at your feet, feeling heat rising up into your face.

“…Well, as long as you’re here, please stay out of trouble,” she said, looking at you doubtfully as she turned to leave.

“Ah! Um…please wait!” you called after her, stepping forward.

“Yes? What is it?”

“Eh…have you…have you seen Miss Aya? Um, she’s a tengu too. Short, black hair? Um, I’ve been separated from her, so it would be nic-”

“Did you call for me, Miki~?” someone yells into your ear, causing you to jump back in surprise. Miss Aya was standing next to you with a mischievous look on her face, apparently pleased with herself.

“Miss Aya! Where were you?” you asked, frowning. “I was looking for you for the last…I don’t know how long.”

“Oh come on, don’t pout. I was just going around here and there. Thought you were following me the whole time, since you’re always so quiet,” she said, still grinning as she looked over to the woman in front of you, who was patiently waiting with her arms crossed. “And I see you’ve met Miss Kamishirasawa. Hello.”
“Hello, Miss Shameimaru,” she greeted, neither with a smile nor with hostility. “…You have business in the village, I see.”

“Just shopping a little,” Miss Aya replied, holding up a paper bag she was carrying in her hands. You could hear faint ringing from inside the bag, among other things. “And we were just about to leave.”

“Mmm…well, good bye, then,” Miss Kamishirasawa said before turning and walking away at a brisk pace.

“…Don’t worry about her, Miki. She takes a bit of a strict stance towards youkai,” Miss Aya, noticing you staring at her shrinking figure.

“…Huh? Oh, no, I’m not concerned about that,” you said, snapping back into attention as you twisted your head to face Miss Aya. “…I-it’s nothing, really. So are we heading back now?”

“Yup. Follow me, and don’t get lost again.”



Kamishirasawa…?

......
>> No. 9296
……

“Hey Miss Aya, what did you buy?” you asked her as you flew a little closer to her, your curiosity having gotten the better of you during the flight back to the mountain.

“Oh, just some stuff that some of the other crow tengu and I needed. Things like ink and brushtips. Oh, that reminds me. I got you a cheap present, too.”

“Eh? A present?”

“Yup.” Rummaging in the paper bag she was carrying, she produced something from inside. It looked like a bunch of metal rods suspended from strings, with something round dangling at the rods. It was small; about the length of your hand, and half as wide. “It’s a wind chime.”

“A wind chime?”

“Yup. This little round thing here; it produces sound when wind blows. I thought it was kind of pretty, and it was cheap, so I bought it for you. Here, don’t drop it, or you’ll have bad luck for the next ten years.”

Carefully, you reached out and took the wind chime from Miss Aya. Wrapping the top end of the string holding the metal bars together around your finger, you held it up in front of you, letting it dangle from your hand as you soared through the air. The metal bars clashed with one another, producing a clear, ringing melody. It certainly looked impressive with the red hue of the setting sun reflecting on its smooth surfaces.

“…Thanks, Miss Aya. I like it,” you said, smiling as the chime continued to ring. You really meant it, too. This thing…it seemed kind of…

Nostalgic.

……

Back at headquarters, Miss Aya immediately headed off to the bath, complaining about the summer heat. You weren’t nearly as sensitive to the heat, it seemed, since you had barely noticed it, even while walking around the village in full daylight. Maybe you’re just someone who adapts well to summer.

You head to the canteen and grab your share of the food, sitting at your usual table. Old man Ogata was nowhere to be seen, although Miss Momizi joined you there not too long after you settled yourself down. You give her a bright smile and a wave as she set tray down, which she returned, looking a little more invigorated than yesterday.

[] Talk to her about…
--- [] What happened in the morning.
--- [] Your trip to the village.
[] Just finish your meal.
>> No. 9298
[ ] Talk to her about…
--- [ ] What happened in the morning.
>> No. 9299
[] Talk to her about…
--- [] What happened in the morning.
--- [] Your trip to the village.
>> No. 9300
[x] Talk to her about…
--- [x] What happened in the morning.
--- [x] Your trip to the village.

"I met a cranky miko an she whacked me on the head. I also met a drunk and schooled him."
>> No. 9303
{X} Talk to her about…
--- {X} What happened in the morning.
--- {X} Your trip to the village.
>> No. 9304
[x] Talk to her about…
--- [x] What happened in the morning.
--- [x] Your trip to the village.
>> No. 9305
{X} Talk to her about…
--- {X} What happened in the morning.
--- {X} Your trip to the villag
>> No. 9306
[x] Talk to her about…
--- [x] What happened in the morning.
--- [x] Your trip to the village.
>> No. 9307
>it seemed kind of…

>Nostalgic.

FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

So cliched it hurts. I swear they use windchimes almost as often as music boxes, for triggering flashbacks in anime (although the latter are always used for that purpose.)
>> No. 9320
{X} Talk to her about…
--- {X} What happened in the morning.
--- {X} Your trip to the village.
>> No. 9321
>Fragmentation of Memories, Thread 4

I swear I keep reading this as Thread 05
>> No. 9324
>>9307

Really? I know music boxes have been done to death, but I don't think I've seen much of wind chimes in anime.
>> No. 9327
>>9324

Indeed, my thoughts exactly.
>> No. 9329
[x] Talk to her about…
--- [x] What happened in the morning.
--- [x] Your trip to the village.
------

You wait silently as Miss Momizi dug into her meal, taking your time with the remnants of your own. It would be ill-mannered to start a conversation with someone just as they started eating.

“You look like you have a lot to tell,” Miss Momizi spoke up, catching you by surprise, to which you gave a sheepish laugh.

“Ahaha, was it that obvious?”

“Yeah. Go ahead and talk, I’ll listen to you. And don’t play with your food like that.”

“…Sorry,” you say, ceasing to push around a piece of meat on your plate and dropping it on top of your last spoonful of rice, which you quickly chewed down before continuing to speak. “I started the day off pretty bad, actually.”

“So I heard. Some of the other tengu told me that you looked like you were going into convulsion. Are you sure you’re okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. It was just a nightmare, I think. I’m not too sure, but I’m okay now.”

“…It’s not the first time that’s happened, you know,” Miss Momizi said, suddenly looking a little more solemn. “The first few weeks you were here, you kept fidgeting around in your sleep. It disturbed the other tengu so much that they had you sleep in an isolated room for a month or so before you calmed down.”

“Really? I don’t remember that very well,” you said, holding your head in your hands. You couldn’t really recall much about your first few months here, you’re not sure how far your memory goes back. “But anyway, after that…” You trail off here, not quite sure if you want to include the part with the curse or not. You still think Miss Kagiyama was mistaken, and that there’s no reason to worry about it too much. So you decide to gloss over that part.

“…after that, Miss Aya and I went to the human village.” Miss Momizi dropped her chopsticks, which clattered loudly on the table as her mouth went agape.

What?” she said in disbelief. “She brought you to the human village? Ugh, I can’t believe her. How can she be so irresponsible like that?”

“Huh? Was there something wrong with that?”

“…Listen, Mikio. You can’t let anyone know you’re a human. Gensokyo is small, news travels fast. The crow tengu holds sway over rumors in Gensokyo, so they’ve been able to keep hush about you outside of the mountain. But if you let any human, or any youkai that the tengu don’t have influence over, know that you’re human…Well, the consequences are going to be terrible.”

“...I’m sorry.”

“..No, don’t apologize. It’s nothing you have to be sorry for. It’s just…I know you’d be…awkward when it comes to things like talking to other humans, so I needed to remind you to be careful. But, that Miss Shameimaru…”

“But what, Momi?” Miss Aya’s sudden appearance startled the both of you, as she sat down on a cushion next to you while setting her food tray down. “You weren’t talking ill about me while I wasn’t here, were you?” Miss Momizi looked slightly intimidated, but nevertheless put on a stern face.

“…Miss Shameimaru, I’m going to have to question your taking him along to the human village,” she said, frowning.

“What’s there to question? I asked him if he wanted to come along, and he said yes, so I took him along,” Miss Aya responded coldly as she began eating. Miss Momizi glanced over to you, and you lowered your head, staring at the table.

“I don’t think he was ready for something like that,” Miss Momizi responded.

“He wanted to learn. A tengu can’t deny its members the search for knowledge. Goes against my ethics,” she replied, jabbing the tip of her chopsticks towards Miss Momizi and following up with an accusing tone of voice. “And he’s plenty ready. He’s almost as tall as you now. Stop babying him. He’s not going to be your little child for much longer.”

“I’m not…!” she nearly burst, looking ready to stand up, although she seemed to have noticed the dozens of eyes around her staring in interest and quickly quieted down. In a smaller, calmer voice, she spoke. “…Master Ogata wouldn’t approve.”

“He doesn’t need to know.”

I don’t approve.”

“Like I said, you need to let up on the-“

Miss Momizi stood from her table, trying to appear as dignified as she could manage, although you could see plainly that she looked hurt and ashamed, and briskly walked out of the room, leaving her meal unfinished. Miss Aya gave long hard look at her retreating figure before pouring sake into a dish and downing it, resuming her meal as though nothing happened.

As for you, you felt kind of confused. Mostly, you felt guilty for being the cause of this argument here. You also felt kind of angry at Miss Aya. She definitely said way too much back there, but you grudgingly thought that she kind of had a point. You also wish there wasn’t so much whispering around you…

[] Go after Miss Momizi.
[] Stay here. You need to talk with Miss Aya.
>> No. 9330
>>9324
Maybe they say "How nostalgic" about the breeze or the view, and the wind chime sound is more used as a segue cue for the white-out flashback start.

The western equivalent would be harp and wiggly screen effects.
>> No. 9332
[ze] Stay here. You need to talk with Miss Aya.

Maybe we can make her feel like enough of a dick that she apologizes
>> No. 9333
[X] Go after Miss Momizi.

I never even thought about it. It is complicated, isn't it? A human, taken in by...
I can't believe I didn't even consider it.
>> No. 9334
[X] Go after Miss Momizi.
>> No. 9335
[X] Go after Miss Momizi.

Momi~
>> No. 9336
[X] Go after Miss Momizi.
>> No. 9337
[x] Go after Miss Momizi.
>> No. 9338
[x] Go after Miss Momizi.
>> No. 9339
[ ] Go after Miss Momizi.
>> No. 9340
[x] Go after Miss Momizi.
>> No. 9342
[X] Go after Miss Momizi.

Hey, she may feel awkward about her relationship to us, and Aya may have exacerbated that, but...

She's still basically our mommy. We should go after her and make sure she knows that we love her.
>> No. 9348
[] Go after Miss Momizi.
>> No. 9365
Update tomorrow.
>> No. 9367
[x]"...I think I should go after her..."
[x] Go after Miss Momizi.