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Gensokyo is a fantastical world where the things forgotten by the present have went to retire and exist peacefully. A land of living gods and terrible Youkai, with mystical powers thought impossible or incomprehensible by the modern world.

And you were kidnapped and thrown into the thick of it.

An Outsider, a normal human man who had a relatively normal life with normal struggles in New York City. Your name is Albert Perry and now you have to deal with the troubles that a land of myths and legends will provide, and so far, you've been doing alright, until you suddenly aren't.

Previous threads-
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When last we left off in this fantastical story, Albert had finished a day of strenuous work helping Hakurei Reimu acquire goods from the Village, paying the way himself of course. He learned valuable bits of information hearing out the stories of the wizened turtle Genjii, and after a long night of playing with Clownpiece and sampling this delicious Dango stuff from the Village with Reimu, he was ready to head off to sleep.

And sleep he did, to scout out ahead of Reimu in the Dream World for any dangers...


You open your eyes and look up.

"Ah, great. Space." You comment.

The floor was invisible, the air was nonexistent. And the Dream World was different this time around, a lot different than before. Previously, in the first dream you had experienced here where you met Doremy first, the world around was like an endless gust of pink clouds. Now, it was something like a delirious background of space, the distance full of flowing red grids and frames of lines. There were still some clouds around, but not so many, and most were shades of blue or a darker pink.

Where the heck were you walking? What were you walking on? Well, you guessed you must have been imagining yourself having a footing to be able to walk here.

You took a deep breath. It seemed you were alone for the time being. Good, without Doremy here to harass you, you'd be able to scout this place out more effectively. But first, you just needed to find Marisa and Reisen, who had been trapped here for a while.

"But... where to start looking?"

In a Dream World that could very well be infinite in size, no less.

"If only there was someone you could ask for directions here in the land of Dreams."

Oh, geez. Her? Already?
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You turned and looked over to face Doremy Sweet, who casually floated there amongst the endless space, waving her fingers at you. Her face was plastered with that smug look you abhorred so much. That damn smile.

"How nice of you to drop back in. It's been a while since you last let yourself Dream lucidly to come here. Why is that anyway? Did I happen to put you off in some way last time to make you not want to see little ole' me again? Was it the whole letting you fall great distances thing?"

"Cut the crap, Doremy. You know why I'm here."

"Come to reconsider the secret god's offer and be a good little toadie?"

You just grunted at her as she raised an eyebrow. Her grin crept further up her cheeks.

"Well if not for that, then I can't gauge why else you'd come here to the Dream World unless..." She pretended to gasp; "You just wanted to see me and this brilliant smile again, didn't you? Oh, Albert, you shouldn't have! Huhuhuhu!"

God you wanted to punch her in the stomach so bad. But you were in a powerless position against her here in the Dream World. How were you supposed to find out about her tricks? Find out what's become of Marisa and Reisen? Reimu told you they were here in physical form...

>What will you say?
Oh boy, back into the adventures of Albert Perry! Let's see if we can guide him through the dream world without being thrown into a mind-breaking nightmare by the Baku!

>Would you mind if we imagined a sitting room to talk in? Floating ain't really a comfortable way to chat and get to know each other.
>Could you explain more about your position in the dream world? Is it a hands-on administration deal, or do you have underlings to manage this place? Were you granted this position, or did you gain it due to the nature of your existence?
>How did ya end up working with the secret god? Have you known each other for a long time?
>Are dreams edible?
>What is the oldest dream?
>Has this place ever been attacked? Attacking dreams seems to me a great way to wage psychological warfare.

Dreamworld seems a fascinating place to try and understand. If it is powered by imagination, perhaps we can imagine having a gun by our side.
Genuinely, I want to ask her what exactly she gets out of it for making an alliance with Okina. Doremy didn't like being bossed around by Sagume so she sure as hell shouldn't like Okina giving her orders. I want to know if she's been intimidated into it or bribed with something. Depending on how she answers Albert could end up hating her a lot less.
>"So what does trying to get me to fight people that helped me and getting into trouble at Entei and trying to get me to hate all youkai, which includes you by the way, would have helped protect Gensokyo from the shadows?"
>"For me, it seems more like you are trying to sabotage that secret god's plan by making it seems that allying with her is to join team asshole. In that case you wouldn't need to go out of your way, I remember little, but I what I do make it seem they could pass that impression very well by themselves."
>Pat her head. It's funny.
This might have been too angry, I didn't sleep well last night. Feel free to tone it down.
Also she probably meant to try and get Albert to go down the cruelty path to become a slave to Okina, but I want her to admit it.
Naw this is the perfect level of angry. And Doremy is obviously trolling so its exactly the kind of reaction shes fishing for anyways, she'll probably get a kick out of it and continue to smug on us. Support but try and sucker punch her after she lowers her guard/gets confused by the headpat. (it obviously wont work but an invincible punching bag can still relieve anger)
I'd support a combination of these two.
I dont really see how they can be combined as one of them is taking an aggressive adversarial stance against doremy while the other is taking a diplomatic conversational stance. Either we are against doremy or we arent. Makes no sense to schizophrenically flip flop between the two.
You're right, but I wanted to see if we could ask her lots of questions while being more aggressive, to see if she would let something slip out.
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>Makes no sense to schizophrenically flip flop between the two
We can't be like this pic?
Support, I don't want to do a huge exposition with Doremy. I want her to spill the beans, whatever we can use and tell Reimu.
Your eyes darted to the left, and the right, then you looked back to Doremy. You mentally sighed as you figured you may as well entertain her for the time being. Perhaps if you lowered her guard through idle chat, you might even be able to get the truth squeezed out somehow, or something worthwhile to know.

"Ahem." You cleared your throat; "Can we at least have some seating then? I don't know about you but I don't really like standing on air when I get to know someone."

The Baku's grin faltered for the faintest of seconds; "Ohh? What's this now? You want to become more acquainted with me after all? Huhuhu~..." Before it returned in full and she clapped her hands.

You watched as the glow of the wireframes all around began to shift in their shape, closing in around you as they became walls, a ceiling and a floor which pieced together. And you'll be goddamned, she created the illusion of your apartment suite again. Even if it wasn't the real thing, if you had to watch your apartment get busted up, you weren't going to be happy.

Well, at least you can sit back in your recliner.


Never mind, she takes it first. You sigh as you fall back into your sofa. Your dream sofa.

"How do you get all this power anyway? You must realize how incredible it seems to a 'mere human' like me that you have endless possibilities at your fingertips here."

"Well, there is a universal need for someone who takes care of the dreams and nightmares alike. A 'Mister Sandman', or a 'Somnus', if you will. That need for a fundamental hand over the world that arises from the dreams of the collective gives rise to Baku. There aren't many Baku, actually. What others there are happen to go off and become other figures in the dreams of many, where they seek to feed themselves with dreams. I heard a few of them become known as 'Sleep Paralysis Demons'. Me? I'm just the best of the bunch, naturally too. Well, I might have also claimed the top position of Dreams back in the beginning too... hmhm."

"So, dreams are edible then? What do they taste like?"

"It depends on the nature of the dream. Happy dreams? They taste sweet. Wet ones? Like aphrodisiacs. Sad ones? Generally bad ones. And the lucid ones? They're like a surprise flavor you have to find out for yourself. Usually, they're also mostly like aphrodisiacs."

"You seem awfully... forthcoming about that bit of info."

"Well I was thinking about sifting through your head to show Reimu some of those 'funnier' thoughts you've been having."

"Wait, what?! H-Hey! No! I don't consent to that! You can't show her that when she gets here!"
You didn't want your feelings about all these girls you've been constantly surrounded with getting out! Even if you knew it was completely normal. At least, you wanted to wait until the mind reader that was bound to check you would see, because then you still had the reassurance that, whoever she was, wouldn't open her mouth about it.

Doremy laughed. "Relax! I'm just joking, I won't do that. But now I know Reimu is coming for sure thanks to you, I didn't actually think she was before since she was taking so long. Now I have time to prepare myself."

Wait...- Ah! Damn it! She tricked you, and you can't believe you fell for that.

You grumbled with a little anger then, standing up as you pointed an accusatory finger at her. "Alright, I've had enough of your games! Just what are you getting out of working with the secret god anyway? For real, how did you even end up on her side? She seems like the type to have bribed you or intimidated you into working for her, just like how she tried to scare me into compliance."

Doremy's smug look slowly began to droop a little.

"Well? What's the big idea? And what have you done to Marisa and Reisen too?"

Suddenly, a door to your left flipped open. The broom closet door in your kitchen. You peered towards it as two silhouettes emerged slowly from a dark space within, one that defied all physics.

"Well, why don't you ask her, now that she's here..." Doremy said, not so enthused anymore.
You suddenly tensed up, and turned back to look at the silhouettes as they appeared to... collapse right to the floor. Two of them. You squinted as you took a few cursory steps forward.

No, don't tell you...

"Ah!" You gasped.

It was Marisa, and Reisen. The both of them had been thoroughly beaten up. They were in terrible conditions, but still alive, thankfully. Their chests slowly rose and fell with labored breathes. Even Doremy seemed a bit surprised at their condition.

That was when you felt a hand fall on your shoulder, and your blood froze, as did your expression.

"For starters, I had Doremy work hard to fetch out the cognitive imprint these two leave in the Dream World from the waking one with all their dream history. Their... Dream Souls. As they entered in physical form, it was easy for Doremy to put them into a permanent sleep with their own Dream Souls. A thing she hadn't thought of in the past herself. But, that's just what she got for not thinking ahead. She might rule the Dream World, but she doesn't know everything."

"What have you done."

You felt yourself stumble as the sound of closing doors and a little force hit you in the back. Did she...? Did she emerge from a door on your back...?

You turned to face the secret god, who came over to Doremy.

You watched as she ran her fingers under the bottom of Doremy's chin, the vaunted ruler of the Dream World even appearing uncomfortable herself under the secret god's presence. This vile god just smiled menacingly as she stared at you.

Something... was different about her this time around. She seemed a lot more... infernal. Her eyes had definitely darkened, as if they contained some malevolence that wrenched your guts when you saw them. Something fiery. She snickered.

"Well, Doremy, I don't see any harm in it. Why don't you go ahead and tell him why you're working for me?"

Doremy gulped, and kept her poker face, intentionally trying to hide the nervousness.

"W... Well, for one, I don't have dominion over 'all' the dreams in the universe. The Dreams of some places... such as Hell, run far out of my reach. But, I was promised by the secret god that, if I help her in her goals to protect Gensokyo, she'll return the favor by giving me influence over all the Dreams of Hell's denizens that I couldn't previously touch."

"And to this end, that also includes what?"
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Doremy's fake smile was a bit wobbly. "It also means I'd do my best to convince you to help. Since, as a human, you usually go under the radar of important... figures. Y-You have many tasks you could help the secret god accomplish in her bid to protect Gensokyo from potential threats, before they become a threat. O-Obviously, that meant I had to deal with Marisa and Reisen, since they were coming after the secret god. And to do that, they DID intend to pick a fight with me, and interrogate me..."


You remained silent, and deep down? Frightened.

"Yes. And who set them on this little path to hunting me? Oh, that's right... it was you, Albert. And to think you could have stopped this from happening if you'd only listened to me, and discouraged them from it. See, I didn't want to have to punish them for their insolence, but you've forced my hand. Don't you know you wouldn't need any other protection than my own if you simply joined my ambitions?"

"So, just like I thought, you intimidated Doremy into compliance, just like you tried to with me."

The secret god chuckled at you, and shook her head, raising her arms in a shrug.

"I did not such thing. I merely gave her an offer to get something she already wanted prior."

"Ah... em..."

The secret god shot a suddenly serious look to Doremy, who put her hand over her mouth and looked away.

"You... you promised you wouldn't hurt them like that once I put them to sleep." Doremy brought to light.

The secret god frowned, and tilted her head.

"Oh, Doremy... why would I leave them in a pristine condition? If they woke up, they'd be trouble. I'll do the same to the Hakurei Miko once you've put her to sleep with her own Dream Soul."

"You... ah... you didn't have to necessarily do it, my power will keep them subdued without the need for-"

The secret god suddenly yanked Doremy up by her collar.

"ARE YOU QUESTIONING MY METHODS, BAKU?" She asked her then, in a voice that didn't sound like her own any longer. As if there was another voice over the secret god's.

The eyes of the god burst with a little seam of red and orange flames them, blending in with the glossy shine of her eyeballs. The flames were so potent that, little as they were, they changed the air of the room to one that felt... like pure evil and anger, dimming your visions.

And Doremy, she had a look of pure terror on her face. You admit that now, even you seemed to finally feel something other than your grudge for the Baku as she was left stuttering against a seemingly greater power seizing that lifted her up effortlessly.
"N-N... Not at... all..."

You didn't dare to move even an inch as you watched the scene unfold. The secret god just stared piercing daggers right back at Doremy's own shrunken pupils through those flames like candle lights burning out from her eyes. She glanced towards you then from the corner of her eyes, and you fell your knees compulsively as they gave away like jelly to such fear that the gaze commanded...

A wicked smile came over the face of the secret god as she suddenly released Doremy, letting her fall to the floor as the flames in her eyes died down.

"Good. Then don't bring it up again. Remember, your job is to assist me to my ends, not have pet peeves about what I'm doing. Keep as you were and the dreams in Hell can be yours." She said, beckoning with her finger.

You watched as a door suddenly grew on Doremy's back, opening up as the secret god put a foot inside.

"Oh, Albert, you might want to reconsider my offer to help me thoroughly. It won't last forever. I you keep being stubborn and getting your friends caught in the crossfires, you'll only get to keep watching them get mauled by me. I have a lot of work to do to help Gensokyo, and I don't have time for games. No tolerance... keep that in mind."

You watched as she descended into the backdoor on Doremy's back, crawling inside and pulling the doors shut... just before the think shrunk until it faded from sight.

Doremy was gasping for air as she just sat on her knees, trying to regain her composure. Marisa and Reisen's beaten up, unconscious forms still lie behind you.

You could only have one question about now.

What the hell just happened...?! The secret god... it was a lot different than the last time you met her. Almost like she was... like she was possessed by something.

>What will you do?
I think we should ask the Baku, or have us, conjure something for her and us to drink after that ordeal with the secret god and look over the dream forms of Reisen and Marisa. Possibly ask her how she's feeling and about the secret god's unexpected behavior.

Perhaps we can turn the Baku against the secret god now, though I don't think she will accept the idea of outright subversion, but maybe she could tell us of the god's plans.

I think Okina might have 'eaten' Junko in some form. Which would explain the switch from subtle terrifying to outright terrifying and the whole fire schtick. I may have wanted us to sneer at her again, but I think we would have had our dream self beaten bloody in her current state.
Perfect time to try and convince her to let us all go, maybe even stop her from fighting Reimu.
"So, I'm guessing being played around with is also a part of your master plan? Ohoho" also a good opportunity to smug right back at her. But only if we think we can get away with it (so probably not).
Dang that was menacing. It seems that Doremy made a deal with the unknown god for the dreams of hell not thinking about the consequences, and now she is stuck with a boss with a slight case of DID . As for Okina I think the "Helping gensokyo" is a fat fucking lie either she doesnt realise that this will start a cold war or some sinister master plan that will totally not go wrong.

We should talk to Doremy subvert her attention and stall until Reimu arrives. Ask her about the hellish makeover her boss got, and that if she really tought this trough.
>Ok, she was even meaner this time, and she changed voices too.
>Can gods get possessed? I think we need to call an exorcist here. Reimu is a priest right? She probably can do it.
>Well, now I at least know you are just mischievous and not evil. Can you let me go from my dream? I need to warn Reimu so she can think of a different way to deal with this.
>Good luck with your new slave master Doremy. I have a feeling she won't honour her promise if she wins.
>Pat her head. It's funny
But if Okina is possessed by Junko, why would she be going against Hecc? Maybe she is possessed by the dead son instead.
We should keep those first two thoughts to ourselves, given "Okina"'s recent interjection.
As long as Albert thinks them and put it into his character motivations and plans it's ok with me.
But I have a feeling Okina is always watching us no matter when and where we say something.
If I can, I'll change my vote from>>5434350 to
>"Ah, so was it part of your master plan to become a slave? I doubt she'll even give you what you want."
>"You know, this means you have to let Marisa and Reisen go with me. If you don't do this, it would make me really not want to join you, and the Secret Goddess wouldn't like that, would she?"
"...still, I'll see if I can make sure if there's a way to free you from this without causing much harm to either of us."
Go smug on her, but try not to be too much of a dick.
>think about why the secret goddess looked like she did, and if Reimu could exorcise her
>Pat Doremy's head. It's funny
Support. Now is the time to headpat the baku for the funny. Remind her that just because shes a big fish in the dreamworld, it doesnt mean shes the biggest. And when you make a deal with a devil, theres always strings attatched.
Pure speculation, but I wouldn't say that Okina is possessed by Junko, but more like Okina has taken a bite out of her power. And since Junko is basically anger, revenge, and all those delightful emotions incarnate, Okina has been influenced by taking a portion of her. Plus, the name of her route is THE SEALED FLAME OF HATRED, which implies for me Junko has been captured in some form. If we see Hecatia or another god, we could ask them what could cause a god to suddenly change in demeanor and describe what we saw.
I dunno if its Junko. Even Junko tends to direct her ball of anger towards a specific point (the moon), not just hate everyone. It could be Okina dropping the mask and showing her true colors, or it could be that some kind of outside force is influencing/subverting her. Either way it seems like something that Yukari would know and be concerned about so the fact that shes kinda letting things happen (despite the fact that Okina isnt fucking around and clearly doesnt give a shit about spellcard rules right now) is worrying.

Thats another thing. Holy shit Danmaku is out the window. She straight up had Doremy knock our girls out and seal them up. Of course assuming that her Not Playing By The Rules means that Reimu is allowed to as well, there shouldnt be much of a problem for Reimu to match her as her power is fucking broken compared to Marisa and Reisen. Still. If it comes down to everyone throwing their actual weight around the damage could be immense.
Maybe it's something to do if Yuuma calling her her master, becoming the goddess of all that blood oil might have started messing with her head.
You know, Hecc said that Satan is busy on hell being the judge/jailor/adversary. But about Lucifer? What's the devil doing this days.
> But about Lucifer? What's the devil doing this days.
There's definitely a Cheating Detective Satori kind of situation afoot here. Okina wouldn't act so directly and brash if she were herself, she specifically got Flan to kill Yuuma because she wasn't able to beat the gote's immortality herself.

Whatever's taken over Okina doesn't respect the rules since she decided to beat Marisa and Reisen up even after Doremy slept them. We need to tell more than Reimu. We should tell Mima as well because she'd likely know how to get into contact with Yukari and Kasen about this blatant violation of Gensokyo's conduct.
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Wonder if we have a first aid kit in the apartment that we can use on our injured incident solvers. However, if it is a dream manifestation, I do not know if the treatment would persist once they leave the dream world.
We need to have Doremy to send us to Eirin's dream so she can do the surgery.
Why would she? She's a Lunarian goddess.
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it's canon
Okay, enough standing around with your mouth hanging agape. You shake your head and stare towards Doremy as she rubs her throat and stills her breathing.

Sighing, you stepped up towards the Baku and kneeled over slightly at her. The Dream World's ruler just stared up at you with a discomforted expression at what had transpired, and you blinked back blankly.



You reached out and patted Doremy right on top of her long Santa hat looking headwear. The Baku's expression became one of pure confusion then.

"What the... what in the heck do you think you're doing to me?"

"It's funny." You tell her, honestly.

She cocked her eyebrows at you, donning a face riddled with annoyance at you suddenly counteracting all the smugness she had previously faced you with before. She sure didn't like a taste of her own medicine, did she?

"You know, just because lots of people like to portray us Baku as Tapir doesn't mean I'm actually a Tapir, or for petting." She grumbled, slapping your hand away as she picked herself up and dusted her dress off.

"Maybe... but it was worth it just for that face."

"I'll give you nightmares for this."


You already witnessed a nightmare. What could the Baku inflict on you now that was much worse? Still, she seemed to be in a nightmare of her own now, and you felt that it needed to be addressed for her own sake. Damn you and your altruism, you actually felt bad for Doremy in this instant.

>"Ah, so was it part of your master plan to become a slave? I doubt she'll even give you what you want."

Doremy crossed her arms.

"Hmph. I don't have much else of a choice, as always. The secret god may be forceful, but she's blunt and honest. She's my best chance at being able to lay claim over the Dreams of Hell. It'll be payback for the leader of Hell misusing my realm for her own ends once. I'll have you know, I hold grudges against people who try to manipulate me or my realm. I'll get revenge on the secret god too, somehow... even if I can't get it directly, I always think of something."

"Back in my world, this line of thinking is usually accompanied by phrases like 'good goyim'."

Doremy rolled her eyes.

"I can't go back on my word now that I pledged my help."

>"You know, this means you have to let Marisa and Reisen go with me. If you don't do this, it would make me really not want to join you, and the Secret Goddess wouldn't like that, would she?"

"Oh no, no, no. I'm not falling for that one." Doremy said, her smile returning in the worst way.
You shook your head, now a bit agitated yourself. "I can't just leave here without them. They might get hurt by that psychotic god again if I do! If you release their physical forms from their sleep right now and allow them to come home, then maybe I might just consider the secret god's offer she tasked you with helping to pull me into!"

Doremy waved a finger in your face. "Little lies, oh little lies. I know that after that whole show, you're definitely going to do anything but want to join us now. If I let them off the hook, they'll surely try to retaliate. You might have buddied up with Marisa and Reisen, but I know them a little better, just a little bit better... nothing's going to turn them off of trying to attack me the moment I do something like wake them. Not even you."

"Besides, it was you who got them wound up in this situation in the first place. They wouldn't be here writhing in unconscious agony if you never poked your face around the Hakurei Shrine and gave them the wrong ideas."

Doremy flipped some pages around her book, and procured a pink bubble from within the diary. Another of these Dream Soul things.

"This is Reimu's Dream Soul. Once she gets here in physical form, there's nothing she can do to stop me from putting her to sleep with it as long as I like. Since you got these 'heroines' caught up trying to seek after the secret god, they've got to be taken out the picture for a while. Don't worry, they won't be here forever, they'll just be my hostages until whatever that god's planning comes to fruition. When I get the Dreams of Hell, I'll release them and they'll know when to take the L." She said, using a modern expression as she winked smugly.

God! You hated dealing with Doremy so much from just the short interactions you've had with her alone for a while now. You almost gave up on feeling sorry for her once she doubled back to her condescending self.

You rubbed your temple vigorously, you had to get through to her somehow! Otherwise, just give up and drift off to awaken so you could warn Reimu, who was sure to spank this Baku bit... brat.

"Look, you're clearly in just as much danger as the others here are. There's something about that god, she wasn't like how she was when I met her. She grabbed me by the throat too, but it wasn't that harsh compared to what she did to you. She was pridefully or playfully telling me not to fuck with her. That back there? Those smoldering eyes she had? Never seen before? That was a death threat, Doremy. She was telling you not to raise questions, under threat of punishment. You're just being put on notice, do as you're told or suffer the consequences, or her wrath, or whatever the fuck." You explained.

Doremy's smug expression started to shrink a bit into a frown, and the Baku looked away from staring you in the eyes as you said this.

"You probably won't listen to me..."
>"...still, I'll see if I can make sure if there's a way to free you from this without causing much harm to either of us."

"Really now? You're going to try helping me, even when I've basically told you I don't want your help, just for you to play your part?"

You nod.

Doremy smirked then, but not in a way that seemed to infer some superiority over you at this point. She just looked rather conflicted, as if she was just putting on a fake smile, or keeping a poker face.

"And... what if I follow along with what I've been told already and let Reimu walk into my beartrap? What if I get her bruised and battered too for my own sake?"

You suddenly stepped up close to Doremy, getting far into her grill. The Baku lowered a bit in the air underneath you as you stared down at her with a sure enough face about yourself. She took a step back, but you followed it up by walking right at her, until her back was against the wall of the illusory Dream apartment. You put both hands against the wall as your nose almost touched hers. She had a little blush on her cheeks, which surprised you.

"Look, I don't want to be enemies with you. I know I can't beat you either, but Reimu is my friend, just like Marisa and Reisen are, and the last thing I want is to see them get hurt too just because some boastful god is going around having mood swings. If your actions lead me to it, I'll try my best to take you down myself, no matter what. Even if I can't. Got that?"

Doremy was shocked with your assertiveness. She saw you as a really haughty human, and her eyes went wide as she didn't know what to say.

"Real protective, aren't you? Or maybe I was right about those 'funnier' thoughts of yours after all, wasn't I? Haha! Knew it..."

"That is just what friends do for each other when they're real. You'd know if you've ever had one."

"Now that's just rude. I... I have lots of friends." She said with a little crack to her voice.
"You also seem to secretly have a thing for being the submissive one under someone bigger too. Haha, knew it." You say with a grin.


Doremy suddenly pushed past you to hide her red cheeks then. "I don't know what you're implying! You haven't come to know me that well in this short little pep talk, you... you stupid yankee!"

A... lever suddenly grew out of the floor. Doremy put her hand on it.

"Oh come on..."

"...I'll think about what you said. I'll think about it... but as it stands, I cannot just give up my alliance so easily. Maybe me and Reimu will come to quarrel just like the other two did by the time of tomorrow night..." She said, before staring right to your own eyes; "Maybe... maybe she just 'might have some trick up her sleeve' I won't anticipate and beat me. Who knows. I'll likely end up trying to pull what I have in store over her, even if you tell her when you wake up."

You held up a hand. "W-Wait, hold on, I haven't been here that long. If you wake me up now, won't it still be night just like it was when I went to sleep?"

"Something something, time is relative, something something... I think."

She pulled the lever.

You winced at the floor, expecting it to fall out from under you! You stared at it for a few seconds in dreadful anticipation, and then looked up back at Doremy, who was smug again.


A coconut falls from above and clonks you in the head.

You wake up with a minor migraine, rubbing your head as you suddenly looked around.


It was morning, already!

You quite literally jumped out of bed in your summer yukata, zooming out of the Hakurei Shrine guest room futon and making for outside. It was there that you saw Reimu near the entrance to the Shrine, at the stairs under the Torii. She was waving Mima off as the ghostly practitioner of the arcane departed the Shrine on her journey to Chireiden.

You then saw the Miko start hopping on one foot as she turned her attention to the sky. Reimu rolled one of her shoulders and stretched it. She had her Gohei handy. It seemed like she was about ready to take off now herself.


You waved your hand and yelled to grab her attention, running as fast as you could up to meet her.

"Huh? Albert, what's wrong?"

"It's... it's the Dream World, Reimu!" You exclaimed, gasping for air. Running like this as soon as you woke up was not a good idea. You had to rub your eyes quickly and shield them from the bright sun.

The Miko snapped her fingers. "Actually, it's a good thing you mentioned it. I'm about to head there now physically myself. I'm glad you're awake. If it isn't too much trouble to ask, would you mind watching over the Shrine for me today? If anyone asks, tell them I'm off on an errand and that they can just leave their donations in the usual place."

"Wait, you don't understand. It's a trap, Reimu!"

She raised her eyebrow at you.

"I was there, just a while ago. I dreamed last night so I could see what was up. The tapi-... Baku, Doremy, the one who rules it. She's got a trap planned out for you. Marisa and Reisen are also trapped there! They've been beaten up badly!"


"It's true! Doremy, she used something... some blobby pink thing. I think they called it a... a 'Dream Soul'. She used it to put Marisa and Reisen into a permanent sleep! Their real bodies are stuck there! And the secret god... she was there! She's bullied the Baku into helping her, I-I saw it! I saw her choke her! She had fire in her eyes! Literal fire!"

Reimu just blinked at you. But then, she smiled.

"Dream Souls, huh? I guessed as much myself. So that's how Doremy thinks she'll defeat me. Heh, she's got another thing coming."

You couldn't believe what you were hearing.

"Hold on, didn't you just catch that? It's a trap, Reimu! She's going to try and put you into a permanent sleep! I-I..."


"What if the secret god shows up and..."

"Albert!" She shushed you, putting a finger to your lips; "Don't worry. It won't work on me. I can counter anything Doremy has in store. It's in the nature of my ability. I'm going there now. I'm going to get Marisa and Reisen woken up and out of there, and I'm going to beat Doremy to a pulp. Okay?"

"...But... uh..."

She shakes her head.

"No, look. I've got this. I'm not afraid of Doremy or the secret god. Whatever happens... I'm going to be the winner, okay?"

You remained silent at her insistence on her own abilities. You just nodded slowly.

Reimu smirked at that and winked. "Good. Now listen, I'll be back around nighttime when I'm finished with the business up there in the Dream World. If you could, I wouldn't mind it if you used some of the things I bought yesterday to whip up a meal in time for when I get back with Marisa and Reisen, alright?"

"Y... Yeah, sure. Of course, I'll think of... something."

"Good. Just don't let Clownpiece get into my Dango stash. She'll eat it all and then I'll be mad."

With that, Reimu turned heel and went towards the top step under the Torii. You saw the air pick up around her, in a way that spelled mystique to you as you noticed it wasn't particularly windy. It was unnatural... supernatural.

"H-Hey... Reimu, what is your ability anyway?"

"Oh, it's rather simple. I can float."

She can float.

"...That's it?"

"Yep. Alright, bye now!"
Reimu, as she said she could, then floated. You watched as the Miko started to uplift from the ground, up towards the sky. It was as if she was being lifted to the heavens themselves! Was she just going to... fly past the clouds? Off into space?! She... she was! She was just flying! Flying straight up! How was she supposed to physically enter the realm of Dreams themselves by just flying up towards spac- ...Well, the Dream World did look pretty much like space to you.

Did that mean the Dream World exists in the vacuum? What the hell... it's like that old, crazy noosphere theory those Russians came up with or something. Dreams had to do with minds and mental shit, right? Weird stuff. But, you could believe it. Marisa and Reisen reached it somehow, maybe they went the same way Reimu is going.

Breathing in, you turned around as Reimu was leaving your depth of perception to the skies and headed back towards the Shrine. You were soon seated on the wayside of the porch, watching the falling leaves of a Gensokyo entering the autumn season with a serene atmosphere. You sit here for a good while, enjoying the peace and calm of this Fantastical land.

Where was Clownpiece at right about now anyway? Ah, right, still asleep inside, she was in the guest room with you last you seen. Well, she went to sleep in there last night, but she strangely wasn't in the room when you woke up. You've got to remember to keep her out of Reimu's warehouse, otherwise she might eat all the Miko's Dango and that wouldn't sit well with her-



You immediately stood up.

"Clownpiece? Clownpieeeeece!" You shouted out.

No answer.

Oh God, oh God, oh God, oh no, oh shit, oh God. You were basically almost out of Yen, you couldn't afford to replace the exorbitant amount of Dango that Reimu insisted upon purchasing if Clownpiece is eating it all already! You've got to stop her now and-

"Reimu! REIMUUUU! Hic! Come out, come out, wherever you are!"

You turned to look towards the Torii and see two figures approaching the Shrine. One small, one of average height.
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It was the Oni, Ibuki Suika, and one other you didn't immediately recognize, who was chastising Suika for being too loud in her half-drunken stupor as the Oni snickered, taking another swig from her bottle-thing.

The two step up to the Shrine's front doors and the pink-haired lady there addressed you.

"Ah, hello there. I don't believe I've ever seen you here before. Are you a Villager come on a pilgrimage or here on some other business?"

"Heh, I know him. He's an Outsider man, one from a new Incident that Reimu's been investigating. I heard he got nabbed right from his bedsheets and brought here to Gensokyo." Suika spoke up on your behalf.

This really seemed to surprise the lady with pink hair. "What? A new Incident has already begun? And this man is from the Outside World?! You're being truthful, aren't you, Suika? Then how come I haven't heard about it? I'd have expected to see something in one of Aya's papers, at least!"

Suika shrugged. "It's been the talk of Geidontei. Maybe you oughta pay it a visit sometimes. That Tengu's been there, I heard her drowning in her sorrows over not having- hic! Enough to go off of for her paper."

Ah, yes, she was still stalking you, wasn't she? You felt like you really needed to deal with Aya somehow soon. But you shake your head and focus back on the pink-haired lady wearing a flower and the Oni.

"Ahem. Uh, yes, I'm an Outsider. My name is Perry Albert. I've been staying here at the Hakurei Shrine since the whole investigation around me started. Um, Reimu isn't here right now, she left about half an hour ago off on important business. She told me she won't be back for a while, so she asked me to look after the place in her stead."

The pink-haired lady wearing the flower on her tabard nodded to you.

"I see. I suppose I'll have to see her another time then."

Suika groaned. "Drat... I heard from that Tsukumogami at the bar that she had new needles. I was hoping to fool around with her for the day..."

"Well, I was hoping to be able to merely chat over some tea. I guess I'll have time to reconnect with you after all, Suika." The pink-haired lady said, which seemed to brighten the spirits of the Oni guzzling sake besides her, in a way that entailed some sort of deep relationship you weren't aware of. But, the pink-haired lady then put a hand to her flower and bowed to you; "Forgive me, I should introduce myself. I'm Ibaraki Kasen, a good friend of Reimu's and sometimes something of a mentor for her. I'm merely... a Hermit, in truth."
Ibaraki Kasen...? Wait a minute, this is her. This is the Hermit you'd been hearing about from Reimu, one of the people she suggested could help you out well if you sought training and help in Gensokyo. You were just thinking about meeting her the other day, or so. Well, isn't this a coincidence.

"Nice to meet you." You say, bowing back. Then, you outstretched a hand.

Kasen and Suika both peered curiously at your extended hand.

"Eh? Are you offering us some arm wrestling? Cause if you are..." She grinned.

"Oh, no, it's a, uh, a way people in the real world greet each other. Sorry, I should have known better."

Kasen grabs your hand and shakes it with a pleasant smile. "No worries, I think I understand."

You smile back as you accepted the handshake. Man, she had a firm grip, firmer than any male you've ever shook hands with before.

"Well, you got any plans today, Outsider?" Suika asked you.

"Oh, well... not really besides keeping this place in check. And uh, I've gotta wrangle a Fairy I think might be having a sugar rush too."

"I distinctly remember offering to let you taste my spruced up Sake the last time I seen you, but you went and vanished before the festival where I got to do it for once! That really left a bad taste behind in my mouth, everyone should be able to get a sip of my special Sake! How about this, since me and Kasen were already planning on spending some time together because it's been a good, long while, you can come join us!"

"Suika, are you sure? I don't want to intrude on whatever duty Reimu's asked him to perform here." Kasen said, concerned for the wellbeing of the Shrine.

"What? Are you for real? He's just a normal Human, if somebody attacked the Shrine today, he'd be dead meat! Whatever happens, happens. He might as well come with us, at least then nobodies going to even look at him the wrong way with two of us Oni watching his back."

"Ahah! Suika, you're the Oni. I'm a Hermit." Kasen said, playing something off.

"Riiiight... Anyway! Albert, how's it sound? Come with us to Geidontei, it's one of the best bars in the Village! I'll let you taste my special Sake there! There's a ton of Youkai there too, I'm sure they'd be interested in knowing more about you! Ahahaha! Well, whadd'ya say?"

>What will you do for the day?
>Hey, Reimu told me about you Kasen. Said you were very responsible and knew how to solve problems. I think I can trust you with this.
>Could you stay here instead of going to the Geidontei? This incident is being an absolute mess and we need help to think on how to solve it.
>Basically, some kind of hidden god is trying to start a war against the Goddess of hell and turn Gensokyo into a battlefield, and she seems to be possessed or switching personalities. Also Reimu is about to willingly enter a trap that already defeated Reisen and Marisa.
>I also want to know more about what being a hermit entails. I'm learning magic from lady Mima, but my God forbids it, and I'm worried I might become a sinner if I continue this path, but it's the only option I have so far to not be completely useless to my friends, since as an Outsider I can't enter danmaku.
And if she can't stay, ask then to wait a bit, then try to find Aunn and ask her to protect the shrine, and Clownpiece to drag her along to Geidontei. Because the grassroots trio are probably going to be there, on top of getting a new teacher.
>Ask Kasen if she could stay here, but give her a rundown of the incident first. The tell her you're interested in learning from her to protect your friends and not anger your God.
>Thank the Oni for the offer, but tell her you gave Reimu your word that you'd stay here.
>Stay by the shrine and make something to eat for Reimu and the rest. Maybe we'll find Clownpiece and help her with the mansion or get Mima to teach us something else.
We can always go to the bar later, but it's too good of an opportunity to have Kasen teach us one on one.
And we did tell Reimu we'd be here and make something.

Oh yeah, that's also a good idea. But I don't want Albert to get wasted before making sure Reimu and the others are safe and showing off the cooking skills he totally has.
But don't you want to have a interview with a drunk Aya? We can avoid getting drunk ourselves by pacing our drinks and refusing any drinking challenges. It's not like a normal human could win against an oni or tengu anyway.
Although being responsible and keeping to our word is kind of important. I have a strong feeling Reimu won't return and we will have to go there to ask help late at night, otherwise this quest would be way too easy
As funny as that would be, if we can have Kasen teach us personally (which she probably will, after seeing how serious the situation might be) I think we should git gud for the rest of the day and try at making something edible.

If that's true we can always get Clownpiece to come with us and look around for some friends of Reimu, or ask Mima for some tips on what to do.
If she accepts to stay, I'm definitely going for full on training montage. And protecting the Dango stash from the daughterfu, of course.
The important part is how to make up for ruining Suika's day out. Maybe offer to take them to the bar on our tab? It would financially cripple us even more than Reimu though.
I'm not sure we'd even have enough to pay for all the drinks she wants. So unless we plan on going into debt, maybe we can hold off on that offer for now at least.
But maybe a promise to eventually take her to a bar once we get enough funds might appease her.
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>You put both hands against the wall as your nose almost touched hers. She had a little blush on her cheeks, which surprised you.

What a lad. Performing a kabedon on the personal sleep paralysis demon. All Albert needs to do now to assert further dominance is give her good ol' hugs.

>A coconut falls from above and clonks you in the head.

Heh, points for creativity.

>Ibaraki Kasen...?

The wrestling teacher has appeared, hoorah! Suika might also know some techniques if Albert can buddy up with her, though that probably requires killing Albert's liver.
Completely forgot another thing to mention, the worry about magic is not only because God hasn't given us the Solomon treatment and looked the other way, but also because learning it, and possibly committing other sins and being a dick in general, strengthens the mark the secret god put on us. And if it gets too strong, we become a slave without free will to some sort of egotistical, maniacal villain with a personality disorder. Then show her the arm.
Hope she doesn't suggest putting all of our negative feeling on it, cutting it off and sealing it away.
Lewd pink route bros....its time.
seconding >>5436272
Support. Trust in reimu, she can handle herself. We should use the time we have to better ourselves.
Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't one of the ways to become a youkai by hanging out with them for an extended time? Would that also apply to the totally normal hermit? Though, I don't think Fortune Telling QM is cruel enough to do that to us.
The Big Dipper provides a passive negation of Youkai-ification through their company luckily for Albert. Even without it, the time it takes for one to Youkai-ify from being exposed to them is also up in the air, as Youkai roam freely around the Village all the time in disguise, but the cases of humans transforming are rare and seemingly few.
Neat, I suppose turning into a youkai requires adopting their mindset alongside semi-constant proximity to one. I guess for an outsider to become a Youkai, they would have to convince one to not eat them alongside risking likely punishment at the hands of the shrine maiden. The other option is to do what the fortune teller did.

Anyways the main takeaway is don't kiss Youkai. They eat people. Kiss a shrine maiden instead. They are probably closer in age, anyways.
There is a perfectly kissable Hermit right there though.
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Hags to the left of me
Crones to the right
Here I am
Stuck in the gap with you
Support. I wanna see some old hag battle training.
Take that back. Kasen is NOT a hag.
I want to fondle her hair ornaments
I admire Kasen so much. Her hermit training is incredible, it made her as strong as an oni!
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The Buddhists got some pretty good physical conditioning as well.
"Ah, geez, I... I don't know, guys- Mm, girls. Since I've been asked to look over the Shrine, I'm not sure leaving would be a good idea. Even if I can't protect it, I might at least be able to discourage anyone from trying anything, or remembering their face. Besides, Reimu wanted me to have a meal ready by the time she got back."

"Whaaa-? Reimu's got her own personal cook now? What are you, her new boyfriend or something?" Suika said teasingly.

"N... No! Don't get the wrong idea."

Especially not within ear's reach of Aya, who could be around.

"I've just been helping to return the favor for her own help in this Incident. It's getting downright dirty, and honestly, I think even Reimu's going to need help with it. That's why the Ghost lady who lives here went to find a mind reader."

"You mean Mima? We passed her on our way here. This Incident is serious enough that the help of Satori is needed..." Kasen says, ruminating upon that.

"Yes. I've been learning magic from her. Not sure if that's the best idea, magic's usually... evil in the religion I'm of from the real world. Kind of worried about the implications of that making me a sinner, but I don't have many other options to become more than deadweight."

"Just pump some iron." Suika said after taking a big gulp from her gourd.

"I-I do work out! Look, girls, I don't really want to go to some bar right now, but I won't say anything if you... stayed? I don't know, you do what you want. I have to watch over this Shrine, and hope Reimu comes back from the trap she left to go walk right into in the Dream World."

Both the Oni and Hermit looked surprised at you then. The Dream World?

"This Incident's stretching that far? Just what's going on this time to have such far reaching consequences? I thought the whole Incident was just someone kidnapping you and spiriting you away here in Gensokyo with some kind of funny marking?" Suika asked, hunching over slightly as she stared at you with some kind of doubt.

"It's probably a lot bigger than it seems. The secret god who kidnapped me is trying to-"

Kasen suddenly rushed up the steps past you, towards the Shrine's interior. It caused you to stop in the middle of your speech and turn back to the Hermit as she slid the Shoji door open then.

"Suika, wait here for a while. I want to talk with the human in private for a while. You, come in here with me, right now."

You just blinked in confusion. What has gotten her riled up so easily? Was... was it the mention of the 'secret god'? Whatever the case, Suika just nodded and shrugged.

"Fine by me, but don't take too long, I still want to go to Geidontei with you. I guess I'll go find that Fairy with the sugar rush and see what's that about in the meantime."

"W-Wait, you have to be gentle with Clownpiece, she might try to show you her tor- Gah!"
You couldn't even finish your sentence as you felt a hand grab your collar and pull you back into the Shrine's room quite easily. A hand you then saw was none other than the hollow arm of wrapping cloth that Kasen had for a limb, extending out as it unraveled to pull you in. She shut the shoji door and faced you.

You had to admit, she was a bit intimidating herself with her serious expression. But, you also noted a degree of concern to her air as well as she pushed you back until you fell to sit on the floor near Reimu's table. Kasen seated herself across from you.

"...You mentioned a 'secret god'."

"..." You nodded; "Yeah... that's what she's called."

Kasen was silent, but she seemed to be mouthing something under breath with closed eyes...

"What is she trying to accomplish." She asks, straight and to the point.

"...She may be attempting to start some kind of war against the Goddess of Hell to claim her turf. I'm afraid Gensokyo might become involved in that conflict somehow, or in the crossfire."

Kasen's stature remained resolute, and she didn't appear to react in some way to hearing that, but you noticed that her pupils were slowly shrinking.

"...She claimed she was doing what she's doing to help Gensokyo, but her plan involved me somehow... she wanted me to help her, but she didn't really say how I could."

"Clownpiece lives here."

"She does."

"I know she's the servant of the Goddess of Hell. Have you met her?"

You nodded.

Kasen grit her teeth behind her sealed lips.
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"Your purpose might have been to get cozied up to the Goddess of Hell as a sleeper agent."

A sleeper agent?

"What, you mean... like, I was supposed to befriend her somehow through Clownpiece? Then what, help strike at her when she's... lulled into a false sense of security by... the friendship? I... shit, that does make sense. Hecatia was pretty friendly to me from the start. But fuck, she feels so strong, even if you get her off guard, what was that secret god even expecting?"

"I may know the secret god you speak of. They... always have tricks down their sleeve. However, I'm not sure myself right away if we could even be dealing with the same god I'm thinking of. I'll... wait to see what Satori's input is. What else can you tell me?"

You gulped nervously.

"She acted like she was possessed or something. She was calm the first minute, then deranged the next. I saw her choking the Baku in the Dream World over having her methods questioned. There was fire in her eyes, literal fire. I don't know what's up, could be multiple personalities or..."

Kasen shakes her head.

"A god is not easy to possess, especially not a strong one. It takes something truly corrupt and powerful to possess a deity or otherwise override them, Albert. And when it comes to the potency of things like that, there's a lot of factors. But say we try to eliminate non-factors through using the derangement you mentioned..."

"Then... what could it be?"

"...A spirit that's deranged... angry? Furious?"

"She was really hateful."

"Hate normally fuels grudges. In a world like this, a grudge can be power itself. And there's a certain kind of entity specifically known for such a nature. Vengeful Spirits."

"V... Vengeful Spirits?"

"They are some of the worst kinds of spirits. They'll never truly be satisfied, or stopped for that matter, until their vengeance is achieved. You never know what they want revenge on, sometimes not until it's too late. Most arise from an injustice done to their previous self... others can be beings of pure malice seeking revenge on whatever stopped them before."
"I can see it. So, you're saying that this secret god might be piloted by this... Vengeful Spirit thing then?"

"I'm not totally sure. I haven't even had time to properly learn about this Incident. I've only just heard of it." She says, crossing her arms and staring at the table, clearly saddled with heavy thoughts about the subject; "I'll need to... infer with Reimu and Mima themselves more about it. I don't want to pester you completely, I understand since you're apart of this, it might weigh on you somehow. I don't want you to get the idea you caused it somehow. Oh, no, no, no. You can't have if you were kidnapped."

You shake your head. "Don't worry, I don't think that. It's been rough, since I've been attacked, and even choked personally by her myself. But... I'm still going strong."

Kasen nodded.

"If this is the secret god I'm thinking of, then I may have a lot to share with Reimu and you."

"You seem really knowledgeable, I'll hand it to you. Reimu told me about you. I heard plenty about how responsible you were when it comes to serious matters like this. Besides, you said yourself you mentored her. Oh, and Genjii also talked about how 'sweet' you were."

"Ah, Genjii, I'll have to visit the old coot before I go home. Thank you. I assure you, if you can trust Lady Mima or Reimu, then you can trust this Hermit."

Kasen stands up then, and you stood up with her. It looked like she had heard all she needed to hear for the time being. Something told you that she might know a lot more than she lets on, even more than just what she might plan on sharing with everybody. It all seemed so strange to you how connected all these people you've been meeting is.

"So, you are Lady Mima's student then? Can you tell me why you feel as though you're committing sins learning from her?"

"Well... in the Outside World, I'm what's known as a 'Christian'. We worship a deity named Jehovah and his son Jesus Christ I reckon, but we mostly just call him... God. We believe there's only one real deity and that he made the universe and, um..." You stop yourself, not wanting to get wound up overexplaining; "Well anyway, we all get the word of God from a holy book, the Bible. Um, stuff like witchcraft, black magic and all that is considered evil. I mean, Christians used to burn witches and destroy everything that was considered demonic."

"I see... Yes, I'm pretty sure this lines up with stories of a prophet in the west, correct?"

"Uh, yeah, Jesus was considered a prophet."

"Have you simply thought of petitioning your god then?"

"...Well... n... no. I mean, how would I even...?"

"Prayer, perhaps?"
Good point. Why the Hell didn't you think of that yourself when you felt the Big Dipper's weight increase from learning your Forcefield spell? No, really Albert, why didn't you just think about asking to be pardoned since it concerned your survival? Damn it, it might even be the reason that it happened was because you didn't think towards your faith when learning magic in the first place and forgetting to do prayers daily!

"Well, I'll try. But, if it doesn't work, I heard about Hermits from Reimu too. I heard it involves... religious training?"

Kasen nodded. "Mm. That it does, but not all parts to becoming a Hermit necessarily involves such things. Truthfully, the term 'Hermit' is just an umbrella for people who have become extraordinary compared to others by acquiring many different kinds of powers. It can be anything from learning how to master and manipulate energy, or Qi. Learning how to restructure the very Earth itself, control elements, relocate your own molecules, or gain the ability to touch the incorporeal with your corporeal hand."

"Like, touching a ghost physically? Flying, er... shooting beams from your eyes? That kind of stuff?" You asked innocently, thinking about Dragon Ball Z in the back of your head.

"Well, I won't say you couldn't learn to shoot something from your eyes if you truly sought to become a Hermit. Every Hermit has different powers, no two Hermits should be the exact same. For example, a different Hermit than I can raise the dead, whilst I cannot... ah... d-do such a thing myself... As I've known, the most common ability Hermits actually share is one to conceal their home from the rest of the world, locking it away in another space. I personally hide my dwelling in Senkai, a world where nobody can annoy me. There may be more than one Senkai."

"That sounds... pretty amazing actually." You say, excitedly.
Kasen smiled at the admiration for her own abilities. She seemed pleased by how you genuinely accepted her own information of Hermits readily. But, she gets that serious look again.

"I must tell you... if you believe Hermit training would not constitute a sinful nature for yourself over learning magic, then it is possible that you could become a Hermit, even at such a young age. However, it will be the most difficult task you ever undertake in your life, being an Outsider. You inherently lack much base understanding over the concepts that allow Hermits to function compared to anybody raised in a culture where these concepts are prevalent. It will be very, VERY hard for you. But, if you seek it... I may even be willing to assist your training."

"I understand..."

"Do you wish for me to train you? Know that many magical abilities you could get from Lady Mima could be incompatible with a Hermit's nature. The magic that I wield is nothing alike with the light magic that Mima champions. You may be forced to eventually have to rescind your tutorship under Mima."

As Kasen says this, you hear what you believe to be Clownpiece's voice from outside the shoji paper walls and doors, alongside laughter from Suika. It sounds like a tussle. And there was also some other voice, making sounds that kind of like barks, or the closest thing a human-like voice made that could be compared to a dog's bark. Was that Aunn trying to break up something again?

>What will you do?
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>Thank Kasen and ask for some time to think and a method to contact her.
>Ask if there are any other hermits available to talk.
>Pray to God for guidance on this incident and for forgiveness.
>Check what is going on outside.

>Then what, help strike at her when she's... lulled into a false sense of security by... the friendship? I... shit, that does make sense.

Albert realizes he's a honey trap for a hag.

>Mm. That it does, but not all parts to becoming a Hermit necessarily involves such things. Truthfully, the term 'Hermit' is just an umbrella for people who have become extraordinary compared to others by acquiring many different kinds of powers.
>She seemed pleased by how you genuinely accepted her own information of Hermits readily

Huh, thought hermits were intrinsically linked to Taoism and that they are beings endowed with supernatural abilities acquired through religious training, not the other way around like she said. This setting might be different, though. Or it's because Kasen knows shit all about Taoism and chose the title of a hermit to explain her longevity and is giving Albert bad info, which is highly amusing. Slightly surprised she didn't mention Celestials since they are basically the end goal of being an earthly hermit eventually.

Magic or Hermit Training. On the one hand, I want to get Albert a magical gun, but on the other, we can eventually get the ability to eat mist if Albert lives past 500 years and wrestling skills.

We might be able to ask Kasen to introduce us to other hermits so we can learn more about their experiences before going down the path.
Supporting this.
We should ask Mima about hermits too, she might know something or at least give us her opinion on them.
Wait a second...Did Kasen just try to poach Albert from Mima?
Well, hermits are taoist, but maybe buddhas can also be considered a type, and there's a bit of Yoga involved so maybe it also has Hindu things too. So maybe it's not necessarily tied to a specific religion.
Miko is called a saint right? And the old prophets in the bible could live for thousand of year and perform all kind of different miracles right? So perhaps Albert can be some type of christian hermit.
Well, we did say that we were worried that magic is sin and were looking for alternatives, and she did say hermit training would take almost all of our time.
So it's less poach and more offer up another way.

>Albert can be some type of christian hermit.
That's exactly what I was thinking. That or we can aim towards becoming something such as a Saint like Miko is.
New rule: Nobody may call Kasen a hag ever again.
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If we want a hag, there's an actual one over at the Yokai Mountain
Nemuno can cook good at least.
You know when you think about it being a Hermit will suck in the beginning for Albert, he'll have no choice but to outlive his family and then he'll have to deal with Kishin too.
Well, he will get used to dealing with Kishin soon since his teacher is one.
And given how time is weird in Gensokyo, we might need to live a couple hundreds of years first to outlive our family outside.

What I'm more worried about is Kasen saying that a vengeful spirit is possessing Okina, and their possessed dialogue is green. Don't we know a certain vengeful spirit that tried taking over hell and spoke in green, and then became oddly peaceful and friendly with humans?
Kasen is a crone.

Would making Hecc extremely fond of us help offset the Kishin since they are from hell?

Here's a thought, If Albert makes an immortal being fall in love with him, would they try convincing him to extend his lifespan or let him live his human lifetime?

If it turns out Mima is the mastermind, I will admit to not seeing that plot twist.

On the subject of Albert becoming a Christian hermit, I suppose that gives us more motivation to try and talk to Sariel and possibly badger her into teaching us some miracles/magic.
Bros, it can't be sensei... she wants to help us...
No, you see, by playing both sides at once, she can always stay one step ahead, the perfect mastermind. And her goals are obvious: become powerful enough to be able materialize on the real world so she can force Zun to bring her back.
If we become some sort of christian hermit, I think it's more likely it's one of Satan's boys that would show up to test us.
Atleast by Hecc's comment that he is doing his duty as judge of hell, it might actually be the adversary satan, not the evil devil. So remember to resist temptation.

I wonder if guardian angels are a thing, and if Albert's is having an aneurysm due to all the messes he keeps getting himself into.
>And her goals are obvious: become powerful enough to be able materialize on the real world so she can force Zun to bring her back.
Wtf I want the villain to win now?
"I'd like some time to think it over, if that's okay with you."

"No pressure. A Hermit like me who can live for thousands of years has plenty enough time to wait."

"Thank you, Kasen. Is there perhaps, well, I'm not sure but is there some way I can be able to communicate with you if you aren't around in the next few days?"

"Due to the nature of this Incident, I will be staying here at the Hakurei Shrine just for a little longer. I'm sure you'll have decided before I leave. Even then, I'll leave you a way to reach me should I return to Senkai- Actually, your Kedama is perfect for this. I could teach it how to find me and relay your messages." She says.

(°д°) *HFU...?*

"How'd you know he was there?" You shake your sleeve that contained the fluff ball.

"Keen senses." She winks.

Huh, and there was the potential for you to be able to become like her. Being able to detect Youkai before they can strike at you first would really be helpful, you admit.

"You mentioned there being other Hermits than you. Can you tell me about them?"

"Ah, well..." She starts, glancing towards the ruckus outside, as if wondering that you even cared or not about it since you continued conversation with her; "If you ever hear the name 'Seiga Kaku', you may want to avoid her. I've heard she is a wicked Hermit, although I suppose I've never truly known her myself. You may also try the Mausoleum below the Myouren Temple."

"There's stuff below it?" You ask, remembering it as the temple that Kogasa nearly set fire to.

"Yes, the Hall of Dreams' Great Mausoleum. Contrary to the Buddhists who inhabit the Temple built over it, a Taoist following presides in the Mausoleum. They use it to travel to a stretch of Senkai in which the Hermit Toyosatomimi no Miko is known to live. She is highly respected as a teacher for Taoism. However, because the Buddhists believe in attaining Nirvana and teaching peace, whilst the Taoists seek to become immortal and wield incredible power in juxtaposition, the two followings are enemies, to the point of waging a religious war. I would be careful if you sought to approach either."

"That sounds... strange. But, I don't plan on becoming a Buddhist or Taoist."

"To be honest, you could become far more powerful as a Hermit training under the Taoists than under me. Most Hermits are Taoist in the end."

"...Must I become a Taoist to become a Hermit? Is there no other way?"

"It all depends on which powers you'd seek. However, I offer to train you without the need for Taoism, because I believe that any religious person has the chance to become a Hermit, regardless of what they believe in. And secondly... I admit, I may be interested in seeing what would happen if an Outsider religion tried to fashion a Hermit."
"I think I get it."

So that's Kasen's aim, by training you in the ways of becoming a Hermit, she'd attempt to experiment in a way. But for what ultimate purpose, you didn't know. Perhaps like the secret god, this pink Hermit also had her own ulterior motives on the inside. Thankfully, she didn't give you the impression of being malevolent or the kind of person seeking to pick fights with others. Or like she'd use you for her own gain in ways you didn't want.

You would have to keep this all in mind. You decided that when night came, you would pray to God and ask for his mercy, and make a humble request that you be granted the right towards magic. But, if that does not come to pass, perhaps the way of the Hermit will be a more favored path in the eyes of your Lord.

"Shall we...?"


You needed to see what was transpiring outside already.

You went over to the shoji door and opened it.

"Bwaaaaaah! This is totally not funnnnnnnnyyyyyyyyyy!"

Ah, Clownpiece, screaming as she tried not to drop a Dango on a stick she clutched tight.

"Wahahahaha! Maybe you should have thought about that before you tried pilfering somebodies snacks you greedy little hog of a Fairy!"

Ah, a half-drunk Suika swinging her around and around in the air by her collar like a paperweight, in what looked to be an extreme version of the airplane you took her on last night yourself.

"N-Not respectful! Very di-disrespectful to the Shrine grounds! Politely requesting you cease immediately! AAhuuuuUUUUnnnnnn!"

Ah, Aunn. She must have been protecting the Shrine today. Also, she appeared to have been cleaning with the broom she held! What a helpful doggie. You just hoped she didn't drop it as she was hanging onto Suika's back for dear life whilst the Oni spun around like a rotor.

"Suika, knock it off already!" Kasen scolded her, raising her finger.

The Oni abruptly came to a stop, laughing hysterically as Aunn drooped to the stone below with dizzied eyes and vertigo. Clownpiece's head was spinning and stars must have been circling her head in an orbit. The Hell Fairy just barely held onto her torch as she desperately raised the single Dango on a stick she had to take a bite of the treat.

You grumbled and pinched your nose bridge, looking up to see a grinning Hecatia Lapislazuli sitting on the Torii- Wait, Hecati- huh? Nothing there?! But... but you could have sworn you just saw... you mean, she was right there for a split second. You're not crazy. Well, maybe a little crazy by now, but not that crazy.

"I dealt with your little rodent problem! Ah... just try to downplay the amount of Dango that Reimu had. She ate a lot before I could get her." Suika said.

"S-Shrine all clean...! J-Job well done, hwooo..." Aunn murmured.
Well, at least nothing serious happened or got out of hand.

"So, can we go to Geidontei now, 'Hermit'? Mmmm?" Suika smugly asked.

"I suppose. Do you still intend to stay, Albert?" Kasen said, turning to you.

"Well, I should. I'll take care of it in Reimu's stead, I'll be here if you come ba-"

"Auoo!" Aunn suddenly raised her finger as she pushed herself up, tail wagging; "There's no need to worry about that, mister! It's my job to do that for Humans naturally as a Komainu!"

Suika flashed a toothy grin at Aunn's interjection as she stared at you; "So, you're saying the Outsider is free then?"

"Au-huuh! He lives here now, I believe. Don't worry mister, the Shrine's in good hands. Have fun on your outing!"

You raised your hands defensively.

"W-Wait, you got the wrong idea, I wasn't planning to go anywh-ERH! AGH!"

Too late, Suika won't even allow you to protest before she has you and Clownpiece both by your wrists, dragging you helplessly along with her as she started in a gleeful stride off and away from the Hakurei Shrine. It all happened so fast that even Kasen barely had enough time to register it before you were already thirty feet away from the steps.

Kasen just blinked awkwardly before shaking her head and running after that gremlin Suika. "H-Hey! Wait! I don't think he even has money on him!"

"Yeah! And I haven't even gotten to change clothes!"

"I haven't finished eating all the Dangooooo!"

"That's alright! You won't have to worry about it where we're headed! Hyahahaha!" Suika brushed off the concerns as she high tailed it towards the Human Village on foot.

You could only look back at Aunn waving you off from the top of the Hakurei Shrine's steps so innocently. You couldn't decide whether or not she was a good dog who meant well but ended up doing goofy things, or a bad dog. Well, she looks like she would break down crying if you pointed your finger at her chanting 'bad dog!' so you'd spare her from that... for now.

You suppose it's something you'd just have to put up with as Suika eventually let go of you and allowed you and Clownpiece to both follow her on foot normally. Kasen silently apologized for the Oni's behavior. You watched the horned gremlin pick up a large straw hat she left on the roadside along the way and fasten it onto her head to hide her horns just before the four of you entered the Village. You kept Clownpiece close in between you and Kasen so nobody would discern her being as a Fairy.

And before you knew it, here you were, walking into Geidontei, a small and humble if meager establishment in the Human Village. You tightened your yukata's sash, because as it was all you had on beneath it was a baggy pair of pants that only came down to your knees.

"Here we are! The best bar in all of Gensokyo!" Suika announced as she flung open the doors.
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You ducked your head a little to avoid a lamp as you came in directly behind the Oni and stared around. This bar... was almost completely empty. There was only a few people in here. A girl hiding most of her face behind a red cloak, some mature lady with glasses on the other side of the counter staring amusedly at Suika's entry, what looked to be Kogasa sitting at the bar waiting on a drink, a worker behind the bar wearing a... whale on her head, and...


Kagerou! Another good doggie.

"Suika! I hadn't expected you to be coming here. A-Ah, how nice of you to drop by, eheh..." The worker girl said, as if hiding something.

Suika chuckled. "Heh, so the rumor I got from Mamizou was true then, Miyoi. You have been opening up breakfast hours to us Youkai on the weekend."

The girl behind the counter, apparently named Miyoi, glanced over to the lady wearing glasses, who shrugged in response before she rubbed the back of her head; "Well, the owner was gone an hour ago, you know how he likes to close by now on this day. I figured since he's been trying to cater to breakfast needs for the Villagers on the other days, I could try it myself for the Youkai after closing hours."

"Well, why didn't you tell me then? You tryin' to keep me out because of my drinking habits?"

"N-Not at all!"

"Okay! Well that's good, because I came here to drink!"

All the other customers seemed to express worry across their faces then about Suika getting drunk so early in the morning.

"But, I also brought entertainment! This is the Human I've been tellin' you all about-" She says, presenting you; "-his name is Albert, and I was going to give him my special Sake!"

...well, that seemed to spark interest among the various Youkai. Miyoi still didn't seem too welcoming.

"Ahem, and this is my friend, Kasen, the Hermit." Suika said, pointing to a slightly embarrassed Kasen.

"K-Kasan-sama!?" Miyoi blurted, the whale-hat wearing worker coming over quickly from behind the bar and closing the doors behind everyone, just before she showed each of your group to a seat at the bar; "Please, please, come in then! I'd be delighted to have you all in for some drinks! I'm about to begin serving omelettes for breakfast as well, please, feel free to order!"
You were seated soon after without much fanfare at the bar in between Clownpiece and Kasen. You noticed Kogasa waving at you from down the line while Suika chatted with the lady in glasses, sharing a high five and chuckle over something. Behind you, you noticed Kagerou and her red-cloaked friend staring at you, the cloaked Youkai averting her gaze to focus on her drink before any eye contact could be made, but Kagerou just smiled warmly back and you returned one of your own with a little wave.

You were worried about just what exactly Suika's 'special Sake' was, and if you should even oblige an offer for anything to drink from a sop serial drunk like her.

"Ive gotta baaaaaaaaad feeling about this." Clownpiece says to you, hiding her maddening Torch.

"You and me both."

Kasen still had that apologetic expression, but she tried to play it off with a little quiet giggle. "Ahah... I'll do my best to keep things under control, don't worry. I guess now that you're here, just try to enjoy the food at least. I'll pay for your ways."

Kasen cleared her throat, gaining Miyoi's attention as the bartender stepped forward.

"How much will it cost to get me and my tagalongs something good, miss?" She politely asked.

Miyoi shook her head. "Nothing! It's on the house, just for you. I've heard so very much about you and your kind, I've been aching to meet you, a real Hermit, since I heard about you. Suika's at least given me something to look forward to today. So please, don't worry about the costs. Food, drinks, I'll let it slide this once. Now, what can I get you? We have more than just eggs, I can also make you soup, or a salad with vegetables."

"I WANT SUGAR!" Clownpiece exclaimed.

Suika seemed to be getting the special Sake ready, already...

>What will you do?
Clownpiece has had enough sweets, I don't want her teeth to fall out. Let's make her eat some vegies and get ready to drink whatever Suika gives us.
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>Order soup.
>Order a salad for Clownpiece.
>Ask for some sake to bring back for Genji.
>Go over to Kogasa, asking if her situation has improved since we last saw her and if she can tell us anything about the residents of Myouren Temple and the Mausoleum.

Don't really know what to do in the bar, to be completely frank. Say a prayer before eating, maybe. But, on the other hand, I know that Suika's drink will intoxicate Albert and that the madness torch is very close, so fun times might ensue. Though I am leaning towards us saying no to the drink, an excuse being we want a clear mind, and horned gremlins can't be trusted. Talking with Hecc at night might be an option if Albert isn't sloshed since she is watching, and we could gauge her opinion on Okina's demeanor change.

I want Albert to meet the wicked Hermit because she is a terrible person and apparently does a reverse-Santa Claus on the side. Albert needs troublesome Christmas reminders in the waking world and the slumbering world.

So Hecc has been watching Albert. That is not entirely unexpected considering Clownpiece, but a bit paranoia-inducing nonetheless. Wonder if she heard the conversation with Kasen.
I'm afraid of the possibility that Albert's going to wake up in some crop field in his underwear with someone's panties on his head if we take a drink from Suika but she probably isn't going to give us a choice. Since it's canon that Humans trick Oni to best them, chances of us doing a stealth dump while "drinking"? Low?
Low, but I have an idea. Since we have the power of forcefields, why don't we try compressing the alcohol while it is in the cup? True, a liquid is usually not compressible because particles are packed close together, but we got magic. Moreover, as a liquid gets more compressed, the temperature increase due to pressure which can cause it to evaporate. Considering what we are dealing with is alcohol and not water, the temperature/energy needed to cause it to vaporize will be significantly less.

This scheme requires our forcefields to be strong enough to compress a liquid to such a degree and some distraction to convince the watching oni that we did drink.

I think we take a gulp of soup, hold it in our mouth, bring the drink to our lips, compress the alcohol to a gas, and then gulp the soup we have, and then fake the effect of the strong drink by coughing a lot.
But let's also
>Meet Kagerou and her friends. Show her that we Fluffy is still around too
>Tell Suika we will take a sip of the sake when she is done, but will not drink it all. Excessive drinking is wrong and we need to set a good example for Clownpiece.
>Order a lot of water to drink after we take one (1) little sip from Suika's special sweet sake to help with the Oni tier hangover
And make it sure to tell her we are drinking out of courtesy because she invited us here and wanted to show it to us.
I wonder if anyone has something that strengthens the liver? Someone has to have made some magic potion or pill in fantasy land.
>Maybe Kasen will know something to save us. Plead if necessary.
And now to get some discussion going, I can see four different paths for Albert depending on how the nightly prayer goes
The Solomon: holy wizard using God approved and Bible compliant magic
The Samson: christian hermit that punches things really hard
The Moses: prophet that prays to god for miracles to help allies and curse enemies
The Fluffy: moral support tag-along to the actual characters
One problem with that, japs and especially edo japs don't drink things like sake from cups, they save that for tea as I understand. We're likely to be given pic related to drink out of, in which case our forcefield shenanigans will be in full view of everyone.
Kinda like a mix of the Samson and the Fluffy myself.
Actually, maybe the omelettes instead of the soup would be better. Got to get that protein to start on the path of gains.
Supporting. Also politely but firmly decline Suika's offer of Sake. If she insists, then explain how you have to have a clear mind to help protect Gensokyo (and the production of alchohol). And if she still wants us to drink, then use our barrier powers to keep ourselves from drinking.
But always be ready to use our barrier just in case Suika tries to force us to drink.
While we are doing this, and if the soup is brought, try to discreetly (either us or motioning for someone else to do it) exchange the Sake with the soup.
We might not even pray because of how sloshed we'll get lmao
I dunno, I kind of want to see what will happen if we drink the sake now. Kasen is with us so we shouldn't get into any harm and we're still in the wee hours of the morning, we'd have plenty of time to get over a hangover before night when Reimu comes back.
I wanna see if we can use the rest of the morning to talk to some people here drunk Aya is something I didn't know I needed and 'sides we did promise Reimu we'd cook something.
I mean, we can always get drunk later but now we should try to be sober in case something bad happens.
Yeah but if we do drink, that'll make Suika like us a lot more and we might even be able to recruit her to our party. Having an Oni have our back would be really helpful.
If we do drink, we should take only one small sip, as courtesy. I don't think we could handle much more than that anyway.
i support this except for the last part. what if the soup bowl looks too different?
if they aren't we can try i guess
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Damn, I don't suppose they'll give us a masu to drink out of. If not, the best idea I have is to catch the sake as it enters the mouth using forcefields, hold it in there, and turn it into a gas. The issue with this is that a heated alcohol gas inside Albert's mouth seems like a recipe for scorching the inside unless we can put forcefields along the mouth. At least the breath would smell like alcohol.

Additionally, I think we need to be sober to cook dinner properly.
We need some FUCKING BEANS for the protein and fiber. Albert needs to eat that like a starving man seeing his favorite food.

Anyways, I like The Moses cause I remember that one story of Elisha getting God to get two female bears to eat the forty-two lads since they called him a baldhead.
Kasen is going to hate to be around Albert and his bulking breakfast
[X] Drink 1 cup of whatever the oni offers us.

We are already on the Suika railroad. There is no getting off. Take it like a man, its what the Oni wants. Even if we cant handle it properly she'll respect us for facing it head on.
>Order two hamburgers, one for yourself and one for Clownpiece
We are an american, and Clownpiece is wearing the american flag
>Go over to Kogasa, asking if her situation has improved since we last saw her and if she can tell us anything about the residents of Myouren Temple and the Mausoleum.
Do this too. Eating food, especially meat, before alcohol dulls the effect a little bit.
Bro somehow I get the feeling none of them know what a hamburger is and I don't think Albert's the kind of person to eat one for breakfast.
She offered omelettes, soup and/or salad with vegetables.
Might not hurt asking if she can make one, but it's not really on the menu. Also it's breakfast.
Maybe bacon and eggs instead if meat is absolutely necessary?
Nigga he lives in america. We eat burgers any time of day. Carls Junior/Hardee's breakfast burger was the shit before they went under.
>reject the funny drink
>embrace being responsible for daughterfu
We're not in America we're in fucking Gensokyo my brother in christ.
Get ready to fucking colonize then.
Trying to mate, just need Kasen to like us first before we set up the Oni hybrid factory.
every pocket dimension in the world belongs to America
changing >>5439168
>Order an omelette
>Go over to Kogasa, asking if her situation has improved since we last saw her and if she can tell us anything about the residents of Myouren Temple and the Mausoleum.
forgot about the options that she listed
I'm pretty sure you mean the hermit children factory, afterall Kasen is a completely normal one with nothing to hide.
Oh yes, of course. I simply got her confused with Suika for a second there is all.
>oni hybrid factory
Hakurei successor factory*
This man, this man understands.
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No mention of the Rabbit despite her high relationship.
We have higher affinity with Reimu at the moment.
>No one else wants to say hi to Kagerou and meet Sekibanki
Poor wolfgirl and dulahan
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It was a tough decision, if they had the funny fishe with them I would have definitely voted to chat with their group instead. Hope we see more of the grassroots group anyways.
Did we all just ignore the tanuki?
What do you mean, I can't see any tanuki? I just see a normal lady with glasses, just like Kasen is a normal hermit.
Fuck, it can only mean one thing: this lady is a badass for drinking with youkai. Like seeing a rabbit resting among lions.
We keep mentioning people we should meet but how about the ones we should definitely stay clear of?
For me, it's Seija.
Know about Seiga is cool and all, but I want to stay as far away as we can from her. Yachie too, with her mind powers come to mind too.
There's more than a hundred characters, it's hard remembering them all at will.
Oh, and I know that Seija and Seiga are too different characters, I just think both are bad news.
Add Parsee with her jealousy, Medicine with her hatred for humans and Tsukasa due to being a scheming little shit to the list. Maybe Yuuka, depending on how she is feeling that day. Although Albert might be able to get on her good graces because of his experience working part time at a flower shop.
Mai and Satono too, but I don't think we are going to have a choice given who is behind the incident.
If we ask to pet her ears would it be weird?
Probably a bad idea.
She is pretty interesting though.
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Just because someone has a undead servant, schemes a bunch, and literally has the title "Wicked" doesn't mean they're a bad person or untrustworthy :^)
But nah, I wouldn't mind us meeting with Seiga. We need all the help we can get to move away from being a squishy normal human, and I'm thinking that bunch of different perspectives will be important to get the most out of hermit training in the short term. Seiga is the one who taught Miko, so she's gotta be good at passing along the techniques.
She's most likely to only want to do that to taoists, given the whole plan to supplant buddhism.
Thinking about it, one of the best sources for information about hermits would probably be Tenshi. I have no idea how we would find the celestial, though.
"I'll just have a soup. And a salad for this one." You say, pointing to Clownpiece with your thumb.

"I'll have the same." Kasen said, a bit pleased herself at you deeming to keep Clownpiece's diet in check.

Though, the Pierrot herself didn't look too pleased, Clownpiece giving you a shocked expression.

"Whaaaaat? Are you for real?! A sa-s-salad?! Buh-but I don't wanna eat greens! Bleck!" She said, sticking her tongue out.

"You can't just eat sweets all the time, Clownpi. You're going to get yourself sick to your stomach you will."

"But I'm a Fairy from HELL, I don't get sick! Uh, usually!"

You frowned at her. "Okay, but we've established that you can get sick then. Even if you don't deal with it the same way us humans do, if you eat sweets all the time, you just take away what makes having sweets special on the occasion for it. That's why we have a specific time for dessert, you silly."

"Uhg... y-yeah, well..." Clownpiece stammered. She looked like she was hard at work trying to come up with a counterpoint, but she just couldn't think of anything; "Okay...! Fine, I'll eat the... egh, salad. But don't expect me to like it!" She pouted.

Somehow you get the feeling she'll be gobbling up whatever's given to her without a second thought. Kasen giggled at how childish Clownpiece was, and you heard Kogasa give it a chuckle too.

"My, my, dealing with a Fairy... you have more patience than most Youkai I've ever seen." The Umbrella chimed in across the bar.

"When you come from New York like me, it isn't nothing special. So, how's your financial game been since last time?"

"Good, actually! I was able to pay off half my debt to Byakuren-sama thanks to your contributions! It's given me a lot more confidence in my skills at bartering! I'm sure two more days of selling off my wares will get me enough to finish paying what Byakuren-sama asked of me." Kogasa beamed, happy with how her situation was turning out just before she hiccupped from her own drink of sake.

That was good for her. You were glad to see your actions and purchases have at least caused a genuine reaction. Part of you was afraid before that a lot of your doings would go without actual results. She didn't appear to be afraid of any assassins anymore either.

Kasen, passively observing these conversations, was quite surprised herself to hear about how you went out of your way to help Youkai themselves. But of course, she knew you were an Outsider, and didn't share the perception most Humans in Gensokyo had towards them.

"Ah, you've both met before then have you? Albert, you should know that Kogasa, being a Tsukumogami, has a very specific way of sustaining herself. The next time you meet her, it might be in a way you won't expect." Kasen said, with a hinting little grin.

You tilted your head at that. Even Kogasa herself didn't seem to take any offense, she even had a mischievous look upon her face.

"What does that mean?"


God! You didn't expect to suddenly get taken by surprise from behind by Kagerou with a jumpscare then. She actually had your heart pounding slightly.

"Wh-What's the big idea?!"

"Hehehehe! What we're trying to say is that many Youkai derive their energy from Human fear." The Werewolf explained as you just stared wide eyed at her, and a Clownpiece who was pulling her eyelids down to make a scary face at you past her.

"It's true, I'm able to steal spiritual energy to sustain myself by surprising Humans. Although last time, I surprised the wrong Human..." Kogasa admits.

Kasen nodded to that. "Being that it's only in her nature, Kogasa could try scaring you the next time she meets you. If you happened to end up supplying the existence of a Youkai by feeding them fear, you could end up feeling weak as a result, or even physically ill. But, you know most that you've met already won't mean it."

"Y-Yeah... all fun and games... But, I don't really feel weak, even though I just got scared."

Kagerou sniffled and wrinkled her nose. "It must be that brand that makes us feel pretty bad. Whatever you do, don't roll your sleeves up." She asked, patting you on the shoulder before she returned to her own table.

Now that was interesting. Youkai could feed off Human emotions like fear, but your Big Dipper was preventing them from eating of your spirit even if you actually fall for a cheap scare like that. You wondered if Youkai could feed off other emotions from Humans than just fear. You didn't doubt that there could be creatures out there who purposely attempt to sabotage lives to feed of something such as sorrow, in this land of Fantasy.

Damn, now you want to play the Witcher 3 again.
"If you aren't feeling weak yet, then rustle up, cause you just might after having some of this!"

The Youkai in the establishment all turned their attention off to Suika as the Oni was steadily approaching you then. She a tiny little red saucer in her hand filled with a clear liquid. That must have been her special Sake.

"She's really gone and made it extra intoxicating..."

"Ohuhuhu! This will be good."

"...Y-You don't see that every day..."

You were left feeling a little singled out as all eyes fell on you and Suika, the bartender staring nervously behind her counter while she cooked, Kasen staring intensely at the saucer, Kagerou covering her mouth, the lady with glasses adjusting her shades as she cackled. Clownpiece did say she had a bad feeling about it... but then you went and decided she needed to eat salad, so she quickly changed her mood and was hoping it made you extra drunk with a sly look on her features.

"Heeere you are~! Heheehee! Just a tiny... teency tiny little bit in an extra small sakazuki, smallest one I could find. Go on, I said you should try it. Don't disappoint us! I rarely ever get to let Humans try my special Sake! I made it extra strong, but in such a little amount, it shouldn't be too much for you... or will it? Hehee!"

Damn, you were hoping to weasel your way out of this somehow. Maybe by swiping it for soup, but Miyoi was still preparing your and Kasen's miso soup, and Clownpiece's salad. She was still chopping some ingredients, and now working a bit slower as she watched the scene unfold. How did Suika fortify her Sake so fast? She must be more than your average drunkard. She's like a super drunkard or something!

Well, you still had a plan. You'd been learning magic from Mima. A Forcefield in specific. You could make one that could cover you of course, but you could also make small ones that could fit between your fingertips, since learning in the initial four days, you had to slowly master expanding your Forcefield from a small size to a big one. You had a plan.

You would go to drink the Sake, and then create a Forcefield in your mouth to contain it by focusing your mana or whatever through your teeth. Like your fingertips, your teeth could also work as a focusing point! It was genius!

So, you reached back for your Hanbo-

Wait a minute, you didn't have your Hanbo. Suika hurriedly took you before you could grab any of your things. You went as is. Without your spiritual medium, you couldn't cast the Forcefield. Even a master like Mima needed her staff, casting from the palms wasn't as effective.


'Drink! Drink! Drink! Drink! Drink! Drink! Drink!'

You heard basically everyone except Kasen and Miyou start chanting. To make matters worse, there was a sudden new arrival, Aya Shameimaru, coming into the bar holding her camera high and joining the chanting, and Hecatia Lapislazuli was off in the corner secluded with a single bottle in her hand also encouragin- Wait, when did she get here?!

"Well, you gonna drink or not big man, you don't wanna keep us waiting, do you?" Suika urged you.

"Uh... uhh... I, ah, well, I... Nnn... Dh... Damn it..."

You reached forward, took the sakazuki and downed the Special Sake in one gulp, like a shot. The surrounding Youkai started cheering and Aya's camera flashed to snap the moment just as the drink met your lips. (Cruelty 1+)
You gave out a post-gulping sigh as you put the sakazuki back into a satisfied Suika's hand. The Oni bellowed a victorious laughter and raised her gourd to drink from it, everyone else taking that as their sign to start drinking sake themselves too then. Kasen rolled her eyes, and you saw the Hermit decide to join in herself a little.

It made you wonder why Miyoi was anxious of Suika coming in to drink sake when everyone else already appeared to be doing the same over their omelettes. May have been breakfast hours but you guessed a bar remained a bar. Maybe you'd be finding out why soon enough... Speaking of food, your miso soup was finally presented for you, and a salad with fruit, seaweed and tofu was given to Clownpiece, the Hell Fairy eyeing it suspiciously for a second before taking a pair of chopsticks and scooping some tofu into her mouth. Clownpiece chewed... and then began pigging out on the salad, as if enjoying a newfound guilty pleasure.

"Oh man, I can't believe he actually did it...!" Came the red-collared Youkai.

"He's quite tolerant. Or, that remains to be seen at least." Kagerou gossiped.

"This is so going into the next edition." Aya muttered to herself.

Suika was already having trouble orienting her wobbling head right as she gave another hiccup packed with as much alcoholic content as her drink and buzzed with giggling at you.

"Heheheee... So, so how are you feeling, Alby?"

"Juss fine." You said, covering your mouth to suppress a burp.

Just a little green maybe. But, you thought you handled your Sake well enough.

"Ah... Albert? Albert, what are you doing?" Kasen asked then.

"What do you meeh...?"

The Hermit pointed with her finger of wrappings to your miso soup bowl. You looked down at it and saw that you were fishing around in the soup with a pair of chopsticks, like you were swirling it pointlessly. You dropped it and realized there was a soup spoon to use.

"Ahohhohright, nah nah nah I was juss thinkin it was noodles since, cuz that was the last meal I had is all. Yeah, yeah, just acting a little silly izal."

"Hah! I think you're feeling something more than 'juss fine'! Hahaha!" Suika said before she bumbled off, taking comically long strides across the bar floor, but not before she had reached over to pour some of her Special Sake content into the Hermit's own saucer while Kasen was distracted reaching over to fix the spoon into your hand.
You just picked up the entire bowl then and started chugging the miso soup down, along with all the contents. You put the bowl down to see Kasen and Miyoi both give you an astonished look while Clownpiece just smiled like an amused chimpanzee with a piece of seaweed stuck to her cheek.

"Albert... are you feeling right?" Kasen asked with concern over your soberness before she drank from her own saucer again.

"Y-... Mmm! Yeah, peachy." You said, swiveling around on your bar chair to face away from the counter.

Your head was starting to spin. You had a buzzing feeling, your cheeks felt hot and were blush red. You also felt... really happy.

>[Write in]
>Kagerouuu! Pet the doggo, pet dog. Goode wolfu, deserves many pats, pretty boofer wooferino, pet the dog pet the dog pet teh do-
>Feelin thirsty again, need to get quenched FAST. Hey, Suika, give me more of that good stuff! (1+ ???)
>Hey, look, it's Aya Shmyaroo. How's about that intervoo?
>Ah, good, H-*iccup*-...eccia's here. Now'sabout a good time to bring her up to date about that secret dog that's been bothering you, maybe Clownpiece will want to see her too.
>Kasen! Best buddie! Even though you only just met her today, she's a real nice lady. Hug time!
>Ask Kogasa is she has a warranty. (1+ ???)
>Kagerouuu! Pet the doggo, pet dog. Goode wolfu, deserves many pats, pretty boofer wooferino, pet the dog pet the dog pet teh do-
Pet the wan wan
>Ah, good, H-*iccup*-...eccia's here. Now'sabout a good time to bring her up to date about that secret dog that's been bothering you, maybe Clownpiece will want to see her too.

Let's see what drunken shenanigans talking to a maternal figure of Clownpiece can lead to. I am interested in seeing if others can see her beside us or if we are going insane.

Oh, Albert, you brave fool, you fell to peer pressure. How will you be an upstanding parental figure for Clownpiece now?
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>Kagerouuu! Pet the doggo, pet dog. Goode wolfu, deserves many pats, pretty boofer wooferino, pet the dog pet the dog pet teh do-
How could I possibly resist if you give us an option like this QM.
>Hug Kasen
>Sob into Kasen's shoulder about how nice she and everybody else is for helping an outsider like us
>Make a toast to Gensokyo with Kasen's drink
>Order a hamburger
Hey we did good by her so far, we just obviously weren't going to have a good time resisting Suika. I think Heca will be proud and satisfied to hear that. You know, unless our drunk ass starts hitting on her or something.
>our drunk ass starts hitting on her or something
I really want to know what horrible pickup line Albert would use on a god now.
"Hey baby, how about showing me those planets of yours. The other ones."
...wait, is Hecatia actually here now or is Albert so drunk that he saw Sekibanki and thought "red hair=Hecatia"
Well, the line about seeing Hecc was before he took the shot, so maybe?
ah, whoops, missed that bit
support. tell them that gensokyo is great. then tell them that its actually shit if it doesnt have burgers and we need to culture them.
>lift up clownpiece
>put her on the table
>stand up and recite the pledge of allegiance
>demand a burger
Now that I think about it, we are leaning pretty heavily into the American steryotype, but since hes a new yorker, shouldnt albert have a thing for Pastrami Sandwiches? Kosher sandwish shops are a big thing there (or at least they used to be)
He needs hotdogs and pizza too.
And you know what? Being drunk is the perfect time to order american cuisine and be patriotic.
I'll support both of these, including being sentimental in thanking everyone for being so nice. On top of petting the nice dog, of course.
Oh, another idea on what to sing besides the national anthem: a psalm, or a catchy church song.
We have to dedicate a round of Amazing Grace to Kasen. The blush would be legendary. Reimu is also an option for added posterity.
Put that one aside for later. Great Idea but now is not yet That Time.
Uh, are none of us concerned about Suika secretly giving Kasen her extra extra drunk sake while she wasn't looking?
I'm sure that the totally normal hermit has ways around that, she wouldn't be close friends with Suika with her liver was destroyed.
One could say she has the endurance of an Oni.
Ain’t we making a toast with Kasen’s drink?
>One could say she has the endurance of an Oni.
In bed too haha

She already drank it didn't she?
hell if I know, I did that write in as more of a "these would be nice hijinks to see"
If we can make it more than one step into that plan before Suika's super sake puts us on the floor than I'd call it a win
I figured she had some left
Don’t suppose that Hecc is drinking some ambrosia right now is she? Can we get a gulp of that?
It could also be nectar. The mythological one, not the flower and bees one.
If magical foods are a thing, could God hook us with some Manna? We are going to need some now that we are broke.
>morning at the Hakurei shrine
>there is no food left
>though it does little to comfort the hunger pangs, Reimu is a little happy that she isn't the only one to be going through the struggle
>Albert walks outside
>he immediately gets showered by food
I don't know if her heart could take it
She might make Albert, though by that point called Jedediah, a permanent resident of the shrine if his presence rains food from the skies
>5 years later
>another Outsider manages to survive Gensokyou and make his way to the shrine
>first thing he sees is Albert inextricably strung up on a post and surrounded by bowls of manna with Aunn napping nearby
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So our take on christian hermit is to become a mormon? They do believe they can ascend some sort of divine figure, and Smith is the closet thing to an american prophet there is, so this might just work.
To be honest, Anon, I was thrown through a loop by your statement about Mormons until I realized the name Jedediah (lit. beloved of Jah) was probably used by some Mormon leader. All I know about the Mormons is that they have polygamy, Smith was killed by a crowd, and something about golden plates. Anyways, I like the idea of ascension, like Enoch and Elijah.
I'll be honest, the only things I know about them is from the old Mormon Jesus video. I was googling what Jebediah meant, but when a wikipedia page about one of their leaders appeared on the top results I immediately remembered that Joshua Graham meme and thought of an excuse to post it.

Anyway, on another topic, should we change our Hanbo to become some sort of shepard's crook, or put a cross on top of it? We can always keep it as is and let it just be a staff though. We could also put a bronze serpent on top to clown on Kanabo. God told Moses to do it
>pop in
>see 2hu quest
>we are a random american doing dumb shit in gensokyo
why am i not surprised, other then the fact i'm kind of surprised we aren't trying to shoot shit.
Well, it helps that the other native 2hus are doing enough shooting to cover our American quota
Can't believe none wants to have a drunk interview with Aya.
Really happy, really chipper. Reaaal fine right now. That's how you felt. And to top it all off, you have the munchies, again.

"Eck-... cuse me, bar lady, can I get a b-ouff... a burger over here?" You asked with a dizzy disposition.

"Ah... a... a what...?"

"You know... a burger. Beef between bread. This is America you know." You say, pointing to Clownpiece, who perks up at being singled out.

Okunoda Miyoi blinked a few times, herself having some trouble processing just exactly what you meant. "B-Beef... between bread? I, ahh... uh... I-I'll see what I can do!" She says, not wanting to stain the image of her little kitchen by not having something she feels she could easily whip up.

You just smiled like an idiot and gave a little 'heheh' under your breath much proverbial to your current state of mind and soberness, and swiveled around in your seat to stare off at Kagerou.


"...Dog." You just said in observation. It made Kasen stop in middle of raising her drink to her lips so she could just stare at you instead.

You stood up and started walking towards the Werewolf.

"Aahhh... here we go." Kasen sighed.

Kagerou's curious eyes fell on you as you stepped up to her. She honestly looked a bit worried, knowing too well that just a little of Suika's special sake had put you under the influence already. She tensed up a little bit as you raised her hand, the red caped girl across from her getting mild sweat drops.

"Gooood girl."

And then your hand fell onto her head and you started petting her. Kagerou's ears drooped, and her cheeks turned red.

"W-Waaah! Wh-ooo! Wh-a-at are you doing...?!"

"Nice doggies deserve scritches!"

"N-Noooo! N-Not in front of everyone! N-Not like this! S... Sekibanki, he-helllp!" The Werewolf begged, to which her, as well, somewhat drunk red-caped friend began to break out into laughter at her situation. Aya made sure to snap a few more photos.

Kagerou was extremely embarrassed, although that didn't stop her tail from wagging at the affection whether it was voluntary or not as you scratched her hair until she couldn't withstand it and planted her chin on her table; "Wh...Wooo...!"

You patted her head and turned back to Kasen, the least drunk of everyone right now besides the bartender and Clownpiece. She instantly prepared herself for whatever you were about to do next.
You strode forward and hugged Kasen.

"...Eeeeh!?" She mouthed as another flash came from Aya's camera, flushed and humiliated by the display.

Your head was just buried into her shoulder as her eyes darted from the left and the right, Kasen herself totally unsure of what to do besides pat your shoulder and hope to endure the duration of this...

"A-Albert... are you okay? Maybe giving you special sake wasn't the best idea... I shouldn't even be drinking myself." Kasen sighed as she held her saucer out for a refill from Suika nonetheless.

You wept.

Kasen raised an eyebrow, and she promptly nudged you back, seeing you shed manly tears with a serious face and a sniffle.

"U-Uh! Albert? What's... wrong? Are you... are you crying...?!"

"Yes. Yes I am."

"Awhoo...? I-Is something the matter with him? Is it because he stopped petting me...?" Kagerou said, quick to come to your side.

"No. These are tears of joy." You proclaimed, giving pause even to Suika; "Because you're all so nice to me-hee-heeeee!"

Confusion swamped the room and you still clutched Kasen tightly, the Hermit's brain buzzing with question marks. Clownpiece spared a look towards her torch, debating whether or not to exacerbate things by waving it to you and the rest of the drunk Youkai.
"I'm so glad I ended uph in Genshokyo! Ahuuhuuuuuuu! OoHHHH! All I kept getting told and told was... maneaters this... death that! Evil gods this! People are goina kill me but!" You sniffle mid sentence; "But everyone's been so helpful and, and! And! And! And NIIIICE to me! Even nicer than the clerks at the convenience store! Much nicer than the metro popo too! See cause I kept hearin' that I was gonna get torn apart by Youkai, but it never happened because you all decided to be nice friends to me instead even though I'm just a STINKING Outsideeerrrr! So, so! So that's why I'm weeping these tears of joy! They sumbolize my deep, DEEP happiness and ratitude for every-thiiii-hii-hiiing!"

"Okay! Okay! Simmer down, we get it. You just appreciate that you're in good hands..." Kasen tried to calm you down, a bit shy towards telling that announcing yourself as an Outsider in the Village wasn't particularly a good idea.

"Y-Yeah! He's right!" Kogasa suddenly exclaimed, brought to tears herself by the outburst, which streamed down her flushed cheeks as she stood up beside Kasen, whose look sunk; "And for a human, he... he treated me really good, even where most other Youkai don't!"

"Nobody really thinks to give me pets because I'm so vocal against it, because I don't want to look like I'm having my dignity torn down, but secretly deep down inside I really enjoy it and wish more people would do it to meeeee!" Kagerou then joined the cryfest.

"I'm out of salad! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!" Clownpiece cried.


"Aaahuuuuuuuu! Aaahooo hooo..." Suika bawled.

"Wait a minute, why are 'you' crying?!" Kasen asked.

"I'm out of sakeeeee!" Suika said, before refilling her saucer and lightening her mood; "Now I'm not!"

The Hermit groaned. She knew she was risking this kind of company coming to the bar but she didn't think it would escalate this quickly. It's all thanks to Suika and her special sake.

Wait just a minute there, sake! That's it! Everyone just needed more sake! That was the perfect conclusion your drunk mind could come up with! You let off making Suika the shoulder you cried into and grabbed her refilled saucer of the special sake then, stepping up onto a stool.
"Everyone! A toast! To Gensokyo!" You declared, raising the saucer to the air.

"To Gensokyo!" Came a round from the Youkai.

All together, you and the rest would drink more sake. More sake always helped! And then the bar was swarmed with sakazukis asking for refills from the customers, and Miyou thrown into a frenzy trying to refill them as fast as they were drunken down. The whale-head looked up at you in-between giving Kogasa for seventh or so refill.

"M-Mister...! I checked every last cabinet but I can't find any beef that we have in stock! I used it all for a stew last time we were opened and um... I don't think I can fulfill your order for a... what was it?"

"A burger. And if you don't got burgers, you don't got nothin'... unless you have deli cuts. Man! I love nice slices of Lebanese bologna. Mmm."

"Oi! Oi! What kinda place you trying to run here if you don't got any meats, Miyoi?! Can't you see he's a man? Men need their meats, otherwise they're not good for eats!" Suika said with a questionable context, raising her shackled fist to the air.

"Yeah, what she said. We needs the meats. Like Arby's, they have the meats, even say it in their commercials. What about you?"

"Ah... I'll need to wait until my b-boss restocks!" The Zashiki-warashi said.

"That's no good! You need beef, right? Well then, why don't we just go get it ourselves!" Suika beamed.

"Suika, no-" Kasen was cut off by you standing on the bar and walking behind her to get in better range of the Oni.

"What do you suujest?"

"Hehee! I saw some horses outside the Village a while ago! Maybe they have beef!"

"Great idea! Let's go round them up and butcher them one by one for their meat, like in Red Dead two!"

"Y-Yeah! Grhh! Great plan! Maybe if we get a lot of good meat... Miyoi'll give us more sake! Hahaha-OOH!" Kogasa said before tripping and falling.

You drank down Kasen's sake saucer and dropped it, the Hermit catching it reflexively as you felt yourself lean forward a bit.

"Let's do it."

You fall forward and hit the floor, almost face first.

Day eventually perishes to night...


Your eyes flicker open to behold the star filled night sky. You lean up and find yourself amid trees, bushes, tall grass, and some wet spots on the ground. There was the sound of a river nearby too. And bugs chirping into the night.


And you only had your underpants on. Your summer yukata was gone... wait, that's your yukata hanging from a tree branch above. Looks a bit high to reach right now.

"Phewwww..." You heard snoring nearby.

You peered over to the side and saw Suika laid against a tree. Clownpiece was nowhere in sight. It was nighttime to boot, and that meant Reimu would have been back at her Shrine by now! Oh god! What have you done! You should have never taken an Oni's drink, much too strong for human livers! Oh great, you feel like you're going to be sick too...
You became a real drunkard today. (Cruelty 20+)


You freeze up momentarily, looking back over your shoulder slowly past the tall grass and into the trees. You weren't alone. There was something else out there. You heard something dashing into the foliage in the distance, something fast. Was it Rumia?! No... she didn't seem that fast, rather oafish if anything. This was probably a different kind of Youkai.

"Little human, little human... why get lost in the woods at night? Is it the stink of tipple that brought you here where you're in fright? Hehehe! Then cower, cower in fear of the night, and remember human, your fear of it."

Well then, that was more than enough to get you off your feet. You grabbed a fallen branch and used it to pull your yukata down to catch. You supposed getting the hell out of here was a good idea right about now, preferably putting your clothes back on as you went on your way back to the Hakurei Shrine and kicked it. You started pushing your way past bushes and...

"Where do you think you're going...?"

Huh? Suika's awake? It looks like she's half-awake.

"You really just gonna... -aaaaahhhpheeww!- ...just gonna leave without Kasen and Kogers first?"

"Wait, what?! Are you saying... are you saying Kasen and Kogasa are out here too?!"

"Hahaha! Don't you remember the fun times we had? Yeah, I think Kasen fell asleep over there by the river! Man, seeing her like that again for the first time in ages sure was entertaining. Anyway, I'm gonna, just gonna.... ahhh..." She tossed and turned on the ground until she found a comforting enough spot to keep snoring.

You had a bit of a delayed reaction here. You don't remember much past... falling on your head when you were drunk. Are you serious?! You were stuck in the middle of God knows where, a Youkai might be after you right now, Suika was trying to sleep on the ground, and Kasen and Kogasa were also stranded out here with you?! You couldn't just... you couldn't just leave them! But, what about yourself? You didn't have your Hanbo, therefor no means of self defense and...!
Would a big enough branch work? Maybe a rock? Your Hanbo was an object that merely focused your magical energy... couldn't other things work?

>...What will you do...?
Damn, we got 21 cruelty from the in total for this outing. We should avoid alcohol from now on.
>For forgiveness of all of our sins, for not praying these past few days, for over indulging in alcohol, for practicing magic without asking first, for being born again and immediately falling to temptation.
>For guidance for our future, and how we could survive in Gensokyo without succumbing to evil, to protect ourselves and our friends.
It's time
Also our cruelty is now matched with our grace because of this.
We really should avoid everything from now on, seems cruelty is way, way easier to get than grace and getting it higher leads to bad end.
Oh my God, you guys managed to get us piss drunk, without our piece, in the middle of the woods after we semi-decided to become a Christian hermit in addition to binding us more to the secret god and after promising to cook the shrine maiden a meal. Temperance is definitely not our virtue. I am most offended by the fact that we don't have our piece to use to confront the monster, to be honest. We really need to pray or grab a stick or something. The hermit didn't keep us out of trouble at all!

I suggest putting Suika on our back and fleeing if we need to run.

>You became a real drunkard today. (Cruelty 20+)
Damn, that is a definite increase. I wonder wh-
>"Hehee! I saw some horses outside the Village a while ago! Maybe they have beef!"
>"Great idea! Let's go round them up and butcher them one by one for their meat, like in Red Dead two!"
Oh no, did we butcher some village animals? We definitely don't have the money to pay for a horse in this period of history. Hopefully, they were just wild animals.

>"Little human, little human... why get lost in the woods at night? Is it the stink of tipple that brought you here where you're in fright? Hehehe! Then cower, cower in fear of the night, and remember human, your fear of it."

Is it Nue?
The whole thing about night and how Albert thought about Rumia might mean it's Mystia.
Also it seems we ended up in the bamboo forest of the lost, which means running probably won't work.
Also I'm partly to blame for this for support this
Without adding to avoid the toast or drinking more
Sorry everyone

Also Albert went all french and tried to go for horse meat. For shame.
>Also it seems we ended up in the bamboo forest of the lost
Wot? I know the image shows bamboo but the text is this:
You lean up and find yourself amid trees, bushes, tall grass, and some wet spots on the ground.
I would think bamboo would be noted if this was the bamboo forest.
I really thought it was because of the image, and QM just didn't mention because of that.
But it might be the Youkai trail in that case, since it's near the village. Which would confirm Mystia I guess. Maybe Keine will come to the rescue, we are a human and this is part of her patrol.
I found it by searching for 'japanese forest at night' so it was the best pic I had at the moment.
Support. Funny drink wasn't so fun...
I don't think we should immediately run away. It would be better if we tried to wake Suika up and tell her to help us find the others.
But we should do whatever God tells us to do first after praying.

Question, is it possible to lower either grace or cruelty? Or is that spoiler territory?
The amount will just continually rise to infinite, what matters in the end is how much you build up of one side of Karma before the seal breaks.
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But then why it's a percentage if it just keeps rising forever? Or if it reaches 100% it breaks?
Also reposting the inventory, i'm tired to look at the other thread
Just realized that saving lives is less good than drinking is evil. Albert might secretly be a muslim.
lmao great scene
>grab a stick in the hopes it will work as a focus for magic if we get jumped
>try to locate the river to find Kasen, keeping an ear out for the sound of water
>Cruelty +20
Albert has to learn how to say no and keep his promises before he gets involved into something worse.
And also take a vow of temperance to boot.
Oh great, Suika duped Kasen into returning to her Oni roots.
You don't think we screwed around or anything with any of them while we were off partying? I won't be surprised if Albert finds a pair of panties in the next ten feet...
Wait, or does the point that accumulate does not perfectly match the percentage? I didn't really stop to count to make sure.
Hope this doesn't feel like me complaining to you QM
Although maybe all the cruelty is not directly being a drunkard itself, but all the mayhem we case while being drunk.
Like breaking Reimu's promise, getting all of these yokais to start messes, not holding back, killing horses, etc.
>The amount of Cruelty or Grace you accumulate in your Karma is directly dependent on how nasty the actions performed are viewed

From the first thread, I think it explains why so much cruelty was accumulated. Aya was most likely around documenting and photographing the mayhem caused by Albert.

I would also like to see what happens if we get Cruelty and Grace at 100% simultaneously. Thought that this wouldn't be possible because of how much of a difference there was between Cruelty and Grace. But turns out that getting plastered with Oni really levels the field.
Oh yeah, I forgot about that. Now it makes more sense.
>Or if it reaches 100% it breaks?
No, it will keep going, even to to say 8000%. Remember, the Big Dipper only breaks when you discover the identity of the one who placed it.
And it's no worries mate, if anything I'm surprised at the general lack of complaining since these systems were made on the fly.
Can we call out for Fluffy? I would think it unlikely that he is out of commission or hampered by the aftereffects of drinking like Albert and the others are. So perhaps we can use Fluffy to try and find Kasen, guiding us to her or her to us. Unless, in the infinite wisdom of the drunken mind, Albert gave some drink to the Kedama.
Your mind was racing, you just didn't have the answer to everything. As it stood, you weren't sure about chancing it either by running or making a break for it, not without one of your Youkai friends protecting you. You might make it far but a Youkai like the one hunting you was undoubtedly faster... they'd catch you and then...

You didn't want to think about it.

You fell to your knees and kept your head below the line of the tall grass and clenched your hands together, putting them against your temple as you began muttering under your breath...

"Dear God... oh Dear God help me! Please! I... I've done wrong, Lord! I was foolish! I gave into temptations even after giving myself to you! Please forgive me, PLEASE forgive me! For... for all the black magic! For being a drunkard! Oh God please help me, I'm so alone and scared. I don't wanna die! Not just yet! Show me the way! Please show me a sign! A-Anything!"

You heard a sniff resound to the air.

"Mmm... Yes, I smell fear on you, Outsider! You're not very far! Hehehe! Is that... prayer I smell too? It's far too late for that. Your fear will make you delectable. When I find you, your life ends. I'm going to eat you alive! You won't escape, the night is your enemy and will blind your way! So run! Hide! It doesn't matter, it'll just make it funner for me! Hahahahaha!"

You flinched where you were and thought that was good enough. You started into a crawl through the tall grass and bushes, coming up upon Suika. The Oni was snoring, that was bad. You carefully reached over and picked Suika up... and goddamn she was heavy! Deceptively heavy for how small she was! You hefted the Oni onto your back and her mouth fell onto your shoulder, blocking her snoring and forcing her to breath out of the nose. You found that despite what you might have thought before, carrying her by her enormous horns wasn't so bad an idea, she didn't seem to react especially to it.

"We goin' on another... hip! Trip...?"

"Shut up."

"Ruu... ruude."

Now... you just didn't know which way to go now. You hoped Suika would be able to fight back if the enemy caught you.

Just then, you felt the wind suddenly change direction, and go into the actual opposite. That was so unnatural. The tall grass was blowing to your right now. Cautiously, you began crouch-walking that way... and eventually, you'd come upon a bush...
And pushing through it, you found something on the ground, left here abandoned just on the grass. It was white. Was it a sock...? A small mitten? Wait, no, you recognize this, this little... muff thingy. It was one of those two things Kasen wore on the sides of her head to keep her buns up. Then if this is here... that means the Hermit must be near! Suika did say something about her falling asleep near a river, and you heard rushing waters around!

This must have been the sign of the Lord you've asked for! With the wind whipping and the sound of the river hard to discern, you wouldn't have known the direction otherwise and would have been lost. The wind must have been blowing in the right direction! You started heading forwards, between the trees and bushes.

You ducked and stopped then as branches ahead were sliced in half and fell. You nearly drop Suika by letting go of one of her horns, instead raising the hand to cover your mouth and prevent your yelp.

"Hmm? Seems I lost you for now... Hehehe! Sneaky little Outsider, you've already lasted longer than I was expecting."

You glanced off towards the left, and barely, just barely raised your head above some bristle.

A Youkai was floating there. One wearing a short black dress, stockings, and wielding a trident or something. She had... odd red and blue growths extending out her back, like tentacles or gnarly wings, or the limbs of a spider. Black hair, and red eyes, just like Aya did.

"Your prayers must have been answered, but do you think you'll get out of here alive? I can trace you by the sounds you make, and I can smell your fear. And there's something else showing me that you aren't far either. I'll find you, eventuallyyyy~! Hahahaha!"

The Big Dipper, Youkai were drawn to it. You felt sweat slither down the side of your skull as you looked up. The Youkai hunting you dashed off again, slicing right through a tree and letting it fall in a slow timber. You took that chance to grab Suika by both horns again and start moving.

You stop briefly upon noticing a branch you nearly stepped on and snapped. Damn! She did slice some branches too! She must have been doing that on purpose to reveal you! You have to be careful...

(°д°) *FU?*

H-hey! Fluffy is still with you?! The little Kedama slid out your sleeve! What was he... he's smelling Kasen's hair bun that you held.

(°д°) *FUUU!*


Darn! Fluffy is floating off without your direction ahead! Maybe he can lead you to Kasen.

>Roll 1d100 to avoid detection.
Rolled 17 (1d100)

O God my God! I beg of Thee!
Shit, God is mad at Albert.
Rolled 18 (1d100)

Go fluffy, be the best boy!
Rolled 41 (1d100)

Deliver me from mine enemies, o my God. Defend me from them that rise up against me...
Rolled 36 (1d100)

Rolled 43 (1d100)

We're all good now, I'm sure Fluffy can solo Nue.
Rolled 52 (1d100)

These rolls man.
Finally, one above 50.
I'll use these arbitrary bad dice roll as an excuse to say that God is angry at us and we must repent for our sins.
Rolled 80 (1d100)

Rolled 95 (1d100)

the noo is 3spooky5me

also surprised that we managed to catch a glimpse of her true form. just by doing that weve already removed some of her power over us. Heh. Albert wanted to larp some rdr2 but it looks like hes gonna have to do his best Snake impression instead.

Morya shrine and the snek goddess here mogging all the other faiths.
Well shit, guess it's time to convert
Guess Albert got out of this one. Wonder if we'll actually find Kasen with these rolls.

I know you guys are probably just joking, but I feel like rejecting YHVH or worshiping someone else at the same time might add to our Cruelty.
You weren't sure what he was going to do, but you'd rather not lose what could be a good chance. You started back into your shuffle across the ground, soon coming upon what looked to be rocks between the bushes-

Cr... aaAck!

A rock... didn't usually make that sound when you stepped on it.

"Found youuuu!"

"Shit." You mumbled quietly.

You thought quickly and shuffled ahead. The Youkai was swiftly flying down to your own location. In the heat of the moment, you set Suika down and rolled on your shoulders into the shrubbery to your left, out of sight.

"OW!" Suika suddenly shouted.

The Oni was nipped in her leg by the trident...! You could see between the strands of grass that... she simply went back to sleep and ignored it...?

"Huh...? You're not the Human, only the company that was with him." You heard the Youkai chatter as she retracted her trident and backed off, garnering only snoring in response from Suika; "Then I must have confused the two. This stupid Oni might be sleepwalking, or moving in conjunction or response to whatever she's dreaming off right now... although, she did crush that branch I made mistakable for a rock with my power. In the way a footstep would have..."

The Youkai's eyes darted from side to side. Her gaze fell your way. You felt cold, as though you thought she spotted you faintly between the strands of green. But, her gaze turned off.

"I suppose an Oni's strength would do the same. Then I'll keep looking..." She said before you saw her go up above.

So, her power was capable of making things 'mistakable'? That put you on further edge, but you were going to press on. Must have been the grace of God that she didn't catch you.

Hauling Suika back onto your shoulders, you faced Fluffy who waited for you and pressed onwards towards the river, led by him.
File: Sleepy Hermit.png (328 KB, 800x600)
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It was here that you'd come upon the flowing river... and Kasen's form laid out near the riverside!

You quietly placed Suika back down on the grass and pushed her mouth shut so she'd breath out of her nose instead of snore and came over to the Hermit's side as Fluffy whistled while floating over her. Putting your hand on Kasen's shoulder, you rolled her over-

"...What the...?!"

What... is that? What is... that thing coming out the side of her head?

"Uh...?" You tapped it with your finger.

It was solid, like stone, and flat, as though it had been cut perfectly off. Was it... growing out the side of her head?! Her skull?! Was it what she covered up using her hair buns...? No Human has things like this protruding from their head. For a Hermit who's risen from the dregs of weak Humanity to something greater, she sure had a pretty inhuman feature. Almost like Suika. Actually, it was exactly like Suika's horns. Was it perhaps some side effect of gaining powers...? You didn't know, you just slipped her bun back on, not wishing to chance the possibility she gets upset over it if she wakes up.

"Kasen. Kasen! Wake up." You say as you shake her.

Kasen is... unresponsive.
And not just sleeping, but totally motionless. Her chest is rising and falling, her skin feels cold as yours was, but... not in the fearful and alive kind of way. Kasen looked like she had gone pale under the moonlight. She wasn't waking up!

Oh shit. No... NO...! Don't tell you... don't tell you she's... she's...


You started pressing on her chest, her breathing wasn't returning.

This can't be happening! This can't be happening right now! How did she die?! How did she... she boasted about being so strong! Was it the alcohol? Who... who killed her?! Was it that... that Youkai out there...?!

This is all so wrong. What do you do? What do you do?! What about Kogasa? What about Suika? Yourself?!
What do you do, man...?!

>[Write in]
>Commence CPR.
>Dunk her head under the water.
>There's nothing you can do. Kasen is gone... you'll just have to find Kogasa now and leave.
>Pray more. More!
>Confront the Youkai yourself. With Karma at your level now, the ward was more effective. Time to see how effective.
>Pray more. More!
>Commence CPR.
>Dunk her head under the water.

Kasen chads not like this...
Need to use everything in our power to help her!
>Commence CPR while praying
Live. LIVE.
>Commence CPR.
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>Commence CPR while praying

In performing effective CPR, keep the arms straight, the hands directly below the shoulders, the heel of the hand on the sternum, and recoil enough to allow the chest to return to its normal position. After 30 compressions, give a breath by tilting the person's head and lifting the chin with two fingers and watch with the eyes to see the chest rise, then continue the cycle while praying as if your life depends on it! Let's hope Albert took a course and is AHA certified in BLS.
>Pray more. More!
>Commence CPR.
>Slap her awake!
adding another for CPR and prayers. OOC i dont believe for a second that Kasen would get taken out by night on the town. In character, Albert probably wouldnt be able to live with himself if he didnt try his goddamn hardest to fix this mistake right now.
>Pray more. More!
>Commence CPR.
CPR with tongue? Albert is not a licensed professional.
Why do I have the feeling we will gain cruelty either way.
>Slap her awake
if doesnt work
>Commence CPR.
...You... you can't just give up on her yet! You raise your hand, readying a slap to her face! But... ohhh! You just can't bring yourself to hit a face as pretty as hers! You drop your hands, and, willing to try anything at this point, put them together in prayer.

"Oh God! Oh God! U-Uhh...! O-Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven! And ple... please let your will include my survival! And... and hers too, Lord! Please... please, don't leave me all alone out here! Don't take away such a kind soul I've only just met! Come on, please... it's not fair..."

You drew back as you had a little sniffle, trying your best not to break down into tears. You couldn't bear to have it on your shoulders if Kasen was truly dead. You'd only go on blaming yourself for it all because you fell for one mediocre temptation, all because you had one drink at a bar on a random day. And not even in your circumstances you were deliberately going for, but something you'd been forced into!

You gave a despairing look at Kasen's motionless body once more before you resolved to make one last attempt at bringing her back to consciousness, unwilling to give up and believe she's truly dead yet! You grabbed the Hermit by her tabard and pushed her forward, dunking her head beneath the flowing wave of the river, pulling her back to set her down on the riverside. Her head was soaking wet... she still wasn't moving!

Quickly thinking, you'd give CPR one more try. You weren't trained in it at all, you didn't know the specifics... you just put one hand over the other on her chest and began to pulse downwards onto her torso. Like a hammer hitting a hot iron on the top of an anvil, you pressed down with intense force.

"Come on! Come on! LIVE DAMN IT!" You shouted out, uncaring of whether or not your hunter heard you.

CPR wasn't working. She wasn't coming back to life. You were just ready to give up... but then you remembered how forcing air into the lungs was another way of resuscitation... one you were hesitant to try but... something had to give!

You leaned down and pulled Kasen's chin, performing mouth to mouth resuscitation. It was the only option you had left, and you tried your absolute best to fill her lungs with air and bring her breathing back. You closed your eyes as you took another deep breath and reconnected your lips with hers for the next try.
It was then that you felt a hand grazing your shoulders.


You opened your eyes, expecting to see the Youkai after your blood standing there. Instead... you saw Kasen's hand was lightly gripping your shoulder. Your eyes immediately fell down to see hers staring back at you curiously, and you felt her breathing again. She blinked a few times before realizing that her lips were locked with yours still, and she became shocked as you pushed yourself and fell backwards off of her as she coughed and leaned up.


"K-Kasen! I-It's not what you think! I thought you were... I-I thought..."


Needless to say, Kasen was clenching her mouth with her artificial arm, not knowing what to make of the situation as she stared around at her surroundings, unable to understand exactly how she got here and what was going on. Then she saw Suika who was still groggily laying out, and slowly, the Hermit began to get an idea. Still, she looked over at you again with those embarrassed eyes. You couldn't keep contact, you looked off to the side.

"A... Albert... what's going on? What were you...?!"

"I... I thought you were dead! You weren't... making any noise or anything... I-I was just doing a method of... r-revival..."


You weren't sure she knew what CPR was... but mouth to mouth surely had to have been used by humans for hundreds of years, you hoped she would understand. Still, her burning red face of embarrassment doesn't waver, even as she nods slowly to you and looks off to the side herself.

"It... it's fine. I know you meant well. I... wasn't dead, I just..." She paused, as if searching for the right words; "...I sleep a little harder than normal people."

...Somehow, you weren't sure she was being truthful. She looked like she was having trouble even being honest with herself giving you such an answer. But, you weren't about to question it... not after what you'd saw coming out the side of her head. Maybe... maybe there was just a little more to her than meets to eye, and you didn't know yet. That's what you'd be content leaving it at. Still, the awkwardness of this moment was going to live with you both for a while now, that was undeniable.

You just tried to stand up, despite how much your legs had been made jelly, Kasen stood up too, pointing down at Suika.

"Do I even need to ask...?"

"We... all got super drunk thanks to her. You too, looks like... I came to find you because she said you were out here. Kogasa is also still out here. We need to find her before we get out. There's a killer Youkai after me."

"Killer Youkai...?"

"Must mean me!"
You and the Hermit both looked up then to see the pursuer floating there, trident ready, killing intent within her eyes.

"Wait a minute...! You, you're one of the Youkai who go to the Buddhist Temple! I don't know your name right off-hand, but I've seen you among others there! I distinctly remember it!" Kasen said, pointing up at the Youkai then!

This seemed to have her recoil in surprise.

"Huh...?! You mean you can see my true form? But how? I'm passively maintaining my ability to appear improbable for you to recognize on myself."

You felt a tingle on your arm. You curiously pulled up your sleeve to reveal the Big Dipper, which blinked on and off with a bright blue glow. The Youkai there backed off from the sight of it.

"H-Hey! It has to do with that mark, doesn't it? Somehow it's acting as foil to my ability to obscure myself."

You didn't immediately understand how, since she was able to dupe you by rendering objects unrecognizable with her ability, like when you stepped on a rock and it was truthfully a branch. Perhaps it had to do with the difference between her being an actual entity and not an inanimate object.

"I don't understand why you'd be here now hunting for a human. As one of the Youkai who attend Myouren Temple, aren't you taught by Byakuren to overcome the natural state of being enemies to each other that humans and Youkai share? Meat is forbidden by the Buddhist faith. By trying to kill and devour this man, you'd be breaking that tenet and going against what you're taught!"

"Welllll... maybe." The Youkai shut her eyes, giving a malicious smile.

Kasen tensed up a bit, and stepped forward to place herself between you and the Youkai.
The Youkai brought her fingers up to her belly, rubbing the area sensually. "I do admire Byakuren-sama, and I do enjoy the temple because it's the only place I have anymore. But... the faith and training can be really hard on us Youkai, sometimes it might even border on asking too much of us..." She said, progressively bringing her fingers up higher, to her throat; "...and... and well... Sometimes! We just can't help ourselves but return to our roots!" She declared, opening her eyes with a terrifying gleam from them!

The Youkai dashed to the ground, landing in front of Kasen and holding her trident in the combat ready position! The Hermit assumed a fighting stance of her own!

"I'd watched ever since you drunk fools set off from the Village on those horses to have your stupid race. The moment I realized you had an Outsider with you, I knew it was an opportunity I couldn't let go to waste! Hahahaha! It's been too long since the last time I tasted human flesh! You'll excuse me for behaving this way, but for once I want to feel like how a Youkai should tonight! We're the creatures that made humanity afraid of the dark and the night, afraid of the unknown. The fear coming off your 'Albert' is almost intoxicating! That just means he'll taste better when I eat his flesh."

Kasen sighed, but remained resolute in the face of the Youkai. You found yourself backing off a bit, perturbed by how primal the Youkai's behavior had become. She was practically licking her lips in anticipation of eating you, and her teeth were sharp, sharper than Rumia's.

"Looks like it can't be helped, but I know that an Outsider would naturally drive one of you to acting like this. It seems I have no choice but to knock some sense into you!"

"Bring it on! I'm Houjuu Nue, and if you're going to stand in my way, then I'll leave no witnesses!"
File: Heian Alien.png (53 KB, 411x500)
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The Unidentified Fantastic Flying Youkai, Houjuu Nue, attacks!


Ibaraki Kasen HP: 10000

Ibuki Suika HP: 6000

Houjuu Nue HP: 6000

Despite everything, Suika was still barely responsive, though she seemed to retain a semblance of awareness in regards to what was going on... you felt like if you tried hard enough, you could force her to get up and join the battle to defeat Nue. Maybe dipping her into the river would work... but that was if Nue would let you. Even though Kasen was fighting her, the Youkai's eyes remained on you. It made you gulp nervously to have to endure such a ravenous stare...

Kasen takes the initiative!

>Roll 1d1000 to launch Danmaku, best of 5 rolls!
Rolled 995 (1d1000)

>You raise your hand, readying a slap to her face! But... ohhh! You just can't bring yourself to hit a face as pretty as hers!

Albert needs to realize every enemy he will face in this land is a pretty lady.
Rolled 486 (1d1000)

Rolled 467 (1d1000)

But be not thou far from me, O Lord: O my strength, haste thee to help me.
Rolled 859 (1d1000)

Rolled 8 (1d1000)

Let's beat the thigh alien.
Giving her CPR technically also counted as kissing Kasen, right?
Reimubros... it's over for you, we touched lips with the true waifu.
I know this is probably pedantic, but why is Albert concerned with propriety when he is in the middle of being hunted by a man-eating monster? Like, sure, I know you just sorta kissed a pretty lady that you've known for a day, and she just woke up to you doing that, which is embarrassing, but there is a goddamn monster after you. I would think blubbering out a plea for help makes more sense than trying to explain your actions.
I hope it's just to keep in theme with Touhou, and not that this quest will only have 6 or 7 threads .

I had an idea on how to try to fully awake Suika: tell her that if she gets hit, her gourd might break and she won't be able to drink anymore.
And that's a good thing
Reimu is a husband beater
>implying that gourd isn't stronger then your fleshy ass.
File: Th145KasenSC02.jpg (270 KB, 1280x720)
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Nue only snickered as the Hermit took a few daring steps closer to her, dropping her combat ready stance completely. It was like Kasen was leaving herself wide open!

"Heh, what are you going to do? Hit me with that broken arm in the cast of yours?"

Kasen smirked a bit as her artificial arm began to unwrap itself, swirling around in the air like a vortex, surprising Nue!

龍符「ドラゴンズグロウル」Dragon Sign "Dragon's Growl"

A massive blast of thunder suddenly erupted from out of Kasen's whorl of wrappings at the Youkai, blowing her back! It was really just one, massive Danmaku shot on its own, but you reckoned it had to count for the same damage that a lot of bullets would have...


Number of bullets shot: 2815
Rolled 710 (1d815)

>Rolling number of Grazes...
Bullets hit: 2105
Bullets grazed: 710

Houjuu Nue HP: 3895

A massive hit!
File: Th135Nue.png (13 KB, 154x94)
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A gust of smoke was brought up in the aftermath of Kasen's incredible attack, and when it cleared you and the Hermit could both see Nue standing there and shielding herself with her trident, smoke trails flowing off her body as she stumbled forward and regained her balance, taking a deep breath.

"N-Not bad... but don't think you beat me just yet!" She declared, jumping up to the air above. Her body and trident alike gave off a menacing red aura! She retaliated with spiral patterns of Danmaku towards both you and Kasen! You had to pick Suika up in a panic and hold her in front of yourself as a meat shield!

Nue's turn.
File: Th125SC084.jpg (101 KB, 384x448)
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Rolled 276 (1d700)

>Rolling 1d700 to launch Danmaku...

正体不明「紫鏡」Unidentified "Purple Mirror"

You and Kasen both braced for impact!
...Though, admittedly, both the Hermit and the Oni seemed to endure the force of Nue's attack very well!

"Hm! Are you sure you want to do this much longer?"

"Gah! What a monstrous durability!"

Ibaraki Kasen HP: 9800

Ibuki Suika HP: 5924

You opened your eyes and saw that your Suika shield was now squirming out of your grasp, the Oni finally deigning to stand on her feet.

"Pah! What in the world is going on? Why do I feel like some bug is shooting things at me?!"

"...W-Why, that's because there is one! They're trying to uh... break your gourd!" You said as your eyes fell to the sake gourd she always had on her person, leaking sake as she held it upside down.

"Huh?! My personal, refilling gourd?! Hey! You snotty idiot! That's unforgivable! I'm gonna send you straight to Hell!" Suika puffed as she stomped the ground in a bout of anger.

The stomp seemed to tremble the entire forest, and you fell backwards! Kasen seemed more concerned with Suika now than Nue! An angry, drunk Suika was never a good thing! The Youkai herself was seemingly terrified of the sudden show of force!

That was until at least, Suika dropped her gourd and then stopped to pick it up, and you realized she was still half-asleep, really she was sleepwalking.

"Wait... Aha! Ohh! That's right, my gourd can't be broken! I made it strong enough so that I never accidentally break it myself! I don't have anything to worry about!" The Oni said as she fell flat on her butt and raised the gourd cheerily. "Come on, Kasen! You got this! Teach em' a lesson! Waha!"

"What are you doing?! Help her!" You say, mortified at her becoming mere moral support instead of fighting.

"She can take it!" Suika insisted.

Nue began to laugh. "Fighting a bunch of drunkards like this... it's almost too easy. True, you might have big, scary attacks, but you've yet to see what else I can with my ability... until now!"
File: psychedelic_vision.jpg (4.6 MB, 1600x1200)
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Nue raised her trident and stabbed it into the grass below. The snake coiled around her arm began wriggling and letting out a shadowy torrent that spilled down the trident and to the ground below, soon overtaking the entire surrounding forest!

"I can make things lose their identity. You wouldn't be able to tell a blade of grass apart from a needle sticking up until you stepped on it... if you're even willing to take that risk. You never know, it might be the real thing!~ Ahahahahaha!"

Kasen shuddered at the sight of it, slowly losing her bearings on everything. Suika was just... confused, since by keeping her eyes closed, she couldn't even experience Nue's ability to begin with. But the Hermit, she was faring worse than you expected, beginning to become dizzy and wobble on her feet.

She looked back to you and was startled.

"A... Albert...?! Where are you?!"

"I'm right here!" You waved your arms.

"I... I can't make you out so well, you're about to become completely unrecognizable to me!" She stressed.

Her artificial arm unfurled, and shot forth through the air, wrapping around Nue's ankle to bind the Youkai, managing to catch her there even as Nue's ability threw her and you for a loop.

"I'll hold her here! Run, and go find Kogasa! Just get out of here, don't worry about us! She can't beat us, no matter how much she attacks!"

"That's what you think! With your field distorted, now you won't be able to hit me so well with your Danmaku, most of it is going to miss. On the contrary, I can see you perfectly clear, I'll be able to whittle you down by however much or long it takes until you submit! You might as well try running now, Human, it won't make a difference. I'll still get you! And then I'll EAT YOU!"

It was like the worst acid trip you've never had, since you didn't do drugs... the forest was unrecognizable. You could just take a chance running in any direction with your arms outstretched and hope you get out of the range of her ability, and that you don't trip on something or run into a tree...

...but still, you didn't want to just leave Kasen here all by herself!

>No way! No retreat! We can still pull through this! Fight on Kasen! Give it your all! You're stronger than her!
>She's right, sticking around will just get you killed. You better high tail it fast and find the Umbrella.
>Not all is lost just yet. Suika isn't being affected... you have to try to convince her to throw down and end this!
>No way! No retreat! We can still pull through this! Fight on Kasen! Give it your all! You're stronger than her!

Albert is THE FLUFFY, moral support #1! Also, since Kasen has a hold, I think she could reel in the Nue and beat the crap out of her using close-quarters danmaku or blast where the wrappings are attached. That or engage in actual grappling cause I think the Nue has less experience than Kasen, all things considered.

Albert could also expose the ward now to see if it would act as a distraction; the Nue might be the only one able to see, considering what she did and has been keeping an eye on Albert.

>You had to pick Suika up in a panic and hold her in front of yourself as a meat shield!

Peak usage of a Japanese goblin
>No way! No retreat! We can still pull through this! Fight on Kasen! Give it your all! You're stronger than her!
She's got this, especially now that she has her pinned.

Worst case scenario we use Suika as a shield again.
>No way! No retreat! We can still pull through this! Fight on Kasen! Give it your all! You're stronger than her!

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
>No way! No retreat! We can still pull through this! Fight on Kasen! Give it your all! You're stronger than her!
>Not all is lost just yet. Suika isn't being affected... you have to try to convince her to throw down and end this!
Come on, let's get the Japanese Goblin to oneshot her.
>No way! No retreat! We can still pull through this! Fight on Kasen! Give it your all! You're stronger than her!
pls no, Ablert is a huge pushover and he'll promise to do something dumb that spikes our cruelty again if she helps
Don't worry I have an idea. We just convince Suika that Nue insulted her special sake and called it weak and that she should punch her for it. Trust me, it'll work.
Problem is that Suika quaked the entire forest when she toughht the gourd was going to be broken
So let her go all out would get us cruelty points for causing unnecessary damage, hurting Nue too much or something like that.
Yeah, what >>5450746 said.
Still I bet she'll intervene if she sees Kasen go down.
>Not all is lost just yet. Suika isn't being affected... you have to try to convince her to throw down and end this!
>Hey Suika. Nue’s ability seems like it could turn your sake into water. Think your blend is strong enough to get her drunk anway?
>Why don’t you grab her? We should do a test.
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>No way! No retreat! We can still pull through this! Fight on Kasen! Give it your all! You're stronger than her! (6 votes)

"No way! I won't run!" You say.

"W-What?! What are you saying?!" Kasen distressfully cried out while Nue just smiled.

"Ha! Either he's just foolish enough to stick around or he's come to terms with his fate ending up in my stomach."

"I'm not about to abandon a friend when they're in a tough spot! I'm not going to run either, that's not a man would do! I'm not going to be afraid of you anymore, so even if you do win, it'll just spoil your meal! We might have screwed up somewhere today, but we're not about to screw up even more and let you get away with what you're doing!" You say defiantly!

Though, being honest to yourself, you weren't sure why you suddenly decided to come out with a motivational speech. You felt cheesy right now, for real... but you guessed it's just because you didn't want to see Kasen lose!

"Come on, Kasen! You're way stronger than this chump! You can beat her!"

"Dear me..." Kasen sighed, thinking the alcohol was still influencing your mind a bit; "Whatever are we going to do with you...?"

"Big words coming from someone faced with their demise." Nue derided you.

"Demise THIS!" You lifted your sleeve.

The light of the Big Dipper flashed forward, and though it didn't serve to dispel the power Nue had over the environment, it blinded the Youkai briefly!



The Hermit began pulling Nue in closer by retracting her artificial arm! The Youkai was shielding her eyes, but she still had enough sense to try thrashing back and forth in the air to resist, flying left and right to try and dodge any Danmaku launched by the Hermit, who prepared to fire it from her arm! But, she was still suffering the effects of Nue's ability!

Kasen's turn.

>Roll 1d1000 to launch Danmaku, best of 7 rolls!
>Nue's ability: Making objects unidentifiable! (-500 Danmaku penalty)
Rolled 765 (1d1000)

Hm, interesting power from the Big Dipper.
Rolled 64 (1d100)

The Nue fits into the role of the devil, considering the trident, the wings(?), the ability to disguise, and wanting to eat human flesh.
Rolled 361 (1d1000)

Messed up the dice roll
Rolled 157 (1d1000)

Rolled 938 (1d1000)

Nat 1
Rolled 226 (1d1000)

Rolled 951 (1d1000)

I call on You, O God,
for You will answer me.
Incline Your ear to me;
hear my words.
Show the wonders of Your loving devotion
Rolled 4 (1d1000)

nat 1111 actually
A thousand blessings upon him
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鷹符「ホークビーコン」"Hawk Sign "Hawk Beacon"

Kasen nonetheless gathered light into her free hand and launched it forward, culminating into a sparkling ball of colors that exploded into a fury of rainbows and swirling, wide ranged projectiles spinning in circles at Nue as she was reeled in! Such a large area of damage! But would it hurt the Youkai plenty?!

Number of bullets shot: 3403

Nue's ability: Making objects unidentifiable! (-500 Danmaku penalty)

Number of bullets shot: 2903
Rolled 6 (1d903)

>Rolling number of Grazes...
Bullets hit: 2897
Bullets grazed: 6

Houjuu Nue HP: 998

A colossal hit! Nue is thrashing in pain from Kasen's powerful attack!

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The wave of Nue's mysterious ability began to waver somewhat, and you noticed in the aftermath of Kasen's rainbow filled display that certain distortions were returning to normal. Grass that had looked like anything ranging from coffee dust to patches of fur or even lava was becoming recognizable again. You could even recognize Kasen and Suika again, as well as see the Youkai for who she was!

Though, the Nue's ability had not let up just yet, things were still distorted all around. Nue was hanging on.

"It isn't too late to give up. You're not a fit challenge for my power. My Danmaku will always be stronger than yours." Kasen warned her.

"You're spitting at my Danmaku?! You won't even see it coming. Not if you can't recognize it!"



Nue's turn.

「遊星よりの弾幕X」"Danmaku X from a Wandering Star"

Nue fired a barrage of multicolored stars obscured under the cloak of her ability! Kasen couldn't grasp the Danmaku, especially not where it was coming from either!
Rolled 352 (1d2000)

>Rolling 1d2000 to launch Danmaku...
>Nue's ability: Making objects unidentifiable! (+500 Danmaku bonus)
Bullets hit: 852

Ibaraki Kasen HP: 8948

Ibuki Suika HP: 5924

However, despite the clever usage of her ability, Nue couldn't find much purchase in sending Kasen back, the Hermit simply raising her free arm to shield herself! She endures Nue's attack without much trouble, arousing a clapping applause from Suika!

Nue growled, desperate at this point.

"Just how beefy are you...?! You're soaking up hits like a sponge!"

"I told you, you're nowhere close to me. Last chance, give up now or lose disgracefully."
"Aaagh! To Hell with the rules of Danmaku! I have a hunger to sate!" Nue roared out load!

Kasen could only wince as the Youkai raised her trident, preparing to strike physically at the artificial arm wrapped around her ankle! The Hermit narrowly avoided getting the wrappings struck by the end of the trident as she retracted her arm!

But Nue didn't relent! She suddenly hurled her trident at Kasen!



You saw Kasen go down! Hands clenching the ends of the Trident near her neck. She was pinned to the ground! She looked to have been stabbed right in the throat by the Youkai! You reached out with your hand and started walking closer.... only stopping when you noticed... she avoided getting impaled. The gaps between each prong of the trident were enough that Kasen's neck fit between them, she was merely caught and stuck to the ground by it, thankfully.

But Nue landed on the Hermit and planted her foot down on her stomach, earning a grunt as she took hold of her trident, the snake coiling her arm slithering down at her command and preparing to bite Kasen in the face it appeared!

"You should have known better than to come between a prey and its meal! Now you get to suffer the consequences!"

Suika is just watching with puzzlement. You've gotta do something!

>Run and tackle Nue! (30+ Grace)
>Wave your arms - "Hey! I'm over here! Come get me!" (12+ Grace)
>Try to talk Nue down. (70+ ???)
>Order Suika to do something! (5+ Cruelty, 5+ Grace)
>Try to talk Nue down. (70+ ???)

Pretty sure if Albert can distract Nue for a second, Kasen can grab her leg and do a slam with super strength. Heck, she might be able to bite the snake before it bites her. That or he can talk her down, but getting physically close is a death sentence for him.
>Run and tackle Nue! (+30 Grace)
Time to channel our inner Jacob.
>Try to talk Nue down. (70+ ???)
If we get cruelty from being nice I'm going to be sad
>Run and tackle Nue! (30+ Grace)
I don't want to take any chances. She's hungry for our flesh to the point of breaking the rules of Gensokyo, if the karma gain is negative it's most likely because attempting to talk her down instead of taking action just gives her a chance to stab Kasen for real and incapacitate her or something and then we'll be a real shithead because we got Kasen hurt.
Take Nue down, run at her full force, show her what American football is like.
And here's how to try and stop her. Probably is just going to end up just being a distraction because she might complain we are giving her a lecture like Bikeren
>Nue stop! I know how easy it is to fall to temptation, but you can't let it control you. Don't let yourself become a slave to your own impulses, there's no actual happiness there, no fulfillment, just one haze of distractions one after another. Don't get lost to the illusions of the world, the false promises, like how we live in the outside world. It's never too late to be free!
That's true, and most write-ins ideas and ??? has given us cruelty so far.
>Run and tackle Nue! (30+ Grace)
Bow your heavens, O Lord, and come down!
Touch the mountains so that they smoke!
Flash forth the lightning and scatter them;
send out your arrows and rout them!
>Run and tackle Nue! (30+ Grace)
Our boy Albert isn't completely useless! But we should make sure that we don't die from this, just cause enough of a distraction so Kasen can get free.
Also isn't Nue breaking the rules by doing this?
I was wrong by the way, most of them were neutral.
Must be negative bias at work.
We have no real way of knowing how much stronger physically nue is to us. Youkai seem to be weird about that kind of thing with ones like Suika and Rumia being strong enough to manhandle humans but ones like Kogasa or Sekibanki dont seem to be any stronger or more durable than a standard human and rely on their abilities as youkai to be scary.

After reading a QRD on Nue's legend it seems like she was taken down by a single arrow and finished off on the ground. This suggests that the Nue while mystical isnt any stronger or more durable than a regular animal, probably the Monkey/Tiger/Tanuki/Snake that she is made of. I think that once we tackle her if we grapple with her we might actually have a decent chance of restraining her. She seems to rely on her abilities and flight to be a threat.
So this could backfire but its better odds than trying to tackle someone like Suika.

>Run and tackle Nue! (30+ Grace)
Albert's guardian angel is foaming at the mouth right now. The tackling will send the guardian angel into a mental break. Anyways, I say we try picking up Suika in the buildup to the tackling and use her as a couched lance against the Nue.
I think Albert's guardian angel already died of an aneurysm last thread.
Albert choosing to go through the door back into the land of fantasy probably did the guardian angel in.
>Try to talk Nue down. (70+ ???)
I’ll toss in a write-in for this too. Very different feel from the other one though.
>Nue, if you really hurt her now then you’re going to be erased. Not beat up, not reprimanded, not forgiven. That’s Reimu’s mentor, and from the sounds of it Reimu has a lot of friends among the Youkai in spite of being charged with exterminating them. They won’t defend you from her, and attacking her will turn the rest against you.
>Step back. One meal isn’t worth being hunted down like an animal, until nothing identifiable remains of you. You’re more than a beast to be put down when you get angry or upset.
Oh yeah, you are right, she is basically doing an elaborate suicide by Reimu right now, since she is breaking spellcard rules, threatening an outsider that is friends with the exterminator shrine maiden, attacking a hermit that is also said maiden's mentor and one of the sages, and burning bridges with the group that gives her shelter.
I just don't Albert is that much in the know about these things yet to be able to say something like this to her.
Albert has been told by multiple characters that Reimu is an yokai exterminator, that her god is weak because she is not doing her job properly, that she solved plenty of incidents before, and that Kasen is a mentor to her.
And the part about being erased and youkai turning against Nue?
What do you mean anon? It's quite obvious that if Reimu is an yokai exterminator from a god of yokai extermination, that if she decides to not spare one, then they are dead.
And if she has so many friends among yokai that her god is losing faith because of it, then they would support her instead of a rabid one that decided to poke the bear.
Basically a reasoned argument per >>5452322. I’m choosing to use harsh language on the basis that it should have a greater impact. Word choices like “erased” are just flavor to indicate how pissed Reimu is going to be and based on her worshipping a Youkai extermination god. I don’t actually know if she could really wipe Nue that easily, but she’s been in a ton of incidents in spite of not taking things seriously from what we’ve seen. We’ve even heard she fought the secret god! And lived! She threatened a shopkeeper in front of us and they didn’t laugh it off as a joke! Pissed-off Reimu should be terrifying!

It’s assuming a lot on how people would act, but it’s really meant to illustrate what we know from personal experience - if you aren’t protected by spell card rules, you need friends or you’ll be fucked. Reimu is just the easiest person to beat her with on that topic since her job description is to kill Youkai and the more I think about what we’ve been told about her/seen the more terrified I’d be to make her an enemy.
Everyone seems to be missing the part where she already broke the spell rules with that little Trident stunt. If she takes the gloves off, Kasen will as well, and even if we dont quite know it in character, Oni are practically synonymous with "that which cant be beaten". Suika probably perked up because she wants to see if Kasen will actually fight for real now that danmaku is off the table and Nues survival is gonna be down to us convincing Kasen to forgive her after the fact moreso than convincing Nue to back down right now.
I didn’t know that!

If she backs off now, I’d hope us forgiving her would be enough for Kasen to follow suit. Would she tear Nue apart in front of us if we mended things? Pretty sure she’d realize that’d leave a bad impression on us.
>Run and tackle Nue! (30+ Grace) (5 votes)

Your feet moved on their own!

"NOOOO!" You shouted as you ran.

The Youkai of the night looked to her left at you with an element of utter shock that you, the lowly human who, only moments before was cowering behind the Hermit and Oni for protection, were now charging her at full speed with everything you had packed into your shoulder! Like a linebacker!

"What are you thinkin- GOH!"

She didn't even get to finish the sentence as you drove right into her with your shoulder, taking her off of Kasen! (Grace 30+)

"Albert!" Shouted the Hermit, surprised at you doing such a thing.

Nue was tackled into the grass by you, and you did your best to hold her wrists down down against the ground, but when she blinked and came to, she smirked as simply... moved her arms, effortlessly pushing against your hold on them. You were overpowered by her in a minute as she pushed you back down to your own back against the grass, holding your wrists down and preventing your escape. The tables were turned.

She licked her lips and her eyes were bestial as she revealed her fangs and lowered them. Your blood went cold at the inevitability of getting them sank into your flesh.

"That's it!" Kasen suddenly exclaimed as she freed herself from the trident, throwing the weapons off of her with a newfound strength. The Hermit rose quickly and gathered the bundles of her arm wrappings to form a fist.

Nue noticed it quickly and the Youkai refrained from taking a bite out of you as she let go and stood up fast, pacing past your head and showing off a little too much as she faced Kasen. The snake that Nue had slithered back, up her leg until it found its way back to her arm. It brought her trident back too, which she now bared at Kasen.

"Hahahahaha! You intend to fight me still? I'm a Youkai. You are just a normal Human with some strange powers, aren't you? A Human is a Human in the end, you'll lose."

"I didn't want to have to do this... didn't want to have to show you what my true might is like, but your breaking of the Spell Card Rules is inexcusable!" Kasen said as she took some steps closer.

"Hahaha! Go ahead! Try it if you think you're so hard! You'll end up skewered on the end of my weapon before you even know-"

Kasen's artificial arm reached out, grabbing the Nue by her neck and silencing her. She had such a tight grip, that the Youkai couldn't utter a gasp! In fact, she was even picked up off her feet by Kasen, like how the Secret God did to you and Doremy before! You couldn't believe what you were seeing!

"Kh! Hng... gh!"


Kasen threw a punch at Nue's stomach with her remaining arm. The punch collided, and you were blown back by an immense shockwave that followed, ringing out from the area of the punch on Nue's being, causing surrounding trees to snap like twigs and fall down in an instant. It sounded like a small earthquake...
"What... the fuck!" You shouted when you could hear your voice again.

You coughed up as dirty debris rushed past you and rubbed your eyes, looking forward at Kasen holding a paralyzed Nue by her collar, the Youkai looking as though both eyes bulging out of her skull from the pain would pop out. The Hermit gently lowered the tenderized Youkai to the ground until she was sat on her knees, and then let go, looking shamefully around at all the unnecessary destruction she had caused as a result. It looked like a meteorite had crashed landed here! Trees for a few dozen feet were wiped out in every direction.

Suika was sitting there, unfazed by the ordeal and resting her chin in her palm. But that look on the Oni's face... even drunk as she was, it was complete satisfaction with what happened.

"...Guuuuhhhh...! Ach! CHAAAOUH! Awwoooohhh... ah... ahhh...! Wh...HAK! Ouh.... What... are... you...?!" Nue coughed out, staring up at Kasen with tear filled eyes.

Kasen took in a deep breath.

"...I'm just an average Hermit..."

"...No... way..."

The Youkai of the Night collapsed to the ground, too pained to even move. You felt that as you stared at Kasen, trying to comprehend just what you saw.

"The breaking of the Spell Card Rules is an act that incurs a fierce retribution in this land by those who seek to uphold it as the tenets of Gensokyo. I'm sorry you had to know what that feels like... but I hope you've learned your lesson now and won't try it again."

"I... I've lost my appetite... the meal went and... spoiled itself anyway. Why even... eat a human if they... aren't afraid of you?"

"It's so hard... so hard to swear off your own nature! It just... argh! It doesn't work with Youkai so well... we only truly find satiation from fear and human flesh!"

"I know... Trust me, I know, but this is one human I cannot allow you to eat. He's involved with an Incident. All I can tell you right now is to try harder, as someone who associates with the Buddhists, you owe Byakuren that much for her hospitality in giving you a roof. You're free to scare humans for their fear, but you must never eat their flesh."

"...It's so hard to...!"

Houjuu Nue defeated!

"Well, I guess that settles that then! So, we going back home now? I need another good nap..." Suika said as she rose and stretched her arms.

"I suppose... if anyone asks, we'll just cover this up as one of your own drunken outbursts." Kasen says.

"Why not? Just tell them I put a little too much effort into stepping on a beetle! Gyhahahaha!"

Nue slowly found the strength to begin standing again using her trident, but the Youkai of the Night was still very much finding it hard to move after taking such a strike: "Why can't I find true satisfaction in anything but human flesh... oh why, oh why...?! H-Hurts so bad... I'm just... I'm just gonna go home..."

"Albert! Come on! We need to get you home fast!" Kasen called out to you as her and Suika were already leaving.

You nodded, taking your time to pick yourself up on legs that still felt a little stiff.

>What will you do? Ready to go home?
>Find Kogasa

We can't leave the umbrella alone in the forest after a bender.

On a side note, after seeing the destructive power of Suika's stomp and Kasen's punch and what lay underneath a hair bun, is it reasonable to make the link that the totally normal hermit isn't entirely human?

Also, Kasen was the real MVP in this entire fight. Those rolls were godly.
>Go back home, the quicker you find out if Reimu and the others are fine the better.
>Ask Kasen if Kogasa will be alright.
>Thank Kasen for helping you, and try to get rid of the awkwardness from earlier with some small talk.
>Tell her if you could get your Hanbo back somehow.
>Ask Suika what happened when you were drunk while you're walking back, and where Clownpiece went off to. Do not promise that you'll go out to drink with her again. Tell her that this was dangerous, and that you almost died after waking up and that you had to carry her away from Nue.
>But mention that you'd still like to be her friend, despite everything.
A human being alone in the forest looking for someone else is probably a bad idea.
If we look for her, we should at least ask Kasen to go with us and help search.

Adding to this
>Request both to Kasen and Suika if they could help you find Kogasa, but don't go if they don't want to help.
Should we say anything to Nue before we leave? I think if anything Albert might feel bad because of how she and him have both been manhandled by the neck at this point.
Maybe some encouragement in fighting her own nature without sounding too preachy? It would be weird to ask her to be our friend or to say we forgive her (Albert thought she almost killed Kasen).
We could say that we know what it's like to be weak, and that she can get stronger by being a better person.
>Thank Kasen
>Headpat Nue
>Find Kogasa
>Go home
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
I will recount all of Your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and exult in You;
I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.
>Ask help to find Kogasa and your things.
We lost our entire inventory, if we don't get it back, we are worse off than how we got dumped in Gensokyo.
Also no (wo)man left behind
>Thank Kasen for everything.
She was the MVP
>Nue, stay strong to fight against temptation. I know how hard it is, specially after what I did today, but there is not true satisfaction in just following impulses. It's how the outside world is nowadays, and most people feel like husks. Tell this Byakuren what happened today, and ask for help. If you really think that buddhism isn't helping, I can teach you the words of God, the holy bible if you search for me. His love is limitless, and his greatest joy is to help those that are lost.
Is this ok? Tried to encourage her, give some advice and extend an olive branch. Didn't directly tell her that we forgive her, but that we are willing to help.
We didn't lose our inventory tho, we never took it to begin with, it's been left at Reimu's the whole day since Suika showed up
Oh yeah, that's true, thanks for reminding me.
We still need to find Kogasa though.
Honestly, while I like Nue OOC, trying to be preachy and befriend literally everyone around us is kinda turning Albert into one of those all loving gary stu types. She did nothing but attack us, almost killed us and our friends and broke the super serious rules to do so. Maybe if we see her later in a different context we can try reconciling, but right after finishing the fight? I dont think we owe her shit.

This is a good list. I like this list. Seconding.
And to add, this wasnt even a situation like with Rumia where she looks and acts like a kid and runs on base instinct giving us literal biological reasons to be inclined towards forgiving her. Nue looks like an adult and was acting sadistic as fuck and fully in control the whole time.
Phoneposting as this anon.

I like this list too. I will add one additional item since I do want to bridge things where possible without pushing hard. Also, gotta represent America where possible.
>Tell Nue she can come to the Hakurei shrine to make amends later if she can bring herself to do it.
>If she brings beef, we’ll make fireside burgers. We didn’t get (don’t remember?) getting any. It won’t be a full substitute, but we can assure her it’ll be better than whatever she normally eats.
That part about the Outside will probably interest her (hopefully for the better). It's a little preachy, but I can live with that as long as we aren't too friendly with her so soon after she tried to kill us.
I'll support telling this to her in addition to my vote, as long as we word it in wanting her to clean up her act before she does something worse instead of acting like we want to help her out because we're such a nice guy but honestly the chance that we can start converting Youkai sounds like too much fun for me to pass up.
Forgiving and making amends is great and all but I reiterate. People do not immediately do this shit after you just got done fighting to the death. If we do this then Albert ceases to be an actual person. You are playing him like a fucking My Little Pony character here.
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>If we do this then Albert ceases to be an actual person.
And so his transformation into a touhou character is complete, finally freed from the shackles of common sense.
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>transformation into a touhou character
There is one more prerequisite, being a girl, Seiga can help Albert in this regard.
That's fair, but I'm starting to think we should at least say some words to her before we leave. I honestly don't want to make amends or forgive her or invite her over or anything like that (especially so soon). But I still think converting some Youkai would be fun.

Seiga NO
But-but Rinnosuke?
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Don't know who you're talking about, Anon. I only know Rinnosuko.
Yes, cool, great, just wait until we encounter her somewhere else and have had time to process the shit that just went down. Wanna follow up on this? We know she lives at the Buddhist temple. We can get Kasen to take us there tomorrow. Thats still really really ridiculously shounen anime nice guy territory, but it isnt pants on head, instantly forgives everyone, doormat tier retarded.
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You strode forward after your companions and passed the beaten Youkai, she glanced over at you as you peeked over your shoulder at her. You briefly contemplated saying something, especially now that it looked as if all the hunger in her eyes had left her, and she no longer cared about eating you. But, she did make an attempt on your life, and there was a resentment you found in that keeping your mouth shut. You just walked on as she sighed and remained there.

"H-Hey... Kasen?" You say as you finally catch up to the Hermit.



"Don't sweat it."

"So now that we aren't being hunted down, you mind telling us what exactly happened that led to all this shit happening tonight?" You say, addressing Suika as the Oni walked with both hands behind her head.

She snickered a bit' "Ah, right, that! Hahaha! What was it...? We were trying to get beef or something, so we spent a few hours wandering around looking for horses, but all we found were chickens and stuff... So we found some horses in some farmer's stable! We all got mounted and forgot what we wanted them for, so we had a race instead while Kagerou tried to stop us! We left her in the dust Just the three of us and Kogasa! Hahahah! What fun! I think Kagerou caught up and took the horses back to that old farming coot... somehow we just ended up out here drinking a little more and we decided to have a nap!"

Oh god, you think you're going to be sick. You participated in what's technically a crime thanks to Suika's sake. You were relieved to hear the horses were returned by that responsible werewolf, but the fact remains that you were among the ones who stole the horses briefly. Your face could be known now! This was terrible and...

...Aya was there today...

Oh GOD! OH FUCK! This was terrible! What if she releases a newspaper with you featured on it detailing the misdeeds!?

"Wait, are we leaving without accounting for Kogasa? You said she was here with us too!" You bring up.

Suika stops with a look of puzzlement and scratches her head; "Oh yeah! I almost forgot... I guess I'll go find her myself and get her back home. It's the least I could do..."

You barely had enough time to react as Suika suddenly shifted her form, dissipating her entire body and everything on her into a white and almost clear mist that flowed to the air, and out of sight quickly.

Kasen sighed as she rubbed her one real arm nervously. She had just as much the frustrated look as you did.

"It'd likely be best to avoid the Village for a few days in this case. I suppose I could have a chat with Aya about what happened as well, just to clear the air. I know you're thinking the same thing already, aren't you? She's been tailing you for a while now."

"Yeah, she has. Man... I'm never going out drinking with that Oni again..."

Kasen nodded. She could agree with that sentiment.

The two of you stood there for a moment, looking each other in the eyes silently, until Kasen averted her gaze. Both of you had red cheeks... especially about what happened tonight. It was going to be hard to forget about this one...

You just began walking, and she followed. Both of you back on the way to the Shrine.

"What was that thing we needed the beef for anyway...? Back there, at the bar."

"Ah, you mean a burger? Don't know why I tried ordering that... this isn't America. But, it's a kind of food we like where I come from."

"Hm? Tell me about it."

The two of you chatted, and you told her about your homeland on the way back home to the Hakurei Shrine.
Upon arriving back home, you and Kasen steadily approached the shojo doors, quietly creaking up the steps until you both stopped. Voices were heard inside...

"And you just put it all together and fold it? Like that?"

"Yep! It's easily assembled and plenty good! Just take one bite and you'll be hooked on it! Swear."

"I kinda like it! Sure makin' me appreciate ya' a lot more myself. Well, this side of you anyhow."

"Me next! Me neeeext!"

"Ahah! Calm down, little one, there's enough for everyone!"

Without further delay, you slide the doors open, revealing yourself and Kasen.

"Oh, looks like they're here finally, just in time for dinner too!"

"Albert!" You heard the voices of both Reimu and Reisen come at once.

"Tomato?!" Clowpiece shouted in disbelief.

"Don't be picky, Piece..."

You were welcomed to the sight of dinner being served at the Hakurei Shrine, by none other than the Goddess of Hell herself, donning a pink apron over her weird T-shirt as she carried a pair of tongs and a plate of spanakopita in hand. She was cooking for everyone using a large wok that was heated with Clownpiece's torch, serving... gyros? Complete with onions, tomato and tzatziki.

Around the table sat Hakurei Reimu, Clownpiece, and both Kirisame Marisa and Reisen Udongein Inaba, both of whom had been patched up very much since the beatings they'd endured. The Rabbit herself was pleased to see you again, though Reimu was ready to chastise you, having spent much of the day concerned for your whereabouts since she got back home late.

"Where were you?! I left you to watch over things and have dinner ready by this time!"

You put your hands up; "I-I was going to, I swear! I just didn't have much of a choice in the matter, Suika dragged me off to Geidontei without giving me a choice!"

Reimu squinted; "Geidontei...? Wait... you didn't go drinking with her, did you?!"

"I d-didn't have a choice there either! Everyone was encouraging me to take her special sake!"

Marisa gasped; "The special sake?! What were ya' thinking?"

"I know... I know! Uh, l-look, we didn't do anything too bad, just stole some horses and had a race and, uh..."

Reimu's mouth was just hanging open in shock.

"T-They're back now, at least!"

"Reimu, please allow me to take most of the blame for whatever occurred today." Kasen spoke up.
This seemed to surprise everyone around the table, minus the Goddess and her Lampad.

"Kasen? You? But how could you take the blame...?"

"I should have been more responsible, but these things that happened today I could have prevented by stopping them. I only hesitated because it was the first time I'd been able to truly interact with Suika, just like the old days... ahem. I admit I made the mistake of challenging her to a drinking contest and drinking far too much. If anything, it's my fault that everyone acted the way they did, and I wound up getting Albert attacked by a strong Youkai I had to defeat myself for it. So please, let me take the blame in his stead."

Reimu seemed a bit conflicted, as if she didn't want to, or didn't think she could hold Kasen herself accountable for anything of the sort, but the Miko slowly nodded with a pout. "If you're willing to, then I suppose I'll let you... and I'll forgive you both for what happened to, I know Suika can be troublesome."

Reimu flashed a grin then; "Though, you knows this means I'll be the one giving the lecture next time."

"It'll be a moment to see if you truly picked up anything from me after all." The Hermit grinned back softly.

It seemed like Kasen had calmed Reimu down. Thankfully enough. You for one were just more glad that she still didn't know about the raid on her Dango done early this morning.

"Well now, what are you both standing for? Come on, shut the door and have a seat! Let's dig in. I'm sure there's more pressing concerns afoot anyhow." The Hell Goddess said.

"Yes, that'd be nice about now." The Hermit said as she closed the Shrine doors and took a seat. You followed her and quickly seated yourself besides Reisen who winked at you.
The Hell Goddess was quick to levitate about, serving more gyros she prepared and a side of spanakopita. For once, you were given a fork to eat with, hallelujah!

...And then you noticed everyone else but yourself eating with their hands. Damn, why can you never synchronize right?

"So, you are the Goddess of Hell. I admit, you're a lot different than how I imagined you'd look." Kasen said.

"I get that a lot, but variety is the spice of life, senpai! Maybe sometimes I'll show you how to get lit too." Hecatia chattered, unable to contain her smirk at how confused this way of talking made everyone but you. It seemed to bring on an amused chuckle from Kasen, who if anything could find humor in not being able to understand.

You for one were just wondering how much Hecatia got around in the real world, clearly she must have been a Goddess who disguised herself among mortals and perused their- your world.

And your mind thought back to the sightings of her you'd witnessed today on top of the Torii and at Geidontei, she must have been watching over things since then. Perhaps she was making her appearance now to hear about what was new with the Secret God situation...

You bit into your gyro.


Wow, Hecatia's cooking is godlike!

>What will you do?
>Yes, that'd be nice about now.

lmao. the current serious business is a more desirable subject than the embarrassment of todays hijinks as far as Kasen is concerned

>what will you do
>Ask about what happened in the dream world. Is Doremy out of the picture?
>What is Marisa and Reisen's perspective on this. Have they ever been taken out like this before? Knocking someone unconscious in that way seems like it would break spell rules. ...unless of course they both lost to her
>What should be our next step?
>Ask the incident resolvers about their adventures in the dream world and for news about the secret god.
>Ask Clownpiece where she went during the drinking.
>Admit to Reimu that her Dango stock might be a bit low.
>Thank the Goddess of Hell for the food.
>Prepare to conduct a nightly prayer to God.

I am surprised that the shrine maiden made it back to the dream realm while saving the others. I thought that something surely would have gone wrong.

When retiring for the night, it's time for a nightly prayer to God without Albert being full of fear and desperately trying to avoid being eaten. Asking for forgiveness for magic and guidance regarding the secret god is what I think should be in our prayers.

>Wow, Hecatia's cooking is godlike!
Wouldn't it be horrible if Albert got the pomegranate seed treatment from the underworld goddess? Haha.
We will FUCK Kasen
Is there no path to friendship?
We have plenty of friends already
Honestly, Reimu competing with her for waifu spot is mostly due to having a heart to heart with her. If we get the same treatment with kasen I'd throw in my lot for her
>Ask about the events in the dream world
This all seems too convenient, something has to be afoot. Look out for any inconsistencies in their stories
There is not one thing that R*imu the destitute shrine prostitute has over the wholesome Hermit who's mysteriously strong as an oni and there's definitely nothing she could offer that would make her a better wife over Kasen
>Compliment Hecc for the cooking
>Ask the three what happened in the dream world
>Ask clowpiece and Hecc what they were up too after we got wasted and fucked up
>Thank the lord for the food and prepare to pray
Should we mention in out talk with the tapyr and that she said she might throw the fight? If something odd happened, like Okina brainwashing them it might do something.
I don't know why or how it would though, just a gut feeling, which is why I'm asking for ideas instead of voting for it.
Also, should we dream tonight?
I believe presenting all the cards would be best. Perhaps, we'll know if brainwashing has occurred if Mima comes back soon with Satori.

For dreaming, I would imagine Albert would want to take it easy. Yet, curiosity wants me to have Albert dream and meet up with the Tapir again because flustering her earlier was funny.
>Ask Reimu what happened in the Dream World
>Then ask Reisen and Marisa how they got the way they were and for their viewpoints
>Apologize to Reimu again, and be honest about what happened to some Dangos
>Tell Hecatia that you're grateful for the cooking
>Say grace before eating, then make a prayer before going to bed

I also want some more funny moments with the Tapir. I forget if we use up energy while we're with Doremy or if we have to mentally control ourselves in order not to dream.
Can we just take a moment to admire how fast Albert works in the 9 days he's been in this land:
He called Mokou more beautiful than Kaguya.
He was hugged by Hecatia straight into her chest.
He touched the sensitive ghost tail of Mima.
He got a nice hug from Reimu.
He kabedoned Doroemy.
He locked lips with Kasen on the same day as meeting her.
By this trend, the next 2hu Albert meets, they might end up in bed together before the day ends.

Also, to answer >>5453926 claims, I know one definitive fact that Reimu has over Kasen. Reimu has both arms, while Kasen only has one. Therefore, the shrine maiden can give better warm hugs while the hermit can only give half as much.
You forgot us petting Kagerou
Talking about Kagerou, she went after us to stop of rampage, and even delivered the horses back.
She really is precious.
Kasen has a meatier and stronger body than Reimu, so there's much more of her to hug than there is of the skinny miko hobo, ergo Kasen would give just as good if not better hugs than Reimu.
BOOM done.
Kasen gang unite.
I’ll be okay with whoever. There are only good choices and fun ones as far as I’m concerned.
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>There are only good choices
Door mom might be better if she wasn't possessed.
He also said fun options. Okina (forma de schizo) is certainly fun. Anyone off the table besides our adopted daughteru Clownpiece
Okina is for those that want a long term project to fix. She's kind of a bitch even without the second personality
Or Cirno, Rumia and the fairies of lights. Chris Hansen would find Albert.
Yeah, “fun” can do a lot of heavy lifting.

Hooking up with the walking nuclear reactor? Fun.
Hooking up with a shadow demon that tried killing you? Fun.
Hooking up with literal gods? Fun.

Now, would some of these also be terrible ideas? Yes. But they’d be fun in the meantime.
>when you hook up with mokou but you die a few seconds (70 years) later
the fairies are older than most other characters in 2hu
Fairies are too dumb to understand the concept of things like dating and love, and you don't want to get involved with the three fairies because Star is a grifter who will financially drain you.
>grifter who will financially drain you.
New people to add on the avoid list: Shion and Joon
Additional people to add:
She might not mean bad things by it, but you know the end result would be the same.

So if we want to keep Reimu in the list, Shion and Joon should stay in too. As fun choices, at least.
Reminder that Reimu is a husband beater and therefor the worst option.
Too late, she already sucked our funds using her wily charms.
actual lies and slander. WE offered to cover her expenses even knowing OOC how she would react to that. And even then, she didnt drain us as much as we drained ourselves by giving Kogasa an insane amount of pity money. Reimu has been nothing but a good girl so far.
Not all lies and slander. While Reimu does important work, that doesn’t translate to an income given how perpetually broke she apparently is. Hooking up with Reimu would see us, to borrow some words from her own thoughts, as the breadwinner of the house.

All that said, I still think of Reimu as one of the good options since there are others that would be far more fun/entertaining for the remainder of our (potentially short) life.
I would give anything short of my family members lives to be Reimu's breadwinner.
To be fair, our MC did abandon his family, who he had a decent relationship with thanks to reconnecting with them after his first trip here, to go back to Gensokyo. The place where a bunny wanted his permission to cap a kid in the head for trying to eat him.

Our MC might be willing to exchange family members to marry someone here is what I’m saying.

But on a serious note, he should probably have an introspective moment on what his major malfunction is. He really shouldn’t have done this, after all, so there’s a flaw in his thinking somehow. My personal belief is that he doesn’t actually think he’ll be killed, that someone or something will step in at the last minute and save him. He can get over that thought when his life is ACTUALLY on the line, but it reasserts itself when he’s not threatened. Makes it a lot easier to be so friendly with creatures that would find you delicious if you lie to yourself like that.
>major malfuntion
My raifu is my waifu, and the lunatic eyes bun has a very impressive rate of fire. End transmission.
Hug the rabbit. Do it now!
Albert is a fool. If you want the definition I have of that word, look it up in the Devil's Dictionary. He willingly left his family behind without a note goodbye to pursue a dream of fantasy. To the best of our knowledge, Albert is no one of note besides the secret god's interest which he didn't earn through strength of character but inborn chance. Our actions through Albert have shown him to be a good man but foolish sometimes, so a young man. Yet, Albert wants to be more than that. He wants to experience more than what the ordinary world could have given him, to feel in control of his fate rather than the aimless drudgery that he had.

I believe that this issue of wanting to be more, which is understandable, is exacerbated by those he has talked to and witnessed in action. The humans such as Mokou, Reimu, and Marisa represent how time, talent, and hard work could shape an individual into one capable of battling fantastical creatures. Likewise, supernatural individuals such as Hecatia, Kasen, Suika, Reisen, Kagerou, Mima, etc., show him a more human side to Youkai, who have taken an interest in him and some who have even offered to train him. That the fantasy accepts him. When surrounded by such exceptional individuals, I find it easy to believe that Albert slipped into the constant mindset mentioned by >>5455829, that he could be saved at the last second along that maybe he is exceptional as well until death stares him directly in the eye. He is reduced to a fearful human, an average person in over his head in a matter infinitely more significant than him.

Albert is surrounded by people who have been strong for a long time. Who, by all accounts, rarely, if not outright, never feel fear like Albert did with his encounter with Nue. I don't believe these individuals can act as effective grounding points for Albert in gaining perspective about how he fits into this land of illusion.

The only individual to who Albert could relate to this issue of 'wanting more' after seeing Genoskyo is another outsider. The only named person we know in Touhou who comes close is Sumireko. On the issue of fear, of being faced with those infinitely more powerful than you and who care little to none at all about your say in continued existence, Reisen might be one to talk to, considering the lunar lords are terrifying forces of nature bent of purity. The feeling of facing something you know you cannot win against is probably a sentiment the lunar deserter understands, though probably to a deeper degree than Albert can come up with. Everybody around him can not understand these two things simultaneously appropriately. Unless Reisen is hiding some more character depth.

Albert is weak in a place where violence is the rule of law. He is no great hero. He is just some guy who got lucky with dreams coinciding with this land, one who abandoned his family without a word, and I wonder if he entirely recognizes this yet.
Also, I think we should find a cross and a pocket bible.
As you sat and had dinner with everyone else, those thoughts couldn't help but stir at the back of your mind, how Hecatia had been monitoring you today before the mess happened, even distracted you enough to make you forget the supper prayer...

"Say, Clownpiece-" You said, gulping down a chunk of the gyro; "Where did you go after what happened at the bar?"

"Kihihihihi! I followed you around you to get a good laugh at all the trouble you lot were causing! Hahahaha! Of course, I couldn't follow everywhere, not when you and your friends decided to haul buggy on horseback! I just came back here and finished off that Dango sto-"


"Gyah-ah! I-I-I-I mean I pl-played with the Turtle out back again is all! Me and Lady H' made sure nobody munked up the Shrine like good girls until you got home a while ago! Swear!"

"Well, most of that is true. I decided to drop by today because I caught wind of what Reimu was doing in the Dream World. Naturally, since the Dream World happens to circle by news through Hell a lot. I'd really been here since morning." The Hell Goddess admitted, confirming your thoughts. She then leaned over towards the Miko and you saw them exchange a whisper as Hecatia wiggled her pinky... "I'll replace them, pinky promise"

Everyone seemed to be here just to hear from the Incident solvers about their experience in the Dream World then. This Incident was blowing up big, wasn't it? Well, you didn't see any reason to delay the inevitable any longer yourself.

"So what did happen in the Dream World exactly? You were walking straight into a trap, weren't you?"

"Heh, Doremy may rule the Dream World but she isn't much in a fight. That trick she intended to pull using Dream Souls though, that was nasty. Maybe even unbeatable to the right opponents! But I had a way of overcoming it to pound Doremy into submission myself." Reimu boasts.

"...You used 'that' ability, didn't you?" Kasen asked with some intrigue.
Hecatia blinked, she didn't seem to catch it herself either despite so knowledgeable a Goddess. "Hm...? What ability? If I didn't know any better, I'd say you were good as gone myself if Doremy was putting you all to sleep using your Dream manifestations..."

"Not at all. Reimu's ability is to float after all." Kasen argued, only seeming to confuse the Goddess further.

Until the Miko herself elaborated. "Though my ability to float may seem mediocre to some, there's a state I can achieve through it that would make me untouchable even to the likes of a Goddess of Hell like yourself. I can float out of reality itself. That's why Doremy couldn't affect me any longer, I wasn't 'there' for her to. She couldn't touch me, but I could still show her a taste of my Yin Yang Orbs."

"Incredible..." Hecatia stated, impressed; "This is why I've come to admire Gensokyo so much, it pleases me to see how far mere Humans here have come."

"Ehhhh? What do ya' mean...? We couldn't beat ya' that time in the Dream World ourselves, you and Junko just went and gave up!" Marisa said.

Both the Magician and the Moon Rabbit were irked about something for sure when it came to the Hell Goddess now sitting besides them all.

"But don't you see that the accomplishment I truly adored was the fact that any of you from that Incident were even able to survive more than ten minutes against me. That itself is what is worthy of praise! There's few other places that have produced such capable fighters as Gensokyo."

"I don't feel that accomplished from then..." Reisen said with drooping ears.

Clownpiece giggled at their lingering feelings. "Kihihihi! You could always try your hand at a reeeemaaaatch with us!"

"I'm good." Said Marisa bluntly.

Clownpiece just grinned sinisterly.
"I went there too, just before Reimu did." You spoke up, garnering the table's attention.

"When I went there, Doremy taunted me, she knew I was looking for you both and when that became clear, the secret god showed up. She was a lot more evil than the last time I met her, almost like she was frustrated at my not following along with what she had planned... but it gets worse than that. She took some of her anger out on Doremy, choked her, showed me what happened to you both. You looked... terrible." You said to Marisa and Reisen.

The two of them looked down.

"We... we were going to interrogate Doremy, we had to battle her with Danmaku in the beginning. We did come out on top, but that was when she showed up..." Reisen said with a slight tremble to her voice.

Marisa looked uncomfortable to even speak about it, the Magician hiding her eyes a little beneath her hat.

"She didn't even bother with the normal rules! She ain't in that mood anymore, she went ahead and released the full powers of the Backdoor on us! Never been hit with so much Life energy before... in my life! And the way she got physical too...! It wasn't like her before in the Four Seasons Incident... not like her at all! Something's gotten into that secret god!"

An air of general distaste at what had happened was easily detectable over the gathering, from all parties, especially Kasen...

"And she even kept you both there for days as well, it seems... I believe she may be trying..."

"...to keep Incident Solvers out of the way by eliminating us, or at least keeping us down for the count!" Reimu finished the sentence, earning Hecatia's nod.

"She's obviously strong armed Doremy into working for her too. When she took her anger out on her, she was choking her, just like she choked me! And... that fire in her eyes."

"Yeah! There was a fire in her eyes! I remember that! I-It scares me to remember what it looked like...!" Reisen shivered.

"Albert did tell me about how she seemed possessed already... which means this Incident is worst than anyone could have anticipated if the secret god has been taken over by something. A lot more serious..." Kasen stated.

"And despite everything, it seems like Doremy won't be giving up working with whatever's guaranteed her cooperation anytime soon either." Reimu tells.

It was just like Doremy herself said, you believe.
"She told me she was in this because the secret god promised her reign over Hell's dreams. Does that mean anything to you?" You say across the board to Hecatia.

The Hell Goddess frowned and crossed her arms.

"A lot. In fact, I consider that a serious offense against Hell. There's good reason I make sure the Dreams of Hell aren't able to interact with the Dream World, they contain magic and terrible things. If the Dreams of the supernatural beings of Hell were to collide with the Dreams of mortals, it would give creatures born of night and dreams leeway to gaining more foothold to the mortal world. Some Hell denizens even practice astral projection to jump into their dreams. It would be a disaster if Dreams of Hell gave the rowdy people of my realm better ways to mess with the mortal world. More possessions... more negative karma overflow... even outright invasion! Too many variables and consequences! Doremy doesn't understand this! And what's worse is that it will anger beings above me!"

"B-beings above you...?" Kasen stuttered.

"You wouldn't understand what I mean by this, but Albert might. It'd attract the wrong kinda attention... I'm talking feathery, armored and spear wielding, and angry."

"... an Angel?"

"Oh yes, the biggest one too. Michael. He's the one that cappy gee sends down to cap up the wider universe's leaks. In other words, tighter restrictions will be put on the fantastical and supernatural by those that run the whole friggin' world! The Yama courts, the Buddhas, Archangels! All of those stuck up, transcendent office brooders!"

"You ought to take this very seriously. You're dealing with an impending disaster that has the potential to attract the attention of things that outrank the Celestials and Lunarians! There's no telling what they'd do! They... they might even deem getting rid of Gensokyo necessary!"
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You stared directly into Hecatia's eye as she said this... and received a glimpse. A vision of some figure whose luminance was far too great for your brain to even begin beholding. Winged and proud, red like the sun with fire and wielding a golden spear. Could that be who you think it is...?!

A deathly chill falls over the table at Hecatia's warnings. You especially for one were terrified... terrified of the idea that Gensokyo could face destruction if the secret god's antics got out of hand. But for one, you also wondered...

"W-W... Wait, how could the secret god even give Doremy what she wants? Wouldn't that mean having to take you out?"

"Possibly. And at this point, you guys don't know who else she has in her employ, and what she's promising them. And what those promises could lead to either. And we don't know what she has up her sleeve, if it works against me, or if she'll just take advantage of the fact that Hell is so big and constantly getting bigger every second... that even I can't control every bit of it all at once, not all the time. She could slip in somewhere even... or maybe get high ranking Kishin on her side."

For all her power, Hecatia wasn't omnipotent, and she sure wasn't omniscient. She couldn't be everywhere at once in her domain.

You and Kasen shared a look of concern over Hecatia's musings both yourselves, as she and you had already discussed the possibility of you merely being a sleeper against for the secret god to use against Hecatia by befriending her... that meant that she only needed a way to get close. Hecatia was right, nobody knew what she has as a trump card.

"...Then what do we do with her? Exterminate her? She's a god, she'll just come back, but destroying whatever's possessing her is more pressing, even if it means we'd have to get rid of her too." Reimu starts thinking.

Kasen didn't seem to be so fast with the idea of destroying the secret god however. But Marisa and Reisen were on board with it as they threw in their opinions. Hecatia even nodded herself.
"Some direct intervention against her seems to be a good call." (GREAT GOD WARS)

"Huuuuh? But waiiiit, none of you even have the first idea where to start looking!" Clownpiece threw it out there.

"True... our first concern above all is getting to her. The Realm of the Backdoor is secluded, it isn't easy to access. I know at least that getting there is something that the secret god herself seems to be able to limit, when it comes to whom can come and go." The Hermit said as she took the last bite of her meal.

"I know one thing at least... I'm never going to help her now." You sigh, picking the last remnants of your food with your fork.


"...I get that taking action must be the sound choice, but I'm sure we can go about it some way that's more careful than just declaring full on war, even given what's at stake. I know it must be dire, but it hasn't happened yet, so that means we still have a good chance at putting a stop to it ahead of time before this... Michael or whoever decides to step in. We just need to investigate our leads we do have, surely it'll lead us to something." Reimu chimed in against Hecatia's harsher suggestions. (EXTERMINATIONS IN PARADISE

Marisa and Reisen were a bit conflicted, they didn't know whether to agree or not.

Hecatia just shrugged, sporting a placate but fierce smirk. "I'll leave it to the mortals then and hang back, until you want me involved in the thick of it..."

Everyone nodded.

"Mima should be back tomorrow, I think."

"Yeah, she'll have Komeiji Satori, the mind reader. I say let's rest on this tonight and reconvene tomorrow again when they arrive. Once Satori divulges the secret god's identity, then I think we can start discussing what to do next." Reimu says.

"Agreed. Well, I'll be staying here then. Is the guest room ready?" Kasen asked her, standing up and helping you rise to your feet as Hecatia and Clownpiece began tidying up the table following dinner.

"More than enough room. Marisa, sleepover tonight?"

"As long as you don't snore, you know it, heehee."

"H-hey! I don't snore! ...not loudly...!"
It wasn't long after that you'd find yourself in bed again, hands together as you prayed to the Lord who you knew to be the only true God. You asked for forgiveness in what you'd done, and for his wisdom and guidance going forward, swearing to do better and make good on your promise. As well, you... timidly prayed for Him to... spare Gensokyo, this place you've come to enjoy. Even as blasphemous as it might be. You believed everything deserved mercy.

You sat quietly pondering in your sleep about the revelations from tonight's supper. If the secret god caused too many great calamities meddling in the affairs of too many realms, letting situations grow out of hand, then it was possible that the unseen hand hovering above and guiding the fate of the universe would act. Michael... the Angel who himself was said to have struck down the Devil, Lucifer... whatever you want to call him. That sounded scary as shit, mate. You didn't want to think about grimacing it would be to face an Archangel.

You knew that sometimes, around the world, some people in Christendom even had summoning dates and prayers specially for these Archangels, such as Michael. Some people even believed that a method for dealing with the demonic and exorcisms involved summoning Angels like Michael to perform their duty against whatever demons were afoot. You thought about learning more on that... but that would mean you having to go back to the real world. You wondered if Reimu would let you again, or maybe if you could get somebody else to... or if you could even get someone to accompany you.

You perished the thoughts for a second as you felt a leg bump against yours.

You looked down and saw Reisen curled up into a ball almost, save for one of her legs stretching out a little far.

The guest room was spacious enough... except when it had this many occupants sleeping in it! Hecatia and Clownpiece were closer to the wall above you, the Hell Goddess holding her Fairy disciple who laid on top of her like a mother would as the two slept radiantly like babies. The guard dog Aunn was over in the corner leaning against the wall and somehow sleeping in such a position. Reisen was to your right on the futon below yourself, and Kasen was laying to your left on her back on a futon too. She didn't bother covering herself, or even changing to sleep clothes...

...in fact, you think she was still awake like you were. No, that was certain, she was still awake like you, looking up at the ceiling and blinking every so often. You wonder what was on her mind as you glanced from the corner of your eyes.
You weren't sure if now was the best time to inquire though. You also wondered if you should bother trying to visit Doremy again after what's happened...

You feel a twinge to your noggin'... man, why do you have to sleep surrounded by so many beautiful girls like this? Are you going to be made to do this every other night?! You have to contain yourself, Albert... have to contain yourself...!

>What will you do? Will you really attempt to dream?
>Dream and Visit Doremy

We should check on her. She's a victim of this too.

Also, we should hug Reisen by "accident". It's going to be funny once she wakes up.
>Yes, let's do this
Also here's a little prayer to Michael to calm him down. Let's hope that if Rafael or Gabriel don't also get involved, or if they do they are the voice of reason, one guided Tobias and the other heralded Jesus' coming to Mary, so they might be kinder than the champion of the Lord of Armies.

Well, this got a lot more SMT, we just need to summon a demon now
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Also here's a meme about Hecc comment on leaching off God's trinity
>Dream and communicate with Doremy
I’m wondering if we can flip her by trying to get what she wants with some caveats. Hecatia’s problem with Doremy’s goal is the cross-pollination of Hell and Human dreams. I’m guessing that Doremy managing Hell’s dreams wouldn’t cause that in itself, but it’s a likely result if no additional precautions are taken.

So, maybe a punch clock system could work? Doremy has to cross a threshold built by Hecatia, leave behind her influence over human dreams, and can take over Hell’s dreams? Something to serve as a circuit breaker and keep her from being an unwitting bridge between the two dream worlds.

I’m very much spitballing here since I don’t know how Doremy works. It’s also not as good of a deal as she’s theoretically getting from Okina. But on the plus side, she doesn’t have to deal with someone willing to choke her.

We can’t offer anything concrete yet, but if we share Hecatia’s concerns and have Doremy think of a compromise, we could run it by Hecatia afterward and see what we get.
>the prediction of it being lawfag god from was correct
Oh fuck
This is bad, this is quite possibly the single worst outcome that could of come of us learning a little more about christianity in Albert's world
I'm 180% Gensokyo is fucked either way now eventually


I'd actually like to avoid Doremy for tonight, to avoid salting the wound in case it would just happen to be too soon. Plus chances are that Okina's already chewing her out after she lost so we don't want any part of that. Let's just sleep and wait to see what happens when we wake up, maybe whisper to Kasen about what's on her mind and offer her part of our blanket since she doesn't have one.
>Hecatia and Clownpiece were closer to the wall above you, the Hell Goddess holding her Fairy disciple who laid on top of her like a mother would as the two slept radiantly like babies
Cute, CUTE
I also find it funny how Okina's speech was all how her plan was to protect Gensokyo and that you don't fuck with a god, but she's out there threatening the place while fucking with The God.

The threat of divine judgment, neat. It makes me curious if the fallen one in Makai has any info about avoiding or circumventing it. I would find it hard to believe that Okina did not have something in mind to prevent a Sodom and Gomorrah treatment. Perhaps Albert was supposed to be a part of that, considering his Christian background. That may force him into briefly associating with Okina in the future despite the route related to her being locked; is it a lock due to Albert's motivations and subject to future change if circumstances alter?
>Offer Kasen a blanket
>Hug the bunn
Bring up Hecatia’s concerns at the very least to maybe make her realize this is a lose-lose situation. Also can’t wait to see how we react if we meet Urumi and her milk trucks
We could carve out a cross, but how would we even get a Bible around here?

>but that would mean you having to go back to the real world.
You wondered if Reimu would let you again, or maybe if you could get somebody else to
>or if you could even get someone to accompany you.
Food for thought.

>Give Kasen a blanket
>Hug the rabbit
>Dream and meet the Tapir
> and be prepared to confront the secret god if it comes to it
Funny moments with our favorite bunny and oni.
We should also plan on explaining what we know about Divinity to the gang once we wake up.
>Food for thought.
Albert must take the winning waifu to meet his parents.
I’ll add to my vote based on others.
>Give the blanket to Kasen
>Curl up against Reisen for warmth after getting back and realizing you just gave up your blanket.
>Sleep, perchance to dream.
>"Mom, Dad, meet my girlfriend. She comes from a magical fairy land with flesh-eating demons. Also I had a vision of the archangel Michael and I need to go back or else that world will die."
>Give Kasen a blanket
>Hug the rabbit
It gets extra awkward if we bring someone who is clearly inhuman. Like imagine if we brought home Mima
>Anons voting to cuddle with Reisen
Albert works fast, going to end up in bed with a 2hu. I wonder if this is being too familiar with a friend. Eh, Albert being a gorgeous bastard, probably will smooth it over.
I don't think it's a good idea, you know how rabbits get, what if she starts grinding against us in our sleep? Albert's already having trouble sleeping surrounded by so many girls. We're gonna sin again...
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>all this voting for cuddling the bunny

>Give Kasen a Blanket
>DONT Hug the rabbit
>Wet Dream about Reimu
Not as weird as bringing a fairy and saying she's our gf

We could always say that in our nearly half-asleep sate we thought she was our pet rabbit that we totally had as a kid from back home.
If that is the case, we can only hope the dream encounter is terrifying enough to banish such thoughts.
>sleeping surrounded by so many girls
It's attractive until they start snoring like a storm.
>We're gonna sin again...
Anons can't help themselves to not fuck up, even after wanting Albert to be a good boy.
Doesn't help with votes like this make it seem that instead of being the voice of reason is just more waifufaggotry
Im the type who would rather not waifufag at all and just play neutral on the shipping and let the character actions come as they come, but everyone is pulling in the directions they want so if i dont push against it im just gonna get dragged along.
Defensive measures are atleast understandable.
The most reasonable action would be to settle in with Kasen since we’re offering her the blanket anyway.

Ultimately though, I won’t be upset regardless of who wins. I’m all in it for cute/amusing interactions. The bunny one happens to tickle my fancy right now.
I'm also partial to neutrality, but as stated, everyone is pulling in the direction they want. I'd be fine if we played Albert as one entirely unconcerned with romance and instead focused on his personal character growth because he seems nice and AMERICAN but not much more than that, even with the background we've developed for him. Which altogether fails to really interest me as a protagonist. I also find the waifufaggotry arguments amusing.
Honestly I may be going on too much on a doom mode, but that comment about sinning again made me really worried about getting even more cruelty points.
The drinking got us 20 because of the mess, getting caught in a compromising in a room full of girls should also be bad, since it's based around how other perceive Albert's actions.
Wait, is this going to be as bad as that? In that case I'll change my vote.

Instead of hugging Reisen, instead
>Give your blanket to Kasen
>Resist temptation, contemplate your purity
>Sleep and dream, prepare for the worst
I'm less worried about who wins and more of the evil red slave bad end points. Also partly about making the other toehoes angry and/or sad.
I have no idea, but after what happened I have become paranoid.

Maybe we could headpat the sleeping bunny before going to bed ourselves as a compromise?
I just think it would be funny if albert ended up having a wet dream since hes going to sleep desperately trying to keep himself under control in his current 'situation' and then doremy drops in and smugs all over him.
She can't smug on us if we smug her over first!
Boner 70+ cruelty points
An issue I have with the telling that Albert is attracted to 2hus is what purpose does this reminder serve beside some comedy? It's like, Albert, you have more things to worry about, such as the slave brand that can compromise your free will, a realm facing possible divine destruction, and how close you were to being eaten.

It is more a time for introspection than thinking about what terrible luck it is to be sleeping in a room full of attractive people, except Clownpiece. If Albert becomes attracted to her, I'm voting to throw him headfirst into dangerous scenarios.
Ugh. Uggggggh.

You just had to go and make an argument that makes sense and isn’t based on amusing waifu wars.

Switching again to
>Given Kasen blanket.
>Run the offer we’ll make Doremy by her since she’s awake and her opinion is valued.
>Go to sleep there and keep her pointers in mind.

If I didn’t want to try and flip Doremy, I’d honestly just vote on keeping Kasen company until we pass out. But I still want a cute scene somewhere too on top of that flip chance, and sharing a blanket with Kasen in exchange for advice is the best I can do while avoiding cruelty points.
Turns out Albert was Sariel's soulmate all along: Terminally horny
Fuck...that's a good one.
But clownpiece is great
Clownpiece is our american daughter and Albert has only seen her and Fairies as children, our boy isn't corrupt like that. He prefers ladies that actually have developed tiddies like Hecatia and Kasen. Clownpiece is for spoiling with candy and playing with.
Wait, I just thought of something. Since we're now confirmed to have SMT Law shenanigans in this, what are the chances Okina's been possessed by some Chaos aligned Demon or Fallen?
It's Louis Cyphre up to his shenanigans again.
He is the morning star afterall
Finally a true chad
You think to take your mind off of it by grabbing your blanket. You look over to Kasen as she stared at the ceiling quietly.

"Pst... hey..." You whispered, almost mouthing without sound.

Curiously, Kasen looked over at you, being able to see by the dim moonlight alone. You pulled your blanket up and threw it over, covering her and giving it up. Maybe the reason why she slept with none was a shortage of blankets, you didn't think Reimu would be able to cover everyone. The Hermit blinked at you and peered down to the blanket, and then back to you, as if asking if you really wanted to do that.

You just nodded.

Kasen stared again at the blanket with some hesitance, and she blushed a bit at your charity, mouthing 'thank you' over your way with a tiny smile on her face.

You laid back again, this time staring at the ceiling yourself as Kasen got comfortable. And then, there was a slight chill felt. Night was undoubtedly colder than daytime here in Gensokyo, and you merely had this thin robe on to cover yourself with. Slowly, you think you began to understand why the ascetic with the buns went without a blanket, she likely didn't think much of temperature like you guessed everyone else would here, all being people gifted with supernatural abilities. Only you, the absolutely ordinary Human who's only somewhat dabbled into that stuff were truly affected by the nip in the air.

And you just gave away your only blanket.

Nobody ever accused you of being especially smart man...

Silently, you pondered what to do about it. Maybe you could slide down a little and try to steal some warmth from the Moon Rabbit, she looked soft and cuddlesome. Buuuut then again, she was still covered in bandages and recovering from her injuries, you couldn't forget that. You didn't want to unintentionally cause any harm by brushing the sore spots and bruises, so you quickly dismissed the thought. And besides, the last thing you wanted to be caught doing was showcasing attractions you fail to contain right next to one of them. You suppose you can just give her a hug when she's awake to share your affectio-

Kasen suddenly grabs the edge of your futon with her artificial arm.


You wordlessly watched as she pulled yours closer until it was just beside hers. She then raised the blanket you gave her and quietly whispered.

"Don't you need this more than I do? What were you thinking, just giving it away so freely...?"

The Hermit cast the blanket over you as well, intending to share it. It wasn't the biggest of blankets, you found her scooting closer in a troublesome way just you and her were practically shoulder to shoulder on your backs. Her cheeks were pink as her hair.

Though surprisingly, for once, you weren't flustered, instead innocently asking; "But... you're a human too. Wouldn't you have gotten cold?"
She was actually stumped by that one.

"...Let me ask you a question... back there at the... ah, the river... did you happen to peek under my double buns?"

You take a minute to nod slowly to her. You weren't sure yet if that offended her or not. But, she doesn't look offended, instead breathing in.

"You can ask it."


"Those things you're hiding... that strength you had, just like Suika's. The fact you were alive even without needing oxygen... you're not really a Human too, are you?"

She shakes her head.

"There's a reason I was... 'reconnecting' with Suika. I've known her for a long time, a very long time, before I became a... Hermit. Back then... I had long, pointy horns just like her."

"You're an Oni then."

"...I thought you'd guess as much the moment I realized I was blacked out and awoke to you being active first before me. Yes, I'm truthfully an Oni..."

You feel like you shouldn't be surprised, but you couldn't help but be astonished nonetheless. Kasen wasn't Human after all. It seemed that the only real Humans around here right now besides yourself were Reimu and Marisa. And honestly... it felt kind of crushing, even. You had been led by her to believe that a Human can become strong as her, but you realize now that the true source of her strength is the fact that's something stronger than any Human.

And you were sharing a blanket with her, this fact briefly spooked you. But, she at least kept her strength under wraps like Suika did. Yeah, come to think of it, Suika didn't flatten Geidontei even when she was already riled up. You guess it's a false alarm, all that matters is that she's warm.

"How can you be a Hermit if you're an Oni, though?"
"I never said that being a different species prevented you from learning the way of the Hermit. I've left my old life behind to seek a new one, I can still learn and perform the same techniques that anyone can by training, even as an Oni. Don't be discouraged, Albert. I don't want you to believe that you can't match up just because there's a difference in physical strength. You can still become far more powerful as a Hermit than you can imagine if you trained for it and extended your life."

"...Miss Mima called me student when I learned under her. If you trained me, what would you call me?"

Kasen blinked at your question, thinking it over a bit.


"Disciple... I like it."

"Try to get some sleep, Albert."

"This position isn't the most comfortable... gotta tell you."

Kasen would be lying if she told you otherwise. Shoulder to shoulder didn't feel nice at all, and she didn't have an answer. Well, you weren't about to try it anyway, taking initiative as you slipped your arm under her shoulders and held her closer, she was surprised at you, and it felt better laying this way.

"Wh... what are you..."

"Trust me. We'll both sleep better this way."


Kasen didn't say anything else as she eased her head down onto your chest and below your neck. One of her legs crossed over yours and she folded her arms, covering her mouth with her balled hands. There was more of the blanket for both of you like this at least. Were you pushing it...? Especially after... the thing... the, uh... the thing that happened when you thought she was dying. Maybe, maybe you were... but she wasn't complaining either. Soon enough, Kasen settled down into your arm's hold.

"...Don't go around just telling everyone the truth about me, Albert... okay...?"

"I won't. Promise."

Kasen shut her eyes. Eventually, she was sound asleep.

Not long after, you were too.
And it was back to here again. The Dream World.

You looked at your hands and saw something unrecognizable, it certainly wasn't the shape of what hands looked like. And you were just in the middle of sitting on your recliner too. It's just that, you don't remember having walls with an orange finish. No, for some odd reason, you were dreaming of your grandparent's house. At least now you were aware that you were dreaming, entering the lucid state.

You hear the sound of a drink being sipped nearby. Seems as always, she's found you, and not the other way around. She's looking to have been beaten up badly herself, just like Marisa and Reisen did from last time, clothing ruined, her long hair seeping through the rips in her iconic Santa hat and her fair skin sported bruising. Yet, it didn't seem to kill her mood a bit as she rocked back and forth in a rocking chair. Hey, was that grandma's chair...?

"Dawww, isn't that just sweet." She cooed as she looked into a pink, puffy and cloudlike Dream Soul like a television.

"...What are you looking at?"

"You and the "Hermit" in the real world."

"...What are you planning?"

"Imagine how embarrassing it'd be for both of you if I were to use your Dream Soul to inflict certain reactions. Wouldn't she find it weird if she woke up by something poking her-"


Doremy's cheeks puffed up containing laughter.

"How about... you don't?"

"You seem to really have it for some of these girls, but you know, you can only pick one in the end, right? I mean, might as well confirm which one already."
"How about, we don't right now, Mrs. Claus?"

"Oh my, picking on you is never going to get old."

"You know, I actually came here just to try making peace again. I got a very good reason why you can't help the secret god anymore, you taking the Dreams of Hell over will lead to very bad shit happening, believe it or not."

"Oh, Alby, it's a bit too late for that now. After the way I got chewed out following my defeat, I flatly just don't have a choice anymore. If I refuse to work for it, it'll kill me. If I keep working for it, it'll probably still kill me, but there's a tiny chance it won't and will keep its end of the bargain, at least."

"Look, you-... Wait, 'it'...?"

"Yep. It couldn't use her to punish me, it has her busy dealing with that nosey Youkai with the gaps, who you'll all be seeing tomorrow, by the way. So, instead, it showed me something even worse than the neck-breaker. Needless to say, I am depressed as a result, and very, very scared." She admits, all while retaining her usual smug demeanor throughout it all, miraculously.

"I'm... not following."

"You guys are foolish. It will waste you all in the end."

That's blunt, you reply; "We have the Goddess of Hell on our side."

"Yep. And it's gonna waste her too. None of you can beat it, no matter what you do. I don't know what exactly it wants, but it's gonna get it in the end, whatever it is. So, no, I'm not in the mood for the whole coercion thing, Albert, even if you do look so cute when you plead to me~ I'd rather just lick my wounds, and wait here until it needs me again... and hope it isn't as harsh as it was earlier, with that longsword and those flaming eyes, calling me vándr over and over again."


"It means 'bad'... I'm not bad though... I couldn't be."

"What is 'it', Doremy?"

"Hatred. Pure hate and evil itself, and it scares the daylights out of me. Like I said, the gap lady will have a story for you all tomorrow." Doremy said, nonchalantly dispelling her Dream beverage to the air.

>[Write in]
>Give Doremy a hug. She needs it.
>Press Doremy to tell you more.
>This is useless. Just return to slumber and wait for daybreak.
>Give Doremy a hug. She needs it.
>Ok, so it's a being of pure hatred, it's linked to fire, has a longsword and probably wants to destroy the world. Are we dealing with Surtr, the fire giant of Ragnarok here?
Deleted my last two posts, it's less confusing this way
And one of the deleted posts isn't gone on my end, and I greentexted something I meant to be just a OOC comment.
Just wonderful
>Mention Surtr
>Mention Norse mythology doesn’t have many real adherents in the real world, so big-G (or his lackey) will probably waste him (and us as collateral damage) if we fail anyway.
>Sit next to her, put an arm over her shoulder, wave to the expanse and tell her to have fun with it while talking about whatever she wants. Pretty good chance we both die anyway, and we have have more people to share it with in the waking world so she gets center stage.
Guess we can’t steal her outright, so we may as well get in her good graces in the vague hope that she betrays Surtr at an appropriate moment.

Plus there’s talk of turning our boy into a Christian hermit. Priests perform last rites for the condemned, so it would probably be up our alley by association.
>Mention Surtr
>Mention Norse mythology doesn’t have many real adherents in the real world, so big-G (or his lackey) will probably waste him (and us as collateral damage) if we fail anyway.
>Sit next to her, put an arm over her shoulder, wave to the expanse, and tell her to have fun with it while talking about whatever she wants. Pretty good chance we both die anyway, and we have more people to share it within the waking world, so she gets center stage.
>Reconfirm the promise of trying to help her out of this situation.
>Hum a lullaby in a quiet moment.

Ain’t Albert and Doremy two peas in a pod. Both are fresh from the experience of powerlessness but differ in that Albert had support in his moment of weakness. Perhaps the two can bond over this shared experience of not being able to control fate despite their best plans. I doubt that Baku has anybody else to talk to who could understand at the present moment, which is kind of sad. So maybe hum a lullaby or something while enjoying a moment with the Baku staring over the dream expense. Perhaps reassert the promise of looking for some way to get her out of this situation. This is turning out more sweet than I expected. Good thing Albert is in the lands of dreams then, so he won’t get cavities.
I'm guessing being overwhelmingly smug is how she copes. We're fucked aren't we?
>Mention Surtr
>>Sit next to her, put an arm over her shoulder, wave to the expanse and tell her to have fun with it while talking about whatever she wants. Pretty good chance we both die anyway, and we have have more people to share it with in the waking world so she gets center stage.
>Hum a lullaby in a quiet moment.
I'll change my vote to
>Mention Surtr
>Sit next to her, wave to the expanse, and tell her to have fun with it while talking about whatever she wants.
>Reconfirm the promise of trying to help her out of this situation.
>Hum a lullaby in a quiet moment.
>Mention Surtr
>Sit next to her, wave to the expanse, and tell her to have fun with it while talking about whatever she wants.
>Reconfirm the promise of trying to help her out of this situation.
>Hum a lullaby in a quiet moment.
I feel a bit bad for her, honestly.
>Buuuut then again, she was still covered in bandages and recovering from her injuries, you couldn't forget that. You didn't want to unintentionally cause any harm
Thought so, knew something was being missed there. Thankfully, the Oni whose also a Hermit proves to be just as cuddly and soft, Kasen chads can't stop winning.

>okina's possessor is possibly motherfucking Surtr
Reminder that his job is to burn the whole world and end it. Of all the things that could have been behind Okina, this is quite possibly the worst guy it could be. Haha, shit man.
>Give Doremy a hug. She needs it.

Maybe don't mention Surtr? She's giving us as many clues as possible while being discreet. Maybe the secret god can hear us. Don't be so obvious.
I'm going to express my admiration of the character moments with Doromey and the parallels that have developed between her and Albert. Both want to be more than they currently are, both have faced an overwhelming force that they know cannot beat, and both still hold that hope that maybe at the last second, a golden way out exists. Moreover, the interactions in Albert's dreams with her have ranged from her seeming in control in almost a whimsical, fun manner to a somber softer tone like this current one Albert is having. I believe both characters can relate to each other now more than any other, and I love character parallels. Anyways, I hope Albert has more interactions with Doremy in the future. I'll, for one, will be sad if we have no more after this. I wonder how she will wake up Albert his time?

I'm changing my vote to add being more careful with putting an arm around her shoulder because she is bruised. However, some gentle warm physical contact after having experienced a terrifying event would not seem remiss to me.
That's true. How about instead of directly mentioning we have Albert put 2 and 2 together in his own mind? Or be somewhat vague and just say that we now know IT just wants to burn down the world.
I wonder if asking if it plans on killing a lord, which would be referencing Freyr, could be a hint to Doremy that we know what she is talking about.
>Give Doremy a hug. She needs it.
>DO NOT press Doremy to tell you more.
We've learned enough. Let's not push our luck.

Lord my God, I seek refuge in you;
save me from all my pursuers and rescue me,
or they will tear me like a lion,
ripping me apart with no one to rescue me.
Dominate the sleep paralysis demon
>Sit next to her, wave to the expanse, and tell her to have fun with it while talking about whatever she wants.
>Reconfirm the promise of trying to help her out of this situation.
>Hum a lullaby in a quiet moment.
Everyone else here is taking pity on her meanwhile I'd rather punch her in the gut for what she did. If she was really scared she could flee the dream world and come seek refuge in Gensokyo in physical form until everything blows over.
Then vote for it anon
I’ll update my vote to remove the direct reference to Surtr and replace it with an indirect “yeah, I think I know that guy, I can share their name if you don’t think it’ll call him here” stuff.
thirding this. Names have power. And invoking the name of an entity in a realm as mystical as the dream world can bring nothing but bad things. There is a reason Doremy is being vague and a doubt its to keep us from figuring out who it is.
The other anons make a good point about not mentioning Surtr
Changing my vote to
>Imply that you know who attacked her, but that it's too dangerous to say his name
>Sit next to her, wave to the expanse, and tell her to have fun with it while talking about whatever she wants.
>Reconfirm the promise of trying to help her out of this situation.
>Hum a lullaby in a quiet moment.
I'm officially voting to remove the mention of Surtr, but still make Albert connect the dots
I've said it here, but it might be harder to notice
I agree with these. Funnily enough Albert might actually know more about Surtr than most of the touhous (outside of heca of course and maybe yukari) do due to having his interest in western history and archeology.
Rolled 9 (1d10)

Rolling number of oni hybrids to put in Kasen.
Dam we gon be busy
Rolled 68 (1d100)

Rolling the stress level of Albert’s guardian angel.
Hermits can live forever, we have plenty of time t pace each one
I feel like this roll deserves a modifier, something like a +100
Rolled 88771 (1d99999)

Rerolling the real number
File: Albert's Guardian Angel.jpg (675 KB, 1140x1708)
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675 KB JPG
The true victim of Albert's journey.
[ Current Relations Status and characters thoughts on Albert]

Hakurei Reimu (44%) (She gave you one job. ONE JOB!)
Kirisame Marisa (13%) (Is hoping to get back into the fray on your incident soon)
Mima (33%) (Wants to teach you again)
Ibaraki Kasen (38%) (She can see you're a good man, and wants to help you improve anyway she can, she'd like to take you on as a disciple)
Kawashiro Nitori (34%) (Has sorta forgotten about you by now)
Fujiwara no Mokou (23%) (She heard about the race thing, she was amused)
Reisen Udongein Inaba (45%) (Seeing you again has given her hope in pursuing her goal)
Inaba Tewi (0%) (No thoughts, head empty)
Houraisan Kaguya (0%) (She's gotten over the beauty comment by now)
Yagokoro Eirin (4%) (No thoughts, head empty)
Imaizumi Kagerou (30%) (Petted)
Ibuki Suika (36%) (New drinking buddy! She thinks...)
Komano Aunn (4%) (She wonders if you give good pettings...)
Shameimaru Aya (11%) (The material you've given her is going to be a hit!)
Tatara Kogasa (31%) (She can't remember what happened, she just remembers it being fun)
Three Fairies of Light (9%) (No thoughts, head empty)
Clownpiece (34%) (Thinks you're too responsible, she sees it as bratty)
Hecatia Lapislazuli (40%) (She's glad to see you've done well taking care of Clownpiece so far)
Rumia (-1%) (She's pouting about her defeat, but not as badly now)
Cirno (9%) (Wasn't there a human around here not long ago? Hmm, must be her imagination)
Yakumo Yukari (-4%) (What has that human brought to Gensokyo...?!)
Doremy Sweet (6%) (You promised to free her, she's having trouble believing you can)
Toutetsu Yuuma (-70%) (Kill the human, just like master said to)
Matara Okina...? (-98%) (Om du inte kommer att lyda, kommer du att krossas)
Genjii (9%) (That human was nice, he listened to my stories attentively, wish he'd swing by again... maybe with some sake in hand)
Okunoda Miyoi (0%) (She still doesn't know what a hamburger is and it's been bugging her ever since you asked for it)
Sekibanki (0%) (That human that Kagerou knew... he's a strange one...)
Houjuu Nue (0%) (She feels bad about what her hunger drove her to, mostly from fealty to Byakuren, she wishes she could take it back)

You have yet to grow a bond close to 100%, but keep trying.

(Just a refresher on this until I update eventually.)
>Yakumo Yukari (-4%) (What has that human brought to Gensokyo...?!)
Fuck you gap hag, we didn't do shit. Maybe you should do your job properly and watch what the other sages are up to.
>Matara Okina...? (-98%) (Om du inte kommer att lyda, kommer du att krossas)
It means: if you will not obey, you will be crushed
>Ibuki Suika (36%) (New drinking buddy! She thinks...)
>Lost two percent with Reimu because we didn't protect her dango
The Reisen sweep is underway... Also very ominous "Okina" comment
>Matara Okina...? (-98%) (Om du inte kommer att lyda, kommer du att krossas)
Albert's going to get fucked up by her and the gote, isn't he?

Also make a side note we have to get our turtlebro Genjii some sake sometimes.

>The Reisen sweep is underway
Hold your horses there rabbitfucker! Hell mommy caught up nicely herself unexpectedly, if we keep being a good bestie and guardian to our clown daughter she may even surpass the bunny. Though I like what we have going on with Kasen the most right now and still want to pursue the On- Hermit. Heca and Reimu would be my followup choices.
>Mima (33%) (Wants to teach you again)
Makes me feel bad about leaving her apprenticeship, but God refuses to pick up the phone. We really should keep praying, in Luke 18:1–8, Jesus said that if he doesn't answer, you should annoy him until he does.
But at the same time I really would rather be a christian hermit
Talking about Reisen, I think we should hang out with her a bit, it's been a while. We got a new gun, we could show it off to her. The bnnuy liked the Glock, will she like the revolver?
We never actually showed Reisen how the gun worked, did we?
I don't think we did, we just showed her basic gun safety since she was pointing it around, but never actually shot it.
Oh, and I almost forgot, we must pet Aunn and tell her she is a good komainu for looking over the shrine while we were gone.
>Mima (33%) (Wants to teach you again)
>Ibaraki Kasen (38%) (She can see you're a good man, and wants to help you improve anyway she can, she'd like to take you on as a disciple)
This is one of those situations where you can't have your cake and eat it. On the one hand, I wanted Albert to get hermit training from Kasen to get physically strong enough to fistfight Okina and engage in a biblical wrestling match with an angel, don't really care about living longer lol. Yet, on the other hand, her training will eventually be incompatible with Mima's magic which ranges from Albert's forcefields to fire manipulation, divination, levitation, or healing waters, all of which I could see as having creative applications such as quickly turning a flammable fuel gaseous using forcefields and setting it ablaze with controlled fire to make superheated firebombs, compressing moisture in the air into water to use in tandem with healing waters, or reaching a point of immediate divination to supernaturally dodge incoming attacks. Unfortunately, I don't think there will be enough time for Albert to get natty gains to achieve the feats of strength I listed before this incident ends, considering the sword of Damocles overhead. I like creative magic usage more than pure strength, despite how fun it could be.

>Matara Okina...? (-98%) (Om du inte kommer att lyda, kommer du att krossas)
We got a person close to a 100% already. NICE!
Problem is that the creative use of magic has not worked so far.
The forcefield didn't really protect from Cirno's attack, and since we didn't have our staff we couldn't do the plan to trick Suika
I think it's better to not go deeper in magic because there will be more of these plans that don't work, and atleast raw strength is straight forward.
Long-term goal could remain both. Hermits are supposed to be exceptional at something, being a magic-casting hermit could be our thing.

That’d take longer than the duration of the incident though. I’d back magic usage first myself, though getting a focus we can’t easily leave behind or get disarmed would be a prereq for me. If that’s not an option, Kasen training would be more appropriate.

The Cirno battle can be waved off as us being an amateur and that applies for hermit training too, but having nothing to help defend against Nue with is on us.
Problem isn't being amateur with it, but what we do with it.
I just know that if we learn more spells there will be a bunch of suggestions to do things that they can't do, and we will have more updates of failures. Like I don't know, casting the water healing on our liver to get not drunk or something.
Creative, smart and successful does not mean the same thing, and I don't trust anons to achieve the last two, atleast without a QM actively warning us. Specially me, since I'm an idiot.
>there will be a bunch of suggestions to do things that they can't do
You raise a good point, Anon. Though, I feel that this could be rectified by QM explaining how these spells worked in function or giving an example about their application rather than us learning through trial and error.

For example, I don't know if forcefields are solely focused around Albert, if he could throw a forcefield over another close by to protect them from an attack, or if forcefields could be used to physically restrain a person or even crush an enemy between two, or even be used to compress liquids into gas.

If we understand how QM limits these spells in their view, we can work within those parameters rather than trying and failing, as you put it.

I also just want a magic gun.
I kind of want to go after another type of magic, since Mima's incompatible. The bible bans some type of magic, but what about others? Kabbalah and numerology, they are jewish things, so maybe it would fit with the christian hermit idea. Or finding the Ring of Solomon to use as our focus, that thing should be able to bypass any restriction.
The hard part is to find a teacher or the artifact to begin with
I can only imagine the remaining 2% is whatever is left of Okina
Why not just "cut" with a forcefield? It could have infinite sharpness or manifest it inside the body of our foe?
[X] ask Marisa if she’s capable of charging objects with spells
If so
[X] ask her if she could charge our bullets with some spark type spells
>Ring of Solomon
Going on an adventure to get the magic artifact and save the world sounds pretty kino would going back to the outside world with someone from Gensokyo to find it be possible?

We should do that after we wake up. It's good to keep our promises.
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That is both an amazing and terrifying suggestion.
...Its kinda occurring to me after all these revelations that Kanako is probably pissing herself if she's keeping abreast of the current situation. The Moriyas might be power players in gensokyo but they pale in comparison to Hecc and Okina. Yet here we are dealing with gods and entities from outside that are so powerful they can just straight up puppet Okina of all people. Moriya shrine is complete fucking small fry on the celestial power scale and their proverbial 'small pond' that they escaped to feel like big fish in is about to be bulldozed.
We must give the rabbit the attention shes been neglected of.
>Press Doremy to tell you more.
i'm all caught up.
We could make money by selling an interview to Aya and maybe shill the shrine too?
>The hard part is to find a teacher or the artifact to begin with
A thought occurs to me. But don't we know about a fallen angel known for teaching humans magic and is unassociated with Heaven, who is also, coincidently, in a realm with a miasma that makes learning magic easier? In addition, wouldn't the fallen angel have some idea about artifacts such as Solomon's seal would be located? Learning magic seems metagamey to me since Albert probably knows shit all about Makai and Sariel, but the idea of asking a fallen angel where powerful artifacts could appears valid.
Yeah, we haven't had the chance to interact with her much after we came back.

We could always ask Hecc about these things too.
Or casting forcefield around a bladed weapon to enhance its cutting power
Hatred. A longsword. Fire. "Vándr".

Hatred. A longsword...? Fire? A word like that?

The more and the more you thought about what Doremy had just told you, the more and more you begin to see a pattern here... of what kind of spirit could be associated with such things. Especially so egregiously. It harkened back to the old ways, the old things that long went out of style. Stuff that was just of tales now.

"No way..."

You didn't believe it. No, you just didn't believe it right now. You mean, that sounds absurd. The real culprit behind it all, the one who laid the mark on you, the one behind Okina. It just doesn't make any sense. Why would it be... that one. You mean, you could think of some others who might fit the bill. Could be anything from a local legend to some cryptid... Hades? Perses? Typhon? Greek legends initially made more sense to you, since Hecatia was a feature in all this, and they apparently would take her out according to Doremy. Yeah, a Titan or something really sounded like it, but... they just didn't... the longsword thing, and...

You still have your doubts, but... a Jotnar? That's crazy. That's just fucking crazy. How could it be Sur... no, maybe thinking the name isn't a good idea. Not in this place.

"What'cha thinking about, Alby?" Doremy spoke up when she noticed that look on your face.

"...Someone who's pretty bad I guess."

"You know who 'it' really is, don't you? I do too. Humans dream about things like him all the time, so they never really go away, even when they aren't being worshiped every day."

You stood up and made over to Doremy. With a little thought, the chair she occupied suddenly extended, into the length of a couch, and you sat down next to her while she just stared at you and prodded her dream diary boringly with her thumb.

"Did you mean it when you said you wanted to help me too?"

You nod. She didn't look so smug at the moment. She finally dropped that for the time being as she rolled her eyes.

"You know I don't doubt you meaning it, but I just don't see it."

"Tell me about. You know, you aren't the only one who's felt so powerless lately. Can you imagine how it feels for me being an average human? In a land where I'm predated on, and still somehow alive."

"Being alive doesn't always bring you relief, right? Sometimes it just disillusions you, makes you question why when you being dead by now just makes so much more sense."

You blew out your lips and looked to the side. Yes, that was probably the best way to put it. You were glad to be alive, but not at ease. Your hand goes out to the room fashioned from memories before you, motioned at.

"What's it like for you? How's one bully a Dream Ruler anyway?"

She snapped her finger.
The world of dream changed at her command. The walls, ceiling and floor of the room came apart and drifted out of sight. The couch sat upon was now just a lone object drifting through the lurid space of distant stars and flowing grids full of dreams. Yet, it was not barren, as the fullness of the pale Moon drifted overhead, and what seemed like millions of bolts flew through the Dream World's expanse in every direction, some even shooting right past your head harmlessly. It was a sight like this you just couldn't mistake, it was Danmaku, of many varieties and flavors.

And what else to set the scene but illusions of figures you knew. Reimu, Marisa and Reisen alone flying through the Dream World space, along with some Miko in a blue skirt with shiny green hair. And there was lots of them, copies here and there, fighting different people, showcasing different instances of different points in time. They fought rabbits not unlike Reisen, Doremies themselves, and you even witnessed an illusion of Marisa trading blasts with Hecatia, and a blond lady in a long black and red dress who had insane Danmaku patterns.

But not just that, you saw a city below, full of panicked people and rabbits. It was a strange city, an advanced one. Almost futuristic compared to any modern city, yet the people themselves resembled old Japan as Gensokyo did. And there along the way you saw Doremy being bartered by an angelic figure with one wing. Though, bartered implied it looked like she had a choice there. Again and again, you see nothing but Doremy having no choice in any of these matters and began to understand. More so when you saw a callback memory to Doremy being strangled by the invisible hand of a pair of floating flames like candlelit eyes.

"Sometimes, there's just people who are much stronger than you. A lot of them. For me however, things really started getting embarrassing when I was forced into a deal with the Lunarians, maybe you've heard about them. You see that lady over there with the Hell broad? That's Junko, the sagacious spirit. Long story short, the Lunarians went and murdered her child... so in return, she made them remember what fear was by attacking their Capital. And the best part? They don't have a solution to her, because her power is over purity itself, so she's completely immune to them! And, she's friends with Hecatia. What does that equal? The people living on that block of cheese wetting themselves. They needed a plan, so that winged Amanojaku wannabe of theirs came and ordered me around."

Doremy sighed.
"I can't oppose the power of Lunarians, being pure beings. Naturally, I had to cave to their demands and build a fake Lunar Capital to distract their enemies with. Of course, their plan backfired because they tried invading Gensokyo. So what was their next plan? Come move temporarily to my Dream World when Junko started wrecking them up again. This time, I had to cave to Junko and Hecatia, who wanted to stage a trap here and keep the Lunarians sealed forever in the Dream World's fake Capital. I let them get away with it, because I wanted payback too. I never got it. Somehow, Reimu convinced Junko to let them free. I was left never being able to get payback on either of them who had bossed me around. And now..."

Doremy didn't even finish her sentence, she had a feeling she didn't need to spell it out further for you as she rubbed a red spot on her mark, a near perfect handprint left behind.


You, well, you were anything but sure if you could try bringing up any comparisons from your life to her about this. Sure, you've been bossed around too when you were younger, but the stuff she's been involved in is just... Christ man.

"And the worst part, you feel like you can never get the satisfaction of vengeance for all this, then?"

"Clearly, haha... 'It' has a power source unlike anything I've ever seen. 'It' doesn't even rely on faith. 'It' just seems to whip up powerful magic like that out of nowhere, and I still don't fully understand. So yeah, it's a bit disappointing, when you think about how this thing may want to destroy everything, and that it might just succeed too.... Unlike most Youkai, I actually don't like hurting Humans. I need them around just to exist. But if that thing goes off and extinguishes them... well then all the Dreams disappear. And I do with them."

She sniffled.
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You know what? Just like that, you let go of all the animosity you had for Doremy for all the times she'd smugged on you, messed with you or did something to impede you. She never wanted anything to do with this, never wanted to actually hurt Marisa or Reisen, never wanted to deceive you or aid the possible Ragnarok that's being cooked up. She just wants to exist and watch over her world in peace, maybe even mingle with some Dreams and play pranks on humans along the way. She didn't harbor any true malice, save for those who've wronged her. Like she said, Baku hold grudges.

You leaned over and offered your arms.

Doremy looked at you with a milquetoast expression and blinked, locking eye contact before looking away. You thought she was going to deny it, until she fell into your comforting hug and squeezed your arms. You felt the wetness of tears from her eyes as she cried, trying the best she could to suppress her sobbing quietly.

"I-I..'m sorry...! I can't diso-b-bey 'It'. Anything I do, I don't want to. Please... please, you have to get the others to stop 'It', som... somehow! Something that... that... t-that evil shouldn't be allowed to roam free! You have to stop it! Ggh! You have to stop it, whatever 'It's' planning! Don't... don't let it win..."

You patted Doremy on the back as she cried it out.

"I don't want my world to end, Doremy, and not theirs or yours either."

She sniffled. "Promise it... just one more time. Please..." She asked, sounding so tired after everything she'd endured.

"I promise."

Your eyebrows arched down to a deadpan expression.

"I promise, I'll do everything I can to stop him. I won't stop until I've gotten you out of this, you and everybody else."

"...Thank you..."

You sat still quietly for the moment as the memories around began to fade one by one. Doremy just shed tears without a word further into your arm until she was all dry of them. Her responses in any form were becoming more limited as she tired out. A Baku's experience with sleep certainly had to be different than anything else's. Her kind... didn't dream after all. Dreamless sleep was hard to understand. So you just quietly hummed for her as she eased back and eventually settled down into the couch, which morphed ever slowly into another pink cloud. Her blue eyes were just staring abroad into the void of her realm until you saw them shut, and she was asleep.

You gave the cloud a gentle push, sending it off like a boat adrift in the Dream World with her growing ever smaller in your sight until you yourself let go and returned to rest, exiting the Dream World.

Night eventually perishes to day...

[Will write the next part to this update soon.]
This is really bad, Surtr is one of the being is Ragnarok that doesn't get defeated. He succeeds in burning the world away after killing a bunch of gods, and doesn't even die while doing it like others.
There are also some interpretations that think he is the oldest Jottun, and created everything that exist, being both the beggining and the end of creation.
I think we really are going to need God's help with this. We nees to pray, a lot, and be a good boy. God promised that he wouldn't destory Sodom and Gomorrah if there were 10 good souls living in it, inittially 50. But that was a deal with Abraham, God's favorite, getting him to do something similar with Albert would be really hard, after all the sins we done. And apparently the ones that will continue to be done.
Also that was a very cute moment, the tapyr has been forgiven.
This scene was lovely and reminded me that having a shoulder to cry on is always nice to have. Hopefully, Albert and Doremy can sleep a bit easier knowing that they have each other's well-being in mind.

It also leaves me curious about when Okina got possessed and what would have happened if Albert had been sent down her associated path. Would we have seen some form of epilogue in the first thread talking about what happened if we had chosen not to take the door, or would QM have started another quest with another outsider picking up where Albert left off?

>And apparently the ones that will continue to be done.
I both love and hate you, anon, for how clever this one line of yours is. Because you could either mean:
a. Albert learning more unsanctioned magic.
b. Albert not rising above fleshy desire.
c. Albert being a pushover and forced into more sinful shit.
d. All of the above.
Though, I suspect c to be the most chosen, considering how votes went during the time to sleep. God, our foot is so attractive to shoot at times.
The whole situation is fucked. But now that we know exactly how deep the rabbit hole gos it beggers the question. What was our role in all of this supposed to be? Okina, or Surtr its not really that clear yet, chose us out of everyone in the world to put this mark on. What exactly was the plan, and what qualities did they see that makes us the perfect fit for it? If she just needed any human to do her bidding, surely picking someone more weak willed and easily controllable would have been a better choice. Why us?
Anon, don't you recall Okina saying that Albert was the only outside human she had found capable of bearing the mark?
I dont but ill take you at your word. The question I have then is what is the mark for. If we are irrelevant but the mark is, then what is it actually for.
Maybe when the mark breaks, it will explode, possibly harming a divine being (Hecatia), or Albert was meant to act as an avatar of Surtr.
I'll ruin the fun and say I was thinking of a, but now that you mentioned the rest, I'm more worried about c and d.
Is it possible that Okina knew she was being possessed, and gave us the mark in a long-shot attempt to stop it?
>Albert doesn't get a waifu to 100% begore the end of the quest
>Succeeds on banishing the hot giant
>Okina's relation instantly reverses
>She kidnaps Albert to the door realm and turns him into his husbando
Meant to write her instead of his. But it somehow still works, she would be the man of the relationship.
We will punch Surtr.
Albert radiates bottom energy. Nearly every character met so far would be dominant in a relationship with him. Wonder how a tug-of-war over Albert involving Yukari and Okina would work. Would he be constantly falling through doors and gaps?
My poor dude Albert, the only relationships he could be the man in would be with Kogasa and Kagerou.
That's because Kagerou is too good for this world.
I think the situation we're in will eventually force Albert to stop being such a pushover.
Besides, I bet he's got more important things to worry about now than relationships I mean it would be weird if Albert knew the world was going to end soon and he decided to go on a bunch of dates instead of doing anything to stop it.
This. Hormones are hormones sure. But you have to slay the dragon to get the girl. If we don’t deal with this first we haven’t earned that shit.
Throughout the span of your peaceful rest that night after sending the Baku to hers, you felt a chill sensation in your unconsciousness. A sinking feeling. Though Doremy held grudges, and likely held one towards Reimu for beating her like she did, she was in an undeniable deep mess. If one could actually manage to defeat the spirit enslaving her, she would forget them all, just because she wanted freedom that much more.

Your resolve is to defeat him. You will not give up.

You still don't know the full extent of what your Big Dipper means. Even though you've likely discovered the identity of the spirit who laid it, it has yet to break.

"Come on, everyone! It's time to get up now! Rise and shine!" Reimu's voice came transparently from behind the shoji doors.

Your eyes flickered open ever so slightly to the morning lit room as all around you the girls staying as guests to the Shrine began to stir and wake from their sleep. Clownpiece yawned loudly as she picked up her torch and fluttered in the air over overhead, almost bumping into Aunn as the Komainu sprung up suddenly, wide awake. Hecatia was taking her sweet time to join the awakening, rubbing her eyes as she reached for her crown.

Reisen's foot again bumped into yours. "O-Oh, sorry..." The Rabbit said as she lifted her head; "Eh...? What's going on? Why are we getting up so early?"

"It's reaaal important, Reimu said it's for you incident solvers. There's a mind reader on the way who's gonna help you, auh-hah." Aunn yipped as she made for the door, flipping it open and letting in a fusillade of bright sunlight.

"Yikes! T-Too bright!" Clownpiece hissed, shielding her eyes.

"Come on now, you've seen brighter brimstone in Hell." Her master said as she finally got up and at-em', tip-toeing over their way.

Yeah, that's right. Mima was due to return to the Shrine today, with the person who was going to read your mind in tow. That means today was the day, you would all find out who the secret god is, a big help on the way to getting rid of the spirit plaguing things.

You drew in air for a yawn as you stretched your arms out and looked down at a barely woken Kasen laying her head on your chest like it were a pillow. You brushed your hand against her shoulder and gave her a little nudge, tapping her until she finally lifted her head up and pushed herself up, the Oni rubbing her eye as she looked over at you and blushed.

"Sleep well?"

"Y-yes. Thank you for the blanket..." She said, rising to her knees. She offered you a hand, which you took to allow her to pull you up with her as she rose to her feet with quite the impressive strength getting you on your feet before you were even ready to walk, evident by the slight stumble you have.

"I'll be out in a second." You tell her as everyone had already gone.

"Don't take too long, this will be important for the matter at hand." Kasen said as she went out the door next.
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You didn't waste any time getting your clothes on, though you felt like you needed a bath soon. Getting back into your actual Outside clothes was refreshing after spending a while in the loose and not nearly as insulating Yukata. You left the guest room to step out to the fresh air on the Shrine's porch, alongside the others who hung around and sat about. Kasen and Reimu were foremost, standing at the bottom of the steps gazing out towards the Torii.

You noticed that among them today as well was a few extras. Kogasa and Suika were present, the Oni brought Kogasa out of the woods as expected, but took her straight to the Shrine. And the Immortal human, Fujiwara no Mokou, had also recently arrived alongside Imaizumi Kagerou. You saw them off to the side conversing with Marisa, overhearing the magician sharing the details of the Incident, seems they was merely interested in knowing what was up.

"Here they come." Reimu signaled.

You stepped on over behind the miko as you looked out to see the familiar shape of the floating Mima returning to the Shrine at long last, trailed on her rear by an unfamiliar figure.

A petite lady with pinkish hair, a lot like Kasen. She wore only the most neutral of expressions, yet made each of her steps up towards the Shrine graceful. Perhaps her most distinguishing feature was the swirling red tendrils that seemed to be pinned to her outfit, ending with orangish tints to a red eyeball that never blinked once, which in all likelihood was apart of her very being. A third eye of sorts

"Hello everyone." Mima said once she was close enough.

"Have a safe trip?" Reimu asked.

"Certainly. Although, I've noticed larger numbers of Youkai wandering off the roads along the way. Almost as if the wilder ones are being stirred somehow. Gensokyo may become more dangerous to travel for a little while. Ah, and lady Kasen has joined us too then... very good. Then I don't think we can waste anymore time. Let's see if there won't be any interference from the mark with lady Satori's power."

"Are you ready?"

The pink head behind Mima nodded and stepped up to the pair, you watched her curiously from behind Reimu and Kasen as her third eye gazed over you all. She payed Reimu attention with her normal eyes for the moment, and then she peered over to you.


"The god's name is Okina."
A frown came upon Reimu and Marisa's features, whilst Kasen shook her head in disapproval. Like Reisen then, and most of the others, you were just confused.

"I'm sorry... what? What... did you do?"

As if it wasn't obvious already; "I read your mind. I was able to see your memories, among... other things."
She held her third eye and caressed the thing as she spoke; "It's in my nature and power, being the kind of Youkai I am. Komeiji Satori, the Satori that can look into anyone's psyche. I saw a meeting... the secret god behind the incident, she tried to you convince you before to join her, using methods both forceful and full of coercion."

She turned off, going back to stand behind Mima; "My work is done here."

You... you remembered now. You remembered her name. It wasn't hidden from you anymore. You looked around at everyone else, wondering what they had to say next.

"Of course! Matara Okina, the one behind the Four Seasons Incident! How could I have forgotten like I did...?" Marisa suddenly exlcaimed.

"I forgot too... what gives...? Has she somehow found a way to erase herself from our minds?! She has control over mental energy, after all..." Reimu began theorizing.

"So it is her... or at least, it is her being possessed by the force Albert discovered." Kasen said.
Just then, Hecatia saw fit to float down from the roof of the Shrine, Clownpiece sitting on one of the floating planetoids chained to her neck. Mima and Satori were taken aback by it, beholding her appearance with awe as the Hell Goddess settled close to the ground over to Reimu's side.

"Okina... Okina... Okina. You know, it's funny, I vaguely recall hearing that name before, even meeting her."

"Huuuuh? But you said you weren't aware of who the secret god that sent us that threat was! I think..." Clownpiece chided in.

Hecatia snapped her fingers. "Now, I wasn't. But I've finally gleaned from all this that the secret god who did set up that Fairy incident, as well as this one, is in fact Matara Okina. She invited me and Junko to a Danmaku festival here once. Reimu may remember. It was there she introduced herself to me, as one of Gensokyo's Sages."

"H-Huh...?! She's one of the fabled Sages..." Reisen gasped.

"Yes, yes she is... and being as that is, it makes stopping her... well, the thing possessing her that much more important to ensure Gensokyo's stability." Kasen insists.

"Not just stability. But survival as well."

A new voice had spoke out suddenly, drawing everyone's attention to the right, where a woman you hadn't seen in a leaned on the rims of a gap in the fabric of space itself, floating in the air. She puts her hand through another gap made in a second flat, and Mima and Satori both flinched at that very hand coming out near them to cover the Satori's third eye.

"Don't read my mind without asking, please, it's rather rude of you."

Satori kept her silence, only giving a chill nod as she covered her third eye up within her sleeves, preventing her abilities further usage.
"Yukari. What's the occasion?" Kasen asked her, crossing her arms with slanted brows.

The gap lady... hey, that's what Doremy called her. The Gap Lady just smiles, but then her head drooped a little as she pressed the back of her hand to her skull. "Well, I've found myself woefully drained of energy after having a struggle with Okina personally. And since she seems to be the talk of the Shrine, I figured it best to insert myself and my tidbits, where they're actually needed for once."

Yeah, just like Doremy said. She fought Okina.

"You fought her...?! Well, what did you learn?" Reimu asked impatiently.

"Hm, so hasty... Well, for one, she's pulling out all the stops now, going at me with her full power right away as soon as I'm found snooping around amongst the Backdoors. Rather at the decision of her current puppeteer than her own. Yes, it's a sad sight to see a once proud god like her piloted so easily by a spirit from outside Gensokyo. She managed to forbid me from the Backdoor, and now even I can't reach it."

Yukari had sharp eyes then.

"Just one thing. She isn't being 'possessed', at least not in the manner you've been all thinking. The spirit itself is not within her. Rather, she's functioning on an automated procedure, following instructions that have been laid out well into the future itself. The spirit's true self is located somewhere else... somewhere far darker and harder to see. Whatever it is, it's controlling her through a flimsy tether that's yet to even be seen."

"...Like programming?" You felt the need to actually speak up, and not feel as if you were an invisible spectator.

Yukari winked to you. "Bingo. The way I understand it, the true Okina's consciousness is suppressed. Her body is following out a specific series of actions into the future. If and when she completes these actions... these tasks she's following, as instructed, she'll simply 'cease functioning' when she's done. It'll be as if she fainted into a coma until she's either released or given further inputs by her captor. As for the spirit itself, I've never seen anything like it! It's almost... scary how it creates magic. Everything it has done, from laying the mark, to exerting will over Okina... has been done with magical essence born right from hatred. This thing... hates so much that it can will potent magic into existence alone by focusing its hatred. It even used this very power fueled by hatred to amplify Okina's mastery over the mental domain, granting her enough power to take her name out of your minds, where before she wouldn't have been able to do that to anyone but absolute mooks."
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You gawked at her as she prattled on about the thing you could only identify as the mythical Surtr in your head, and put a hand over the Big Dipper marked on your arm, feeling warmth through the sleeve as it glowed. It was worrisome. More like, it was fucking terrifying for you to think about how it was put on you by the sheer force of will of some being's hatred.

And that only raised MORE questions! About what the final result of it was! Why it could thwart Youkai, and why it could be felt by them so much. Why your actions influenced how much power it had, or otherwise.

"Question... if I happen to know who this spirit is-"

"A spirit from the Outside, ancient as history itself. A being of apocalyptic nature, known and recorded in the legends of northern and western Europe? A swarthy one who brandishes a sword of flame itself? Named Surtr, by chance?"

"...Yes... actually." You said, a bit discomforted by her casual use of the name. "...Well, uhh... if I know who they are? Why hasn't my... mark disappeared yet? I thought it was linked to knowing the identity of the layer."

"Good question. It's because he assumed a new identity."


"A new identity?! But... how? What do you mean?" Reimu barked.

"I believe I know. It isn't as though he changed his name, but his nature. He hasn't become some different person, but a different type of spirit from what he used to be, evident by weaponizing his own hatred. In other words, what we have to search for isn't the identity of the spirit's person, but their being. They've become something else... maybe they now identify with a concept or an idea instead." Hecatia explained it, cupping her chin; "Hm... Surtr, eh? I'll have to look into that upstairs..."

"That would make sense, and most likely is the case. But it begs the question of how we hunt down and learn the identity it has taken on, and its plans."
The group itself fell under the confusion of figuring this out. You just sighed and put your hands into your pocket, sitting down on the porch steps. Reisen timidly joined you in sitting down. Marisa drifted in the air on her broomstick, looking back and forth between Reimu and Mima as they exchanged glances in a silent form of communication, heads at work thinking. The onlookers, Suika, Kogasa and Aunn were just trying to keep up with what they heard as the umbrella and guard dog swept the porch, the Oni herself taking a sip of her gourd every now and then.

Mokou leaned against the building with crossed arms and a closed eye disposition, the Immortal not having expected to hear this much when she came by today to check up on things, neither did the Werewolf beside her who bit her fingernails nervously. Somehow, even one as steely as Fujiwara no Mokou in her outward attitude couldn't help but have a nervous sweat herself at the possibility of Gensokyo's destruction being discussed, and it weighed just that much more down on Kagerou. Satori had turned away from the rest of the group, almost as if she hid herself behind Mima, she was unreadable. Hecatia and Clownpiece were whispering to one another, whilst Kasen and Reimu expectedly stared at Yukari who frowned back in turn.

"Alright," Reimu said, stepping forward and waving her gohei at Yukari; "-you have something you're not saying, so spill it!"

"So demanding... Well, while I was in the Land of the Backdoor, I at least learned some doors are still open to specific places."

"Such as?"

"Hmm. I'm not sure. Okina may have communicated with multiple contacts under her possessor's instruction. Who exactly, I'm not sure. But I can say for sure that one of them was the Tengu reporter behind Bunbunmaru Newspaper."


"Precisely. I wouldn't have known if I didn't see the reporter being eyed through a Backdoor. Okina must have something to do with her, she has to have something she knows. Whoever else that Okina has consorted with, finding and interrogating them will also be important for catching her."

"Waaaaiiit a minute. Didn't Okina have servants of her own? The duo of backup dancers that served her inside of her own darn realm. We had to fight them before in the Four Seasons Incident."
"Ah, yes. Those two. Well, they're both already so devoted to Okina and devoid of will that they were practically in the same state she's now in, obedient to her. They don't seem like they can tell the difference between the Okina they served and the Okina subverted by an outside force. They'll still be doing her bidding, and now 'her' bidding is actually the spirit's bidding. They'll certainly be at work here somehow, defeating them is a sure-fire way to access the Land of the Backdoor. They always have Backdoors themselves."

"I feel as though somehow there's a relation to Hell here we've overlooked."

That idea seemed to make even Yukari surprised as the attention again fell upon Hecatia Lapislazuli.

"How come? Okina had animosity with you. Are you implying her possessor does too? Why would that be?"

"Albert, sweety," Hecatia said, turning her head to you as you perked up at being called out; "-did my little Hellion inform you about a mission I'd given her to investigate a mansion with Vampires?"

You nodded. "Yeah."

"The Scarlet Devil Mansion? Why that place?" Marisa asked with a particular interest, folding her arms.

"Weellll... it just so happens that I'd picked up some juicy details from Shiki Eiki, Yamaxanadu. Apparently, that strict silly Yama detected one of the Vampires living at this mansion in a secluded part of Hell known as, 'the Hell of Blood Pools', or, 'the Sea of Avarice'... alongside Okina once. At that time, I wasn't aware that Okina and the 'secret god' were the same. But now that I do know, I feel like this might be important to look over, and find out whatever Okina had to do with this Vampire, and why they were in that part of Hell. It's a place full of curses after all."
"Were you planning to send Albert and Clownpiece to the Scarlet's Mansion without telling us?! Don't you know how much danger both of them would be in?! The Scarlets are why the Spell Card Rules were created in the first place, Vampires are formidable opponents!" Angrily barked Reimu, a vein swelling on her fist as she shook it before calming down with a long breath; "Though, I do guess they'd be able to do it covertly, since it would be their first time visiting the Mansion. But Meiling shouldn't be one to let them through just like that."

"I admit, it's iffy, but I think it's worth it just to get a leg up on our enemy. If Okina was using Vampires, what's to say she won't again? Excuse me... what's to say the spirit using her won't use them through her? And I'd rather like to know what they were up to in the Hell of Blood Pools... one of my Kishin once reported a leakage, but it was patched before Hell could actually respond."

"I talked to Doremy in my dreams again last night." You say; "She told me that the possessor wants to 'waste you'."

Hecatia raised an eyebrow.

"Then that just confirms it then. This Okina... she became possessed after the Incident involving this Vampire and the Hell Pools. I can only imagine she ran into some rogue entity trapped in Hell and inexplicably became their agent as a result. She played with fire, perhaps."
"Then, wouldn't this suggest that the entity in question is attempting to escape or free itself somehow? And I'd like to raise concern over the fact that in her time within your realm's vastness, Okina could have possibly extracted Hell creatures to serve in furthering the goals of the spirit responsible." Mima offered her insights.

"Could have, I wouldn't eliminate it as a possibility."

"Then the road ahead will be just that much more difficult. Girls, I might even daresay this could be our most difficult Incident to solve yet. Are you looking forward to it?"

"Looking forward to it?! Are you koo-koo crazy, beldam?! We're talking about our continued existence!" Marisa came in an outburst at Yukari, who snickered back.

"I'm only asking how willing you are to get this mess fixed before it all goes wrong. After all, as of right now, everyone here witness to this very conversation, every last one of you who's been even slightly involved with it... now that you know as much as you do, you can consider yourselves officially involved."

Mokou and Kagerou flipped up to stare in shock. Satori finally turned her head back, unpleasantly surprised to hear it. Kogasa and Aunn stopped their sweeping to shudder at the very suggestion, and Suika spit the sake out of her mouth! Yukari was trying to drag everyone into it! Although banding together might have been a good idea, she wasn't giving anyone a choice!

"Now hold on!" Suika said as she jumped over the railings to land in front of Reimu and Kasen, marching on up to confront Yukari. Mokou was quick to join her, the Immortal hopping over with some agility.

"Who are you to just say we have to contribute without even asking if we'd like to first? I'm not sure about anyone else here, but the kinds of things you're dealing with sound a lot above my caliber, or even concern." Suika claimed.

"And I'd find it hard for you to believe I'd help you in any regards after what you and Reimu once did to me all because of something Kaguya said to you both that ended with my maiming." Mokou said with a clenched fist.

Yukari smirked. "Settle down now, won't you? I'M not asking you to do it, but rather, the very land you're walking on right now is. I happen to have been here since this land became a thing, and I'd much appreciate it if... well, I think EVERYONE would much appreciate not having it suddenly torn out from under their feet and torn apart, now would we?"

This brought on a pause from the likes of the whole group. The fact that Gensokyo may be totally at stake was apparently very real. If a spirit was directly trying something against the greater good of Gensokyo, it was therefor the enemy of all the inhabitants of the fantastical world. A common threat that everyone should band together to strike down.
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"A lot of you happen to be some of the strongest in Gensokyo. Do you really want to see the land oppressed? Suika, do you really want to go extinct? Mokou, do you really want to be left alone in a desolate world?" Yukari raised them this question before retreating into her gap.

The gap sealed and quickly another one appeared, besides you. Next thing you knew, Yukari had a hand around your shoulder and she was pr