In the strange dust and ashes of an abandoned cottage, you are born.
Your first sound is that of the rain pouring down, and your first sight is that of the charcoal blasted ceiling, with a hole in the corner, through which rain falls into and partially floods the simple house you find yourself in. You can smell nature and decay and chemicals unknown.
And your first thought is this: I am a failure.
From my very first moment of life, you realised this, before any other piece of knowledge: That you are a failure, that you were born in failure, that you shall live in failure, and that you shall die in failure. You were born in a building half-broken, beneath a storm.
You can feel the patheic nature of your life slowly crushing you, grinding you into nothingness.
Which brings up the question: Why carry on at all?
Yes, I just realised that right after I created this thread.
Fucking newfag author <=== Me
Unfortunately, I searched and I have no idea how to remove the link to the email, and I can't seem to delete this thread either. So all I ask is for everybody to completely ignore it until the next thread (if this story does indeed go that far).
Despite your depressive misgivings, a more primal fear shakes your heart: the fear of death.
No, not of death, but fear of disappearance. The same fear that causes mortals to build great works that would stand the test of time, or to have their their exploits be written down on paper, or sang in song.
And so, despite your mind telling you that you do not deserve it, your baser self forces you to rise up and overcome this great sea of-
The roof you were lying under collapses in over you, crushing your tiny body like a twig...
You find yourself in the same run-down, half-flooded cottage that you found yourself the first time, except now you are floating in rainwater that has flooded the cottage almost to it's halfway point.
Half the cottage had already collapsed in on itself, and is now a pile of rubble that will return to the Earth someday. Water is rapidly draining out of the interior, and you feel yourself being taken away by the current.
What a shameful death. It wasn't a good death. You didn't die in pitched combat against a mighty opponent, or surrounded by people with whom you know and love.
You died because you didn't get out of the way in time, because you were too busy navel-gazing like a pretentious fuck.
What a failure you are.
Oh, a brief note about this quest: unlike the vast majority of Quests out there, the MC won't just do stuff just because the majority voted for it.
I won't elaborate any further, as I'd rather you find things out for yourselves, but let's just say that you players have a connection with our MC, a connection mediated through typed text, and that there are more ways of interacting with her than just voting (though voting is still rather important, it is not the be-all, end-all).
>>28992 >the MC won't just do stuff just because the majority voted for it. Aha, oh boy. Well best of luck to you writefag. I think gimmicks are neat so I won't say anything, but not sure about everyone else.
I'm deleting the Sufficient Velocity version of this thread because it doesn't seem to be too popular there. Plus, like Anon said, write-ins and discussions in general will probably be diluted if the story is spread out too much.
You attempt to move your tiny, puny body this way and that, fighting for your right to have some control over your life, even against the face of this raging storm that has almost certainly struck down many greater than you.
The only thing your struggling achieves is turning your body around so you spend more quality time with your head fully submerged than not. You wonder why you even bother.
Your view spins and whirls, a side-effect of your entire body being wracked this way and that.
Sometimes, your face is above the water, and you can see the thrashing of the tree lines, far, far above you.
Sometimes, your face is underwater, and you can see an endless parade of debris below you. Rocks, vegetation, planks of wood, branches, entire logs, etc, ride the wave just as you are. Albeit, you imagine, far more cheerfully.
All that occupies your ears is the non-stop battering of the trees above you, and water below you, and the debris around you. Things crash into things, which crash into other things, which crash into other things. Thunder shakes the whole forest every few minutes or so. It all blurs together into a constant cacophony of noise that almost, paradoxically, puts you to sleep...
. . .
. . .
You wake up once more, with your head facing up at a wooden ceiling much like the first time you awoke. Except this time, the sounds of rain are considerably dampened, and you feel less of a feeling of impending doom coming upon you. Now, it is more like a quiet melancholy.
You appear to be on a mattress of some sort, under a blanket. This mattress, in turn, appears to be on a wooden table. Looking around, you seem to be in another old, abandoned cottage of some sort. This room appears to have been a kitchen once, maybe, what with the human-sized stove faraway in the corner.
There is a fire burning at one corner of the room. It isn't much, but it appears to be the only thing keeping this room from being pitch-black.
Your ears perk up as you hear a series of mechanical sounds from out the corner of your ear. You automatically flip your blanket over your head, with your eyes peering out.
It is a girl, about your size, blond, blue-eyed, and clad in a frilly red embroidered dress, with a big red bow on her head. It has these little transparent wings on her back that make you think she must be a fairy, at least until you realise that her face is locked in an unmoving, flat expression, akin to an eternal soldierly stand-by, and that she walks with a slight stutter in her step. You do not know what she is, but she is definitely not a fairy.
The girl who appears to be your host for the evening turns her head and notices you (an action that made you jump), steps forward, and then pauses. She darts off to one side of the room, then returns, carrying a brush, an inkwell, and folded piece of paper with her, balanced on top of her two arms.
She puts down the item and unfolds the paper, revealing it to be be a blank sheet several times larger than her or you.
She dips the brush in the inkwell, then makes a few marks on the paper. She then holds up the paper slightly, for you to see.
As far as you know, you've never been taught things like reading or math in the few minutes that you've been alive and aware. You do, however, have an instinctual grasp of the basics of those concepts, so after staring at the marks for a few seconds, you can make out that they ask this:
"Are you okay?"
 Contemplate your current predicament
 Thank your rescuer and apologise for being such a dead weight and burden
 Stare incomprehensibly at her
 Faint back into unconsciousness
 Hug her
The fifth option can be chosen, in fact. You just need to figure out how.
[X] Thank your rescuer and apologise for being such a dead weight and burden
You rise up immediately, and bow deeply, to your rescuer.
Her head tilts back a bit at your gesture, as if surprised by your sudden display of gratitude.
You then proceed to apologise profusely for taking up so much of her free time and energy, and that you didn't mean at all to be a burden.
After hearing your speech, she picks up the paper again, she moves it to an empty section and starts writing on it once more.
After about half a minute, she shows it to you.
"Hello, my name is Hakone! I am a living doll, so please forgive me if I seem a little strange to you.
Please do not feel sorry that we had to take care of you while you were knocked out. Without us picking up and taking care of any strangers we happen to come by, we would be nothing more than mere gunpowder-filled toys sitting on a shelf, waiting to either be looted or destroyed. In fact, we should be thanking you. People like you helped define our existence in this world, ever since our creator and wielder simply upped and disappeared one day.
My manners demand that I offer you a cup of tea, which I am unable to do at the moment, due to not having any tea stocks, and for that I must ask you to forgive me once more.
Ever since our dear mistress left a long time ago, we hardly ever keep tea in the house. Us dolls don't need to drink, you see.
[X]William Powers. [X]Inquire regarding your current whereabouts, and what happened to you, if you're not being a bother. [X]She helped you. Ask her how can you repay her kindness. [x] Inquire about the, uh, gunpowder
Handayani however... You're instinctive Youkai grasp of Japanese means that you know what Hanyadani means, and you think it is entirely unfitting for you.
I mean, you haven't helped give life to anybody, or consider yourself full of life. And you don't feel very purposeful. In fact, you feel just the opposite.
Sure, some people might say, it's just a name. It doesn't mean anything. Any time spent positively agonising over names is time better spent on other things.
Of course, you're sure that most people who say that are either humans or youkai who had birth parents. They never had to choose their own personal name for themselves.
There's nothing stopping you from using the name Handayani, but you feel like you'll be asking too much of yourself if you do. So you won't.
Out of nowhere, your mind also generates the completely foreign name of "William Powers". By itself, it is a nice enough name, you think. It feels somewhat overbearing, but if you remove the "Powers", it rolls off your tongue almost perfectly.
. . .
Graah, it's still feels weird and awkward to you somehow.
Suddenly, you realise that your doll host is looking at you with her head slightly tilted.
You suddenly feel very self-conscious. You fidget this way and that. You curse yourself for being so slow, for being so inactive, so doubtful...
And then Hakone writes something new on the paper, and shows it to you.
You don't quite know how to react to that. Hakone flips the paper over.
No worries. We dolls understand. You can take as long as you like in giving yourself a name.
[X] She helped you. Ask her how can you repay her kindness.
Yes, that's one thing you're sure on doing. Yes.
You ask the living doll if there is any way at all to repay her and her group's kindness in taking miserable little you in. You'd never want to be a burden to anybody if you can help it. Unfortunately, many times, you can't help it, because you are a fucking mess and need other people to do the helping for you. Like right now. Which is why guilt is now chewing up your gut like you haven't eaten in days.
Really, dearie, you are our guest. Feel free to mooch on us for us long as you like! You're a fairy, so you're not as much of a drain on resources as many of the other people we've sheltered. Plus, you were just pulled out from freezing waters. You should probably stay in bed, lest you catch a cold.
If you really insist, though...
Well, we frequently go out into the forest, collecting wood for repairs and mushrooms for magic from the forest. If you want, you can accompany the team that goes out into the forest and help them
Be warned, though, this forest is a pretty popular place for people to end their lives in. Dozens enter here with nothing more than a coil of rope and a handful of other stuff, and they kill themselves to escape their awful lives.
Of course, for most of these people, death has mostly been something they know from fiction or hearsay, and so they are frequently unprepared for the reality of it, and so they end up badly hurting, without killing themselves.
Now, we don't make it a point to scour the forest for these kind of people. We usually encounter them while in the midst of more pressing matters, but if we encounter them and they haven't died yet, we usually take them in and nurse them back to health, before letting them go to let them try again. It's what our mistress would've done.
Oh, but if you don't want to deal with such morbid things, you don't have to do it!In fact, I don't think you should, what with your current mental state and allYou could also accompany the dozen or so of our group that goes out to the human city to go get some supplies. Just something to think about when the rain clears up, alright?
[X] Inquire regarding your current whereabouts, and what happened to you, if you're not being a bother.
We found you washed up on the shore of some flooded creek quite a ways from here. You were the only youkai who hasn't yet taken shelter from the rain, so we found you pretty easily. Now, we'd usually pass over fairies since they can just come back if they are killed, but it was Lady Shanghai that ordered you taken in. If you want to thank anyone, you should thank her.
As for the place you're in, you're in the Forest of Magic, silly! This cottage is one of the few houses in this wild, untamed wilderness, located somewhere near the edge, though still far enough in that a trip to the Human's place requires going through a long, winding path.
Of course, if you were a long-time resident of Gensokyo, then you would've immediately realised what forest you were in, even if you didn't know how to navigate around it yourself.
You're new here, aren't you?
[x] Inquire about the, uh, gunpowder
Despite yourself, you find your curiosity perking up at the mention of dolls being stuffed with gunpowder. Isn't that a sort of powder that makes things go kabloomey?
You don't want to offend your host/s, lest they get offended and deservedly kick you out of this comfy cottage and into the cold, freezing, death-filled rain, where your death is certain and unpleasant.
. . .
But you are also intensely curious, and that curiosity gets the better of you.
And so you foolishly try to gather some information, but you take great care not to appear too prying. You're already a pathetic enough nuisance as it is. Push yourself any more and the universe might get fed up and make your next death a permanent one.
"Err, umm..." you wordlessly mumbe. Idiot.
"Gun-powder... that's very interesting for you to have, Miss Ha-Hakone..."
Christ, now look at what you've done! You've butchered your host's name, and you didn't even conceal your selfish intentions in the slightest! Stupid stupid stupid
Hakone hold up the paper once more.
Yes, I'm glad you noticed! The gunpowder was put there by our creator, for she was a rather possessive person, you see, and so included a failsafe where we would blow up should anyone other than her get a hold of us.
We still keep it in us as a way to honour her, and because it makes a great last-resort attack in pitched battles!
[X] Furika Wilhelmina Caoilfhionn Marie-Sophie Débora Constantia Katlego Liljana Róza Theresa Callixta Pratibha... - [X] Well, on second thought (as the king said to his knights), let's not go that far. It is a silly name. - - [X] Furika will do.
(( >You're instinctive Youkai grasp of Japanese "Handayani" isn't Japanese. I think it's Indonesian, although it may be a loan from Sanskrit. I don't trust the alleged meaning of the name without a reference. ))
Your cottage smells like magic, and that was meant in both the metaphorical and actual sense.
There are magical things hidden in corners in the house, or stacked on top of each other in massive piles. A lime plant with the head of a cock (the poultry kind, not the human one) growing atop a windowsill (on which the sounds of crowing you had recently awakened to); a creeping vine, genetically-engineered by a Kappa to grow windchimes and jingle-bells, growing around one leg of your octagon table carved with the image of the Ba Gua, positioned just-so (along with the furniture around it), to maintian a constant flow of ki throughout the spaces you move through; books dedicated to the art of reading the clouds to peruse the intentions of the gods , to the technique of communing with spirits through baked bread, or the ability to conjure gold through dreams alone, either piled up in towering stacks that threaten to pin you down should they fall, or stuffed in-between each other in bookshelves so small, that it was a wonder that you could pull any of them out to read.
Alice always complained that your house was always such a goddamn mess. Well, it's your house, not hers. And 'sides, she's got all those dolls to help her around the house. You've got diddly-squat.
. . .
In a handful of hours' time, Alice, your beloved, plans to visit you for tea.
Usually, it is the other way around, for she has much better tea stocks than you do.
She says it's simply because you don't as much attention to the quality of the leaves that everyone else does, though you suspect her dolls have something to do with it. They usually are.
But hardly any of that matters now, it's all in the past. No, what you're most exited about, is what you're planning to do. What you're going to do, very soon. And when Alice arrives at your home, she's going to be in for an surprise.
And considering surprises are what you do everyday, that really is saying something.
You walk up to a desk in your drawer, the seventh from the right and a third from the bottom, and proceed to methodically take out the ingredients for your upcoming immortality.
You've tried many times. But it seems Eirin won't be inclined to just give away her elixer so readily, either by force of words or force of action.
So, you're going to make one of your own. A certain special recepie you found in the recesses of one of your stolen books.
You've spent so much time preparing for this one spell, you've lost track of how many sleepless nights you've burned. You've lost track of how much time and lazy afternoons spent and parties skipped, just so you could find just the right ingredients and plan for just the right time to pull off this spell. You could list all the substances, additives and reagents in the list from memory now, at command: seeds of rice and corn and the roots of potatoes, taken from the bellies of moles and serpents; uncooked dough made by the hands of a young girl; a gem that refracts the light of the sun most brilliantly; the blood of prideful Youkai, shed through battle, and only ever having touched flesh and air; all topped off with the skin of a snake who died eating it's own tail; and stirred with a ladle stolen from heaven's kitchens.
Frankly, people were astonished when you stopped appearing for parties or showing up unnanounced to people's houses for a while, that Reimu and Alice actually went to visit you here for once. That was amusing.
You heat the couldron to a boil; add in the last few ingredients (for the rest were already in the pot when you added the water); stirred it a few times clockwise, and about as many times counter-clockwise; chanted a few cantrips; and wala...
You scoop up the potion with an empty vial that used to contain potions.
. . .
And so you drain the entire thing in one gulp.
For the first few seconds, you feel nothing, mostly. You wonder if the potion had actually worked.
And then, a sudden pain clutches your stomach. You fall to knees, barely keeping your head from hitting the ground by a single outstretched arm. Your vision blurs. You are dizzy.
Your insides feel like they're being ravaged by some gruesome beast, tearing you apart from the inside-out.
You feebly sit up, and shakily take a look at your haandsss...
. . .
. . .
. . .
The last image of your fruitless human life is that of your own arm exploding outwards. ....... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . .
. . . . .
. . .
"Ah, good morning again, sleepyhead. How are you feeling today?"
The voice of Miss Hakone wafts over to you, like the aroma of breakfast so early in the morning.
You blink your eyes and sit up, feeling just a little bit embarrased.
She stands up. "Come on, now..." she says, wings fluttering. "There's breakfast for you down this way..."
You stare at her flying form for a moment.
"Oh, right." you say to yourself. You feel like smacking yourself in the face.
You work your wings and follow Hakone.
Breakfast is mostly just an affair of food for you and one other person, a human, who sits across from you, and somewhat to one side.
He looks disheveled, and keeps to himself, but the marks on his neck tell you everything you need to know.
. . .
. . . . . .
You note all the dolls flying about the room, looking busy, being busy. Dusting shelves, carrying around boxes, giving orders. You can see a doll wearing a distinctive red dress giving a speech to a regiment of blue-dressed dolls, holding up oversized spears, ten ranks long and a dozen files long. After which the dolls salute their commander and fly off in formation.
. . .
You suddenly notice your food. You look at it. By many standards, it is a prefunctury offering. Just two lightly-toasted slices of bread with butter on top.
But you, having never actually tasted a bite before this, eat it without fuss.
You finish your food before the human does, but the human's the first of you to do something after eating. He went back to wherever he stayed, somewhere in this house . . .
After your plate is taken away, you simply sit there, at the table, not knowing what to do next.
The thought occurs to you, that maybe can fly up and offer to help carry some of their loads, or help them clean stuff. And then it hits you that you don't know how these dolls handle cleaning their house, or what stuff they carry inside their boxes. You might make a mistake and end up making a mess. Or breaking something. You would be nothing more then a burden to them.
You feel the thump of two tiny metal shoes as they land on wood.
You look up and see two dolls. As with all the rest of the dolls, these two wear two bright red, slightly oversized ribbons behind their heads. Instead of a the relatively uniform knee-length blue skirt (with a few unique bits and bobs scattered here and there), these two wear much longer skirts, almost reaching down to their ankles.
The colours of their dresses are also slightly different from the norm. One is wearing a maroon while the other is clad in a deep, almost navy blue.
The maroon one also just to happened to have a noose tied around her neck
"Ah so this is the newcomer some the dolls have been chattering about..." the doll in maroon says, taking a step towards you. She hovers over you, scrutinising you. "You're an unusual one, aren't you? Usually, fairies either treat the rain and winds like just another fun game, or sleep the whole thing through. But this is the first time I've seen a fairy actually get sick from things like that. Aren't you supposed to be nature spirits, or something of that nature? I'm sure that fairies getting sick from natural things is as likely as fire sprites can be burned, or as much as kappa can drown..."
"Sis, you musn't assume all fairies are regenerating powerhouses like those down by the lake." the doll wearing navy blue interrupted, yanking her down to the table-top across from you.
The one in maroon blinked. "Ah yes, I apologise for that. Sometimes, in these extreme times we live, that we sometimes forget that even youkai can feel pain." She does a curtsy to you, a very deep one, before rising up and meeting your eyes with hers.
"My name is Hourai, and behind me is my doll-sister, Shanghai. How do you do?"
 Fine, thank you
 Not very well, I'm afraid
Shanghai, the one in blue, speaks to you.
"We're going to be bringing some food along, but it's mostly for any lost humans and hapless youkai that we find. If you want to bring along your own snack, you'll have to put one together at the kitchen. We head out in half-an-hour, and we won't wait up for you."
And with that, the red-dressed Hourai flew away, followed by Shanghai. Though, before joining her sister, she took a look at you from behind her shoulder, and you almost feel like she grinned at you.
She took off.
 Go to the kitchen pantry, see what they have  Make a sandwich  Peanut butter  Melted cheese and butter  Portions of meat and cheese  Steak Sandwich  Veggies  Write-in  Attempt to make toast with the toaster  Take a packet of biscuits