“What the-!” I say, still waking from my slumber. The feeling of a vine slowly crushing my leg painfully brings me back to reality. “Let go you twig!” I frantically kick at the vine and eventually tear it off of me before leaping backwards. The vine slowly recedes back into the forest as I retreat far enough away from its grasp.
The forest may be a home of mine, but it doesn't mean it's safe. Scanning the forest with my enhanced sight, smell, and hearing, (compared to at least thirty times better than a normal human's), I pinpoint the different creatures and life moving around me. Thankfully none of them seem to be initially hostile, besides the vine tree.
To the east is the black and white, who hums while she gathers mushrooms. To the west, the sounds of a branch snapping, followed by a shriek tells me the forest has claimed another life. To the south, I hear the sounds of a stream, its gentle waters betraying the danger it brings.
Finally, to the north I catch wind of what I was looking for… another youkai.
Getting ready for the trail ahead, I take a deep breath and stretch my limbs after that little incident with the vine. Looking down at myself to see if anything is amiss, I notice a stray tuft of black fur sticking out on my arms, so I quickly fix it back into place. A professional needs to look good after all. Besides, what kind of cat youkai would I be if I didn’t look well groomed? Finishing my grooming and stretching, I snag my gear before heading off.
Catching up to the trail, I can see the locals weren’t joking when they said the youkai’s nearly as big as a house, it's footsteps clearly leaving sizable prints in earth. The tracks in front of me are monstrous, the creature’s feet being at least a meter long by my estimate. Not to mention looking around the trail, the torn up trees also indicate it is immensely powerful.
Well, that sums up the creature is definitely large and may very well be the one causing the issue. Normally this would be Reimu’s job to exterminate unruly youkai, but since I've shown up offering to hunt down the more dangerous ones, she has grown more complacent and allows me to do so. The way she sees it, a youkai killing a youkai is the natural order of things with ferals, and she wouldn't be wrong, survival of the fittest and such.
Sensing the beast isn't moving fast, I double check my equipment one last time before moving onwards. All of my camping gear is here, and thankfully my longbow is still in good condition. Being a youkai, the bow had to be specially crafted, and, my, does it utilize my strengths perfectly, able to kill almost anything within ten meters.
Slinging my trusty bow over my shoulder, I pick up the rest of my equipment: A quiver containing nearly a hundred arrows, a large hunting knife to skin my prey, and a magical bag that is larger on the inside than the outside to hold the meat I gather while hunting. Finding that everything is in check I take off after my prey, gliding through the familiar forest towards the beast of a youkai. Following its trail is rather easy. A beast this large leaves a scent and trail so big a baby human could track it.
After nearly half an hour has passed, I finally catch up to the beast and get to see it in all of its glory, as it has decided to rest at a nearby stream to drink for a while. The creature is huge. If I had to guess, I would place it right up there with the size of a villager’s hut. Glancing over its figure I immediately identify it as a bear-boar hybrid. The muscles and overwhelming musk identify it as the former, while the tusks and extremely tough hide identify it as the latter.
This could actually be quite a challenge, I think, as a small bead of sweat falls down my face.
Taking care it doesn't notice me, I slowly slide my bow into my hands and notch it with an arrow. I slow down my breathing to align a shot at the beast. Just before I let the arrow loose, the beast turns to face me, and my arrow, instead of piercing its heart, lands into the youkai’s side with a sickening thud. Now I've heard some terrible sounds, even Suika’s drunk singing, but never have I heard a sound filled with more pain and anger in one roar before. If I had to guess, that’s because nothing has survived a shot like that before.
“Shit!” I shout, as I quickly leap out of the way of the beast’s lumbering charge towards me, its swipe felling the tree I was standing next to.
Yeah… I don't want to get hit by that.
I quickly leap out of the way of another swipe, its speed belying the creature it comes from. Trees and foliage crunch and break as the swipe tears apart a sizable swathe of forest in its way.
I could be wrong, but I think a tree is sturdier than I am, and given I enjoy being alive… I definitely don’t want to get hit by that.
Moving as fast as I can, I leap into the trees, hopping from one to another as the beast chases, fury and anger keeping it alive. I try to distance myself as far as I can from it, but even with my speed, I can’t manage to get any more than ten meters away - a mistake would be really bad right now. Reemphasize
I won't be able to take a good shot at this rate.
That leaves me with only a few options.
 Continue leading it through the woods; it will blunder eventually and I can take the shot then, but I don't know how long I can keep this up.
 Leap behind it and fire at half draw. I can very easily weaken it with another well placed, close shot even at half strength, but I do risk getting hit hard in the process.
 Run for help. I remember the black-white being around here earlier, and while she may be surprised, I bet she would help me.
 Write in
(The terrain you are in now is the forest of magic. The MC knows the layout fairly well, and you are near the outer ring to the middle of the forest. The supplies, currently not listed, are typical supplies found in a camping kit.)
[x] Leap behind it and fire at half draw. I can very easily weaken it with another well placed, close shot even at half strength, but I do risk getting hit hard in the process.
It may be able to match our speed, but at that size, agility is quite another matter. If we can get it coming at us at a fair clip, doubling back over its head should give us a good second or two to aim while it reorients.
[x] Leap behind it and fire at half draw. I can very easily weaken it with another well placed, close shot even at half strength, but I do risk getting hit hard in the process
Taking the ShotKalix2016/05/11 (Wed) 12:15No. 29201▼
Gonna call votes here for [x] Leap behind it and fire at half draw. I can very easily weaken it with another well placed, close shot even at half strength, but I do risk getting hit hard in the process.
Down goes the BeastKalix2016/05/12 (Thu) 20:09No. 29202▼
[x] Leap behind it and fire at half draw. I can very easily weaken it with another well placed, close shot even at half strength, but I do run the risk of getting hit in the process.
Leaping from tree to tree, I try my best to lead the creature on until I can get a perfect moment to strike. As the creature lunges forward, destroying another tree and almost slashing my tail, I see my opening.
Well here goes nothing.
The youkai’s furious roars stop when I leave its sight after kicking off one of the branches, leaping behind the creature. When it sees me disappear from sight it realizes its error in charging full speed. My wonderfully executed backflip allows me to take a shot as I stick the landing, the arrow connecting with the youkai’s back right leg.
As the youkai roars in pain, another swiftly launched arrow connects with its other back leg, causing it to collapse and slide through the terrain before hitting a boulder. The sounds of its back cracking against the force, and the sizable crack it leaves in the boulder, allows me to appreciate that I wasn’t hit.
That’s gotta hurt.
The youkai tries feebly to get back up, the pain and panic obvious in its eyes as it realizes the odds have turned. Carefully, I walk towards the youkai, bow fully drawn, and aim at its head.
“Sorry to say this big guy, but you lost,” I state as the excitement of the chase does down. This is the worst part, killing prey when they can’t fight back.
The arrow lands right between the youkai’s eyes, and it probably died before he felt it. But always vigilant, I return my attention to the forest, making sure our fight didn’t attract unwanted attention. Still alert from the chase, I focus my senses outward to notice anything that could have been attracted by the noise of the battle, and thankfully, the only difference is the black-white leaving for her abode.
With that out of the way, I turn my attention back to the dead youkai in front of me and more closely analyze it.
It sure was a hybrid, no doubt about it, its head alone is the size of my torso. The hide itself is surprisingly thin for a creature this large, but taking a closer inspection, the skin underneath must be nearly as strong as iron. I’m amazed my arrows were even able to penetrate the skin. I gotta thank Nitori for these arrows later. Continuing on the inspection, the ivory of this youkai is particularly sharp. Its tusks cut my finger at the slightest touch, which could be turned into a deadly weapon. Other than those features, the beast was larger, stronger, and had a thicker skin than most ferals, but it's intelligence was lacking.
Overall assessment: Below average prey.
I miserably sigh. “Why can’t there be some fun ferals, huh?” Looking back at the corpse, I retrieve my field dressing supplies and get to work on the creature, but not before a taste.
Carving into the youkai’s skull, I look for the brain.
As I gently retrieve what remains of the youkai’s brain and take a bite, images and memories flash through my head: the pain, terror, fear, anger, joy, sadness, all memories of its past life are mine now. Can’t say I enjoy them much, but memories are memori-
My thoughts are stopped in their tracks as I scream out in agony, a burning sensation covering my hands and feet. My senses overload at the extreme spike in pain and I fall to the ground, barely able to stay conscious. It takes a while before the torturous sensation leaves my limbs. My claws have taken on a more primitive, bone-like look, but given what the beast was capable of, I doubt these are for show.
Standing up, I walk over to a nearby tree before whirling around and slicing a decent chunk effortlessly from its bark.
Power Retrieved: Deathclaw.
I carefully examine my claws further, not noticing anything out of the ordinary besides the new look and sharpness. Deciding to use this to my advantage I quickly tear the youkai’s remains apart, effortlessly cutting the meat, skinning the hide, and retrieving its bones all within the span of an hour.
This ability might prove useful if I’m ever forced into a close fight.
Deciding that it’s best not to have the power active, I change my claws back to normal, since I wouldn’t want them tearing into my equipment. Quickly depositing the goods from the creature into my magical hunting bag, I set off towards the human village to make cash off of my hunt.
By the time I arrive, it’s mid-day in Gensokyo, and the villagers are loud enough to hear miles away. I smile as I approach the gates to the city, the two guards on duty quickly forming to attention.
“Halt! State your business,” the one on the left demands, and I stop in my tracks.
“Come on Gorvon, it's me! Moriko! I got that job taken care of so let me through.” My tone’s matter of fact, mostly because I don’t want to get stuck in line at the butchers. “The bags filled with some good meat, so if you wouldn't mind…”
“Fine, come on through,” Gorvon states as he waves me on in.
Ah, the human village, the one place where humans are able to live in Gensokyo without meeting a disgusting end. Sprinting through the mid-day crowd I make my way towards the butcher’s shop, and thankfully, there is no line.
“Yo! Miyoshi!” I exclaim as I barge into the shop. “How’s it going?”
The man behind the counter merely grunts as he sees me enter, his bald head and stone demeanor betraying the sincerity he has for others. “I take it you were successful?” he says.
“Yeah, and man, was it a payload, check this out,” I say as I empty the goods onto the counter.
He carefully picks up a slab of meat before he lets out a small whistle in amazement. “Nice catch, what exactly did you find out there?”
I shrug, “Not sure really, I think it was some bear-boar hybrid. Sucker was tough though, left a trail of destruction that would leave a master spark jealous.”
Miyoshi merely nods, understanding that level of strength. “Well,” he starts, “thank you again for the help. Since you’ve taken these jobs it's made the village a lot safer to live in.” He smiles, “Oh and you should have your delivery of cash by the end of the week. With meat this good, I can’t get the price soon enough.”
I shake my head in disappointment, “Come on Miyoshi, I know full well you have the money, just put it on my village tab and call it a day.” I turn around to leave the establishment, “I have to drop off the other goods, see ya later.”
“See ya around.”
And with that I’m back off into the crowded village square.
Where to go next?
 Head back to my place. I got a bunch of new tools to make gear and equipment with from this new catch, might as well stockpile when I can.
 Visit Alice. She might be able to make use of the hide for some newly tailored clothes. What I have are either torn, or damaged.
 Stop by the tavern. It’s a bit early in the day, but the tavern is always a good place to find new work.
 Visit William. It’s a good chance to try and see if the old man is still around. After all, training with him always tends to teach me things I never knew before.
[x] Visit Alice. She might be able to make use of the hide for some newly tailored clothes. What I have are either torn, or damaged.
Taking a glance at the rags I am wearing now, I decide it might be best to visit Alice; she's an excellent tailor, after all.
Readjusting my bag, I set off into the crowded streets of the village. Making my way through the crowd proves rather difficult, but it isn't long before I reach the village gates and set back off into the forest, to the house of the seven colored puppeteer.
The woods are now teeming with life, a stark contrast to what I encountered in the morning. Casually slicing through another branch that gets in my way, I continue down the path to Alice. Trying to think of something to ease my mind from the long trail ahead, I am reminded of my first encounter with her.
It's strange come to think of it, my first friend in this new world being a puppet master of all people. I remember the panicking clear as day, and I was no more intelligent than a child, and looked like one as well. …
“Make it stop! Stop! Stop! Stop!” My wailing reaches no one.
I can hear everything, taste everything, see everything, and it hurts so much.
“Please stop…” even my own voice hurts.
I can’t even pay attention to my surroundings, and before I know it I am picked up by a strange woman in black and white.
“Yo Alice!” The loud yelling resonates through my ears, and I promptly fall out of her arms, a reflex from the sudden pain.
“Stop please, it hurts… Please make it stop.” The pain becomes too much to take and I feel my consciousness slipping away from me.
It wasn't long before I find myself awake in a strange new place, the area I was resting on much softer and bouncier than the ground. I don’t hear much, either, other than an occasional whirring sound coming from somewhere far away.
Looking around, panicked at how I found myself somewhere completely unknown, I realize i'm not in the forest anymore. The white walls of a house, and the following furniture I seem to be lying on, are about all I can recognize, but the more pressing concern being this tingling sensation coming from my head.
Reaching up to see what said sensation is, I also notice that all the sounds have just…stopped. No insects, youkai, heartbeats, tree rustling, nothing… That is until a woman wearing all white, and accompanied by two dolls of red and blue coloring, walks through the door.
“Hello,” the woman with blonde hair starts, strangely quiet compared to normal, “my name is Alice, what's yours?” She asks sweetly while keeping a respectable distance away from me.
Even though my instincts are telling me to run, I can’t find an out other than the door she’s standing in front of, so I don’t suppose I have a choice. “Mor-Moriko,” I say hesitantly.
“Moriko? A fitting name I suppose,” she says and closes the door behind her.
No, my only exit! Against my better judgement I leap from where I was sitting, only to have what was on my head fall off in the process, and the noises return. I immediately fall to my knees, my hands covering my ears, attempting to block out any sound I can.
I hardly notice that the woman named Alice, bends down to pick up the item that fell off my head. “Oh dear,” she says to herself, almost chuckling. “That won't do at all.” She moves over closer to me, before placing the item that fell off my head back to its original position, and when she does so the sounds stop again. I look around confused, and then I look up at her as she hovers over where i’m currently lying down.
“How?” My newfound respect for this, Alice, booming.
“They're called earmuffs, and these particular ones are magically enhanced to reduce sound. My colleague and I thought it would help,” her smile and comforting voice makes me feel at peace for the first time in my life.
From that point on Alice took care of me, her and Marisa being the only two friends I had for a long time.
As I finally break free from the tyranny of the forest path, I see the familiar blue and white of Alice's home. Sweeping the front porch are her two dolls, Hourai and Shanghai, who promptly throw down their brooms to fly over and greet me.
“Hello Shanghai, Hourai,” I say, as they excitedly rush over towards me before doing curtsies. “Do you happen to know where Alice is?” Asking the question, but already knowing the answer, I perk my ears, and hear the sound of humming as Alice is sewing together another doll.
The dolls look at me with their hands on their hips, as they know I already know. “It was worth asking,” I shrug, “well show me in then.” The dolls then proceed to lead me into Alice's cottage, and promptly offer tea before I hear the sounds of footsteps coming down the stairs.
“Moriko! It's good to see you again,” says Alice, exiting from the stairs. Her white shawl, matching with her blue dress, and her leather boots, all blend together to form a nice morning attire. “Please sit down, I rarely get to see you anymore,” she says as she waves me over.
“It's good to see you too Alice,” I say as I accept the offer, and sit down on a chair across from her. “I guess you can figure out the reason for my visit?” Shanghai flies over with a tea cup and I graciously accept it.
“You have more work for me?” she asks. Spot on once again Ms. Margatroid
“Nope, on the contrary, I just couldn't stand not seeing little miss perfect and her army of dolls.” I smile at Alice, all the while reaching for in magical bag.
Alice raises an eyebrow. “Being perfect would imply not having friends like you or Marisa.” Her retort stings deeply.
“Well you got me there,” I say as I finally finish rummaging around in the bag and pull out the hide that's the prize of my hunt. “I managed to snag this beauty early this morning, just finished my hunt with that youkai that was tearing up the farms.”
“So it was you that was causing that ruckus this morning.” Her accusing glare shows me no remorse. “I'll have you know sometimes even youkai appreciate their sleep at six in the morning.”
“Sorry Alice, but you know my job, gotta take the chances I can get. Besides, I didn't die right? That's what you were most worried about after all.” I smile once more as Alice’s cheeks flush.
“I was not worried about you,” she denies near perfectly, if it wasn't for Shanghai and Hourai giggling to themselves. “I'm more worried about the fact that you'll cause youkai to be more violent around here for the next few weeks.”
“Yeah, yeah,” I say as I shrug off her accusation. “So what will it be for an outfit made from this? I already did the specs while skinning, and I should have enough for that outfit I've been gunning for recently.”
The outfit in question is a mixture of a leather based cloak and jerkin, but with metal shoulder plates and wrist guards, along with tough leather boots. Not only would this design provide additional support against youkai attacks, I got an agreement from Alice to weave some magic into the design. The end result should have it tough enough to withstand even a youkai's attacks, but still leave me agile enough as if I weren't wearing anything at all.
Alice waves to her dolls to retrieve the hide and bring it to her. Her first reaction is astonishment as she realizes the quality of hide I brought in, “Moriko, this is-”
“Yeah, the hide of a really old feral. Too bad the creature wasn't smart enough to think past pain, and instead focused on inertia. Poor sucker got shot at close range and survived, but from then on it wasn't really that bad of a chase. I led it on to the point it almost had me, then I leapt behind it, firing two quick shots at its legs, then finished it from there,” I say, as Alice continues examining the hide.
Nodding to herself, it seems Alice has finally thought of something. “It’ll take me at least the rest of today, stop by again tomorrow and I'll have it ready for you.
Woah, woah, what?!
“But Alice don't you have other things to be doing? I mean this design should normally take a week to make, let alone adding the enchantments!” I say, confused at Alice’s decision to make it so soon.
“Don't worry about it,” she says as she waves off my concern, “I didn't plan on anything today, so it leaves me free to work on the outfit to my heart's content.” The cheerful manner in how she says that leaves me anxious about the enchants.
“Well if you say so Alice,” I say, much as I might protest for the good of her health. Looking outside one of the window’s conveniently placed around the room, I see the sun rising close to a little after noon.
“Well as much as I would like to stay and chat more, I have to be off,” I say, Alice nods and Shanghai and Hourai visibly deflate. “I have one or two more things to take care of before the sun goes down,” I finish the rest of my tea and stand up, “thank you for your hospitality, any specific time I should come back tomorrow?” I ask.
“Most likely around the same time today, although any time after that would be acceptable as well.”
“Very well, thank you once again Alice, I'll stop by again tomorrow,” I walk over to the door of the house, “goodbye,” I say as I wave back to them, Alice, Shanghai, and Hourai waving goodbye back at me.
With that I find myself back in the sunlight, and the beauty of the forest. As I set off towards the village, my hearing picks up the sound of something rustling the leaves of a bush nearby, and I immediately grab and aim my bow. Whatever was there darts off deeper into the forest, it's movements to precise to be just a wild animal.
 Chase after this thing. Usually I'd be able to tell from sound alone what it could be, but for some reason I can't, which warrants my interest.
 Continue on to the village. While it certainly is interesting, I simply don't have the time to care about it.
If returning to village pick one of the following
- To the tavern! As its hit noon time, most of the people who visit the village should be eating a meal there about now, leaving me ample opportunity for a job, or a drink.
- Find William. It would be good to see my old trainer again, it's been awhile since we’ve last talked.
(Pitiful update, but I needed to get something out just so I didn't give up on this, what with life kicking me around and stuff.)
[x] Chase after this thing.
Deciding that following whatever this is might be better than the alternative, I chase it further into the forest. The only way I can track this thing is through sound alone, and it's surprisingly fast whatever it is. It must have picked up on me following it, because it attempts to lose me through twists, turns, and various other foliage in our path.
After what seems like ages, the creature stops in its tracks, and turns around much faster than I expected, and jumps at me.
“Surprise!” Is the only warning I get before a small, catlike figure, bowls me over onto the forest ground.
Why am I surprised? I chide myself.
The person in question that just knocked me over must be none other than Chen, her giggling mocking me as I pick myself off the forest floor.
“Oh man Mori, I got you good!” She says between chuckles.
“Well,” I say groaning as I stand up, “ I suppose you did.”
Looking at her as I stand up, I notice that she isn't in her usual garb, in fact, she's not even wearing her hat. She appears to be wearing some sort of black shorts with what I can only assume must be some outsider apparel as well, since her shirt says, “Born to be Wild!”
I speak up, “Might I at least ask what made you follow me on your free time?”
“Well, Ran had some stuff to do today, and Yukari was sleeping as usual, and I figured that you would at least be doing something compared to the other residents around here.”
Well, she does have a point. “I suppose so, but I just finished my last job, so hunting isn't exactly on my schedule today.”
“That's okay, I didn't want to bother you on the job anyway.”
Well, this is a sudden turn of events that's for sure, I have found myself babysitting Chen today.
Now what should I do?
 Stick to my original plan of going to the village, I can either go to the bar for a new job, or brush up on my archery a bit.
 Maybe I should go down to the lake? It's almost midday so maybe I can go bug the Scarlet Devil Mansion.
 Let's go find Reimu, I should notify her I eliminated another Youkai today, not to mention if Suika’s there, something fun should happen.
 Write-in (cause the Author can't think of anywhere fun to bring Chen.)