Previous thread >>61752 New Character blurbs: www.touhou-project.com/others/moretheater.txt
“You're full of crap!” Suika exclaimed, waving a mostly empty bottle at me. The weak yellow light made deep shadows, making her seem more menacing than her tone would imply. “Maybe telling me that you were forced would have worked if I didn't know you so well,” she grumbled, making the rest of the beer in her bottle foam up to the neck, “in the past you've made a big show of wanting to help broads for what you said were totally not-selfish reasons.”
Remembering that she was shaking her beer, Suika paused and finished the rest in one large gulp. Froth stuck to her lips. Almost immediately she fetched another pair of bottles, tossing me one even though I wasn't quite done with mine yet. “You may have been pressured but I get the feeling you could have walked away after a certain point. You care about this stuff, whether you admit it or not to me.”
“Well, running for vice president wasn't my idea, at least that much is true,” I told her, dodging the direct accusation. “I don't think I've changed that much, I mean, I'm here with you, aren't I?”
“Yeah, for now,” she said, eyeballing her beer intensely. Offering a shrug first, she took a large swig.
“Don't be like that,” I said. I finished my already open beer in a single swig, not feeling too great about drinking so much of the room-temperature liquid at once. It was an unspoken rule that I had to keep up and so I opened up the new bottle. “Whatever else, I'm still more or less me. Politics is boring and I get so tired of dealing with people who want to put responsibilities on my shoulders against my will. Even if I do like a few things about all that or not, I don't think it really matters. Fact is I'm still trying my best to have fun. I mean, here I am, drinking in the middle of the day in some dusty walled-off secret room that smells of old paper and mold. Not a care in the world. Save for the company that's starting to sound like she's nagging.”
“Oh don't you start up with me,” Suika took offense at the implication, “I'll put you down hard if you keep at it. At any rate, I'm not the one moaning like a girl about how things are so hard and the whole universe is against me.” Scrunching up her eyes and nose, she mocked me with a faux-sobbing voice, “boohoohoo, if only I could catch a break! It's not fair! All I want is to be loved!”
I laughed. The whiny high-pitched voice sold it. I silently raised my bottle in a toast, she smiled and did the same. We downed the mostly full bottles in an instant. And then started on another.
I wondered how she managed to sneak in what was probably a full crate of beers into the room. It would have been bulky and it's not like she's particularly stealhty. Getting it down and then up steps in the dark would have been a challenge too. That mental image, weirdly enough, made her earlier statement about having a life of her own really hit home.
Some idle chatting and more beer later, it became impossible to ignore biology. Suika had had enough too by the looks of it, reading my mind and leading me back out from the room and quickly down the corridor. She opened a door and revealed a small bathroom, complete with a old rusted metal sink. I was pushed inside and told to hurry it up. There was no light and I had to simply trust my instincts. I barely managed to do up my trousers before Suika barged in, telling me to get the hell out. Happy with relief, I waited for her alone in the dark corridor.
“Man I'm hungry,” Suika complained, coming out of the bathroom after what seemed like an eternity. “I think we missed lunch.”
“Been that long?” I asked. I lost all track of time.
“Mm, that reminds me of something that you might be interested in,” she pointed the flashlight to her face, accentuating the rather toothy grin. It looked almost predatory.
“This'll be good.”
“I mentioned earlier that these tunnels go under the school buildings, right? Well, off in that way you'll make it to the gym. Specifically, to the locker rooms. I might know of a spot or two where you can see into them. If I'm not mistaken on Monday afternoons, the second year students have PE...”
“So, I'm thinking, you do me a small favor and I share with you my knowledge. Fair, right?”
“I'm not sure I'm interested, but what do you want?”
“Just a little fun. Since you'll be busy with your precious vice presidential duties more often than not after school, we won't get to hang out. I want a box full of drinks from your shop and for you to mildly embarrass yourself publically with someone you like. I get to pick who, you don't get to ask until you agree. Won't be something too bad, so don't worry, but enough to make me laugh.”
“I'd have to pay for the alcohol from my pocket, even if it is at cost… and...” I was trying to figure what to say about the second part.
“Not negotiable,” she pointed the flashlight into my face, making me wince. “It's the price you pay. As a friend I'm not going to screw you over, so don't worry about your wallet or love life. Just a bump on the road. In return I offer you a view that could kill the faint of heart. Maidens in their prime. Easily accessed every time there's a PE class. More than fair. Whaddya think?”
The embarrassment can't be public and she'd probably want it that way. While he doesn't care about the responsibilities he's pushed into, I'm sure that he cares about who will be hurt by him failing to achieve the vice president minimum standards.
That and I fucking hate people telling him what to do. So far, even the council is a means to an end (pic related) and whoever wanted to order him around was shown the fucking door (Aya) I don't think that even Suika should get away with it.
Finally, what's up with her? She complains about Arc doing what they tell him, and then, immediately after, she orders him around too? Come on.
I think this sounds like fun. Suika is a good friend and despite whatever else, she wouldn't seriously want to ruin us. I don't particularly care about the peeping, so I'm just trying to win some Suika points here.
“You’ve got yourself a deal,” I said, after thinking it over for a moment. I’d let her have her fun. Maybe that was more important than getting to see schoolgirls in various states of undress. Just by a sliver.
Suika made sure to remind me not to skimp on my side of the bargain while leading my down the underground corridor. “Maximum one big bottle of beer. Though a bottle or two or three of sake is fine,” she said, detailing what she expected in the box. It wasn’t going to come cheap and I’d need to think up a good excuse to tell Auntie - buying large quantities of our own stock wasn’t something exactly regular.
The buzz from the beers was persistent and so I quickly stopped worrying and instead focused on the moment. Specifically, I focused on not tripping on something. Suika was bad at illuminating the way so I had to keep close to her. I bumped up against her from behind after she stopped abruptly at another intersection. She paid it no mind and picked up the pace, going in the direction of what I figured was the gym building.
“These rooms here,” Suika swept her flashlight across several doors to her left, “they’re right next to the locker rooms. There used to be connections to where we are so, like the room we were earlier, it was bricked over. But not perfectly. There’s gaps that are obvious because of the light coming in from the other side. Take your pick and enjoy.”
“You’ll have to be quiet, though. If you listen carefully, you can hear their voices even from here,” she cautioned. I pricked up my ears and listened carefully. Yeah, there were a few very muffled voices off in the distance. It was impossible to tell what they were saying or who they belonged to. “I’m going to go now, I’m not really into spying on people.”
“You can borrow my backup flashlight,” she said, reading my mind. “Don’t lose it or I’ll get pissed off.”
“Thanks,” I said, taking the small plastic cylinder from her. “About the other thing…”
“I’ll let you know soon,” she cut me off, patting me strongly on the shoulder. The smack reverberated through the corridor. So much for being quiet. “Have fun and remember to double back to get out. There’s no phone reception down here.”
She left me on my own. Figuring I might as well get my money’s worth, I opened the first door and looked around. It was another storage closet. Absolutely unremarkable save for a few bright pinpricks of light coming from the far wall. I kneeled down and looked through the nearest one. Nothing. Some sort of stool or bench, a wooden object at any rate, blocked most of the view. I could hear voices more clearly now, but I still couldn’t quite make out what they were saying.
I tried a few other holes. My luck wasn’t any better. As these were random, they were mostly partially obscured by what I assumed were the lockers themselves. The light that came in was from an awkward angle which didn’t reveal anything nice.
I moved onto the next room. Things were better there. A few of the holes were bigger and the viewing angles were good enough for me to confirm that there were, indeed, second-year students on the other side of the wall. The colored ribbon was a telltale sign. The top of a uniform had been casually placed on a chair by the side of the room and occasionally I saw part of an arm or leg come into view for a brief moment.
The third room was just right. The second hold I tried there was everything that I could have hoped for. Though the sight of spats and sport bras were nothing too special by themselves, the fact that they had no clue that I could see them be so relaxed made it much more exciting. The head cheerleader slowly rolled down her thigh high socks, smiling and talking to a classmate and carefully put them away. What a difference a year made. Waifish and plain looks had blossomed into all sorts of charm.
I could just barely make a few words here and there and the averageness of the implied conversation quickly dismissed any sort of locker room fantasies I might have harbored. For better or worse what I was seeing was natural and unpretentious. Still, I squinted a little harder, hoping to get a good look all the same.
One girl in particular caught my attention and I tried to better define the essence of her charm.
 Write in from the second year roster goes here. Feel free to add in your comment what you like about her and/or why.
I would have gone with a traditional binary choice but this seems more fun. Let's see if the character I think will win, wins.
Though initial allegiances were fluid and both fairies and cats were brushed aside, we're still at an impasse. Because I think that the longer I wait, the more diminishing returns there are in terms possibilities of votes, I'm going to flip a coin and write soon.
I squinted as I emerged from the hatch. The afternoon sun was far brighter than the flashlight and it took me a few moments to readjust to normal levels of light. The hatch door groaned as I pulled it shut. Part of me had expected me to have gotten turned around in the dark and come out of another end of campus but, to my pleasant surprise, I managed to find the same spot as where I went in. Not that it really mattered. I could have afforded to have gotten lost for a while. Afternoon classes were in session and I couldn’t just show up in the middle of a class without an excuse.
I decided to spend the next period lying on the grass next to the nearby fountain. It was a good way to warm my body up after getting chilled by the dark underground. Gave me time to think about what I saw too.
I’d never really thought about that second-year girl before. I’d seen her before, hanging around Aya from time to time, but I didn’t think we’d ever spoken. It wasn’t like she was particularly remarkable either. Sure, the twintails and ribbons were cute but it didn’t exactly make her stand out. Then again, I sort of had a blindspot when it came to the younger classes. They weren’t very approachable by default - because of cultural conditioning they were more often than not nervous and stiff when dealing with us.
What had caught my eye was the matching set of lilac-colored underwear. They were somewhat plain but still had a few bells and whistles in the form of lace trimmings. Somehow that had set her apart from the rest of the locker room. I inferred a few things about her from what I saw. Namely that she was something of a loner. Other girls mostly talked to friends and socialized while getting ready for PE while she quietly got dressed in a corner. Didn’t seem like she was uncomfortable in the environment, just not really interested in chatting. She kept checking her phone even as she put on her socks meaning that maybe she was more interested in people who weren’t present. The slight black circles on her eyes told me that she had also been up late; I didn’t take her for being the party girl type nor was there really anything to study so early into the semester.
Putting that aside, she was somewhere in the middle when it came to development. Nothing too big nor too small and in many ways average. That said, the overall package worked and there wasn’t anything going on that had put me off. Then again, she had been in a corner. I wasn’t able to get that good a look through the peephole. For all I really knew I had seen her from a very unflattering perspective. As the girls cleared out from the locker room I had gotten one final glance at her from behind and approved of the roundness of her behind.
“Where were you?” Reimu asked as I got back to class. There was curiosity in her voice,“I sent you a bunch of messages over lunch, didn’t you get them?”
“Sorry, I was somewhere without reception,” I told her, seeing that the festive mood in the classroom had dissipated. Everyone was back to their normal selves, chatting happily but with restraint while waiting for the teacher to arrive. Suika was leaning back in her seat, arms folded. She made brief eye contact with me but then looked out the window, uninterested.
“They’ll announce the results tomorrow,” Reimu said, “I wanted to tell you to make sure to show up. No skipping school.”
“Got it, no being a maverick,” I told her, “I’ll be here.”
Satisfied with my answer, she went back to her seat. She didn’t even roll her eyes, so maybe she was coming to terms with my personality.
The rest of the afternoon was uneventful. I didn’t feel like doing anything special after the bell rang. I went back home and rested up. Alice came over to talk to Marisa and then they went out briefly but were back in time for dinner. I was at my desk, figuring out just what to get Suika. I’d go to the store when I had time and bring over the things she wanted. It’d drain most of my funds but I didn’t really mind. I didn’t really have plans on spending a lot of money anytime soon.
Eventually, I decided to lie in bed. Even if I wasn’t going to go to sleep right away. I felt uneasy but I couldn’t really figure out why. Guilt over peeping? Probably not. Though I wasn’t liable to do it again anytime soon. The viewing angle I had was poor and it wasn’t worth the strain of hiding in a dark underground room just to see knickers and listen to half-muffled speech. The results of the election? I was sure I won probably in spite of my speech and campaigning.
I grabbed my phone and looked at the time. It was still early.
 Message Reimu that I’d be there in the morning to walk her to school from the station.  Call up Aya to find out more about her friend.
>>62129 This is a calculated risk and it could go both ways. One thing this story has taught me though: Go for your girl when you see an option for her. Waiting for a better opportunity might take months. Remember the last time we chanced upon Komachi? Yeah neither do I.
On the third ring Aya picked up. “Been a while,” she answered on her end, skipping the usual pleasantries.
“So it has,” I said, playing along. Didn’t sound like she was particularly torn up about my calling her.
“So, what’s up?” she asked, cutting straight to the chase. Sentimentality wasn’t really like her anyhow. “Need intel on a target?”
“I guess you could say that,” I told her. I thought of the best way I could broach the subject. I wasn’t sure if it needed a delicate touch or not. Probably not.
“Going for Kamishirasawa, eh?” she asked.
“Uh, no, what gives you that impression?”
“Just people talking,” she said, I could picture her shrugging, keeping her sources confidential. “So if not her, who? Not yours truly, surely. I’m flattered but I’m in the middle of something right now, can’t really hang on to do the whole dirty talk thing.”
“I wanted to know more about that underclassmate that hangs around you, actually,” I said, ignoring what she was implying. The good news was that it was business as usual with her, no hard feelings at all. “You know the one, the one who is on her phone all the time.”
There was a pause. Nothing came from the other side of the line for a moment. “So you’re into Hatate, huh? That’s unexpected,” Aya commented, her tone carefully neutral. I couldn’t tell whether she disapproved or what. “What exactly do you want to know about her?”
“Just the basics. Where I can find her, what kind of personality she has. Just to be better prepared.”
“Alright, I’ll tell you what I know.” Aya told me a few things about the younger girl. She was nominally part of her club but rarely showed up. She was interested in news and photography but didn’t really have a strong journalistic spirit. Though she tried. I wasn’t quite sure what she meant by all that but she went at length about how she tried to give her advice from time to time. “Himekaidou,” she said, “can be a little stubborn and set in her ways, but is a good girl.”
“Is there anything else I should know about her?” I asked.
“Nothing that you won’t learn from just talking to her,” Aya replied. “I think that you might find that she has a lot going on. Not a bad thing as such but I think you might drop the ball if confronted with the rawness of it.”
“That- I’m not sure what you’re trying to say.”
“It’s fine, I’m just making an observation about you more than anything. Anyways,” she moved along, “I think that justs about covers it. Good luck.”
“There’s nothing else?”
“I meant about what I owed you for your time and information.”
“You don’t owe me anything,” Aya said.
“Are you feeling quite alright?” I asked, not really believing she’d give me a freebie just like that.
Though I couldn’t see her, I imagined she was smiling. It was something in her voice. The lilt in her words, “let’s just say that there’s nothing here that you haven’t already paid.”
“That’s not at all ominous,” I said with obvious sarcasm.
“Feel free to give me cash tomorrow, I won’t say no,” Aya laughed, “but I don’t expect further payment. We’re square.”
“Yeah, yeah, thanks.”
“By the way,” she added with casual indifference, “congratulations on winning the election.”
“The results won’t be announced until tomorrow,” I told her.
“It’s a sure thing according to sources,” Aya said, “I mean, you’re running unopposed. And are intimate with the top echelons of school administration. Democracy is about who counts the votes, didn’t you know?”
“No comment,” I said, “I expect you’ll be hearing that line from me a lot in the future.”
“We’ll see,” she laughed again, taking it in stride. “Now unless you have anything else you want to know or legitimately want to turn this into an indecent phone call, I should get going.”
 Remind her that she’s welcome to share free and helpful information at any time.  Play along and sign off with an appropriately lewd line.
>>62145 >>62146 IN contrast I think being like that would only worsen things; it's pretty clear that Aya has an interest in said dirty talk, likely as a way to try to restore things to how they used to be.
She was a friend what Arc could do that sort of thing with before a bunch of stuff happened
“Hopefully I’ll get to dream about that tonight,” Aya suppressed a chortle, taking my suggestion in stride. “You make sure to have pleasant dreams too. I’m sure there’s plenty from real life that you can hope to draw upon. Be seeing you one way or another,” she ended, with a playful giggle.
The dreams I had that night were unfortunately very boring. Even though I could sort of hear myself while sleeping, urging me to think of something more stimulating than car trips or calculus, the subject matter refused to be any more exciting. The highlight was talking to Auntie about renovating the store and adding a few new clear display cases. That was something she would probably go for if I told her about it.
I woke up a few minutes before I was usually woken up by the girls. Thoughts about prudent investment still lingered in my head. I got changed and tried to dismiss the thoughts, feeling that there would be plenty of time to think about business opportunities once I graduated.
Both Alice and Marisa were in a good mood. They chatted happily on our way to school, jumping around various topics. I wasn’t really included in the conversation but that was by choice. Fashion and sewing techniques didn’t exactly interest me. Still, the positive energy had an effect on me. Made me feel like I didn’t have a care in the world. Almost made up for my having to get out of bed.
“Hey Arc,” Marisa waved her hand in front of my face, “you’re spacing out, we’re at the gates already.”
“Give him a break,” Alice chimed in, “he’s probably worried about the election results.”
“I somehow doubt it,” Marisa said, ”you probably care about that more than he does, actually.”
“Oh shush,” Alice said, “I tell you in confidence that I’m looking forward to spending time after school together and you keep bringing it up all the time.”
“Oh, is that what I was doing?” Marisa laughed, patting me on the back, like I was supposed to be in on the joke. Alice rolled her eyes but smiled, taking it on the chin.
I kept quiet, feeling like I shouldn’t interrupt. As soon as we entered the main building Alice made a cryptic comment that seemed to set Marisa on edge. “So long as we’re betraying confidence… maybe I should bring up the recent eyeful of an incident,” she said, looking quite smug.
As curious as I was, I knew better than to inquire. I didn’t want the wrath of Alice to descend upon me too just because of my careless curiosity. Though Marisa was cowed, she didn’t lose her good humor and was in high spirits in the minutes before homeroom began. She and Alice talked to a group of classmates, chatting about this and that, as was usual in the mornings.
Someone else was in a rather good mood. Suika beamed brightly, approaching my desk like a ceasar of old at a triumph. She patted me on the head, displaying the magnanimity of a conqueror to the vanquished. “I’ve decided,” she said, “I know what you must do to repay me for the favor yesterday.”
“I’ll dive into the fighting pits right away,” I said with an exaggerated nod.
“What? No,” she shook her head, “I said it’d be something amusing. We both know you wouldn’t last two seconds in a real fight.”
I held my tongue. I had a good comeback but I was afraid it’d simply derail the conversation. “Just spit it out. I promised I’d do what you asked so, the sooner I get it over with, the better.”
“That’s the spirit!” she laughed, “well, the who is really obvious now that I think about it. There’s really only one choice here. When they announce the results, you’ll be together. Brought up to the front of the class to bow and look meek. It’s what she’s always had to do after winning class rep every year. It’s up to you to decide what to do there. I think you know what I’ll consider fun or not.”
I held back a sigh. “Gotcha,” I said, not really looking forward to it. “I’ll have the rest of the stuff by the end of the week I think.”
“Hope you had fun yesterday,” she patted me on the head again, “I look forward to your glorious reign, Mr. Vice President.”
Well, if the tables were turned, I’d probably do the same to her, I told myself. So there was no use lamenting the all too predictable request. I avoided talking to Reimu before homeroom started, feeling that that would throw me off from what I had to do.
Mima announced the election results with a laugh. As predicted we had won the majority of votes and were the next president and vice president of the student council. And, as Suika predicted, she called us up to the front of the class so that we could thank our classmates for their support and they could clap their hearts out. Reimu nodded at me, taking her place next to me and smiled.
 A celebratory kiss shouldn’t be too bad.  Try to discreetly grab her butt.
This is a tough decision and I'm not sure what would be the better outcome. In the end, I was swayed because while Reimu may or may not care about our advances, I really do not think she'd want us to be so blatant and open about it. Imagine the fallout if we go for the kiss and get a slap on the face right in front of everyone. On the other hand, if we try to cop a feel, she may get pissed off, but she'd more likely yell at us away from public eyes, which I think is preferable.
We bowed politely while the class clapped. Any genuine enthusiasm I felt was directed towards her, not me. She probably could have carried a corpse to vice presidency. But I was fine with it not being really my accomplishment. All I tried to do was not to be a drag on the campaign, anyhow.
“Thank you for all your support,” Reimu gave a short little speech, quieting down the class. All the basics were covered: the trust the student body has placed has not been misplaced, looking forward to getting things done and the like. With the standard boilerplate said, she thanked them once again and gave a polite bow.
I supposed that it was a sign that it was my turn to say something. Mima folded her arms across her chest and leaned back in her chair. I smiled at the class, ignoring the mounting expectations in the air. I, too, gave a standard boilerplate speech where I thanked them all for their support and that I would do the best I could for them. Which was, frankly, pretty boring but necessary. It was only after I had gotten that out of the way that I gave it my own personal twist.
“Right then, Ms. President, you deserve most of the credit for this victory,” I said, turning and placing a hand on her shoulder. It didn’t seem like she expected what came next. I could feel Suika’s smug smile from across the room as I kissed Reimu. This was exactly the sort of thing she had been hoping for. “Hope that’s enough thanks.”
“It’s not! Gotta be on the lips,” someone yelled out. The class burst into laughter.
“That’s more than fine,” Reimu said diplomatically, quickly regaining her composure. She showed a polite little smile to the class as if nothing was amiss.
“How boring!” someone else shouted.
“Yeah, let’s see some real action!” another voice chimed in.
The class certainly was having fun with my modest display of affection. Even Mima was smiling and she did nothing to discourage the students. ‘Let’s see where this leads’ she seemed to say with her look.
“Yo Arc, kiss me next!” one of the guys said, puckering his lips in an exaggerated fashion.
“Sorry, but you’re just not cute enough,” I fired back, breaking the harsh truth to him.
“My poor delicate heart~” he bemoaned, sighing. A few nearby girls laughed and teased him, offering kisses of their own to make up for my cruelty. All in all our thank you speech became something more like a general free for all.
The general consensus was that it’d be an interesting administration. I could live with that and, by the looks of it, so could Reimu. Along the way, the banter became a sort of cheeky Q&A, with people asking us about our relationship and if we planned to do (increasingly) obscene things in the student council room.
“Guys, it’s not like it’s just going to be us two in there. There’ll be other people too.”
“All girls I bet,” one of the male students clicked his tongue at me, “you lucky dog. If I had realized the type of racket you were building, I’d have run for vice prez too.”
A few cries of “Arc, I hate you” and similar variants rang out. Some of them were clearly in jest, others had a vituperative quality to them.
“Just wait a minute,” Reimu cut in, “I’m going to be in charge and I assure you that there’ll be no horseplay under my watch.”
“I wish Reimu would boss me around…” someone said just a little too loudly. Everyone laughed.
“They’re a cute couple dontcha think?” after a while that sort of thing became the subject. “Even if they’re not together right, they kind of work. I bet he’s actually all sensitive and shows his sweet side all the time when they’re alone. I mean, that chaste kiss was kinda romantic…”
Reimu and I had given up on redirecting the conversation to anywhere saner. People speculated wildly about us, as if we weren’t standing right there. Naturally, this then progressed with talk about their own love lives and before too long we had been forgotten altogether.
We returned to our seats as Mima finally resumed control of the classroom. “Settle down, everyone, we still have a normal day ahead of us.”
Suika sure was glad to see me. She slapped me on the back and congratulated me on a job well done. “No tongue was a classy choice,” she said, whispering avoid notice from Mima. “I’m glad you’re not entirely a boring square.”
Throughout morning classes, I felt like I had become more popular all of a sudden. I caught a few classmates looking at me every now and again. And, when it was time for break, I imagined that they all left to gossip with the other classes. During lunchtime I went to the bathroom and noticed that I was getting a lot of knowing looks and smiles just by walking around.
As good a start as any to the august position of vice president.
 Pop by to thank Kochiya for her support.  See Aya to get ahead of the news cycle
[x] Sanae This was a very entertaining update, glad to see we didn't shoot ourselves in the foot this time (so far)
As for choices.. Aya will probably be running the rumor mill, but I liked Sanae and I didn't want things to end like they did in her last appearance . The 'thanking her for her support' might be too formal, but it is a good excuse.
All in all, both options are good, but visiting Aya sounds more useful. I didn't choose it because waifu though.
As someone who voted for the other choice, I am incredibly glad to be wrong this time given what just happened. But for this choice, I think it'd be a good idea to try to salvage some kind of working relationship with Aya, as others have mentioned.
 Pop by to thank Kochiya for her support. We should see her and do something nice for her. She helped Arc, though he had to spill some bullshit at her. He should repay her somehow; it will also compensate for the bad feelings he had for manipulating her.
Aya was at her desk, in the middle of a transaction. A portly fellow with something of a high-pitched voice was trying to be as discreet as possible but failing. The rest of the class, no doubt used to seeing weird people talk to Aya, pretended to ignore him. I caught a snicker or two nonetheless. The student clumsily handed Aya a few crumpled up bills and got a plain brown envelope in exchange. Aya flashed a smile and thanked him for his business as he walked away.
“The new spring catalog is in,” Aya said, noticing me. She tucked away the crumpled up bills into a pocket. “Interested in grabbing a copy?”
“Anything interesting?” I asked.
“There’s a few cute freshmen but most of it is dedicated to the blossoming of our new second years. Not to say that our beautiful seniors have been ignored. There’s a few of those in there too,” she explained. “How about it?”
“I’ll pass,” I told her. Even if I really wanted candid shots of my schoolmates I didn’t really have the money to spare. Suika tied up most of my free money for the foreseeable future.
“Shame, there’s some really good stuff in there, the kind of thing you’d be interested in,” she shrugged but then smiled at me. “So what brings you here today? Come to do the unspeakable acts you mentioned last night?”
“Nothing like that,” I said with a smile of my own. I got the feeling that she was having a bit of fun at my expense. She arched her back, pulling her arms up, as if just stretching. As a result, her blouse was stretched too, neatly framing her breasts and making them seemingly pop out towards me.
“Just a little stiff from sitting around all morning, don’t mind me,” she explained, lowering her arms and rotating her shoulders in an exaggerated fashion. Slight bouncing ensued. “Please, do go on.”
“I’m just here to see what the headlines will be,” I said.
“What I had already figured out - ‘Predictable Election Results’. Most of the issue will be dedicated to club recruitment and an introduction of the school for our freshmen.”
“I think you know what I’m getting at.”
“Announcing major policy that I should know about?” she asked, acting dumb. Taking out a small pad and pencil from her bag, she pretended like she was going to take notes.
“I’d just assumed you’d want to know more about what happened this morning.”
“You must have heard. Reimu and I. And the, uh, kiss. Seems like the kind of thing you’d report on.”
“We don’t really report on the personal lives of students,” Aya said, shaking her head with a disappointed frown. “I’m insulted you’d even insinuate I’d be interested in dedicating space to it.”
“Hey, what about the printed love letters?”
“That’s an advice column,” she said, “entertainment and a service, not hard news. It’s nowhere near the front page. Really now Arc, I thought you of all people would understand the different kinds of journalism and what I try to do with the school paper.”
“I guess what you do here is independent of the newspaper,” I said, sighing.
“That’s right. This and the information I sell are for recreational purposes only. I’m upfront about that.”
Was she messing with me? I couldn’t tell. She looked serious enough but…
 Forget the paper. Ask about any interesting new rumors instead  Make an on the record statement about the victory and leave her be.  Be a little flirty and revisit the proposal from the other day and try to get her to soften up.
-- Three choices because, fuck you, distilling it to two is too clunky. You losers better actually consider all three. Or there'll no dessert after supper.
[x] Be a little flirty and revisit the proposal from the other day and try to get her to soften up.
Going with this. Being flirty is probably the easiest way to get Aya to be more friendly with us, if only because she reacts well to something that isn't too serious. Also, I don't know what the second choice means.
>Make an on the record statement about the victory and leave her be. A word was accidentally.
>Forget the paper. Ask about any interesting new rumors instead This might be more useful but... shining new things distract me. That is, ignoring what he was coming for in the first place doesn't feel right... And he might, again, ask for a price we're not willing to pay. Meh, a good choice anyway.
>Make an on the record statement about the victory and leave her be. Oh come on man, do you have to be so boring? This sounds like a 'I give up' option: not venom nor medicine. Might give some Reimu points, but will probably end up being irrelevant.
>Be a little flirty and revisit the proposal from the other day and try to get her to soften up. Okay, now THIS is dangerous, considering that we are in the middle of the fucking classroom. But it is what will probably give results. I mean, she'll saw it coming, but enjoy it anyway.
>>62190 Don't forget about how we left our last in-person interaction with her. We bloody turned her down and then chewed her out about it. Fuck that damn vote, I'm still salty about it. Should have just forced a write-in. Whatever happened, happened.
The phone call may or may not have increased his favor with her. But in line with burning that particular situation so thoroughly, it's merely a drop in the bucket.
With that grade-A cock-up in mind, we also just indirectly insulted her paper.
Is the best follow up to that going to be skipping right to business, walking away, or flirting. I think walking away actually has merit to be honest. But I'm wary of wasting this chance.
The third option really mixes it up, but it seems really dependant on the majority's stated logic.
[x] Be a little flirty and revisit the proposal from the other day and try to get her to soften up.
The way I see it, the first two options are more business-oriented, whereas the third option is more friend-oriented (though I am questioning the wording of "soften up"). Asking for rumors might be more useful now, but I think it'd be better in the long run for us to rebuild a friendship with Aya. In any case, making a statement and then leaving appeals the least to me. Aya's already stated that the election will not be the main focus of this paper, and giving her a statement when she's not really asking for one kind of implies that we think she's going to make up a questionable story about us. The first option is at least better in this regard, but it's still giving the impression that Aya is just an information dump. First things first, let's get back on good terms with her.
Speaking of which, I'm a bit surprised that Aya's been so amicable in these last few posts, given the note we left on in the last threads. She took the earlier rejections and criticisms quite personally, so this change in attitude might be an indication that she's willing to let bygones be bygones. Or, for the more paranoid, it could mean she's gotten some ridiculously good information involving us since then (referring to her phone call), and she's plotting our downfall as we speak.
>>62187 An "on the record" statement just means that he's providing a public, official statement for Aya to run in her paper; it's the opposite of "off the record," which is something that you discuss in private and don't want told to the public.
“What do you think you’re doing?” Aya asked, laughing at my last line. “I thought you liked being discreet. And yet, here you are, basically propositioning me in my homeroom.”
“I guess that was a little too forward,” I said, smiling sheepishly. I had pulled up a chair and sat down next to her, the two of us relatively sequestered from the rest of the class.
“Not to mention, that kind of thing seems anatomically… inconvenient, to say the least.”
“I just figured that you’re the type that gets into things the dirtier they are,” I said.
“Oh my, how flattering,” she laughed again, taking no real offense. For what it was worth, people seemed to ignore us or at least pretended to. So I was fairly confident that we weren’t being overheard. There were a couple empty seats as a buffer zone to one side of us and a wall to the other. So only those with superhuman eavesdropping skills could probably overhear anything more than the occasional word above the lunchtime din.
“At least you can’t accuse me of being a prude-”
Aya interrupted me mid-sentence, “mm, but I can accuse you of being painfully transparent. Too much flattery, too much playing around just means that you’re after something. And, assuming that you asked everything that you needed to know about Hatate earlier, that really just leaves one thing. And I don’t really know why you’re even bothering to go there again.”
“Brains and looks,” I said, trying to laugh her analysis off, “quite a deadly combination. I do mean it, by the way.”
“Probably,” she conceded, “but it’s still a matter of timing. Saying nice things when you want something isn’t as noble as when you don’t. Besides,” she smiled, her eyes alight with mischief, “I could say that line about you too. You ought to try a little bit harder.”
“Maybe. But anything else I have is probably best left to be said in a less public place.”
“For a politician, you’re not a very good liar. Nor a really good negotiator,” she shook her head. “You should stick with what you know. Be the charming rogue for the sake of being one. Not because you think you can get something out of it. I thought our business concluded with your rejection and dressing down and so have no further reason to linger on the subject.”
“Maybe I was too harsh and instead of giving you a tongue lashing, I should have given you a tongue lashing.”
Aya giggled. “Okay, that’s a bit more clever,” she said, still looking somewhat guarded. It was really her unflappable nature combine with her willingness to adapt and go along with any situation that kept me from finding the best vector of attack. “You should still listen to me and let it drop. I don’t think you’re able to separate business and pleasure. So I’ll always have you at a disadvantage. I mean, I’m still talking to you despite the way you left things. If our positions were reversed, do you think you’d be capable of doing the same?”
“...” I couldn’t really answer. But probably not.
Aya seized the initiative, adding, “I think your lack of answer says everything that needs to be said.”
“I’m an optimist overall,” I said, “a glass half empty isn’t my sort of thing.” I tried to refocus where I was going with things. I paused, thought for a moment and picked a different strategy. “Surely there’s common ground that we can find. Things we can negotiate.”
Aya shook her head again. She sighed. “I told you that you’re not a very good negotiator. I’ll indulge you nonetheless. I still don’t really have a pressing need of anything you have to offer. And, with how the last round of talks went, I’d actually have to double down and ask for more just to make the point that you shouldn’t waste my time and goodwill. Again, this is from a business perspective. The fact that you’re my friend is why I’m explaining how the process works.”
“I’m not sure what you could double down with. I mean the whole point was to humiliate me, right?”
“If you’re revisiting this it means that the idea wasn’t wholly repugnant, despite your protests. I just have to push your buttons harder and your boundaries further,” she smiled slyly. It was a self-satisfied affair - I imagined she often smiled to herself like that after a successful day of selling pictures and information.
“Why insist on it? I mean, there’s got to be something else of mine that you want.”
“Not really, no,” she said. “Money I have plenty of and I can get access to the student council through someone else.” With a gaze that could only be described as scandalously salacious, she whispered, “and as cute as you are, I don’t really need you to get myself off either. In fact, as much fun as I would have, it would benefit you more I think. So it’s a non-starter.”
“I still don’t get why it had to be something like that.”
“Let me put things this way: if there’s no hardship involved in making a payment then how valuable can your purchase be? If this is so important to you, then it’s got to be worth some sort of sacrifice. The cost is reflected by your need. A picture or rumor might be worth money, a little extracurricular fun might be worth emotional investment while something that you’re desperate for is worth something more. I’d be happy to settle for something as equally valuable as your brief submission. I doubt that you’d offer anything else. Or could even think of something.”
“You’re a real piece of work,” I said, sighing.
“You love me for it,” she smirked, her tone playful. “Admit it, you kinda wish the tables were turned and I had to perform all sort of lewd acts on you. Maybe up on the roof that you’re so fond of, my poor arms tied behind my back, told to use nothing but my m-”
“I get the picture,” I said, feeling a bit self-conscious all of a sudden. It certainly wasn’t the kind of conversation best suited to a classroom in the middle of the day. “I’m not going to tell you my fantasies because I’d still be playing into your hands.”
“Maybe you’re not so hopeless at negotiation after all,” she smiled. “Maybe all you need is to train so you have enough stamina to keep up with me. I’m quite demanding, you know.”
“Let’s stop drifting onto other subjects,” I said.
“If you insist,” she chuckled and leaned back in her seat. “Tell you what - I’ll give you one last chance. I should have some free time tomorrow after classes. Meet me behind the gym for a final and private offer. If you don’t show up, I’ll assume you have no interest in my help and we’ll never speak of it again. Neither of us can have hard feelings afterwards, however. So no grandstanding like last time. Go ahead and think it through.”
“I don’t want to hear it right now!” Shifting back to the same lubricious look as earlier, she changed the subject. She whispered softly, with the intimacy of a lover during an unguarded moment after coitus, “I have a limited time offer for you now. I’d be willing to give you a little something of mine in exchange for money. What I wore down there all day yesterday. Unwashed. It just so happens to be in my bag. For you to do with as you please. What do you say?”
 Sure, if she throws in what she’s currently wearing too.  Refuse. It’s an obvious scam.
>>62205 No write in votes unless I ask for them. Any thoughts, hopes, dreams etc are best left for comments. If doable, will be worked in.
>>62204 is an attempt to have it both ways so not really going to happen. If you want to be flirty, bold, clever or whatever, then there's nothing that tops that more than asking her to take off her current set. Seems silly that I have to state that refusing and thinking something is a scam is an unambiguous opposite of playing along.
>>62210 I still don't have enough votes. I'm waiting until a time when I do and I have time to write, as always.
>>62211 I have several dreams that I hope will become reality someday too. One of them is not getting snark for giving an objective and unbiased clarification on a point of contention. Another is actually being able to do fast updates like in the past.
I don't expect the first to come true because I won't stop being snarky myself anytime soon. Though I do hope that people other than me will start refuting stupid claims like nothing ever goes well for the protagonist. Selective memory a shit.
As for the second dream: it can come true if you actually checked in more often and encouraged people you know to read and vote. Don't give me another excuse to be lazy. I want to do lightning-fast updates.
“My oh my,” Aya grinned, “what a bold request. Pushing such a hard bargain… haven’t you stopped to think what poor ol’ little me will have to deal with if I agree? A sudden gust of wind could expose me completely.”
“You’re a big girl, I’m sure you’ll manage just fine. Get home quickly and it won’t be a problem. Besides, I’m sure that part of you finds the idea exciting.”
“For you,” she said with a chuckle, this idea is exciting for you. At least to a greater degree than it is for me.”
“Maybe, maybe not. Still, that’s my counteroffer. Take it or leave it.”
“Hmmm….” she crossed her arms and pursed her lips, as if weighing the pros and cons of the deal. Reaching for a nearby pencil, she began to softly tap it against her desk. There was no real rhythm to her tapping, just a shifting intensity that seemed random.
“Come on, lunch break is almost over,” I told her.
“Fine,” she said, smiling,”I agree in principle. There’s just one little problem.” She stopped tapping and moved her hand to the side of her desk. “Oops, I dropped my pencil,” she said, letting go. With a wink, she asked, “mind picking it up for me?”
Instead of arguing or asking for an explanation, I decided to play along. I got down under the desk and reached for the fallen pencil. Aya stretched a leg out beside me, leaving me with a good view of her taut thighs. Not only that. Discreetly, with one hand tugging at the side, she began to slowly pull up her skirt. Those legs of hers became longer and longer, her thighs rounder and plumper as they neared her waist. It seemed that she wouldn’t be able to hold up her end of the deal, after all.
Aya stopped moving her skirt just as things really got interesting. Unless I got down lower, flat on my belly, I would be limited by shadow and line of sight. But it was enough to confirm something that she had wanted to show me. “Found that thing yet?” she asked, her voice a deceptively innocent contrast to what she was exposing.
“Found it,” I said, grabbing the pencil. If we weren’t in class, if we were anywhere else… I might have found a more interesting place to return the pencil to. “Here you go,” I said, getting up. I wore a normal smile, hoping not to betray my thoughts.
“Thanks,” she said and dropped her voice down to a careful whisper. “I like the fresh feeling of the air between my legs,” she explained with an unquestionably prurient smile. Staring into her eyes and seeing her libido without any additional pretense made me also feel a similar desire. “I would give what I could, but I hope you realize it’s just not possible.”
“I understand,” I nodded, trying not to get too lost in thought.
“Then I think our business here is concluded,” she said.
“A prop,” she explained, “for those whose appetites aren’t sated by pictures and innuendo. I would not sell something of myself like that. Especially when it can just as easily have belonged to whatever other poor girl the person sitting across from me is obsessing about. Authenticity is a hard thing to prove, unless you’re willing to be fooled in the first place.”
Though we hadn’t reached a deal, I still felt like I took something away from that exchange. I only walked away empty handed in a literal sense. Whether she was trying to teach me something, tell me that she really liked me in her own special way or just messing with me - these seemed all equally plausible and I couldn’t decide which was the case. But there was definitely something of a method to the madness even if I couldn’t quite tell what it was.
We’d spent most of the lunch break talking. There wasn’t enough time left for me to do anything else. I returned to my homeroom, thinking about both the vague shapes I saw and the things we talked about.
Afternoon classes were boring. I was restless. Not only because my mind kept adding details to things I may have seen under that desk but also because I knew that I would be busy after school. The first meeting of the new student council would take place and there was no way of getting out of it. As soon as the final bell rang, Reimu got up and made eye contact with me. I felt like a dog on a short leash.
“What about the others?” I asked. She’d just taken me along for the walk to the council room, leaving behind the rest of the cabinet.
“I’ve given them some reading to do for today. We have to put things in the council room in order before we actually have a proper meeting,” she told me. Our predecessors had left behind sealed letters for us to read on our first day. And there was paperwork to fill out, confirming the members of the student council.
“Hm, I guess I’ll be sitting here from now on,” I said, finding a chair to the right of the head of the table. The council room felt big and, honestly, a little intimidating. I smiled as I realized that that was just the weight of the responsibility I imagined would be on my shoulders from that moment onwards. A stupid thing to worry about.
“I don’t care where you sit. I don’t care about formalities. Sit wherever you’re most productive,” Reimu said, grabbing a stack of papers that had been left behind for us. She handed a few sheets to me and sat on the opposite side of the table, facing me. “There is one thing I want to clear up before we get to work. About what you did in the classroom…” she sighed, “you shouldn’t do that kind of thing in public. What were you thinking?”
 Come clean about Suika and apologize.  Shame that I hadn’t gone for the lips. The class would have like that better.
>>62215 >I have several dreams that I hope will become reality someday too. One of them is not getting snark for giving an objective and unbiased clarification on a point of contention. Sorry, I missed that clarification. Was it 'No write ins ever because' or was it 'One option is the opposite of another, so it's good enough, even if they add things that are unrelated, like aggressiveness'
If it is the first, fair enough, but it is 'arbitrary' not 'objective' and 'unbiased' (which are synonyms, by the way) If it is the second one, it is bullshit.
Keep in mind that the shit idiots like me post is trying to be constructive criticism. If it sounds aggressive, it's because it is. And if it is, is because how the site works.
As for the voting thing, I always do, but I might as well throw back the sticker I used on thread 10-ish with my next vote.
>>62218 While telling the truth is the 'moral' choice, I don't think it'll do any good in this case. It may even lead her to the conclusion that he was fucking with her from the beginning. Arc, while not exactly a man of a single woman, is honest in his approaches and, if he can help her with them (which has happened before) even more so.
And I suspect-nay, know, that he would have done something similar without the bet.
[x] Shame that I hadn’t gone for the lips. The class would have like that better.
I hope she doesn't take this as if Arc was using her for a show, but Reimu doesn't seem like that.
>>62220 Surely someone capable of this degree of condescension is enlightened enough to work out things for himself.
You can fuck right off with this kind of 'constructive criticism' in the future. At your best, that's still passive-aggressive bullshit. I'm happy to spend time discussing stuff about the story or the choices or whatever but there's a better way to go about it than that.
And yeah, in case you haven't noticed, the site is pretty dead. So I don't think this is how the site 'works' at all. Don't be a wanker.
[X] Shame that I hadn’t gone for the lips. The class would have like that better.
I feel like both glasses are poisoned. He was a bit out of line, doing that in front of everyone, but I think it was in character and is still in character to play it off now. On the other hand, honesty seems to work well with Reimu.
On the other hand, Aya being straight up unconstrained is amazing.
It didn’t seem like my reply amused her much. Though she stopped short of frowning, Reimu’s eyes threatened to lead with a glower at a moment’s notice. Still, I persisted, adding, “the class reacted well enough. So I don’t think it was too big of a deal.”
Reimu put down her stack of papers and stood up. She walked around the end of the table and stood next to me, staring down at me soberly. “There’s no need to complicate our work with what the public thinks of us,” she said. “You’re the one who insisted that he liked to stay out of the limelight. So, which is it? You like being the center or attention or not?”
“I like being the center of attention when cute girls are involved. Girls like you,” I said, with my stupidest smile. It was a weak attempt but it was all I could come up with on the spot.
“Oh shut up,” Reimu groused, shaking her head. “All I’m saying is that you shouldn’t tempt fate. I’d like to have an uneventful presidency. Technically our homeroom teacher is supposed to report inappropriate conduct and that theoretically can lead to disciplinary action.”
“Mima won’t say anything,” I said, “she’s cool with it.”
“That’s not the point!” Reimu let out an exasperated sigh. Looked like she couldn’t make up her mind whether to hit me or simply give up. “What I’m saying is that you should be careful. Think things through. It’s that simple. Luckily this situation will probably not be too big of a deal.”
“Okay, I hear ya,” I replied, “I’ll be more careful in the future.”
Reimu narrowed her eyes. Clearly she wasn’t sure if I meant it or was just saying what she wanted to hear. Placing a hand on her hip, she said, “at any rate, it’s best to leave that sort of thing for when we’re alone.”
“Shut up for a bit,” she interrupted. Leaning down towards me, she kissed me. Though spontaneous, it wasn’t the most comfortable of kisses. The difference in height between our heads meant we both had to tilt to find a way to make contact. The fact that my head was turned to the side to face her made things extra awkward. The result was a brief, honest but sloppily-executed kiss. “There, happy?” she asked, pulling back after a moment.
“No, not really,” I confessed, “that was the most awkward kiss I’ve ever had.”
“Too bad,” she said with her arms akimbo, both hands now on either side of her hips. “It’s all you deserve after today.” With a smile, she added, “and let’s be honest, we both know that I’m being too generous. Way too generous.”
I didn’t have a snappy comeback for that. But it was okay. I was still smiling. Maybe that was her intention. Make me smile, make me relax. I didn’t really mind getting to work when she sat back down. All those stupid forms were easy to fill out. I didn’t really have to make any decisions either - I deferred to Reimu to all real matters of policy and organization. At least for the moment.
As a result of our good work rhythm, we were done fairly quickly. As in, before most clubs were done with their activities for the day. I doubted that every meeting would be as quick but it was nice to have the faint hope that I wouldn’t necessarily be getting out so late from school in the future.
“Not bad for our first day, huh?” Reimu said, echoing my thoughts, wiggling the fingers on her writing hand. She’d done almost twice the amount of writing I had.
“Could have been worse.Want me to make us some tea?” I tilted my head at the electric kettle on a nearby shelf. Seemed like the previous student council had used it a lot, the bottom bit that came into contact with the base had flakes of paint worn off.
“Nope, I just want to go home,” she said, “to be honest, I stayed up late last night because I was worried about the election results. So I’m tired. I bet you slept like a baby though, right?” she laughed.
“No complaints,” I said, not really feeling like elaborating. She didn’t need to know about my less-than-ideal rest.
We left the student council room and walked part way home together. The sun wasn’t quite yet setting but it wouldn’t be long before the sky became darker. I left her at an intersection and watched her walk towards the station. All things considered, my first day as vice president had gone pretty well.
I figured that, since I had nothing better to do, I might as well stop by the shop and see Auntie. I needed to pick up the alcohol I promised Suika anyhow. The only thing I wasn’t sure of was what I’d tell Auntie. She let me have the occasional bottle or drink but a box full of the stuff might be a little too much for her to stomach.
 It’s all for Suika. We made a deal that I’d rather not get too specific about.  As part of the student council, she could trust me to be responsible. So she shouldn’t worry about it.
[x] As part of the student council, she could trust me to be responsible. So she shouldn’t worry about it.
How much booze is he going to buy anyway? I know it'll exhaust his cash reserves, but is it enough to set off red flags for Auntie. That is the question. I wonder how touchy she is going to be, I can't seem to remember our last lapse of critical judgment with her involved.
In case you're wondering I am here but because I've been feeling unwell and have been worried about a lot of stuff, I haven't felt motivated to write. I'll endeavor to do so after hopefully sleeping for a while but I can't really give a solid ETA.
Weekday afternoons weren't exactly the store's busiest time. Most of the clientele during the week came in during the morning, mostly housewives on their way back from shopping for groceries. The occasional business man came in later in the evening, looking for whiskey if they were running low at home, but other than that it was pretty dead. When I opted to help out, I tried to keep busy by doing inventory otherwise I'd be bored out of my skull.
Auntie was clearly bored. She sat behind the counter, resting her head on her hands. The bell at the door rang when I came in and for a brief moment she seemed to perk up. Seeing it was me, however, she looked like she was struggling to hold back a sigh.
“Slow day?” I asked, knowing the answer already.
“Any slower and melt into my chair,” she said, sounding about as energetic as she looked. “If you're looking to put in some time here, forget it. I have nothing for you to do.”
“I'm here as a customer,” I told her, “I'm just going to help myself to a few things.”
“If you say so,” she said, not really interested.
I went into the back and got a decently-sized cardboard box. We had loads to spare and it was the only real way to carry around multiple bottles on my own.
I'd been thinking about what I'd get Suika on my way over, so it didn't take me very long to grab everything. I plopped the box onto the counter, rousing Auntie from her stupor. “No parties,” she said, “I don't feel like cleaning up after you.”
“It's not for a party,” I told her, “it's for someone else. I made a deal with them.”
“I'd really rather you didn't make deals with people,” she said, frowning. Her nose wrinkled and she brushed away an errant strand of hair that drooped over her forehead. “Our margins for most things are low enough as it is. I want this business to succeed. You buying things at cost is counterproductive to that goal.”
“Take it up with Suika,” I said, “you two like each other well enough, don't you?”
“I'd rather take it up with you,” she said, her tone edging towards the stern side, “no matter what you got in return, it's not worth compromising your future for. Not to mention that this is a stupidly high amount for any one person. I really thought that you had better common sense than this. It's why I allow you so much latitude.”
“Sorry, but I have to honor a deal,” I countered.
“I really don't want to get involved in your personal affairs,” Auntie said, sitting up, looking like she was once again trying to hold back back a sigh. She looked over the contents of the box carefully, tallying up mentally just how much I was planning on getting. It was no good. She let out a sigh. “I believe that I need to go have a talk with Suika. She's a good girl and it doesn't behoove her to take advantage of you. Or you of her,” she added, with a sharp glance, “whatever it was you seem ready to pay dearly for it.”
“Listen, I'd really rather not get into it...” I started.
“It's your choice. But you can't expect me to just ignore this,” she said, “As your guardian I'm responsible for your upbringing. I'd like to think that I'm pretty lenient and understanding but this feels like something I should be worried about.”
“So can I buy this or what?” I asked, trying to ignore all the other stuff she was bringing up. It wouldn't be any good if I got too caught up in it.
“I can't stop you. Even if I were to say no, you're more than capable of going elsewhere,” she said. “I'm already involved and it's a good thing too. At least this way I know who else I need to talk to.”
Auntie rang up my purchase and I gave her the money – virtually emptying my wallet. She knew better to press me on opening up, knowing that I'd tell her more if I wanted to. Still, we both were unsatisfied with how things went.
I took the box directly to Suika's place. It was a long walk for someone who was weighed down by several liters worth of alcohol. Around the time I was halfway to her apartment, my phone vibrated, signaling I had a new message. I set the box down and checked – a message from Alice. It said that there was something that she needed my help with and if I was able, I should come over soon. I replied that I had something to take care of and would let her know if I could make her in a while.
I made it to Suika's without breaking a sweat. The sun had already set by the time I rang her buzzer.
Suika's place was no less chaotic as the last time I had come around. Bags full of trash clogged the entrance and beyond that her living area was a mess of clothes, magazines and empty food containers. “You came through!” she greeted me with a grin, eagerly taking the box from me. She hungrily eyed over what I had brought her, seemingly satisfied with what I had picked out. She added with a satisfied nod, “nice doing business with you.”
I chose not to tell her about Auntie, figuring that it'd sour the mood. She invited me in, happily telling me that I should join her for a drink. “Or three,” she laughed happily, “as awesome as getting all of this is, enjoying a drink with a friend is way more fun. I'm in a generous mood.”
 Have a few with Suika.  Go home and see what Alice wants.
We already told her that we were busy with something so we should be clear.... though I get the bad feeling this'll result in Arc waking up the next afternoon and missing various things (like what happened during the Orin/Okuu arc)
For that reason I can't argue harder for this choice
Suika looked a bit annoyed at me. Her lips tightened in clear disapproval. But she stopped short of outright frowning. It looked like she had expected me to join her for drinks. Dealing with rejection was never one of her strong points. In a characteristic show of pride, however, she didn't vocalize a complaint, instead opting to dismiss me with an exaggerated shrug. “Suit yourself,” she said dryly, eyeing the contents of the box with more obvious interest than me.
I stood by her door for a few seconds after she closed it and listened to her lug the heavy box further into her apartment.
The walk back home wasn't too long, so I didn't let myself feel rushed into picking up the pace. I didn't bother to step in to get changed, opting to check in with Alice right away.
She answered the door with a slight smile, as if amused by a sudden thought. The unmistakable smell something freshly baked wafted out from behind her. “Come in, you're just in time,” Alice greeted somewhat flatly, not bothering to stand on ceremony. I closed the door behind me as she walked towards the dining table.
“Oh, um, hi,” Marisa greeted me as I came in. She was standing halfway between the kitchen and the dinner table, her body language tense. Her hair was tied up in an unusual fashion – a large ponytail that kept her usual braid and strands of wayward hair definitely behind her shoulders.
“Am I interrupting something?” I asked, not quite sure what was going on.
“Not really,” Alice said, moving past Marisa and heading off into the kitchen. She raised her voice a little, to make sure it was heard at a distance, “we were just having a conversation about something a little personal. We thought that you'd be by later, if at all.”
The look on Marisa's face confirmed that it was at least something that she didn't want me to know about. She smiled weakly, taking a seat at the table.
“So why did you call me over?” I asked, taking a seat opposite Marisa.
“That was my idea,” Marisa said quietly, “I wanted to celebrate the election results a little. Alice offered to help out and here we are.”
“Hm, doing what exactly?” I looked around, it didn't look like we were going to have a party.
“Eating, apparently,” Alice returned, smirking slightly as she brought over a tray to the table. Laid out on it were the source of the smell; there were dozen or so cookies of irregular shape and size. They didn't look bad, despite the lack of uniformity. For starters, they weren't burnt. That was always a good sign. “I'm sure that this is one of your fantasies come true – a cute girl baking cookies for you,” Alice teased, “Marisa worked very hard on these, you know.”
“Well, Alice helped out quite a bit,” Marisa said sheepishly, biting her lower lip.
“I just provided the tools and watched the oven,” Alice stated, downplaying her part in all of it.
“Whatever the case, thank you both,” I said, nodding happily. Even if I was somewhat wary of how Alice was behaving, she was still right – I was pleased at the prospect of eating something baked just for me.
Both their stares were fixed on me as I reached out and grab a star-shaped cookie. It had been allowed to cool properly and was just barely still warm to the touch. I took a bit from an edge and chewed.
“Well?” both their eyes seemed to ask.
“Not bad,” I proclaimed after swallowing. I meant it, too. They were lemon-flavored cookies were densely fluffy. The only the real criticism I had was that perhaps they could have done with a bit less sugar. But I didn't bother to mention it. “I'm not going to finish these many by myself, so you guys have some too,” I said.
We chatted as we ate a few cookies, mostly about nothing really important. It was the same sort of conversation that we'd have in between classes or as we walked to school. Pleasant, sure. But it wasn't the most stimulating thing in the world.
From time to time, Marisa would fidget in her seat. She would raise her hand slightly towards her shoulder, as if to play with the braid that was normally hanging by, but stopped herself when she realized that there was nothing there. I was sure that Alice knew what that was all about too, since she raised an eyebrow in response each time. It was subtle and anyone who didn't know the two of them as well as I did would have risked missing those gestures.
 The thing between Reimu and I in the morning was on their minds.  Maybe what they were discussing earlier was something more personal and embarrasing.
"Lemon Flavored, delicious." They really were, I had been slowly savoring the cookie, crumbs still on my lips.
"You really do like them don't you," Marisa beamed as I enjoyed her delicious cookie. Understandable, really. Nobody likes to be rejected when they offer up their first cookie. Putting your heart on the line like that, your whole world on a porcelain platter.
I nodded, but before I could add anything to that, the phone rang. Just my luck, I was sitting right next to the ringing little devil. I reached to pick it up because god forbid a ringing phone go unanswered.
"Hey, Arc!" It was Suika. "Could you go to the school and meet up with a friend of mine? She wants to show you something."
"Show me something? I... guess." I was hesitant. It was nice and cozy in there. There were cookies, but if Suika was asking then it must have been important, and it's not like she'd ever snub me, or abandon me, or leave me out to dry. Suika's a good friend. a goooooood friend.
"Good, good. Meet her on the third floor, west hall. And Arc?" she asked.
"Who, Me? Worry? Why would I worry?" I replied. The only response is Suika's unladylike giggling as she hung up the phone. I have to admit, If my worry had a gauge it'd probably be redlining right about now, the needle ticking violently against the bar. But I said I go and Arc is nothing if not a man who follows through on his promises. I said I'd go so I was going to.
I grabbed a flashlight and donned a sweater. "I'll be back in a bit. Gotta go check something out."
"What? why?" Marisa seemed a little nonplussed at my sudden declaration of freedom from awkward conversations over tea and cookies.
"Friend of mine needs a hand with something, shouldn't be long." I said, with a goofy grin.
"That smile is a lot less reassuring considering you have no male friends." Alice comments.
"What? That's not true, I have lots of male friends, like uh... that.. guy and that.." I'm running low on male acquaintances to throw under the bus to escape awkward conversations. Mental note, make a few guy buddies.
"Anyways, she needs a hand so I'll be back in a little bit." I ducked out before I could dig the hole any deeper, but I left the shovel there so I could dig at it later.
One of the perks of being school VP is that what I was attempting wasn't really breaking and entering anymore, As I make my way up and over the school fence. It wasn't hard, it was a system designed to keep students in more than it was to keep people out. And people wonder why the educational system is broken when we have to keep kids in school with walls, but that's a story for another fake update.
I made it up to the back door into the school. The one Suika and I used that one time with the thing, the one without an alarm because its too old and the schools too cheap to replace the door and easily gain entry with a credit card cut into an L shape.
As I made my way through the school towards the stairs I reflected on how great a friend suika is, sending me to break into the school to meet a nebulous friend on the third floor while probably drunk on booze gotten from embarrassing the shit out of me and my friends. "What a friend." I thought as I crested the stairs to the third floor.
From up here, there's actually quite a view. The widows open up on the town and the moonlight streams in.
"Ah, there you are." A voice startled me out of my revelry. I turned to see who it was. In the pale light I could make out long hair as a figure walks down the hallway towards me. A few more steps and the form of Fujiwara stepping out from the shadows, hands in her pocket, her pace measured was a bit of a surprise to me.
"You're Suika's friend? She said you wanted to show me something?" I asked as she walked up to me
"Hello Arc." She was smiling. She walks close to me and began to look me up and down. I got the feeling I was being appraised for some quality only Fujiwara knows. Whatever it was she was looking for she apparently found it as her appraisal ends with a nod and she steps closer. "I guess you could say that, in a way."
"Well what is it, Fujiwara?" I was curious why she called me out here, and how she got Suika to call me out. Probably a bribe, definitely booze.
"W-well, aren't you impatient?" Her tone was initially shaky but she steeled up her resolve after the first word. "And call me Mokou. What do you think I called you out here for?"
"I don't know..." I really couldn't take a guess. "Something you and Suika have cooked up?"
"A girl calls you out," She says coyly, her hand rising up from her pocket, her finger poking me in the chest. "To a secluded place," her finger began to trace a spiral pattern "On a beautiful full moon like tonight," Her finger stopped right over my heart. "And you have no idea why you're here?"
"Uhh..buh." Ok, in my defence what she was doing here with her fingers was pretty sensual.
"Geez, do I have to spell it out for you? I'm confessing to you. I'm here to ask you out, nerd." Her resolve was still there, but there was sensitivity there too, and a faint blush on her cheeks visible through the light through yonder window.
"A-ask me out?" I squeaked before she shushes me with a finger to the lips.
"At first, I was only interested in you because that so-because my rival had some sort of plan on you so and I'll be damned if I let that manipulative harlot destroy another one, so I was watching you. I wanted to see who you are, how you act. See if you'd fall for her grace, her silken black hair, But the more I watched you, the more I.." If Mokou's embarrassment had a gauge it'd be redlining right about then, the needle ticking violently against the bar. "Shit, this is embarrassing. I Developed feelings for you. You might be a nerd but you're cute. You're kind to everyone but you aren't some goody goody like her and you know how to have some fun on occasion and I realize... I want to be a part of your life." The last part of that said slowly, as it was probably by far the most embarrassing thing Mokou had ever uttered.
Normally this would be where a vote would be held to decide how I would fuck this up and consequently my life, the point where the option where I reject her feelings as harsh as possible would get voted in because you guys are Assholes but something strange happened. the choices that came up weren't my usual fair.
Mokou's lovely. Fall in love with Mokou. You don't need anyone but Mokou.
"If you're looking to leave my feelings to the powers of democracy you might be a bit disappointed" she said, still inches away from my face.
"But shouldn't we ask the voters--" I asked, hoping to somehow salvage my ability to fuck up this and everything else in my life.
"Fuck the voters." she says dismissively, almost exasperated "The voters don't know what they want, or if they do, they don't know how to get it. They say they like a character, but every time the vote comes up to spend time with them, they vote against it, Every time. They set goals and objectives for themselves but they're constantly hamstringing themselves, voting against their interest. Well I'm tired of that, putting my very being at the mercy of the random whims of detached observers, I'm taking back some control."
[Y]Mokou's right [Y]Fall in love with Mokou [Y]You don't need anyone but Mokou
"w-what just happened?" I asked, If my worry had a gauge the needle would be snapped and the glass broken from the pressure.
"You see, My friend has a little... gift. And this gift is most powerful on a full moon. A blood moon most of all, and one with a lunar eclipse? Well, she has enough power for one wish, she saw me moping around about you and offered me a hand to get what I want, and, ultimately, what I think you want too." She smiles. eyes welling up a bit. "I can't believe I got so damned depressed over you. That's what you did to me, you ass. I'm sure you'll feel the same way."
"I... you're right" She was. The worry melted away. "I'll accept your feelings." Someone who went through such effort just to get my attention. I think that's when I fell for her. I suddenly became well aware in that moment of all her good qualities. Her boldness, her resolve, her stark honesty. I honestly don't think there's a better match for me.
Her response is a kiss, one I am quick to reciprocate, and embarrassingly I admit, with the thirst of a man in the desert. It's a long, passionate kiss between the two of us, her lips meeting mine, our tongues getting acquainted with their friendly guest to their oral abode but eventually we broke apart. "Mmm. Lemon Flavored." she said, licking her lips.
Get to know Mokou a little better, and then get to 'know' Mokou a LOT better. What was that about her rival? The graceful one with the silky black hair? Is she around? r-e-s-i-s-t. Subtly text Marisa 'help' and hope there's something she can do.
Hola, me llamo Teruyo y soy aficionado del Teatro de la Juventud. Creo que el post anterior es el equivalente de un 'update'. Por ende, hay que votar. Ya que yo no lo escribi, puedo participar en el sufragio.
[x]What was that about her rival? The graceful one with the silky black hair? Is she around?
Voy a votar por la posibilidad del hatesex. La combinacion de los de la luna y Moco es demasiado para mi. No puedo resistir.
Vote as if this were a regular update.
Fanfiction of fanfiction is crazy, I know. But this is happening whether you like it or not. Personally I'd have liked some tactical Patchy action
[x]Get to know Mokou a little better, and then get to 'know' Mokou a LOT better.
>'I'll be back in a bit girls, if I don't, get worried and look for me, only to find me in the most inappropriate moment'
>'Hi, I'm waifu X. I come out of nowhere, in spite of the winning vote, to ask you out in the worst possible moment. If you want to reschedule, or respond in any way that isn't complete agreement, I'll take it as a personal offense and never speak to you again; except to make you feel bad for what you missed.
>The option that pisses off the person we're talking to the most is winning by a landslide.
Are you 100% sure this is not an actual update Teruyo?
Oh, between opening the thread, reading something and replying there's a new vote. Sorry but you're too late for the purposes of counting as a vote. If that's not good enough, consider it either my bias breaking the tie or me just doing it to piss off >>62406 even more. Because joke updates written by third parties are apparently serious business.
Btw, as we all know, Keine gets a little... horny during a full moon. Her fiancee is one lucky guy.
I think I'm going to upload these posts to my digital picture frame, with a whole bunch of star wipes, because why have hamburger when you can have steak?
Happy early Halloween you Dweebs. if the store can already sell candy corn then I can post halloween themed fake updates damnit I hope you all enjoyed my vision of the lovely Mokou a little bit. maybe now you'll vote for her in the real story.
Mokou pushed me into a nearby classroom, almost knocking me flat on my bottom. The assertive, if not outright violent, way she treated me was different to how any girl had ever treated me before. She smiled, looking like she satisfied with how things turned out.
In her casual clothes, boldly red with some white, she looked like a dangerous predator, ready to pounce. Me, the poor victim still in his uniform, felt ready to be devoured. As earnest as her confession had been, it also created a statically charged atmosphere between us. Or maybe it was more like an opprobrious all-consuming fire; burning up all sense and reason. I really didn't know what I was narrating anymore. It all sounded like trash that could only come as the result of a followup to a hastily-written and grammatically dubious piece of fanfiction of a slice of life piece of fanfiction, which had spun off from yet another piece of fanfiction where it was fanfiction written by the main character in a story which was, in turn, a sequel of sorts to a final piece of fanfiction that had two more or less completed runs. What a thoughtf-- mouthful? - something that created a monstrous run on sentence. At least I was getting the verb tenses right with this instead of mixing present and past like some trigger-happy amateur.
Anyways, there was more to my life than breaking the forth wall for the first of two times in this update. Three times, technically, counting this brief paragraph.
The moon hung low in the sky, seeming to almost be in the classroom with us. Its bright face made the quiet night seem like an eerily pale day. Mokou pressed up against me, foisting me partly onto the teacher's desk. Her fair hair appeared almost luminescent in the moonlight, looking sleek and making its movements seem as smooth as water. It was because of its near-ethereal beauty that a thought popped into my mind.
“What about your history with her?” I asked, omitting the obvious name. Hers was a beauty that, too, seemed otherworldly. “I care about her too and even though I've fallen for you, it's still unfair to disregard her feelings.”
Clear revulsion brewed in her eyes. She grabbed onto me tightly and I wasn't sure if she was going to hurt me or just kiss me again. “She's put a spell on you too,” Mokou mumbled, “that slattern likes to put on airs, have the innocent fall prey to her good girl act.” Her voice took a serious and dark edge, “it's fucking disgusting. But don't worry, I'll fix you. I'll make it so you forget all about her. All you'll be able to think about is my love and my warmth.”
“All you can hope to accomplish is damage others enough to make them as twisted as you,” Kaguya interrupted, her tone chillingly unkind. It was unimaginable that she'd ever sound so serious or be so aggressive. Mokou released me and turned around, finding her rival standing at the classroom door, her arms folded across her chest. Kaguya excoriated further, “the once-proud Fujiwara, reduced to one broken little girl. Much like your old man, you are just a thieving cat. You can't steal this one away from me either, we've an eternity to spend together, after all.”
“I'll show you broken!” Mokou lounged at Kaguya, her speed almost superhuman. It seemed to take the black-haired girl by surprise and she barely managed to step aside and avoid any serious damage. Still, as proof that Mokou's viciousness, a dapple of cloth had been ripped off her dress, exposing her lower chest partially.
“Tsk, tsk, so quick to anger,” Kaguya said, regaining her composure almost immediately. Mokou charged again, but Kaguya was more than ready for her. She not only managed to sidestep her but to trip her. Mokou cursed loudly as she fell. Kaguya paid her no mind, walking over to me with a warm smile. It was the same smile that I was used to seeing in the mornings and almost instantly made me forget about the preceding violence. “I've always loved you,” she confessed, looking in that instant as beautiful as an angel. Softly, she brought her lips to my face and we kissed.
“I- love you too,” I said as soon as I got my breath back, completely forgetting about every other girl in my life. A somewhat astute reader might notice that I was breaking the forth wall to make this statement but it seemed that I was wishy washy after all and incapable of making even railroaded decisions right. Also what was the deal with the editorializing about the educational system in the last update? It should have focused more on smut and character development. I stopped breaking the fourth wall yet again and returned to my purple prose narration.
“See?” Kaguya turned to face Mokou, who was still slowly picking herself up from the floor, “he belongs to me and I don't like sharing with has-beens. After all, I very much doubt that he even registered the slightest of movements in his trousers when he was with you. I can say with confidence that I seem to have provoked a stiff salute with just that small kiss. I'm certain that the smell of my expensive shampoo and the way that my smooth hair tickled his cheeks was more than enough to get his heart racing and his imagination going.”
“Actually,” I interrupted,” I was thinking about your catfight. I wasn't aware that messed up hair and ripped up clothes could be so stimulating.” Definitely was the start of a new fetish.
“If it's chaos you want,” Kaguya laughed, “I'll take you to the point of lunacy.”
“I bet that I can make him have more fun with me than with your tired snatch, you whore,” Mokou spat at Kaguya, almost hitting her from a distance. “I could get him off in no time flat with my quick hands.”
“How vulgar,” Kaguya smiled, her gaze cool and sharp as a blade, “this is why you fail at being a proper lady. Just the smooth action of my hair rubbing up against his member would be enough to produce fits of ecstasy.
“Let's just see about that,” Mokou smirked, cocksure. She walked up to Kaguya and stared straight into her eyes, unflinching. Their faces were only scant centimeters apart. I expected blood to start flowing. But, instead, Mokou turned to me and tugged at my trousers with unnatural strength. My button popped open, and my underwear went down with the trousers, leaving me suddenly very exposed.
Moonlight danced across her face as Mokou's expression turned from a triumphant smirk to wide-eyed astonishment. Hey, I couldn't help it. Two beautiful women were talking about doing unspeakable acts to me. Of course the old skin balloon would be engorged to bursting point..
“Might take both my hands,” Mokou mumbled dumbly, as Kaguya laughed.
“Amateur,” Kaguya said, getting down on her knees first. With a gentle, measured movements of her hand she deployed a long strand of her hair in front of her face. The black silk seemed otherworldly in its silent grace and dangled tantalizingly close to the tip of my misbehaving meatstick. Showing none of Mokou's hesitation, she was good on her word. I twitched violently, the mere brush of her soft hair sending galvanizing pulses up my spine and directly to my brain. “Feisty,” she giggled, quickly taking me to the edge of lunacy as promised.
“Quit it!” Mokou interjected, coming to her senses. She shoved Kaguya away lowering herself to crotch level. She grabbed on firmly with both hands, with absolutely no slack to her grip.
“A peasant's technique,” Kaguya remarked dryly, for the moment backing off.
“Shut up,” Mokou commanded, stroking roughly, mashing flesh against flesh. Indecent sounds of my fluids being beaten to a froth by her hands filled the room.
“I shouldn't have bothered coming here after receiving that anonymous tip,” Kaguya laughed derisively, “with this poor showing, he would have quickly realized that you were nothing but a low-grade tramp. Look at his face. He's not into this at all.”
“Fuck you,” Mokou ignored her taunt, letting go with one hand momentarily as she took off her top. She wasn't wearing a bra and instead had wrapped her chest up in bandages. With the jerk of her arms, her chest heaved and the wrap loosened quickly. Flesh began to poke out. “I can feel it, he's almost there.”
She wasn't lying. Despite her relative lack of skill, the situation had me on edge. In fact, I sort enjoyed the slight chaffing where she gripped too tightly. It was a good kind of pain. I bit my lip, trying to resist erupting too quickly.
Kaguya seemed to notice the change of state and interposed with a complaint. “At least take his feelings into consideration,” she said, undoing her own top, “he'd much rather see a real shapely chest instead of your meager offering.”
They were comparable in size, actually, but I knew better than to say anything. Not only that but both their skins looked as unblemished and smooth as cream. Kaguya tickled and teased intermittently, letting Mokou do the heavy lifting, so to speak. It was a good combination. They stopped trading insults and focused on the task at hand and hair. I was seriously close to losing it at any moment.
Mokou's face reddened as the unmistakable tinge of lust worked its way from her eyes to the rest of her body. Her lips smacked together, moistening them. Sheepishly, as if afraid of what might happen, she brought them close to the tip of my manhood.
But Kaguya had preempted her, her mouth hovering close to where her hair had been an instant before. Drool, an improvised lubricant, descended from her mouth and onto the center of the action. She looked up, eyes upturned, at me and smiled enigmatically. Then she took the plunge and applied just the lightest of wet touches to my tip. It was altogether too much.
“What the hell?!” Alice exclaimed as I exploded like a suddenly unclogged pipe. Mokou's face was the main recipient of the hot load, since I had been pointed at her, with Kaguya catching some of the collateral damage. In an instant Mokou seemed to be covered entirely. I'd even gotten some on her ribbon.
“I told you the anonymous tip wasn't bullshit!” Marisa yelled out, sounding both astonished and angry.
“Oh god, this is too much!” Alice looked at once broken, the way only betrayal from a soulmate could accomplish.
Both girls on the floor didn't bother to even acknowledge the newcomer's squawking, instead greedily cleaning up the mess I made with both finger and mouths. The competed with one another, angrily stealing away my essence from one another like it was some sort of trophy. Their rivalry was once again in full swing.
“Yeah… this might be even a bit too much for me to swallow,” Marisa said sadly, her eyes fixed on the creamy mess I had left on both girls. She, too, bore the telltale face of the scorned. Though not as extreme as with Alice, maybe by virtue of uneasy curiosity being mixed in. I could tell at once that she wished that she had gotten there earlier, if only to have earned her chance at inclusion.
“I...” Alice uttered, face still marred with some disbelief, tears welling up in her eyes, “men are pigs. I'll stick to women from now on. Maybe they won't hurt me as much.”
“Mind if I join you?” Marisa asked, “I've always thought that you were kinda beautiful.”
“Sure,” Alice smiled, “I guess I love you. You've always been nice to me and, more importantly, you've always been honest.”
It was a bit uninspired as far as confessions went but it made sense within the context. I had lost my mind long ago, anyways. I watched them hug and then start to walk away, not once glancing back at me. I felt that I was at a crossroads. The door wasn't completely shut yet. And with the squabbling girls below me more interested in stealing away all credit from the other, it was as good a moment as any to make a major life-changing decision.
 Take the lead! Heal their rivalry with intense, decisive and insanely sublime lovemaking.  Chase after the broken-hearted; they need a hot love injection otherwise they would walk away forever!
Hey guys. I have to be honest here, I'm incredibly bummed out by how things have gone down lately. I thought that if anything, silliness, fanservice and smut would provide a kick in the pants for people. The fact that it's taken two days to get the minimum amount of votes necessary during something fun feels like a stab in the chest. After all – if I can't get discussion and activity now how can I hope to do so as the story continues to carry on?
I've asked countless times for people to check in more, to try to participate as much as they can, to tell others to do the same in IRC and elsewhere. That hasn't really gotten us anywhere. It's still way too big a struggle to do daily updates, let alone to go at a pace faster than that. I make a huge effort to try to match that daily standard. In the past I've warned that the story isn't sustainable without its speed, that it loses its charm if drawn out because of how it's been structured. I believe that's still the case and once again I plead that you listen to this call to arms.
Now this is the point where someone (read:wiseman) misinterprets the argument in that I'm complaining about a one-off drop in speed by claiming that it's because of school, Putin's intervention in Syria, solar flares or something equally irrelevant. I'm telling you this as the site owner and guy who checks stats: Activity on the site is independent of the season for the most part, as the particularly slow 'summer' that we had shows. It's very much dependent on people wanting to read and wanting to write. I want to write. I want others to write. I'm committed to my madness of writing quickly, of writing fun stuff (read: mostly saccharine school stuff) that should appeal to the masses. At this point what's missing in the equation are voters. Voters who are motivated and bother to vote regularly.
If you're reading this and are thinking, “wait, I check at least once a day and vote” - then congrats! But you have to do better. It's no longer enough to do that, you have to get others to do that too. Prod and tell people you know, help advertise the story and contribute to the in-thread discussion. These are all practical things that you can do. If you feel strongly about a choice, I'm sure that it's worth adding something after a few others vote if they're not seeing things your way. People who felt strongly about Suika, for example, really dropped the ball when they allowed her to be completely sold out and then proceeded to ditch her. Both successive votes were fertile ground for discussion and cajoling.
So, what exactly am I expecting right now? For this vote and the next update, that is. I really don't know. It's one of those “I'll know it when I see it things”. Discussion, either of this post or the vote or the recent updates and what's happened in this, would be obvious. More votes would be as well. Something that helps me break out of this funk and makes me feel that it's worth soldiering on. Part of me feels that I'm wasting my breath and being needlessly annoying to the readers I do have. But I'm just too invested and I care too much to not say anything. I try my best and thus leave the rest up to you.
>>62439 >>62440 If you look at older threads I used to do 'every x hours' but that didn't work out either. It's depressing as shit to update with one or two votes, especially if important stuff is happening. I need a minimum amount of voters to ensure diversity of opinion. I very much doubt it's a good idea to let such a small number control where the story goes and how relationships progress. If there's barely any real discussion now, it would be worse the less people you have.
>>62436 Is once a day really 'too fast'? Twice a day? These are the limits that I have on a great day because of voter turnout. I really don't know what to say to someone who can't check in daily. It's not like the updates are long (they're kept sub 1000 words on purpose) so it doesn't take more than five minutes to read and vote. With the ubiquity of the internet is it really that much of a burden to check in every couple of hours? Unless you have a job where you're in a twelve hour mining shift shouldn't it be possible to check on your phone or on a computer? There are people who write despite being fulltime students or having jobs. That takes way longer than checking in to vote.
Dunno what else to say other than this sucks and makes me sad. The replies thus far don't give me hope that there can be any change. Nothing I do or say seems to have an effect.
The thing about writing is that inspiration is never a given. It was a depressingly low turnout following my last message and it certainly didn't inspire me to try harder. You know, after a while, I just figure that it's not worth giving a fuck about and I play video games and try my best to forget that there's something that I'm “supposed” to do. And so it's a vicious cycle with low turnout and even lower motivation.
But then, as I was drinking heavily and listening to music, someone actually went ahead and told me to write. It was the very same person whom I tell to write tengu lewds nearly every day but never listens. Yeah, the most active writer on the site after the broken spectacle that is yours truly: Moral. He had the audacity to tell me to go write. So write I have.
“The scent of awoo was in the air, permeating with bad analogies and cliché tropes.”
Both girls stared up at me, wondering just what the hell I was on about. Surely they worried about the possibility that I had a stroke, so good was their service. Both blondes were long since gone, their judgment final.
“I really don't care about any of this,” I said, “jesus fuck this is just one huge bother.”
I couldn't be assed to deal with their advances. I felt like having a stiff drink and forgetting the world for a while. Maybe I ought to go open a bar. No, that wouldn't really work. I'd have to hire employees to help out and chances were that they'd be more trouble than the were worth. I wasn't looking forward to not describing things properly either. I liked to talk about curvy hips and smooth skin. I felt that I'd have to forgo any of the fun stuff if I chose that lifestyle.
“What are you doing?” Mokou asked softly. I felt the two girls get up and follow me from the desk to the window as I stared out into the night.
“What I'm doing is not describing your very attractive bodies nor the erotic overtures being made right now,” I said dryly. There was no time for that. With the moon so full, I could only think about a lonely wolf howling, seeking a reply. Maybe I had been wasting my time all along. What my life needed was a bit more spice in the shape of awoo.
“What the hell is 'awoo'?” Kaguya asked.
“Sorry, I must have been thinking aloud,” I said, “it's a way of life, if you must know.”
“Seems to be all the rage right now,” I corrected her. And, rejecting my reality, I opened the window and jumped out. A life without awoo wasn't a life worth living.
“Jesus fuck,” Yukari said, not bothering to hide her contempt. Almost as soon as I jumped out, I found myself sat in a ruby-red room, with a thousand eyes staring right at my soul. “You really got to get a grip, you idiot,” she said, “I can't come and bail your ass whenever you do something stupid, you know. This isn't one of those conveniently-structured wish fulfillment stories, you know.”
“It isn't?” I asked, squeezing her left breast with the deft application of my hand. “Honk honk,” I said weakly, once again defying convention.
“It isn't,” she said with a scowl, slapping away my hand.
“Then what the shit am I supposed to do?” I asked.
“You're supposed to try your goddamn best, that's what,” Yukari said, flicking my nose for good measure.
“Vote for Momizi?” I asked.
“Christ, no,” Yukari laughed, “that's a waste of time. Everyone knows that Hataters is the best tengu. If you can't get her, settle for Aya. You'll want to eat crow, if you know what I mean.”
“Yes, yes, it's a clever innuendo,” Yukari interrupted, “now get over yourself and try to do something productive with your life.”
“Okay, but tail feels so good.”
“I'm sure,” Yukari said as she rolled her eyes. With a flick of her wrist, I was transported back to a familiar scene.
“It's rude to stare, you know,” Alice chastised, a light smile on her lips. Marisa joined her, smiling like I was the only one that wasn't in on the joke.
“Sorry,” I said, smiling sheepishly, “I just got distracted by a random series of thoughts.”
“Come on, we're having cookies,” Marisa interjected, “you can think about dirty stuff later.”
“You're right,” I said, not denying the implication. If I wanted more Kaguya and Fujiwara, I'd have to make an effort. It was a thorny and treacherous path I'd have to commit to. But the payoff, if successful, would absolutely blow the short fantasy I just had out of the water and into deep space. It wasn't exactly the type of thing that would happen all of a sudden while I was having cookies. That much should have been obvious.
“Mm, I don't know whether or not to be glad that you're at least honest about your perversions,” Alice chimed, raising an eyebrow. Didn't seem like she was upset, more like she was glad that I was making a spectacle of myself.
“Right, right,” I brushed the comment off, “I can't help it. I'm just happy that I'm here with the both of you.”
“Flattery isn't going to get you anywhere,” Marisa, shook her head adding a silent 'tut tut'.
“Should I turn the conversation towards something more embarrassing then?” I asked. “You both may be trying to act cool, but I think I could undermine your facade with a single observation.”
“Sounds like a challenge,” Alice said, sounding amused. “I know you well enough not to be shocked by your eccentric behavior. I'm not a wallflower you know.”
“Yeah, and I accept all your crazy perverted ways anyhow!” Marisa exclaimed, embarrasingly enough. As if realizing that she had left herself open for a comeback, she retreated into her seat, slumping down quietly.
“Well? How are you going to ruin this otherwise nice moment?” Alice asked, her tone somewhat acidic.
 I was going to ask Marisa how she felt about sharing me with another girl.  Alice would kinda be happy if it was with another girl, wouldn't she?
>>62461 Wiseman, you're an eternal stick in the mud. We've danced this number before so I won't get into the whole calling you out on this bullshit part of it. Just try to be happy and enjoy life.
>>62459 I really don't know man. All I know is IRC and those fuckers won't give me the time of day most of the time. Start there, see if you can do better than me.
>>/at/37486 Moral isn't delivering on awoo lewds and everyone should be outraged.
Onto another topic: I guess I'll be writing nowish because fuck it, why not. The perky magician wins over the more serious one. So much for the inevitability of Alice end, huh? Maybe Tenshi isn't so inevitable either...
>>62515 >>62521 Who cares about tengu, anyhow? Oni are a higher tier of goodness.
Marisa slumped further in her chair, her knees sliding out and touching the edge of the table. She was quiet for a while, as if lost in thought. As was Alice. Maybe the question wasn't quite as stupidly silly and off the cuff as I had hoped.
“Uh...” I hoped to say something to break the tension. But Alice shushed me with a hard stare, wordlessly telling me that I had better not try to weasel out of the topic. Fair enough, but still really harsh.
Marisa tilted her head up, her brow creased and nostrils almost flaring. She exchanged a look with Alice, mouthing something that I couldn't quite make out quickly to her. Alice nodded, looking understanding of whatever it was that she was feeling.
Alice vocalized her feelings first, with a sigh, she said, “you're an idiot.”
“Yeah, you really are,” Marisa agreed, nodding her head energetically. She smiled, the lines on her face morphing into a more agreeable configuration.
“Not only are you really full of yourself, thinking that you'd be able to handle even a single girl,” Alice started.
And Marisa continued, “but you're assuming that we wouldn't have an arrangement beforehand.”
“Buh?” I barely managed to vocalize, eminently confused.
“It's simple,” Marisa followed up, “when you're head over heels about me, I doubt you'll even find the time to look at other women, let alone chase after them.”
“Yes, that much is obvious,” Alice agreed, “for all your hopelessly stupid ways, you actually are incredibly soft. The first woman to be serious about you will snatch you up for good. Women are more cunning than men, after all.”
“That's a load of-”
“-the truth,” Marisa finished my statement with a giggle. “We both know that if I tried too hard I'd push you away, but I'm confident that once there, we'll be madly in love so it's okay.”
“And you agree with that?” I asked Alice, feeling like the tables suddenly turned on me.
“It's a compelling theory,” she said firmly, smiling mischievously. “I”ve been observing you for a few years, so there just might be something to it. If anything, you should be worried about your partner being shared with another person. That seems more likely to happen if you ask me.”
“Ouch, low blow there, Alice,” Marisa laughed, clearly having fun at the thought of the idea.
“Is it?” Alice raised an eyebrow, “I'm just telling it how I see it. I'm not the type to cheat on someone I like… but some people out there...”
“The world sure is cruel,” Marisa shook her head. “Good thing that we're both able to keep our options open for the time being.”
“Indeed. That said, Marisa, you're right to be confident like that. I don't think anyone in their right mind would want anything else if they had you.”
“Aww, shucks, that's a lovely compliment. You're not too bad yourself,” Marisa smiled at Alice. Well, they certainly were getting along well.
Leaving me out in the cold.
It was all good, though. At least I'd gotten cookies for my, admittedly self-induced, troubles. We didn't stick around that much longer, anyhow. There were classes in the morning and, nominally, homework that needed to be done. Alice was her usual diligent self and reminded me of the fact as I left. I simply smiled and nodded, not bothering to fight her on that.
A nice soak in the tub was way more gratifying than lousy homework. Though Marisa beat me to being first, I still tried my best to relax. I took my time in the bath emerged only when my fingers began to get real wrinkled.
“I thought you drowned in there,” Marisa was waiting for me in my room, wearing her self-embroidered pair of pajamas. Her hair was loose and it draped over most of her back as she lied belly down on my bed, reading a magazine.
“It's been a long day,” I said.
“I'll bet,” she said, flipping over the page. “You look a bit more serious than usual. Grown up, maybe?”
“Dashing, I should hope,” I said, smiling.
“Always,” she grinned, playing along.
“So what up? Just hanging around?” I asked, sitting at my desk and swiveling the chair around to face her.
“Hm, kinda,” she said, “mostly thinking about how six months ago it would have been impossible for me to imagine being in my jammies in a guy's room.”
“It's cool, we're engaged, right? This much is to be expected.”
“Yeah… I guess we are...” she paused a moment, before changing the subject, “I guess I came to ask you something.”
“G'ahead,” I said lazily, “if it's about using my computer, feel free.”
“No, it's not that. Eh, it's a little embarrassing...”
“More embarrassing than me asking if you'd mind it if I was with multiple women?” I chuckled, still a bit surprised at how things went down earlier.
“That was that, this is this,” Marisa shook her head, but laughed, evidently enjoying the memory of double teaming me with Alice. “I guess it's not like me to mince words so, I'll just come out with it: what do you like about me best? And what do you like least?”
“Where did that come from?”
“Don't overthink it.” Marisa put down the magazine and looked at me with an uneasy smile. Like she didn't expect a real answer but at the same time was anxious all the same. It wasn't like her to be insecure. Maybe it was something I had said? I had to admit, the evening didn't go as smoothly as I had hoped but we had been getting on well enough. She added an unnecessarily apologetic explanation, “We spend a lot of time together so I want to know what I'm doing right and what I'm doing wrong. We're living under the same roof so it's only right that I repay your hospitality by doing my best. And, umm, well, let's just leave it at that.”
Pick from each category only one.
The good:  She's the understanding sort.  Definitely her infectiously cheery energy.  That I was comfortable enough around her to hug her for no reason, like so.
The bad:  She could stand to be less stubborn and more open about her desires.  Sometimes she took a few too many liberties.  That she let me get away with pretty much anything, like kissing her on the forehead just now.
-- I heavily edited down this update because it was too long. Cut like 800-1000 words, which is why it took so long. Like 80% of it was getting teased by Alice and Marisa. And no one really wants to read that.
What a thoughtful question. It deserves a thoughtful answer.
[x] She's the understanding sort. [x] She could stand to be less stubborn and more open about her desires.
Okay, confession time. What girl could you show your deepest, darkest fetish and have her react like Marisa did? I cannot count them on one hand.
As for the second option, I think this is a valid criticism. One she should be aware of. The other options look fun, but they also seem like they're deflecting an otherwise serious question. They might play more to Arc's style, but I want to give a good answer instead.
C'mon folks, vote. Choose your favorite two options and roll with it. If she isn't your 2hu, then put in a token vote. I'll return the favor when it's your waifu - we'll give and take.
[x] She's the understanding sort. [x] She could stand to be less stubborn and more open about her desires.
By the way she's acting, Marisa seems like she's looking for actual goods and bads she may have and not an excuse to flirt with Arc - criticism and praise it is. Even though the flirting option is kinda cute.
[x] She's the understanding sort. [x] She could stand to be less stubborn and more open about her desires.
As much as I hate feeling like I'm just picking the choices at the top, in this setting it seems like it makes the most sense. Sure such a simple question could be played off with the physical contact but honesty seems more intimate. Marisa asking such a direct question about herself, there is no way she wouldn't listen to the answer intently.
[x] She's the understanding sort. [x] She could stand to be less stubborn and more open about her desires.
I feel like Marisa is a person who would more-or-less accept us despite everything. I like being open with people and Marisa so far has been fairly good with that. However, she also seems to hide a lot about herself and rarely returns the favor. Hopefully that can change.
Whereas the good has a clear winner, the bad has a bit of a deadlock. I'm giving it around an hour to see if there's any one who still hasn't voted. If not, flipping a coin. Both are fine choices so no matter what wins it's fine. Though I have to say that one of them has extra synergy with the 'good' choice if you think about it.
“Mmm, this is the sort of 'gotcha' question that could land a guy in trouble, you know,” I said, ribbing Marisa slightly. “It's up there with 'does this dress make my butt look big?' - so you'll have to excuse me if I take my time to think about it.”
Marisa nodded, accepting my bald-faced lie instantly. It made me feel a little uneasy. Maybe I shouldn't joke too much, I thought.
“Eh, well, I don't actually have to think about it too much,” I told her, reversing course quickly. “I mean this is pretty much a perfect example of what I like best about you. You're understanding. You accept my stupid excuses without complaining and don't judge my actions. Well, most of the time.” I smiled, thinking back to her calling me out for my poor galge skills. A secret character who was an angel masquerading as cat was impossible to figure out without a guide.
She smiled in return, looking quite chuffed with my answer. There were no words, though, it looked like she was expecting me to carry on before saying anything. Truthfully, that made me feel even more self-conscious. It was bad enough to praise someone who was taking it so seriously, let alone criticize them.
Still, chickening out was worse than giving her an answer. Her expectant gaze weighed down my steps as I got up from my chair and walked to the bed. I knelt next to her, more or less bringing my head to eye level. “You let me get away with pretty much anything,” I told her, trying to keep my voice coolly steady. Those wide eyes weren't making things easy. “Some people might argue that well-established boundaries are a good thing.”
Shushing my stupidly loud heart with a stray thought, I did what I planned to do. I planted a quick peck on her forehead, grazing with my lips a few strands of still-moist and freshly shampooed hair. “See what I mean?” I asked with a stupid smile, not everyone should let me get away with that.”
Marisa stared right into my eyes, a nervous energy showing. “I'm not sure that I want to change that,” she said softly, her voice barely steady, “if it's you, you can do anything you want with me and I won't mind.”
“T-that's a really bold thing to say,” I laughed weakly, trying to play it off as a joke, “I mean you know how much of a pervert I am. Probably better than anyone else.”
“You're not going to scare me away with stuff like that,” said with some confidence, “if you don't really like it then you're just going to have to watch your behavior. I'm not going to push you away.”
“Is it too late to change my answer to 'you're stubborn'?” I asked, laughing at being outmaneuvered yet again by her. It was a bad habit to get into.
“Yes, it is,” she said, winking, “that kiss said all that needed to be said.”
“Even if it was just a peck on the forehead?” I asked. I mean, it was a bit patronizing, if I was honest.
“Instead of asking stupid questions, maybe you should worry more about...” she lounged at me, wrapping her arms around my neck. It was an awkward maneuver but one that allowed her to retaliate with a kiss of her own to my forehead. “There! Now we're even.”
“I guess I also let you get away with pretty much anything,” I said, sharing a laugh with her.
The cheerful girl on my bed seemed to be satisfied with how things had gone down. We joked around for a while before inevitably moving on. There was homework to be done, she reminded me, and she was off to try her best and do it. “Because Alice is going to nag me in the morning if I ask her to let me copy her answers,” Marisa said.
I gave it a half-hearted go, but I preferred to spend my evening on more productive stuff. It was nearly midnight when I turned off the computer and decided to call it a night.
“I saw you in my dreams last night,” I made small talk with Alice on our way to school. She didn't seem to be too interested in the topic, raising an eyebrow as if she expected it to be the punchline to a joke. “IT wasn't anything special, you were just keeping me company before I competed in the Olympics.”
“I see your delusions of grandeur extend to your dreams,” she said, smiling. Fair enough, I supposed.
“Hey, I think it's a nice way for my brain to say that I appreciate your support.”
“You actually saying that you appreciate my support is nicer.”
“Sometimes even I think you guys are like an old married couple,” Marisa laughed, butting into the conversation.
We were all in high spirits. It certainly felt like it would be a good day. It was sunny mid-spring day. By now, more and more students chose to spend their breaks outside; the more athletic students playing quick rounds of sport and others simply sitting around and enjoying the fresh air. By lunchtime, I felt like doing something outside of the usual routine. I thought of a few faces I hadn't seen in a while.
 Go out by the gym and lay on the grass and mingle with the outdoorsy type.  See if Patchy wants to have lunch together.  Maybe a quick check in on the administrative staff is in order.
I'm torn between the third and the second choice. I have someone very specific in mind when I read 'The administrative staff' That said, the outdoorsy type haven't been getting our attention lately... (with one exception) The fact that this choice seems as hard as the previous one speaks well of the characters.
[x] See if Patchy wants to have lunch together.
I liked her personality each and every time Arc spoke with her and the fact that we didn't manage to screw up any of those times is a bigger bonus.
I found Patchy reading a book at her desk in III-D. Half of the class was gone, Aya included. She didn't seemed too surprised to see me, barely looking away from the page in acknowledgment.
“Yes?” she asked.
“I was wondering if we could have lunch together,” I said.
“We could,” she said, “but I've made plans with a friend already. She's going through a tough time and needs the company.”
“Oh, I see...” I held back a sigh. I hadn't counted on getting turned down.
“You could join us,” Patchy added steadily, placing a bookmark in between pages and setting down the book. “I wouldn't mind and I don't think she will either.”
“That'd be nice,” I smiled, pulling up a chair to her desk.
“I'm sure it will be,” she said, returning a smile that set off warning bells in my head. Not only was it rare for her to show such open emotion, but there was an unmistakable mischievous twinkle in her eyes. No doubt she expected something amusing to come from the encounter. Truth be told, I found her lively side to be attractive too.
She shushed me, tilting her head towards the door, “I'll make the introduction.”
“Why there's such a large line for these dull-looking sandwiches is beyond me.” Her friend plopped down a handful of wrapped buns onto the desk, completely ignoring me. She pulled up a chair, sitting opposite me.
“Remi, this is Arc,” Patchy introduced us in a straightforward fashion, “he'll be joining us for lunch today.”
“Eh?” Remilia looked up at me, as if noticing for the first time that there was a guy who was sitting opposite her. She furrowed her brow, like she was trying to make sense of an entirely alien situation.
“He's the current vice president of the student council,” Patchy explained, “you know the one you described as an impudent jackanape.”
“I did no such thing,” she protested, showing me a an almost apologetically polished smile, “I'm Miss Scarlet, a pleasure to meet you.”
“I'm certain you did, you said something to the effect that you had more political savy and charisma in your pinky finger than he did in the whole of his body after the speech he gave at the assembly.”
“I believe you took me out of context,” Remilia insisted, ignoring her friend wholly in favor of me. “I was pleased to see you elected to high office.”
“I'm pleased to have counted upon your support,” I said, understanding fully why Patchy was smiling.
“Natural born leaders are easy to spot,” Remilia said, “it was my god-given duty to vote for the superior candidate.”
“And how did you do that?” Patchy asked, “you told me that you spoiled your ballot in protest. I thought you were upset that you hadn't been nominated for student council.”
“N-nonsense,” Remilia blurted out, her cheeks reddening, “you really ought to learn to listen better, my dear friend. I merely said that I wish I had had the time to dedicate myself to politics. It wasn't a critique of the electoral field.”
“I'm glad to meet a fan,” I said, moving past the awkwardness.
“Those with broken hearts often cling to the mundane to cheer themselves up,” Patchy observed, “in a sense, the election was good timing for her.”
“Keep quiet,” Remilia barked, looking none-too-amused. It didn't seem like she wanted to talk too much about her self. She thrust one of the sandwiches at Patchy, silently ordering her to eat up and shut up. She passed one of the extra rolls to me, “tell me all about yourself, Mr. Vice President. I do very much like the sound of that title. It's authoritative, a sure sign of class and a noble spirit.”
“Thanks, I suppose,” I said, trying to figure out how to best deal with her. She was trying to be polite but Patchy keep exposing her obvious acidic side with snide remarks.
“Now, now, don't be so modest, tell me all about yourself,” Remilia asked, putting on an energetic facade. Without even really knowing her that well I could tell that she was trying just a little too hard to seem like she had it all together.
“Yes, do tell us all about yourself,” Patchy added in monotone, concealing her obvious baiting, “I've heard that you have eyes and ears everywhere, and have seen quite curious events at school. Napping on the roof, I've heard, can be quite stimulating.”
“Don't badger the man,” Remilia chastised, completely not getting the reference. That was a good thing. I had no idea how she would react if she knew I had seen her at her most intimate on the roof before.
But Patchy wasn't quick to let up, explaining the smile from earlier. She added, “you'll find that he's very much a hands-on sort of fellow, Remi. And if you feel frustrated about any one issue, he'll be more than glad to help you out. He's a politician you can trust to connect with the electorate.”
“That's quite high praise,” Remilia said, seemingly oblivious to the double entendre. I hadn't figured Patchy for the type to be so wicked. But, I had to admit, I sort of liked it.
“So, yeah, Remilia-”
“Miss Scarlet,” she corrected me.
“-Miss Scarlet,” I checked myself, trying not to roll my eyes, “I'm afraid I'm not very interesting. I was more or less conscripted into the student council but am trying my best to serve in the interest of the whole student body.”
“Modesty befits a civil servant,” she laughed. It was a practiced, almost mechanical gesture that sounded a little forced. It was like she was trying to seem above it all, like some sort of goddess unaffected by the human condition. “You'll find me a great ally of the elected official and great admirer of the process.”
“One that only complains about politics because they're not about her,” Patchy added, swallowing a small bite of a cutlet roll.
Remilia glared at her briefly, but regained her composure quickly enough.
“My friend likes to joke, never mind her. She said she was going to help me keep my mind off affairs of the heart but instead I've found that she's become something of an acidic tongue, constantly wagging with disapproval. I apologize for her behavior.”
“It's find, uh, Miss Scarlet,” I said, trying to not get in between whatever was going on between them.
“Arc,” Patchy ignored Remilia's comment about her, “don't you think she's cute despite her haughty nature?”
“...” Remilia clammed up. Didn't seem like she expected that to come up. It was a little out of the blue.
“She's the type you would dance with all night at a fete, don't you think?” Patchy kept piling it on. Though her tone was as dispassionate and level as always, I still say some of the vestiges of the unusually playful energy twinkle in her eyes. How wicked.
 Treat Remilia like any other girl and flirt.  Redirect the teasing back towards Patchy.
Not teasing Patchouli is a hard decision to make, but she seems to be having a ton of fun embarrassing Remi and far be from us to spoil it.
But even if that weren't the case, treating 'Ms Scarlet' like any other girl suits Arc. He has tried different approaches through the 19 threads, but what suits him best is being himself -to a degree- in my opinion.
[x] Treat Remilia like any other girl and flirt.
Finally, Remilia seems to be type to enjoy being the center of attention (to say the least) Diverting the conversation away from her doesn't sound wise.
File 144549167610.png - (564.49KB, 1000x1332, remilia should have floppy sleeves.png)
“Sure,” I played along, smiling, “I could picture her being the star of the cotillion, in a bold ruby-red dress, catching everyone's gaze and stirring up feelings of envy among the less fortunate debutantes.”
“Oh, I don't know about that...” Remilia brushed off the compliment with transparently fake modesty, easily confusing my teasing for genuine praise.
“No, I'm certain of it,” I told her, “it most certainly would be my honor to dance with such a beauty.”
“My word, Patchouli,” Remilia placed a hand on her cheek, looking affected, “you hadn't told me he was so genteel. I must apologize for being a little harsh with my thoughtless words about you and your office.”
“It's quite alright,” I said, “many people aren't very impressed with student council politics. I just hope that I'm doing my best to redeem myself in your eyes now.”
“I'd say so,” Patchy butted in, placing her hand on my arm in a supportive gesture. I noted that Remilia looked at her friend with curiosity, as if figuring out for the first time that we had something of a history together. It seemed that even if Patchy had told her about helping me, she hadn't really lisstened.
“Well then, Mr. Arc, do tell me more about yourself. I confess that I had never given a thought about the boys in our grade before.”
“I'm afraid I'm a little bit boring, Remilia,” I said, flashing a confident smile. She leaned in and looked slightly miffed that I wasn't using her surname but held her tongue. I tried to hold in the chuckle that threatened to break through my lips at any moment. “Remi,” I continued, “I'm fairy new in politics and have to say that I've taken on the role of vice president mostly to support the president. She's a dear friend of mine and she has convinced me that together we can do good for the school.”
Just how much of it was the truth and a how much of it was a convenient lie, she didn't have to know.
Patchy leaned in closer, as if she was interested in hearing what I had to say too. Once again Remilia seemed to be bewildered by her behavior, looking at us with with visible confusion.
I continued, “other than being vice president I live a fairly normal life. My guardian is a small business owner and I occasionally help out with the family business. I have to say, however, that my main pleasure in life is talking to lovely-looking girls like you.”
“Oh?” Remilia raised an eyebrow, like something had fallen into place in her mind, “so is that how it is? Patchouli. Is this man your lover?”
“My lover?” Patchy repeated the question, unemotionally, “we have a certain attachment, but our relationship is not carnal.”
“My, if I didn't know any better, I would suspect you were getting flustered,” Remilia smirked, apparently seeing what she wanted to see in Patchy's expression. “No worry, I won't press you if you're reticent. I understand honor all too well.”
“We're just friends,” I insisted, more or less stating the truth. She didn't need to know that Patchy had pretended to be my girlfriend in the past nor that I had sort of groped her soft thighs not too long ago. Getting the cue, Patchy let go of me and sat back, returning to her food, at once uninterested in me. I leaned in and smiled at Remilia, stating, “don't worry, I meant what I said about your loveliness. If you don't mind me being so bold, I must say that you're quite fetching. I've become smitten on sight.”
“Yes, yes, I do suppose my noble countenance has that effect on people,” Remilia said, not even skipping a beat. I was trying my hardest to match her deliberate act with my choice of words and attitude but it didn't seem that she noticed that I was putting on airs as much as she was. Or, maybe she didn't want to notice. It seemed like the world she wanted to live in included long talks about the finer things in life over a snifter of brandy and gentleman callers that were impossibly refined. I could tell that Patchy was trying not to smile. Quite a thing for someone who normally was the definition of stoic.
Maybe acting like she did to better flirt with her was throwing my thought process off. I just knew that Patchy would play along with whatever I did. I wondered if I should push my luck and tease harder. Maybe I'd see something interesting.
 Ask for the honor of her company for a private perambulation about the campus.  Hint that perhaps she was correct about Patchouli and imply that she would be more than welcome to join in our fleshly exchanges.
I reached across to Patchy, taking her hand into mine. She let it happen, hiding any surprise she might have felt with a poker face. An obvious gesture like that probably vindicated Remilia's thoughts about us. She smiled silently, observing us with clear interest.
“You know,” I dropped my voice to a whisper, leaning in closer to Remilia. The taboo needed discretion, I thought, and she would appreciate the theatrics. “There is no reason why we couldn't all get along. To know love is wonderful, but to share it divine. Wouldn't you agree, my turtledove?”
“Indeed,” Patchy chimed in, her expression softening and a faint smile appearing on her lips. She seemed to understand at once what I was getting at. “There's no point in being selfish.”
“Yes, that's why it might be interesting to include the darling Remilia in our normal run of things. Does the idea appeal to you, milady?”
Remilia grinned, obviously taken in with the idea, her eyes sparkling with self-satisfaction. “That's quite the daring offer, if I read you right,” she said. “And I do believe that I am reading you right. It's the first time that such a proposition has been presented to me and I must admit that my interest is piqued. I always have thought that Patchouli was rather attractive.”
“Thank you,” Patchy cut in, nodding meekly.
“Though I haven't seriously thought about,” she dropped her voice even lower than mine, “being with a man like that in the longest time. It's not that you're not attractive,” she explained, “but it's just that my usual satisfaction comes from other sources.”
“I understand, but I would hope that someone so distinguished and no doubt familiar with the ways with the world would not dismiss the idea out of hand.”
“Certainly not!” she exclaimed with a stifled hiss, like I had just implied the worst of slights. It was just a little too obvious how her ego worked. So far as she was concerned, her perceived image of sophistication was what mattered the most. “A lady must think such matters over carefully, however. To jump right in without a second thought would be more becoming for a strumpet than someone of good breeding.”
“Well, then, think, I shan't insist on an immediate reply,” I told her, still feeling weird about how we were speaking to one another. It wasn't like me to sound so stuffy. “We'll await your decision with bated breath, I'm sure,” I turned to smile knowingly at Patchy.
“Yes, you shall have my answer before too long. I feel that this matter would be easier to decide if it were at a masquerade and were cloaked in true anonymity. Modesty still obfuscates what my heart really desires.”
I didn't really have a followup to that. Anonymous sex was about as indecent as it got. It was hard to believe that she implied it being an easier alternative than what I was suggesting. I kinda felt like blushing, to be honest. Was that the sort of thing that the rich and sophisticated did when they got together? Clearly I was out of the loop.
“Perhaps a small sign of affection will tide him over,” Patchy suggested, “it is not every dare that a gentleman bares his soul so to a lady, placing himself at her mercy. “
“I suppose not,” Remilia nodded, like profound wisdom had been uttered. “Very well, I'll favor you with a small gesture.”
“I'd be most grateful,” I said. She reached over to me and held my other hand. It was a flimsy grip, like she didn't know how much force she should have been exerting.
It didn't take her too long to feel uncomfortable with her act. Once firm and boastful, her eyes avoided meeting my gaze. What's more, she mumbled quietly, confessing, “my apologies if it seems like an empty gesture but I have not held hands with a man before.”
“And I have not held hands with such a virtuous maiden before,” I said, shifting my hand so that hers rested on my upturned palm.
“Ah!” she gasped, withdrawing her hand. For the first time, it seemed that she was getting a little bit flustered. “I see now how you've won over Patchouli's stone heart. Those honeyed words of yours could send a girl straight to hell.”
“Is hell really such a bad place if it means that we're together?” I winked. That was enough to send her over the edge.
She stood up, trying to act in control of herself. “If you'll excuse me,” she said, avoiding eye contact with either of us, “I just remembered that there's a matter which I must discuss with our homeroom teacher. I completely forgot to do so earlier and I'm afraid it's quite important.”
“Alright then, see you later,” Patchouli let her go without putting her on the spot.
I followed suit, “take care, I'll be thinking about you. As I hope you'll think about us.”
Mumbling something or the other she left us. Patchouli let go of my other hand. “That went well,” she stated, “I think she definitely is not thinking about her wounded heart.”
“You certainly have curious friends,” I told her. “Is she always like that? Does she always need to impress everyone she meets?”
“It comes naturally to her,” Patchy explained, “I'm afraid that sometimes she pushes people away because they think she's too smug.”
“Do you think she'll say yes to the proposition?” I asked.
“Who knows? I wouldn't think so, she's really timid deep down inside. But I'd say you made a good impression on her. Though it could have gone better.”
“And what about you? Did I improve my standing in your eyes?”
Patchy chuckled quietly, “I would say that you are on the same level as the protagonist in a subpar romance novel.”
“I don't know if that's better or worse than before.”
“I'll leave that for you to figure out.”
I took a bite out of my food, thinking things over. Patchy, as per usual, wasn't too talkative. But she didn't feel as distant as she sometimes did either. Forgetting what had happened with Remilia, it was a perfectly acceptable way to spend my lunch hour. Now that we were alone, I felt like I should make the most of the opportunity.
 Ask if she'd actually consider… with the both of us. I felt that she would.  Patchy was secretly too passionate to share me with anyone else like that.
[x] Patchy was secretly too passionate to share me with anyone else like that.
I think it'd come off as a bit too sleazy to admit that we'd seriously like to do that with Remi, who we met barely minutes ago. On the other hand, we've got a nice cozy relationship with Patchy and I think we can build upon that some more here.
[x] Ask if she'd actually consider… with the both of us. I felt that she would.
Stealing a young maiden's first hand hold, such a crime, Arc is such a monster.
I can see that Patchouli would play along a little longer, how far exactly is hard to say. In part I feel like she was entertaining herself while trying to help her friend in her own way. However, since nothing was explicitly said, it all could still be played off as a misunderstanding.
When Arc's idea of anonymous sex is inevitably shot down, we can move onto the real plan. And so, I expect only the highest echelons of foolery and deviancy in the future, a toothbrush sharing party.
[x] Patchy was secretly too passionate to share me with anyone else like that.
That's what I believe. We have no evidence either way though, Arc doesn't know her that well. But what I took from the interactions with her is that she is a woman who knows what he wants and how he wants it.
[Z] Patchy was secretly too passionate to share me with anyone else like that.
A tough choice that required beseeching the aid of a guru. He told me the secret of life is to consider the journey and not the destination and that making one choice does not necessarily preclude the other.
“Even if she said yes,” I started, pacing my words carefully, trying not to sound too eager to bring up the subject, “somehow I don't think that… that would work out.”
“Perhaps you're giving an idle fantasy too much thought,” Patchy said, not sounding particularly interested in my thought process.
“Maybe,” I chanced a slight smile, “but I don't think that I would be the problem in that scenario. Neither would Remilia. A certain someone with a fire inside of her would refuse to share me with anyone else. If push came to shove, that is.”
“I wouldn't have figured you for such an active imagination,” Patchy shot me down in her own way. She ran a finger over the cover of her book, as if pointing out that my ideas were something straight out of fiction.
“Really? How off base am I really?” I posed the rhetorical question. I explained my logic plainly, “if you did not care for me, then you wouldn't have let me get away with all the things I've done with you so far. And if you weren't so passionate then you wouldn't be reading so many romance novels. Check and mate.”
“Or it could be that I indulged you out of mere curiosity, because I have not seen your type of behavior in the real world before,” she offered a competing pair of theories, “and, additionally, that I read books of all genres. Indeed,” Patchy held up her book, “this is merely a historical novel about European peasantry. No romance involved at all, save for obliquely and as a matter of life.”
I tried not to show too much disappointment with her assessment and instead tried to keep things optimistic. “You're trying to throw me off,” I said, “by trying to keep me off balance, you hope to keep me from pressing the issue. I'm on to you.”
“Words are just that, if your confidence were strong enough you would act upon your suspicions.” Patchy smiled slightly, the corners of her lips curling upward. She added, “you won't act under such flimsy evidence, however, because if you are wrong you will have crossed a line that you cannot retreat from. And then, if I don't fancy you, there will never be a chance I will afterwards.”
“Harsh, and a bit cold,” I complained, “I'm not nearly as analytical as you make me out to be.”
“Aren't you?” she asked. “Your tactics with Remilia show otherwise. Or, indeed, the incident I was involved with at the gymnasium. There is more depth and strategy to your bluster than you would readily admit.”
“All the more reason that I'm confident that you really are attracted to me. You're interested in me because I don't conform to a simple stereotype. So, definitely, you wouldn't share me if put on the spot.”
“Eat your food,” Patchy changed the subject, “there's not much time left before the break is over.”
“You can't get rid of me that easily,” I said.
“I'm merely making an observation,” she said, looking unflappable. “I don't see the use of continuing to talk about that topic right now, however. But feel free to do as you please.”
 Call her bluff and go on the offensive, showing genuine affection.  Back down and regroup until a better opportunity comes along.
Please check in to vote more often than this. An update a day ought to be a bare minimum, not an average. It's extremely frustrating to spend most of the day and time I have free not writing despite being willing.