I grin wickedly. "What, and be a third wheel to you sweet little lovebirds? Nah, I think I should head on home and let you two get back to what I interrupted." I wink at Hatate. "Take nice care of her, okay~?"
Hatate squeaks and turns bright red, while Momiji slowly facepalms. "Are you ever going to forget about that?" The wolf asks wearily.
"Not in a hundred years!" I say cheerfully. "Remind me to introduce you two to Yamame; she could show you all kinds of tricks. Oh, and from what I saw of Remilia, there's all kinds of fun tricks you can do with wings! And Hatate's are so nice and soft, and Momiji, your tail is so fluffy... can I take pictures of you two in action?"
And that's how Hatate and Momiji wind up chasing me down the street, screaming in outrage, while I laugh maniacally. Good times.
Some time after taking to the air, the not-lovebirds give up the chase. Hey, I'm still the fastest in Gensokyo, thank you very much! Still chortling to myself, I decide to set course for home. I've been without Hina-love for almost two days now! It's a horrible thing to befall a crow in love! Besides, I still have my duties as a priestess to consider, and the Mikami might have a chore for me. Ah well, it gives me time to think over what to do about the tengu.
Mikami shrine glimmers proudly in the late afternoon light, shining in the sun. I can't help but smile as I look at it. I did this. Me, Aya Shameimaru. I took a trio of nearly-forgotten goddesses and turned them into a true force in Gensokyo. Okay, maybe not a top-tier force, but they're sure as hell not going anywhere! Yep, this is a lasting impression that an old, young-at-heart tengu woman can take pride in.
Humming to myself, I make my way up to the doors and let myself in, looking around happily at the clean, quiet entryway. I open my mouth to call out to the others when something red and frilly drops down in front of me.
Hands gripping my shoulders.
Spinning in someone's arms.
Oh wow. I need this.
Spinning again. Hina letting go. Stepping back, looking flushed and grinning. "So, how was that?" she asks.
"Uh," I reply, head still whirling a bit.
Yamame drops down from the ceiling, landing next to the misfortune goddess. "Are you asking me or Aya?" the spider asks.
"Yes," Hina replies.
Yamame claps her hands in approval. "It was excellent work! A perfect ambush, worthy of any spider! I see that you've taken my lessons to heart."
"I just wanted to give Aya a nice surprise when she got back," Hina says primly. "So, Aya? Was it to your liking?" The misfortune goddess smiles expectantly.
I take a moment for my brain to catch up with current events. "May I have another one, dear maiden?"
Hina giggles. "I'll take that as a 'yes,' then."
I look over at Yamame. "What have the two of you been up to, exactly?"
Yamame smiles innocently. "Oh, you know. The Mikami have been busy with followers, and I've been surveying the building, looking for any improvements that need to be made. Also, I've been meeting with locals and promoting my business. It's been going pretty well!"
"And the lessons?" I press.
"I've simply been informing Hina of all the many ways to demonstrate to a woman that you care for her," Yamame says with a grin. "There were diagrams! Detailed manuals! Evidently, they've gone over well."
Now my head is full of the mental image of Yamame, dressed up like Kamishirasawa, giving Hina, dressed up like a schoolgirl, detailed lessons on a blackboard. An appealing mental image, to say the least.
Hina slips her arm around my waist and leads me further into the shrine. "So, how did things go up on the mountain?"
"Pretty good," I reply. "How were things around here?"
"Reasonably busy," the goddess replies, looking pleased. "We spoke with and helped a lot of people. Oh, and Sukuna's friend Kokoro stopped by! You should have seen the two of them playing, it was so cute!" Hina giggles happily.
"Glad things went well," I say, waving to Sukuna and the Akis as we enter the sitting room. "Anyway! Let me tell you all about my trip..."
Shizuha leans back. "You've been busy," she notes.
I nod. "Yeah. But this might be my best opportunity to help my people. I don't want them to be stuck on that mountain, unchanging, as the rest of the world just forgets about them, and they eventually fade away. I don't want Hatate to be thrown out of her home, and I don't want some sort of civil war where Momiji is forced to fight against her own people. I want to do something to help. And frankly, Kanako had a good idea here."
"A trade show..." Minoriko muses. "That could be really good for business."
"What about my old shrine for a site?" Hina suggests. "I mean, the property still technically belongs to me, and it's not quite on tengu territory."
I nod enthusiastically. "That's what I was thinking! If we can get the tengu to come to a trade show, I can simultaneously start distributing fliers on what the Oni have been up to, and start spreading the word about our past!"
"How can we help?" Minoriko asks eagerly.
I hesitate. Naturally, my goddesses want to get involved in this. And I could really use their help. A tradeshow could be tremendously beneficial to the Mikami faith, and raise our standing in the eyes of Gensokyans everywhere. Actually, no matter what I finally decide to do, there are opportunities to better things for the faith.
But there are also risks, and that really worries me. I mean, what if Kanako really is up to something? Despite my earlier words to Momiji, that still worries me a bit. Also, what if the elders see the Mikami's interference as a threat? Should I ask for their help, or ask them to just stay out of things?
[ ] What do you say to the Mikami?
Aya's just spending time thinking about the tradeshow idea because a lot of the comments have seemed very supportive of it. Rest assured, all options are still on the table if folks decide they want to do something else.
[x] Ask them to treat the Tengu the same as anyone else; show their wares, suggest items they think will suit them, but don't push them too much. The Tengu need to decide for themselves that they need to change; if they think someone is telling them what to do, they'll more than likely just withdraw out of stubbornness.
[x] Ask them to treat the Tengu the same as anyone else; show their wares, suggest items they think will suit them, but don't push them too much. The Tengu need to decide for themselves that they need to change; if they think someone is telling them what to do, they'll more than likely just withdraw out of stubbornness.
This. While the tradeshow is ultimately meant to open up tengu society, we can't force them. The goal is to make them want change and innovation. Not force it upon them.
[Ø] Ask them to treat the Tengu the same as anyone else; show their wares, suggest items they think will suit them, but don't push them too much. The Tengu need to decide for themselves that they need to change; if they think someone is telling them what to do, they'll more than likely just withdraw out of stubbornness.
It's a good idea, and I can't think of any way to elaborate on it. Patience is a virtue, after all.
[x] Ask them to treat the Tengu the same as anyone else; show their wares, suggest items they think will suit them, but don't push them too much. The Tengu need to decide for themselves that they need to change; if they think someone is telling them what to do, they'll more than likely just withdraw out of stubbornness.
>>27301 Actually, I was referring to how our idea could impress Byakuren and Miko, but that works divinely, too (IIRC, Miko donated objects to be displayed in the Human Village, including a fertility statue that made Sakuya blush...)
What the Jigoku, let's go all or nothing. Let's see if we can invite people from Scarlet Devil, Eientei, and Hakugyokuro. Heck, maybe even from Makai.
Even if we don't convince the Tengu to bring anyone, they'll still have a huge, irresistable social gathering right on their doorstep.
For a moment, I hesitate. Then I let out my breath, long and slow.
"What I need, more than anything, is for all of you to help me with this trade show. It's smart; credit to Kanako where credit is due and all that. I need you to treat the tengu the same as anyone else who comes along. Show the tengu's wares to people, show them wares that they might like, that sort of thing."
Minoriko nods. "Treat them like any other customer, got it. I think I can spread the word so that any merchants that deal with them make sure to not make a huge issue out of it."
"But the other thing is to not push them too hard," I emphasize. "I want my people to change, but it can't be forced upon them. I don't want them to pull back out of stubbornness; I want them to desire and embrace change for themselves."
"They need to recognize the need themselves," Shizuha nods in understanding. "Very well. How does this tie in to your plans to reveal secrets to them? The history of the tengu, the affairs of the Oni, that sort of thing?"
"Obviously, you don't want to shove it all in their faces," Hina observes.
I nod in agreement. "Basically, yes. I'll drop hints that I know some things. Show the Truth to whoever wants to see it, and let them spread the word. I don't expect this event to be the magical key that opens up the tengu village once and for all, but it should put a big crack in the wall they've built around themselves."
"You never know, this might be the act that tears down said wall," Mino says with a smile.
I shrug. "Maybe. Anyway, about Kanako..."
"You're still worried about her?" Hina asks.
I sigh. "I know. There's no sense in being paranoid. But still, I have to think about the future of the shrine, and if Kanako is up to something behind that pleasant exterior..."
Hina mulls it over for a moment, then shares one of those three-way glances with the other two goddesses. They look thoughtful for a moment. Then Hina turns her smiling face back to me. "No worries."
"Huh?" I ask, blinking.
"I said no worries," Hina repeats, "We've got it covered."
I cough. "While I have the utmost faith in the three of you, I would like to point out that there's a bit of a difference in the sheer power Kanako has compared to any of you. Hell, maybe all three of you together, she is a war goddess after all."
"It has nothing to do with power," Hina says primly. "We've got it covered, that's all."
Minoriko chuckles. "After listening to your story? Yep, we've got an idea."
Shizuha pats me on the knee. "Don't worry. Us goddesses have our ways, after all."
Great. Now my goddesses are acting all inscrutable and stuff. What the hell do they have in mind to deal with Kanako...?"
"GAAAAAAHHHHH!!!: My musings abruptly interrupted by a sudden, sharp yell emanating from Sukuna's tiny form. "Goshdarnit, you girls! Stop ignoring me! I mean I show up and wave, but you're all into this deep discussion of dumb stuff, and here I am wearing a new outfit and everything! Pay attention to me, dammit!" The inchling pouts cutely at us, hands on her hips, wearing a miniature version of my own outfit.
"Hey, Sukuna! Sorry about that," I apologize to my little friend. "I honestly didn't see you come in. By the way, nice outfit!"
"Hmph." Sukuna turns her head away, pouting heavily. Hina just winks at me. Right, time to cheer Sukuna up in a way she'll appreciate.
"Awwww, I'm sorry, Sukuna," I coo, picking the tiny girl up and hugging her to my chest. "Here I am, gone for a couple of days, and I can't even say hello to my favorite assistant shrine maiden? Can you ever forgive me~?"
There's a long pause before Sukuna responds. "Hugging me to your ample bosom is no longer enough to make me forgive you, you negligent monster."
"Crap," I sigh. It looks like my lessons have sunk in a little too well. "Can anyone lend me a hand here?"
Yamame giggles. "Sorry Aya, you're on your own on this one!"
"So cruel, Yamame," I sigh. Then I give the spider a thoughtful look. "Hey, pucker up."
"Eh? Why?" Yamame doesn't exactly pucker up, but screw it. I work with what I got.
"Because this." Carefully taking Sukuna in my hands, I thrust her at Yamame with calculated precision, hearing the inchling yelp and watching Yamame's eyes widen in surprise before-
-There. Perfect lip-to-lip contact! And I just deposit Sukuna on Yamame's chest, and my work is done!
For a moment, the spider and inchling just stare at each other, stunned. I hear Hina snickering at the sight, while Shizuha just facepalms. Minoriko looks amused. Slowly, Sukuna turns her head to look at me. Then a big, sloppy grin spreads across her face and she shoots me a thumbs-up, which I return. Then Sukuna happily passes out, sprawled over Yamame's ample chest, a silly grin on her face.
Blushing, Yamame awkwardly pats the small girl. "Setting your junior up now, are we?"
I lean back in my seat. "I am the best wingwoman in the world," I say confidently. "Now I just need to set her up with Youmu, and she'll be well on her way to her very own harem!"
Hina gives Sukuna a thoughtful look. "Judging from Yuyuko's reaction to her, you might be able to add her to the roster as well."
"Who knew Aya was such a matchmaker," Minoriko snickers.
"Anything to earn her forgiveness, huh?" Shizuha asks.
"Just looking out for the little dear, I say easily.
"Too bad I'm not into minigirls," Yamame quips, standing up. "So, who's up for something to eat?" A flurry of hands go up at this. Even Sukuna's as she continues to clutch at her new set of pillows.
"I'll get right on it," Minoriko chuckles, standing up as well.
Supper is a pleasant affair, as is always the case when Mino cooks. Hina sits close to me, and I regale them with tales of my adventures on the mountain. I also lend my personal opinion on Momiji and Hatate, which they find hilarious. Sukuna proudly sits on the table, absolutely giddy at having made some 'progress' with Yamame, while the spider just decides the humor her in turn. Shizuha asks me a lot of probing questions, mind already hard at work, while Minoriko muses over the logistics of hosting a trade show.
Finally, supper is over, and Hina practically drags me away from the table. "I want some time alone with our shrine maiden," she says with a mischievous grin.
"Yeah. We all know what that actually means, Hina," Shizuha says, rolling her eyes.
"Is it sex?" Sukuna pipes up. "I bet it's sex! Is it sex?"
"Yep," Hina says primly, pretty much hauling me away at this point.
"I knew it!" Sukuna crows.
"Now that it was hard to figure out," Yamame quips, grinning as I am lead up the stairs.
"How nice that we can be so open about our private affairs," Shizuha says wearily.
"Sis, you need to unwind!" Minoriko chides her sister. "I'll get some booze, and-"
"Get. Bent," Shizuha snarls, causing Minoriko to burst into laughter. I don't hear much more after that, because my world is suddenly, gloriously, full of Hina. And it is a fantastic thing, indeed.
Current plan: Gensokyo Trade Show
[ ] Scout out a spot. [ ] Advertise. [ ] Solicit attendees. [ ] Convince the tengu to attend.
Where do you begin? Also, throwing around ideas to make this thing a success is both welcome and recommended.
These aren't votes, just tossing out my ideas. [ ] Scout out a spot. Kagiyama Shrine was the plan, but if anyone else has a location that's both reasonably well-known and easy for the tengu to reach, let's hear it.
[ ] Advertise. For this, we talk to Hatate.
[ ] Solicit attendees. - [ ] Kappa Village (they've had experience with this sort of thing). -[ ] Ancient City. --[ ] See what Yamame has to offer --[ ] If we want actual oni to attend, let's talk to Albrecht and Yuugi, since the latter most likely knows a few underground oni who make regular visits to the surface (since Aya obviously doesn't want to go back underground). -[ ] Scarlet Devil Mansion (The hottest new trend in Gensokyo: Life-size Risk!) -[ ] Human village. -[ ] Myouren Temple (Byakuren will love the idea of human and youkai showing each other one another's cultures). -[ ] The Divine Mausoleum (Miko will like the idea of something that can help the human village's economy). -[ ] Eientei. -[ ] Hakugyokuro. -[ ] Makai? (Sure, let's get ambitious. Yukari knows Shinki quite well, so...)
[ ] Convince the tengu to attend. I think our goal should be not to reinforce the tengu who already support us, but get more tengu to support us. Therefore, we shouldn't have Aya do this. I'm thinking maybe Kanako should do this. She already has a relationship with the tengu elders (albeit not a very good one), and it wouldn't look out-of-character for her, she'd just have to say something like, "Learn what a truly progressive society looks like!"
[x] Solicit attendees. -[x] The Oni, for obvious reasons. -[x] Satori, since she’d probably like to sell her books on the surface. Would Satori be willing to do a book signing? Does she have enough books for that? She may want a printer. --[x] You’ll probably want Yamame as a proxy for the underground folks. -[x] The Kappa; they’re nearby, already neighbors with the Tengu, and always seem to have something to sell. --[x] Since Gensokyo runs on ambient energy see if you can get them to sell some broadcast energy receivers. Also, printers.
Speaking of books…
-[x] Patchouli. She’s a wizard, she has to have something interesting to sell. She probably won’t sell books unless they’re copies but as an elementalist she has to have some precious things lying around that haven’t been stolen yet by…. -[x] Marisa. She was already something of a merchant to begin with and looting Kourindou practically makes it official. If Marisa’s busy she can always send Pameel to sell Outside junk and mushroom gunk. Speaking of the Kirisames… --[x] Mima’s also a wizard, and has to have been keeping herself busy. -[x] Alice. I don’t know if she sells dolls but I don’t think she’d mind selling clothes. She’d probably be interested in buying raw spider silk. Would earth spiders be interested in selling?
Speaking of magicians, there’s that powerful cult leader…
-[x] Byakuren, who like Patchouli is also a wizard and has to have something interesting to sell. Arcane research at least? Has she been studying Raiko lately? She totally should. Even if she doesn’t have any wares herself there’re always her followers. For example… --[x] Shou, who’s got a disintegration ray that can turn dirt into gems, hopefully semiprecious ones since they’re prettier. She’s an alcoholic even by Gensokyo standards so keep her from binge drinking. --[x] Mamizou can offer banking services, kept honest by the wills of an ancient wizard and an active war goddess will. -[x] Suzunaan, which is already a business anyway. Mamizou would no doubt have recommendations for what Motoori should sell.
-[x] Eientei. Eirin’s drugs may be shady but they’re also (chemically) safe. A trade show would also be a good time for another expo: (http://en.touhouwiki.net/wiki/Bohemian_Archive_in_Japanese_Red/Kaguya) -[x] Mokou’s Grilled Bird Stand, because I can’t see the Bamboo Forest of the Lost having regular customers beyond two werefolk. Do not ask for sour cream and onions.
Let’s go even farther!
-[x] Makai. We’ll probably need Yukari’s help with this but that shouldn’t be a problem. As for what Makai could sell, they have this fascinating semi-intelligent metal…
-[x] Have a band on each end. --[x] The Prisimrivers, hopefully with their new manager. --[x] Choujuu Gigaku, though it’ll be up to Mystia how she’ll balance that and her lamprey business.
-[x] Make sure opposing factions are kept at opposite ends.
[x] Scout out a spot. Time to check out Hina's old shrine.
>>27315 All excellent points, except the last one. Kanako should focus on the opportunity to display Tengu culture to the rest of Gensokyo. And Hatate should definitely run a piece on the trade show, but more neutral 'hey look at this interesting thing' than anything else.
>>27315 here, addressing >>27317 So instead of saying, "Let me show you what a civilized culture looks like," Kanako should say to the tengu, "Let's show Gensokyo what a real civilized culture looks like!" I like it. Open the tengu to other societies by stroking their ego.
And yeah, it goes without saying that Hatate should advertise the event without actually peddling it.
I'm having sudden images of a simple trade show evolving into a world's fair, with a mishmash of all Gensoukyo's collected sundries over the past century.
That might even be a neat thing to do every few years, just as a thought. See what everyone's been up to, promote relations, that sort of thing. And occasionally other pocket worlds would send their own people...
sigh happily, gazing up at a ceiling brightly illuminated by the rising morning sun. "Oh yeah. I missed that, baby."
Hina peers up at me. "You were gone all of two days. Tops."
I smile sweetly. "After such a long dry spell? Being separated from you for that long felt like an eternity."
Hina snorts and smacks me gently. "You're quite the charmer for an over sexed bird-girl."
"Says the goddess with an array of new techniques," I retort looking at my bed-partner. "Not that I'm complaining. They were niiiiiiiice~."
"You can thank Yamame for that," Hina says primly.
"Oh, believe me. I intend to," I say seriously. "Speaking of whom, how is Yamame doing these days? You had a couple of days to talk to her, after all."
Hina sighs, resting against my chest. "Honestly, I think Yamame is a little bit lonely. She's been very supportive of the two of us, but you remember how she had her eyes on you. That's probably why she's been visiting, come to think of it; for the company."
I sigh heavily. "We really gotta get that woman hooked up with someone, huh?" Hina nods in silent agreement. "Though she seemed a little less than interested in little Sukuna."
Hina giggles. "Sukuna's pretty much taken. If not by Youmu Konpaku, then by her cute friend, Kokoro. Not that either of them are aware of it, mind you."
"I wonder if they'll fight a duel for Sukuna's heart?" I joke. Hina just laughs in response. "Anyway. I was thinking, maybe we should take a visit to your old shrine sometime today."
Hina perks up. "You mean to sound it out for the trade show?"
I nod. "Yeah. I mean, we still need to set everything up, and get some people to come. Especially the tengu. But we can't have a trade show unless we have a place to host it, you know?"
"We could have it here," Hina points out. "Or anywhere. There's a lot of space in Gensokyo."
"Yeah, but your old shrine is pretty much right on the border of tengu territory. Depending on who you ask, some of us might even think it lies within tengu boundaries. They're more likely to visit somewhere close to home."
Hina nods. "And the kappa are right out, given how chaotic some of the fairs they host can be."
I wince. "That sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. No, let's invite the kappa, maybe even give them a little corner all their own, but let's not do it on their turf. It has to be somewhere totally neutral, but with a hint of familiarity to it. "
"In other words, my old shrine," Hina nods. "Well, fair enough. But I'm not sure if there will be enough room on the ground to host a full trade show."
I suck air in through my teeth. "Good point. But, maybe we can work around it. Anyway, let's get dressed and go have a look, okay?"
Hina raises an eyebrow. "Aya's telling to get my clothes on. This completely distorts the natural order of things."
"You can go naked, if you want," I offer.
"...Getting dressed," Hina says after a moment. Probably just as well. But gods, she looks good getting dressed.
Damn. How long has it been since we were last here? Hina's old shrine is lonely and neglected, a place that was never frequented, finally abandoned when its mistress left for greener pastures (or gold-orange fields, whatever), taking everything she owned with her. Now that I see it again, it almost has a... stagnant air to it. Like a pall of bitterness still hangs over it, imprinted there after centuries of habitation.
"I can't believe I used to live here," Hina murmurs. "I mean, it looks so... forlorn, compared to Mikami Shrine."
I look around. "Nice view, though," I comment.
"Yeah," Hina admits. "But I really don't have good memories of this place. I felt neglected here for years. Then I moved out and everything got better for me, you know what I mean?"
"Still a pretty homey place to live," I reply. Indeed, while the shrine isn't exactly the most cheerful place to look at, it has still clearly been well looked-after by its former inhabitant. Even if she resented being kept here, Hina still called this place home, and it has signs of her loving touch. Though, I do recall the place looking a bit cheerier when I stayed here with Hina earlier. Maybe without an actual resident, one who was actively trying to get visitors at that, the place simply lost its homey touch and became the forlorn, remote building it always was at heart. Kind of sad, really. But now we have a chance to give this building a new life.
"Okay," I say with a nod. "First of all, we're going to need to mark out a path here. That's the first thing."
"Easily done, but is there really enough room here?" Hina looks around skeptically. "I mean, the clearing isn't precisely large, you know what I mean?"
I grin. "Not a problem! We can make the shine itself a sort of reception area! For the actual exhibits themselves, well, there's plenty of room under the trees, after all!"
The misfortune goddess looks around. "You mean, hold the trade show in the forest?"
"Why not? It'll give things a nice, rustic air." I look up at the treetops. "Besides, that still leaves everyone with a lot of room to set up stalls. All we have to do is set up paths through the trees, keep a few people on patrol around the fringes, and keep the central clearing for gatherings and certain exhibits that require it, and we're good to go!"
Hina considers for a moment. "What about treehouses? People can gather here, and then wander a series of exhibits over the forest floor!"
I give a low whistle. "Oh, I like it! That'll give us all kinds of room to stretch out, and we can get Yamame to put together that kinda construction no problem! Hell, if we build things just right, we'll even give all of the patrons a view down the mountain! It's perfect!"
Hina giggles. "Hey, I lived here for a long time. I've had ideas for sprucing the surroundings up for ages! Besides, I always wanted a tree-house."
"A private club?" I suggest.
"I'd invite you," Hina grins back.
"Mmm, a private club, just for you and me! I like~!"
Hina bursts into laughter. "Oh, cut it out you!"
"Never!" I declare. And then the door to Hina's old shrine slams open.
"SHUT THE FUCK UP, YOU ASSHOLES!" A female voice screams at us.
Hina's head whips around, laughter dying in her throat. I freeze in shock, then slowly turn my head around to stare at the entrance to the shrine. Standing in the shrine's doorway, dressed in her nightie, Lily Black glares at us bleary-eyed, hair still tousled from bed.
For a long moment, the fairy just stares at us. Then, it slowly dawns on her just who she is seeing. Bit by bit, all signs of sleepiness leave Lily's eyes, and she turns pale.
"Oh, fuck me," the fairy groans.
[ ] "Okay." [ ] "What are you doing here?" [ ] "You know, squatting is a crime." [ ] "Yay! Threesome time!" [ ] Say nothing. Just quietly close the front door.
Seriously, let's give Lily a break. She finally has her own place, and we just intruded. Sure, technically it's still Hina's shrine, but she abandoned it and has a new home. Instead of teasing her, let's see what she's up to. Aya gets shit done when she's serious.
[x] "What are you doing here?"
Let's see how she's been doing, and if maybe she's better off than she was the last time we talked to her.
[X] "Okay, if you insist~" [X] "But seriously, what are you doing here?"
Let's tease her a bit, but we do have proper business to take care of. I doubt Hina actually minds her is using her old shrine, since it seems like Lily Black hasn't so much moved in as just using it for a roof over her head. (There was no signs of anyone actually living here, it was even less lively than while Hina was moping here, and that's saying something.)
But still, it would have been proper for her to at least ask first.
I consider Lily's words for a moment. Then I nod, a cheerful smile upon my my face. "Okay!"
Lily freezes and looks up at me. "Wait, what?"
I stride up to the fairy with all of the perkiness that I can put into my step, which turns out to be quite a lot. "Well, hey! You did insist, after all! And who am I to turn down such a generous offer as that?"
"N-now hang on, I didn't mean- Wah!" Lily yelps in panic as I scoop her up in my arms, cradling the fairy close to my chest. "Now just a- w-what the fuck do you think you're doing?!"
I nuzzle her warmly. "Mmmm, I've never been with a fairy before~!" I sing. "But wow, your skin sure is soft!"
Lily Black stares at me in slowly dawning horror. Then she screams. "GAAAAHHHH!!! Leggo of me, you perverted crow!" Frantically, the fairy struggles in my arms, but I keep my grip on her, as well as keeping a shit-eating grin on my face. Which isn't too hard on either count.
"Ooooh, she's a struggler!" I say, making my voice as lascivious as I can possibly manage. "That's always cute! Now I get to play with rope, too!"
"Nononononono!" Lily Black shouts, getting frantic now. "No rope! No rope! Ixnay on the ope-ray!"
"I have ribbons," Hina suggests helpfully.
"No ribbons either, goddammit!" the fairy snarls in response.
"Ooooh, erotic wrestling!" I chuckle throatily.
"What the fuck is wrong with you?!" Lily howls. She looks at Hina wildly. "And why the hell are you just standing there, dammit?!"
"I'm gonna watch!" Hina says excitedly.
Lily's face turns ashen with horror. "Oh gods. It's spreading. I'm surrounded by rampaging, lesbian perverts."
"Actually, I'm more of a bisexual," I comment, gently carrying Lily into the shrine.
"Not! The! Point!" shrieks. "Goddammit, I don't want to have sex with you, do you understand me?!"
"How about Hina, then?" I suggest.
"No! And I don't want her to watch either! Now put me down, already!" The poor fairy looks to be on the verge of panic.
I spin around, giving Hina my broadest smile. "Did you hear that Hina?! It's threesome time!"
"Yaaaaay!" Hina cheers excitedly.
"ARRRRRGGGHHH!!!" Lily howls. Then she pauses, blinking, before giving me a suspicious stare. "Wait. Are you fucking with me at this very moment?"
"And it's even more satisfying than I imagined," I say with an exaggerated, pleased groan.
"S-so lewd," Hina gasps, a hand covering her mouth.
Lily stares at me, long and hard. Then at Hina. Then back to me. "I hate you both so fucking much," she says earnestly. And that's about as much as I can handle. I burst into laughter, fairy still clutched in my arms, and Hina soon follows suit. Lily just shakes her head as she bobs in my arms, which are trembling from laughter. "So. Fucking, MUCH!"
Giggling, I set Lily down on her feet. "Sorry, Lil. Couldn't help myself. Go on and get yourself dressed, okay?"
"And then you can explain why you were squatting in my shrine," Hina adds with a raised eyebrow.
The fairy in black coughs. "Um... right. Sure thing. Just give me a minute, okay?"
Shortly thereafter, the three of us are sitting around a makeshift table as Lily Black fidgets awkwardly. Looking around, it's clear that the fairy has been here for some time now. There are some dishes in the cupboards, a bit of food in the larder, and the walls are covered with some manner of sketches. They appear to be describing a... carnival? No, some kind of festival.
"Yeah, I was thinking about what you told me the last time we met," Lily says to me, noticing my gaze. "About a spring festival held at night. I've been sketching out some ideas for it."
Hina takes a closer look at one of the drawings. "Looks like you've put a lot of thought into it," she notes.
"Yeah." Lily shifts uncomfortably for a moment, then heaves a sigh. "So. You're probably wondering what I'm doing here, huh?"
"It's not that I'm angry or anything," Hina assures her. "Really, I had never intended to come back. I'm just surprised is all. So, how long have you been here, and... why?"
The fairy sighs. "I've been here for a while, actually. Once you moved out, word got around, and I heard about an empty building, just ripe for the taking. My old place was just this crummy little shack, so I figured... why not? I believed that you would probably never move back here, what with your fancy new digs, so why not just move in?"
"You could have asked," I point out.
"Yeah, well..." Lily frowns. "Honestly? I was afraid that if I did, you'd put some sort of condition on it. Like making me pay rent when I don't really have a lot of money, or forcing me to become a follower, or... something."
Hina's face softens. "Lily... I would never force you to become a follower. And if you needed a place to stay, we could have worked something out. You're right, I was never really expecting to come back here, and I'm not the slightest bit upset that you've moved in. But I wish you had at least told me."
"I know," the fairy sighs. "I should have told you, but I chickened out. I'm sorry."
Hina smiles gently. "Just keep the place clean, and we'll call it even. Okay?"
Lily Black smiles faintly. "Yeah?" Hina nods. "...Deal. Thanks, then."
"Also," I clear my throat, "You need to deal with the fact that we're going to be holding a trade show here before too long."
She blinks in confusion. "A what now?"
"The plan is to hold a big gathering here," I explain. "We'll get people from all over Gensokyo to show their wares here at the base of the mountain, an event sponsored by Mikami Shrine, with the aim of bringing together people from all across our fair land. Including my own people."
Lily raises her eyebrows at this but says nothing. "Well, it's your property, after all. So, is there anything I can do to help out? Gotta pay my way, and all that." Hina and I share a glance.
[ ] Nah, just let us work around you, and try not to mind the company. [ ] Well, you could always help with the construction. [ ] We could use some advertising. You can help with that. [ ] We'll need some people to help run things during the show itself. You up for that? [ ] Another idea! (Write-in)
Not at all! I'd simply been steering away from it since folks had generally seemed to have cooled to the idea. But I can certainly offer a vote where Hina and Aya have the opportunity to 'further' their relationship with Yamame, if folks want.
What season is it currently? If it's Spring, I have an idea.
[X]Tell me more about this Spring Night festival you're thinking of. [X]Why not make this your festival then?
If it's already springtime, I think that it would be interesting to center the festival around Lily Black's plan. It makes the celebration a little more unique, and by having Lily Black as the center there will be less suspicion about this being a direct plot for the Mikami, Kanako, or Aya.
If it''s nowhere near Spring though, I'll go for the following:
[X] We'll need some people to help run things during the show itself. You up for that?
>Not at all! I'd simply been steering away from it since folks had generally seemed to have cooled to the idea. But I can certainly offer a vote where Hina and Aya have the opportunity to 'further' their relationship with Yamame, if folks want.
What? That's news to me. I'm all for it, since I feel pretty bad for Yamame. It seemed like you were forcing us to choose one earlier.
[x] We'll need some people to help run things during the show itself. You up for that?
[X] We'll need some people to help run things during the show itself. You up for that?
Let's start off slow. I kind of want to make everyone involved pitch in (including Kanako, more on that later). If there's anything else Lily's willing to help out with, then by all means, we should accept her help.
We can definitely incorporate Lily's ideas, but let's not turn it into a full-blown spring festival; how about giving our little get-together a spring theme?
The threesome in Being Meiling only worked because the vast majority of it was so unrepentantly silly.
Aya and this story wants to wear the serious hat sometimes. If you want to do that, in my opinion a threesome does not work at all, especially with the whole "pervert in remission" thing that's going on. Yeah, it's a little sad for Spiderbutt, but that's how love goes sometimes. It's not like she's emotionally crippled or Aya can't keep helping her and her reputation without banging her.
I really like the way the relationship with Hina, and friendship with Yaname is being portrayed right now. I would be really disappointed if it were to, in my opinion, take a step back like that.
But enough about that.
[X] We'll need some people to help run things during the show itself. You up for that?
[x] We'll need some people to help run things during the show itself. You up for that?
Guys hey. Let's plan a surprise party for after sundown. Lily as the guest of honour.
>folks had generally seemed to have cooled to the idea I was just waiting for you to bring it up again. I think Hina and Yamame go together wonderfully. If Aya hadn't found Hina, Yamame certainly could have.
[x] how about some advertising? If Hina and Aya can challenge people's conceptions of them, then why not Lily? [x] that idea of yours... could fit right into our idea. And it could help your image.
>threesome I thought we were done with this. This is a somewhat serious story and in those, things don't always work out for everyone. Let her move on instead of going into an uncomfortable VN-esque "harem" end.
>>27367 >>27369 And this, personally, is why I haven't been bringing it up; there are people that argue against it with the justification that 'it's not that kind of story', rather than because it's not something the character might actually want.
Dear lord what is wrong with so many people that if someone even suggests a person have more then one lover they start crying harem and visual novel.
For fucks sake people three way relationships happen I was born from one. I am sick and tired of people claiming that they are fantasy only or that there is something wrong with mutli person relationships.
Seriously, polyamorous relationships are just as viable as any other.
Society does everything it can to teach us that a relationship can only have two participants and visual novels make them look painfully unrealistic. But they're completely doable and do happen.
As far as this story is concerned, I'm not totally against Aya getting both of the girls, or more, but Being Meiling ended that way and Pleasant Meadows had a weird paradox that ended in a weird not threesome thing that I actually thought was an interesting way of avoiding the "guy gets all the girls" ending. Any feelings I have against any sort of harem like ending is just that I don't want every one of Keymaster's stories to end like that. I'm not really gonna be bothered if they do though.
The tone of the story is set by Aya's thoughts and actions. I do not believe dating two people is in keeping with who her character has become. What's more, I don't think that she would date Yaname specifically. I do not believe that Yaname ever rose above second place in Aya's heart. I do not think there was ever a tie. Aya went down into the underground, and left dating Hina and not Yaname. She did this because she loved Hina more. And now that they're dating and in a physical relationship, realistically the gap should only widen.
I don't think that Aya loves Yaname. I don't think they should be in a relationship.
Of course, it's a CYOA. If everyone wants Spiderbutt, none of that matters. I mean, I'm not gonna drop the story over this. That does not change me feeling that this particular threesome would be a big misstep, and something I want to avoid if possible.
I've said my peace, sorry for derailing the thread.
You know, we're looking at this as if there are only two options:
Aya should only be friends with Yamame. or Aya and Yamame should be lovers.
I kind of agree with >>27374 that even though Aya and Yamame think one another are sexy as Jigoku, they're not aren't close enough for an actual relationship, whereas Aya and Hina have been close for some time, and know each other (ahem) intimately.
So why not split the difference? Make Yamame a friend-with-benefits. She can join in on Aya and Hina whenever she wants (or if she wants Aya all to herself sometimes, that works too).
If she's happy doing it with Aya and Hina while staying friends, great. If she wants something more out of her relationship with Aya, then why should we refuse her?
I agree that technically, Keymaster's other two stories have ended with the main character ending up as part of a threesome, and it's lost its spark now (especially considering that Aya seems fond of the female, and possibly male, form in general). I honestly don't want it to happen again, but I also don't want Yamame tossed by the wayside. Much like in real life, this is a hella hard decision.
>>27371 Yeah I know, right? The year 2014 and people still thinking largely in VN tropes. Especially since unlike the typical multiple girl-route in a VN, a good writer on the site can do such a thing better.
>>27374 the way I see it, Hina and Yamame are like Vanilla and Chocolate, each covering different areas as well as common ones.
And I think in light of what Keymaster said, Aya's thoughts were affected by his plan to a degree.
Considering how Hina and Yamame seem pretty close themselves... having an OT3 isn't that far out there.
>>27370 This is a CYOA the readers' will is ultimate and that is why 'spiderbutt' might win despite not being in character for Aya (which is happy enough) and not being considerate for Yamame (what feelings besides arousal can be between two almost strangers? She was feeling awe and respect for Hina almost immediatly after lust)
I don't know why I wrote this anyway. 'It doesn't fit the story' is a perfectly valid argument.
>>27374 Aya hasn't changed THAT much. She's just more stable. Aya met Hina quite some time before she met Yamame. Of course their relationship matured sooner. Yamame herself was the one to suggest that Aya deal with her shit with Hina before even thinking about anyone else. As for love, eh. Love is fuzzy. We need to spend more time with her anyway.
Also, what about Hina's feelings towards the spider? At this point I'd say she's actually closer to Yamame than Aya is. Which is fine.
Gonna have to chip in and say that I also can't exactly see Aya, Yamame and Hina working out in a polyamorous way. It's true that it can definitely work out, and props to those people for pulling it off, but in this case, I can't exactly see it. People in relationships do have wandering eyes, and it's a part of a healthy relationship to be okay with that, because when it comes down to it, there are other things that make a relationship /work/ besides sexual attraction. I'm not sure if Yamame is a part of that sort of connection. There's an attraction there, yeah, but the way the story goes, Hina's pretty much won over Aya's heart.
Of course, as mentioned, it's ultimately the readers who decide these kinds of things, but no relationship should be founded on pity, on the part of either lover or, in this case, on the part of the reader. Besides, even if Yamame doesn't find somebody to love in this particular story, there's no telling what'll happen in the next one.
[X] We'll need some people to help run things during the show itself. You up for that? [X] Maybe we can build some hype for your Spring Night Festival, too. Heck, turning this place into a regular festival ground would be a pretty great idea. We could even use the shrine to pull misfortune away from the merchants and people visiting!
[X] We'll need some people to help run things during the show itself. You up for that? [X] Actually, maybe we can make this your Spring Night festival. Turning this place into a regular festival ground would be a pretty great idea.
[X] We'll need some people to help run things during the show itself. You up for that? [X] Maybe we can build some hype for your Spring Night Festival, too. Heck, turning this place into a regular festival ground would be a pretty great idea.
As for the whole OT3 argument: Eeeehhh... I don't see a problem either way and I don't really care enough to argue for either side.
I mull it over. "Well, maybe you can help out," I say thoughtfully. "Since the Mikami Shrine is sponsoring, we could use all of the help that we can get. We can probably get some followers to help out, and of course the individual attendees will be handling their own pitch, but there's the matter of getting things set up in the first place, right? Plus, there's the matter of keeping things running smoothly the day of the whole affair, and..." I trail off. "Short version: you wanna help us run things the day of the show?"
Lily Black nods. "Sure, I can do that."
"Actually, this is a good time to try out your very first Spring Night Festival!" Hina speaks up, looking inspired.
Lily looks more skeptical than inspired. "It's late summer. Not spring."
"Not the point," Hina presses. "Consider this an opportunity to have a test run. We'll be having a trade show here, it's bound to stretch into the evening, and we all know what happens in the evenings when a bunch of Gensokyans get together, right?"
"Parties," Lily and I say as one.
"Exactly!" Hina nods in agreement. "And Lily now lives right here on the premises!"
"So... you want me to organize the evening entertainment?" the black fairy guesses.
Hina nods in excitement. "Exactly! You can even make it an excuse to have a faux-spring theme, if you like! The point is, this is a chance for you to try your hand at throwing a party, like Aya suggested to you!"
Lily thinks it over. "That... could work. I've never actually thrown a party, though..."
"Pour alcohol. Have musicians playing," I say with a shrug. "Boom, done. Really, the heavy lifting will be done during the day. All you need to do is help people unwind in the evening." The prospect of a big after-show party has my mind racing. Unbidden, one of Kanako's more reluctant ideas comes to mind.
Lily thinks it over and nods. "Okay... okay. I can do this. Shouldn't be too hard to hold a party, especially if you're handling the invites. All I have to do is help out with the management during the day, right?" The two of us nod. "Great, that means I'll have a good grasp on the mood, and can compensate. Might get the Prismrivers to play, the sparrow and her dog friend have shitty music... and maybe that Kabuki performer, cuckoo or whatever, maybe I can get her to perform... yeah... yeah, this could work."
Hina and I share a glance and nod, smiling. This could totally work!
We leave Lily Black to her devices, pulling out pieces of paper and making sketches, after promising to get back to her with some more details about the trade show as they develop. She seems quite pleased with the opportunity to do something with herself. Personally, I think that the poor little fairy was just looking for somebody to pay a little attention to her.
Anyway, Hina and I head back to the Mikami Shrine in good spirits. "Looks like your old shrine is a prime spot, in many ways," I quip.
Hina giggles. "Guess so. Who would've thought it, huh? Anyway, what do we do now? Start making plans for the layout."
"Let's leave that to Yamame," I suggest. "She'd have a much better idea about that sort of thing. No, we still need to go around and get people to attend this thing, including my own people since that's kinda the point, and then there's advertising to take care of in order to provoke interest, and then we need to make all kinds of other arrangements..." I trail off. "Wow. This is almost as much work as setting up a shrine, huh?"
"We have a good track record for that sort of thing, though," Hina puts out.
"True," I admit.
"Speaking of advertising..." Hina says slowly, looking over at me. "Do you intend to make up the flyers yourself, or have Hatate do it?"
"Dunno. I could certainly do them, but we might get the tengu to pay more attention if Hatate does it." I mull it over for a bit. "It's a fair question, but why do you ask."
"Well... I was wondering if you ever planned to start up the Bunbunmaru ever again," Hina explains.
I consider the question in silence for a moment.
Hina drifts over and takes my hand. "You can talk to me about it," she says gently. "It's what I'm here for. Both as a goddess, and as your goddess, you know what I mean?"
I smile gently. "Yeah. Thanks. Well, I've thought about it before, just not much, you know?" I hesitate, then shake my head. "No, that's not true. I've thought about it a ton, but I've been too busy to really focus on it. You see, I started up a newspaper in the first place in order to publish the Truth, and as a way to stick it to the elders. Then things went to hell, as you well know. Now, I still love reporting, but now that I'm a shrine maiden, I'm not sure if I should write my paper on the side, or focus my efforts on you three."
"We'd support you completely if you did," Hina reminds me, squeezing my hand. "Hey, you could even make it a Mikami Shrine special!"
I laugh at that. "Yeah, it's a thought. I'm just not sure if it's a part of me I'm ready to lay to rest, or a part of me that I never want to let go, you know? I mean, I will always believe in the Truth, I just don't know if being a reporter is still the best way to go about it, or if there's some other way." I shrug. "Hence my hesitation. Understand?"
Hina nods. "Then let's make this simple. What do you want to do, Aya?"
[ ] Make plans to restart the newspaper. [ ] Nah, Hatate can take care of things from now on.
(One last vote on it to lay the issue to rest for good)
I wanna see what others have to say before I vote, but I kinda wanna start up the paper again as a way to take some of the elders' focus off of Hatate. Since we're not reliant on them anymore we can post stuff that'll really drive 'em up the wall. I don't want to do anything that would put our shrine or goddesses in jeopardy, but if the elders try something against them there'll be hell to pay. Hatate's got enough problems and I really don't want to see her get exiled.
If we don't restart the paper, I wouldn't mind Aya having guest articles in the Kakashi Spirit News, maybe have her own dedicated section, but preferably not until after this business with the elders has been dealt with. If it seems like Hatate is getting in to deep with us they might start putting on more pressure. Though I'm sure Hatate would stand firm regardless.
[X] Nah, Hatate can take care of things for now. Yeah, "mak[ing] it a Mikami Shrine special" would be the problem. It would be seen as a political mouthpiece, even if that weren't true -- at once tarnishing both the Mikami's image and the Bunbunmaru's.
Maybe -- as I've edited the vote to say -- that's not "from now on". Maybe it's really only "for now", once Gensokyo has been sufficiently revolutionized  and the political situation has died down. But it's definitely at least "for now".
 (Incidentally, the scarcity of Touhou+Utena art is appalling.)
Yeah, making it specifically endorsed by the shrine probably isn't the best idea.
[x] Nah, Hatate can take care of things for now. I agree with the 'for now' cause I don't want to totally rule the idea out, but Hatate can handle things for moment.
[x] Ask Hatate to post an article advertising the event. I figure there are probably still plenty of people who don't fully trust or forgive us, so Hatate might be the better choice for getting the word out.
[x] Consider asking Hatate about writing guest articles in the KSN or getting our own section. It doesn't have to be right away, but it's something we could do every now and then to get that reporter satisfaction and I'm sure Hatate wouldn't mind.
[x] Nah, Hatate can take care of things from now on. -[x] But we can write articles for her from time to time.
A lot of what originally made Aya's paper decay in quality can be tied back to the fact that she was running an entire paper rather than just writing articles. The need to consistently publish and fill page space means that the bar for quality drops as what's required is volume, the fact that she was in charge of publication meant that she could be more easily pressured to publish specific things, and ultimately running the paper becomes its own purpose rather than a means to disseminate truthful information.
Most of these issues melt away when someone else is running the paper and you're just publishing things in it. Only writing articles when there is something genuinely worth publishing, being selective about what is and isn't submitted, and spending time pursuing leads wherever they take her. Investigative reporting is what Aya got into the newspaper business for, and an investigative reporter isn't at all the same as an editor or publisher. Aya needs to keep to her original purpose, and restarting a full newspaper will just fill her life with distractions that she doesn't need right now.
It will mean that Hatate is subject to somewhat more social pressure, but she's a good kid who can handle things.
[x] Nah, Hatate can take care of things from now on.
What's with this obsession with Bunbunmaru? You're all acting like this is Aya's only aspect. Aya has more important things to do than work a newspaper. Hatate's doing just fine, and I would imagine Bunbunmaru still has a negative connotation to it. Aya's redeeming her name. The Bunbunmaru not so much. Being a miko and running a newspaper are both full-time jobs, and working as a miko for the Mikami will FAR be better for Aya than working on a newspaper.
Now, I won't object to Aya writing the occasional article or taking pictures for Hatate's paper, and giving emotional support to the girl who's parents kicked her out of the house for upholding the Truth, but Hatate's doing a very good job at running the Kakashi Spirit News. Why create needless tension by restarting the Bunbunmaru. I suppose one could make an argument for "friendly competition" but it's all too easy for that to spiral out of control and make two tengu who finally reconciled be rivals once more.
tl;dr: restarting the Bunbunmaru is both unnecessary and a detriment to Aya and those around her.
[x] Nah, Hatate can take care of things from now on. -[x] But we can write articles for her from time to time.
I feel this is best for now at least, maybe later Aya can start on her own, but I think Aya and hatate working on one paper would be superior as Aya can gather the info/pics and hatate handle the writing.
Because it was Aya's pride and joy for over a century? Because it was the only thing she had when she lost everything else? Because it's something she truly loved doing? People are allowed to have hobbies even if they have full time jobs, you know? Not to mention that even though it's fallen so far, it's still a symbol of Aya's defiance of the elders to quite a few people.
As for it creating tension between Aya and Hatate, did you forget that Hatate was the one who wanted us to continue writing it?
>"Mikami shrine needs advertising, I need to make a public statement, and my own newspaper is for all intents and purposes dead." My voice chokes off as I say this, and I close my eyes tightly. Dammit. Just knowing that the Bunbunmaru isn't being written anymore hurts like hell. I take a moment to master my emotions before opening them again.
>Hatate is staring at me with complex emotions raging in her eyes. "Then start it up again," she says heatedly.
>I shake my head. "Right now, that's not my priority-"
>"Then make it your priority!" Hatate yells at me. I stare at her in surprise. Hatate used to be such a meek girl. Where the hell did all of this intensity come from? Seeing my confused gaze, Hatate starts to look hesitant and turns away. "I mean... you put so much time and effort into it... don't tell me you're going to turn your back on the Bunbunmaru like you did the village..."
[x] Nah, Hatate can take care of things from now on. -[x] But we can write articles for her from time to time.
The Bunbunmaru has an incredibly poor reputation in Gensokyo. Even if Aya is better now, there's a very good chance people will remember her newspaper as "that scandal rag with all the pictures of panties." Better to put our name in a more 'respectable' paper. Besides, as >>27397 pointed out, we can report the Truth much better if we don't have to worry about the filler.
>>27402 >I'd like to point out that this isn't a vote for whether we start up the Bunbunmaru right now, it's a vote for whether we do it at all. Hence the word "plan" in "Make plans to restart the newspaper". I am reading "at all" to mean "within the scope of the quest" here. Restarting the paper might, at some point a few years from now, be a reasonable thing for Aya to do... but I don't expect the quest to cover a matter of years, and I don't expect Aya's life to be in a position where restarting the paper is a good move prior to then.
[x] Make plans to restart the Bunbunmaru -[x] But maybe work on something else, first, to build that confidence back up. Books on Tengu History would be a good idea!
As mentioned, writing and communicating the truth is something that's very close to Aya's heart. She's a Youkai, changing something like that is actually potentially dangerous, nevermind that she's actually a pretty good writer when it comes down to it.
Besides, she knows Tengu history like none other. Even if we don't get to restarting the paper in this story just yet, putting out those history texts is probably wise, if the elders prove to be really recalcitrant.
[x] Nah, Hatate can take care of things for now. -[x] Make plans to restart the newspaper, but not until after the trade show. -[x] In the meantime, Aya should try her hand at writing something, just to see if she's still got it. --[ ] A history article? --[ ] A current-events article in Kakashi Spirit, just to keep Aya's skills from going stale?
If we try our hand at writing a column in Kakashi Spirit, the tengu elders will want it removed, even if it's fairly harmless, because it'll be something they can't control.
There's actually a much easier way to help restore Hatate's reputation: [ ] Have Kanako to convince the tengu to join the trade show, for the purpose of showcasing "the superior tengu culture" to Gensokyo (stroking their ego a bit). [ ] After the elders accept, Hatate approaches them to advertise the show in Kakashi Spirit, under the guise of "wanting to prove her loyalty to the tengu people" or some malarkey.
I still think Aya should eventually try her hand at restarting Bunbunmaru, but right now is too soon, especially since we're planning a huge social event right now. "Never" is pretty definitive, and like Anon said, Bunbunmaru was the only thing that kept Aya going for at least a century.
>>27415 here. [ ] If Aya does restart Bunbunmaru, don't overload it with articles disparaging the tengu. Keep it fair, balanced, and honest, but don't make it as caustic as it used to be. [ ] Find a different way to do that, like writing a history book, or perhaps a section in the Gensokyo Chronicle.
I really don't want to see Aya give up on her livelihood altogether, even though I think it's too soon for Aya to be making any major decisions right now.
>>27411 >As mentioned, writing and communicating the truth is something that's very close to Aya's heart. She's a Youkai, changing something like that is actually potentially dangerous, nevermind that she's actually a pretty good writer when it comes down to it.
That argument is full of holes. Remember our talk with Ichi a few threads back at the Mikami shrine? After that disastrous village slaughter, the tengu reinvented themselves wholecloth. According to Ichi, that's why the whole "stuck-up and unchanging tengu" thing happened in the first place. Because they wanted nothing like that to ever happen again. Aya herself used to be a master of the sword, so much that even a thousand years of not using a sword she's still known among the tengu as one of their greatest warriors. Neither of these caused major harm to Aya or the tengu. Yes, there was the whole exile fiasco, but a lot of humans would probably go a bit crazy from that, too.
[X] Nah, Hatate can take care of things for now. -[X] Make plans to restart the newspaper, but not until after the trade show. -[X] In the meantime, Aya should try her hand at writing something, just to see if she's still got it. --[X] Find a different way to do that, like writing a history book, or perhaps a section in the Gensokyo Chronicle.
[X] Make plans to restart the newspaper, but not until after the trade show. [X] In the meantime, Aya should try her hand at writing something, just to see if she's still got it. -[X] Find a different way to do that, like writing a history book, or perhaps a section in the Gensokyo Chronicle.
>>27428 Not if the character development is assbackwards. Picking up the sword would have been for a good cause, yet people refused outright because oh woes is me the sword is a symbol of murder. And here we have the chance to restart the paper again at some point, several people know how important its to Aya and actually want her to restart it but No, clearly because there was something bad about the paper in the past it cant go back to its original state, how Aya wanted it to be, about Truth. Not to mention doesnt need to rely on the Elders anymore.
Do you know anything about running a newspaper? Or reporting? Like, at all? That's a goddamn full-time job. As in, no more time to help the Mikami. It boils down to what's more important: her friends, lover and new life, or restarting an old newspaper that is representative of the dark times in Aya's life, things she doesn't want to go back to. Same with the sword. Doesn't matter that she's "just using it for defense." A sword is meant for one thing only: hurting other people. And as for using a "peacebonded" sword, the temptation's always there to break the seal when things go bad, and it's still a weapon. The symbolism argument has already been made by others, so I won't go into that, but it's still important. Her fan can be used as a weapon, yes, but it's still a fan.
By good cause you mean picking up the sword in order to duel with Youmu during the Yuyuko arc? Even if that would have been beneficial to recruiting Yuyuko, I wouldn't call that a 'good cause'. A good cause would be taking up the sword to defend someone's life or to fight a horrible dictatorship. The latter might describe the current situation with the Tengu, but we are trying to solve this issue with minimal bloodshed, and if we handle this correctly there might not be any at all. At no point in this story has there been any reason for Aya to wield a sword except for personal gain.
Aya started the Bunbunmaru as a way to spread the truth, and things spiraled out of control. She enjoys writing and reporting, but she's only been at it for a hundred years and it's not something that defines her entire existence. Real people aren't defined by a single character trait and sometimes people change and start new things or drop old things as they move through life. It won't hurt her to not start it up again, especially considering its reputation isn't all that great. And nothing says she can't contribute to Hatate's every now and then if the urge to write ever flares up.
First of all, yes, I know about running a newspaper actually, more than you it seems.
Nowhere did I say it has to be a daily thing or for that matter keep the old name. It could a weekly or special thing, giving her enough time to attend her shrine maiden duties. And it seems like she will be having the time if we look at other faiths and shrinemaidens in Gensokyo. Collaborating with Hatate just makes her more of a target. Not to mention that your definition of newspaper is almost certainly not the same as her definition of it. I seriously doubt that Aya managed, with or without the smut in it, to release a regular 30 page newspaper every day.
As I am seeing it, we are currently trying to start kind of a revolution here against the elders. Same people Aya started her newspaper against, because she was sick of them and wanted to let others know the Truth. I dont understand how we can start a revolution then against the people responsible for "the dark times in Aya's life, things she doesn't want to go back to" and turning her paper and her into Creep Aya because they are most certainly more of a reminder than her paper. Her paper turned into something bad, but it wasnt always like that. And with how things are currently going they wont become like that again. Besides, every time the voters here had the choice they chose to tackle that issue head on, so I really dont see why its suddenly better to supress those memories when you had her reminded of them every chance you got.
Aya without a newspaper just doesn't quite feel like Aya.
>>27433 >>27435 I doubt the Bunbunmaru was what we'd consider a modern newspaper. I think it was more the older, more literal kind of "news paper", as in a single large paper with newsworthy items printed on the front and back. Maybe folded once, but not dozens of pages. Even spending 8 hours a day on it, there's no way she could have made a 30+ page paper by herself to be released with any kind of regularity. (Well, maybe when it was just a collection of panty shots, but not while there was actual news in it.)
At the moment, Aya's doing: -Shrine maiden work -helping people with stuff (may or may not be under shrine stuff) -Planning a trade festival (part of a greater plan to gently shake up Tengu society) -slowly cleaning up her reputation -Hina
Unlike her newspaper pervert days, she has more to her life than her paper.
Does she really, though? It's a legitimate question. Does she want to restart the Bunbunmaru because she thinks it's the best way to get the Truth across, or because she still has fond memories towards it? From what we have been shown so far of Aya and the Bunbunmaru, her fondness towards her old newspaper looks like a case of severe Nostalgia Goggles more than anything else.
I think the most prudent path would be to have Aya act as a reporter for Hatate's paper. Not only would it make it the strongest paper in GSK, but it would allow one to concentrate on day to day reporting and one on bigger stuff like the article on old hell etc.
Why is everyone so convinced contributing to Hatate's paper has to happen right this second?
We've already established that neither option is an immediate decision because we're really freaking busy. You know, with running a shrine and changing our entire society for the better? Whether Aya restarts her paper or joins Hatate's, it'll have to wait until after this revolution business is settled. And at that point drawing the elders attention to Hatate won't even be an issue.
>>27452 >That'd draw fire to Hatate. She can deny all allegiance to us if she has to, but hard to that when that person is on your payroll.
Draw fire to Hatate? She's already been kicked out by her parents, and by not obeying the Elders' orders she'll most likely get kicked out anyway. Saying that Aya writing guest articles will paint more of a target on Hatate's back is a laughably fallacious argument.
Okay, after going through the discussion, these are the votes as I've counted them:
Yes: 9 Only as occasional special editions: 3 No: 14 Later, after the show: 4 Join Kakashi news outright: 1
So, how I'm going to parse this is as follows: Aya isn't going to re-start the paper full-time, bit will put something together to keep herself in the game. History books and maybe the occasional article in Hatate's paper. Long-term, she might put together some sort of magazine on a bi-weekly basis or something like that. Of course, this will be beyond the scope of this story, which is beginning to approach its conclusion. Any objections to this interpretation of the votes?
Sounds reasonable. Doing the occasional article for the Kakashi Spirit News was something I was in favor of anyway. And writing a history book or something is much less time-intensive than writing a newspaper, so it won't affect Aya's duties as a shrine maiden anywhere near as much as working on a newspaper full-time would be.
>>27458 Sounds perfectly fine to me. There's no reason for her to go back to being a full-time reporter, but there's also no reason for her to just drop it completely since she did enjoy doing it. Everyone needs a hobby, after all. You know, just something to do in your spare time. Hina doesn't count.
"I want... to be what I am right now," I say hesitantly. "A shrine maiden, sort of. Living with you and the sisters. Having a home, a real home, and someone next to me when I wake up in the morning. There's so much going on in my life right now, and it's great! But that doesn't leave me enough time to write a newspaper, you know?"
Hina wordlessly gives my hand a gentle squeeze.
"But that doesn't mean that I'm going to give up on the truth," I say firmly. "There are still things that I can do. Like... write a book on the real history of the tengu, and how our race came to what we are today, and how far we still have to go. You know, the sort of thing that'll get me back in a writing mood!"
Hina smiles. "I think that's a great idea! So, you're not giving up on your paper, then?"
I think it over. "...I won't be able to devote myself to the Bunbunmaru like I did in the past," I say after a moment. "But maybe that's not a bad thing. I mean, it was always hard to find enough news to fill a newspaper in the past, that's one of the reasons I always filled it chock-full of panties. That and, you know, the psychological devastation I had suffered."
"You're doing much better now," Hina observes.
"Thanks to you," I smile. "Anyway, I think I'll still write something from time to time. Maybe put out a small magazine every couple of weeks or so, with some commentary on recent events. Something thoughtful and considered, rather than just trying to bang out details as soon as they happen. Hatate can take care of that, she's a good girl." I nod to myself. "For years, the Bunbunmaru was all I had. It really was my life, you know?"
"And now you have more in your life," Hina observes.
I give her a quick peck on the cheek. "Yep. Lots. But that doesn't mean that I'm giving the Bunbunmaru up completely! It'll just be something else that I do." I frown. "But I'll focus on it later, after the trade show. Maybe after we've made some progress with the tengu, and the elders."
"Also giving you some more time to patch up your reputation," Hina adds.
"Yeah, that too," I chuckle. Hand-in-hand, the two of us fly on to the Mikami Shrine.
Sukuna is cheerfully puttering around in the front yard, and waves energetically as we make a landing. "Heeeeey, you guys!" she calls out, bouncing towards us. "How'd it go?" The inchling bounds up onto my shoulder as she says this.
"Pretty well," I say to her as Hina and I walk into the shrine hand-in-hand. "I think Hina's old shrine is a go for a location. Also, we'll be getting some help from Lily Black when it comes to running the show, so there's that at least."
"Where is Yamame, anyway?" Hina asks, looking around. "There was something I wanted to talk to her about. A couple of things, actually."
"She went home for a bit," Sukuna explains. "Wanted to check up on her business, see if she had any new contracts. She said she'll be back later, though."
I nod. "That's good. I like having her around."
"Yeah~, she's so dreamy," Sukuna sighs.
The three of us walk into the living room, where Mino and Shizu have apparently been talking. Shizuha looks up as we walk in. "Oh, good, you're back. Minoriko and I were just talking about people we could bring in to the trade show."
"Aside form your own people and their products, of course," Minoriko adds. "But that's another can of worms altogether."
"Tell me about it," I mutter, sitting down on a couch next to Hina. Sukuna... plops down and takes a position squeezed between our thighs, looking for all the world like it's the most natural thing ever. Sneaky little girl. "What are our prospects?"
Shizuha takes out a sheet of paper. "Well, the human village is obvious, and a number of craftsmen would be willing to attend."
"I've already sounded them out and gotten some positive responses," Mino adds.
"So... humans and tengu," Hina muses. "That's a good start, but we could use some more."
"The kappa are also obvious, we can get them in droves to show off their newest toys," Minoriko says, making some notes.
"Then there's the underground, and I don't just mean Yamame. The Oni have a lot of goods to show off, but..." Shizuha hesitates.
I nod, sighing. "Yeah. Having Oni around might send the tengu into a panic. But showing off their accomplishments is key. That one's gonna require some serious thought."
"Another possibility is the Scarlet Devil Mansion," Minoriko puts in. "Maybe Patchouli Knowledge does some enchanting, and has some things lying around she's like to sell? It's worth investigating."
"And on the topic of magicians, there's also Marisa and her... fairy companion," Shizuha says carefully, "To say nothing of Alice Margatroid. They could be interesting additions. Marisa is running Kourindou now, and of course Alice is a well-known clothier."
"There's also some folks from Myouren temple that might be good invites, as well as their rivals, the Taoists." Minoriko pauses. "Might want to keep them separated, though."
"We can even visit Eientei, and see if Eirin wants to do any business at the show," I say, getting into the swing of things. "Aside from that, a general invitation would be a pretty swell idea, bringing people in who we might not other wise talk to." I lean back, stretching my arms. "Yeah, some personal invitations would be a great idea, there."
"But we also have to think about advertising, and ensuring that your people show up," Hina puts in. "We probably have enough time left in the day to go visit someone... what do you want to do, Aya?
[ ] Visit the kappa. [ ] Visit the underground (temporarily locked-out; maybe tomorrow). [ ] Visit the Scarlet Devil Mansion. [ ] Visit Kourindou. [ ] Visit Alice Margatroid. [ ] Visit Myouren Temple. [ ] Visit the Bamboo Forest. [ ] Actually, let's get the advertising squared away. [ ] No, let's deal with the tengu first, and deal with that hurdle early.
>>27463 You keep using that phrase, but you have yet to actually explain why starting up the paper would be 'character development.'
According to TV tropes, and a few other places, "character development is, by definition, the change in characterization of a Dynamic Character, who changes over the course of a narrative. At its core, it shows a character changing."
I fail to see how starting up the Bunbunmaru would be considered anymore 'character development' than not starting it. Since you're so insistent on it, please explain why starting up the paper is so important. In what way will it positively affect Aya's character. Technically character development can be negative, since it's just defined as change and not necessarily positive change, but I'm fairly sure nobody here wants to negatively affect Aya. Will not starting it hurt her?
>>27466 I think it would be best to get a few attendees set in stone before trying to convince the Tengu. We could probably get the Tengu to show if we don't tell them about the Oni, but that's likely not a wise decision in the long run.
[x] Visit Kourindou. Let's see how the happy couple's doing.
Something I almost forgot to mention, we could ask those we visit to help spread word for the trade show if we're looking to attract whoever may want to show up. Assuming Marisa gets more customers than Kourin did, assuming Kourin in this story had the standard customer issues, she could probably pass it along to any who stop by.
Kanako's not going to be able to pull this off right away. While she tries to convince the tengu elders, we can talk Hatate about advertising, and whatever else. Remember, this was Kanako's idea as much as Aya's. We shouldn't sit back and do all of her work for her.
"How about a trip to Kourindou?" I suggest. "I've been wondering how Marisa and her new lady love have been getting on." I smile wickedly as I say this.
Shizuha looks thoughtful. "Now there's a weird pairing. How did it happen again?"
I shrug. "My understanding is that it's a prank that went horribly right. Seems to have worked out in the long run, though."
"You know, I've seen those two around," Minoriko speaks up. "They look surprisingly cute together."
"This sounds like something I gotta see," Sukuna muses. "Um, what was the fairy's name again?"
"Pameel, I think," Hina replies. "I read about it Aya's old paper. Formerly of the Scarlet Devil Mansion, wasn't it?"
I nod. "Yep. Now a couple with Marisa, and running Rinnosuke's old shop."
Hina shudders. "Please don't bring that man up again."
I wince. "Sorry. Anyway, they keep an awful lot of junk at Kourindou, and I know that Marisa does some potion-selling on the side. Maybe they'd like to attend? I can only imagine what happens when Marisa tries to work magic on all of the weird stuff that accumulates in a junk shop like that."
Shizuha quirks an eyebrow. "If nothing else, it'll be worth a chuckle."
"Exactly my thoughts," I comment, standing up. Hina rises to her feet beside me. "So, Sukuna, you wanted to come too, right?"
The inchling gives Hina and I a curious look. "Only if you're sure I won't be a third wheel."
Hina slides an arm around my waist. "Since when has that ever stopped you before?"
"Good point," Sukuna says thoughtfully. "And despite my ongoing education in proper behavior, the fact remains that I could use some more skill with the ladies. Maybe I could learn something through observation..."
"Us or the Kirisames?" I ask.
Sukuna thinks about it. "Yes."
I snort with amusement. "Good enough. Well, let's go. Mino, Shiza, can you make some plans on your end?"
Shizuha nod. "Sure thing. We'll get a hold of Yamame, scout the site, and talk to Lily Black, maybe start getting some plans together."
I shoot her a thumbs-up. "Sounds good. Anyway, see you all later!" Hand-in-hand with Hina, Sukuna bouncing along behind us, the three of us make our way outside and into the sky.
"See, part of the problem is that I have too many prospects," Sukuna explains as we fly through the air. "Which sounds nice at first glance, but it can be a real problem for a lady's woman like myself. I mean, how the hell am I supposed to keep so many girls happy?" She pauses. "Women. Not girls. Women. Mature, gorgeous women. There's a difference."
"You're learning," I intone sagely, trying to keep a smile off my face. Hina is desperately holding back giggles.
"Your tutelage has been greatly appreciated," Sukuna replies, perfectly serious. "But the application is so difficult at time. I mean, first of all there's Kokoro. Sweet woman, slamming body, and so naive about the ways of the world. There's so much I could teach her! But I don't wanna take advantage her, either. She's a tricky one."
Hina coughs but says nothing. As for me, I just listen closely to this fascinating glimpse inside of Sukuna's head.
"Then there's Youmu, and I mean, WOW. Have you seen her legs?!" Sukuna shakes her head in awe. "Damn! She's so lithe and strong, with such soft skin, and she moves like a ballerina! She's a combination of stern decorum, and adorable cuteness. How could anybody resist her? The problem is getting into her heart when she clearly has her mistress on her mind, like, all of the time."
"Which brings us to Yuyuko," I note.
"Ah, Yuyuko," the inchling sighs. "Poor woman. She's clearly utterly enthralled by my sheer sex appeal. And she's so soft and fluffy, too! I just worry about mishandling that whole situation, not treating her like a princess deserves, and breaking her gentle heart! Ah, the trials of being so desirable." Sukuna shakes her head sadly.
"Well, she really can't keep her hands off of you," Hina manages to say with a straight face. I nod in agreement. It's true, for reasons other than what Sukuna expects.
"I know, right? Poor woman. But then, there's Yamame." Sukuna gives me a sideways glance. "We already know all about Yamame, hm?"
I nod solemnly. "Indeed we do."
The little warrior sighs. "So many women, all completely taken with me. What can I do? How do I spread my affections evenly among them? I mean, I can't break their hearts! It's so troubling, and yet it is a challenge I cannot back down from." She nods her head firmly, utterly determined to see things through to the end.
Oh, Sukuna. Only you can get away with saying such things.
Further discussion is halted as the three of us land in front of Kourindou. It looks a lot better than the last time I was here. The entire building and yard has been lovingly tidied up, and the sign now reads 'Kirisames' Kourindou.' It looks quite successful, and there are signs of frequent visitation. I guess Marisa and her fairy friend make for decent businesspeople. Well, just means that they'd make good additions to the trade show! Nodding to my companions, I walk up the the front door, start to open it, and-
"I don't care." A wet smack. "Do you~?" A teasing tone of voice.
More giggling. "Well..."
I stare at the door. At Hina, who is looking at me wide-eyed. We shouldn't. There is a private moment going on here. It would be rude to interrupt. We should go . We really should go. There's giggling going on behind that door. It sounds fascinating. We really should leave.
Giving me a confused look, Sukuna walks up and opens the door wide. Instinct overtakes me and Hina. We look inside.
Marisa is sprawled out in a large, comfy chair, a blushing smile on her face, and a fairy sitting on her lap, facing her. Said fairy has green hair done up in a pony-tail and what can be loosely defined as a maid's uniform, provided you account for the miniskirt, long stockings, bare midriff, and lack of any shoulders and sleeves. I take one look and wish that I could get Hina into that kind of outfit.
"Damn, I love that outfit," Marisa murmurs. Hina and I nod in agreement.
"I know~" Pameel says seductively. "But I bet you'd love it off even more~." She starts to unbutton Marisa's top.
"Yeah, I- hm?" The witch glances over our way. Sees us. Turns very pale, and then very red in quick succession. "Uh."
Pameel pouts at her. "Oh, what could be more interesting than me?" The fairy turns our way and brightens up when she sees us. "Oh, customers! Please, come in and look around!" She then goes back to unbuttoning Marisa's top.
"P-Pam!" Marisa sputters, "Not now!"
"Why not?" The fairy asks, not slowing down despite Marisa's sputtering.
"Because there are people watching!" the witch wails.
"So what? I'm not embarrassed about my feelings." Inexorably, Pameel continues her work upon the panicking, struggling witch while humming a jaunty tune. She seems perfectly happy about the situation. Such innocence.
Hina and I stare, dumbstruck. Sukuna... appears to be taking careful notes on a piece of paper.
Hina and I glance at each other awkwardly. We should probably leave now. This is obviously a very personal moment. I know how I'd feel if someone walked in on me and Hina, aaaaaaannnnnd Sukuna is walking right towards the two of them without a care in the world.
Marisa stares down at the inchling with an expression somewhere between embarrassment and horror. "...Sukuna, right?"
"Hiya!" Sukuna says cheerfully. Then she checks herself and speaks more formally, tipping her hat to Marisa and Pameel. "That is, good day. My name Is Sukuna Shinyoumaru, and I was wondering if I could ask the two of you a few questions regarding your relationship."
"Oh, honey, there's nothing to be ashamed of! I take pride in our love!" The fairy doesn't slow down, and digs her hand into Marisa's hair, holding the witch's head still. Sukuna watches the display with amazed awe.
Hina and I share another glance. It's just too dangerous to leave Sukuna alone with these two. Especially the fairy. Coughing quietly, I let myself into the store, followed closely by Hina, and start to browse the neat stacks of... things, is the best way I can put it. I carefully put a wall of assorted materials between us and the... scene in question. Chaperoning Sukuna is one thing, but there are some things I just don't feel right watching. At least, not like this.
"This place is a lot neater than I remember," I say quietly.
"Interesting things, too," Hina nods, picking up some kappa-esque gadget marked with runic symbols. An enchantment?
"So, how did you two meet?" I hear Sukuna say.
"It worse love at first sight!" Pam squeals.
"...It was kinda set up," Marisa sighs.
"And love at first sight!" Pam insists.
"Wooowww..." Sukuna breathes.
"See, there was this thing, and Flan-EEEP!" Marisa's voice is cut off by a loud squeak.
"This fairy has no modesty," I murmur.
"Yeah, but I don't exactly see her blasting Pam off, you know?" Hina points out. I nod in understanding. Pameel clearly doesn't care one wit, but I have to wonder if Marisa is a closet exhibitionist.
"P-P-P-P-Pam! Not in public!"
"You're so cute, darling~! Mmmmm!"
...Maybe not. I think. I'm not sure.
Hina holds up a bizarre looking gadget. "The label says that it plays all kinds of music, and an enchantment makes it sound like the band is right in the room with you. Huh."
I nod in appreciation. "Something like that would sell really well at the trade show."
"This is the most romantic thing I've ever heard!" Sukuna squeals. "A match made in heaven! I'm so jealous!"
"I know, right?!" Pam enthuses.
"What." Marisa's flat voice cuts through the conversation. It sounds like she is about to say more, but is cut off by something wet-sounding. Then there is the sound of a not-displeased moan.
"And she's a great kisser!" Pameel declares, giggling bashfully afterwards.
"Oh, neat! What's your technique?" Sukuna sounds very interested, and the sound of pen on paper can be heard underneath Marisa's protests. Despite ourselves, Hina and I turn an ear to the conversation, but all we can hear are hushed whispers and giggles. As well as sounds that indicate a demonstration of some sort is taking place.
"You're a genius..." Sukuna breathes.
Pam giggles. "I had a great tutor! Mother Mima is an amazing tutor!"
"Who the hell is Mima?" I wonder out loud.
"How the hell did she teach Pameel?" Hina wonders.
"Will she teach me?" Sukuna wonder.
"Mmmmaybe? She really keeps those techniques secret. Family only. Sorry!" Pam sounds genuinely apologetic even as Sukuna sighs in disappointment.
"Oh well," I hear the inchling say over stacks of goods. "Anyway! What do you think is the secret to a successful relationship?"
"Back rubs!" Pameel says at once.
"Really?" Sukuna mulls it over. "Well, I remember that Aya got all squirmy when I touched this spot at the base of her wings..." Hina looks thoughtful at this, then reaches over an strooooohhhhhHHHHHHkes oh man oh wow oh baby those fingers... "Oh, what are you doing now, Pameel?" Hm?
"I just can't keep my hands off my honey!" Pameel explains. "Oh, could you turn around? It's important to respect people's privacy!"
"Oh, sure!" Sukuna responds.
"Wha... then why the heck are all of them still in the building?!" Marisa cries.
"Because they're customers dear, gosh!" Pameel sounds stunned at how obvious the answer to this question is. "Anyway, this is one of the most important parts of a relationship: keeping intimate things private!"
I think Pameel has a very skewed idea of privacy. Wait, Hina just saw something in the clothing section...
"Anyway!" Pameel continues, while Marisa makes a muffled whimper. "It started off with back rubs! Then adding warm oil and a bit of lavender scent! Then I started wearing this outfit, because my honey has a thing for maids."
"Pam, anybody would respond to that outfit," Marisa says in a half-slurred voice.
"See?!" the fairy exclaims, while Marisa groans at having walked into that one.
"Maid outfit... hmmm..." Sukuna sounds very thoughtful
"Anyway, the maid outfit finally got darling Marisa over her shyness, and we started trying to make babies ever since!" Pam exclaims.
"Wow!" Sukuna enthuses.
"...Pam...please... don't tell the customers about our love life." Marisa sounds a bit resigned at this point.
"Oh, like you weren't all over me when I walked out in that, curtseyed, called you mistress, and offered you a massage!" Pam scoffs. "I remember it so well! She was soooooo passionate..."
"Did she try the outfit on herself?" Sukuna asks.
"Nah, it was too small for her. But I had one in her size, and she loves to wear it all the time!"
"PAAAAAAAM!" Marisa wails.
"What? You look great in it. Now come here." Some enthusiastic sounds come from that side of the shop, along with the sound of someone hurriedly taking notes, but I don't really notice anymore. Hina has found an outfit almost exactly like Pameel's. Except sized well enough for her to wear. And in her shade of red.
And then the goddess holds the outfit up to me, and starts making some approving noises. W-well, I guess I am technically a servant to the goddesses, and I'm pretty sure that I could really make that look work...
"Anyway, that's enough for now," Pameel says all of a sudden.
"Wh-wha..." Marisa's dazed voice comes.
"Thank you so much for all the information, Mrs. Kirisame!" Sukuna gushes.
"You're very welcome!" comes the fairy's reply.
"P-Pam, why are you stopping now?" Marisa asks in a pleading tone of voice.
"Marisa!" Pam gasps. "There are people present! Geeze, I know you're insatiable, but have some some decency, please!"
"How kinky," Sukuna giggles.
There's a moment of silence. Then the sound of someone tromping through the shop. Finally, Marisa Kirisame, looking dazed and a tad frustrated, turns the corner of one of the aisles.
"Welcome to Kourindou," she sighs. "How can I help you?"
[ ] Applaud. [ ] How much for this dress? [ ] So, this Mima gives out lessons, does she? [ ] Wanna come to a trade show? [ ] So how is married life, really?
Part of me wants so badly to give Marisa a round of applause. For numerous reasons. But that really wouldn't be very diplomatic when I'm trying to invite her to a trade show, now would it? Thus, I school my features and bow politely. "Hello, Marisa. How are you today?"
"...Fine, thank you," Marisa replies, dusting herself off, and trying to act as though her fairy companion wasn't just having sloppy makeouts with her. "Bit rumpled, maybe. Mildly mortified. Welcome to my world." She sighs wearily.
I give her a sympathetic look. "Marriage not treating you right, is it?"
"Pameel seems quite happy, at least," Hina puts in.
Marisa coughs. "Well... ya see... um, how do I put this?" The witch shifts uncomfortably at having been put on the spot. "The marriage was some sort of crazy prank that Pameel took seriously and everyone else kinda enforced, right? Except, ya know, most fairies would have lost interest and wandered off after a day, at the outside. Know what I mean?"
"They're not known for having a great attention span," I agree.
"Not unless something's really interesting to them," Hina adds with a smirk.
Marisa coughs again. "Yeah. So. Pam, she just keeps on coming around, right? And she's all embarrassing and stuff, but she's trying so hard to please, and I just can't bring myself to blast her when she keeps on calling me 'honey' and stuff like that, you know what I mean? So I just put up with her, and she keeps hanging around, and I keep waiting for her to lose interest, and she never does, and, well... you know where I'm going with this, right?"
I think it over. "Nope."
"No idea," Hina shrugs.
The witch heaves a sigh. "I'm saying I kinda... started to like having her around, okay? I mean, sure she came on a little strong, but she, you know... was soft. And warm. And smelled nice. And it was kinda cute how she cuddled up with me at night."
"Awwwwwww~," Hina and I coo.
"Quit it," Marisa grumbles. "So, yeah. Pam cooks and cleans, and is actually pretty good at running a business. Must be Sakuya's training. And she can be so cute, and sweet, and it's nice to wake up to somebody next to you, know what I mean?" She looks off into the distance with a wistful look on her face.
"Yeah," I say in agreement. Hina's just so soft, after all.
"So, in other words, you really do like having Pam around," Hina grins.
Marisa coughs. "Well, yeah. I guess. Kinda. Yeah."
"She does put on cute outfits for you," I point out.
"And is apparently a great kisser," Hina adds.
Marisa coughs. "Among other things," she mutters. "I have no idea how Mima gave her pointers. I don't wanna know. I like the end results, there I said it, moving on now. I just wish that Pam had a little more... discretion, you know what I mean? I don't think that she grasps the idea of privacy completely well."
"Wow, Marisa's sensitive there?!" Sukuna's voice comes from another aisle, as though on cue.
"Yep! Oh, but that's my special spot! No stealies!" Pam's voice comes back
Marisa sighs again. "Case in point."
I nod sagely. "Yeah, we kinda picked up on that. So. Fairy brides aside, you wanna come to a trade show?"
"Do I wanna what where now?" The witch asks blankly.
"The Mikami shrine is going to be hosting a Trade Show at the location of my old shrine," Hina explains. "You know, the one at the foot of Youkai Mountain. Preparations are already underway, and we hope to have a large number of visitors. People from all over Gensokyo are going to be invited to show off their wares. We just thought we'd come and give you a personal invitation."
Marisa looks thoughtful. "That... sounds like it could be good for business. See, I've been messing around with some of the crap that Krazy Kourin left lying around, and some of it is really easy to enchant, you know? I've managed to cobble together some neat stuff. Sometimes it's fun to just throw magic at stuff and see what sticks, you know what I mean?"
Magic blended with Outsider technology? That actually sounds like a cool idea! I mean, it's not like the stuff could be any more dangerous that what Gensokyo already has, right? "Any items in particular?"
"Weeeeeell, things have been pretty much down to experimentation, and available resources," Marisa says thoughtfully. "But I've managed to cobble together stuff that keeps a room exactly at a certain temperature, shoes that let non-magical folks hover above the ground, and I'm pretty sure I managed to awaken one of their weird Shikigami. I dunno, it won't cooperate and keeps calling me 'Dave,' for some reason. It's kinda weird."
"Any weapons?" I ask out of curiosity.
Marisa grins broadly. "Oh, yeah, baby. Just you wait until the next incident. I've got some tricks up my sleeve now! Sheesh, Krazy Kourin was holding out on me all this time."
Pam's head peeks over one of the aisle. "Honey also does potion-making!"
"Yeah, but Eirin's pretty much got the whole pharmaceutical game locked up tight," Marisa shrugs. "I mean, I still do some business there in terms of stuff Eirin doesn't really deal in, but uh, nothing that I really think I could present at a trade show."
"Really?" Pameel looks surprised. "I would have thought that some Lovegod's Everlast would be really popular, based on how many people ask for it."
Oh sweet Mikami.
"Pam? We need to have that talk on discretion again," Marisa says wearily.
"Those talks are boring!" Pam pouts. "Besides, whenever you use it you're always so-"
"ANYWAY!" Marisa says loudly. "Yeah. I'll totally be there. Looking forward to it!"
Well, that's one attendee. "Great! Then I just have one more question for you."
"Oh yeah? What's that?" Marisa asks me.
I clear my throat and point to the... abbreviated maid uniform. "Um... how much?"
Marisa looks at the dress. Then at me. Then at Hina. Then back to me. And she smiles. "Ohhhhhhh~? Now, whatever would you want to buy that for?"
"I'm going to have Aya wear it and serve me tea," Hina says evenly. "Most likely while calling me mistress. And lots of twirling, since that's kind of a holy act for me." Is it getting hot in here, or is it just my face?
Marisa's smile is still on her face. "It's on the house. But on one condition!"
"What's that?" Hina asks politely.
Marisa turns her head. "Hey, Sukuna! I want you to take careful notes of what those two get up to, then come back and tell me all about it! I'll pay you in cake!"
"Deal!" Sukuna cheers.
The witch sighs happily as I try desperately to disappear from sight. "Wow. That is fun, isn't it? Well, I think we can call ourselves even for your past misdeeds now, okay Aya?"
"Thank you for your magnanimity," I groan.
"Aww, don't be so glum, Aya dear!" Hina says soothingly. She kisses me on the cheek. "I'll wear it too." Then she walks off, dress in hand, putting a bit of sway into her walk.
Marisa watches her go before turning back to me. "So. Welcome to my world!"
"And what a world it is," I note.
After getting the dress bagged, Hina and I head outside with Sukuna, leaving the married couple to their lovely shenanigans. The misfortune goddess looks down at the bag thoughtfully. "Hmmm. You know, we have plenty of time left in the day. Should we go visit Alice? It's not far, and we can get this dress adjusted for you while we're there."
I swallow. "Um. I guess so?"
Hina snorts. "Oh please. Alice has seen it all. She's not going to raise an eyebrow at having an outfit adjusted, I'm sure."
"Or we could go visit Miss Yamame in her nest!" Sukuna pipes up. "Maybe the others are already there and we can talk about the Trade Show! Or maybe she's alone!" Her excitement at the latter possibility makes it clear which one Sukuna favors.
[ ] Go visit Alice. [ ] Go talk to Yamame. [ ] Nah, let's just go home.
[x] Go visit Alice. Been a while since we last saw Alice, and when we show up, for once saying we were just in the neighborhood and decided to pay her a visit won't be poorly disguised excuse.
Yamame's home is near the entrance to the Underground right? Alice's should just be a few minutes away. I figure unless we take all day with her we should have plenty of time to visit Yamame before the day is out.
Also, Sukuna clearly hasn't made nearly as much progress in her womanizing ways since this story began as she thinks. All she's really done is go from openly ogling everyone with a pair of breasts, to discreetly ogling everyone with a pair of breasts.
Yamame is nice, but we haven't seen Alice for a while, and we KNOW we're getting to Yamame in the morning. Besides, unless I'm forgetting something, she still lives in a cave. You know. Underground. Where crows fear to tread.
[x] Go visit Alice. We haven't seen her since the end of Being Meiling, and she'd most certainly have some wares to sell (FOR SALE: Two serafuku, two school swimsuits, two China dresses, and two maid uniforms, each worn only once).
>"Sometimes it's fun to just throw magic at stuff and see what sticks, you know what I mean?"
>"I'm pretty sure I managed to awaken one of their weird Shikigami. I dunno, it won't cooperate and keeps calling me 'Dave,' for some reason."
You know how they say if you make a face for too long, it'll stay stuck that way? That definitely applies to this stupid grin I have.
I shrug. "Well, I would like to talk to Yamame, but we'll probably see her tomorrow anyway. Plus, I kind of wanted to invite Alice to this trade show, maybe to show off her dolls or clothing or whatever project she's been working on. We're in the area anyway, so we may as well go and see her."
Hina nods in agreement, but Sukuna just slumps and pouts cutely. Then she perks up. "Say, maybe I can get some new clothing from Miss Alice for myself..." the inchling muses.
I nod in agreement. "Well, you're pretty much the size of her dolls, so she might even have some outfits that'd fit you already," I note.
"Then I'd say that settles it!" Hina says cheerfully. "Shall we be off then?" With a nod, I start to lead the way to Alice's place.
One of the irritating things about the Forest of Magic is how damned difficult it is to get around in it. The trees are incredibly close together, and in some of the deeper areas create a solid wall of wood to block any would-be explorers. It's impossible to penetrate these areas even from the air, as the forest canopy becomes a tight, entangled mesh of branches and leaves. It's more like a living, green floor than a bunch of treetops, really. And that isn't even getting into all of the murderous youkai plants that call it home.
Fortunately, neither Alice and Marisa live anywhere near the denser regions of the forest, and in Alice's case her house is in the middle of a small clearing, complete with shed and vegetable garden. The design is foreign, but not terribly unfamiliar; all kinds of oddities accumulate in Gensokyo, and the Scarlet Devil Mansion stands out far more than Alice's house.
The three of us walk up to the front door, Sukuna riding on my shoulder, and I knock politely. "There's smoke coming from the chimney, so she should be in," I say to Hina.
"Probably," the misfortune goddess agrees. "Hm. I don't think I've ever visited Alice's place before. It's very nice."
"She likely had her dolls build it for her," I say absently, just as the door opens to reveal one of the aforementioned dolls. She's small, a bit smaller than Sukuna, and dressed in a cute little blue dress with long (for her size) blonde hair trailing down her back. Add in the ribbons and surprisingly life-like features, and the dolls are famous for how goshdarned cute they can be. Not to mention deadly in battle.
"Hello," I say politely to the doll (Shanghai, I think? I can't tell her dolls apart). "We're here to see Alice. Is she in?"
The doll doesn't respond. The doll isn't even looking at me. Actually, she's looking at something on my shoulder, at... Sukuna? And Sukuna is staring back wide-eyed at the doll, mouth slightly agape. Er, maybe I should let her know-
Too late. A charming grin spreads across Sukuna's face and she bounces to the ground, taking off her hat and sweeping it low in a grandiose bow. "Good day, fair maiden! My name is Sukuna Shinmyoumaru. Might I have the pleasure of being graced with your own, please?"
The doll stares down at her. Blinks. Then, slowly, drifts down to land on the floor in front of Sukuna. The doll then reaches into a pocket and pulls out a small note, which she unfolds. Written in small, elegant handwriting is the brief sentence, 'Hello. My name is Shanghai.'
(Oh, so it is Shanghai).
Sukuna just smiles dazzlingly. "Shanghai... such a lovely name for such a lovely woman. We were actually here to call upon Miss Margatroid, but I daresay that I have come upon someone infinitely more enchanting!"
Shanghai's hands rush to her cheeks as the doll seems to... blush? Can they do that? She looks away shyly, but hazards the occasional glance at Sukuna.
This is actually happening. Sukuna is actually hitting on Alice's doll.
"Oh, now please don't do that," Sukuna says in a voice that just oozes with charm. She steps forward and gently takes Shanghai's hands in her own. "Such a lovely young woman, do me the honor of letting me gaze upon your dazzling features just for a while longer? Please?" Shanghai just stares wide-eyed at Sukuna in rapt fascination. Or maybe stunned silence, it's hard to say. "Now then, would the mistress of the house be in? And may we see her?"
Shanghai nods slowly. Then nods again. Then seems to come to herself and quickly dips into a polite bow before nodding at myself and Hina and gesturing for us to come inside.
But Sukuna isn't done. With a dazzling smile, the inchling glides down on one knee and takes Shanghai's hand gently between her own. "You have my eternal gratitude for such boundless hospitality. Please, allow me to show but a fraction of my gratitude." Then the young gentlelady places a single, delicate kiss on the back of Shanghai's hand.
Shanghai goes rigid, stares down at Sukuna in shock. Then Shanghai the doll swoons, getting wobbly on her legs as she starts to pitch over in a faint.
"Oh!" Sukuna is faster, and nimbly catches the doll in her arms, cradling the small figure in her equally small arms. Shanghai comes back to herself and stares up at her savior in shock while Sukuna just keeps pouring the charm on. "Now that was frightening. I couldn't let a beautiful woman such as yourself injure herself, now could I?" Shanghai stares stares up at Sukuna, unable to speak. Well, I mean, if she were physically capable of speech, I don't think she would be able to right now, due to the circumstances. Ugh, never mind.
...Just how much self-will do these dolls have, anyway? And how the hell is this one blushing so much?!
Then the moment is interrupted as a second doll, this one in a red dress, comes the door and freezes, staring in shock at the scene before her. Sukuna looks at the doll in red awkwardly, while Shangahi... is gesturing for the new doll to go away?
"Um... there's quite the story behind this!" Sukuna says nervously. "You... must be her sister." Poor Sukuna. Caught between two pretty girls and her desire to remain a gentlewoman. The doll in red just somehow seems to slump in place, staring at the two diminutive figure, before letting her face fall into her hand. Poor doll.
Alice's voice comes from within the house. "Shanghai? Hourai? What's taking so long? Is there someone there or- oh?" The lady of the house, as prim and proper as ever, blinks as her eyes fall on me and Hina. "Aya? And Miss Kagiyama? Welcome, what can I do for-" Then Alice sees Sukuna and Shanghai, the latter of whom is holding tightly on to Sukuna's clothing, and looking up at her mistress with a pleading expression.
"Ah... hello, lovely young lady!" Sukuna says gallantly. "I can see where Lady Shanghai gets her looks!" Shanghai just hides her face behind her hands and squirms in embarrassment. She's not making any moves to get away, though.
"Eheh... Alice?" I say with as friendly an expression as I can manage. "Meet Sukuna!"
"Charmed," Alice says distantly, while Hourai just walks back inside, shaking her head.
[ ] Invite her to the trade show. [ ] Has she spoken to Marisa much? [ ] How... life-like are her dolls, exactly? [ ] Ask her to do some tailoring.
>>27565 Well, someone with too much time on their hands determined that Sukuna was, according to ZUN's art, roughly 35cm tall, or almost 14 inches tall... Something about the size of her bowl hat relative to Marisa's hand or something?
Anyway, I could see Shanghai being a little shorter. Not by much though.
A bit later, Hina and I are sitting at Alice's kitchen table, having some tea and snacks with her. Sukuna is currently in the midst of a group of Alice's dolls, who are staring at her with expressions ranging from blank curiosity to outright fascination. At least, insofar as I can read a doll's expression. The only exception is Shanghai, who has her hands clasped and is swaying from side to side with what looks like excitement. Dolls in love. Well, why not? I guess.
Still it begs a certain question. "Say, Alice?" I ask hesitantly. "Um... just how self-willed are your dolls, exactly?"
The puppeteer frowns. "That's... something of a complicated question, honestly. Many of them are simple automatons following a program, of course, unless I'm manipulating them directly. But I'm always experimenting, and encoding personality profiles into some of my more advanced designs is something of an ongoing project for me."
Hina glances at the doll Hourai, who is sitting on the edge of the table, watching with a sullen air as Shanghai and the other dolls fuss over Sukuna, looking like they're taking measurements. The inchling's suave air has started to fade into her usual cute exuberance, and the dolls only seem even more intrigued in response. "You mean dolls like this one here. Hourai, wasn't it?" The red doll glances over as Hina says her name, but looks back at the ongoing fuss with a shake of her little head.
Alice nods. "Hourai, Shanghai, and a few others. All of whom are now fussing over your little friend at the moment." They're definitely taking her measurements for something. "Anyway, I've programmed them to have flexible reactions to a wide array of stimuli, which comes across as a personality of sorts to the observer. This combines with their specified roles, and a few quirks I threw in for good measure, to give them the appearance of being independent, self-willed beings."
"So they're just following a set of instructions," I conclude.
Alice shrugs. "Well... I've been updating their neural architecture for so long, they're magical-based constructs, and Gensokyo is absolutely lousy with magical energy flows. Throw in the tendency of things to awaken in Gensokyo, and..." The puppeteer raises her hands in a shrug. "Honestly, they just keep surprising me lately. But I'm willing to chalk it up to a success on my part. They make for wonderful companions, and watching grow and learn every day is fascinating. As to whether they are truly self-aware... some of them, no. Others... perhaps."
"Eeeeeee, no!" Sukuna squeals with laughter, running away from a small horde of dolls. At the head of them is Shanghai, holding out a dress much like her own with a strangely determined look on her tiny features. Other dolls hold a variety of needles, thread, and other such tools, as well as a few other outfits. "You girls are so forceful~!" Sukuna sings, clearly not the least bit upset.
Alice and Hourai share a glance, before the puppeteer gives me an embarrassed look. "Well... I used some of my own thought patterns in the original design... and I like cute things. Sukuna is cute."
I cough, watching as Sukuna is happily chased around by a horde of pretty girls her own size. "Um... on that note, just how life-like are your dolls, anyway?"
"...Not that life-like," Alice murmurs. "Though... I do try to make them as close to human as I can. It helps the cognitive patterns flow. Long story."
Sukuna at this point is laughing wildly in the other room, while Hourai holds her head in her hands. Thankfully, Hina chooses this moment to change the subject. "So! Have you visited Marisa lately?"
This brings a smile to Alice's face and she giggles. "As a matter of fact, I do a brisk business with Pameel! She always has a new idea for some outfit to wear for Marisa... or for Marisa to wear... and the little dear can be very creative. It's proven to be a fine learning experience for me; I seldom get an opportunity to use my skills in such a way."
"Like massively altered maid uniforms?" I guess.
"Merely the tip of the iceberg," Alice says with a mysterious smile. "Anyway, aren't they the cutest things ever?"
"They are!" Hina giggles. "Poor Marisa just doesn't know how to deal with all of the attention."
"Marisa is more used to being on the offensive than the defensive," Alice chuckles. "I would feel a bit sorry for her at times, but it's clear that she really enjoys the attention, even if she doesn't admit to it. Besides, it's hilarious to watch sometime."
I cough. "Uh, just out of curiosity, there were a few rumors going around a while back that you and Marisa were... well that you... oh, you know exactly what I'm talking about."
"I have a boyfriend, and we have a very lovely relationship," Alice says simply.
"Oh really?" Hina looks interested. "How did you two meet?" I lean forward in interest myself. What can I say? Girl-talk, and I'm a reporter at heart. Just not on the job at this moment.
Alice looks a bit awkward all of a sudden. "Er... there was this incident where I was trying a new neural pathway in one of my dolls, and she went a little out of control after an incident at the market, and I had to come to the poor man's defense... well, one thing led to another, and we got to talking... um, it's really a long story-"
"Look at me!" Sukuna cheers, and her sudden interruption causes all of us to turn our heads, and regard the inchling, now in a dress identical to Shanghai's. The doll in question is practically bouncing on her feet with excitement, while a few other dolls around her are nodding with approval. "This thing is just so darn comfy~! Hm?" One of the other dolls holds out what looks like a miniature maid's uniform, and Sukuna chuckles. "Eheheh... well, why not?!" Then she's off again, while Hourai just looks up at the ceiling, hands out in a questioning gesture.
"...Which one is the doll again?" Hina asks nobody in particular.
"Well, at least they're all having fun," I point out.
"Anyway!" Alice says hurriedly. "What brings you to my house this day?"
I clear my throat. "First of all, I want to apologize in person for any inconvenience I may have caused you in the past-"
"Forgiven," Alice says at once. Her face is sympathetic. "I read that article about you. I understand that you must have had reasons for your actions in the past, and I personally know of a certain someone who has changed dramatically from who she once was. I would be remiss not to give you a second chance."
I bow my head, touched. "Thank you. Anyway, the other reason I'm here is to invite you-"
"Ahahahahahahahahaha!" Sukuna's delighted laughter comes from down the hallway. "Nooooooo~! That tickles!" Silently, Hourai floats up off the table and drifts over to the door, closing it tightly before heading back to her place on the table.
After a moment of silence, I decide to press on. "...To invite you to a trade show being held at Hina's old shrine. We're currently gathering prospective attendees, and thought of you."
"A trade show..." Alice looks intrigued at the prospect. "Well... I would be interested in showing off some of my recent accomplishments. There is of course doll-making and clothing, but my Goliath Doll project recently had some major breakthroughs." She giggles. "I wouldn't mind showing off a bit."
Hina nods, pleased. "That's good to hear! We'll be happy to have you there."
"Goliath doll?" I ask.
Alice just smiles again. "Oh, you'll see."
I chuckle. "Fine, be all mysterious. See if I care."
"Speaking of your skills as a clothier, are you available for a quick commission?" Hina suddenly asks. Standing up, she unveils the revealing maid outfit that Marisa gave us not too long ago. "I'd like this thing to be adjusted to fit Aya, if you please."
Alice doesn't even miss a beat. "Why, certainly," she says pleasantly. "Just follow me, and I'm sure that I can have the work done in mere moments. Aya?"
I gulp. It looks like Alice might be getting just a touch of personal revenge on me. Then again, there was that incident with the froggy suit...
"Hold still," Alice orders me, and I stop fidgeting. This woman can be pretty commanding when she puts her mind to it.
I'm currently standing in front of a full-length mirror while Alice carefully makes adjustments to my new costume. Which I refuse to ever wear in public, thank you very much. Barring a party where everyone gets very, very drunk, of course. Still, I have to hand it to Alice; the woman is a real professional when she's at work, all of her attention focused on the individual stitches of the outfit.
Hina, on the other hand, is smiling openly as she gives me her full attention. Not that I mind, really. Besides, she still has that magnificent dress in her closet back at the shrine; this might be my ticket to getting her to wear it again. I just hope Shizu and Mino don't comment on it.
"So, I was thinking that I have a wide array of clothing to demonstrate," Alice says as she works, "Not to mention that I think I have the programming on my dolls down well enough to offer a few of them up for sale as helpers around the household. Plus, young girls would love them."
"Bodyguards for young ladies?" I suggest.
"Hold still," Alice commands me. Don't argue with a woman with sharp needles. "Yes, that's a thought. Anyway, I do have a few things to share-" there is a knock at the door. "Hm? Yes, come in."
Sukuna peeks her head around the doorframe, and gives me a long look. "Wow. Um, Aya? Can I have a moment of your time?"
I look to Alice for permission, and she nods. However, her gaze promises truly dire consequences should I get so much as a single stitch out of place.Carefully, I make my way over to the doorway and close it behind me. "What's up, Sukuna?"
The inchling, wearing what looks like a three-piece suit, hops up on my shoulder. "First of all, looking good. Secondly, Shanghai keeps giving me a bunch of 'go' signals, I don't know how Alice would take it. Think I should go for it?"
Oh sweet Mikami why me?
[ ] ...Sure. Why not? [ ] Um, maybe you should get to know each other a bit better first. [ ] Sukuna. She's. A. Doll.
>>27565 Eh, for the purposes of this story Sukuna and the dolls are all roughly a foot tall, give or take.
If the link doesn't work for some reason, basically they determined that Sukuna's bowl hat is basically the same size as an actual rice bowl, thanks to it being the same size as Marisa's hand in some of the ending artwork. Then, from her portrait in Forbidden Scrollery, they determined she was 7 bowls tall, or roughly 35 cm!
[x] Sukuna, Shanghai is an innocent young maiden of fine upbringing. As such she must be loved with tenderness and care. If you are not careful, your actions here today could ruin her for marriage forever! Are you fully prepared to take responsibility for your actions?
This is fun. I say we dig the hole as deep as we can. Who knows, maybe Sukuna can awaken Shanghai's wooden doll heart and bring her into full sapience.
[Ω] Sukuna. She's. A. Doll. OK, fun is fun, but this has gone a bit too far. Keymaster, you aren't so desperate to wrap this up that you'd pair Sukuna up with someone who's barely sentient, now would you?
>>27584 This guy has the right idea. Do it for Youmu!
[x] You should get to know each other a bit better first. -[x] Sukuna, Shanghai is an innocent young maiden of fine upbringing. As such she must be loved with tenderness and care. If you are not careful, your actions here today could ruin her for marriage forever! Are you fully prepared to take responsibility for your actions?
[x] Ask Alice if there's a way to contact Shinki about the trade show.
[x] You should get to know each other a bit better first. -[x] Sukuna, Shanghai is an innocent young maiden of fine upbringing. As such she must be loved with tenderness and care. If you are not careful, your actions here today could ruin her for marriage forever! Are you fully prepared to take responsibility for your actions? -[x] Remind her of her other choices (youmu, Kokoro, yuyuko)
And am I the only one who thinks that Sukuna's starting to become a one-note character? She only has two aspects to her personality. She's a pervert and people think she's cute. I realize that this late into the endgame, Keymaster probably doesn't want to spend too much time developing her character. And I don't blame him; he's put tons of effort into developing lots of other characters already. But I am still starting to get tired of Sukuna's lack of dimension. Maybe it's time to quickly wrap up her miniarc, and send her off with a girl or something.
>>27595 There's a lot more depth to Sukuna than just being a cute pervert. With the sword skills, poetry, and charming demeanour, she's basically a an old-school chivalric knight. Just, slightly more appreciative of feminine beauty than is normal. Or healthy.
Gonna call it for advising Sukuna to get to know Shanghai a little bit better. Also, I'm going to throw in the vote about inviting Shinki. I kinda dodged it earlier because I had no idea how to bring her to the trade show, but I just had an inspiration.