> Patchouli: Thank Koakuma.
Pfft. You’ll thank her when she starts doing the rest of her job properly, which will be never.
Koakuma endlessly procrastinates on any task you give her, with no intention of doing it at all if she can get away with it.
You can force Koakuma to do anything you say by using a FAMILIAR CONTROL SPELL on her, but the spell is INCONVENIENTLY VERBOSE. She seems to take it as a personal victory whenever you have to resort to using it. Fortunately, there are much easier spells you can use as motivation.
To be honest, you wish you could just get rid of her and get a proper familiar rather than dealing with this demon contract labor, but for that you’d need to invest in the SUMMONTECH tree.
> Patchouli: Realize Koakuma would be more helpful if you would just treat her better.
Sorry, you don’t have enough EMPATHY to complete this action.
What, do you think you’re still playing Ichirin or something? Sorry, but you’re in PATCHYTOWN now, where it’s ALL SURLY, ALL THE TIME. Maybe things would change if you went on some kind of JOURNEY OF FRIENDSHIP AND SELF-DISCOVERY, but that’s not happening anytime soon, and certainly not today.
> Patchouli: Examine chalkboard.
Curses! The MAID FAIRIES have recklessly doodled all over your blackboard again. You had a perfectly good batch of notes here on how to use the Water/Wood interaction to accelerate the growth of magic mushrooms, too.
You could’ve sworn you hid the colored chalk. They must have gotten ahold of some of their own, somehow.
> Patchouli: Examine footrest.
This GARGOYLE FOOTREST Remi bought is in such bad taste, yet so comfortable. SO COMFORTABLE.
> Patchouli: Examine wine rack.
This is not a wine rack. It’s a scroll rack.
Well, okay, it is technically a wine rack. And, okay, it currently has as much wine in it as it does scrolls. But the point is that you use it as a scroll rack.
> Patchouli: Examine phonograph.
You bought this phonograph in the 1940s, back when the SDM was still in France. It ceased to function eventually, but a few years ago you hired a kappa to fix it, and it is currently back in working form. Furthermore, the kappa upgraded it to make it capable of playing modern formats such as COMPACT DISCS, much like the KAPPATECH MODELS. However, this phonograph is powered by your magic instead of CUCUMBER BIOFUEL.
> Patchouli: Examine CD.
This is a fairly recent EXPERIMENTAL ALBUM in which Kurodani tried her hand at DROPPING SOME SICK RHYMES.
Since your ability to cast spells is tied directly to the speed at which you can recite incantations, you have taken an interest in RAP MUSIC due to the VERBAL AGILITY it promotes. At first, you didn’t care much for the actual songs at all, but they’ve been growing on you as of late.
FOR SOME REASON, as soon as Margatroid caught wind of this, she took up rapping as well. She is currently your RAP RIVAL.
> Patchouli: Thank Koakuma.
> Patchouli: Assess catness ratings.
Your useless familiar could never stop a dedicated rat by herself, but you guess you can spare a few points for the assist.
The gate guard’s statistics have been pathetic to date, but have shown a marked improvement lately. Motivation via reduced meals for every successful theft seems to be having a positive effect on her performance. Speaking of which, you’ll be sure to let Sakuya know there won’t be any dessert for her today either.
The maid chief is effective at stopping threats but woefully inconsistent in finding them in the first place. She has no business being called a “Perfect Maid” with her currently lax security.
With your extensive planning and elaborate traps, you have the right to claim the highest catness rating in the SDM, and your statistic for most rats caught backs up the claim. However, even someone of your catness cannot compare to the extreme ratness of Kirisame (which you have currently assigned the maximum value of 96, until you discover an even bigger rat).
You might be able to squelch any further rat infestations by putting the little sister on the job, but not without some UNDESIRABLE CONSEQUENCES.
> Patchouli: Check title.
A surprisingly mundane choice.
> Patchouli: Ask her why she needs it.
The rat explains that some possessions of hers that she was keeping underground were blocked off by RECENT EARTHQUAKES, shortly before she was sent aboveground. She plans to retrieve them today, but needs INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIAL in order to assure she doesn’t cause any cave-ins while clearing the passage.
> Patchouli: Consider.
In truth, you are already familiar with this rat. Remi had you investigate the Myouren faction shortly after they established their temple near the Human Village.
Nazrin’s ability might be something you could find useful at some point. This isn’t a particularly valuable book, so maybe you can turn this into an opportunity.
> Patchouli: Smile.
Yeah, no. You’re not a big fan of PASSIVE AGGRESSION. You get the job done just fine with your REGULAR AGGRESSION.
You inform the rat that you will lend her the book, but that she will OWE YOU A FAVOR. You also warn her that she had better be prepared to make good on it, because you KNOW WHERE SHE LIVES.
The rat resentfully agrees, and you send her on her way with the mining manual.
> Patchouli: Return to your desk.
You dismiss Koakuma and return to your main desk, which is where you spend most of your day.
> Patchouli: Call Koakuma.
Better call in the maid fairies while you’re at it. They might buy you some precious seconds to stop the Black-White.
— sideshowSorceress [SS] started babbling at devilsAdvocate [DA] at 9:32 —
SS: Hi Koa, sorry I took so long to get back to you.
DA: and i told u 2 stop callin me koa
DA: i have a name nao
SS: I keep telling you, you don’t get to pick your own name. You have to wait until mom gives you one.
SS: Besides, “Persephone” is a terrible choice anyway. It’s so pretentious. :*|
DA: no i came up with a different 1
SS: I certainly hope it’s better.
DA: i decided on
SS: That might be even worse.
DA: ur face is even worse
DA: so what’s goin on in makai
SS: Actually, it’s pretty busy today. I don’t really know what’s going on, but apparently there was supposed to be some kind of big transfer today and there hasn’t been any word from the Yama. Seems like she dropped the ball.
SS: I hope nothing bad happened. That’s really weird of her.
DA: nah genso’s yama is a chump
DA: she’s a wuss and she never stops complainin
DA: just liek some1 else i know
SS: Haha. Still not getting along with your master, huh?
DA: f no
DA: shes lazy and cranky and she smells
DA: its like takin care of a baby who hates u
DA: y o y did i take that 100 year contract
DA: 50 years left just shoot me nao
SS: Most wizards are old perverts. You’ve got it better than you think. :*)
DA: ugh i cant stand her tho
DA: she thinks shes sooo great but she cant even stop some human from stealin her crap
DA: speakin of which
Koakuma arrives on the scene. Fortunately, a CODE BLACK is just about the only thing you can count on this lazy familiar to respond to in a timely manner. You order her to pursue the target and attempt to drive her back towards the center of the library.
You don’t have time to play around with the Black-White today. You decide to put one of your many ambush plans into motion so you can take her out in one shot.
Fairy maids start flooding the library. Trying to get them to follow any kind of battle plan is pretty useless, but they’ll engage enemies on sight, making them useful as speedbumps.
If Sakuya was in earshot, she’ll be on the way (or more likely, already in action), but you’re not counting on it. The Scarlet Devil Mansion is a big place.
Koakuma attacks the Black-White, but the thief does not return fire and instead focuses purely on escaping. She must have something valuable!
The Black-White dives between a pair of high shelves for cover, but this will be her undoing.
Your magical tomes leap to the attack, covering the area with danmaku!
The thief is forced to slow down. Taking advantage of this, you jump out of a SECRET DOOR to cut her off!
OPERATION YELLOW BRICK ROAD is a smashing success.
You have Koakuma pull the Black-White rat out of the rubble.
That is not the Black-White rat you were expecting.
She asks if she can check out a book from the library.
> ACT 1 PART 2
> Be Patchouli.
That is not Patchouli.
Remilia insists that she should be the star of this chapter, as she is the master of the mansion in which Patchouli resides, and also has PURPLE HAIR.
Unluckily for her, Remilia has failed to realize that her NAME and STRONG VISUAL THEME puts her squarely within the domain of the RED COMMAND INTERPRETER. The only command you can give Remilia with the PURPLE COMMAND INTERPRETER is “Charisma break”.
> Actually be Patchouli.
You are PATCHOULI KNOWLEDGE, THE UNMOVING GREAT LIBRARY. You are REMILIA SCARLET’S oldest friend, and you reside in the library of her gigantic estate, the SCARLET DEVIL MANSION.
You are a HIGHLY ACCOMPLISHED ELEMENTAL MAGICIAN. You have full command of the FIVE-PHASE ELEMENTAL CYCLE, plus the POSITIVE and NEGATIVE forces of SUN and MOON. Your repertoire is so well-rounded that you can use a different element for each day of the week and still have spells to spare. And you often do!
You have succeeded in creating the PHILOSOPHER’S STONE, the ultimate alchemical creation. As such, you have obtained ETERNAL YOUTH. Unfortunately, you later discovered that the stone does not provide ETERNAL HEALTH, and so your COMPLETE LACK OF EXERCISE over the past few decades has rendered you terribly weak, anemic, and asthmatic. You won’t die, but you really need to start getting in shape, because your condition is so bad that you’re not able to perform more than a few spells in a row.
The gatekeeper has offered to be your PERSONAL TRAINER, and you’ll probably take her up on it. Eventually. You know, maybe next year.
Your hands have been pretty full lately, in no small part due to REMILIA’S SHENANIGANS. Thanks to your wealth of knowledge on matters both magical and academic, you serve as her advisor on whatever crackpot scheme she has cooked up at any given time. Last year, you succeeded at building a rocketship to send Remi to the moon, and although her plan for LUNAR DOMINATION failed miserably, the spacecraft did work nicely, so you count it as a personal victory.
Things have been pretty interesting in general ever since Remi decided to move the SDM to Gensokyo. A little noisy for your tastes, but interesting.
Today is a special day! YUUGI HOSHIGUMA of the oni has sent out mass invitations to a GIGANTIC PARTY IN FORMER HELL as a gesture of FRIENDSHIP between the youkai of the surface and the underground, partially to ease tensions after RECENT EVENTS (of which you were a part). To be honest, you’d rather not go, as you find partying with oni to be a PRETTY UNAPPEALING PROSPECT. You don’t trust those oni one bit. However, Remi has insisted that she wants to bring a large entourage to the party so that she can make a DYNAMIC DEBUT. You’re not sure what she’s planning, but you figure you’d better go along to see what she’s up to (if only to simplify cleaning up the mess afterward).
If nothing else, it might give you a chance to test that bean danmaku you’ve been working on.
But right now, you have more pressing issues to deal with; you have a recurring problem with Black-White rats in your library.
She sure is moving fast today. How will you proceed?
OOC: Before the next part, let’s enjoy some bonus content!
This is the basically the best Auto-Parry but sadly there is absolutely no way I’ll be able to work it into the story.
[ BGM ]
Sadly, the players decided not to take up the fairy on the offer for her Shiny Stone. That means you won’t get to fight the SECRET BOSS, Flandre posing as Culex.
Download the PASTEL ROMANCE DLC, and you can properly thank her for that cake. Just $14.99!
> Patchouli: Assist Remilia.
The crowd is none too pleased that Remi has attempted to upstage their beloved Yamame. Looks like you’ll need to save Remi’s bacon.
Your throwing arm is MORE THAN A LITTLE RUSTY. So much for PLAN A.
> Ichirin: Approach Keine.
You approach the Hakutaku and prepare to engage in DIPLOMANCY.
You bring up the most ubiquitous of all conversation starters, the weather. Keine appears confused because you’re underground.
Little does Keine know that this was a calculated response on your part, in order to make yourself appear knowledgable and interesting!
You explain to Keine that FORMER HELL experiences weather changes from time to time, including hot humid days, foggy conditions, or even snow in the winter! It’s a relatively mild day underground today, and therefore the weather is indeed quite nice.
Keine says “oh”.
She then confirms that your name is Ichirin Kumoi. She says she didn’t recognize you at first because of your new outfit.
You reply that you just wanted to dress up for the party for fun. You add that Keine doesn’t really need to do the same, since her outfit is already one of the BEST IN GENSOKYO. (This isn’t even an empty compliment, because it actually is.)
Keine looks a bit embarassed at the flattery.
You apologize and say you’re sorry for bothering her, and that you’ll leave her alone now.
Keine interjects and apologizes for her own behavior. Little does she know that this is ALSO a calculated maneuver on your part! It’s not very nice to guilt her like that, but you do want to help, and this will get her to talk about what’s actually bothering her.
She explains that she convinced a friend of hers to come to the party with her, but that the friend never showed up. Being stood up is one thing, but she adds that she wonders if she shouldn’t have pushed her friend to come in the first place and that it’s her own fault.
Furthermore, Keine adds, it seems the fact that NO HUMANS WERE INVITED was a deliberate move, as the oni don’t seem to be too happy about her being here. She feels like she shouldn’t have come at all and that she should just go home.
You tell Keine to cheer up. It isn’t her fault if her friend didn’t want to come, some people are just too shy to enjoy being around strangers. One of your own friends seems to have run off too, so she’s not alone there.
You ask her to hang out with you, since most of your fellow followers will probably be busy getting hammered and you need someone to explore the party with.
Keine quietly nods and says okay.
Ichirin, you sly devil! You’ve made Keine play right into your hands! You’re going to give her so much FRIENDSHIP and SUPPORT and CHERISHED MEMORIES, she won’t even know what hit her.
Ichirin: Explore party with new companion.
You wonder if they have that ring toss game. You’re awesome at those!
However, after walking down the street a short way, you realize Keine has stopped behind you. You ask her what’s wrong.
Keine hurriedly unfurls her scroll, and orders everyone to hold still!
What happened next is a blur. Keine’s power seemed to wrap around everyone and cause them to vanish, just as THE VAST GAP descended upon you.
The next thing you knew, you woke up here. Satori was the first person you found, and the rest of you met up shortly after.
> Patchouli: Explain.
You explain that Keine has the ABILITY TO EAT HISTORY. The exact mechanics of this are rather vague, but basically she is able to temporarily (or permanently?) “eat” the history of a person or place, causing it to vanish.
Keine was probably trying to save everyone from IMPENDING GAP-RELATED DOOM. During the IMPERISHABLE NIGHT INCIDENT, she was able to use her ability to hide the entire HUMAN VILLAGE, so it isn’t a stretch to say she could have hidden everyone at the party, as well as everyone for a few miles around. That would explain why almost everybody is gone.
This does raise a few more questions though. Keine apparently hid herself as well, so how did she plan to release everyone afterwards? She’s not stupid, so she must have had some kind of plan. Also, why were each of you left behind? You don’t seem to have anything in common (besides the obvious superficial similarity). Ichirin was even standing right next to Keine. Did something go wrong?
You suggest that you all continue with your stories so that you can piece together more information.
> END OF ACT 1 PART 1
Who will go next?
> SELECT PLAYER: _
> Ichirin: Add Aya to inventory.
You guess you better do something about this. You decide to take Aya with you until she comes to her senses. Unzan’s expression seems to indicate he’d prefer to leave her to suffer her well-deserved punishment, but he doesn’t voice any complaint.
However, you can’t add a person to your inventory, silly! Not unless they have the passive ability that lets you do that, like Nazrin.
You EQUIP Aya instead. Doing so grants you a modest speed boost.
> Ichirin: Get to the concert!!
It’s too late to grab a spot next to the stage, but you should be able to get a good view by flying. Hurry!
You manage to grab a PRIME SPOT on a nearby roof. It’s not very close, but you have a clear, comfortable view.
> Unzan: Complain about modern music.
All flash, no substance. All a REAL musician needs is a shamisen and a good singing voice. None of these silly light shows. Didn’t need speakers either, because everyone was polite and kept their damn mouth shut so they could hear the damn song.
Back in your day, performers traveled uphill in the snow to villages all over Kyushu to play for tips, and most of them were blind to boot! You’d like to see this Kurodani girl try to sing without her newfangled fancy AUTOTUNES and DUBSTEPS and LATTES (you don’t actually know what any of these things are).
Bah, forget it, Ichirin’s not listening. Can’t find anyone who appreciates proper music nowadays. Makes you wish there were some koto tsukumogami running around or something.
> Ichirin: GET HYPE.
The lights are dimming! The show’s about to start!!
[ BGM ]
> Patchouli: 2x Facepalm Combo.
You knew something like this would happen, but still.
> Ichirin: Go elsewhere.
You guess Yamame isn’t performing until later. Nothing to see here. Well, except for two of Gensokyo’s biggest names slugging it out, but you’re not too interested in things like that.
Aya senses the POTENTIAL HEADLINE and awakens. She unequips herself from you and goes to take pictures, without a word of thanks to you. Oh well.
You head back towards the square, where there is plenty of socialization going on.
You manage to get a look at the VIP Table. Byakuren’s over there, along with a whole bunch of other important people. They’re getting pretty rowdy over there, and obviously very drunk. It looks like a bunch of them are playing around with their ABILITIES.
You look around for another of your fellow Buddhists, but first you spot someone else who catches your attention.
It’s Keine! Making friends with her might be a good way to get her to trust the temple more. She looks pretty depressed about something, though. Is she here by herself?
> Ichirin: Check Affection Points.
AFFECTION POINTS are not a visible stat. You can tell when you’re gaining them, but they are affected over time by a multitude of invisible factors. You’re never sure which route you’re headed for!
Maybe you should decide who you’ll focus on, in order to try to get the route you want. Would you prefer:
- The cute, lighthearted Kyouko Route?
- The deep, introspective Nazrin Route?
- The dramatic, emotional Mamizou Route?
- The wacky, sexy Nue Route?
- The cliche, poorly-written Shou Route?
- A replay of Minamitsu Route? (You got the NEUTRAL END last time.)
- The secret Pastel Route?
There is no Byakuren Route. The best girl never has a route.
You think on it for a while, and decide that this train of thought is INCREDIBLY STUPID.
> Ichirin: Stop gloating over successful counterprank.
Right. It wouldn’t be proper to give Nue a hard time about it, or to get too cocky, since the success of your plan can mostly be attributed to Miss Gateau, and also because it’s just not very nice to begin with.
Plus, getting into a prank war with Nue might be starting something you can’t finish. You got lucky this time.
You’ll try to have a good laugh about it with Nue later.
> Ichirin: Show Yuugi the note.
You show Yuugi the FRIENDLY THREATENING LETTER and tell her that a bridge troll dropped it when she saw you, and fled. Yuugi skeptically asks you if YOU’RE SURE the troll didn’t say anything. You nervously tell her she didn’t.
Yuugi gives you another HEARTY PAT ON THE BACK and tells you not to worry about it. She says she’ll get Byakuren to her seat and then go find Parsee.
They head off, and most of your group scatters towards various attractions as well. You’re free to roam the party now.
> Ichirin: Thank Unzan.
You get your takoyaki from Unzan and promptly enjoy a bite of it. Good stuff, very spicy though. You wonder if it’s made with some kind of HELL OCTOPUS.
You thank Unzan, and he simply nods. This is business as usual for him; you can’t remember the last time you dropped something that Unzan did not recover with a SWEET CATCH.
> Ichirin: Check on Aya.
Isn’t this that tengu reporter/voyeur everybody’s always complaining about?
Looks like Nue wasn’t joking about the mind-destroying properties of her panties. You give her a nudge to see if she’s okay.
Looks like she’ll live.
Suddenly, you see the stage in the back starting to light up! Could Yamame’s concert be starting already!?
> Unzan: Rescue Ichirin’s takoyaki.
The shock of Yuugi’s greeting causes Ichirin to drop her hard-earned takoyaki! You leap into action to save it.
> Ichirin: Examine Yuugi.
This is YUUGI HOSHIGUMA, easily the most well-known and influential oni in FORMER HELL. Though you have never spoken with her personally, you’ve seen her before and heard countless stories of her antics over the many years you’ve spent underground.
She apparently planned this entire party herself, sending out written invitations to well-known youkai all over Gensokyo (including Byakuren) and asking them to bring along any other youkai they wanted. She seems to be quite pleased with the turnout of the event, as her current mood appears to be OVERWHELMINGLY FRIENDLY.
> Ichirin: Avoid examining Yuugi’s boobs.
You fail miserably. Her MODESTY THRESHOLD is obviously miles below yours. You do your best to ignore her MONUMENTAL JUBBLIES, but this effort is soon rendered moot.
Yuugi puts you in a FRIENDLY HEADLOCK, informing you that you’re JUST THE KIND OF PEOPLE she was hoping would show up. Byakuren, sensing your distress, introduces herself and thanks Yuugi for inviting her, and when asked, confirms that you are one of her followers. Yuugi responds that Byakuren has GOOD TASTE IN MINIONS.
> Unzan: Rescue Ichirin’s hat.
The only time a man’s hat should touch the ground is to express his disgust.
> Ichirin: Give Yuugi the cake.
Time to give Houjuu a taste of her own medicine.
You produce the DELICIOUS BOOZECAKE you received from Pastel, telling Yuugi that it is a gift baked by CAPTAIN MURASA, who sends her BEST WISHES. Yuugi is more than pleased, saying that she had just now been wandering over here to find something to satisfy her sweet tooth!
You hand Yuugi the cake and quietly make note of Nue, who has pre-emptively retreated to the shadows to watch.
Yuugi decides that this is objectively THE BEST SAKE CAKE EVER MADE, and that Murasa should promptly be crowned as KING OF BAKERS.
You turn to see Nue’s reaction.
Slowly, it dawns on her. She has been counterpranked. Counterpranked by the most unassuming person on the team. The fact that you did it in such a subtle and harmless manner entirely fitting your personality only twists the knife further.
It’s too bad you don’t have access to the BLACK COMMAND INTERPRETER, or you could watch the entertaining [Ѕ] Nue: Mental breakdown. You’ll have to settle for the still image above.
Nue retreats for now, so you turn your attention back to Yuugi.
Yuugi tells Byakuren that she has a seat for her at the VIP TABLE, and asks Byakuren to come with her to meet the other bigwigs in Gensokyo. Byakuren says she doesn’t think she deserves the special attention, but that she’d be delighted to meet them.
Yuugi gives her profuse thanks for the cake, and Byakuren asks if you need anything from her before she goes.
> Ichirin: Consider Parsee.
You wonder if you should bring up your encounter with the bridge troll with Yuugi. While this person is obviously someone Yuugi cares about, you might actually be getting her in more trouble by mentioning what she’d been doing.
What do you do?
> Good heads.
> Ichirin: Proceed.
In order to finish the race, you need to clear your mind of all desires.
That means you’ll have to set aside your desire for some delicious takoyaki, as well as your desire to not lose your stylish hat, and your desire to not embarrass yourself in front of your friends.
But how can you win a race without the desire to win?
The answer is that it doesn’t matter.
FUN FACT: An average oni can clear 100 meters in three bounds, and despite their rambunctious nature, they are actually very good at keeping a calm mind.
What the oni are very bad at, however, is not getting overconfident when they’re about to win.
> Ichirin: Claim victory.
You emerge from the misty path, and it disappears, releasing your oni opponent as well.
The oni appears MOMENTARILY DISGRUNTLED, but takes his loss in stride.
You exchange a FRIENDLY HANDSHAKE, and he upholds his end of the bet by giving you the takoyaki.
You have scored TAKOYAKI FOR THE WHOLE PARTY! GREAT SUCCESS! Mamizou in particular is delighted to receive it. You have gained a few MAMIZOU AFFECTION POINTS, although you’re not really sure you want to wind up on her route.
Yuugi pats you on the back and tells you you put on a good show.
[ Another fun fact: I wound up flipping a Canadian quarter because they have two heads (although one of them is a caribou) ]